Hilary Larson's travel tales and tips.

In Travel, A Little Prevention Goes A Long Way

06/29/2015 - 20:00
Travel Writer

After more than 20 years of globe-trotting, I recently had my first consultation with a travel medicine specialist.

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I don’t know what took me so long. Hubris, I suppose — the fantasy that my own common sense and good luck would spare me the maladies that afflict so many fellow travelers. I’ve spent my share of time in overseas emergency rooms, but overall I have indeed been lucky.

A little forethought can prevent a medical emergency on a foreign trip. Hilary Danailova/JW

High Culture In The Hills

06/22/2015 - 20:00
Travel Writer

Most of us have never contemplated a Van Gogh and immediately thought of Western Massachusetts. But the undulating green hills of the Berkshires region bear more than a passing resemblance to those of Provence — at least as rendered by the artist in a series of works on view in “Van Gogh and Nature,” the summer blockbuster at the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown.

Van Gogh’s “Cypresses” is part of the exhibit at the Clark Art Institute.  Courtesy Clark Institute

Jews On The Camino

06/15/2015 - 20:00
Travel Writer

Misty and mystical, Santiago de Compostela is the antidote to a Spanish summer. The jewel of Spain’s green, rainy northwest remains cool and fresh while Madrid and Seville broil. Let crowds course down the Ramblas and clog the beaches of the Costa del Sol; Galicia’s shores remain tranquil, and its winding, hilly lanes whisper romance.

A Santiago de Compostela courtyard reflects the city’s traditional ambiance.  Wikimedia Commons

If ‘Aloha’ Is In Your Future

06/08/2015 - 20:00
Travel Writer

It’s June, which means weddings — and honeymoons. That gets me thinking about Hawaii, a perennial favorite for that post-nuptial getaway, as well as a classic family vacation spot.

Waikiki Beach in Oahu. Wikimedia Commons

Come Summer, Head For Winter

06/01/2015 - 20:00
Travel Writer

Summer is vacation season — yet it can also be the most frustrating time to travel. Crowds are thick, prices skyrocket, hotels sell out and temperatures soar to uncomfortable heights. But given the reality of school schedules and the urge to get out of town, summer travel is inevitable.

Laguna Beach. Hilary Danailova/JW

A Shiny New Sofia

05/25/2015 - 20:00
Travel Writer

As my in-laws’ Peugeot headed into downtown Sofia, I squinted into the shimmering gold of the Alexander Nevsky Church, the Bulgarian capital’s most famous landmark.

A café in downtown Sofia.

Immigration, Then And Now

05/18/2015 - 20:00
Travel Writer

At a seaside café near the Greek-Albanian border, during halftime of last week’s European Champions League soccer match between Barcelona and Munich, I got an unexpected lesson in the European perspective on immigration, minorities and diaspora.

Post-communist immigration has changed the face of Europe. Above, a street scene in Greece.  Hilary Danailova/JW

Like A Slice Of The Amalfi Coast

05/11/2015 - 20:00
Travel Writer

“Here,” the smiling Greek woman said, proffering a jar of burnt-amber marmalade. “It’s homemade. We call it the Jewish citrus.”

The Parga coast at dusk offers an inviting look of Greek scenery.  Hilary Danailova/JW

Nostalgia On The Danube

05/04/2015 - 20:00
Travel Writer

The beautiful blue Danube was neither beautiful nor blue.

Gazing over a ramshackle assortment of trailers, creaky amusement-park rides and abandoned Mercedes parts, I surveyed the waterfront of the city Bulgarians call “the little Vienna” and concluded that Strauss would have trouble with the appellation. We were in Ruse, a Bulgarian city on the banks of that fabled river, which was an unappealing shade of gray. From our perch on a pedestrian wharf, we watched shady-looking men in dark jackets prowl and puff on cigarettes among the detritus below.

A scene on Ulitsa Alexandrovska, a prominent pedestrian promenade in Ruse.  Hilary Danailova/JW

Regionalism Still Exists

04/27/2015 - 20:00
Travel Writer

As Oggi and I sped through the cactus-spiked wilderness of southeast Arizona, I reflected that more than a quarter-century had passed since my first cross-country road trip. And from behind the wheel on Interstate 10, it was surprising how little had changed visually from the summer of 1988 — when my parents took my sister and me on a three-week odyssey from Phoenix to Connecticut.

The author’s cross-country trip gave her a new appreciation for America’s vastness and its regional differences. Hilary Larson
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