Travel

Hilary Larson's travel tales and tips.

The New Jewish Heritage Push

07/03/2012
Travel Writer

Five hundred years after Spain expelled its Jews, it wants them back.

I stepped into the brilliant sunshine of a plaza in Catalonia, and the first thing that caught my eye was a banner — in Hebrew. Above it, in Catalan, read the translation: “Noah’s Ark: A Holiday Exhibition” at the Museum of Miniatures and Microminiatures.

Besalú, an enchanting village in the shadow of the Pyrenees. Hilary Larson

From Dr. Ruth To Ladino Songs

06/26/2012
Travel Writer
From Tanglewood’s 75th to 80 years at the modern-dance mecca Jacob’s Pillow, it’s a season of anniversaries in the rolling green hills of the Berkshires.
Picnickers on the lawn at Tanglewood. Courtesy BSO

Feeling The Roman Presence

06/19/2012
Travel Writer

The ancient Romans were an ambitious lot. At the zenith of their empire, they controlled a good swath of the world’s prime real estate, from London and Iberia all the way to Cairo and Jerusalem.

All around the Mediterranean rim, the heart of Roman territory, you stumble across ruins of this once-mighty civilization. The Roman Forum is just the best-known example of a genre whose brick walls, stone burial markers, and still-solid archways are visible from Salamanca to Sofia.

Tarragona’s Plaza del Rey by night. Alberich Fotografs/Tarragona Turisme

Old World And New Collide

06/12/2012
Travel Writer

According to that most scientific of sources, Wikipedia, the Rhine-Ruhr metropolitan area in Germany is the fourth-largest metro area on the Continent — eclipsed only by such marginally European burgs as Moscow, Istanbul and London.

In other words, Rhine-Ruhr is the industrial heart of the country lately in the public consciousness as Europe’s economic engine. A drive through this West German sprawl reveals the scale of German enterprise — and a devotion to the local beer, Kolsch, that borders on obsessive.

The market in Cologne’s Old Town. Courtesy www. koelntourismus.de

Unspoiled, With Green Gables Too

06/05/2012
Travel Writer

‘You can’t possibly swim there,” insisted my husband, Oggi, surveying the turquoise waters of Prince Edward Island.

Prince Edward Island is, after all, way up in Canada. It’s further north than Maine, and nobody really swims there except for bears.

The French River on PEI, complete with lobster boats. Tourism PEI/John Sylvester.

Ill Winds

05/29/2012
Travel Writer

When you travel a lot, sooner or later, a trip ends in the emergency room.

The first time it happened to me was summer vacation, 1986. Violently ill, I received a diagnosis of mild appendicitis at the E.R. and was sent home. When my appendix ruptured the next day, we returned and I was whisked into surgery.

It all turned out fine in the end. And in the intervening decades, rural resort-area hospitals like the one on Martha’s Vineyard have drastically improved, thanks to partnerships with better-equipped affiliates in nearby cities.

Why are we more vulnerable when we’re away from home?

Mile-High Culture

05/15/2012
Travel Writer

Growing up near New York’s Metropolitan Museum, I had no idea how lucky I was to have access to a room full of Clyfford Still’s wild, uninhibited canvases. With their signature vertical drips of paint, they reminded me of the water damage on the wall of our spare room. When I told my dad this, he always said I’d appreciate Still when I got older: “He’s one of the giants.”

Denver Library, Denver Art Museum, top; patrons at DAM; work by Clyfford Still. Colorado Tourism Office

The Marrakesh Express

05/08/2012
Travel Writer

The first thing you may notice about Marrakesh, especially if you arrive in the morning, is how cool and fresh the air is. Here on the desert fringe of the Atlas Mountains, chilly, star-filled nights give way to a searing daytime sun. The antidote to this arid climate, as generations of Western visitors have found out, is a cup of fresh-squeezed juice from a fruit cart.

The Jardin Majorelle, built by the painter of that name, in Medina. Fondation Jardin Majorelle

The Lehigh Valley, A Low-Key Berkshires

05/01/2012
Travel Writer

Years ago, when a cousin became engaged to a doctor with a practice in Pennsylvania steel country, the whole family was anxious. Could their urbane New York girl find happiness in the rolling green landscape of the Lehigh Valley? And would she be the only Jew?

The new galleries at the Allentown Art Museum, top.

In The Balkan Countryside

04/24/2012
Travel Writer

I’m increasingly convinced that if you want to really see another culture, especially in the globalized West, you have to get out of the cities and into the countryside.

The central square in Koprivshtitsa, in the countryside east of Sofia. Hilary Larson
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