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Visiting Aventine Hill, Rome

My favorite hill of the famous seven in Rome is the Aventine, set between the Tiber, Testaccio quarter and the Circus Maximus. A walk there is a lovely way to spend a sunny morning. Ancient churches, mellow-colored buildings and secluded gardens with umbrella pines and cypresses offer a respite from the sometimes noisy and chaotic … Read more

Pitcairn Island Comes Aboard a Cruise Ship

We clustered in the cruise ship’s bow, each one trying to be the first to spot Pitcairn Island in hazy morning sun. A tiny bump on the horizon finally appeared. It slowly grew until we could see surf crashing against verdant hills streaked with gashes of red soil. Our ship dropped anchor off the tiny … Read more

Christmas in Rome (Italian Traditions from an American living in Rome)

Memories of Christmas traditions in Italy from an American living in Rome When I’m shopping in Seattle in mid-October and the red poinsettias in their foil-covered pots are already on display for shoppers who want to skip Halloween and Thanksgiving, I think back to Christmas celebrations in Rome which didn’t begin until mid-December. No endless … Read more

The Scent of Cloves

A visit to the wholly unfamiliar local of Zanzibar, Tanzania, is anchored in what is known as the most memorable of the senses The rain had stopped. We waited by a five-passenger plane that was to take us to Zanzibar, Tanzania, a 30-minute flight east from Dar es Salaam, the east African country’s largest city. … Read more

Daytrip from Seattle to Vashon Island

local travel, festivals

How is it possible to resist celebrating the summer solstice on an island that the New York Times described as “Mayberry Meets Burning Man”? A place where sheep dog trials compete with opera productions, and art galleries thrive alongside the annual Strawberry Festival parade with the grocery cart drill team and the samba ladies?