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Nordland Port Townsend Ravenscroft Inn State of Washington

PORT TOWNSEND

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October 15, 2015
Whenever we want a quick getaway from the hustle of Seattle we hop on the ferry to cross Puget Sound and head up the Kitsap Peninsula to the serenity of Port Townsend, a small city located near the entrance to Admiralty Inlet, the main shipping channel to Seattle and Tacoma.
After coffee in Port Gamble on our latest journey we took a detour before reaching our goal by following a wild turkey in the bicycle lane.
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Riace Bronzes Sicily

BETWEEN SCYLLA AND CHARYBDIS – THE STRAIT OF MESSINA

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September 20, 2015

We arrived in Sicily deep in the bowels of the large ferry that transports the train from the mainland to the island. Now we returned for a day of sightseeing, this time on one of the many car ferries that cross the straits from Messina back to the port near Reggio Calabria.
The straits, so feared by the ancients, are only two miles wide at this point but are still full of hazards: cargo and cruise ships moving at high speed day and night, along with strong tides as the waters flow back and forth between the Ionian and Tyrrhenian Seas.
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Italy Rome Sicily

STRANGERS ON A TRAIN

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July 31, 2015

The Rome airport was in chaos because of a fire. Our one-hour flight to Catania in Sicily, where Glenn and I were to begin a two-week tour, was cancelled and we were unable to rebook by computer or in person. Our only alternative was to take the train, a ten-hour journey.

After fruitless efforts to book on-line, we headed to the crowded and pickpocket-ridden Stazione Termini to get tickets from an agent who could advise on schedules.
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Italy Ortigia Sicily Syracuse

ICE CREAM FOR BREAKFAST – Syracuse

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June 30, 2015

Surely it is a breakfast suitable for the Greek gods who formerly inhabited this lovely part of Sicily: gelato in a fresh and soft brioche accompanied by ice coffee – cold, creamy, sweet and strong enough to keep me awake for at least 18 hours.

We sat outside a café on the waterfront near the Fountain of Arethusa along with the locals who were analyzing the latest political and soccer news. I was analyzing a guide to the part of Syracuse known as Ortigia.
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Rome roses

ROMAN ROSES

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June 3, 2015
One of the pleasures of a sunny Roman day in May is taking a leisurely stroll through the Communal Rose Garden which is open during that month when the blooms from over 1100 plants are exuberantly flourishing.

The ancient Romans were rose fanciers and supposedly the current site was originally home to a temple dedicated to Flora, the goddess of flowers.

Wealthy banquet hosts showered their guests with petals as a finale to the meal. (And in the spirit of excess attributed to several emperors both Nero and Heliogabalus (204-222) were reputed to have suffocated guests by dumping piles of petals from a false ceiling.… Read more

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Papua New Guinea

PAPUA NEW GUINEA

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April 27, 2015

The ship glided over the still tropical waters of Astolabe Bay toward Madang. 

The romantic name of the bay comes from its “discoverer,” Dumont d’Urville who named it after his ship when he sailed in in 1827. We were accompanied to the dock by locals in small boats singing and waving to us – tourist dollars approaching often brings joy to this part of Papua New Guinea.
The town, deep in the jungle-rimmed bay, seemed to me a hot and humid collection of random buildings, and trees filled with large bats having a nap, although it boasts several resorts for intrepid travelers and NGO workers in need of R&R. 
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Canada New Brunswick Nova Scotia

NOVA SCOTIA AND NEW BRUNSWICK – Lobsters and Lighthouses

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March 29, 2015



I’ve wanted to return to Nova Scotia for years. The last time was so long ago about all I remembered of Halifax was the sign on the wrought iron gate at the entrance to the public park: “Beware the Cross Swan,” and marvelous lobster meals. After touring the city we had ventured down the rocky coast to Peggy’s Cove, the tiny town whose beauty was captured by the misty watercolors done by W. E. deGarthe. The lobster boats and traps and the lighthouse marking the entrance to the narrow harbor are a painters’ and photographers’ dream and a place I wanted to visit again.

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Charleston SC

DOING THE CHARLESTON

on
February 25, 2015

Charleston, South Carolina is a delight. And Southern hospitality is everywhere.
We recently spent two days there – not nearly enough to sample all the offerings but enough to know we would like to return. Foodies, gardeners, history buffs, architecture vultures and culture mavens can all find plenty of attractions in lovely old city under the southern sun.

The food was a new experience – in the Pacific Northwest we don’t see a menu with gumbo, she-crab soup and red rice and deviled crab cakes, and we enjoyed every mouthful.
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Etruscans Italy Lazio Vetralla

IN THE HEART OF ETRUSCAN COUNTRY

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January 25, 2015
One of my favorite day trips from Rome is heading north into the dreamy scenery of Etruscan country, that area of northern Lazio and bits of Tuscany and Umbria where the Etruscans once roamed.
Our first stop one summer day was Vitorchiano a tiny town, set on a cliff between two ravines. It was originally a Roman fort and the inhabitants haven’t forgotten their history – they still regard themselves as Roman. We paused at a local market set up near a fountain to browse the irresistible selection of fruit. 
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Duomo Fashion Galleria Vittorio Emanuele Italian Fashion Milan

MILAN – CAPITAL OF STYLE

on
December 28, 2014
I’m one of those people who love Milan. It doesn’t have ancient ruins or hordes of tourists but it is the Italian capital of design, especially fashion. The last time we arrived at the central train station evidence of the creative zest was everywhere from the 1930-era mosaics near the tracks to the fashion stores filling the main concourse and upper levels.

A few subway stops away is the historic center dominated by the Gothic spires of the Duomo, or main cathedral.

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Coins in the Fountain
Available on Amazon. Kirkus Reviews says “You don’tneed Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck to enjoy this delightful Roman Holiday…Armchair-travel books are rarely as good as this one”