Tag Archives: Travelogues

We did not jump on the couch with Kai Kai and Chen Chen

My niece Ayla, who is almost four, has travelled to Taiwan three times, so I asked her advice about what we do during our trip there.  “Jump on the couch with Kai Kai and Chen Chen!” she replied with a giggle. Kai Kai and Chen Chen live in Chutung, about a 20 minute ride from Hsinchu City in Western […]

Remember that time I was naked in an Istanbul bath house and a topless seventy year old woman beat me up on a marble slab? That was fun.

It was the ultimate walk of shame.  I stepped completely naked, except for my flip flops, out of the locker room, trying to cover as much as myself as possible with a sort of dish towel I was handed in the locker room.  I was inside a hammam (Turkish bath) in Istanbul, with no clue […]

Sicily is an abstract painting

Sicily is an open air museum.  Sure, there are the sensational sights and the glorious landscape, but the details are just as rewarding.  The island is full of off-kilter stripes, a tessellation of tiles, a kaleidoscope of mosaics, crossed-out graffiti, and attractively decaying billboards.  Now that I’ve had a brief taste of Sicily’s main attractions, […]

Magnificent Monreale Cathedral, an amazing cloister followed by a beef spleen sandwich

The Cathedral of Monreale in Monreale, Sicily, exceeded my high expectations.  Until I have a chance to write more, I’ll tease you with a few photos of the mosaics and cloister.  Dating from around 1200, the cathedral and it’s art are pristinely preserved. After a day in Monreale, we returned to Palermo and furthered our […]

Straight of Messina

Today I napped on a dusty train next to a stranger, South from Naples down mainland Italy until we crossed the Straight of Messina into Sicily.  Sicily is an island, of course, and there’s no bridge, and yet it’s possible to take a train across the sea. The train actually boards a ferry by breaking up […]

The origin story, or how I became a raging travel-craving maniac

I was sixteen, living in a tiny Midwestern town and determined to go to Europe.  I didn’t have money and in that rural environment, received no encouragement from my friends or teachers.  Nonetheless, I researched relentlessly until I learned about the Rotary Club International’s Rotary Youth Exchange program, which funds and facilitates international student travel. […]

In which your budget traveler reveals her expenses: the price of a 10 day trip to France

I’ve heard the muttering : “It must be nice to afford Europe travel” and the insinuations about my entitlement, or even snide asides to my assumed elitism.  Let’s get this straight –I am incredibly grateful to be able to travel, and I know it’s out of reach for a lot of people  for financial, family […]