Baseball Behind-the-Scenes: A Tour of Petco Park

Baseball Behind-the-Scenes: A Tour of Petco Park

Posted by on Feb 9, 2016 in California | No Comments

I thought there would be grass. This was baseball, after all, and even though it was February, it never occurred to me that the green fields of San Diego’s Petco Park would be replaced with mounds of…dirt. What I didn’t know was that on the weekend of our tour the park had been transformed into […]

Special Access Tours: Going Beyond the Velvet Ropes

Special Access Tours: Going Beyond the Velvet Ropes

Posted by on Feb 4, 2016 in England, Italy | No Comments

Whenever I see the words “special access,” I get really excited. The promise of minimal crowds, a small group and a peek into a world beyond the typical tour is almost always worth the price of admission. Sometimes billed as skip the lines, early access, late admission or even secret access, these tours offer the […]

Notes from Home: On Cruising

Notes from Home: On Cruising

Posted by on Jan 31, 2016 in Notes from Home | No Comments

“I see skies of blue and clouds of white, The bright blessed day, the dark sacred night. And I think to myself What a wonderful world.” ~Louis Armstrong, What A Wonderful World  I took my first cruise in the summer of 1994. It was a short, three-night affair on the Viking Serenade, a long-ago ship […]

When Accidents Happen: Falling Hard for Aix-en-Provence

When Accidents Happen: Falling Hard for Aix-en-Provence

Posted by on Jan 25, 2016 in France, Spain | No Comments

“I was looking up. It was the nearest thing to heaven.” ~Deborah Kerr, An Affair to Remember  Like the character from that classic film, I wasn’t looking where I was going. I was too engrossed in the way the sun was splashing across the beautiful old limestone buildings, with their green shutters and wrought iron balconies […]

Dalian, China: Not Quite Ready for Prime Time Touring

Dalian, China: Not Quite Ready for Prime Time Touring

Posted by on Jan 20, 2016 in China | 4 Comments

Our cruise on the Crystal Symphony from Hong Kong to Beijing was packed with famous and fascinating places – a trip of a lifetime, as people often say. The final stop before disembarking in Beijing, however, was a bit of a mystery. Dalian, China – a financial center and seaport in northeastern Liaoning Province and […]

The Great Escape Room: San Diego’s House of Hints

The Great Escape Room: San Diego’s House of Hints

Posted by on Jan 15, 2016 in California | No Comments

“Mrs. Peacock did it in the Conservatory with the Candlestick?”  Well, not quite… I first heard of “escape rooms” while doing research on Bilbao, Spain, for an upcoming trip.  The premise sounded intriguing:  You are locked in a movie set-like room and must solve a mystery using puzzles and clues hidden in the room in […]

When Plans Change: Turning Lemons Into Limoncello in Naples

When Plans Change: Turning Lemons Into Limoncello in Naples

Posted by on Jan 12, 2016 in Italy | No Comments

You could almost hear the collective echo of disappointment throughout the ship when our captain announced that the Tyrrhenian Sea was too rough to anchor in Sorrento. Instead, we would be docking in Naples, about 14 nautical miles north, with some excursions cancelled and others continuing as planned. I, however, couldn’t believe our good fortune. […]

Notes from Home: On Souvenirs

Notes from Home: On Souvenirs

Posted by on Jan 8, 2016 in Notes from Home | No Comments

Souvenir:  from the French, “to remember.” Their memories dance across our Christmas tree, sparkling in the glow of the white lights. Like voices from Christmases Past, they stare out from the branches as if to say, “You remember when you found me, don’t you?  It was at that…” I quickly cut them off, because of course […]

Meeting My Hero: A “Carpe Diem” Day Trip

Meeting My Hero: A “Carpe Diem” Day Trip

Posted by on Jan 7, 2016 in California | No Comments

This is not a political post.  It is a story of carpe diem, of saying “yes” when it would be much easier to say, “next time.” Some background:  I’ve always been a big fan of Jimmy Carter.  Ever since he campaigned in Des Moines when I was living there, I found him fascinating and inspirational…his […]

Taking A Break: Tea & Coffee Shops Around the World

Taking A Break: Tea & Coffee Shops Around the World

Posted by on Jan 2, 2016 in China, Denmark, Estonia, France | 4 Comments

“Would you like an adventure now, or would you like to have your tea first?” ~J.M. Barrie, The Adventures of Peter Pan Finding a special café for taking a break between sightseeing outings is a great way to discover some local flavor while getting ready for the next stop. Sometimes it’s a place that I simply […]