Month: August 2016

“Venice Never Changes”

“Venice Never Changes”

“Venice Never Changes,” Samantha Durell replied in response to my observation that compared to other Italian cities, such as Florence or Rome, the famous city of canals on the Adriatic Sea looked like a down-at-the-heels in-desperate-need-of-a-cobbler “repair job” to the fading facades of its houses and palazzos.

Venice Canal and Laundry 012_11

What Venetians meant, she said, is “We like it the way it is,” which I took as a sort of “if-it-ain’t-broke-don’t-fix-it” attitude toward their rather dowdy looking hometown.

If your house is about to collapse into a canal, the city would make you rebuild it, but otherwise, it would remain the same.

It was the third week of September, 2001, and my wife and I were on a walking tour with Durell, a New Yorker who now spent most of her time living in Venice, leading tourists like us around the back streets of her adopted city.

Some things had already started to change. While we had coffee at her apartment, Samantha pointed to boats on the adjacent canal. Unable to afford their own places due to rising real estate values, younger Venetians were forced to continue living with their parents. The only way to have a private tryst was to take your boat out to the Lido and make love at sea, under the stars.

Venice Canal Docks 013_12

There was also a change, albeit temporary, during our stay, caused by something that had happened in the U.S. less than two weeks before.

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A Dynamic Duo of Destinations: Cuba and U.S. National Parks

A Dynamic Duo of Destinations: Cuba and U.S. National Parks

In 2016 there are two destinations that are both figuratively and literately “hot” – Cuba and the U.S. National Parks.

Lower-Geyser-Basin-Yellowstone.jpg

Things are literally “cooking” in Havana where temperatures and humidity right now are both in the 90s, reminiscent of what I experienced while visiting just-to-the-north-a-bit Miami back in August of 1961.

While this week the air will be much drier in Death Valley National Park, look for the mercury to hit the 100-120 degree Fahrenheit mark, as it did when I drove through the park with my parents on a long-ago journey from Southern California to Reno, Nevada, part of a longer loop trip from Seattle to Disneyland and back.

Visits by Americans to both Cuba and the U.S. national parks are up this year for different reasons.

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Cuba: What It Holds In Store For American Travelers

Cuba: What It Holds In Store For American Travelers

A week ago Sunday podcaster Weston Moody, just back from a trip to Cuba, interviewed Tales Told From Road publisher, Dick Jordan, for his show, “The Locales, “conversations with guests from various countries “talking about the places to go, what to do, issues these places face and how to fit in.”

(Balint Foldesi Flickr Photo)
(Balint Foldesi Flickr Photo)

The two discussed what Moody experienced during his visit to the island, what the average American traveler can expect to find there, and Jordan’s 2016 documentary film Cuba Libre?which traces the history of travel to Cuba by Americans from the earliest decades of the 20th century to the present day.

You can listen to their conversation here.

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In the previous episode, Moody spoke with Cuba travel expert, Christopher P. Baker, one of five travel writers whose interviews appear in “Voices of The Present,” the second half of Cuba, Libre?