Travelers' Intercom

I used the COVID-19 travel downtime to renew my passport for planned travel at the end of 2021.

My renewal started totally routine. I filled out the DS-82 form online ( and printed it, as instructed. Then, on Sept. 22, I mailed the form and my passport, with a $170 check for expedited renewal, to the P.O. box address of the National Passport Processing Center in Philadelphia, as instructed, using second-day delivery. (...


For a Ryanair flight from Edinburgh, Scotland, to Dublin, Ireland, departing May 23, 2020, on Jan. 14 I booked tickets for our tour group of eight through Roxanne McCallum at the excellent travel agency Travelosophy (Commerce Township, MI; 800/332-2687, The cost was $727.11 total, or about $91 per person.

In late March 2020, Roxanne informed me that, due to COVID-19, Ryanair had canceled all of its April and May flights.

On April 5, on my own, I purchased...


My wife, Bev, and I took a safari trip to Tanzania, Oct. 11-28, 2021, during which we also took a side trip to Nairobi, Kenya, for one night. Our group was accompanied by two expert guides and local camp driver-guides.

We stayed at Ngare Sero Mountain Lodge, Arusha; Roho ya Selous, Nyerere National Park; Kigelia Ruaha, Ruaha National Park; Kuro Tarangire, Tarangire National Park; Elewana Arusha Coffee Lodge, below Mt. Meru, and the Fairview Hotel, Nairobi.

Never, at any time...


Four of us (my wife, Lanette, and I along with our daughter, Charlotte, and her husband, Andre) spent Thanksgiving week, Nov. 20-28, 2021, in Rome, Italy, on an enjoyable family vacation. Prior to going, we arranged two private tours with Francesca Caruso (email or visit

We selected Francesca based on a recommendation we saw from Fred Kranz (April ’13, pg. 26) in one of our old copies of ITN. (Thanks, Fred!)

Francesca gave...

Estelle Alcaraz by an heirloom credenza at the farmhouse in Pernes-lesFontaines. Photos by Victor Block

My wife, Fyllis, and I took our fourth trip with Untours (Media, PA;, 888/868-6871), Sept. 22-Oct. 6, 2021, this one to the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region of France, and it lived up to the standards set by our earlier experiences in every way.

We received a wealth of helpful pre-trip information, and after we arrived at our destination, a briefing at the welcome dinner provided details on the use of a rental car as well as restaurant recommendations and...


The piers are long gone, and so are the ships that offered romance and adventure. All that is left are the memories of sailing days….

An oppressive heat is in the air. Cars and honking taxis in a serpentine line snake their way under New York City’s West Side Elevated Highway as they inch toward the pier.

The massive black hull and white superstructure tower over the pier. A wisp of smoke curls from the funnel. The liner is decked out with colored flags that...


While on a safari in Tanzania’s Ruaha National Park in 2006, I broke my leg. After I spent several days in Dar es Salaam getting medical attention and a cast, my husband and I proceeded to finish our planned itinerary.

The orthopedic doctor had provided a letter saying I could fly home as long as the cast was split to accommodate the normal swelling of airline travel. To split my cast, our driver took me to Mater Misericordiae Hospital in Nairobi, Kenya.

In the treatment...

A shot of the Matterhorn taken from our balcony at Hotel Testa Grigia in Zermatt, Switzerland. Photo by Donna Pyle

Flying from Denver to Zürich on Sept. 11, 2021, my husband and I spent 10 nights in Switzerland, then nine nights in Italy attending a photo workshop in the Dolomites before flying back to Zürich for an overnight (and COVID testing) prior to our flight home on Oct. 3.

Observance of COVID protocols was much stricter in Switzerland than in Italy.

In Switzerland, we weren’t allowed to eat or drink indoors without showing proof of vaccination. Proprietors told us they could...