2011-01-28 - November 2006 -- I took a bus from Al Ghubaiba bus station (in Bur Dubai) to Al Ain, where I visited the camel souk, Al Ain Museum and Fort, and the livestock market, a short walk from the museum (the livestock market had the most diverse collection of goats I have ever seen, except perhaps for the Tallin Zoo, which holds the best collection of mountain goats and sheep in the world). From Al Ain, I took a bus to Abu Dhabi, where I visited Qasr al-Hosn, the oldest stone building in the city of Abu Dhabi.
2012-11-25 - November 2012 -- I visited Aguascalientes, the capital of the state of the same name, where I stayed at Hotel Francia, originally constructed in 1915, although most of the hotel now occupies a modern addition (http://www.hotelfranciaaguascalientes.com/), and ate at Restaurant Mitla, just down the block and which opened in 1938. The most interesting sites in the city are Museo Nacional de la Muerte, which displays artifacts associated with death, and Templo de San Antonio.
2015-05-27 - May 2015 -- I visited Batumi, the capital of Adjara, an autonomous republic in southwest Georgia. Batumi is a surprisingly pleasant seaside city, where the most interesting attractions, like the Alphabet Tower, the Colonnades and the statue of Ali & Nino, are near or along Batumi Boulevard.
2011-01-28 - November 2006 -- I took a taxi from Sharjah, and had lunch at Kempinski Hotel Ajman. From the hotel, I visited Ajman Museum (the only site to visit in the emirate), and then returned by taxi to Sharjah. Ajman is the smallest, and least interesting, of the seven emirates.
2011-10-24 - October 2011 -- I visited Birmingham, including the 16th Street Baptist Church and Bethel Baptist Church, which are included in the Civil Rights Movement Sites on the tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Rickwood Field, built in 1910 and the oldest surviving professional baseball park in the United States, and Sloss Furnaces, which operated as a pig iron-producing blast furnace from 1882 to 1971 (http://www.slossfurnaces.com/). After lunch at Irondale Cafe, opened in 1926 (http://www.irondalecafe.com/), I attended the Talladega 500 at Talladega Superspeedway.
2013-12-01 - November 2013 -- I took a bus from Aracaju to Neopolis, located on the opposite bank of the São Francisco River from Penedo, the first colonial settlement on the São Francisco and the main historic city in Alagoas. Frequent boats cross from just outside the bus stop in Neopolis to Penedo. To return, I took a boat across the São Francisco to the Neopolis bus station, where shared taxis were waiting to return inexpensively to Aracaju.
2012-07-05 - July 2012 -- I began my trip in Glacier Bay National Park, part of a binational UNESCO World Heritage Site, where I stayed at the Glacier Bay Lodge (http://www.visitglacierbay.com/). I went on a boat tour to Margerie Glacier through Glacier Bay, one of the best places to see wildlife in Alaska, and I saw many humpback whales, bald eagles, otters and Steller sea lions. I also visited the Alaska Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve near Haines (http://dnr.alaska.gov/parks/units/eagleprv.htm) and then drove the Golden Circle from Haines to Haines Junction, Whitehorse and Skagway. I ended my trip in Juneau, where I drank at the Alaskan Bar, established in 1913 and the oldest bar in the state (http://www.thealaskanhotel.com/). I flew around Southeast Alaska on Air Excursions (http://www.airexcursions.com/).
July 2007 -- I flew to Fairbanks and rented a car to drive to Denali NP, where I took a bus into the park, and saw several moose, caribou, dall sheep and one grizzly bear -- private vehicles were not permitted to drive into the center of the park (http://www.reservedenali.com). From Fairbanks I flew to Anchorage and made a day trip by air to Katmai NP to see the grizzly bears at Brooks Falls (http://www.katmailand.com/bear-viewing/index.html). I rented a car in Anchorage and drove to Seward, where I took a boat trip into Kenai Fjords NP and saw several killer whales, one finback whale, the world's second largest, and Steller sea lions (http://www.kenaifjords.com/).
2011-01-28 - May 2014 -- I traveled by furgon (minibus) from Tirana to Berat, where I stayed at Mangalemi Hotel (http://www.mangalemihotel.com/), well located a short walk from Berat Castle in the heart of the Mangalem area, which contains many old houses decorated with large windows that cause Berat to be known as the "Town of a Thousand Windows." From Berat, I traveled by furgon to Gjirokastër, where many of the houses have roofs covered with flat-dressed stones that have earned the city the nickname "City of Stone." My favorite meal in Gjirokastër was local frogs caught in the nearby rivers (unlike most frogs served elsewhere in Europe, which are farm-raised). Gjirokastër and Berat were among the few Albanian cities preserved in the 1960s and 1970s from modernizing building programs, which has led to their joint inscription on the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites. I ended my trip in Saranda, where I stayed at Hotel Porto Eda (http://www.portoeda.com/), located on an open gulf of the Ionian Sea and a short bus ride from Butrint, an ancient Greek and later Roman city inscribed on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
August 2006 -- I traveled overland from Montegegro to Shkodër and then took a furgon to Tirana, where I stayed at Villa Tafaj (http://www.villatafaj.com/), very centrally located and built in a 1930s Italianate building, and had paidhaqe (grilled lamb ribs) twice at Taverna Dajkua Paidhaqe. From Tirana, I took a train to the coastal city of Durres to visit the amphitheatre, which is on the tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
2011-10-04 - July 2015 -- I flew to Calgary, where I rented a car to visit Dinosaur Provincial Park, one of the world's richest locations for dinosaur fossils (http://www.albertaparks.ca/dinosaur.aspx). I joined the Centrosaurus Quarry Hike to the bonebed, where it was easy to locate the fossilized remains of Centrosaurus. On my return to Calgary, I visited the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology, which exhibits many of the best fossils discovered in Dinosaur Provincial Park, although I was disappointed to learn that many of the best displays are cast replicas and not original fossils (http://www.tyrrellmuseum.com/). I also visited Banff National Park, which is part of the Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks World Heritage Site, where I hiked around Lake Louise and drove the Bow Valley Parkway (but didn't see any wildlife).
September 2011 -- I visited Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, a cliff formation that North American Indians used in mass killings of bison (http://www.head-smashed-in.com/), and Waterton Lakes National Park, both of which are on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
2011-01-28 - November 2007 -- I flew on Aurigny Air (http://www.aurigny.com/) from Jersey and to Guernsey, and visited Alderney on foot, walking from the airport to its unofficial capital, St. Anne, and along the coast to view the Victoria era forts, stopping for breakfast at The Divers Inn.
2013-05-28 - May 2013 -- I began my trip in Algiers, where I stayed at Hôtel Safir (opened as the Aletti Hotel in 1930) and visited the Casbah (including some of the locations where Pépé le Moko and The Battle of Algiers were filmed). My favorite places to eat were Brasserie des Facultés (where the restaurant-bombing scene in The Battle of Algiers was filmed) and the fish restaurants along the Rampe de la Pécherie. From Algiers, I made a day trip to Tipasa, an ancient Punic trading-post conquered by Rome that comprises a unique group of Phoenician, Roman, palaeochristian and Byzantine ruins, as well as its nearby Royal Mausoleum of Mauretania. I flew to Constantine, which is built around a gorge and known as the City of Bridges, and made a day trip to Timgad, a consummate example of a Roman military colony created ex nihilo, and its nearby Mauseleum of Medracen. On the drive back to Algiers I visited Djémila, an interesting example of Roman town planning adapted to a mountain location. I ended my trip in Algiers, where I stayed at Hotel El-Djazair (built as the Saint George in 1889). I made my arrangements with Mosaic North Africa (http://www.mosaicnorthafrica.com/index.html).
2011-01-28 - December 2007 -- I flew from Samoa to American Samoa on Polynesian Airlines (http://www.polynesianairlines.com/) and visited the island by rental car, making stops at two tuna canneries (operated by Star-Kist and Chicken of the Sea).
2011-01-28 - August 2010 -- I began my trip in Izmir, from where I took the train to Selcuk and visited Ephesus, which is on the tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. I flew from Izmir to Kayseri and visited Cappadocia (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), including the Goreme Open-Air Museum, the Zelve Open-Air Museum and Pasabagi, the best place to see fairy chimneys.
2011-03-05 - November 2014 -- I visited Malaga, including the Cathedral of Malaga, Museo Picasso Malaga (on other trips I visited similar museums in Paris and Barcelona) and the Picasso Birthplace Museum, and drank sherry at Bodega Antigua Casa de Guardia, founded in 1840 and the oldest bodega in Malaga (http://www.antiguacasadeguardia.net/).
April 2000 -- I spent much of April 2000 on business in Madrid, when I made a day trip by high-speed AVE train to Cordoba, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. I visited the Mezquita, a large mosque with an internal cathedral, and had lunch at El Caballo Rojo, which is known for rabo de toro (oxtail stew), which was excellent (http://www.elcaballorojo.com/).
August 1994 -- I started my trip in Granada, where I visited the Alhambra palace and fortress complex, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and stayed at the Hotel Washington Irving, established in the 1820s and located just outside the walls of the Alhambra. From Granada I drove to Marbella, where I spent one night, also visiting nearby Puerto Banús. I then drove to Algeciras, where I stayed at Hotel Reina Cristina, established in 1901 (http://www.reinacristina.es/). I ended my trip in Seville, where I visited the Alcázar and Cathedral (a UNESCO World Heritage Site).
2012-01-04 - December 2011 -- I stayed at Hotel Megapode Nest in Port Blair, where I visited the Cellular Jail National Memorial, a former British prison, and took a boat to nearby Ross Island to visit the ruins of the former administrative headquarters for the British in the Andaman Islands.
2011-01-28 - November 2008 -- I took a local bus from Seu d'Urgell, Spain, stayed at Hotel Pyrenees (http://www.hotelpyrenees.com/), and returned by Novatel Bus (http://www.andorrabybus.com/web/index.php) to Barcelona airport (around three hours).
2013-09-02 - August 2013 -- I based myself in Luanda, where I stayed at Soleme Guest House (the rooms surround a colonial house built in 1920) (http://www.soleme.com/). I made a day trip from Luanda, when I visited the Miradouro da Lua (a lunar landscape along the Atlantic coast), took a boat trip along the Kwanza River, where it was easy to see fish eagles and monkeys (organized by Kwanza Lodge (http://aasafaris.com/travel_angola/kwanza-lodge/)), and went on safari in Quiçama National Park (beautiful landscape, but wildlife was very difficult to locate -- we saw several giraffes, bushbucks and kudus). I visited Luanda at night, when the notorious traffic disappeared and was able to visit the Ilha de Luanda and the city's Portuguese colonial buildings. I organized my trip with Paul from Eco Tur Angola (http://www.eco-tur.com/).
2016-09-07 - August 2016 -- I flew on Inter Îles Air (http://www.inter-iles-air.com) from Dzaoudzi–Pamandzi International Airport located in Mayotte to Ouani Airport in Anjouan. I had arranged through Laka Lodge on Moheli, where I stayed later in my trip, for an English-speaking guide to meet me at the airport. I visited the Medina of Mutsamudu, one of the medinas in the Sultanats Historiques des Comores tentative World Heritage Site (http://whc.unesco.org/en/tentativelists/5109/), where I spent the morning wandering the medina's narrow lanes and visiting its main market. Visitors can contact my guide, Djonfar, directly (moukouboi (at) yahoo.com or +269 328-2490).
2011-04-03 - November 2002 and April 2010 -- I have visited Antigua twice, most recently in April 2010, when I stayed at the Heritage Hotel in St. John's, just a short walk from the Barbuda Express (http://www.heritagehotelantigua.com/). My first visit was in November 2002, when I stayed at the Admiral's Inn in Nelson's Dockyard ((http://www.admiralsantigua.com/). The most interesting site on the island is Nelson's Dockyard, the only working Georgian marina in the western hemisphere (http://www.antiguamuseums.org/nelsonsdockyard.htm).
2011-01-28 - January 2010 -- I took one of the frequent trains that run from Torino to Aosta, the principal city of the Aosta Valley (approximately two hours), and departed from Aosta by bus to Milan (http://www.savda.it/).
2015-09-29 - September 2015 -- I spent three days in Bari, where I visited Barivecchia (old Bari), including Basilica di San Nicola, which is included on the list of tentative World Heritage Sites as one of the Romanesque Cathedrals in Puglia. My favorite dish in Bari, which I had twice, was orecchiette alle cime di rapa (orecchiette was created in Apulia). I made a day trip by train (https://www.fseonline.it) to Alberobello to see its trulli, traditional Apulian dry stone huts with conical roofs, which are recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. I also visited Lecce, which is known as the "Florence of the South" and included on the list of tentative World Heritage Sites as Salento and the Barocco Leccese, and Brindisi to visit the Roman column marking the end of the ancient Via Appia, which is included on the list of tentative World Heritage Sites as Via Appia "Regina Viarum."
2014-12-01 - November 2014 -- I stayed in Teruel at Hotel El Mudayyan (http://www.elmudayyan.com/) and visited the four towers in Teruel that are recognized on the Mudéjar Architecture of Aragon World Heritage Site.
2012-07-25 - June 2010 -- I visited Monument Valley, located in the northeastern corner of Arizona.
October 2008 -- I visited Tucson, including the western Tucson Mountain and eastern Rincon Mountain districts of Saguaro National Park (http://www.nps.gov/sagu/index.htm), the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, a zoo that specializes in wildlife of the Sonoran desert (http://www.desertmuseum.org/), had breakfast at the Hotel Congress, where John Dillinger was captured in 1934 (http://www.hotelcongress.com/), and lunch at El Charro Cafe, the nation's oldest Mexican restaurant in continuous operation by the same family (I ate at the original downtown location) (http://www.elcharrocafe.com/).
July 2005 -- I visited Grand Canyon National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site (http://www.nps.gov/grca/index.htm), with visits to Sedona and Flagstaff while driving from Phoenix to the Grand Canyon. I stayed in the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix at the end of my trip (http://www.arizonabiltmore.com/).
December 1987 -- I visited Phoenix and Scottsdale, and had dinner at Pinnacle Peak Patio (http://www.pppatio.com/).
2011-01-28 - November 2009 -- I visited Texarkana, including its Federal building/courthouse/post office, supposedly the only federal building in the United States that straddles a state borderline (http://www.roadsideamerica.com/story/14354); Bill Clinton's boyhood home in Hope (http://www.clintonbirthplace.org/hometour.htm); Hot Springs National Park (http://www.nps.gov/hosp/index.htm); and the William J. Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock (http://www.clintonlibrary.gov/). I had dinner at Does Eat Place, one of Bill Clinton's favorite restaurants in Little Rock (http://doeseatplace.net/). I also visited Cache River National Wildlife Refuge (http://www.fws.gov/cacheriver/ivory_info.htm), where birdwatchers claim to have seen and heard an ivory-billed woodpecker in 2004/5 (http://www.birds.cornell.edu/ivory/evidence/sevenSightings); in fact, the ivory-billed woodpecker is listed on the refuge's bird list furnished by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. Many experts doubt the claims, and all subsequent searches (including mine) have been futile.
2012-06-13 - August 2008 -- I started my trip in Yerevan, where I visited the Matenadaran, an ancient manuscript repository that holds one of the world's richest depositories of medieval manuscripts, the pag shuka (covered market) and the Armenian Genocide Museum (http://www.genocide-museum.am/eng/index.php). I made two day trips from Yerevan, to the Etchmiadzin Cathedral and Geghard Monastery, both of which are recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. I also visited Khor Virap Monastery and the Noravank Monastery complex while driving to Nagorno-Karabakh. I made my arrangements with Levon Travel (http://www.levontravel.am/).
2011-01-28 - April 2007 -- I spent one day in Aruba, where I had lunch at Charlie's Bar (http://www.charliesbararuba.com/) in San Nicolas, Aruba's second largest city, and dinner at La Trattoria el Faro Blanco restaurant located at the foot of the landmark California lighthouse (http://www.aruba-latrattoria.com/). I rented a car to travel around the island.
2011-01-28 - December 2010 -- I stayed in Oviedo, the capital city of the Principality of Asturias, where I visited three of the Monuments of Oviedo and the Kingdom of the Asturias, a UNESCO World Heritage Site (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/312/). In Oviedo, I visited the Iglesia de San Julian de los Prados, the largest remaining pre-Romanesque church. On the slopes of Monte Naranco, just northwest of central Oviedo, I visited the Palacio de Santa Maria del Naranco and the Iglesia de San Miguel de Lillo. I had dinner in Sidrería El Pigueña, one of Oviedo's most popular sidrerias (http://www.sidreria.com/elpiguena/detalle.asp).
2011-01-28 - January 2010 -- I flew for the day from Sydney to Canberra, Australia's largest inland city, and explored the Parliamentary Triangle and the National Portrait Gallery to see the portrait of Nick Cave by Howard Arkley (http://www.portrait.gov.au/).
2011-01-28 - October 2015 -- I made a business trip to Vienna, during which I made a day trip by train to Neusiedl am See. Neusiedl am See is located on the northern shore of the Neusiedler See, the largest endorheic lake (a closed drainage basin that retains water and allows no outflow to other external bodies of water) in Central Europe. I had lunch at Mole West (http://www.mole-west.at), which sits on platforms over Neusiedler See, part of the Fertő/Neusiedlersee Cultural Landscape UNESCO World Heritage Site (and one of the least interesting World Heritage Sites that I have visited). I visited Zentralfriedhof, the largest cemetary in Vienna, to see the gravesites of some of the world's greatest composers, including Ludwig van Beethoven, Johannes Brahms, Franz Schubert and Johann Strauss II, who are buried within a few feet of each other in the Ehrengräber. I also visited Sankt Marxer Friedhof, a cemetery that contains the unmarked burial of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. In Vienna I ate at Ilona Stüberl, a Hungarian restaurant established in 1957 (http://www.ilonastueberl.at), Figlmüller, a very touristy restaurant opened in 1905 and known for its Wiener Schnitzel (http://www.figlmueller.at/en/), and Zum Schwarzen Kameel, which was established in 1618 and newly built between 1901 and 1902 and is my favorite restaurant in Vienna (http://www.kameel.at). I had coffee at Café Diglas, opened in 1875 and another of the city's historic coffee houses (http://www.diglas.at).
May 2015 -- I spent several days in and around Vienna, where I visited the Kunsthistorisches Museum, one of the world's best art museums, and the Naturhistorisches Museum, likewise with respect to natural history, that face each other across Maria-Theresien-Platz. But, I was most surprised by the Collection of Historic Musical Instruments, which exhibits numerous instruments that were played by famous musicians and composers, including Beethoven and Mozart. I drank in several historic Viennese coffee houses, including Café Landtmann (founded in 1873), Café Central (1876), Demel (1786), Café Sperl (1880) and Café Hawelka (1939). I visited three nearby World Heritage Sites, starting with a visit to Melk Abbey and a cruise from Melk to Krems (http://www.ddsg-blue-danube.at/eng/cruises_wachau_sightseeing_cruises_wachau) through the Wachau Cultural Landscape. I made a day trip to Graz, where I visited its historic centre and Schloss Eggenberg. The train from Vienna to Graz travels along the Semmering railway, which is commonly referred to as the world's first true mountain railway.
December 1997 -- I started my trip in Vienna, where I stayed at the Hotel Kaiserin Elisabeth, which has been updated since Mozart stayed there (http://kaiserinelisabeth.at/). I visited the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Hofburg Palace, and the Palace and Gardens of Schönbrunn (including Tiergarten Schönbrunn, the oldest zoo in the world) (http://www.zoovienna.at/). I ate at Figlmüller and Griechenbeisl, established in 1447 (http://www.griechenbeisl.at/), and attended an opera at the Vienna State Opera. From Vienna I took a train to Salzburg, where I stayed at Hotel Goldener Hirsch (http://www.goldenerhirschsalzburg.com/) and visited Mozarts Geburtshaus and Hohensalzburg Castle (http://www.hohensalzburgcastle.com/).
2011-03-06 - August 2008 -- I based myself at the Old City Inn (http://www.oldcityinn.com/), in the heart of Baku's walled city, a UNESCO World Heritage Site (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/958), near the Maiden Tower (worth more than one visit) and Shirvanshah's Palace (worth less than one visit).
2011-01-28 - May 2010 -- I stayed at the Hotel Talisman in Ponta Delgada, the administrative capital of the Azores located on the island of São Miguel (http://www.hoteltalisman.com/), where my favorite restaurant was Restaurante Nacional, established in 1947. I went whale watching with Picos de Aventura, but only saw common dolphin and Portuguese Man o' War (http://www.picosdeaventura.com/en/).
I also made a day trip to the island of Terceira, where I visited Angra do Heroismo, the historical capital of the Azores and now one of the two UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the Azores (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/206).
2011-01-28 - September 2009 -- I stopped in Baarle-Hertog (and Baarle-Nassau) while driving a rental car from southern Netherlands to Brussels. There is some information (in Dutch) on the tourism website (http://www.vvvbaarle.nl/). You can also take bus 132 that travels between Breda and Tilburg, stopping in Baarle (http://www.desteppe.com/en/bereikbaarheid.htm).
2011-01-29 - Maulbronn -- In October 2014 I visited Maulbronn Monastery, the best-preserved medieval Cistercian monastery complex in Europe (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/546).
Heidelberg -- In February 2005, September 2008 and September 2009 I visited Heidlberg, where the castle and old town are included on the tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites (http://whc.unesco.org/en/tentativelists/1359/).
I had dinner on each trip at Zum Roten Ochsen (http://www.roterochsen.de/), and have also eaten at Zum Seppl (http://www.zum-seppl.de/), which are Heidelberg's oldest and most traditional student pubs.
2011-01-29 - June 1997 -- I visited Nassau, where I stayed at the Graycliff Hotel (http://www.graycliff.com/), with a world-renowned wine cellar of more than 250,000 bottles, which I was able to visit after dinner. I also visited the aquarium at Atlantis on Paradise Island, which at that time was free to visit (I believe they now charge a fee for non-guests).
2013-12-01 - November 2013 -- I stayed at Casa do Amarelindo, located in the Pelourinho, or historic center of Salvador da Bahia (http://www.casadoamarelindo.com/). Salvador, extremely rich in historical buildings dating from the 17th through the 19th centuries, is one of the oldest cities in the New World (founded in 1549 by Portuguese settlers). Moqueca (salt water fish stew in coconut milk, tomatoes, onions, garlic, coriander and palm oil (dendê)) was so good that I ordered it at three meals.
2011-01-28 - November 2006 -- I visited on a day trip from the UAE, flying from Sharjah on Air Arabia (http://www.airarabia.com/), and visited by rental car the island nation's principal sites, including Qal’at al-Bahrain, Bahrain's only UNESCO World Heritage Site (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1192), Manama's fish market, Al Areen Wildlife Sanctuary and the restaurant on the Bahrain-Saudi Arabia causeway.
2011-05-08 - October 2012 -- I have visited Tijuana several times, most recently in October 2012 when I had lunch at Hotel Caesar, where Caesar Cardini invented the Caesar salad in 1924, or so it is claimed (http://www.hotelcaesars.com.mx/). I also visited Tijuana in October 1987, August 1988 and August 1989. When I visited in the late 1980s, the border crossing, to and from Mexico, was quick, but on my most recent trip the pedestrian line to return to the United States was nearly three hours -- I was able to shortcut my return by jumping on a bus to the border, but even then the return crossing took nearly an hour. The increased hassle at the border has had a substantial impact on the number of day visitors and there were very few tourists in Tijuana during my most recent visit, whereas the city was vibrant with day visitors on my first three visits.
2011-02-22 - October 2015 -- I (unfortunately) visited Cabo San Lucas due to its proximity to the Cabo San Lucas Flora and Fauna Protected Area, part of the Islands and Protected Areas of the Gulf of California UNESCO World Heritage Site. I wrote "unfortunately visited" since Cabo San Lucas contains, in a small area, the worst aspects of Mexican tourism; every other store is a pharmacy marketing sexual enhancements to visitors, and all of the pharmacies seem to be next door to a brothel masquerading as a massage parlor (there can't be that many visitors with stiff necks or tired feet!). Much of old Cabo has been erased, but I did find a historic place to stay, the Cabo Inn Hotel, which opened as a brothel (what else) in 1955 (http://www.caboinnhotel.com). The highlight of my visit was a boat ride to visit the arch of Cabo San Lucas, a distinctive rock formation at the southern tip of Baja California, which is part of the World Heritage Site.
February 2011 -- I took the bus from Loreto to San Ignacio, where I spent two nights at Ignacio Springs (http://www.ignaciosprings.com/) and visited the two nearby UNESCO World Heritage Sites. On my first full day, I traveled to San Ignacio Lagoon, the only undeveloped nursery and breeding ground of the Pacific gray whale and part of the Whale Sanctuary of El Vizcaino UNESCO World Heritage Site (http://www.kuyima.com/). We spent nearly two hours on the lagoon, and saw dozens of gray whales, often several at one time, some within a few feet of the panga (boat). On my second day, I visited the El Palmarito Caves, part of the Rock Paintings of Sierra de San Francisco UNESCO World Heritage Site. The trip started with a two-hour drive, mostly through an unimproved wash bed, to Rancho Santa Marta, followed by a one-hour hike and 30-minute climb up a rocky incline to the stunning cave -- due to its remoteness and difficult access the cave is not as frequently visited as some of the more accessible caves in the region, and I was the only visitor at the cave. I ended my trip in Loreto, where I stayed at La Damiana Inn, built in the 1930s (http://www.ladamianainn.com/).
2011-01-29 - November 2008 -- I visited Mallorca and stayed in Palma, the capital of the autonomous community of the Balearic Islands, at the Hotel Born, situated in the Palace of the Marquis of Ferrandell (built in the 16th century) (http://www.hotelborn.com/). In Palma I visited the Catedral, Palau de l'Almudaina and Banys Arabs. My favorite place to eat was Lonja del Pescado (Casa Eduardo), located behind the fish market and operating since the 1930s. I also made a day trip to Soller on the narrow-gauge Ferrocarril de Sóller (operating since 1912).
2012-03-25 - December 2011 -- I stayed at the Pan Pacific Sonargaon Dhaka and visited the Sadarghat boat terminal, Ahsan Manzil (Pink Palace), Shankharia Bazar (Hindu Street), the Armenian Church of the Holy Resurrection (1781), Sitara Mosque (early 18th century), Lalbagh Fort, Dhakeshwari Temple (the city's main Hindu temple), Curzon Hall at Dhaka University and the National Assembly building (designed by Louis Kahn and architecturally grim). My favorite place to eat was the cake shop at Al-Razzaque in the old town. I made sightseeing arrangements with The Guide Tours Ltd. (http://www.guidetours.com/).
2011-11-29 - November 2011 -- I had a one-day layover while returning from Dominica to New York, and I spent a morning visiting Bridgetown's Garrison Historic Area, which was added to the UNESCO World Heritage list in 2011.
August 2007 -- I had a one-day layover while traveling from Trinidad to Guyana, so to see the island during my limited visit I rented an M10 Mini Moke from Stoutes Car Rental (http://www.stoutescar.com/index.php), who delivered the car to the airport. My first stop was the George Washington House, where the future president and his ailing brother stayed for two months in 1751 (http://www.georgewashingtonbarbados.org/), after which I visited the historic sites in Bridgetown. I had lunch at the Lone Star Hotel and Restaurant (http://www.thelonestar.com/) before returning to the airport.
2011-01-28 - April 2010 -- I took a day tour operated by Barbuda Express (http://www.antiguaferries.com/), which operates a high-speed catamaran that crosses between Antigua and Barbuda in 90 minutes. On Barbuda, we visited the caves that had been used by the Arawak Indians and Codrington Lagoon National Park, home to the frigate bird sanctuary (http://nationalparksbarbuda.com/).
2011-01-28 - November 2010 -- I visited Augusta Raurica, Switzerland's largest Roman ruins. The museum displays objects found at the site, including the most important collection of late antique silver in the world.
2011-01-28 - September 2008 -- I took the train from Geneva to Basel Bahnhof SBB, from where it's a short walk to the market square. Basel's 16th-century Rathaus (Town Hall), located on the market square, is one of the most interesting in Europe, with its outer walls and inner court covered with murals.
2015-09-29 - September 2015 -- I made a day trip from Bari to Matera by train (http://ferrovieappulolucane.it) to visit the Sasso Caveoso and the later Sasso Barisano, ancient cave dwellings that are recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. There is evidence that people were living in the Sassi as early as 7000 BCE and they are suspected to be among the first human settlements in Italy.
2011-01-28 - October 2014 -- I spent a few days in Munich, where I visited the Alte Pinakothek, one of the oldest art galleries in the world and which displays one of the most famous collections of Old Master paintings in the world (http://www.pinakothek.de/en/alte-pinakothek); the Staatliches Museum Ägyptischer Kunst, the Bavarian State Collection for Ancient Egypt Art (http://www.smaek.de/); and the Glyptothek, which displays Greek and Roman sculptures (http://www.antike-am-koenigsplatz.mwn.de/en/glyptothek-munich.html). During this trip, I ate at several of the city's oldest restaurants: Zum Augustiner (http://www.augustiner-restaurant.com/), Spatenhaus an der Oper (http://www.kuffler.de/de/spatenhaus.php), Osteria Italiana, founded in 1890 (http://www.osteria.de/), and Zum Dürnbräu (http://www.zumduernbraeu.de/).
October 1995 -- Although I arrived in Munich a few weeks after Oktoberfest, there were still large crowds at Hofbräuhaus München (http://www.hofbraeuhaus.de/). I visited the Munich Residenz, which served as the seat of government and residence of the Bavarian dukes, electors and kings from 1508 to 1918 (http://www.residenz-muenchen.de/), and just outside Munich I visited Dachau concentration camp, the first Nazi concentration camp opened in Germany. I had breakfast at Dallmayr -- scrambled eggs with shaved white truffles, still the best breakfast I have ever had (http://www.dallmayr.de/).
2011-01-28 - August 2014 -- I passed through Beijing a couple of times while traveling to Mongolia and North Korea. During my brief layovers, I had Peking duck for lunch at Li Qun Roast Duck Restaurant, ate some strange creatures at the Donghuamen Night Market and visited the Drum and Bell Towers.
December 2001 -- I spent several days in Beijing, where I stayed at the Beijing Hotel, built in 1915 and located a few minutes from the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square (the hotel has since been rebranded by Raffles, http://www.raffles.com/beijing/). I visited the Summer Palace, the Temple of Heaven, the Forbidden City, the Beijing Museum of Natural History (which has an excellent paleontology collection (http://www.bmnh.org.cn/)), and the Beijing Zoo (which has several giant pandas (http://www.beijingzoo.com/)). I also made day trips from Beijing to visit the Ming Dynasty Tombs and the Great Wall of China, both at the non-restored "wild" wall, where I was the only visitor, and Badaling, the most touristy and least interesting section of the wall. I had dinner twice at Quanjude, established in 1864 and known for its Peking duck.
2011-01-28 - August 2010 -- I based myself in Minsk, where I stayed at Minsk Hotel, built in 1959 (http://www.hotelminsk.by/), and visited the Belarusian State Museum of the Great Patriotic War (which chronicles the events of World War II from the Soviet perspective), Nyezhavizhimosty Avenue (which is on the tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites), and the apartment building where Lee Harvey Oswald resided between 1959 and 1961 (the apartment is not open to the public). My favorite place to drink was Rakovsky Brovar, the city's first microbrewery (http://www.brovar.by/eindex.htm?/emain.htm).
I hired a car (with driver and guide) from Belarus Tour Service (http://www.hotels-belarus.com/) and visited Nesvizh Castle and Mir Castle Complex, both of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
2011-01-28 - July 2002 -- I traveled by bus from Belize City to Belmopan, the capital of Belize, and then took another bus that left me off on the highway near Ian Anderson's Caves Branch (http://www.cavesbranch.com/index.html). I spent a day at Caves Brach, where I went cave tubing (floating on inner tubes on underground rivers, lit by headlamps). From Caves Branch, I took a bus to Belize City, and then visited Caye Caulker and Ambergris Caye, neither very attractive nor interesting, although snorkeling with nurse sharks and rays off Ambergris Caye was worthwhile. I ended my visit in Belize City, where I stayed at the Great House (http://www.greathousebelize.com/).
2011-01-28 - November 2000 -- I spent a few days in Cotonou, the country's commercial capital and largest city. The most interesting site that I visited in Cotonou was Dantokpa Market (which has a large fetish section with an array of animal skulls, bones, quills and feathers). From Cotonou I visited: the Route des Esclaves in Ouidah; Ganvie (probably the largest lake village in Africa and on the tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, http://whc.unesco.org/en/tentativelists/869/); and the Royal Palaces of Abomey (a UNESCO World Heritage Site).
2011-09-09 - August 1994, August 2005, August 2010 and September 2016 -- I have visited most of the major sites in Berlin, including Museumsinsel (Museum Island), a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The most interesting museums on Museumsinsel are Pergamonmuseum (Pergamon Altar, Ishtar Gate and Market Gate of Miletus), Neues Museum (Nefertiti Bust), Alte Nationalgalerie and Altes Museum. I have also visited several of the city's other museums, including the Museum für Naturkunde (which displays the largest mounted dinosaur in the world and the best-preserved specimen of the earliest known bird, Archaeopteryx), Gemäldegalerie (which holds one of the world's leading collections of European paintings from the 13th to 18th centuries), Topographie des Terrors, the Jüdisches Museum and the Ramones Museum. In August 2010, while traveling from New York to Minsk, I had a short stopover in Berlin, during which I visited Großsiedlung Siemensstadt (the Great Settlement of Siemens City), one of the six Modernist Housing Estates in Berlin recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. I have a couple of times visited the Zoologischer Garten Berlin, which presents the most comprehensive collection of species in the world (but that claim is somewhat deceptive since mammals represent only 10% of the collection, while fish and invertebrates represent more than half of the species). My favorite restaurant in Berlin is Lutter & Wegner, which opened in 1811 and is located on the Gendarmenmarkt, Berlin's most beautiful square (http://www.l-w-berlin.de/).
2011-06-05 - December 2004 -- I stayed at the Oxford House (built in 1938) in Hamilton, the capital of Bermuda (http://www.oxfordhouse.bm/). Car rentals are banned on Bermuda, so I rented a moped to travel around the island (roads are excellent and well-signed). I visited the Bermuda Maritime Museum (http://www.bmm.bm/), the Bermuda Aquarium (http://www.bamz.org/), and St. George, the oldest continually inhabited English settlement in the new world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The most interesting restaurant was Dennis' Hideaway, located at the eastern end of the island in St. David's, where I had an excellent seafood lunch prepared by Graham "Sea Egg" Lamb (http://www.bermuda-restaurants.com/dennis_hideaway_restaurant_st_david-s_bermuda.htm).
2011-04-03 - September 2008 and October 2012 -- I visited the Old City of Bern, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, including the Münster (Cathedral), Zytglogge (the landmark medieval clock tower) and 16th-century fountains. My favorite hotel is Bellevue Palace, originally opened in 1865 and which serves as the official guesthouse for visiting heads of state (http://www.bellevue-palace.ch/), and favorite restaurants are Della Casa, which opened in 1892 (http://www.della-casa.ch/), and Entrecôte Café Fédéral, located across from the Federal Palace of Switzerland (http://www.entrecote.ch/).
2012-01-03 - December 2011 -- I organized my trip with Blue Poppy Tours & Treks (http://www.bluepoppybhutan.com/), who I highly recommend (very responsive and extremely well informed), and stayed in Paro at the Gangtey Palace, more than a century old and built by an uncle of the first King of Bhutan (http://www.gangteypalace.net/). I visited Thimpu, including Trashi Chhoe Dzong, the weekend market and the Motithang Takin Preserve, and Paro, where I hiked to Paro Taktsang (also known as The Tiger's Nest).
2011-05-30 - May 2011 -- I had a several hour layover at El Alto International Airport, so I arranged a guide and driver for a visit to Tiwanaku, one of Bolivia's most important pre-Columbian archaeological sites and a UNESCO World Heritage Site (http://www.diana-tours.com/). I also visited Potosi and Sucre, both of which are recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. In Potosi I had grilled llama for lunch at El Fogón and visited the Casa de la Moneda, Bolivia's national mint. In Sucre I stayed at Hostal de su Merced (http://www.desumerced.com/), and also visited Cal Orck'o, the largest collection of dinosaur footprints in the world. I ended my trip in Santa Cruz, where I had dinner at Casa Tipica de Camba (http://www.casadelcamba.com/).
December 2000 -- I spent time in and around La Paz and visited Mercado de Hechiceria (the witches' market), where vendors sell all sorts of ritual items, especially llama fetuses. The oddest place to eat was Confitería Club de La Paz because it disturbingly was one of Klaus Barbie's favorite local restaurants until he was arrested in Bolivia in 1983. The main purpose of my trip was to bicycle down the "world's most dangerous road," a 38-mile road leading from La Paz to Coroico (one estimate is that more than 200 vehicle passengers were killed yearly along the road and at least 18 cyclists have died on the ride since 1998). During the most treacherous part of the two-way road it is narrow, single-lane (in some parts not more than 10 feet in width), without a guard rail and lined with extreme drop-offs of at least 2,000 feet. I went with Gravity Assisted Mountain Biking (http://www.gravitybolivia.com/).
2011-01-28 - April 2007 -- I flew from Aruba on Dutch Antilles Express (http://www.flydae.com/), and spent most of my time snorkeling, including one guided day with Renee Snorkel Trips (http://www.infobonaire.com/reneesnorkeltrips/).
2011-06-18 - August 2001 -- I went on safari in the Okavango Delta (where I stayed at Chitabe Camp), the Savute Channel in northern Botswana (where I stayed at Savuti Camp), and Chobe National Park (where I stayed at Chobe Game Lodge). I have been on safari in most of Africa's principal national parks and I would rank the Okavango/Chobe ecosystem among the top three for wildlife viewing, just behind the Serengeti/Masa Mara (spanning Tanzania and Kenya) and just ahead of Namibia's Etosha National Park.
2016-10-01 - September 2016 -- I visited the Neues Palais (a unique room is the Grotto Hall, where the walls are encrusted with shells, marble, quartz and semi-precious stones) and Sanssouci, the former summer palace of Frederick the Great, both of which are part of the Palaces and Parks of Potsdam and Berlin UNESCO World Heritage Site.
2012-07-05 - July 2012 -- I drove from Haines, Alaska and visited Tatshenshini-Alsek Provincial Park, part of a binational UNESCO World Heritage Site. Just after leaving the park and crossing into Yukon Territory, I saw a grizzly bear along the road.
March 2006 -- I visited Vancouver (the Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia) and had dinner at Tojo's, one of the best sushi restaurants in North America (http://www.tojos.com/Home.html).
2011-01-28 - October 2007 -- I took the ferry from Tortola to Jost Van Dyke (http://www.jostvandykeferry.com/), where I visited the very well-known, but touristy, Foxy's bar (www.foxysbar.com/home.html).
2011-01-28 - January 2009 -- I spent time in Bandar Seri Begawan, visiting the Royal Regalia Museum, which contains gifts to the Sultan from world leaders, the Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque, with its ceremonial boat (reminiscent of the marble boat at Beijing's Summer Palace), and Kampung Ayer, the over-water stilt village.
2011-01-30 - August 1994, August 1999 and September 2009 -- I visited Stoclet Palace, the city's newest addition to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1298), and the Royal Museum for Central Africa, which focuses on Congo, a former Belgian colony (http://www.africamuseum.be/). My favorite bars in Brussels (which were also favorites of René Magritte) are La Fleur en Papier Dore and Le Greenwich, which has been visited by many chess grandmasters, including Bobby Fischer.
2011-05-31 - May 2011 -- I spent three nights at Moreno Hotel, located in a restored, historic art deco building on the edge of San Telmo, a few minutes from Plaza de Mayo (http://www.morenobuenosaires.com/). I ate at three parillas -- El Obrero, established in 1910 and my favorite restaurant in Buenos Aires, Desnivel and La Brigada. I also visited Cafe Tortoni, the city's most famous coffeehouse (http://www.cafetortoni.com.ar/).
November 1998 -- I attended the Argentine Polo Open Championship, the most important polo event in the world, which has taken place every year since 1893 at Campo Argentino del Polo. I had dinner at two parrillas, La Raya (founded in 1942) and Cabaña las Lilas, and stayed at Hotel Castelar, founded in 1929 and Federico García Lorca's favorite hotel in the city (http://www.castelarhotel.com.ar/).
2011-05-31 - May 2011 -- I traveled by bus from Buenos Aires to La Plata, the capital of Buenos Aires Province, where I visited Museo de la Plata, a natural history museum that has a large collection of South American dinosaurs, and Curutchet House, the only building designed by Le Corbusier in South America.
2011-01-29 - July 2004 -- I visited Sofia, where I stayed at the Sheraton Sofia Hotel Balkan, the city's most historic and architecturally distinct hotel (http://www.starwoodhotels.com/luxury/property/overview/index.html?propertyID=186). I also made a day trip to Rila Monastery, the largest and most famous Eastern Orthodox monastery in Bulgaria and a UNESCO World Heritage Site (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/216).
2011-01-30 - September 2008 -- Hourly public buses run to Busingen (http://www.buesingen.de/englisch/index.html) from the train station in Schaffhausen, Switzerland, which is around 45 minutes from Zurich.
2013-09-02 - August 2013 -- I made a day trip from Luanda to Cabinda on TAAG Angola Airlines (http://www.taag.com/), where I was met by a representative from Tina Turs, and visited the highlights (relative term) of Cabinda, including Igreja da Imaculada Conceição (and its nearby statue of Pope John Paul II), the central market (fruits and vegetables) and the fish market along the Atlantic coast. I made my arrangements with Paul from Eco Tur Angola (http://www.eco-tur.com/home.html).
2011-04-03 - July 2009 -- The Caicos Islands are primarily a beach/diving destination, but I also visited a few sites such as the Caicos Conch Farm, where the Caribbean's tastiest gastropods are raised, and I ate the same at Da Conch Shack (http://www.conchshack.tc/).
2012-07-25 - San Francisco -- I have visited the city many times, most recently in April 2012, and lived there during June/July 1988 and from October 1989 to April 1990. I have visited most of the city's major sites, including Alcatraz Island (http://www.alcatrazcruises.com/), as well as nearby Point Reyes National Seashore (to see California gray whales). My favorite restaurants in San Francisco are Tadich Grill (established in 1849), Sam's Grill & Seafood Restaurant (1867), John's Grill (1908), Swan Oyster Depot (1912), Balboa Cafe (1913), Sears Fine Food (1938), Vesuvio Cafe (1948) and the original Caffe Trieste in North Beach, where Francis Ford Coppola wrote much of the screenplay for The Godfather (1956), and my favorite hotel is the Clift (opened in 1915).
Los Angeles -- I have visited Los Angeles many times, most recently in October 2013, and lived there during July/August 1988 and June to September 1989. I have visited most of the city's major sites, including La Brea Tar Pits & Page Museum (http://www.tarpits.org/), the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, the Getty Villa Malibu, Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) and Watts Towers (http://www.trywatts.com/). My favorite area restaurants are Philippe (established in 1908), Musso & Frank Grill (established in 1919 and the oldest restaurant in Hollywood), the city's three classic delicatessens (Langer's, Canter's and Nate 'n Al), the Apple Pan (established in 1947), Neptune's Net in Malibu (http://www.neptunesnet.com/) and La Super-Rica Taqueria in Santa Barbara. My favorite place to stay when visiting Los Angeles is the Sunset Marquis in West Hollywood, which is popular with the music industry (and where I saw Roger Daltrey (The Who) in November 2011 and Bono (U2) and Steven Tyler (Aerosmith) in March 2012).
San Diego -- I have visited San Diego several times, most recently in October 2012, where my favorite places to visit are the San Diego Zoo, the world's best (http://www.sandiegozoo.org/), and its satellite, the San Diego Wild Animal Park. My favorite place to stay in the San Diego area is La Valencia, established in 1926 and overlooking the La Jolla cove (http://www.lavalencia.com/).
Napa Valley -- I have visited several of the area's best vineyards, including Cakebread Cellars, Stag's Leap Wine Cellars and Rubicon Estate (Francis Ford Coppola's historic winery).
Redwood National and State Parks -- In March 2011, I flew to Arcata/Eureka Airport and rented a car to visit the four parks that make up the Redwood National Park UNESCO World Heritage Site: Redwood National Park (including Lady Bird Johnson Grove), Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park, Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park (including Stout Grove) and Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park (where I drove the length of the Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway). I stayed at the Requa Inn, in Klamath, which was built in 1914 and attended a winemaker's dinner (http://www.requainn.com/).
Yosemite National Park -- In September 2011, I flew to Fresno and rented a car to visit Yosemite National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where I watched rock climbers climb El Capitan, which may be the world's most famous rock climbing destination, and had lunch at Ahwahnee Dining Room.
Death Valley National Park -- In November 2011 I visited Death Valley National Park, including Badwater Basin, the lowest point in North America (with an elevation of 282 feet below sea level), and the more geologically interesting large salt pan known as the Devil's Golf Course. While driving to the park I stopped for lunch at the Amargosa Opera House and Hotel (http://amargosa-opera-house.com/), and after leaving the park stopped to eat at the Crowbar Café in Shoshone, established in 1930.
Joshua Tree National Park -- In March 2012 I visited Joshua Tree National Park and its surrounding area, including the Salton Sea (attractive from a distance, but where the shore is lined with dead tilapia), Palm Springs (where I went on a driving tour of its mid-century modern architecture, including the Kaufmann Desert House, which was designed by Richard Neutra in 1946), and Indio (where I ate at Shields Date Garden, opened in 1924 (http://www.shieldsdategarden.com/)). I stayed at the Joshua Tree Inn, built in 1950, but not in the room in which Gram Parsons died in 1973 (http://www.joshuatreeinn.com/).
Channel Islands National Park -- In February 2013 I visited Santa Cruz Island, the largest island in Channel Islands National Park. On the way over, it was easy to spot common dolphin; on the island, it was more difficult to spot island fox, which are critically endangered and I only saw one fox. I made a day trip with Island Packers (http://www.islandpackers.com/).
2011-03-31 - December 1998 -- I flew on Bangkok Airways (http://www.bangkokair.com/) from Bangkok, Thailand to Siem Reap, the gateway city for nearby Angkor Wat. In Siem Reap I hired a motorbike with driver to visit Angkor Wat, Ta Prohm and Bayon temple, Angkor Thom.
From Siem Reap I flew to Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia, where I visited the Royal Palace (and its Silver Pagoda), the National Museum of Cambodia, the art deco Central Market and the Russian Market. I also hired a motorbike taxi to visit the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, which during my visit exhibited the disturbing and infamous "skull map" that has since been dismantled (http://www.tuolsleng.com/), and the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek. The motorbike driver also took me to a shooting range where I was able to shoot an AK-47. The best places for dinner were FCC Cambodia (http://www.fcccambodia.com/) and Happy Herb Pizza, where the pizza at one time was topped with marijuana (I ordered without, or "unhappy").
2012-09-04 - August 2012 -- I began my trip in Douala, where I stayed at the Hotel Akwa Palace,
the city's most historic hotel (http://www.hotel-akwa-palace.com/). I spent most of my time in Douala in the Joss district, visiting the German-era colonial buildings (and was stopped several times by security who wanted to make sure that I had not taken photographs of any of those buildings). From Douala I drove to Yaoundé, the capital of Cameroon, which is not a particularly interesting city. The road between Douala and Yaoundé has a few vendors selling live bush meat, mostly cane rats. I made my arrangements with Global Bush Travel and Tourism Agency (http://www.globalbushtratour.com/).
2011-01-29 - December 1999 and December 2005 -- I have visited Campania twice, visiting two UNESCO World Heritage Sites: (1) Archaeological Areas of Pompeii and Herculaneum and (2) the historic city center of Naples. In Naples, among other places, I visited the Cappella Sansevero (http://www.museosansevero.it/), which contains several idiosyncratic sculptures, including the Veiled Christ, Veiled Truth (Pudicizia) and Release from Deception (Il Disinganno). I also tried Naples two most well-known pizzerias, Brandi, which was excellent (http://www.brandi.it/), and Antica Pizzeria "Da Michele", which was not (http://www.damichele.net/).
2011-10-11 - October 2011 -- I stayed at Castelmar Hotel, which is housed in a building built in 1800 and located in the Historic Fortified Town of Campeche, a UNESCO World Heritage Site (http://www.castelmarhotel.com/). I made two day trips from Campeche, first to the Pre-Hispanic Town of Uxmal in Yucatan state. I also arranged a very long day trip (five hours in each direction) with Kankabi'Ok Tours (http://www.kankabiok.com/), a local tour operator, to the Ancient Maya City of Calakmul, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and Balamku, a small Maya site that has one of the largest surviving stucco friezes in the Maya world (with stops to eat in both directions in Escárcega, one of the state's major road hubs).
2011-01-29 - January 2011 -- I visited San Cristóbal de La Laguna and Teide National Park, the two UNESCO World Heritage Sites on Tenerife, the largest and most populous of the seven Canary Islands. Teide NP offers one of the starkest, but most striking, landscapes I have visited, especially when I hiked into the park and away from the road and parking lots where most visitors congregate. I based myself in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, where I visited the Auditorio de Tenerife, designed by Santiago Calatrava (http://www.auditoriodetenerife.com/inicio.php).
2011-01-29 - December 2010 -- I visited the Cave of El Castillo, a prehistoric cave painting site within the complex of the Caves of Monte Castillo in Puente Viesgo. The Caves of Monte Castillo are part of the Cave of Altamira and Paleolithic Cave Art of Northern Spain UNESCO World Heritage Site (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/310). Unlike the better known Cave of Altamira, which is closed to public visitors, the Cave of El Castillo permits visitors and generally requires advance booking. However, I visited in late December and was able to visit by myself (in addition to the mandatory guide) within minutes of arrival.
2011-01-28 - May 2010 -- Cape Verde consists of two island groups, the Sotavento (Leeward) islands and Barlavento (Windward) islands, which can further be divided into western and eastern groups.
Sotavento islands: I visited Santiago, the largest of the Cape Verde islands, where I stayed on the plateau (or city center) in Praia, the capital and largest city in Cape Verde. I also took an aluguer (minibus) from Sucupira Market in Praia to Ciudad Velha, Cape Verde's only UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Barlavento islands (western group): I visited Mindelo, the largest city in São Vicente and considered the cultural capital of Cape Verde. I stayed at Casa Cafe Mindelo, a restored 1837 colonial house (http://www.casacafemindelo.com/english/index.htm). The best place to eat was Pica Pau, which served excellent seafood, especially lobster.
Barlavento islands (eastern group): I flew through Sal on each end of my trip, overnighting in Espargos after my inbound flight and having dinner in Santa Maria before my outbound flight. Sal is not only the least appealing island in Cape Verde, but may be one of the world's least interesting islands (it's denuded, overtouristed and inhospitable, lacking culture, history and any sense of place).
2011-01-28 - February 2010 -- Osprey Lines (http://www.ospreylines.com/) operates ferries between St. George's, Grenada, and both Carriacou and Petite Martinique, with an early morning departure and late afternoon return. The ferries arrive first in Hillsborough, the capital of Carriacou, which, if you walk slowly, can be seen in less than five minutes -- better, in my opinion, is to take one of the frequent buses that run between Hillsborough and Paradise Beach (EC$3.50).
2011-01-04 - December 2010 -- I visited four UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the autonomous community of Castile and León. I started at the Archaeological Site of Atapuerca, which contains several caves where fossils and stone tools of the earliest known Hominians in West Europe have been found. From Atapuerca I drove to Burgos, where I visited Burgos Cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the Museo de la Evolución Humana, which exhibits many of the objects found at Atapuerca (http://www.museoevolucionhumana.com/). I then visited the old city of Salamanca (and spotted the frog on the Plateresque facade of the University of Salamanca) and the old town of Avila, which is completely surrounded by medieval city walls.
April 2000 -- I made a day trip by train from Madrid to Segovia (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), and visited the Alcázar and the aqueduct bridge, one of the most significant and best-preserved Roman monuments in Spain. I had cochinillo asado (roast suckling pig) for lunch at Mesón de Cándido (operated by the Cándido family since 1905) (http://www.mesondecandido.es/).
2011-01-29 - Cuenca -- In November 2014 I visited the Casas Colgadas (Hanging Houses of Cuenca), built along the eastern border of the ancient city, located near the ravine of the river Huécar. The Historic Walled Town of Cuenca is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Toledo -- In August 1994 and April 2000 I visited Toledo, both times by bus from Madrid (http://www.go-toledo.com/transport/). Toledo was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites for its extensive cultural and monumental heritage and historical co-existence of Christian, Muslim and Jewish cultures.
2011-01-30 - November 2014 -- I spent a couple of days in Barcelona, where I visited the Palau de la Música Catalana and Hospital de Sant Pau, both constructed in the early 20th century and designed by Lluís Domènech i Montaner in the modernist Art Nouveau style and jointly recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. My favorite places to eat during this trip were Can Culleretes, opened in 1786 and the oldest restaurant in Barcelona (http://www.culleretes.com/); Quimet i Quimet, opened in 1914 and known for its conservas (foods that are preserved through canning, jarring or other methods); and Cerveceria Catalana, opened in 1921. I also saw Lionel Messi score three times to become the all-time leader in goals scored in La Liga history in FC Barcelona's victory over Sevilla FC. I rented a car in Barcelona for my 1,500 mile driving tour of Spain, which began with visits to Tarragona, to see the Tarragona Amphitheatre and other sites from the ancient Roman city, and Poblet Monastery, both of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
November 2008 -- During this trip I concentrated on the buildings designed by Antoni Gaudi, including Casa Batllo, Casa Mila (La Pedrera) and Sagrada Familia, all of which, with some other properties, form a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and ate at the foodstands in the back of La Boqueria market.
August 1994 -- During my first trip, among other places, I visited two excellent single-artist museums, the Picasso Museum and Fondacio Joan Miró, and ate at several of the city's historic restaurants, including 7 Portes, established in 1836 (http://www.7portes.com/), Els Quatre Gats, established in 1897 (http://www.4gats.com/), and Los Caracoles, established in 1835 (http://www.loscaracoles.es/index1.htm).
2011-01-28 - July 2008 -- I stayed at Sunset House (http://www.sunsethouse.com/), which has excellent facilities for divers and snorkelers, and visited the island by car -- highlights included Boatswain's Beach, which has public exhibits, but you can sneak behind the scenes to see the pens where they farm turtles for consumption (http://www.boatswainsbeach.ky/), and Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park (http://www.botanic-park.ky/index.html), which is the center for the blue iguana recovery program (http://www.blueiguana.ky/).
2012-06-04 - May 2012 -- I visited Chartres Cathedral, the high point of French Gothic art, which was mostly constructed between 1193 and 1250 and where the majority of the original stained glass windows survive intact. I had lunch at Le Serpente, one of the oldest restaurants in Chârtres (http://www.leserpente.com/en).
2011-05-30 - May 2011 -- I took a bus from Formosa to Resistencia, the capital of Chaco Province, where I stayed one night at a hotel near Plaza 25 de Mayo and spent time wandering around Resistencia admiring its many sculptures (Resistencia is the artistic capital of northern Argentina).
2012-05-28 - May 2012 -- I took the train from Paris Gare de l'Est to Reims, where I visited the Cathedral of Notre-Dame and Palace of Tau, which are on the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites, and ate at the Café du Palais, established in 1930 (http://www.cafedupalais.fr/). I traveled by train from Reims to Épernay, where I visited the cellars of Moët & Chandon, the world's largest champagne house.
2011-10-13 - October 2008 -- In Los Mochis, I boarded the Ferrocarril Chihuahua al Pacífico (Chihuahua-Pacific Railway) (http://www.chepe.com.mx/) and rode through Mexico's Copper Canyon, overnighting in Creel, where I stayed at the Lodge at Creel (http://www.thelodgeatcreel.com/). From Creel, I continued to Chihuahua, a very interesting city, with great food, colonial architecture and museums (including Pancho Villa's former estate, now the Historical Museum of the Mexican Revolution).
2011-04-03 - November 1995 -- I started my trip in Santiago, where I stayed at the Hotel Carrera, at the time the capital's most historic hotel (constructed in 1934), but which now houses the offices for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The most interesting site is the Mercado Central, an imposing wrought iron building constructed in England and brought to Chile in 1872 for the National Exposition, and later converted to a seafood market (http://www.mercadocentral.cl/). I also rented a car in Santiago and drove into the Andes mountains, almost to the border with Argentina, where there were many small restaurants specializing in trout.
From Santiago I flew to Puerto Montt and stayed in Frutillar, situated on the banks of Lake Llanquihue, Chile's second largest lake. Frutillar Bajo (lower Frutillar), located on the lakeshore, preserves traditional German-style architecture. I also did a partial crossing of Lake Llanquihue.
From Puerto Montt, I flew to Punta Arenas, the most prominent settlement on the Strait of Magellan (due to its location and size it is sometimes considered the southernmost city in the world), and visited the nearby penguin colony at Seno Otway. From Punta Arenas, I visited Torres del Paine National Park (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) and stayed at Hostería Pehoé, spectacularly located on a small island in a lake with views of the Cordillera del Paine, the park's most recognizable natural feature (http://www.pehoe.com/).
2017-08-28 - August 2017 -- I made a day trip from Chongqing to Dazu to visit the Baodingshan section of the Dazu Rock Carvings, a mile-long, open limestone outcropping following an oxbow that during the 12th and 13th centuries was carved into 6,000 rock reliefs and sculptures depicting Buddhist and Taoist themes. The well-preserved carvings, reachable by a two-hour public bus ride from Chongqing, were only opened to foreign visitors in 1980 and added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1999. My favorite meal in Chongqing was hot pot at Mang Hot Pot, a basement hole-in-the-wall known for some of Chongqing's spiciest hotpot.
2016-01-18 - Aichi Prefecture -- In December 2015 I spent just enough time in Nagoya, one of Japan's least interesting large cities, to visit the Port of Nagoya Public Aquarium (http://www.nagoyaaqua.jp/index.html), which has an interesting exhibit on deep-sea creatures.
Ishikawa Prefecture -- In December 2015 I took the limited express Shirasagi train from Nagoya to Kanazawa, one of the best-preserved major Edo-period cities in Japan, where I visited the Nagamachi Samurai District, the Higashi Geisha District and Kanazawa Castle.
Yamanashi Prefecture -- In July 2017 I traveled by bus from Tokyo to Mount Fuji's Fifth Station, the highest point on the mountain reachable by road. Since Mount Fuji's climbing season had just started in early July, the Fifth Station was very crowded so I headed down to Lake Kawaguchi. The lake is one of five that form an arc around the northernmost half of Mount Fuji and offer the iconic views of Japan's most well-known natural landmark. I was able to rent a bicycle near Kawaguchi's train station to get to the far side of the lake to see the views of Mount Fuji.
2016-01-18 - Hiroshima Prefecture -- In December 2015I I visited the Hiroshima Peace Memorial (commonly called the Atomic Bomb Dome), which was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1996. The Atomic Bomb Dome serves as a memorial to those who were killed in the atomic bombing of Hiroshima in August 1945. For dinner, I had Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki at Okonomimura, a three-floor food theme park where each of the 25 restaurants serves a slightly different style of okonomiyaki (http://www.okonomimura.jp). Since I had a Japan Rail Pass, I took the JR Sanyo Line from Hiroshima Station to Miyajimaguchi Station, a short walk to the pier where ferries depart frequently for Miyajima and the Itsukushima Shinto Shrine, which has been inscribed on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The famous torii (or Japanese gate) at Itsukushima Shrine is one of the three most celebrated scenic sights in Japan.
2016-01-15 - December 2015 -- I spent a couple of days in Chuuk, where I stayed at the Truk Stop Hotel (http://thetrukstophotel.com). During World War II, Japan maintained a substantial part of its naval fleet within the Truk (now Chuuk) Lagoon. In mid-February 1944, the United States Navy conducted a massive attack against the Japanese navy, sinking 12 warships, 32 merchant ships and 249 aircraft, many of which can now be visited by diving or snorkeling inside the lagoon. I joined a dive boat organized by the Truk Lagoon Dive Center, located at the Truk Stop Hotel (http://trukwreckdiving.com/index.php), and snorkeled at the Sankisan Maru, a 370 foot cargo ship, where the coral encrusted mast rises to within a few feet of the surface, and a Mitsubishi A6M Zero that rests in shallow water. Chuuk is not an island to be visited for its terrestrial sites.
2011-01-29 - October 2010 -- I visited the border cities of Ciudad Acuña and Piedras Negras, where I had nachos (which were supposedly created in Piedras Negras in 1943) and spent time in Ciro's bar (established in 1947).
2011-01-28 - November 2009 -- I traveled by bus to Colima, the capital city of the same state, from Guadalajara. Colima is a pleasant city, with a lush Plaza Principal that is surrounded by Portals (streets covered in arches) lined with outdoor cafes.
2011-01-29 - February 2005 -- I started my visit in Bogota, where I stayed at Hotel de la Opera (www.hotelopera.com.co/). I visited several of Bogota's excellent museums, including Donación Botero and El Museo del Oro. My most memorable dinner was at Andres Carne de Res, just outside the city in Chia (http://www.andrescarnederes.com/). From Bogota, I also visited the Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirá, an underground church built within the tunnels of a salt mine (http://www.catedraldesal.gov.co/), which is similar to Wieliczka Salt Mine outside Krakow, Poland. After Bogota, I visited the colonial-walled city of Cartagena, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
2011-01-30 - August 1988, March 1999 and June 2010 -- In June 2010 I visited Mesa Verde National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site that is known for its cliff dwellings (http://www.nps.gov/meve/index.htm). I made several business trips to Denver in March 1999, when I stayed at the Brown Palace Hotel, the capital's most historic hotel (http://www.brownpalace.com/), and had dinner at the Buckhorn Exchange, the oldest restaurant in Denver (http://www.buckhorn.com/). I also visited Denver and the Buckhorn Exchange in August 1988 while driving from Los Angeles to Chicago.
2011-07-26 - July 2011 -- I visited New Haven, in my opinion the most interesting city in Connecticut, including the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History (http://peabody.yale.edu/). I had lunch at Louis' Lunch, established in 1895 and which claims to be the "birthplace of the hamburger" (http://www.louislunch.com/), and white clam pizza for dinner at Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana, which opened in 1925 (http://www.pepespizzeria.com/).
2011-03-08 - January 2008 -- I spent several days around New Year's Eve in Muri Beach, where we rented The Navigator villa, right on the lagoon, which is excellent for kayaking and snorkelling (http://www.navigator.co.ck/), and rented a car to drive around Rarotonga, visiting all of the Cook Island Christian Churches.
2011-04-25 - April 2011 -- I flew on La Costeña airlines (https://www.lacostena.com.ni/) from Managua to Big Corn Island, where I stayed at Casa Canada near Long Bay (http://www.casa-canada.com/). The most interesting place to eat was Fisher's Cave in Brig Bay, located on the pier and overlooking pens containing plenty of fish and a solitary nurse shark.
2011-05-30 - May 2011 -- I took a taxi from Resistencia to Corrientes, the capital city of Corrientes Province, across the Paraná River, the second longest in South America, and visited the area around Plaza JB Cabral. From Resistencia, I then traveled by bus across the top of Corrientes Province to Posadas, the capital of Misiones Province, and from there by taxi to San Ignacio Mini.
2011-04-17 - August 2000 -- I began my trip in San Jose, where I stayed at Britannia Hotel, constructed as a private home in 1910 (http://www.hbritannia.com//), and had dinner at Balcón de Europa, established in 1909 and the oldest in the city. In San Jose, I visited the Museo de Jade Marco Fidel Tristán. From San Jose, I took a bus to Monteverde, where I stayed at the Monteverde Lodge & Gardens (http://www.costaricaexpeditions.com/Lodging/monteverde/), visited the Monteverde Biological Cloud Forest Reserve (where I saw a quetzal) and went on a zipline through the rainforest canopy.
2011-01-28 - December 2006 -- I based myself in Heraklion, the capital of Crete, where I stayed at the Kastro Heraklion Hotel, well located in the city center (http://www.kastro-hotel.gr/). I traveled by public bus to Knossos, also known as Labyrinth, the largest Bronze Age archaeological site on Crete and probably the ceremonial and political center of the Minoan civilization and culture. I also made a day trip by public bus to Chania, whose old town is the most attractive urban district in Crete, especially around the Venetian harbor.
2011-01-30 - February 2001, August 2006 and September 2009 -- I have made three visits to Croatia: (1) Zagreb (February 2001); (2) Dubrovnik (August 2006) and (3) Istria (September 2009). In Dubrovnik, I stayed at Hotel Stari Grad (http://www.hotelstarigrad.com/intro-en.htm), in the heart of the old town (service and accommodation were excellent). During the time of my visit to Dubrovnik several large cruise ships docked during the day and enormous herds descended on the small old town, so during the day I spent time at Cafe Buza, a bar just outside the city's walls overlooking the Adriatic (http://www.cafebuza.com/).
2011-01-28 - April 2007 -- I flew from Aruba on Dutch Antilles Express (www.flydae.com) and stayed at Hotel Kura Hulanda (http://www.kurahulanda.com/) in Willemstad, a UNESCO World Heritage Site (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/819).
2011-01-29 - April 1998 -- I visited Mykonos out-of-season, when the island was tranquil and easily explored by motorbike. I spent time in Mykonos town, where I visited its famous windmills and had lunch with Petros the Pelican (a successor to the original who died in 1985).
2011-01-30 - August 1994, August 2006 and January 2010 -- I have visited Prague on each trip, and on my most recent trip I also visited nine other Czech UNESCO World Heritage Sites, in the following order: (1) Holašovice, (2) Ceský Krumlov, (3) Telc, (4) Jewish Quarter and St. Procopius' Basilica in Trebíc, (5) Villa Tugendhat in Brno, (6) Gardens and Castle at Kromeriž, (7) Holy Trinity Column in Olomouc, (8) Litomyšl Castle, and (9) Kutná Hora. I rented a car and drove nearly 500 miles -- a GPS navigation system is indispensable.
2011-01-30 - May 2016 -- While driving from New York to Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, MD for the 141st running of the Preakness Stakes, I stopped in Elsmere for lunch at Casapulla's Elsmere, an Italian grocery store that opened in 1956 (http://www.casapullasnorth.com). On an earlier trip, in July 1990 I visited the beach in Lewes, the earliest town founded in the state, making it "the first town in the first state."
2011-01-29 - November 1996 -- I stayed at the Imperial Hotel, one of the city's most historic, built in 1931 (http://www.theimperialindia.com/). Among other places, I visited Humayun's Tomb and Qutub Minar, both UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and Jama Masjid, the largest mosque in India. I was unimpressed with dinner at Buhkara in the ITC Maurya, which has been ranked by Restaurant magazine as the best in Asia.
2012-04-15 - August 2011 -- I based myself in Copenhagen, where I stayed at Hotel Bethel Sømandshjem, well located on Nyhavn (http://www.hotel-bethel.dk/), had lunch at Restaurant Schønnemann, serving smørrebrød since 1877 (http://www.restaurantschonnemann.dk/), ate dinner at Spiseloppen, located in Christiana (http://www.spiseloppen.dk/), and drank at Hvids Vinstue, established in 1773 and the city's oldest pub (http://www.hviidsvinstue.dk/). I visited Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, which has an excellent collection of sculpture from Egypt, Rome and Greece (http://www.glyptoteket.dk/), and the Nationalmuseet (National Museum of Denmark), Denmark’s largest museum of cultural history (http://www.natmus.dk/). I traveled by train to Roskilde, where I visited Roskilde Cathedral (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) and Vikingeskibsmuseet (Viking Ship Museum) (http://vikingeskibsmuseet.dk/), and had lunch at Raadhuskælderen, located in the basement of the city hall on the main square (http://www.raadhuskaelderen.dk/). I also made a day trip by train to Helsingør to visit Kronborg Castle, also known as "Elsinore," the setting of Hamlet.
November 1999 -- I visited Copenhagen, including Freetown Christiana, a self-proclaimed autonomous neighborhood of about 850 residents covering 85 acres in the borough of Christianshavn. My two favorite restaurants on that trip were the smørrebrød at Ida Davidsen, opened in 1888 (http://www.idadavidsen.dk/), and Krogs Fiskerestaurant, a seafood restaurant established in 1910 (http://www.krogs.dk/).
2011-01-29 - January 2011 -- I drove from Aguadilla to Rincon, on Puerto Rico's west coast, and went with Taino Divers (http://www.tainodivers.com/) on a snorkeling trip to Desecheo Island, around 45 minutes by boat from Rincon. We moored at two different sites, and since the second mooring was only 300 yards from Desecheo I was able to swim to the island. I was only able to spend a few minutes on its rocky coast while resting before swimming back to the boat; wider public access to the island is forbidden due to the presence of unexploded military ordnance. The waters around Desecheo Island are crystal clear (with 100+ feet visibility) and teem with fish and turtles (I saw two hawksbill turtles while snorkeling).
2011-09-12 - I have visited Washington, D.C. many times, most recently in February 2013. During the course of my trips I have visited many of the major museums and monuments, too numerous to list, but some of the more interesting are the National Gallery of Art (http://www.nga.gov/), the National Museum of Natural History (http://www.mnh.si.edu/), the National Museum of American History (http://americanhistory.si.edu/), the National Air and Space Museum (http://nasm.si.edu/), the National Archives, where the original copies of the United States Constitution, the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights are on display (http://www.archives.gov/dc-metro/washington/index.html), and the National Zoological Park (http://nationalzoo.si.edu/). My favorite places to eat are Ben's Chili Bowl, which opened in 1958 (http://www.benschilibowl.com/), Old Ebbitt Grill, established in 1856 and the oldest restaurant and bar in the city (http://www.ebbitt.com/), and Florida Avenue Grill, established in 1944 (http://floridaavenuegrill.com/).
2013-01-07 - December 2012 -- I flew into Djibouti-Ambouli International Airport, a joint civilian/military-use airport, where it was easy to see the drones at Camp Lemonnier, the United States combat hub for the counterterrorism wars in the Horn of Africa and the Middle East. I spent a morning wandering around Djibouti, where the rundown buildings blend Moorish and French colonial architecture.
2011-01-29 - December 2006 -- I visited Rhodes, the largest and most populated of the Dodecanese islands, where I stayed in the medieval old town of Rhodes City, which has been declared a World Heritage Site. I visited the Palace of the Grand Masters, the Avenue of the Knights and the Archaeological Museum (which exhibits the Aphrodite of Rhodes). I also visited La Juderia, the former Jewish quarter of Rhodes.
2011-11-29 - November 2011 -- I based myself in Roseau, the capital of Dominica, where I stayed at the Fort Young Hotel, located within the ramparts of an old colonial military fort from the 1770s (http://www.fortyounghotel.com/). I spent an afternoon hiking in Morne Trois Pitons National Park, the country's only UNESCO World Heritage Site, and another whale and dolphin watching, where I saw several sperm whales and a large pod of spinner dolphins (http://www.divedominica.com/).
2011-01-28 - July 2010 -- I traveled on board the Yankee Freedom II ferry (http://www.yankeefreedom.com/) from Key West to Dry Tortugas National Park, which lies about 70 miles west of Key West. The ferry, which has a climate-controlled interior cabin and large outdoor areas, departed at 8:00 a.m. and arrived at Dry Tortugas National Park around 10:15 a.m., where I spent the day exploring Fort Jefferson.
2011-04-03 - December 2013 -- I had a one-day stopover in Dubai while traveling to Colombo, Sri Lanka, and visited the Dubai Mall and the area around Dubai Creek.
December 2012 -- I went to the top of Burj Khalifa, the tallest man-made structure in the world (2,722 ft) (http://www.burjkhalifa.ae/).
November 2006 -- I used Dubai as a base from which to visit the other six Emirates (all by public transport, either shared van or bus). Highlights while in Dubai were dinner at Al Mahara, the seafood restaurant in the Burj al Arab, and camel milk mojitos at the Burj al Arab's Skyview Bar.
2012-11-25 - November 2012 -- I visited Durango, where I stayed at Hostal de la Monja, built within a 19th century building and located next to Catedral Basílica de Durango (http://www.hostaldelamonja.com.mx/). Durango is one of the historic cities on Camino Real de Tierra Adentro, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that contains dozens of sites along the southern part of the Spanish royal route from Mexico City to Santa Fe.
2011-01-28 - May 2008 -- I flew from Tahiti on LAN Airlines (www.lan.com) and stayed at Hotel Tauraa (http://www.tauraahotel.cl/), who rented me a motorbike that I used to tour the island over three days.
2013-09-02 - August 2013 -- I rented a car at Port Elizabeth International Airport and visited Addo Elephant National Park, where I saw dozens of elephants at Hapoor Dam. I also visited Port Elizabeth's colonial buildings, including Donkin Reserve, Fort Frederick, the library (opened in 1902) and City Hall (completed in 1862).
2011-01-28 - December 2003 -- Quito, along with Krakow, was the first city to be named a UNESCO World Heritage Site (in 1978), and according to UNESCO has "the best-preserved, least altered historic centre in Latin America." The most interesting site is the Basílica del Voto Nacional, the largest neo-Gothic basilica in the Americas, where the grotesques (carved stone figures) are in the form of native Ecuadorian animals, such as iguanas and Galapagos tortoises. From Quito I visited Mitad del Mundo and Otavalo's market.
2011-09-09 - January 2014 -- I traveled by train from Ramses Railway Station, the main railway station of Cairo, to Alexandria, where I had lunch at the Cecil Hotel, which opened in 1929. At the Cecil Hotel, I arranged a car and driver to visit the Christian monastery of Abu Mena, but I was not able to gain access to the archaeological ruins.
December 2012 -- During a two-day stopover in Cairo I visited Wadi Al-Hitan, a paleontological site that reveals evidence for the explanation of the emergence of the whale as an ocean-going mammal, and made my arrangements with Egypt Panorama Tours (http://eptours.com/). I stayed at the Windsor Hotel (http://www.windsorcairo.com/) and ate at Abu Tarek (which only serves kushari), Alfy Bey (opened in 1938) and Felfela Restaurant (opened in 1963).
May 2001 -- I stopped in Cairo for one day while returning from Saudi Arabia and revisited the Giza plateau and Egyptian Museum.
August 1998 -- I had a business trip to Alexandria, where I stayed at the Cecil Hotel, built in 1929, and visited the corniche and the Citadel of Qaitbay. I finished this trip in Cairo, where I stayed at the Cairo Marriott Hotel, originally the Al Gezira Palace, which was built to house Napoleon's wife, Empress Eugenie of France.
August 1997 -- I started my trip in Cairo, where I split my time between Giza and downtown. In Giza I stayed at the Mena House Oberoi, established in 1869, and visited the Giza Necropolis, including the Great Sphinx and the Great Pyramid (which I entered to descend to the King's Chamber). From Giza, I visited Saqqara and its Pyramid of Djoser (the step pyramid). From Giza I moved to downtown Cairo and stayed at the Nile Hilton because it was a short walk from the Egyptian Museum, one of the best museums that I have visited. I also visited Islamic Cairo, including Mohammed Ali Mosque in the Citadel and Khan el-Khalili souk (with Fishawi's Coffeehouse), the City of the Dead, a bustling grid of tombs and mausoleums where people live and work, and made a day trip to the Birqash Camel Market. From Cairo I flew to Luxor, where I began on its West Bank and visited the Colossi of Memnon, the Mortuary Temple of Queen Hatshepsut and the Valley of the Kings, and then its East Bank, where I visited the Temple of Luxor and the Temple of Karnak.
2011-01-28 - February 2009 -- I based myself in Suchitoto, a colonial, cobblestoned street, about 30 minutes north of San Salvador, staying at Los Almendros De San Lorenzo (http://www.hotelsalvador.com/index.php?id=3&L=1). I visited several archaeological sites, including Joya de Ceren, the only UNESCO World Heritage Site in El Salvador(http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/675).
2011-01-28 - September 2009 -- I visited Bologna, which is on the UNESCO World Heritage tentative list (http://whc.unesco.org/en/tentativelists/5010/), and had dinner at one of that city's most famous Bolognese restaurants, Ristorante al Pappagallo, founded in 1919 (http://www.alpappagallo.it/).
2012-07-23 - [On MTP, England should be divided into its nine regions]
In July 2012 I visited Nottingham, where I drank at three of the oldest pubs in England: Ye Olde Trip To Jerusalem (http://www.triptojerusalem.com/), Ye Olde Salutation Inn (http://www.salutationpub.com/) and The Bell Inn (http://www.bellinnnottingham.co.uk/).
East of England:
In December 2011 I visited Cambridge, including the Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences (the geology museum of the University of Cambridge) and King's College Chapel, and had lunch at The Eagle, originally opened in 1667 and where Francis Crick announced in 1953 that he and James Watson had "discovered the secret of life" after they had come up with their proposal for the structure of DNA.
I have made several dozen trips to London, first in September 1992 and most recently in April 2009, November 2010, November 2011 and July 2012. I have visited most of the city's major museums, including those that concentrate on archaeology (British Museum and the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology), art (National Gallery, Tate Britain, Tate Modern and Victoria and Albert Museum) and natural history (Natural History Museum and the Grant Museum of Zoology). I have stayed at a few of the city's historic hotels, including Claridge's, Dukes Hotel, the Connaught, the Hyde Park Hotel, the Langham and the Great Western Royal Hotel. London has an undeserved reputation as a poor dining destination, and some of my favorite restaurants are its most historic: Rules (established in 1798 and London's oldest restaurant), Simpson's-in-the-Strand (1828), Quality Chop House (1870s), Sweetings (1889), Gordon's Wine Bar (1890), J. Sheekey (1896), the Ivy (1917), Veeraswamy (1926 and the oldest Indian restaurant in the United Kingdom), Geales (1939 and my favorite fish-and-chip restaurant), Mon Plaisir (established in the 1940s and the city's oldest French restaurant), Le Caprice (1947) and the Gay Hussar (1953). In November 2005 I visited Maritime Greenwich, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, including the Royal Observatory (the home of Greenwich Mean Time and the Prime Meridian line), where I had an eel lunch at Goddard's Pies, established in 1890 (http://www.pieshop.co.uk/). In November 2010 I visited the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
North West England:
I have visited Manchester several times (May and December 2006 and August 2009). My favorite place to stay is The Midland, opened in 1903 and most famous for being the meeting place of Charles Stewart Rolls and Frederick Henry Royce leading to the formation of Rolls-Royce Limited in 1906, and to eat is Mr. Thomas's Chophouse, established in 1872. In August 2009 I also visited Liverpool, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and Chester, which is known for its black-and-white architecture.
South East England:
In November 2005 I traveled to Bray to have lunch at The Fat Duck (which at the time was named the best restaurant in the world by Restaurant magazine) (http://www.thefatduck.co.uk/). In November 2010 I visited Oxford, where I had lunch at the Bear Inn, one of the oldest public houses in Oxford, dating back to 1242, and visited several of Oxford's excellent museums, including the Oxford University Museum of Natural History (which displays the most complete remains of a single dodo anywhere in the world), the Museum of the History of Science (which displays a blackboard that Albert Einstein used during his lectures while visiting Oxford in 1931) and the Ashmolean Museum. Just outside Oxford I visited Blenheim Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In November 2011 I visited Canterbury, including the Canterbury Cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
South West England:
In 2000, I visited the City of Bath and Stonehenge, both of which are recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and Salisbury Cathedral, which has the tallest church spire in the United Kingdom. In November 2011 I visited Lyme Regis, where I walked along the Monmouth Beach section of the Axmouth-Lyme Regis Undercliffs, part of the Dorset and East Devon Coast UNESCO World Heritage Site (better known as the Jurassic Coast).
In July 2012 I visited Stratford-upon-Avon (Shakespeare's birthplace and Church of the Holy Trinity, his place of baptism and burial) and Birmingham, where I drank at The Old Crown, the oldest inn and oldest extant secular building in Birmingham (http://www.theoldcrown.com/).
2011-09-09 - May 2003 -- I traveled by bus from Riga, Latvia to Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, and visited the Historic Centre (Old Town) of Tallinn, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. I also visited the Tallinn Zoo, which has the world's best collections of mountain goats and sheep, as well as a very diverse collection of eagles (http://www.tallinnzoo.ee/).
2013-01-07 - August 2016 -- I visited Axum to see the Northern Stelae Park and the Chapel of the Tablet, which claims to hold the mythical Ark of the Covenant. I also visited Addis Ababa, where I stayed at the Itegue Taitu Hotel, built in 1898 and the oldest hotel in the city (http://taituhotel.com/).
January 2013 -- I passed through Addis Ababa three times during my trip, where the most interesting sites are the Ethnological Museum, the National Museum, Holy Trinity Cathedral and the Merkato (the largest market in Africa). My favorite restaurants in Addis are Ristorante Castelli, opened in 1948 and one of the best Italian restaurants outside Italy, Yod Abyssinia (http://www.yodethiopia.com/) and 2000 Habesha Cultural Restaurant (http://www.2000habesha.com), and place to drink is the terrace at the Itegue Taitu Hotel. After visiting Djibouti, I flew to Dire Dawa, the nearest airport to Harar, where I stayed at Rewda Guesthouse, an old Harari house in the old town, and ate at Hirut Restaurant. During the day I visited the walled city of Harar and at night visited the hyena man near Sanga Gate in the east of the old town, where I fed several hyenas. During the drive back to Dire Dawa, I stopped in Awaday to visit the world's largest khat market. After returning to Addis Ababa, I made a day trip to Tiya, a group of stelae around two hours south of the capital. I then flew to Gondar and drove to Simien Mountains National Park, where I stayed at Simien Lodge (http://www.simiens.com/), and hiked along the escarpment, where it was easy to see large groups of gelada baboons. In Gondar I stayed at Taye Belay Hotel, a short walk from the Royal Enclosure, and ate at Four Sisters Restaurant (http://thefoursistersrestaurant.com/). I also visited the rock-hewn churches in Lalibela, where I stayed at the Mountain View Hotel (http://mountainview-hotel.com), a short walk from Ben Abeba, my favorite restaurant in Ethiopia (http://www.benabeba.com/lalibela/Home.html).
2011-01-04 - December 2010 -- I traveled from Portugalete to Las Arenas on the Vizcaya Bridge, the world's oldest transporter bridge and a UNESCO World Heritage Site (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1217).
July 1998 -- I traveled to Pamplona for the running of the bulls, but drove one afternoon from Pamplona to San Sebastian to have lunch at Arzak (http://www.arzak.info/index.html), one of the world's best restaurants.
2014-12-01 - November 2014 -- I began my trip in Mérida, where I visited the Museo Nacional de Arte Romano, one of the world's best museums solely devoted to Roman art and antiquities, and the Archaeological Ensemble of Mérida (UNESCO World Heritage Site), including the Amphitheatre of Mérida, Roman theatre of Mérida and Temple of Diana. From Mérida I drove to Caceres, where its old town has been recognized as a World Heritage Site, and Trujillo, where I saw the equestrian statue of Francisco Pizarro on Plaza Mayor. I ended my visit in Guadalupe, where I stayed at the Parador de Guadalupe and toured the Santa María de Guadalupe Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
2011-08-15 - August 2011 -- I stayed at Hotel Tórshavn, located in the city center and opened in 1923 as a seamen's home (http://hoteltorshavn.fo/), and drank at Cafe Natur, the city's oldest bar. The most interesting excursion was the boat tour to the Vestmannabjørgini, birdcliffs and grottos north of Vestmanna (http://www.puffin.fo/en/).
2011-01-29 - August 2006 -- I visited Sarajevo, where I stayed at Halvat Guest House (http://www.halvat.com.ba/), and then traveled to Mostar by early morning train. The three-hour train trip from Sarajevo to Mostar is one of the most scenic train trips I have taken. In Mostar I stayed at Hotel Bristol, a short walk from the train station and old town. While the Hotel Bristol is the most historic in Mostar, the hotel was reconstructed in the 1960s, during which every hint of history was erased -- I would not recommend this hotel (http://www.bristol.ba/).
2013-12-01 - November 2013 -- I stayed at Pousada do Vale, well located in the Elizabeth Garden and a short walk through the garden to Vila dos Remédios, Cachorro beach and Forte de Nossa Senhora dos Remédios de Fernando de Noronha (http://www.pousadadovale.com/). My favorite place to eat and drink is Bar do Cachorro, overlooking the beach of the same name.
2015-12-10 - June 2017 -- I spent a few days in Fiji since it's the gateway to Wallis and Futuna and Tuvalu. I spent time wandering around Nadi, which has a large Indo-Fijian population, so is the center for Hinduism in Fiji. Nadi's Sri Siva Subramaniya temple is the largest Hindu temple in the Southern Hemisphere. I also visited Nadi's municipal produce market, which has a large number of stalls selling kava roots, which are used to make an elixir with sedative and euphoric properties. I took a public bus from Nadi to Sigatoka to visit Kula Eco Park's zoo, which focuses on Fiji's indigenous reptiles and birds, and the sand dunes in Sigatoka Sand Dunes National Park, which were formed over millions of years by river sediment that has been wind blown into dunes.
November/December 2015 -- I began my trip in Suva, where I stayed at the Grand Pacific Hotel, which was built by the Union Steamship Company in 1914, closed in 1992 and expertly restored and reopened in May 2014 (http://grandpacifichotel.com.fj). The most interesting sites in Suva were the cannibal artifacts at the Fiji Museum and the kava stalls on the top floor of the Suva Municipal Market. I flew (http://www.northernair.com.fj) from Suva to Levuka, the first colonial capital of Fiji, ceded to the British in 1874, and Fiji's only inscription on the list of World Heritage Sites (http://www.levukafiji.com). In Levuka, I stayed at the Royal Hotel, the oldest hotel in the South Pacific, dating back to the 1860s, although it was rebuilt after a fire in the early 1900s (http://www.royallevuka.com/royallevuka/Welcome.html). I also visited the Yasawa and Mamanuca Islands, volcanic archipelagos lying to the northwest of Viti Levu, the largest island in Fiji. First, I traveled on the Yasawa Flyer catamaran (http://www.awesomefiji.com/transfers/) and spent a few days at the Octopus Resort, located on Waya Island, the largest landmass in the Yasawa Islands (http://www.octopusresort.com). I also made a day trip to Cloud 9, a two-level floating platform that contains a bar and pizzeria and which is located off Malolo Island in the Mamanuca Islands (http://www.cloud9.com.fj). Due to its proximity to Port Denarau (the departure point to the Yasawa Islands and Cloud 9), I based myself at the Hilton Fiji Beach Resort and Spa on Denarau Island at the end of my trip; while the hotel was very nice, Denarau Island ranks among the least appealing places that I have visited and is certainly the least interesting destination in Fiji and the South Pacific.
2011-01-29 - May 2003 -- I visited Helsinki, including Senate Square and the Helsinki Cathedral, Finlandia Hall designed by Alvar Aalto, Helsinki Central railway station and Uspenski Cathedral. I visited two nearby islands, Korkeasaari to visit Helsinki Zoo, and Suomenlinna, a sea fortress and UNESCO World Heritage Site (http://www.suomenlinna.fi/). I had dinner at Lappi Ravintola, a Lapland-style restaurant (http://www.lappires.com/).
2011-01-30 - August 1994, August 1999 and September 2009 -- I have made three visits to Flanders, visiting Bruges (August 1994), Antwerp (August 1999) and Ghent, Bruges and Oostend (September 2009). In September 2009, I visited the belfries in Ghent and Bruges, which are on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/943), and the beguinage in Bruges, which is also on the list (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/855).
2012-07-15 - Miami -- I have visited Miami and southern Florida dozens of times, most recently in January 2012 and July 2012. The most interesting area of Miami is the Art Deco District in South Beach, which contains the country's largest concentration of 1920s and 1930s resort architecture, and where I have eaten several times at Joe's Stone Crab, established in 1913 (http://www.joesstonecrab.com/), drank at Mac's Club Deuce Bar, opened in 1964, and visited 1111 Lincoln Road, a stunning parking garage that anchors the Lincoln Road Mall (http://1111lincolnroad.com/). My other favorite Miami restaurants are Versailles Restaurant, established in 1971 (http://www.versaillesrestaurant.com/), and El Palacio de los Jugos (the much better of the two), both in Little Havana, and S&S Diner, established in 1938 and one of the country's best "greasy spoon" diners. I have also visited Fort Lauderdale many times, where my favorite restaurant is the Rustic Inn, established in 1955, which is touristy but serves excellent garlic crabs (http://www.rusticinn.com/), and hotel is the Riverside Hotel, opened in 1936 (http://www.riversidehotel.com/).
Everglades National Park -- I have visited Everglades National Park, the largest subtropical wilderness in the United States, several times, most recently in March 2010. My favorite places to stay when visiting the Everglades are the Rod and Gun Club in Everglades City (http://www.evergladesrodandgun.com/) and the Redland Hotel, built in 1904, in Homestead, and to eat is Robert is Here fruit stand in Homestead (http://www.robertishere.com/).
Tampa -- I visited Tampa in February 2001 to attend Super Bowl XXXV. The most interesting area sites are Gibsonton, which was famous as a sideshow wintering town and where I ate at Giant's Camp Restaurant (closed in 2007) and the Showtown Restaurant and Lounge, and Crystal River, where I snorkeled with manatees (http://riverventures.com/).
Orlando and northern Florida -- I have visited Orlando a few times, most recently for business in July 2011, and it is one of the country's least interesting cities. My favorite place to eat in Orlando is Lee & Rick's Half Shell Oyster Bar, established in 1950 (http://www.leeandricksoysterbar.com/), and the best area attraction is NASA Kennedy Space Center (http://www.nasa.gov/centers/kennedy/home/index.html). I also attended the Daytona 500 in 1998, which was won by Dale Earnhardt.
Key West -- I have visited Key West a couple of times, most recently in July 2010, when I ate at Pepe's Café, established in 1909 (http://pepescafe.net/), and visited the Key West Aquarium, opened in 1934 (http://www.keywestaquarium.com/).
2012-01-18 - May 2011 -- I took a bus from Asuncion, Paraguay to Formosa, the capital of the province of the same name. The bus ride through the Gran Chaco, a sparsely populated, hot and semi-arid lowland region teeming with birdlife, was stunning and a lot more interesting than the provincial capital.
2012-10-24 - October 2012 -- I rented a car at Genève Aéroport and visited three UNESCO World Heritage sites in Franche-Comte: (1) Lac de Chalain, rive occidentale, one of the prehistoric pile-dwelling (or stilt house) settlements in and around the Alps built on the edges of lakes, rivers or wetlands (I was able to walk around the area that falls within the formal designation, but was unable to see any of the pile dwellings, which are submerged in Lac de Chalain; in the future I hope to visit one of very few sites where the piles can be seen); (2) Saline Royale (Royal Saltworks) of Arc-et-Senans; and (3) the Citadelle of Besançon, one of the Fortifications of Vauban.
2013-09-02 - August 2013 -- I visited Parys, located within the buffer zone of the Vredefort Dome World Heritage Site, and visited the Parys Museum (located within the old magistrates office) (http://parysmuseum.co.za/) and the Parys Dutch Reformed Church.
2011-01-28 - August 2007 -- I arrived overland from Suriname, crossing the Maroni River by canoe and arriving at Saint-Laurent-du-Maroni, where I visited the prison (which was the main penal establishment of French Guiana for a century). I then traveled overland to Kourou, visiting the Centre Spatial Guyanais (a French spaceport) along the way. From Kourou, I took a catamaran to visit Les iles du Salut (Devil's Island) (http://www.ilesdusalut.com/). The catamaran lands at Iles Royale, which has most of the refurbished buildings and support (restaurant and hotel), but far more interesting is Saint-Joseph, which can be reached by small boat and which contains the ruins of the former seclusion cells (solitary confinement). I ended my visit in Cayenne, and then returned overland back to Suriname.
2011-07-26 - September 2008, November 2010 and October 2012 -- I visited Fribourg, the capital of the canton of the same name, and its Gothic medieval center, one of the largest in Europe. My favorite restaurants are Cafe du Gothard (http://www.le-gothard.ch/), which was frequented by Fribourg-born Jean Tinguely, and Restaurant de l'Hotel de Ville (http://www.restaurant-hotel-de-ville.ch/), and favorite cafe is Cafe des Arcades, established in 1861 (http://www.cafedesarcades.ch/).
2011-01-28 - November 2006 -- I took a minibus from the Deira Dubai minibus station (minibuses to the various emirates are clearly marked) to Fujairah, the easternmost emirate, and then a taxi to visit Fujairah Museum and Fort (built in 1670). From Fujairah I took a shared taxi to Sharjah.
2012-09-04 - August 2012 -- I began my trip in Libreville, one of the least interesting capital cities in Africa -- the only interesting site is Marché Mont-Bouët, the largest market in Gabon, which has a bush meat section located deep in its center (visitors are not warmly received in that section, so you may need a local contact to enter and take photographs). I took the Transgabonais railway from Libreville (Owendo station) to Lope, where I stayed at the Lope Hotel (http://www.lopehotel.com/), the only hotel in Lope National Park (UNESCO World Heritage Site). From Lope, I traveled by train along the Ogooué River to Ndjolé and then drove to Lambaréné where I visited the Albert Schweitzer Hospital (on the list of tentative UNESCO World Heritage Sites) and stayed at L'Hôtellerie de l'Hôpital Albert Schweitzer. I made my arrangements with Virginie at Ngondetour (http://ngondetour.com/).
2011-01-29 - December 2003 -- I visited Genovesa, Española, San Cristóbal and Santa Cruz islands. After the cruise, I stayed in Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz for an extra day, and visited Charles Darwin Research Station (http://www.darwinfoundation.org/english/pages/index.php), where I saw Lonesome George, the last known individual of the Pinta Island Tortoise, which is one of eleven extant subspecies of Galapagos tortoise.
2011-01-29 - December 2010 -- I visited the autonomous community of Galicia, where I stayed in Santiago de Compostela. I visited three of the region's UNESCO World Heritage Sites, starting in the old town of Santiago de Compostela, where I saw the Botafumeiro swing during mass at the Cathedral (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/347). I rented a car in Santiago de Compostela and drove to A Coruña, where I climbed the Tower of Hercules (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1312), and then to Lugo, where I walked the length of its Roman Walls (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/987).
2017-08-28 - August 2017 -- I visited Dunhuang in northwestern China, a major stop on the Silk Road. Dunhuang is situated in an oasis containing Crescent Lake and Singing-Sand Mountain, named after the sound of the wind rushing off the dunes, the so-called singing sand phenomenon. I visited the lake and mountain in the afternoon during the hottest part of the day because I wanted to avoid the crowds that overrun the site at sunset. Dunhuang's most well-known dishes are yellow noodles topped with cold, sliced donkey meat and tofu sauce, and Silk Road-style camel hoof. Since my hunch, later confirmed, was that I wouldn't find English-speaking waitstaff or translated menus in the night market, my plan was to photograph a donkey and a camel, show them at the restaurant and hope for recognition. It worked and I was able to dine on a starter of donkey-meat noodles followed by tangy camel hoof. The main reason for my trip to Dunhuang, which is distant from everywhere in China, was to visit Mogao Caves, the best known of China's Buddhist grottoes. The caves were hewn into a two-kilometer long cliff over the millennium from the fourth until the 14th century by monks to serve as shrines. During the Ming Dynasty, sea trade replaced the Silk Road and Dunhuang and the caves were largely abandoned, until rediscovered by western explorers in the late 19th century. It's what's inside the caves that has earned Mogao it's well-deserved inscription on the list of World Heritage Sites. The walls of many of the 487 temple grottoes are covered from floor to ceiling with murals of Buddhist and traditional mythical subjects and many of the grottoes contain brightly-painted clay sculptures of Buddha and notable Buddhist figures, including one statue of Buddha that was created more than a thousand years ago in 695 AD and rises to 116 feet.
2012-06-24 - August 2013 -- I visited Sterkfontein, Cradle of Humankind, where numerous early hominin remains have been found at the site over the last few decades, including Mrs. Ples (the nickname for the most complete skull of an Australopithecus africanus specimen ever found in South Africa) and Little Foot (the nickname given to an extraordinarily complete fossil hominin skeleton found in 1994–1998 in the cave system of Sterkfontein).
May 2000 -- During my visit in May 2000, I stayed at the Westcliff Hotel in Johannesburg (http://www.westcliff.co.za/) and had dinner at The Butcher Shop & Grill on Nelson Mandela Square (http://www.thebutchershop.co.za/). I visited Soweto (where I had lunch at Wandies Place (http://www.wandies.co.za/)), Pretoria (Union Buildings, Melrose House Museum and Voortrekker Monument), and the Johannesburg Zoo, which is a short walk from the Westcliff Hotel (http://www.jhbzoo.org.za/).
2012-05-07 - December 1997, September 2008, November 2010 and October 2012 -- My first visit was in December 1997, when I stayed at Le Richemond, established in 1875 (http://www.lerichemond.com/). My second visit was in September 2008 when I visited ITU (HQ - Geneva) and the Palais des Nations, the seat of the European headquarters of the United Nations. During my most recent visits in November 2010 and October 2012 I ate at Café de Paris, which only serves one meal, entrecôte Café de Paris (http://www.cafe-de-paris.ch/). My favorite hotel is Hôtel International & Terminus, built in 1900 and located a short walk from Genève-Cornavin railway station (http://www.international-terminus.ch/).
2011-10-24 - October 2011 -- I made a short business trip to Atlanta, when I stayed at the Georgian Terrace Hotel, opened in 1911 and which hosted the premiere gala of Gone with the Wind in 1939 (http://www.thegeorgianterrace.com/).
July 2011 -- I visited Atlanta, including the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site, which contains his boyhood home, Ebenezer Baptist Church and his tomb, and the Georgia Aquarium, the world's largest aquarium, which displays four whale sharks and four manta rays (http://www.georgiaaquarium.org/). I had lunch at The Varsity, established in 1928 and the largest drive-in fast food restaurant in the world (http://www.thevarsity.com/), and dinner at Miller Union, which serves farmstead-inspired southern cuisine (http://www.millerunion.com/site/). I ended my trip at Turner Field where I saw the Atlanta Braves against the Washington Nationals (http://mlb.mlb.com/atl/ballpark/index.jsp).
January 2011 -- I visited Savannah's Historic District, which roughly corresponds to the city's antebellum limits, including most of the remaining historic squares (the most attractive of which are Chippewa and Monterey Squares) and Congregation Mickve Israel, which boasts the only Gothic-style synagogue in the United States, dating from 1878. I ate at Clary's Café, established in 1903 (I had hoped to eat at Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room, but it is astoundingly closed on weekends).
2011-01-28 - November 2000 -- I stayed in Accra at La Palm Royal Beach Hotel (http://www.gbhghana.net/la-palm), and visited Cape Coast Castle (http://www.capecoastcastlemuseum.com/1.html) and Elmina Castle, which are recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. I had lunch at Hans Cottage Botel, where the restaurant is located above a lagoon housing crocodiles (http://www.hansbotel.com/Hotels/index.html).
2011-01-28 - November 2014 -- I took a bus from Algeciras to La Linea, from where it's a very short walk to the border with Gibraltar. Local taxis offer group tours and I visited St Michael's Cave, the Siege Tunnels and the Gibraltar Nature Reserve to see the Barbary macaque population. I had dinner at Star Bar, founded in 1889 and the oldest bar in Gibraltar.
August 1994 -- I drove from Algeciras to La Línea, a town in Spain on the border with Gibraltar, from where I walked to Gibraltar and visited the Gibraltar Nature Reserve (formerly the Upper Rock Nature Reserve).
2014-03-24 - March 2014 -- I visited the Golan Heights Winery (http://www.golanwines.co.il/en/The-Winery) and had lunch at the Golan Brewery (http://www.beergolan.co.il/english_main.php), both located in Katzrin, the capital of the Golan.
2016-09-07 - August 2016 -- I stayed at Itsandra Hotel (http://www.itsandrahotel.com/portal/index.php/en/), a short ride from Moroni. I visited the Medina of Moroni, which is part of the Sultanats Historiques des Comores tentative World Heritage Site (http://whc.unesco.org/en/tentativelists/5109/), including the Ancienne Mosquée de Vendredi (old Friday mosque), which is the oldest mosque in the medina.
2011-04-03 - Attica region -- I have visited Athens three times (April 1998, December 2006 and May 2014) and have stayed at the Acropolis View Hotel (http://www.acropolisview.gr/) and in the Plaka at the Acropolis House Hotel (http://www.acropolishouse.gr/). Among my favorite sites are the Acropolis, the old Acropolis Museum, the National Archaeological Museum, the Ancient Agora and Temple of Olympian Zeus. On all three of my trips I had the souvlaki at Thanasis. Two of my other favorite restaurants are Daphne's, built in a neoclassical 1830s home (http://www.daphnesrestaurant.gr/en/), and Milos Estiatorio (http://www.milos.ca/en/athens/index.html), the Athenian branch of a restaurant that started in Montreal and then opened a branch in New York (both of which I have also visited).
Peloponnese region -- In May 2014, I rented a car and visited the Sanctuary of Asklepeios at Epidaurus and Mycenae, both of which are inscribed on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
2011-08-15 - August 2011 -- I flew on Air Iceland (http://www.airiceland.is/) from Reykjavik to Ilulissat, located in western Greenland. I stayed at Hotel Arctic (http://www.hotelarctic.com/) and ate grilled musk ox at their Greenlandic barbeque. I spent most of my time around the Ilulissat Icefjord, a fjord in western Greenland and Greenland's only UNESCO World Heritage Site, including two long hikes along the fjord, an evening sailing among the icebergs and morning whale safari, where I saw several humpback whales (http://www.worldofgreenland.com/).
2011-04-03 - February 2010 -- I was only able to identify one hotel in St. George's, Deyna's City Inn, only a short walk from the carenage, St. George's horseshoe-shaped harbor. I spent two nights in St. George's, and visited the three Grenada sites on the UNESCO World Heritage tentative list: (1) Grenadines island group; (2) St. George fortified system; and (3) St. George historic district (http://whc.unesco.org/en/tentativelists/state=gd). My favorite place to eat was BB's Crabback Caribbean Restaurant on St. George's carenage (http://www.bbscrabbackrestaurant.com).
2011-01-28 - February 2010 -- Bequia Express and Admiralty Transport run frequent daytime ferries on the hour long trip from Kingstown to Port Elizabeth, Bequia (http://www.bequia.net/ferrysvcs.htm). I had lunch in Bequia at the Frangipani Hotel (http://www.frangipanibequia.com/).
2012-04-15 - November 2010 -- I visited Guadeloupe, where I stayed in Pointe-à-Pitre at Hôtel Saint John Perse, which is the only hotel in Guadeloupe's largest city and was much nicer than many of its reviews (http://www.saint-john-perse.com/). Pointe-à-Pitre is not one of the Caribbean's most attractive cities, but it does have several interesting colonial buildings, including Musée Saint-John Perse (an uninteresting museum that devoted more exhibition space to textiles than to Nobel laureate Alexis Léger, but is housed within an attractive 19th-century colonial building with ornate wrought-iron balconies), La Cathédrale Saint-Pierre et Saint-Paul (with arches constructed of riveted iron girders, reflecting the influence of past hurricanes and earthquakes) and a few surrounding Place de la Victoire. I took a public bus from Pointe-à-Pitre to Morne-a-l'Eau to visit its city-within-a-city, black-and-white tiled cemetery, the most unique spot in Guadeloupe and the highlight of my visit.
2011-02-05 - December 2008 -- The easiest and best way to travel around Guam is by rental car, and I drove counterclockwise from the Tumon Bay hotel area. The island's most interesting site is the War in the Pacific National Historical Park (http://www.nps.gov/wapa), which preserves battlefields and gun emplacements from World War II. I stayed at the Hilton Guam Resort & Spa, and my most memorable meal was lunch at Jeff's Pirate Cove on the island's east coast (http://www.jeffspiratescove.com/).
2011-04-03 - September 2009 --I visited the two UNESCO World Heritage Site cities in the state: San Miguel de Allende (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1274) and Guanajuato (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/482). One oddity in Guanajuato is the Museo de las Momias (the mummies of Guanajuato) (http://www.momiasdeguanajuato.gob.mx/english/index.html). I stayed at El Mesón de los Poetas in Guanajuato.
2011-01-29 - August 2017 -- In the village countryside around Kaiping, two hours by bus from Guangzhou in southern China, stand sentry nearly 1,800 fortified multistory watchtowers, mostly constructed in the 1920s and 1930s with the financial assistance of the Chinese diaspora. In 2007, UNESCO inscribed four of the villages as a World Heritage Site. I visited two of the villages, beginning with Zilicun, where the largest group of watchtowers stands scattered among rice paddies and where I was joined by a few dozen tourists. I also visited Jinjiangli village, which is home to three well-preserved towers and where, aside from a few elderly residents engaged in chores and ablutions, I had the village to myself. During my prior visit to Guangzhou's Qingping market in September 1995, the stalls sold every variety of reptile and small mammal (including pangolins, raccoons, dogs and cats) by the overflowing bucket and cage. But since the 2003 SARS outbreak in South China, government officials have cracked down on the open sale of these creatures, so the market no longer seems to be a small zoo that permits visitors to purchase the inhabitants for consumption. Instead the market now less interestingly sells ginseng, deer antlers and desiccated small creatures, like frogs, seahorses and scorpions, so it's not nearly as photogenic as it was. My favorite meal was dim sum at Guangzhou Restaurant, which opened in 1936 and is a short walk from Qingping market.
September 1995 -- I spent several weeks in September 1995 in Hong Kong on business, when I made a day trip to Guangzhou, which was about two hours away by train. I spent most of my visit at the Qingping Market, a veritable edible zoo (with cages and buckets full of snakes, cats, raccoons, turtles, etc.), and visited Snake Restaurant on Jianglan Street, the largest snake restaurant in China (I didn't have time to eat, so only took photographs).
2011-04-03 - February 2006 -- I traveled from Copan, Honduras to Quiriguá (the third Guatemalan UNESCO World Heritage Site). I was able to grab a ride there with guests staying in my hotel in Copan, and I returned by public bus and pickup truck.
March 2001 -- I visited Guatemala City, La Antigua Guatemala (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), Chichicastenango market and Tikal National Park (also a UNESCO World Heritage Site). In Antigua, I stayed in the Rose Suite at Hotel Posada del Angel, the same room where President Clinton stayed during his visit to Antigua in March 1999 (http://www.posadadelangel.com/), and had dinner at La Fonda de la Calle Real, where he dined during his visit (they even let me dine in the same seat he occupied, which bore a small plaque with his name) (http://www.lafondadelacallereal.com/).
2011-01-28 - November 2007 -- I stayed at the Yacht Inn, located on the south esplanade in St. Peter Port (http://www.theyacht.gg/). The hotel is centrally located, on the bus route from the airport, and is within walking distance of the ferries (to Herm and Sark) and to Hauteville House, Victor Hugo's home for most of his exile in Guernsey (http://www.victorhugo.gg/).
2011-01-29 - October 2013 -- I visited Taxco, where the highlight is the Church of Santa Prisca (which is on the list of tentative UNESCO World Heritage Sites (http://whc.unesco.org/en/tentativelists/1543/)). I had barbacoa de chivo for lunch at La Esquina del Buen Comer (established in 1964).
April 1993 -- I visited Acapulco, where I saw the La Quebrada Cliff Divers, who dive from the 148 foot cliffs of La Quebrada into the sea. I also spent one day deep-sea fishing and caught several tuna.
2011-01-28 - August 2007 -- I made arrangements through Georgetown-based Dagron Tours (http://www.dagron-tours.com/), who I highly recommend (ask for Ann Hamilton -- she planned an expert trip for me to Guyana, plus Suriname and French Guiana; you can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org). In Georgetown, one of South America's most architecturally distinct cities, I stayed at Cara Lodge (http://www.carahotels.com/guyana_lodge/index.php). I also visited Kaieteur NP by small plane (http://www.kaieteurpark.gov.gy/).
2017-08-28 - August 2017 -- I flew from Guangzhou to Haikou on Hainan Island, the largest island under China's control. (Taiwan is slightly larger than Hainan but is not under Chinese control.) Most visitors to Hainan Island, known as the Hawaii of China, head to the beaches around Sanya on the southern coast, usually skipping Haikou, to their disservice. I spent an afternoon in Haikou's old town, the country's most impressive example of arcade architecture. The century-old streets are lined with qilous, arcade houses that blend European and Asian architecture with Indian and Arab influences. The ground floors of the two to four-story qilous are set back so a row of arcades sheltered from the sun and inclement weather is formed.
I traveled by high-speed train from Haikou, located on the northern coast of Hainan Island, to Sanya, one of China's southernmost cities. I visited Phoenix Island, an artificial archipelago whose cluster of white edifices has earned it the sobriquet the Oriental Dubai. Only one of the two islands has been completed, and since many of the apartments are owned by wealthy mainland Chinese, overseas Russians and Hongkongers, and because the island is generally only open to residents and their guests, the island was eerily empty and I was the lone diner at lunch.
My favorite meals were at Ban Qiao Road Seafood Market in Haiku and No. 1 Agricultural Products Market in Sanya, where market stalls sells an aquarium's worth of sea creatures, which are then prepared at any of several dozen nearby restaurants. In both markets, I visited a few vendors offering exotic underwater denizens before purchasing some odd cephalopods and a few unusual molluscs, as well as some Chinese vegetables, which were turned into excellent dinners at local restaurants.
2011-01-28 - October 2009 -- I made arrangements with Jacqui at Voyages Lumiere (http://voyageslumiere.com/), who I highly recommend. I based myself at the Hotel Oloffson in Port-au-Prince (http://hoteloloffson.com/), and visited the capital's principal sites, highlights being the Marche de Fer and Grand Cimetiere de Port-au-Prince (I visited the latter with Milfort from Mahogany Craft Shop, situated just outside the Hotel Oloffson -- he speaks excellent English and is fun company). Jacqui also arranged a day trip to Jacmel, located on Haiti's southern coast, which allowed a drive through the mountainous countryside and a visit to Jacmel (similar in construction to the French Quarter of New Orleans, with its many 19th-century merchants' residences graced with wrought-iron facades).
2011-01-29 - February 2005, August 2006 and September 2016 -- I have stayed at several hotels in Hamburg, including the Hotel Monopol on Reeperbahn; Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten, founded in 1897 and well located on the western side of the Inner Alster Lake shore (http://www.fairmont.com/vier-jahreszeiten-hamburg/); and Reichshof Hamburg, which was built in 1910 and is located near the Hamburg Hauptbahnhof. On each of my trips, I visited some of the Beatles-related sites, including Gretel & Alfons, one of the few Beatles-visited pubs still in operation (http://www.gretelundalfons.de/). I have also visited Tierpark Hagenbeck, known for being the first zoo to use open enclosures surrounded by moats, rather than barred cages (http://www.hagenbeck.de/startseite.html), and the Speicherstadt and Kontorhaus District with Chilehaus UNESCO World Heritage Site.
2011-01-14 - Hawaii (island) -- In October 1998 I visited Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where I stayed at Volcano House, which opened in 1941 (http://www.hawaiivolcanohouse.com).
Kauai -- In mid-December 2015, I made a day trip to Kauai, when I visited the island by rental car, including Waimea Canyon State Park and Kē'ē Beach at Ha'ena State Park, where I saw a Hawaiian monk seal, one of the estimated worldwide population of 1,100. I had lunch in Lihue at Hamura's Saimin Stand, which has been serving its noodle soup since 1951.
Lanai -- I visited Lanai City in June 2017, where I stayed at Hotel Lanai, a historic landmark built in the early 1920s (https://www.hotellanai.com). Lanai City is home to an intact 1920s-era pineapple plantation town, something not found on any of the other Hawaiian Islands. My first stop was Lana'i Ohana Poke Market, where I was first in line when it opened at 10:30 am since it usually sells out around noon.
Maui -- In early December 2015, I made a day trip to Maui, when I rented a car and visited the summit area of Haleakalā National Park, the easiest place to see Haleakalā silversword, and Lahaina, which was the center of the global whaling industry in the 19th century.
Molokai -- I made a day trip to Molokai in June 2017, where I rented a car to visit the island. Molokai is best known for its former leper colony, where Father Damien ministered to the persons affected with leprosy from 1873 to 1889. In December 1884, after having worked in the colony for 11 years, Father Damien contracted leprosy, from which he succumbed in 1889 at age 49. During his time on Molokai he built four churches, two of which remain and which I visited. Molokai is also known for the drive to Halawa Valley, one of the country's best coastal routes.
Oahu -- I have visited Oahu five times, most recently in June 2017 when I visited USS Missouri, the last battleship commissioned by the United States and best remembered as the site of the surrender of Japan that ended World War II. I also visited Honolulu twice in December 2015, first at the beginning of the month during a two-day stopover while returning from Fiji and again in the middle of the month during a three-day stopover while traveling to the Marshall Islands. During my middle-of-the-month trip, I visited the Bishop Museum, which has the world's largest collection of Polynesian cultural artifacts and natural history specimens (although very little of the natural history collection is on public display) (http://www.bishopmuseum.org). I had manapuas (pork buns) for lunch at Char Hung Sut in Chinatown, which has been serving them since 1945 (http://www.charhungsutrestaurant.com), and spent time wandering around Waikīkī, the least interesting area of Oahu, but at least I saw a Hawaiian monk seal on Waikīkī Beach. During my trip at the beginning of December 2015, I visited Honolulu's Chinatown Historic District, a remarkably well-preserved historic district where many of the buildings date from the early 1900s, and the 'Iolani Palace, the royal residence of the rulers of the Kingdom of Hawaii. While in Chinatown, I drank and watched early Sunday morning football at Smith's Union Bar, established in 1934 and the oldest bar in Hawaii. On December 6, the date before the date that will live in infamy, I visited the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor, which marks the resting place of 1,102 of the 1,177 sailors and Marines killed on USS Arizona. My second trip to Honolulu was in October 1998 when, while returning from a business trip to Brisbane, I stopped for a few days in Hawaii. During that trip, I spent one day in Honolulu, when I stayed at the Kahala Hotel & Resort, opened in January 1964 and where guest stars on the original Hawaii Five-O stayed. My first trip to Honolulu was in November 1997 when, while flying between the United States and Indonesia (at that time, Garuda Indonesia flew to Honolulu), I stayed at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel, which opened in 1927, and had dinner at the Moana Hotel, which opened in 1901.
2017-08-28 - July 2017 -- I visited the Siberian Tiger Park on the outskirts of Harbin, the largest city in Northeastern China. Under the thin guise of research and conservation, the menagerie is a misguided attraction where visitors can purchase hapless farm animals to feed to prides of corpulent tigers (in the wild, tigers generally lead solitary existences -- only when many are crammed together will they coalesce in prides). At one time, visitors could arrange for cattle to be tossed to the tigers, but sheep (at $220 per woolly ruminant) are currently the largest sacrificial lamb. Our retrofitted bus had mesh grills instead of windows, and some passengers used tongs to feed strips of beef to the rotund felines (no one on the bus sprung for livestock). The bus travels from pen to pen, each containing dozens of the big cats. After 40 minutes, we were deposited near a series of walkways that traverse even more pens, and here local farmers have set up shops to sell fowl and beef strips to be hand fed to the tigers.
The People's Republic of China, established in 1949 under the leadership of Mao Zedong, has a policy of state atheism. During the Cultural Revolution from 1966 until 1976, the Communist nation undertook to purge remnants of capitalism and traditional elements from Chinese society, including houses of worship since religion was viewed as antithetical to Maoist thinking. Despite the nationwide destruction of churches, synagogues and mosques, historic versions of all three survive in Harbin. It is estimated that at its peak in the 1930s, the Jewish population of Harbin reached 25,000. In 2014, when Harbin reopened its 105-year old "Old Synagogue," a professor at Heilongjiang University was the only Jew residing in Harbin. So, of all the world's cities with a Jewish population, Harbin had the smallest. I visited Harbin's historical places of worship, including the Old Synagogue, which has been converted into a concert hall; the golden-domed New Synagogue, which was built in 1918, nearly a decade after the Old Synagogue was constructed in 1909; the Turkey Mosque, originally built in 1906 but reconstructed in the 1920s; and Saint Sophia Cathedral, a former Russian Orthodox church, which was closed during the Cultural Revolution and turned into a museum in 1997.
2016-10-01 - September 2016 -- I made a day trip by high speed catamaran (http://www.helgoline.com/home/) from Hamburg to Helgoland, where the highlight was hiking along the north coast to see the nesting gannets and Lange Anna, a 154 ft high sea stack.
2017-08-28 - August 2017 -- I made a day trip from Xi'an to Luoyang by high-speed train that covered the 230 miles between the two cities, about the same distance from New York to Washington, D.C., in 80 minutes. My first stop was Longmen Grottoes, where the 2,345 hand-carved caves and alcoves contain more than 100,000 statues of Buddha and his disciples. The grottoes were excavated over the period from 493 AD to 1127 AD with Buddhist subjects, which range in size from less than an inch to the largest Buddha statue that reaches 57 feet in height. I also visited Shaolin Monastery, where Shaolin kung fu, one of the oldest and most famous styles of Chinese martial arts, was developed. Shaolin Monastery and its pagoda forest are World Heritage Sites, but most of the visitors arrive to see the kung fu performance by the Shaolin Temple Martial Arts Troupe, where students perform all sorts of stunts, like balancing upon the sharpened prong of a trident and using the throat to push and bend spears.
2011-02-10 - November 2007 -- From Guernsey, I took the Trident Ferry (http://www.herm-island.com/) to Herm, taking an early morning ferry and late afternoon return. I visited "out of season", when the Mermaid Tavern is open only on Wednesdays and Saturdays. There are no automobiles on Herm, and I spent the day walking around the island, through pastures and along the coast.
2011-01-29 - February 2001, February 2005, May 2007, September 2008, April 2015 and September 2016 -- During each of my visits to Hesse, I visited Frankfurt, where the most interesting sites are its zoo, founded in 1858 and the second oldest in Germany; Naturmuseum Senckenberg, the largest museum of natural history in Germany; and the Städel Museum, which displays The Geographer, one of the great paintings by Jan Vermeer. My favorite restaurants in Frankfurt are Apfelweinwirtschaft Adolf Wagner, which has been in business since 1931, its neighbor, Zum Gemalten Haus, which opened in the late 19th century, and Apfelwein Klaus, which opened in 1950.
In April 2015, I visited the Abbey and Altenmünster of Lorsch and Messel Pit Fossil Site, both of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and Wiesbaden, which is one of the spa towns on the serial transnational Great Spas of Europe tentative UNESCO World Heritage Site. In September 2016, I visited Bergpark Wilhelmshöhe WHS in Kassel on a Wednesday, one of two days each week when visitors can see the water features in action and follow the water from the Hercules monument to the Grand Fountain.
2016-01-18 - Hokkaido Prefecture -- In January 2016 I visited Sapporo, the largest city on Hokkaido, including the former Hokkaidō Government Office, Sapporo Clock Tower (often ranked as the third least interesting tourist attraction in Japan; in my view, the third position is too generous since it was the least interesting attraction that I visited) and Nijo Market. I ate at Donburichaya, located within Nijo Market, where I had donburi (a bowl of rice topped with a variety of seafood), and one of the several restaurants that line Sapporo Ramen Yokocho (or Ramen Alley).
2010-09-07 - September 2010 -- While flying from New York to Roatan I had a several hour layover in San Pedro Sula and visited that city's center, including the parque central, historic train station and outdoor market.
February 2006 -- From San Pedro Sula, I took the Hedman Alas bus (http://www.hedmanalas.com/index.htm) to Copan Ruinas, and visited the Maya Site of Copan, a UNESCO World Heritage Site (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/129).
2010-07-30 - August 2017 -- My first stop on my most recent trip to Hong Kong was the lifelike statue of Bruce Lee, erected in November 2005, several years after my prior visit to the city-state in January 2000. The statue shows Lee in his signature sinewed ready-to-strike pose from Fist of Fury, his second major role during an early 1970s string of four influential martial arts films. The statue is a short walk from Chungking Mansions, where the city's largest collection of guest houses sits above a warren of restaurants and shops that cater to the South Asian, Middle Eastern and African communities. To me, what's most interesting about the building, historically notorious as a den of petty criminals, drug dealers and undocumented immigrants, is that it sits on some of the world's most valuable property, cater-corner to the Peninsula, the city's world-famous hotel, and near high-street jewelry and clothing stores. Other than backpackers searching for inexpensive lodging, most visitors avoid Chungking Mansions, but that need not be so because the food from the subcontinent is delicious and cheap. During this trip, the Hong Kong Observatory issued a No. 10 typhoon signal, the highest level, which had only been hoisted fourteen other times since 1946 and only twice since 1984. On the day of the typhoon, I was one of very few customers for dim sum breakfast at Luk Yu Teahouse (which has been serving dim sum since 1933), roast goose for lunch at Yung Kee (established in 1942), and dinner at La Taverna (which opened as Hong Kong's first Italian restaurant in 1969). During this trip, I also had char sui barbecued pork at two Michelin-recognized hole-in-the-wall restaurants, Joy Hing's Roasted Meat, which has been serving roasted meats for more than a century, and Yat Lok Restaurant; won ton noodle soup at Mak's Noodle, which has been serving its famous soup since the 1920s; and egg pudding for breakfast at Australia Dairy Company (established in 1970).
I also made several trips to Hong Kong in the late 1990s, including business trips in September 1995, September 1996 and January 2000, and personal visits in November 1996 and December 1998. On my first few trips I landed at Kai Tak Airport, which was surrounded by Kowloon's skyscrapers and where the runway extended into Victoria Harbour. The most interesting part of the city is Central and Western District, located on the northern part of Hong Kong Island, where the Central Market, constructed in Bauhaus style in 1938, was located (this photogenic wet market was closed in March 2003), and where Man Mo Temple, established in the 1840s and the oldest on the island, is located. During my earlier trips, I ate at several of the the city's historic Chinese restaurants, including Luk Yu Tea House; Yung Kee; Fook Lam Moon; Spring Deer Restaurant, which is known for Peking duck; Great Shanghai Restaurant, one of Hong Kong's oldest Shanghainese restaurants; and Jumbo Floating Restaurant in Aberdeen Harbour.
2011-01-29 - April 1998 -- I visited Budapest, where I stayed at the Hotel Gellert, established in 1918 and the city's most historic hotel, and had dinner at Gundel, established in 1894 (http://www.gundel.hu/). Gundel is a short walk from Budapest's art nouveau zoo, the second oldest in Europe (http://www.zoobudapest.com/english).
2011-08-16 - August 2011 -- I spent two days in Iceland while traveling to Greenland and the Faroe Islands. I based myself in Reykjavik and made a day trip to visit Þingvellir National Park (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), Gullfoss waterfall and the Geysir hot spring area with Iceland Excursions (http://www.grayline.is/). I had lunch at Bæjarins beztu pylsur, Reykjavik's most popular hot dog stand, and dinners at Þrir Frakkar (where the hákarl, or putrid basking shark, although highly ammoniated, was much better than I anticipated) (http://www.3frakkar.com/), and Icelandic Fish & Chips (http://www.fishandchips.is/).
May 1999 -- I based myself in Reykjavik, where I stayed at the Hotel Borg, opened in 1930 and the city's oldest hotel (http://en.hotelborg.is/). In Reykjavik, I visited the very strange Icelandic Phallological Museum, which claims to be "probably the only museum in the world to contain a collection of phallic specimens belonging to all the various types of mammal found in a single country" (the museum has since relocated to Húsavík, http://www.phallus.is/). I also rented a car and drove the Golden Circle, making stops at Gullfoss waterfall and the geothermally active valley of Haukadalur, which contains Geysir.
2011-01-29 - February 2007 -- I visited Boise, including the World Center for Birds of Prey, where endangered California condors are bred for release into the wild (http://www.peregrinefund.org/world_center.asp), and the Basque district, the largest concentration of Basque Americans in the United States (http://thebasqueblock.com/default.asp).
2012-05-28 - I have visited Paris several times, including in September 1992, May 1999 (to attend the French Open), August 2003 (during the brutal heat wave), February 2004, May 2005, May 2006, May 2012 and August/September 2012. Paris is one of the world's best museum cities, and I have visited Musée du Louvre, Musée Rodin, Musée d'Orsay, Musée Jacquemart-André, Musée National d'Histoire Naturelle, Musée National du Moyen Age, Musée de l'Orangerie, Musée Marmottan Monet and Centre Pompidou. Paris also offers a wealth of additional interesting sites, some of my favorites being Cimetière du Père-Lachaise, Hôtel des Invalides, Les Catacombes, Les Egouts and Deyrolle, established in 1831 and the world's best taxidermy shop (http://www.deyrolle.com). Paris is also one of the world's best dining destinations, and I have eaten in most of the historic restaurants, including Le Procope (opened 1686), Polidor (1845), Aux Charpentiers (1856), Brasserie Flo (1860), Bofinger (1864), Brasserie Lipp (1880), Cafe Les Deux Magots (1885), Brasserie Balzar (1886), Café de Flore (1887), Chartier (1896), Le Vaudeville (1918), L'Ami Louis (1924), Terminus Nord (1925), Allard (1930), Chez Jenny (1930), Taillevent (1946) and Chez George (1964). In May 2012 I stayed at Hotel La Louisiane, which is rundown but well located and was the hotel of choice of many American jazz musicians, like Miles Davis, John Coltrane and Bud Powell, during the 1940s and early 1950s (http://www.hotel-lalouisiane.com/).
2011-07-31 - Chicago -- I have visited Chicago many times, most recently in July 2015, where my favorite attractions are the Art Institute of Chicago, one of the world's great painting museums (http://www.artic.edu/); the Field Museum of Natural History, with excellent dinosaur and wildlife collections, including the lions of Tsavo and Mfuwe (http://www.fieldmuseum.org/); John G. Shedd Aquarium (http://www.sheddaquarium.org/); the Oriental Institute Museum (http://oi.uchicago.edu/); and Wrigley Field, the best baseball stadium in the country. My favorite restaurants in Chicago are among its most historic, including Gene & Georgetti (opened in 1941), Twin Anchors (1932), the Berghoff (1898), Won Kow (1927) and the Billy Goat Tavern (opened in 1937, but only in its current location under Michigan Avenue since 1964). My favorite hotel is The Drake Hotel, which opened in 1920 overlooking Lake Michigan (http://www.thedrakehotel.com/).
Chicagoland -- In July 2015, I visited Pullman Historic District, the first model, planned industrial community in the United States and which provided housing for several thousand factory workers who manufactured Pullman sleeping cars. After lunch nearby at Calumet Fisheries, established in 1948 (http://www.calumetfisheries.com/), I visited Oak Park, including the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio, several of the earliest homes designed by Wright and Ernest Hemingway's birthplace. I stayed in St. Charles at Hotel Baker, established in 1928 (http://www.hotelbaker.com/).
Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site -- In July 2011 I visited Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site, the largest pre-Columbian settlement in the United States and a UNESCO World Heritage Site (http://cahokiamounds.org/).
2011-01-29 - April 2014 -- I spent a couple of days in Indianapolis, where I visited the Indianapolis Museum of Art, the eighth largest encyclopedic art museum in the United States (http://www.imamuseum.org/), which displays the first sculptural form of Robert Indiana's LOVE painting and Rembrandt van Rijn's 1629 self-portrait (possibly his first self-portrait), and Crown Hill Cemetery, where John Dillinger is buried. I ate at three of the city's oldest restaurants: Shapiro's Delicatessen, established in 1905 (http://www.shapiros.com/), the Rathskeller, which has been in operation since 1894 (http://www.rathskeller.com/), and St. Elmo Steak House, opened in 1902 (http://www.stelmos.com/).
May 1989 -- I attended the 73rd running of the Indianapolis 500 (four of the top five finishers -- Emerson Fittipaldi, Al Unser, Jr., Mario Andretti and A.J. Foyt -- are in the Motorsports Hall of Fame).
2014-05-28 - May 2014 -- I arrived by hydrofoil from Saranda, Albania and stayed at Bella Venezia Hotel (http://www.bellaveneziahotel.com/) in the Old Town of Corfu, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. My favorite places to eat and drink were Estiatorio Rex, founded in 1932 (http://www.rexrestaurant.gr/), Café Bristol, founded in 1910, and Patisserie Papagiorgis, founded in 1925.
2010-09-23 - I have visited Iowa twice, first in August 1989 when I visited Davenport. In 2003, I made a business trip to Des Moines when I ate at 801 Steak and Chop House (which, according to the New York Times, is the "place to be seen" during the weeks preceding the Iowa caucases).
2011-01-30 - February 2000 and November 2005 -- I have visited Dublin a couple of times, most recently in November 2005. Between my two trips, I have visited several museums (favorites include the National Gallery of Ireland, the National Museum of Ireland and the Natural History Museum), as well as the Book of Kells (on permanent display at the Trinity College Library, Dublin). I have also visited several of Dublin's traditional Irish pubs, including Davy Byrnes, mentioned in Ulysses (http://www.davybyrnes.com/), Doheny & Nesbitts, and the Stags Head (http://www.thestagshead.ie/). On my first trip I stayed at the Shelbourne Hotel, built in 1824, and had dinner at The Tea Room in the Clarence Hotel (http://www.theclarence.ie/tearoom-restaurant).
2017-08-28 - July 2017 -- Irkutsk's unique wooden baroque architecture is a mixture of elements from Eastern European Orthodoxy with Buryat Shamanism and Buddhist traditions. One of the distinctive features of the wooden houses is the use of shutters in reaction to Siberia's historical high crime rate since it was thought that the shutters would act as an additional security barrier. Largely due to the abundance of wooden homes, Irkutsk is one of the most architecturally distinct cities that I have visited.
I took a marshrutka to Listvyanka, on the southwestern shore of Lake Baikal, from Irkutsk, for only $1.68 for the 43-mile trip. I don't have an interest in limnology, the study of inland waters, but it was nonetheless worth visiting the Baikal Limnological Museum, where I learned why Baikal is the world's most impressive lake. Baikal is the largest freshwater lake by volume, holding one fifth of all unfrozen fresh water, or more than the total contained in all five Great Lakes. Baikal is also the deepest, clearest and oldest lake. More than 80% of Baikal's animals are found nowhere else, and include the Baikal seal, the only exclusively freshwater pinniped. The seals mainly survive on golomyanka, translucent fish that are the deepest living freshwater fish. Listvyanka market has a large section selling smoked fish, including smoked golomyanka. The sensation of an incredibly fatty and oily fish, served whole from head to fishtail, exploding in my mouth was somewhat offputting. Unlike the seals, I stopped after one golomyanka. I also visited Siberia Zoo, where I was allowed to enter the enclosure with the foxes and juvenile wolf.
2011-01-29 - September 2010 -- I visited Roatan, the capital of the Islas de la Bahia (Bay Islands), where I stayed at Cocolobo (http://www.cocolobo.com/). Cocolobo is located on West End's ironshore, a fringing coral reef that has been thrust upward out of the sea and is geographically stunning (similar to the area around Hell, Grand Cayman), but is a short walk from excellent beaches. Its also a short walk from the main strip in West End, the best area to stay in Roatan with its wide variety of restaurants, bars and tour/dive operators.
2011-01-28 - August 2009 -- I traveled around the Isle of Man using its excellent public bus system, first to Douglas, the capital. From Douglas, I traveled to Port Erin, a town in the south of the Isle of Man, which has some good vantage points to see basking sharks (http://www.manxbaskingsharkwatch.com/) (although I didn't see any). From Port Erin, I traveled to Castletown, the former Manx capital.
2011-01-29 - In March 2014, I visited all six main administrative districts, known as mehozot, of Israel, and all of its UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Tel Aviv District -- I stayed at the Cinema Hotel, well located overlooking Dizengoff Square and built within the former Esther Cinema, one of the first movie theaters in Tel Aviv (http://www.atlas.co.il/cinema-hotel-tel-aviv/). I spent most of my time visiting the White City of Tel Aviv WHS, where the buildings reflect influences from the Bauhaus. My favorite places to eat were Cafe Batya (established in 1941) and Keton (from the 1940s), both of which specialize in Eastern European Ashkenazi cuisine.
Haifa District -- I stayed at the Colony Hotel in Haifa, situated in the German Colony (http://www.colonyhaifa.com/), and visited the three World Heritage Sites in Haifa District: Shrine of the Báb (the principal building in the Bahá'i Holy Places in Haifa and the Western Galilee WHS), Sites of Human Evolution at Mount Carmel WHS and Old City of Acre WHS. I also visited Caesarea, which is on the tentative list of WHS.
Northern District -- I stayed at Fauzi Azar Inn, a 200 year-old Arab mansion in Nazareth (http://www.fauziazarinn.com/), a short walk from the Basilica of the Annunciation (Nazareth is on the tentative list of WHS as part of the Galilee Journeys of Jesus & the Apostles). I also visited Tel Megiddo, one of the Biblical Tels WHS; Bet She'an, the only one of the ten cities of the Decapolis west of the Jordan River and on the tentative list of WHS; Beth She'arim, known for its large number of ancient rock-cut Jewish tombs and on the tentative list of WHS; and Capernaum, twice on the tentative list of WHS (as one of the Early Synagogues in the Galilee and as part of the Sea of Galilee & its Ancient Sites).
Center District -- I visited the White Mosque in Ramle, which is on the tentative list of WHS.
Southern District -- I stayed at the Masada Guest House, located at the foot of Masada (WHS) and overlooking the Dead Sea. I also visited Tel Beer Sheba (WHS) and the Nabatean town Mamshit, part of the Incense Route - Desert Cities in the Negev WHS.
Jerusalem District -- I stayed at the American Colony Hotel in East Jerusalem (http://www.americancolony.com/). My favorite places to eat were Philadelphia, in East Jerusalem, and Abu Shukri, located in the Old City of Jerusalem WHS. I also visited the Rockefeller Museum, formerly the Palestine Archaeological Museum.
I also visited Israel in August 1998, when I spent most of my time in Jerusalem in each of the old city's four quarters: (1) Muslim Quarter (at the time of my visit it was easy to access the Temple Mount and the Dome of the Rock, the oldest existing Islamic building in the world), (2) Christian Quarter (the Church of the Holy Sepulchre), (3) Armenian Quarter (the Cathedral of St. James, a 12th century Armenian church), and (4) Jewish Quarter (Western Wall). Outside the old city, I visited the Israel Museum (home of the Dead Sea scrolls) and the Yad Vashem Memorial and Holocaust Museum (http://www.yadvashem.org.il/). I ended that trip in Tel Aviv, where my favorite place to eat was Cafe Batya (at that time, in its original location).
2011-01-28 - September 2009 -- I visited Istria by rental car, making stops in Rovinj and Porec, where I visited the Euphrasian Basilica, a UNESCO World Heritage Site (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/809).
2011-01-28 - September 2008 -- The cafeteria near the top of the Tower Building is open to the public, but there is not much to see inside the building. ITU (HQ - Geneva) is the least interesting of the MTP destinations that I have visited.
2011-01-29 - November 2000-- I visited a friend living in Abidjan, where I spent a few days visiting the capital, including the depressing zoo (http://abidjanzoo.blogspot.com/) and Africa's largest outdoor laundrette at Parc du Banco. I also visited Grand Bassam, which is on the tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites (http://whc.unesco.org/en/tentativelists/5089/).
2011-08-25 - November 2009 -- I based myself in Guadalajara, where I stayed at Hotel Morales, well located in the historic center (http://www.hotelmorales.com.mx/). I visited the state's two UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the agave landscape and industrial facilities of Tequila (less than an hour by bus from Guadalajara's old bus station) and Hospicio Cabanas in Guadalajara. While in Guadalajara, I had dinner twice at Birrieria las Nueva Esquinas, known for its steamed goat, which was excellent (http://www.las9esquinas.com/ingles/index.html).
2011-06-27 - June 2011 -- I visited the area around Montego Bay, including Falmouth, one of the Caribbean’s best-preserved Georgian towns. I also visited the area around Sam Sharpe Square in Montego Bay, which contains several historic sites and buildings, including St. James Parish Church, built between 1775 and 1782 and one of the most impressive on the island. I ate at two of the island's best jerk shacks, Scotchies (along Highway A1 near Rose Hall and widely regarded as the islands's best) and the Pork Pit (in Montego Bay).
March 2004 -- I began my trip in Montego Bay, where I had lunch at Pork Pit, which is famous for jerk pork and chicken. I then spent a few days in Negril, where I stayed at The Caves, located above a honeycombed network of cliffs (http://www.islandoutpost.com/the_caves/). I ended my trip with a visit to Kingston, the capital of Jamaica, where I visited Hope Botanical Gardens, the largest in the Caribbean (http://www.moa.gov.jm/gardens/hope.php).
2011-01-29 - November 1997 and March 1999 -- I have spent nearly two months in Jakarta, split between business trips in November 1997 and March 1999, on both occasions staying at the Grand Hyatt Jakarta (http://www.jakarta.grand.hyatt.com/hyatt/hotels/index.jsp). Jakarta, one of Asia's least interesting large cities, is the capital of one of the world's most interesting countries. The most interesting area of Jakarta is its old port area, Sunda Kelapa, which only accommodates pinisi, a traditional double-masted wooden sailing ship serving inter-island freight service within Indonesia. The best place to eat in Jakarta is Cafe Batavia, located in the historic Old Jakarta Kota area (http://www.cafebatavia.com/).
In November 1997, I also visited Yogyakarta, including the Kreton complex and Ngasem Market, better known as the bird market (operating since 1809). From Yogyakarta, I made easy visits to two UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Borobudur and Prambanan.
In March 1999, I also visited Bandung, the third largest city in Indonesia, when I stayed at Savoy Homann Bidakara Hotel, which in 1955 hosted the first Asian African Conference (http://www.savoyhomann-hotel.com/home.htm), and Bogor, which is famous for its botanical garden, founded by Sir Stamford Raffles as his private garden in 1811 (http://www.bogor.indo.net.id/kri/).
2017-07-11 - June 2017 -- I spent a couple of days visiting Jeju, where I stayed at Hotel RegentMarine (http://www.hotelrmblue.com/index_EN.html), which is located in Jeju City on the waterfront between Black Pork Street and Raw Fish Street (those are the actual names in translation). On my first day, I visited Jeju City, where I had lunch on Black Pork Street at Restaurant Dombedon, probably the world's only Michelin-starred pork barbecue restaurant. For dinner, I ate on Raw Fish Street, where my abalone was likely harvested by a Haenyeo, elderly, free-diving women who can descend for up to three minutes and reach depths of nearly 65 feet. For my second day, I arranged for a car and driver (Kimi9461 (at) hanmail.net) and visited the Manjanggul lava tube and Seongsan Ilchulbong tuff cone, components of the Jeju Volcanic Island and Lava Tubes UNESCO WHS. I also visited two museums, Jeju Haenyeo Museum (which tells the story of the Haenyeo, who plunge to the sea floor to catch crustaceans, mollusks and octopi) and Jeju Loveland (an outdoor, sexually-explicit sculpture park). Mr. Kim also arranged for us to be quickly seated, avoiding the typical hourlong wait, for lunch of abalone porridge at Myeongjin Jeonbok Abalone Restaurant, probably the most well-known and popular on Jeju. Across from the restaurant, I was able to watch many Haenyeo dive to catch crustaceans and other sea creatures.
2011-01-29 - November 2007 -- I stayed in St. Helier, and traveled around the island by public bus, including a visit to Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, one of the great collections of rare and endangered animals (http://www.durrell.org/).
2017-07-11 - June 2017 -- I made a day trip by train from Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station to Suzhou Railway Station and then Suzhou Rail Transit to Binhe Lu Station since it was the nearest station to the Suzhou Fengqiao Scenery Spot, part of the Grand Canal of China UNESCO World Heritage SIte. I also visited the Lingering Garden and the Humble Administrator's Garden, two of the four gardens initially inscribed under the Classical Gardens of Suzhou UNESCO World Heritage Site. But the best site was the plate of xiaolongxia (spicy crayfish), only available during the summer season and perhaps the most flavorful dish I've ever eaten.
2017-08-28 - July 2017 -- I made a day trip from Harbin to Changchun, the capital of Jilin Province, by high-speed train, which covered the 175 miles between the two provincial capitals in an hour. Changchun is one of China's least interesting provincial capitals, but that current assessment belies its historical importance as the capital of the Japanese puppet state Manchuria from 1932 to 1945. Changchun's highlight is the Museum of the Imperial Palace of the Manchu State, formerly the residence created by the Imperial Japanese Army for Puyi, China's last emperor, during his time as Emperor of Manchuria.
2011-01-29 - May 2009 -- I began my trip in Amman, where my favorite place to eat was Hashem Restaurant, Amman’s most well-known place for hummus and falafel. I traveled from Amman on Jordan Express Tourist Transport (JETT) (http://www.jett.com.jo/english.htm) to Petra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/326), and stayed at the Movenpick Hotel, which is right at the entrance to the Petra Archaeological Park.
2011-07-17 - Hyōgo Prefecture -- In May 1998 I made a day trip by train from Kyoto to Himeji Castle (the White Heron Castle), generally considered to be the most beautiful of Japan's castles.
Kyoto Prefecture -- In May 1998 I took the Shinkansen for the two-hour trip from Tokyo to Kyoto, where I stayed at the Miyako Hotel and visited several of the sites in the Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Nara Prefecture -- In May 1998 I made a day trip by train from Kyoto to Nara, where I visited the Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara, including Todai-ji, a Buddhist temple complex whose Great Buddha Hall is the largest wooden building in the world.
Osaka Prefecture -- In December 2015 I visited the Dōtonbori area of Osaka, one of the city's principal entertainment and dining areas, where the largely pedestrianized streets are lined with large illuminated signboards, especially of sea creatures like a mechanical crab and octopus. My favorite dish was takoyaki, or octopus balls, which are served from many street stalls. In May 1998 I made a day trip from Kyoto to Osaka, where I attended a home game of the Kintetsu Buffaloes at the Osaka Dome, saw the whale sharks at the Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan and had dinner at Tokuya, which specializes in whale cuisine (http://www.tokuya.jp/).
2011-07-26 - July 2011 -- I visited the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, just north of Strong City in the Flint Hills region of Kansas (http://www.nps.gov/tapr/index.htm), and the Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site in Topeka, which commemorates the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision aimed at ending racial segregation in public schools (http://www.nps.gov/brvb/index.htm).
2011-01-29 - Tokyo -- In July 2017 I spent four days in Tokyo, where I visited the National Museum of Western Art (to see a comprehensive Arcimboldo exhibit) and the National Museum of Nature and Science (one of the world's best natural history museums). I ate at Kujiraya, Tokyo's oldest whale restaurant, which has been serving the world's largest mammals since 1950. Some of the dishes, like sliced raw whale skin and sliced raw whale heart, weren't too tempting, so I went with barbecued sei whale, the world's third-largest cetacean after blue and fin whales. I also visited some sites and areas in Tokyo that I hadn't visited during my previous trips, including Shibuya's pedestrian scramble crossing, the world's busiest intersection (the best views, and where I perched, are from the second-floor Starbucks, also the world's busiest); Shinjuku Takana Fruit Parlor, which has been serving very expensive fruit, usually presented as gifts instead of a quick snack, since 1885 (I purchased the single most expensive piece of fruit I have ever eaten, a US$7 apple); and Daikanyama T-Site, which could be the world's best book and CD store. I also attended a late night jazz session at The Pit Inn, which opened in 1965 and is known as the Village Vanguard of Japan. On the morning of my departure, I had sushi for breakfast at Tsukiji Fish Market, the biggest wholesale fish and seafood market in the world. In January 2016 I spent a day in Tokyo, where I stayed in Shinjuku and had yakitori for dinner at some of the small restaurants that line Memory Lane (also known as Piss Alley). I also drank at one of the very small bars in Golden Gai, a small area of Shinjuku composed of a network of six narrow alleys, connected by narrow passageways. Many of the bars in Golden Gai do not permit entry to foreigners. In May 1998 I spent a few days in Tokyo, where the highlights were the Tsukiji Fish Market; the Tokyo National Museum, which exhibits the largest collection of Japanese art in the world; Ueno Zoo, a short walk from the Tokyo National Museum; Sensō-ji, Tokyo's oldest and most popular temple; and Meiji Jingu Shrine, Tokyo's most venerable Shinto shrine.
Gunma Prefecture -- In July 2017 I made a day trip by train from Tokyo to Tomioka to visit Tomioka Silk Mill, established in 1872 and Japan's oldest silk reeling factory, which was added to the list of World Heritage Sites in 2014.
Kanagawa Prefecture -- In July 2017 I stopped in Yokohama while returning by train to Tokyo from Mount Fuji to see the Yokohama DeNA BayStars defeat the Hanshin Tigers by a score of 4 to 1 at Yokohama Stadium in a game between Nippon Professional Baseball Central League rivals. Afterwards I had dinner at Botanen, a small restaurant chock-a-block with BayStars memorabilia that serves as an unofficial clubhouse for BayStars players in Yokohama's Chinatown, which could be the world's largest.
Tochigi Prefecture -- In July 2017 I made a day trip from Tokyo to Nikkō, where I visited some of its temples and shrines that are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Nikkō's Tōshō-gū shrine encompasses dozens of buildings, gates and pagodas, but it has come to be known for a 17th-century carving over a stable door of three monkeys that embody the proverbial principle "see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil."
2012-01-06 - December 2011 -- I began my trip in Mysore, where I visited Mysore Palace (the most crowded interior of any tourist attraction that I have ever visited). I then traveled to Kabini River Lodge (http://www.kabiniriverlodge.com/) and went on safari in Nagarhole National Park, part of the Western Ghats tentative UNESCO World Heritage Site, where I saw large groups of Asian elephants, gaur (the largest species of wild cattle) and chital. I ended my trip in Bangalore, where I ate at Koshy’s Bar & Restaurant, established in 1940, and the Mavalli Tiffin Rooms, established in 1924 (http://mavallitiffinrooms.com/), and stayed at The Park Hotel (http://www.theparkhotels.com/bangalore/bangalore.html).
2011-01-29 - May 2007 -- I visited Almaty, where I stayed at the Best Eastern Otrar Hotel, centrally located on Panfilov Park and a short walk from Zenkov Cathedral, the second tallest wooden building in the world. The most interesting museum is the Central State Museum of Kazakhstan, which displays the most significant collection of Kazakh historical and archaeological artifacts, including a replica of the Golden Man suit (the original has been deemed too fragile to display and lies in the vaults of the National Bank of Kazakhstan). My favorite restaurant was Zheti Qazyna, which specializes in Central Asian cooking.
2011-01-29 - May 1988 and May 1989 -- I attended the Kentucky Derby in Louisville in May 1988 (won by Winning Colors; http://www.kentuckyderby.com/history/year/1988) and May 1989 (won by Sunday Silence; http://www.kentuckyderby.com/history/year/1989). In 1994, I traveled to Lexington and visited Mammoth Cave National Park (http://www.nps.gov/maca/), a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
2011-04-19 - August 2016 -- I flew from Zanzibar to Mombasa, where I stayed at the Castle Royal Hotel, which dates from 1909 (http://www.sentrimhotels.net/index.php/sentrim-castle-royal-hotels-in-mombasa) and is centrally located between the Moi Avenue tusks and Mombasa Old Town. I walked from my hotel to the Spice Market and then through the Old Town to Fort Jesus, a Portuguese fort built between 1593 and 1596 and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. I made a day trip from Mombasa to Kaya Kinondo, one of the Sacred Mijikenda Kaya Forests UNESCO World Heritage Site (the kindest thing that I could write is that its universal value escaped me) (http://www.kaya-kinondo-kenya.com). On my return from the Kaya, I went on safari in Shimba Hills National Reserve. I flew to Lamu, where I stayed at Subira House, which was built 200 years ago by the governor of the Sultan of Zanzibar (http://www.subirahouse.com). Due to Lamu's proximity to Somalia and some recent incidents, there were very few tourists in Lamu and I was the only guest at Subira House. The highlights in Lamu were visiting the Donkey Sanctuary, which works to improve the health and condition of Lamu's principal means of transport (https://www.thedonkeysanctuary.org.uk/project/lamu), and eating and drinking at Peponi Hotel in nearby Shela village (http://www.peponi-lamu.com). I made a day trip from Nairobi to go on safari in Lake Nakuru NP, where it was easy to see lion, huge groups of buffalo, Rothschild giraffe and white rhino. I also spent a couple of days wandering around Nairobi, which was much safer than I recalled, and I visited the August 7th Memorial Park, which commemorates the site of the former American Embassy destroyed in 1999 (http://www.memorialparkkenya.org), and the Nairobi Railway Museum, which exhibits trains from defunct East African railroads, including a coach attacked by the lions of Tsavo, and went on an organized tour to Kibera, the largest slum in Nairobi (https://kiberatours.com).
August 2003 -- I began my trip in Nairobi, where I stayed at the Stanley Hotel, established in 1902 but since substantially remodeled and modernized and lacking the historic charm of the Norfolk Hotel (http://www.sarovahotels.com/stanley-nairobi/). From Nairobi I drove to the Samburu National Reserve, where it was easy to see the Samburu big five: the gerenuk, Grévy's zebra, beisa oryx, reticulated giraffe and Somali ostrich. On the drive back to Nairobi, I stopped for lunch at the Mount Kenya Safari Club (http://www.fairmont.com/mount-kenya-safari/) and visited the animal orphanage at the Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy (http://www.animalorphanagekenya.org/).
August 1999 -- I started that trip in Nairobi, where I visited the Giraffe Centre, which works to conserve the Rothschild giraffe, the second most endangered giraffe subspecies (http://www.giraffecenter.org/); the Karen Blixen Museum, which was once the home of Isak Dinesen; the Nairobi National Museum; and Nairobi National Park. I stayed at the Norfolk Hotel, the most historic hotel in the capital (http://www.fairmont.com/norfolk-hotel-nairobi/). From Nairobi I flew to the Masai Mara Game Reserve, the northern continuation of the Serengeti National Park game reserve in Tanzania (which I visited later on the same trip), and stayed at the Mara Serena Safari Lodge, in the heart of the reserve's Mara Triangle. From the Masai Mara, I flew back to Nairobi and drove to Amboseli National Park, one of the best parks in Africa to see elephants, where I stayed at Ol Tukai Lodge (http://www.oltukailodge.com/). I had dinner at the Carnivore Restaurant in Nairobi, an open-air steakhouse, the twist being that much of the meat came from animals that visitors seek out on safari, like zebra, waterbuck and hartebeest, although the Carnivore no longer serves exotic game (http://www.tamarind.co.ke/carnivore/).
2014-08-26 - August 2014 -- I visited Pyongyang on a tour organized by Koryo Tours (http://www.koryogroup.com/), although the actual guides were from the Korea International Travel Company (KITC). The trip from Beijing was surprisingly simple to arrange, and Koryo Tours obtained the visa and plane tickets on Air Koryo. In Pyongyang, we visited the Mansudae Grand Monument (enormous bronze statues of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il), the Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum (which displays the USS Pueblo and captured U.S. military equipment and presents the North Korean perspective on the Korean War), Juche Tower, the Monument to Party Foundation (a large hammer, sickle and writing brush), the Pyongyang Circus (world-class acrobats and trapeze artists) and the Grand People's Study House overlooking Kim Il Sung Square. The best meals were dog-meat soup for lunch (which our group specially requested) and barbequed duck for dinner.
2011-01-29 - Busan -- In June 2017, I visited Jagalchi Fish Market, which, according to some reports, is the largest seafood market in South Korea (and that doesn't take into account two neighboring seafood markets that are almost as large).
Gyeonggi Province -- In June 2017, I made a day trip from Seoul by Seoul Metropolitan Subway to visit the mountain fortress city of Namhansanseong, as well as Hwaseong Fortress in Suwon, both of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. I had Korean fried chicken for dinner in Suwon at one of the many chicken restaurants on Suwon's well-known Chicken Street.
North Gyeongsang Province -- In June 2017, I spent a couple of days in Gyeongju, where I visited three UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Bulguksa Temple (considered a masterpiece of the golden age of Buddhist art in the Silla kingdom); the royal burial mounds scattered around Gyeongju (inscribed as part of the Gyeongju Historic Areas WHS); and Yangdong Folk Village, a traditional village from the Joseon Dynasty. Bulguksa Temple and Yangdong Folk Village are short bus rides from Gyeongju.
Seoul -- In June 2017, I visited the War Memorial of Korea, most of which is about the Korean War, and the National Museum of Korea, one of the best art museums in Asia. I had dinner at Daedo Sikdang, which opened in 1964, so may be the oldest Korean barbecue restaurant in the world. In January 2015, I had a one-day layover in Seoul, during which I visited the Royal Tombs of the Joseon Dynasty (the Seolleung cluster), Jongmyo Shrine and Changdeokgung Palace Complex, each of which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. On an earlier trip in December 1998, I visited Namdaemun gate (National Treasure Number 1), which was damaged by arson in February 2008.
2014-05-28 - May 2014 -- I based myself in Pristina, where I stayed at the Swiss Diamond Hotel Prishtina (http://www.sdhprishtina.com/), ate Kosovo qebabi at Shaban Qebaptore and spent time wandering around the bazaar area, where I visited the Kosovo Museum and the three historic mosques (the 15th-century Carshi Mosque, the Sultan Mehmet Fatih Mosque, which was built in 1461, and Jashar Pasha Mosque). I also visited Gracanica monastery, one of the Medieval Monuments in Kosovo World Heritage Site. From Pristina, I traveled by bus to Tirana, Albania.
2017-07-11 - June 2017 -- In June 2017, I traveled to Kosrae, one of the four states of the Federated States of Micronesia. (It took me three trips to visit all four states, including visits to Yap in December 2008 and Pohnpei and Chuuk in December 2015.) I spent five days on Kosrae, where I stayed at the Kosrae Nautilus Resort (http://kosraenautilus.com). From what I was told, I was the only tourist on Kosrae during my visit (other overseas visitors included missionaries and Peace Corps volunteers). I made a couple of visits to the Lelu archaeological site on Lelu Island, a satellite of the larger island of Kosrae, to which a causeway connects it. The site is a massive walled city built from the 13th century that contains royal tombs and dwellings hidden behind thick tropical vegetation. From the causeway there are good views of the mountain range that has led to Kosrae being called the island of the sleeping lady. The snorkeling was excellent, especially around the blue hole, a natural hole in the reef flat that's a 200 meter walk across the flat from the Kosrae Nautilus Resort, and Hiroshi Point, where many of the large coral heads are more than 2,000 years old.
2013-01-07 - December 2012 -- I visited Kuwait Towers and had lunch at the food stalls in Souk Al-Mubarakiya, the only interesting area of Kuwait City, the capital of the least interesting country that I have visited.
2011-01-29 - July 2006 -- I flew into Durban and then transferred by road to Pietermaritzburg, the capital of Kwazulu-Natal, where I spent one night. Early the next day, I picked up a rental car to drive to Underberg (for the trip up the Sani Pass to Lesotho with Sani Pass Tours (http://www.sanipasstours.com/)). After returning from Lesotho, I stayed at the Himeville Arms Hotel, established in 1904 (http://www.himevillehotel.co.za/). From Himeville, I drove to the Hluhluwe Game Reserve and Greater St. Lucia Wetland Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where I went on a cruise (plenty of hippos and crocodiles) in the estuary (http://www.stluciasouthafrica.com/hippo-croc-boat-cruise-st-lucia/).
2011-01-29 - May 2007 -- I arrived overland from Kazakhstan. I stayed in Bishkek at the Silk Road Lodge (http://silkroadlodge.kg/), and had lunch a couple of times at Café Faiza, just a short walk from the Silk Road Lodge. Osh Bazaar, the local food market, was very photogenic and the most interesting spot in the city.
2016-01-18 - Fukuoka Prefecture -- In December 2015 I visited Fukuoka, where I stayed at Ryokan Kashima Honkan, which was constructed during the Taisho period (1912 to 1925) and is located in the Gion area. The Gion area has some of Fukuoka's few remaining historic buildings, including Shōfuku-ji (completed in 1195, making it the oldest Zen temple in Japan) and Kushida-jinja, a Shinto shrine. I had dinner at one of the yatai (or outdoor food stalls) on the southern end of Nakasu island.
Nagasaki Prefecture -- In June 2017 I visited Nagasaki, where I stayed at Hotel Monterey Nagasaki (http://www.hotelmonterey.co.jp/en/htl/nagasaki/), which is located a very short walk from the departure point for the Gunkanjima Concierge Company (https://www.gunkanjima-concierge.com/en/). I joined one of the tours to visit Hashima Island, commonly called Gunkanjima (or Battleship Island), an abandoned island lying 15 kilometers from Nagasaki. Its nickname comes from the resemblance of its profile to a Japanese battleship. The island was known for its seabed coal deposits, which were mined, sometimes by forced labor during World War II, from 1887 until 1974, when the mine was closed, leaving the island abandoned. The island was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites in 2015 as one of the Sites of Japan’s Meiji Industrial Revolution, and has only been open to tourists since 2009. Battleship Island served as the villain's lair in the James Bond film Skyfall. Ōura Church, built in 1864 soon after the end of Japan's period of seclusion, is a short walk from Hotel Monterey Nagasaki. Ōura Church is the oldest church in Japan, and, along with a dozen other sites in and around Nagasaki relating to the history of Christianity in Japan, is on the tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. I also visited Nagasaki Peace Park and the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum commemorating the atomic bombing of Nagasaki on August 9, 1945, the second city upon which an atomic bomb was dropped, three days after the bombing of Hiroshima. On my last day in Nagasaki, I visited the Nagasaki Penguin Aquarium, the only aquarium in the world that focuses on penguins (https://penguin-aqua.jp/english/). Of the 18 typically recognized species of penguin, the Nagasaki Penguin Aquarium exhibits nine, more than any other aquarium.
2014-07-07 - July 2014 -- I took the ferry (http://www.tw.gov.nl.ca/ferryservices/schedules/j_pollo.html) from St. Barbe, NL to Blanc Sablon, QC, the easternmost community in the province of Quebec and a short drive from the Labrador border. I stayed at the Whaling Station Cabins (http://www.redbaywhalers.ca/), located in the Red Bay Basque Whaling Station, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
2015-01-05 - December 2014 -- I began my trip in Luang Prabang, one of the most charming small cities in Southeast Asia and whose old town center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where I stayed at the Belle Rive Hotel, constructed from three adjacent colonial houses along the Mekong riverfront (http://www.thebellerive.com). Among other places, I visited the Royal Palace Museum (within the Royal Palace built in 1904), Phu Si (which offers panoramic views of Luang Prabang) and Wat Xiang Thong. The most interesting place to eat was the Riverside Barbecue Restaurant, which offers tabletop barbecue. From Luang Prabang, I flew (via an overnight in Vientiane) to Xieng Khouang Airport, the air gateway to the Plain of Jars, where I stayed at the Vansana Plain of Jars Hotel in Phonsavan (http://www.vansana-plain-of-jars-hotel.com). I pre-arranged a tour of the Plain of Jars with Tey Lassada, who is responsive, well informed and fluent in English (he can be contacted at email@example.com). In order to avoid crowds, which were minimal in any event, we visited the sites in reverse order, beginning at Site 3 (which has about 150 jars on a wooded hillside), then Site 2 (spread around a pair of hillocks) and finally Site 1 (the largest collection with 334 jars or jar fragments). I also passed through Vientiane a couple of times, where I stayed at the Salana Boutique Hotel (http://www.salanaboutique.com). Vientiane is probably the quietest Southeast Asian capital city, but it's also the least interesting, with only one major historic site, Wat Si Sakset (built between 1819 and 1824 and Vientiane's oldest surviving temple).
2011-09-09 - August 2010 -- During a stopover in Riga, I visited its historical center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
May 2003 -- I traveled by bus from Vilnius, Lithuania to Riga, the capital of Latvia, where I stayed at Hotel Konventa Seta, well located in the center of Riga (http://www.konventa.lv/). I spent time in Riga's historic center, which is on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/852), where I visited the Museum of the Occupation of Latvia 1940-1991 (http://www.occupationmuseum.lv/), the Riga Cathedral (the largest medieval church in the Baltic states), and the Central Market, completed in 1930 and housed in hangars originally built for the German army’s zeppelins (http://www.centraltirgus.lv/). The highlight (by far) was the Jugendstil (German Art Nouveau) architecture on Alberta and Elizabetes streets, two of the most architecturally distinct streets I have visited (http://www.jugendstils.riga.lv/eng).
2011-01-29 - November 1993, December 1999, December 2005, May 2013 and September 2015 -- My favorite hotel in Rome is Hotel d'Inghilterra, located near the Spanish Steps and which has been a hotel since 1845. My favorite restaurants are Piperno (founded in 1856) and Giggetto Al Portico d'Ottavia (1923), both of which are located in the Jewish ghetto, Filetti di Baccalà and La Carbonara (1912). On my most recent visit, I made a day trip to Tivoli to visit Villa d'Este and Hadrian's Villa, both of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and where I had lunch at Antica Trattoria del Falcone (founded in 1918).
2011-01-29 - May 2009 -- I stayed at the Mayflower Hotel in Beirut (http://www.mayflowerbeirut.com/index1.asp), from where I traveled by public bus or minibus to three UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Byblos (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/295); Baalbek (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/294); and Anjar (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/293). My favorite place to eat in Beirut was Le Chef, established in 1959 and serving excellent hummus.
2011-01-29 - May 2006 -- I traveled from Underberg, South Africa up the Sani Pass with Sani Pass Tours (http://www.sanipasstours.com/) and had lunch at Sani Top Chalet (http://www.sanitopchalet.co.za/).
2011-01-30 - November 1997 and March 1999 -- I flew from Jakarta, where I spent the month of November 1997 on business, to Komodo Airport in Labuan Bajo on Flores. I had not made any prior arrangements, but was met at the airport by several fishermen and hired one to take me to Komodo Island, one of the three islands that form Komodo National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. I stayed at the ranger station at Loh Liang, which has bungalows and a restaurant, and the rangers organized a hike to the Banugulung viewing area, an hour from Loh Liang. There were several komodo dragons at the Banugulung viewing area, but it was also easy to see dragons while walking around the grounds at Loh Liang.
I have also been twice to Bali, first in November 1997 and again in March 1999, when I stayed in Ubud at Hotel Tjampuhan (http://www.tjampuhan-bali.com/index.php). Hotel Tjampuhan, opened in 1928, is the most historic hotel in Bali, and has hosted foreign artists, including Walter Spies. Walter Spies was a German painter who settled in Bali in 1927 and is often credited with attracting the attention of Western cultural figures to Balinese culture and art.
2013-05-28 - May 2013 -- I based myself in Tripoli, where I spent three nights at El Khan Hotel (http://www.elkhanhotel.com/), well located in the medina, and ate at Al-Athar Restaurant, where I had dinner each night, including baby camel algarra (cooked in a pottery amphora). In Tripoli, I visited the ruins of Bab al-Azizia, the partially demolished military barracks and compound that served as the main base for Muammar Gaddafi until its capture by anti-Gaddafi forces in August 2011. I made day trips to the archaeological sites of Sabratha, a Phoenician trading-post on the Tripolitanian coast that was Romanized and absorbed into the Roman province of Africa and rebuilt in the 2nd and 3rd centuries, and Leptis Magna, one of the most beautiful cities of the Roman Empire. I made my arrangements with Libya Travel & Tours (http://www.libyatravelandtours.com/).
2011-01-29 - September 2008 -- From Zurich Hbf I took a train to Sargans and then a bus to Vaduz (a single ticket can be purchased for the train-bus combination) (http://www.tourismus.li/en/navpage.cfm?category=AccessLI&subcat=AccessLI&id=44731).
2011-01-29 - January 2010 -- There are frequent trains from Milano Centrale to Genova Piazza Principe railway station, taking around two hours. From Genova Principe I walked to Via Garibaldi, the location of many of the Palazzi dei Rolli, a UNESCO World Heritate Site (http://www.irolli.it/).
2013-09-02 - August 2013 -- I visited the section of Kruger National Park north of the Olifants River, when I stayed at Olifants Rest Camp (http://www.sanparks.org/parks/kruger/camps/olifants/). I also visited Letaba Elephant Hall, which exhibits the ivory of some of Kruger's greatest tusked elephants, including six of the Magnificent Seven (http://www.sanparks.org/parks/kruger/elephants/tuskers/magnificent7.php).
2011-01-29 - May 2003 -- I visited Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, and visited its old town, which was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1994, including the Cathedral of Vilnius, St. Anne's Church and the Gate of Dawn. I also visited the Vilna Ghetto, established during World War II, to see the Choral Synagogue (1894), the only synagogue to survive the war, and the Museum of Genocide Victims (http://www.muziejai.lt/vilnius/genocido_auku_muziejus.en.htm) (on my way to the museum I wandered by the Frank Zappa Memorial). My favorite place to eat was Užupio kavine located on the Vilnia river (http://www.uzupiokavine.lt/).
2011-01-29 - November 2008 -- Several trains (line CA5) a day make the approximately three hour journey from Estacio de Sants, the main railway station in Barcelona, to Puigcerda, the line's final stop in Spain (before the train reaches La Tour de Carol, the line's final stop, which is in France). The price of the three-hour train journey was around €9. From Puigcerda, I took a taxi (€12) to the center of Llivia (near the museum and 15th-century gothic church). After a short time in Llivia, I took a taxi back to Puigcerda.
2011-01-30 - November 1993, December 1995 and January 2010 -- I have been to Lombardy several times, including extended visits to Milan in November 1993, December 1995 and January 2010. In January 2010, I also visited Mantua, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, approximately two hours by train from Milano Centrale station. On my first and most recent visits I had dinner in Milan at Ristorante Savini, located in Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II and established in 1884 (http://www.savinimilano.it/).
2016-07-30 - July 2016 -- I stayed at Beachcomber Lodge (http://beachcomberlhi.com.au) and rented a car from Wilson's Hire Service. My main objective was to see the Lord Howe Island stick insects that are kept at the Lord Howe Island Museum (http://www.lhimuseum.com). The stick insects were once very common on Lord Howe Island, but became extinct on the main island soon after black rats were introduced in 1918 when a supply ship ran aground. The last walking stick was observed on Lord Howe Island in 1920, after which time the species was thought to be extinct. In 2001, Australian scientists scaled nearby Ball's Pyramid and discovered a small population of 24 walking sticks living beneath a shrub. In 2003, scientists collected two breeding pairs, and the Royal Melbourne Zoological Gardens has since successfully bred walking sticks (more than 9,000 according to the most recent estimate in 2012). Breeding pairs have since been sent to zoos at San Diego, Toronto and Bristol. I also spent time searching for Lord Howe woodhen, which are now relatively abundant but which had declined to 30 known birds by the late 1970s.
2011-07-26 - New Orleans -- I visited New Orleans in February 1989, October 1996, October 2008 and April 2015. My favorite meals in New Orleans are creole cuisine at Antoine's, established in 1840 and where I had huitres en coquille a la Rockefeller, where the dish was created (http://www.antoines.com/), Galatoire's, founded in 1905 (http://www.galatoires.com/), Arnaud's, founded in 1918 (http://www.arnaudsrestaurant.com/), and Tujague's, established in 1856 (http://www.tujaguesrestaurant.com); fried chicken at Willie Mae's Scotch House, opened in 1957; muffuletta at Central Grocery, established in 1906; po-boys at Domilise's Po-Boys & Bar, founded around 1918 (http://www.domilisespoboys.com), and Johnny's Po-Boys, established in 1950 (http://johnnyspoboys.com); oysters at Acme Oyster House, opened in 1910 (http://www.acmeoyster.com/), and Felix's Restaurant and Oyster Bar (http://www.felixs.com/), which oppose each other across Iberville Street; blackened redfish at K-Paul's Louisiana Kitchen, opened in 1979 (http://www.kpauls.com); breakfast at Mother's Restaurant, which opened in 1938 (http://www.mothersrestaurant.net); and beignets at Café du Monde, established in 1862 (http://www.cafedumonde.com/). In October 2008, I visited the areas of the city damaged by Hurricane Katrina (http://www.toursbyisabelle.com/), and in February 1989 I attended Mardi Gras.
Elsewhere -- In October 1996, I attended the Angola Prison Rodeo (http://www.angolarodeo.com/). In April 2015, I visited the Monumental Earthworks of Poverty Point, the United States' most recent addition to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites; the kindest thing that I can write about Poverty Point is that its outstanding universal value escapes me.
2016-10-01 - September 2016 -- I based myself in Hildesheim, where I visited Michaeliskirche and St. Mariä Himmelfahrt, which are inscribed on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites as St. Mary's Cathedral and St. Michael's Church at Hildesheim. I also made a day trip to Goslar to visit the mine of Rammelsberg and the old town of Goslar, which are jointly inscribed on the list of World Heritage Sites as part of the Mines of Rammelsberg, Historic Town of Goslar and Upper Harz Water Management System WHS. On the day of my departure, I made a morning visit by train to the Fagus Factory in Alfeld, which has also been inscribed on the list of World Heritage Sites.
2011-01-29 - December 2009 -- I flew on Air Calédonie from Noumea's domestic airport (Magenta Airport) to Ouvéa, the only Loyalty Island that is within the Lagoons of New Caledonia UNESCO World Heritage Site area.
2011-04-03 - September 2008 -- I arrived by train from Frankfurt, and stayed at Hotel Casanova (http://www.hotelcasanova.lu/hotel.htm) in the center of Luxembourg's old town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/699) -- the most unique site is the Bock Casemates, 17th-century defensive tunnels.
2011-04-03 - December 2008 -- In Manila, I stayed during my first visit at Malate Pensionne (http://www.mpensionne.com.ph/) in the Malate area, the traditional tourist area, but more business hotels are located in Makati, where I stayed at the end of my visit to the Philippines. Manila lacks the charm of most other Asian capitals and has very few historic sights (except for a few in the Intramuros area, like San Agustin Church, a UNESCO World Heritage Site), but is somewhat redeemed by the high quality of its restaurants and bars, like Hobbit House, which offers a wide selection of beer and scotch (http://www.hobbithousemanila.com/).
2011-02-01 - August 2017 -- In the mid-16th century, Portugal established a permanent settlement in Macau, which it administered as a colony until the autonomous region was returned to Chinese sovereignty in December 1999. At that time, Macau was the last and only European colony in Asia. Fortunately, Macau has preserved much of its historic center, which was inscribed on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2005. As I did on my three prior trips to Macau, I spent a couple of hours over grilled seafood and a bottle of vinho verde at Henri's Galley (http://www.henrisgalley.com.mo/main_en.htm), which since 1976 has been serving the special administrative region's best Portuguese-influenced Macanese food. I also visited Macau in September 1995, December 1998 and January 2000, and, on each of those visits, I had Macanese prawns for dinner at Henri's Galley. On my first trip, I had roast pigeon for lunch at Fat Siu Lau, which has been serving Portuguese dishes since 1903 (http://www.fatsiulau.com.mo).
2012-06-16 - August 2016 -- I decided to stop in Madagascar while traveling from Seychelles to Mayotte so that I could visit one of the national parks in the Rainforests of the Atsinanana WHS, which was inscribed in 2007. I began my trip in Antananarivo, where I stayed at Palissandre Hotel (http://www.hotel-restaurant-palissandre.com/), which overlooks Analakely Market, the city's largest. The only WHS national park that is within driving distance of Antananarivo is Ranomafana National Park, around nine hours from the capital. On the way, I visited Antsirabe, the country's third largest city, which still has several buildings from French colonial rule, including Hôtel des Thermes (1922) and the railway station (1923). From Antsirabe, it was around six hours to Ranomafana National Park, one of the national parks in the Rainforests of the Atsinanana WHS. During a very muddy morning hike, I saw several lemurs, including Milne-Edwards' sifaka, red-fronted brown lemur, greater bamboo lemur (which was thought extinct until rediscovered in 1986), eastern lesser bamboo lemur and golden bamboo lemur (which was discovered in 1986). During an evening hike, I saw several chameleons, including two-banded chameleon (♂ and ♀), O'Shaugnessy's chameleon (♂ and ♀), short-nosed chameleon and side-striped chameleon, and brown mouse lemur.
May 2005 -- I began my trip in Antananarivo, where I stayed at Hotel Colbert (https://www.hotel-restaurant-colbert.com). It was a short drive to Perinet, where I stayed at Vakona Forest Lodge (http://www.hotelvakona.com/) and hiked to see indri, the largest lemur. A short flight took me to Morondova, where I stayed at Chez Maggie (http://www.chezmaggie.com/) and visited Avenue du Baobob and Kirindy Forest. I saw several different types of lemur in Kirindy, including mouse lemur, the world's smallest primate, and one fossa, the country's largest carnivore. From Morondova, I flew to Tolagnaro and visited Berenty Reserve, where it was very easy to see ring-tailed lemurs, Verreaux's sifakas and brown lemurs (introduced).
2011-01-29 - May 2010 -- I stayed at Pensao Residencial Mirasol, located in the Zona Velha, or old town, of Funchal (http://www.mirasol.biz/). I also visited the Laurisilva forests of Madeira, the least interesting UNESCO World Heritage Site that I have visited (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/934), Camacha, Ribeira Frio, Santana and Machico.
2011-01-29 - November 1996 -- I visited the Khajuraho group of monuments, India's largest group of medieval Hindu and Jain temples, which are famous for their erotic sculptures. The Khajuraho group of monuments has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is one of the seven wonders of India (as determined by the Times of India poll in 2007 and the NDTV poll in 2008/9).
2012-06-16 - Madrid -- I have been to Madrid several times (August 1994, July 1998, March 2000, April 2000, May 2000 and October 2002), where I have stayed at several of the city's historic hotels, including Hotel Ritz Madrid, the Westin Palace and Hotel Wellington (http://www.hotel-wellington.com/), which is my favorite place to stay in Madrid. Some of my favorite restaurants in Madrid are La Bola, established in 1870 (http://www.labola.es/), Casa Alberto, established in 1827 (http://www.casaalberto.es/), Casa Lucio (http://www.casalucio.es/), Cervecería Alemania, Las Bravas (known for its spicy potatoes), Casa del Abuelo (which only sells wine and shrimp, either grilled or with garlic), La Trainera, one of the city's best seafood restaurants (http://www.latrainera.com/), La Trucha, Sobrino de Botín, which claims to be the world's oldest restaurant and serves excellent suckling pig, and Zalacaín, which had three Michelin stars at the time of my visit in August 1994, but now has none. Food is also served at the cave bars near Plaza Mayor, my favorites of which are Mesón del Champiñón and Meson de la Guitarra. During my several trips, I visited the three excellent art museums, Museo del Prado, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía and Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, as well as Museo Nacional de Arqueología and Palacio Real. I have twice attended the bullfights at Plaza de Toros, the largest bullring in Spain.
Excursions -- In December 2010 I visited the university and historical center of Alcalá de Henares, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In November 2014 I visited the Royal Palace of Aranjuez (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), where I had dinner at Casa Pablete, founded in 1946.
2011-02-03 - January 2000 -- I made a short business trip to Mumbai and stayed at the Leela Kempinski Mumbai, located a few minutes from the airport (https://www.theleela.com/hotel-mumbai.html). I did have a free afternoon and visited the area around the Gateway of India that I had visited on an earlier trip.
November 1996 -- I started my trip in Mumbai, where I visited the Towers of Silence, circular, raised structures used by Zoroastrians for exposure of the dead to the sun and vultures (I was only able to view them from a distance), Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, the historic railway station and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Gateway of India, Crawford Market, the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (formerly Prince of Wales Museum of Western India), which has an extensive collection on ancient Indian history, and Mani Bhavan, the focal point of Gandhi's political activities in Mumbai between 1917 and 1934 (http://www.gandhi-manibhavan.org/). I had a memorable lunch at Leopold Cafe, one of the first sites attacked during the November 2008 Mumbai attacks (http://www.leopoldcafe.com/), and made a trip by boat from Mumbai to Elephanta Caves, a network of sculpted caves located on Elephanta Island and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. From Mumbai I flew to Aurangabad and visited the two nearby UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Ajanta Caves and Ellora Caves, as well as Daulatabad, a 14th-century fort city about 10 miles northwest of Aurangabad.
2011-10-29 - August 2014 -- I visited Portland, where I had dinner at Hugo's, which is generally considered one of Portland's top restaurants (http://www.hugos.net/).
June 2006 -- I flew to Portland and drove via Freeport (L.L. Bean) to Acadia National Park, stopping for lobster at Trenton Bridge Lobster Pound (http://www.trentonbridgelobster.com/). I spent the night in Bar Harbor, and then visited Portland and Kennebunkport.
2012-01-09 - August 2001 -- I visited Lake Malawi and stayed at the Livingstonia Beach Hotel in Senga Bay, a two-hour drive from Lilongwe (http://www.sunbirdmalawi.com/livingstonia/livingstonia_beach.htm). I visited nearby Lizard Island, a short boat ride from the hotel, where the snorkeling was excellent due to the remarkable water clarity and abundant cichlids. I also visited the Stuart Grant Tropical Fish Farm, which raises cichlids for export (http://www.lakemalawi.com/).
2014-01-07 - December 2013 -- I stayed at Conrad Maldives Rangali Island (http://conradhotels3.hilton.com/en/hotels/maldives/conrad-maldives-rangali-island-MLEHICI/index.html), which sponsors the Maldives Whale Shark Research Programme (http://maldiveswhalesharkresearch.org/). I spent an afternoon snorkeling with whale sharks in the Southern Ari Atoll and was very lucky to see three whale sharks (http://www.subaqua-divecenter.com/en/t/malediven/rangali). Conrad Maldives Rangali Island is also the location of Ithaa Undersea Restaurant, the first all-glass undersea restaurant. I spent my final day wandering around Malé, where I visited the Friday Mosque, the biggest and one of the finest coral stone buildings in the world and included on the tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites as one of the Coral Stone Mosques of Maldives (http://whc.unesco.org/en/tentativelists/5812/).
2011-01-29 - December 2002 -- I stayed at the British Hotel, the longest established hotel in Valletta (http://www.britishhotel.com/). I took a public bus from Valleta to Mosta to visit the Mosta Dome (the Church of the Assumption of Our Lady), one of the largest unsupported domes in the world. From Mosta, I continued by public bus to the Cirkewwa Ferry Terminal, where regular car ferries operate to the port of Mgarr on Gozo (http://www.gozochannel.com/). In Gozo I visited Ggantija, a megalithic temple complex erected during the Neolithic Age, which makes these temples more than 5,500 years old and some of the oldest manmade religious structures in the world (they are a UNESCO World Heritage Site).
2011-08-26 - October 2005 -- I flew from Winnipeg to Churchill and spent two days on the Tundra Buggy viewing polar bears near Cape Churchill (http://www.frontiersnorth.com). I ended my trip in Winnipeg, where I stayed at the Marlborough Hotel, which was built in 1914 (http://www.themarlborough.ca/), and ate at Kelekis, which has been opened since the 1940s (http://www.kelekisrestaurant.com/), and Alycia's, a Ukrainian restaurant known for its pierogies (which were excellent).
2016-01-15 - December 2015 -- I spent a couple of days in Majuro, where I stayed in a bungalow suite at Hotel Robert Reimers (http://www.hotelrobertreimers.com), located in the center of Delap-Uliga-Djarrit, the capital and largest city of the Marshall Islands. There is very little to see in D-U-D, so it's much more interesting to visit one of the nearby pristine islands or atolls, like Eneko Island (30 minutes from D-U-D by boat organized by Hotel Robert Reimers). The best places to eat and drink in Majuro are the Tide Table Restaurant and Lounge and The Grill at the Shoreline, both of which are located at the hotel.
2011-01-29 - November 2010 -- I spent most of my time wandering around Fort-de-France and visited Bibliothèque Schoelcher (designed by Henri Pick and one of the most ornate buildings in the Caribbean), La Savane (which was under renovation, but I could see the decapitated statue of Empress Josephine through the fencing), Cathèdral St-Louis (also designed by Henri Pick) and several outdoor and covered markets. I took a public bus from Fort-de-France to St-Pierre, the former capital, which was destroyed by the 1902 eruption of the Mont Pelée volcano, where I visited the volcanology museum and ruined buildings like the 18th-century theater and jail (where the solitary confinement cell imprisoned one of the few people to survive the volcanic eruption).
2011-01-29 - December 2014 -- In December 2014, I took the train to Baltimore and visited the Babe Ruth Birthplace Museum. I had breakfast at Attman's Delicatessen, founded in 1915 near the Chizuk Amuno and B'nai Israel Synagogues (http://www.attmansdeli.com/) and located on the "Corned Beef Row" section of East Lombard Street, which was once the center of Jewish life in Baltimore (but where most of the historic buildings have been demolished). I had lunch at Faidley's Seafood, founded in 1886 (http://www.faidleyscrabcakes.com/) and located in Lexington Market, established in 1792 but where all of the history has been erased, and dinner at Woodberry Kitchen, which sources most of its ingredients from around the Chesapeake Bay (http://www.woodberrykitchen.com/). On other trips to Baltimore, I attended the Preakness Stakes in 1992 and 2016 (http://www.preakness.com/), visited the National Aquarium, Baltimore (http://www.aqua.org/), and ate at Obrycki's in its original Fells Point location (which has since closed), a crab house established in 1944 (http://www.obryckis.com/).
2011-11-10 - May 2015 -- I visited the Harvard Museum of Natural History to see The Ware Collection of Blaschka Glass Models of Plants, better known as the "Glass Flowers" (http://hmnh.harvard.edu/glass-flowers). The Glass Flowers are a collection of over 4,000 highly realistic glass botanical models made by Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka from 1887 through 1936. On an earlier trip to Dublin, I saw the Blaschka models of marine invertebrates at the Natural History Museum.
December 2014 -- I visited the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, probably the world's best single-collector museum (http://www.gardnermuseum.org/home). In 1990, the museum was the site of history's most expensive art theft, with the paintings and items stolen valued at over $500 million. The stolen paintings' empty frames are still hanging on the museum's walls. The stolen paintings include The Concert by Vermeer, one of only 34 existing works by the artist and thought to be the most valuable unrecovered stolen painting, with a value estimated at over $200 million.
August 2014 -- I visited the clam shacks along Route 133, including the Clam Box of Ipswich, founded in 1938 (http://www.ipswichma.com/clambox/), and Woodman's of Essex, founded in 1914 and which claims to have invented fried clams (http://www.woodmans.com/).
Earlier Trips -- On earlier trips to Boston, I ate at three of the city's oldest restaurants — Union Oyster House (opened in 1826), Durgin-Park (1827) and Locke-Ober, the best of the three but now closed (1870) — and saw Roger Clemens pitch for the Red Sox against the White Sox in Fenway Park (July 1992). On two other trips to the state, I visited Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard, islands south of Cape Cod.