For travelers seeking a dose of foreign-language exoticism close to home, I recently recommended Quebec City. But for those who could live without long winter shadows and the majesty of snowfall, another terrific early-winter option is Puerto Rico.
Spanish-speaking Puerto Rico is basking in a shiny new glow these days, with a rash of luxe new hotels sprouting up in San Juan, home to the Caribbean’s largest Jewish community, and on Vieques, the chic former military zone.
‘Austin is so much fun,” everybody tells you when you say you’re thinking of visiting. And you know what? They’re right.
Many of us from parts East have a sort of love-hate relationship with the whole idea of Texas. The cowboy stuff seems hokey, but secretly we think line dancing looks like fun. (It is.) The gun stuff scares us, but the Western culture is refreshingly singular amid a vast, anodyne heartland of strip malls and chain stores.
One of the most universal concerns of tourists is, paradoxically, how not to look like a tourist.
Think for a minute about the fundamental absurdity. Does a student take pains to cover up his notebook and backpack, lest he be identified as such? Does the plumber sidle into your building in a tuxedo, the better to avoid detection?
‘I’m nervous about going to Europe,” my mother fretted recently, scanning the headlines about possible Al-Qaeda plots in Britain, France and Germany.
She pictured shifty-looking terrorists on the Thames, evildoers in the Eiffel Tower, villains lurking among the vines of the Loire. But I’m convinced that Europe is a big place, as safe as anywhere these days, and am planning trips abroad with no qualms whatsoever. Even if everyone else is not in the mood.
Hilary Larson |
Special To The Jewish Week |
The swamp trees are already bare-limbed in northern New England, where winter tends to come early and linger late. But the first half of October is unparalleled for hillside leaf-peeping, and where better to do it than amid the lush, maple-clad hills of Vermont?
Tossa de Mar is just one of dozens of lovely little beach towns along the Costa Brava, the “Wild Coast” of Spanish Catalonia.
As the bus zigzags and stomachs churn along the looping mountain roads, the Mediterranean comes into view, and you can see where the wild part comes in. Just an hour and a half north of Barcelona, you are already in the Pyrenees foothills, and the coastline is dramatic: jagged golden rocks that slope vertiginously into a sparkling turquoise sea.