Travelers' Intercom

Mosaic with a nymph and centaur in Musée Saint Raymond — Toulouse. Photos by David Emery

By late spring 2021, it looked like things were starting to return to normal. After checking on the rapidly evolving European Union (EU) travel regulations regarding COVID and talking to friends who live in Europe, my wife, Olimpia Velez, and I took a chance and booked flights to France for July 4-15, 2021.

Our itinerary had us flying from Boston through Munich, Germany, into Nice, France, where we picked up a rental car. After visiting sites from Arles to Toulouse, we flew home...


My husband, Bill, and I took a 13-day tour of Egypt with Collette (Pawtucket, RI; 800/340-5158, in March 2017 that cost around $5,000 for both of us. We used airline miles for the plane tickets. 

We had both been to Cairo several times working as airline employees and had toured the city, but neither of us had been up the Nile. This trip was a “bucket item,” our chance to really see Egypt.

We went again to Old Cairo, the Egyptian museum and...


After having to cancel 2020 travel plans and finally spending several days in Berlin to do the fabulous museums before joining a Viking cruise to Prague, I’d like to suggest a small hotel in Berlin, Hommage à Magritte (Grolmanstraße 32 33, 10623 Berlin, Germany; phone +49 308 9567087,, which was recommended by a reader who answered my “Person to Person” inquiry in ITN.

The hotel occupies the first (our second) floor of a building in a...


My wife, Bea, and I traveled through Poland, the Baltics and Russia (St. Petersburg) with friends in September 2020, and I’d like to share a few recommendations.

First of all, we used to hire transportation between Kraków and Warsaw, Poland, with a stop to explore the Jasna Góra Monastery in Częstochowa, and then between Warsaw and Gdańsk, with a stop at Malbork Castle en route.

Fortunately, we had the same driver each time. He spoke English and was...

At sunset, the majestic trees along Baobab Alley in Madagascar create amazing silhouettes. (This panorama was stitched together from six photos.) Photo by Nick Stooke

My wife, Michaele, and I and another couple we often travel with booked a private 10-day trip to Madagascar through Kensington Tours (Wil­mington, DE; 888/903-2001, in June 2016. It started with a side excursion to Morondava, in the central portion of the country’s west coast.

The morning of our all-day outing, we were up before sunrise and ate breakfast by candlelight, since the city’s generators were not yet running. We then drove east for a...

At 2,351 meters above sea level, the Azores' Mount Pico is Portugal's highest mountain. Photo by our guide Filipe

For our second post-vaccination trip (the first was to Egypt and Jordan [Aug. ’21, pg. 10]), my wife, Susan, and I chose the Azores, a mid-Atlantic archipelago that is an autonomous region of Portugal. We liked the idea of visiting a temperate climate during a hot summer.

The only nonstop flights from the East Coast to the Azores were via Boston on Azores Airlines (, so we decided to drive to Boston and later do a post-Azores New England road trip.


A dragon’s blood tree — Socotra, Yemen. Photo by Alla Campbell

With much anticipation (and a little apprehension), in late February 2020 I set out for a long-awaited adventure to the Arabian Sea islands of Socotra, a small archipelago that is part of Yemen. Located about 150 miles east of Somalia and 240 miles south of the Arabian Peninsula, it is just a speck on a map.

Yemen was one of two United Nations-recognized countries I had yet to step foot in during my 20-plus years of exploring the world. Due to the continuing unrest in mainland Yemen,...


I have learned many things during my past travels, including never to arrive at a destination after dark. If there were no public transportation that late, I would have to take a cab, which I normally would only do as a last resort, as a taxi is not cost-effective and I have been ripped off by drivers several times.

I travel solo and without frills. When exiting an airport’s baggage claim area, I have almost never had anyone holding a sign with my name on it or guiding me to a...