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Richard Burton & Elizabeth Taylor in Puerto Vallarta
Hollywood's Most Famous Couple in Puerto Vallarta

By Ringo Boitano

ichard Burton was in the doghouse. He had just had another apocalyptic argument with his wife, Elizabeth Taylor, and now was banished to his own casita, which meant marching over a miniature version of the Bridge of Sighs, which connected their two casitas. The bridge, modeled after the original in Venice, is where the couple reportedly fell in love while filming "Cleopatra" in 1962. Later the lover's arch would become the El Puente de Reconciliation, where one of them would unlock the door on their side of bridge, then wait on the middle of arch for the other to meet them, offering a declaration of love and forgiveness. Dick liked to drink and read --- apparently up to three bottles of vodka and three books a day --- and Liz liked to throw tiny porcelain objects. It was a system that seemed to work for they were married twice, 1964-1974 and 1975-1976, which wasn't bad for what was easily Hollywood's most famous couple.

In 1962 Richard Burton followed director John Huston and stars Ava Gardner and Deborah Kerr to a remote Mexican fishing village on the Pacific called Puerto Vallarta to do a film version of Tennessee Williams' "Night of the Iguana." Elizabeth Taylor followed Burton. They were married, but not to each other. Burton loved the beauty and privacy of this jungle paradise, and purchased his multi-level rental home in the hills over the little village, which featured stunning views of the mountains and Banderas Bay. Later, he gave it to Liz, now his wife, as a 32nd birthday present. Burton soon bought the smaller casita across the cobblestone street, this one with a swimming pool, and connected them with the bridge. He filled the house with furniture from his native Wales and mementos from their careers. To avoid the 30 or so paparazzi (then international press) that would camp outside of the property, Burton had a secret escape route built. Due to their presence and the famous friends that they would invite --- Peter O'Toole, who later purchased his own nearby casita, Roddy McDowall and John Wayne --- Puerto Vallarta became popular with the Hollywood crowd. It was soon coined the City of Love, while the hillside area by their home was dubbed Gringo Gulch.

mementos of Burton & Taylor at the Casa Kimberley

After Richard Burton's death, Elizabeth Taylor reportedly was emotionally unable to return to the home and sold the property in 1991. Now called Casa Kimberley, it is open for tours and also serves as a bed and breakfast. What's amazing is that virtually everything inside is just how Burton and Taylor left it: photos, furniture, personal effects and mementos fill each area. It's like taking a time capsule back to the 1970s. main living room of the casita, Casa KimberleyThe game room features a former church altar, complete with paintings of Catholic Saints, which Burton turned into a bar. Ornate chairs from his native Wales line the counter. A day bed, still sits prominently in the middle of the lounge, where Burton would sleep if he was too inebriated to climb the stairs to their master penthouse suite. Each of the sleeping rooms is now named after one of the ten films that Burton and Taylor made together. The master suite, with its sweeping views and sunken bathtub --- which was suppose to be shaped like a valentine, but amusingly looks more like a human heart or kidney, due to translation errors - is the main prize. It's name? "The Cleopatra Suite," of course.

bridge linking the two casitas
Tours of Casa Kimberley are offered Mon-Sat from 9am - 4pm. For further information about Casa Kimberly, contact 011-52-322-222-1336 or
For further information about travel to Puerto Vallarta, contact the Puerto Vallarta Tourism Board at 888-384-6822 or Visit

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Ed Boitano's travel blog/review
Eugene Chaplin Introduces Chaplin's World Museum in Vevey, Switzerland

Charlie Chaplin and the Chaplin Museum
Lake Geneva/ Matterhorn Region and Switzerland Tourism recently blew into Los Angeles with the most esteemed guest, Eugene Chaplin. A man of remarkable lineage, he is the fifth child of Oona O'Neill and Sir Charles Spencer "Charlie" Chaplin, the grandson of playwright Eugene O'Neill, the brother of Geraldine Chaplin and father of actress/model Kiera Chaplin.

Go There

Tom Weber's travel blog/review
Treasures of Ireland: The Burren (Dispatch #14)

a dolmen at The Burren

The Palladian Traveler ventures back to the days of fearless Celtic warriors to search for some "stones to take you home" as he files his latest dispatch from the monochromatic moonscape known as The Burren.

Go There

John Clayton's travel blog/review
Buckingham Palace – It's THE Most Popular Tour in Great Britain (Part 2 of a 2-Part Series)

Buckingham Palace exit
Is it more momentous for a Brit to do the Buckingham Palace tour than say an American or indeed any other nationality? Yes, I know that's an odd question, but if you grow up – as I did – in London back in the 1950s, getting inside Buckingham Palace was the stuff of dreams. Hence my surprise at touring BP in 2005.

Ringo Boitano's travel blog/review
Paradise on Earth: The Romance of Tahiti and Her Islands

aurora borealis lights up the night sky near Fairbanks
The first thing you notice is the fragrance. The intoxicating perfume of the tiare flower announces to your senses that you are in a magical place, overflowing with tropical vegetation and soothing trade winds. It is the same fragrance that the English seamen on the HMS Bounty also first encountered; but they came, not for flowers, but for breadfruit, intended as a new food staple for their slaves in the West Indies.

Eric Anderson's travel blog/review
Provence: As Much a Mood, a Spirit as a Destination

Christmas card
"On a Clear Day You Can See Forever" goes the song. Robert Goulet sang it and Barbra Streisand and Johnny Mathis, too, and it surely comes to mind when you stand on a bluff in the Luberon of Provence and stare across at the little hill village of Gordes. The view is the best part; the village's interior itself is not dramatic and stands as a warning of what contemporary popularity can do to the simple homes of 12th century working people.

go there

Fyllis Hockman's travel blog/review
Exploring Venice: Lost and Found. And Special Finds. Repeat.

Venice street musicians
Walking home to our apartment in Venice, we share a wave through the window with the owner of Baba, our local osteria. Leaving for a day of sightseeing, a cup of my favorite pistachio gelato awaits me despite the early hour. At the Bar Dugole, we relax after a day of sightseeing and order the regular: vodka for my husband and Amaretto for me.

Go There

Deb Roskamp's travel photo blog
La Paz, Baja California Sur

The Sea of Cortez, Baja California Sur

Photographer Deb Roskamp focuses her camera on La Paz, Baja California Sur. The resort property is CostaBaja, and the boat tours, which include snorkeling at the UNESCO protected site, Isla Espiritu Santo, were conducted by Fun Baja. The photographs are intended to speak for themselves.

Gary Singh's travel blog/review
Vienna: In Search of Mavericks

Vienna art works
Thanks to a Eurail Flexipass, allowing random infiltration on whatever days I deem necessary, Vienna presents itself to me as a global epicenter of both traditional creativity and avant-garde lunacy. I can easily follow in the footsteps of tradition, but so much of the maverick spirit emerges instead. This is what Vienna does to me.

Chiara's Rainbow at Monte Verita

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