Paella, Palaces and Plenty of Port
(Dispatch #1) Story and photos by Tom Weber
I sit, tapping my fingers anxiously on the armrest of seat 16A
like castanets accenting the beat inside a café cantante
(singers cafe) aboard TAP Airlines flight Eight-Six-Niner as
I wing my way towards Lisbon,
the first leg on a six-day, whirlwind Insight Vacations' (Insight) journey
Once down on terra firma, I'll marry
up with another intrepid "band of merry media," 29 fellow
journalists and photographers from around the globe invited by Insight
to sample a portion of its Iberian Adventure itinerary.
The Insight "road map" guarantees
a healthy dose of the sweet life along two sides of the Iberian Peninsula:
a doce vida in Portugal via Lisboa, Sintra, Azeitao, Évora
and Monsaraz and la dulce vida in Spain via Seville
Pack a bag and join me and my intrepid
"band of merry media" aboard a business-class legroom motor
coach as we experience firsthand the "art of touring in style"
on Insight's Iberian Adventure, an adventure sure to be filled
with "signature" moments, fine dining and restful nights in
For complete information on Insight's premium
and luxury-escorted itineraries, including the Iberian Adventure and
112 other journeys throughout Europe, just click HERE,
or call toll free 1-888-680-1241, or contact your travel agent.
Uh-oh, the seatbelt light just came on.
We're making our descent into Lisbon. Look out Iberia, here I come!
Let Tom know what you think about his traveling adventure.
* * * * *
for Destination Bosnia: Inside Sarajevo's Tunnel of Hope
Spent time in Sarajevo in the fall of 1973 beer was excellent!
* * * *
I must say, you're photographs are always amazing. They are
top notch. You bring so much class to Traveling Boy. It's photographs like yours
that make me want to go out and do my own traveling. Please don't get tired
of sending us your amazing adventures. It's such a delight for the soul.
--- Raoul, Whittier, CA
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I'm also an American living in Italy. I've read with interest your blog and
articles. I'd like to speak with you regarding residency and citizenship for
Americans in Italy as you do seem to have a great deal of knowledge on all of
these subjects. Would it be possible to give you a call on the phone? If so,
please let me know how to reach you. If not, I can ask my questions via email.
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Hey Tom Wow! Love those photos they are so super
that they make me A) Want to start eating NOW. B) Go there myself. C) See all
that pristine beauty that looks so restful and peaceful. Great story, superb
--- John, Los Angeles, CA
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for Destination Southwestern France: Saint-Émilion
Good job, Tom, and timely info. St. Émilion is in the
list of places Jim Hayes and I will visit in September 2014. If we get the chance,
we will exploit your experience to enhance the trip!
--- Bobby Harper, Dameron, MD
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for Vicenza Walks Monte Berico
I lived in Vicenza for 4 years in the U.S. ARMY from 1963 to
1967. A wonderful place to explore. Palladios works are amazing. Have
been back twice since and find new places to visit. My favorite is MONTE BERICO
where I have some wonderful photos of my family.
--- Dr. Albert Pizzi, Hanover, MA
* * * *
I liked the new TB particularly the Vicenza article that took
me back as a youth when we lived in Naples and travelled up there for a baseball
tourney (U.S. Military Bases dependent schools played each other.)
Took me back to the plaza.
for A Canterbury Trail (Sutri)
Very interesting note. I have wedroned which route the early
pre-Christian and Christian pilgrims travelled to Rome from England. Is it still
possible to travel the Francigena trail?
Good article, enjoyed reading it. Saved your recommended sights
for future use.
--- Dardenne Prairie, MO
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You're going to be great at this Tom. Congrats.
--- Donna Vissa -Montreal
Journey to the Bottom of the Globe: Exploring the
White Continent of Antarctica
As a travel journalist I am constantly asked what are
some of my favorite travel experiences. The list is endless. But there is
one destination that seems to raise the most eyebrows. That destination
is a cruise to Antarctica. Sadly, that cruise line I was on is no more,
but today there is a plethora of cruise lines that offer similar packages.
Here's a look back at my Antarctica cruise.
Hanging Out in Huntington Beach, California
Huntington Beach is legendary around the world as one
of the best surfing spots. Its waves and beaches are so great, it is also
officially known as "Surf City." But as I learned on a recent
getaway, the town is more than just tasty swells and beautiful white sand;
it also boasts gourmet restaurants, luxury, ocean-front hotels, great
shopping, and tons of California coastal charm.
Would You Believe She Can Carry 800 (Yes, 800!)
As she came around the corner we could not believe
how big she was. Massive, and yet incredibly beautiful almost elegant
in fact. Her lines were so symmetrical she seemed to blend into a classic
example of astonishing good looks. The other fact that amazed all of us
was how quiet she was. We felt sure that with the obvious overwhelming power
she evidenced, she'd be extra loud. It's a cliché, but she was as
quiet as a church mouse or "as quiet as dreaming trees."
Highway 49 Revisited: Exploring California's
In the 1840s, the population of California was only
14,000, but by 1850 more than 100,000 settlers and adventurers had arrived
from all over the world and they came for one reason: gold. James
Marshall had discovered the first gold nugget at Sutters Mill in El
Dorado County, creating the largest gold rush in history.
Lake Charles Family-Size Low-Key Mardi Gras
The Southwest Louisiana Mardi Gras in Lake Charles,
the second largest in Louisiana, does not need parents there to avert their
childrens eyes. This is family entertainment and children are very
much part of it. The main office of the Lake Charles CVB has costumes from
last years Mardi Gras but it also has figures to fascinate little
ones from country boys fishing for their dinner to alligators who have already
fed and are rubbing their stomachs.
Cedar Hill: Frederick Douglass' Home is as Imposing
as the Man who Lived There
Having recently received a misguided shout-out from
the president during Black History Month Frederick Douglass has done
an amazing job... it seems a good time to revisit the cultural icon's
legitimate place in history. And a visit to his home in Washington, DC
surely a place the current president might want to consider visiting himself
would be a good place to start.
Costa Rica's Green
Sitting at an umbrella table in downtown San Jose overlooking
the Plaza de la Cultura is like a page out of Hemingway's "The
Sun Also Rises." The plaza is laid out in a maze of stalls where
passive vendors sell sparkling silver jewelry by the trayfull, hand-carved
clay masks, colorful Guatemalan belts, area rugs, and hammocks perfect
for a midday siesta. Three men play an old wood marimba over the buzz
of the crowd while a steaming plate of Gallo Pinto (rice and beans) is
served to an elegant lady who was performing with her guitar and who is
chummy with everyone from the shoeshine man to the waitresses..
Tahiti and Her Islands
Just their names (pronounce each vowel!) conjure up romantic
images: Tahiti Nui, Moorea, Bora Bora, Huahine, Ra'iatea, Taha'a. Her
people are gentle; the air, tiare-perfumed. Warm lagoons, majestic peaks,
tropical fruits from the land and bounty from the sea all tantalize the
senses. Paradise! As near as can be found on planet earth. And, in my
experience, the finest way to explore her is on a ship designed for that
Japan: Bullet Trains, Monkey Shows and Whale Steaks
Last month, I went to Japan for three things... Ok,
let me back up a little bit already. The #1 reason I went to Japan was to
visit my girlfriend, Yuki, and she will kill me if I don't say that, so
there it is. Hi Yuki! Anyway, so after that, reasons number 2, 3, and 4
were the following: I wanted to ride a bullet train, go to a monkey show,
and eat a whale steak. That's right. That's right.
Richard Gere and Joseph Cedar Discuss "The Moderate
Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer"
Richard Gere is one of America's acting treasures. He
has an uncanny knack for selecting scripts with the most interesting characters.
Included in some of his vast body of films are "American Gigolo,
"An Officer and a Gentleman," "The Cotton Club," "Internal
Affairs," "Pretty Woman," "Primal Fear," "Unfaithful,"
and "Chicago." Joseph Cedar, writer and director of the critically
acclaimed "The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer,"
was born in New York City but when he was five, his family moved to Israel
where he was raised.
John Nemeth Doubles Down
John Nemeth is a busy guy. He and his band, the Blue Dreamers,
tour constantly and rarely leave the road. But when they do it's just
long enough to feed the heads of their rabid and enthusiastic fan base.
Personally, I've witnessed multiple Nemeth shows in both intimate and
festival settings and not once have I ever seen a patron stagger away
without a face full of grin. So when word came down that a new recording
was in the works, my grin got wider.
NOLA: New Orleans, Louisiana
Mardi Gras, the French Quarter, the Garden District,
the streetcar (now a bus) to Desire, the jazz clubs, the beignets at the
Café du Monde and breakfast at Brennans come to mind when you
think of New Orleans. But thats not all there is to this unique American
city, filled with treasures both culinary and cultural.
Samish Island's Modern Pilgrims
Skagit County is in the northwest area of Washington
where the majestic Cascade Mountains appear to the east overlooking the
fertile valley and a variety of crops. World famous tulip fields blanket
the valley and in the Spring when flocks of Canadian geese and trumpeter
swans can be seen. Bald eagles soar overhead year round and blue herons
stand proudly on the Samish Island beaches.
The Impossible Happened: Itís Time to Get to Work
All of us are stunned, across the entire political spectrum,
by the results of this election. Many are both sickened and saddened,
while others are jubilant. I am guardedly optimistic. I think it's too
early to despair, or to celebrate. In my experience nothing is ever as
bad as it seems, or as good. But there is great cause for concern.
Monte Verità: In the Footsteps of Anarchy
Just as I reach the end of a squiggling, multicolored
path, an acorn plummets from an oak tree above me. It lands at my feet,
just as the path culminates at a mandala of Venetian glass, eight feet in
diameter. On the worn-out front lawn of Monte Verità, the Mountain
of Truth, this path, Chiara's Rainbow, evolves through the colors of the
spectrum red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and finally violet
before arriving at the mosaic mandala where psychic energies supposedly
prevail. The falling acorn brings me to the present moment.
Leviticus 20:13 Sent by Tom of Pasadena,
It all makes sense now. Gay marriage and marijuana
was legalized in the last election. Leviticus 20:13 states
"If a man lays with another man, he should be stoned..." We've
been interpreting it wrong all these years!