Archive for Travel

Traveling with George Sand and Chopin…

This is the Serra de Tramuntana, Mallorca’s* spiky ridge of mountains, running from its southwestern edge near Andratx to its northernmost tip at Port de Pollensa. Razor-like peaks, limestone cliffs, centuries old terraces, hidden coves, and eye-catching villages mark the route, but they are only part of what brings visitors to this World Heritage site. There is more to Mallorca than its arresting landscape, and one of the benefits of travel is discovering its little-known secrets and the local color embedded in its history. read more

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Is Your Luck Holding?

If you’re here, reading this article, your luck is probably holding, but not everyone is so fortunate. Have you met or do you know a refugee?

Sure, the guy who mows your lawn or the woman who changes your sheets may be an undocumented worker – an “illegal” – but they’re probably not refugees. Neither are the guys who hang out in the Home Depot parking lot looking for odd jobs or the dishwasher at your local Mexican restaurant, but there are real refugees among us; Iraqi and Afghan interpreters who helped America fight its Middle Eastern wars, people from Honduras who fled murderous death squads, and girls from Asia or Central America who escaped their human traffickers. I count several Vietnamese who fled their country after the fall of Saigon as friends. These are all people who meet or met the definition of “refugee,” but today I’m thinking about the fresh-in-their-skins variety like those fleeing Myanmar, Syria, or Afghanistan–people on the run without homes to go back to. Up to the minute refugees.  read more

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Coming Home: Miro Meets Wyeth

There is always some dissonance and disorientation when we return from an extended stay overseas. It’s not just the jet-lag. There’s a cultural acclimation that has to take place too. For two months we’ve been trying to live like locals in a foreign place. When we’re abroad everything feels new and interesting; the colors are vibrant and intense while back home they seem monochromatic. It takes time to adjust and, for me, time to find my Seattle voice.

Over the years we’ve learned to deal with re-entry by looking for local events – concerts, plays, exhibits, readings – that can help us recapture the feel of what’s new and interesting on our home turf, and I never feel truly at home until I’ve found something local to write about. read more

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Anne Frank, Rick Steves, and Me

“He’s got it. He’s got my wallet…” I was half on the bus. Marilynn was behind me. I had taken our bus card from my wallet at the bus stop in front of the central train and bus station in Palma – one of the busiest streets in the city – people coming and going, busses coming and going, and the late afternoon crush beginning. I put the wallet back in the lower pocket of my cargo shorts, one with a Velcro closing, and joined the queue for the bus. I had the card in my hand ready to validate it as I stepped into the bus. I barely noticed a little push from behind. It was crowded, several people getting on the bus at the same time, but it felt odd. When I turned to see who was pushing, I instinctively felt for my wallet. It wasn’t there and the guy behind me had stepped off the bus and was walking away – blue T-shirt, jeans, curly hair and a bag of some sort over his shoulder. read more

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Thoughts on Formentera… and more.

I don’t remember how I first became aware of the Balearic Islands, but they seemed exotic to me. Dots in the Mediterranean. Ruled successively by Phoenicians, Romans, Vandals, Moors, and Catalans. Spanish but not really Spanish. From that first awareness I felt a magnetic attraction. My first visit in the 1960’s, was a late honeymoon – several months after the ceremony. Abby had never been to Europe and we were looking for a special add-on experience. Something different.

On that first trip, we flew from New York to Barcelona, then on to Ibiza where we immediately boarded a lancha rapida to Formentera, the smallest and most remote of the Balearics. It was exotic. Palma, on the big island of Mallorca, was a full-on city. Ibiza was a jet-set hangout. No one had ever heard of Formentera. We were off the radar. read more

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