The Edinburgh Castle, Scotland

Learning about Scotland’s History in the Edinburgh Castle

It started raining as soon as I entered the Edinburgh Castle, even though the sky had looked bright when I climbed up the hill. Tip for visitors: Bring an umbrella, the weather changes quickly in Scotland. The Edinburgh Castle has stood on a Read More

Credit: Jeff Goldberg/ESTO

Hearing Concerts for Less at New York’s Carnegie Hall

How do you get to Carnegie Hall? The answer to this old joke about the most famous concert hall in the United States used to be “practice, practice, practice.” Today the answer for tourists and New Yorkers alike would be "bus, subway, on foot or by Read More

Taking the waters

Taking Tea and the Waters at the Pump Room, Bath, England

You’d think after a lifetime of drinking tea I’d be undeterred by thorny problems of etiquette. But here in the elegant, eighteenth-century Pump Room in Bath I’m suddenly overcome by nerves. Because, as anyone who’s ever picked up a Regency romance Read More

Abbotsford ( Ann Burnett )

Re-visiting Sir Walter Scott at Abbotsford in the Scottish Borders

I had to read Sir Walter Scott’s Ivanhoe at school and vowed never to open one of his books again. So what am I doing visiting Abbotsford, his house in the Scottish Borders? It’s re-opened to the public after a refurbishment (the Queen did the honors Read More

Chac Mool Waiting for the Sun

Calling Quetzals at Chichen Itza in Mexico

We are standing at the foot at El Castillo, near the bottom of the staircase famous for producing a snake-like shadow on the equinox, and taking turns clapping, looking satisfied at one another, and inviting the next person to take a turn. Through Read More

'Roman Legionaries', Housesteads Fort

Following the Roman Legions Along Hadrian’s Wall

As I left the car park at the side of Cawfields Quarry, I was glad of the breeze, for the day promised to be hot. I followed the footpath along the pond’s edge, past the tall quarry face and gently uphill to the walls of Milecastle 42. The section of Read More

View of Machu Picchu from Mountain Machu Picchu (©photocoen)

Climbing the Machu Picchu Mountain in Peru

As Peru was going to be the next country on my itinerary in South America, I read the Buckettripper account of my colleague Grace Lichtenstein about climbing the Huayna Picchu, one of the mountains at the famous Machu Picchu ruins, with specific Read More

Almshouses, Bruges

Stepping Back in Time in the Almshouses and Beguinages of Bruges, Belgium

I must be honest. I’d never heard of a beguinage (or begijnhof, in Flemish) until I came to Bruges. Somehow the concept passed me by in my preliminary pass through the guidebook: I was too busy getting excited about bell towers, boat trips and Read More

Decorated ceiling

Imagining the Lives of the Harem Women at Istanbul’s Topkapi Palace

The surroundings are stunning. Sumptuous Ottoman architecture, Moorish arches, and Iznik tile mosaics. This was where the Sultan lived with his numerous wives, children and concubines, and I am trying to imagine what it must have been like to live Read More

Sydney Opera House (photo: Anthony Toole)

Being Overwhelmed by a Concert at the Sydney Opera House

Even before we had left England I had booked seats for the concert, even though I had no idea what the performance would be: The Opera House website gave only the title, The Shock of The New, and the information that the programme would only be Read More

1920 Fowler Road Locomotive (Photo credit: MCArnott)

Attending the Traditional Cart Marking Ceremony in London, England

What do Montgomery’s Rolls Royce and a butcher’s handcart have in common? They appeared in a London ritual dating back to 1667: Cart Marking. The first time I heard the name of this ceremony -- Cart Marking Under the Worshipful Company of Carmen Read More

Boat trips are popular in picturesque Bruges

Discovering the City of Bruges (Brugge), Belgium, by Boat

“Where are you from?” roars the boat’s captain into the microphone. He rattles out our various nationalities. French, Flemish, Dutch, Welsh, Scottish, Turkish, Spanish. “No Germans?” he bellows. “Excellent!” And then to ease our collective wince he Read More

The first recorded slave ship docked in Portsmouth Harbor in 1645 (© Stillman Rogers)

Walking the Black Heritage Trail in Portsmouth, New Hampshire

We northerners tend to think of slavery as an institution peculiar to southern history, not to our own. But in fact, it was not at all uncommon for New Englanders to hold slaves. After all, New England ports -- including Portsmouth -- were the Read More

American Wing Courtyard of the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Seeing New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art Efficiently and Economically

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is a both a wonder and a monster. I’ve lived in New York most of my life and its size intimidates me. Moreover, as New York’s most popular indoor attraction, with more than 6 million visitors annually, the museum poses Read More

Taliesin, home of Frank Lloyd Wright. ©Melanie Radzicki McManus

Touring Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin in Wisconsin

When you live in Frank Lloyd Wright’s former backyard, you hear lots of stories. The famous architect was a skinflint who never paid his taxes. He was a scoundrel who bullied people and thought he was all that. He had expensive tastes and carelessly Read More

Roosevelt Cottage, Roosevelt Campobello International Park (Photo copyright Stillman Rogers)

Having Tea with Eleanor Roosevelt on Campobello Island, New Brunswick, Canada

"A woman is like a tea bag; you never know how strong it is until it's in hot water." We all laughed, but Eleanor Roosevelt’s favorite saying gives us a clue to what kind of person she was – never afraid of controversy or of standing up for her Read More

An Old Time Fourth of July Parade in Old Sturbridge Village

Celebrating Independence Day at Old Sturbridge Village, Massachusetts

The picnic basket listed heavily to one side as the two little girls of different ages tried to carry it between them. They set it down frequently on the gravel path that leads to the grassy common in the center of Old Sturbridge Village. I could Read More

Viewing Atlantis (NASA/Kennedy Space Center)

On a Mission with Space Shuttle Atlantis

Every morning, I wake up looking at a Space Shuttle, a career space worker by my side. The model reminds John of his 33 years with the program. Where we dine with his parents, photographs of launches and astronauts grace the walls. When the sheriff's Read More

Uros women doing chores and chatting (©photocoen)

Meeting Uros People on Lake Titicaca in Peru

Living on an island of reeds, in a house of reeds, sleeping on a bed of reeds, cooking on fuel of reeds, and fishing from a boat of reeds? How intriguing is that? The Uros' way of life has fascinated me for years. According one of the stories, Read More

Stirling Castle sits high above the plain (photo credit: Ann Burnett c 2013)

Paying Homage to King James V at Stirling Castle, Scotland

It’s the color that strikes us at first. How could sixteenth century Scotland be so full of color? Even on this dull, rainy day (dreich as the Scots call it) the outside of the Great Hall of Stirling Castle is a luminous cream. One of the many guides Read More

Monticello

Walking in Thomas Jefferson’s Footsteps at Monticello

The piercing ring of metal striking metal mingles with the sizzling fumes of a roaring forge. On Mulberry Row, a worker pounds smelted ore into nails – a mainstay of life at Monticello, circa 1790. Nearby, two men shape softened wood into strips for Read More

Tour group on the Gettysburg Battlefield

Touring the Gettysburg Battlefield with a Gettysburg Guide

It was raining, of course. It had rained for a week and shown no signs of stopping, but this was our one chance to see Gettysburg while John and I were in this part of Pennsylvania. Our National Park Service tour bus pulled into the parking area for Read More

Tree roots grow over a temple in Siem Reap, Cambodia

Exploring the Angkor Archaeological Park in Cambodia by Bicycle

I'm covered in sweat. Sweat is pouring down my back under my t-shirt, and my hair is soaked. I don't mind the sweat, because I'm looking at my favorite temple in the Angkor Archaeological Park so far: Ta Phrom. Unfortunately there are about a million Read More

The orange trees of Cordoba's Alcazar

Walking Beside the Orange Trees at Córdoba’s Alcazar

The gardens of Córdoba’s Alcazar may be smaller than those of rival palaces in Seville and Granada, but they are still impressive. Even in the rain. I had walked through Córdoba’s UNESCO listed historic centre, from the magnificent La Mezquita and Read More

On Harmony Night, dancers in the parade wear elaborate costumes (photo by Laura Byrne Paquet c 2011)

Reveling at Harmony Night on the Caribbean Island of St. Martin

A tropical village that holds a street party called Harmony Night every Tuesday evening, all winter long, is my kind of place. Tiny Grand Case, on the French side of the island of St. Martin, is also home to a few of the best restaurants in the Read More

No matter where you look in Ouro Prêto, you'll always see at least one church (©Coen Wubbels)

Being Enchanted by Brazil’s Best-Preserved Colonial Town of Ouro Prêto

Around 1700 gold was discovered in the state of Minas Gerais. In 1711 Vila Rica de Ouro Prêto (Rich City of Black Gold) was founded, which soon became the capital of the state and epicenter of Brazil's biggest gold rush. Thousands of slaves dug out Read More

The Great Clash of Nature-001

Sleeping like Monks in the Caves of Goreme in Cappadocia

As an independent traveler, it happens every so often: You find yourself walking beside a road in the middle of the desert, cars whizzing by you with little regard, no more than a bottle of water and a book in your bag. It was that way one afternoon Read More

Bronc riding and other rodeo events are the centerpiece of Cheyenne Frontier Days. (photo credit: Katherine Rodeghier c 2013)

Roping in Cowboy Culture at Frontier Days in Cheyenne, Wyoming

The aroma wafts toward my nose from a block away. The familiar sweet smell mixed with a yeasty scent makes my mouth water, and by the time I walk to Depot Square my mind is on only one thing: pancakes. But the crowd gathered in front of the Read More

Graceland was built four years after Elvis was born. He bought it when he was 22. (photo credit: Katherine Rodeghier c 2013)

Touring Graceland, Home of Elvis Presley in Memphis, Tennessee

My first impression, taking the circular driveway to the home of Elvis Presley, is how small it is. For someone larger than life, I expected something grander for the King of Rock ’n’ Roll. But if you go by square footage (17,552), the home is Read More

The Beautiful Blue Coast of Heybeliada

Ferrying to the Princes’ Islands in Istanbul

On the ferries to Princes’ Islands, I would always drink copious amounts of tea. Waiters with dangling trays roamed up and down the decks touting chai for less than a dollar, delivering a tear-drop Turkish tea cup on a little glass saucer, complete Read More

Inside Aspen Music Festival's Benedict Tent. Photo: Alex Irvin

Hearing Great Classical Music Free in Aspen, Colorado

There’s nothing more glorious than sitting on the grass on beautiful evenings at summer classical music festivals, listening to Brahms or Stravinsky. But from Tanglewood to Hollywood, from Wolf Trap to Ravinia, only one top festival offers lawn Read More

Detail of a frog symbol on a pole at the Vancouver Airport (Credit: MCArnott)

Learning about Totem Poles in Vancouver, British Columbia

Bulging eyes at the top gaze at the horizon, a grinning mouth bares teeth at the base of the pole. A bear? A wolf? The various symbols engraved in the wood still hold mystery, and a few misconceptions, about Canadian aboriginal culture. Fortunately, Read More