Travel

02/21/2012 | | Travel Writer | Travel

As you survey the deep blue Atlantic that surrounds Madeira and gaze over volcanic peaks with the scent of orchids in the air, you may feel like you’ve discovered a lost paradise.

Nearly 600 years ago, Portuguese explorers probably felt the same way when they stumbled upon the uninhabited island. There were no humans on these virgin shores — just lush green valleys thick with riotous pink blooms, waves crashing on blackened cliffs and hundreds of colorful birds. Is it any wonder those sun-struck sailors were inspired to pursue the Age of Discovery?

02/14/2012 | | Travel Writer | Travel

The Olympics are coming!

All over London, cloaked in yet another layer of once-unthinkable snowfall, people look to this summer’s Games for much-needed cheer. The record chill that has seized Europe this winter seems to mirror the mood across the Continent. From the British Isles to the Urals, Europeans are depressed about falling incomes, rising taxes and bleak prospects, and the punishing cold just seems to rub it all in.

02/07/2012 | | Travel Writer | Travel

Lodz, Poland’s third-largest city, has long held a special resonance for Jewish visitors.

This onetime outpost of the Russian and German Empires was among the world’s most Jewish cities before the Holocaust, with a quarter-million Jews, a good third of the city’s total. Every year, thousands of heritage travelers come to bear witness to Lodz’s wartime ghetto and the largest Jewish cemetery in Europe.

So fixed is that mournful image that it takes a mental leap to consider what Europeans already know: Lodz is suddenly the coolest place in Poland.

01/31/2012 | | Travel Writer | Travel

For art lovers, the great American road trip has a new pit stop.

That’s because the arts are in bloom in Kansas City, Mo., the major stop between St. Louis and Denver on Interstate 70, which slices through Middle America from Baltimore to Utah.

01/17/2012 | | Travel Writer | Travel

A frenzy of chatter greeted the recent announcement that Virgin Galactic would begin offering commercial flights into space for $200,000. Those wishing to see Planet Earth from afar may have to wait until later this year, when space flights are expected to take off from New Mexico.

01/10/2012 | | Travel Writer | Travel

Santiago, the blossoming capital of Chile, has long been the Latin American also-ran — overlooked as travelers flocked to the tango of Buenos Aires, the Inca wonders of Machu Picchu and the sexy shores of Brazil.

That’s precisely what makes Santiago such fun to discover. As one of the hemisphere’s most vibrant economies, crisis-defying Chile is becoming an international destination for investors, professionals and tourists, and one of my top picks for 2012.