—Kathryn Whitmer, Bellingham, WA

If you are fascinated by the art treasures at the Hermitage and are not content with a typical 2-hour tour with hard-to-hear commentary, an extraordinary opportunity awaits you in St. Petersburg, Peter the Great’s gleaming city on the Gulf of Finland.

In the January 2001 issue of ITN (page 12), an article by Dorothy Olim Krone (who had read Marjorie Maxwell’s letter in the May 2000 issue, page 52) about attending a 2-week summer school program...


—Diane Powell Ferguson, Scottsdale, AZ

Inspired by a positive review in International Travel News by Charles R. Cusack (Nov. ’02, pg. 82), we chose Fish Eagle Safaris (phone 800/513-5222 or visit www.fisheagle safaris.com) for our ninth African safari — the second to Botswana.

Planning ahead

We contacted company owner Bert du Plessis to customize wildlife viewing in the Okavango Delta. In fact, we stayed at two camps the Cusacks had visited, although our final choices...


—Deanna Palic, Contributing Editor, ITN

Guidebooks point travelers toward the more internationally known Croatian islands and cities on the Adriatic: Hvar, Korcula, Split, Opatija and Dubrovnik. For this holiday, however, my husband, Josip, and I were searching for a destination relatively unknown to international tourists. Our ultimate goal was to alternate between relaxing at the beach and visiting neighboring islands from an inexpensive coastal base.

From Zagreb, we followed...


by Rob Sangster, Nova Scotia

“. . . For the wind is in the palm-trees, and the temple-bells they say, ‘Come you back, you British Soldier, come you back to Mandalay!’. . . On the road to Mandalay, where the flyin’-fishes play. An’ the dawn comes up like thunder outer China ’crost the Bay. . .”

With these words, Rudyard Kipling immortalized the longings felt by British soldiers who’d returned to foggy England after having been garrisoned in exotic, sultry Burma. He also fired my...


Do you speak French? No? Then perhaps German? Not to worry, everyone you meet in Luxembourg will also speak English — and most likely Spanish. However, a phrase in Luxembourgish, the national language, best describes the citizens of this grand duchy: Mir wölle bleiwe wat mir sin, or “We want to stay what we are.” What they are, these Luxembourgers, is fascinating — so much history, so many languages and so little acreage.

The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg is slightly smaller than Rhode...


The Kamchatka Peninsula, part of The Russian Federation, extends from the northeastern end of Siberia, thrusting down to divide the Sea of Okhotsk from the Bering Sea. It is one of the few truly unexplored wilderness areas left in the world. Sharing a latitude with Alaska, it is remote and difficult to get to. Conditions are so harsh there for most of the year that the human population is sparse and primarily concentrated in Petropavlovsk, its capital. A few small fishing villages exist on...


It is said that Ethiopia has an image problem, and indeed it has. Years of relentless media coverage of famine, war and rebellions have taken their toll. Unfortunately, this has made travelers pass on the opportunity to visit an area that is unique, not only to Africa but worldwide.

Deciding on a destination

Ethiopia has four faces, or destinations, that are more than adequately described in the Lonely Planet guide (2004 updated edition). Travelers with some limits on their...


Many years ago I took my first trip with a travel company (which shall remained unnamed) and learned some hard lessons. It was a frustrating and expensive process, but it did pave the way for many other successful trips with very few unpleasant surprises.

As a single female traveler, I initially ask the tour operator questions on three subjects.

1. Is there a single supplement? If so, do you have a roommate-matching service? If so, is there a discount if I’m willing to share...