Alaska’s Mendenhall Glacier, much reduced in size from what I saw on my first visit 21 years ago.

“The Northwest Passage” — words that have excited Europeans for hundreds of years. 

The quest for a navigable northern passage to deliver goods from Europe to Asia and return stimulated seafaring explorers to try and try again over centuries to sail through the Arctic from the Atlantic to the Pacific. Finally, Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen made the transit between 1903 and 1906 on a gasoline-powered converted fishing vessel. It wasn’t until 1944 that...

Brașov ’s main square.

Following time spent exploring Bulgaria by car in June 2016 (see last month’s issue), my husband, Fred, and I departed Nessebar and headed for Brașov, Romania. 

We arrived at the border at around 3:30 p.m. and paid the 10-lev toll ($5.60) to cross. We also purchased the vignette (€8, or $8.70, one week) that was required for driving on Romania’s motorways.


As we drove into Brașov, where we would spend the next four days, the first thing we...

On an elephant safari in Kaziranga National Park.

In November and December of 2016, I was fortunate enough to be one of the 340,000 people to visit Arunachal Pradesh, a state in Northeast India, last year. This area requires a special permit to visit. 

One highlight of the trip was a visit to the Hornbill Festival (hornbillfestival.com), an annual festival that began in 2000 and features drumming, music, sports and dance performances by members of the tribes of Nagaland.

The private guide I used was CK Rai (ckrai09@yahoo...

A view of Ajijic and Lake Chapala.

In April 2016, I retired from my job of 15 years. My friend Jessica had retired a few months before. Like me, she has a passion for travel. 

I told her that I could plan an international trip for 10 days for less than $1,000 each, all inclusive, and I challenged her to see if she could do the same. She had doubts but felt it was worth looking into. 

To save travel time, we looked only at destinations with nonstop service from Los Angeles. After some searching, she...

View of a medieval Eastern Orthodox church in the historic town of Nessebar.

This past June, my husband, Fred, and I rented a car and drove through Bulgaria and the Transylvania region of Romania. As I planned the trip, I discovered the monastic history of both countries and their numerous UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Beginning in Bulgaria 

The almost 500-year influence of the Ottoman Empire coupled with exposure to European culture makes Bulgaria a fascinating travel destination. The countryside has picturesque mountains and valleys, there are...

Temples of Bagan near sunset.

With Myanmar’s turn from military rule to a civilian government, beginning in 2011, tourism to that country has been growing rapidly. My wife, Jill, and I wanted to explore Myanmar before mass tourism, with its herds of people and anticipated commercial blight, began to set in, so we spent six wonderful weeks visiting the country beginning Nov. 1, 2016. 

Making plans

We are independent travelers (I look forward to group travel about as much as a colonoscopy), so I...

The very popular Temple Bar Pub in Dublin.

A song by Johnny Cash, “Forty Shades of Green,” celebrates the beauty and intense colors of Ireland (and the girl he left behind in Tipperary). He wrote it on a trip to Ireland in 1959, and, after our 2-week visit to the island last spring, we can attest that his description is accurate. Ireland is known as the “Emerald Isle” for good reason! 

A gentle start

My wife, Martha, and I left San Diego on a British Airways direct flight to London’s...

Residents of one of the floating-reed islands we visited on Lake Titicaca.

Zelda and Fritz Oelrich’s tale of their travels through Peru continues…

Following our stay in Cuzco, Peru — part of a September 2016 tour my wife, Zelda, and I took with Cosmos (Littleton, CO; 800/276-1241, cosmos.com) to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary — it was time to move on to the next destination on our itinerary, Lake Titicaca.

Traveling from Cuzco to Puno (located on the lake’s shore) requires a whole-day bus trip, a 14-hour...