October 19, 2015 |
Periodically, I receive from my university alumni office brochures advertising exotic trips to far-off destinations. I usually browse through them and then throw them in the trash. But then I saw one advertising a cruise celebrating the centennial anniversary of the opening of the Panama Canal. Rather than a massive cruise ship, the trip was on a luxury yacht-size vessel with only 36 staterooms accommodating 72 passengers. I knew that trip was worth experiencing, so I promptly called the travel agent, who informed me only one stateroom was available.
October 12, 2015 |
My buddy Mike once said to me, "Look, I'm fat. But that doesn't make me a gourmet. " He was talking about beer. He was at my house, and I was holding forth on whatever I was pouring, and he was calling me out. He claimed I didn't know anything about beer, including how to pour one. But I really like beer. So when my wife dragged me (memo to self: Change dragged in final version) to a destination wedding in northern Vermont, only one name sprang to mind: Heady Topper. Heady Topper is the unicorn of beers.
October 5, 2015 |
Promise that after you read this, you won't tell all your closest friends and relatives about this amazing place, where crowds and traffic are almost nonexistent. Lake Winnipesaukee is a bucolic, serene, and truly happy haven where life's worries evaporate in the fresh air (no need for air-conditioning). For the last 18 years, we have visited this New Hampshire wonderland, as well as the White Mountains and Lake Ossipee region. This summer's two-week vacation combined the best of every experience we've had on Winnipesaukee.
September 29, 2015 |
To the adoring crowds who came out to catch a glimpse of him - and they numbered in the millions - Pope Francis was that smiling man in white robes: a sometimes fleeting image passing along the streets of Havana, on Constitution Avenue in Washington, through New York's Central Park, and up the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia. A symbol of joy and hope, his values can sometimes be expressed very simply, and they were. "Love is the expression of faith," read a banner bearing his image on the Ben Franklin Parkway.
September 28, 2015 |
I didn't plan my trip to Ecuador to coincide with Pope Francis' visit there in early July. It took me by surprise - and it was wonderful. Our Ecuadorean tour guide, however, wasn't so sure. He was very worried about our need to travel in and out of the capital city of Quito. He told us about the preparations: many street closures, limited car traffic, the huge police presence, the massive efforts to bring people in on buses. One of the most impressive, if outrageous, declarations said to have been made by Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa in advance of the pope's visit was to downgrade the potential of a volcanic eruption.
September 21, 2015 |
If you visit Munich, Germany, on your European trip, you may see its coat of arms on everything souvenir: a little monk figure holding a beer mug. The name Munich - in German, - is a derived form of "little monk. " Monks of the Benedictine Order operated a monastery and brewery at the place that later became Old Town Munich, first mentioned in 1158. Born and raised in Munich in the state of Bavaria, my husband and I this year observed our 50 years in the United States. As a young couple with a 6-year-old daughter, we embarked on our America adventure in March 1965, with just a promise of a hotel job in Washington, a few suitcases with clothes and necessities, and high anticipation.
September 14, 2015 |
Fixed income? I had no idea what those words really meant until we retired and were there. Like many baby boomers, we've taken our share of financial hits. We've also made a few "great decisions at the time" that have come back to bite us in our fixed incomes. Neither of us got the 30-year handshake, which would have given us the financial freedom to play in Europe like many of our friends. We play anyway. The other day, we went on a European road trip . . . in Bucks County and New Jersey.
September 6, 2015 |
Sri Lanka. Even the name sounds exotic, conjuring images of mystical journeys, long-ago kingdoms, and towering temples. But the country, where I recently spent four weeks on vacation and business, is also very much of our modern age. That contrast is at the heart of Sri Lanka's charm and rhythm, and can be felt everywhere in this island nation of 20 million. Take Sigiriya. On a glorious mid-June morning, I walked the 1,200-or-so steps to the top of this ancient rock palace and fortress and surveyed the surrounding countryside in awed contemplation.
September 3, 2015 |
The first time, Matt Szczur said, it kind of catches you off guard. You make the big leagues out of spring training, but April is barely half over when you're called into the manager's office. The general manager is in there, too, they're telling you that they want you to get regular at-bats, that they're real happy with you, but that you're going back to triple A. It's not a shock anymore. Szczur, the former Villanova football all-American and baseball star from Lower Cape May High School, now 26 years old, has shuttled between the Chicago Cubs and their top farm club 10 times this season.
August 31, 2015 |
'Don't smell it before you eat it," the Icelandic waitress warned me. I stared down at the cubes of rotten, fermented shark in front of me. The smell of ammonia wafted past my nose, and before I lost my nerve, I speared the shark, chewed it hastily, and washed the whole business down with a searing shot of schnapps the Icelanders not-so-affectionately dub "The Black Death. " Now that I'd conquered the infamous hakarl, I sat back in satisfaction, but not with just my adventures in galling gastronomy.