I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I am the queen of packing light.
For years, I’d show up for a summer visit of a month of more with only an L.L. Bean backpack, then enjoy the incredulous looks on my hosts’ faces when they realized there was no checked suitcase. “Just this,” I’d crow, “and I probably could have packed it lighter.”
Ah, Bariloche. Even in the ’60s, when much of Latin America was terra incognita for North Americans — a realm of dodgy dictators and exotic, uncharted landscapes — Argentina’s premier mountain resort was a cosmopolitan hub. My mother has fond memories of that era, and how civilized it all was, with cocktails in the chalet and suave waiters who spoke fluent English.
Anchorage, Alaska — Only in the alternative reality of Michael Chabon’s fanciful best-selling novel “The Yiddish Policeman’s Union” do three million Jews, rescued from the Holocaust, call Alaska home. The (real-life) reality is that only about 6,000 Jews live in the entire state. As I embarked on a recent trip up north, I didn’t expect to find much of a Jewish presence.
For a beach resort, the Bulgarian town of Balchik is a bit of a letdown. The setting is indeed beautiful — thickly forested cliffs that slope down to a wide turquoise sea — but try as I might, I could not find any sand.
I arrived in Bergen on a day so spectacular it looked almost unreal. A brilliant blue sky was reflected in the city’s central lake, punctuated by a shimmering fountain; at water’s edge, students sprawled on emerald-green grass under bright-pink cherry trees in bloom.
When the sun shines on Martha’s Vineyard, everybody heads outdoors. The coves of this island off Cape Cod fill with kayakers and clammers; bikers whizz (and wheeze) along forest paths, and beachgoers frolic in the cold blue surf.