Take Me Home, Country Roads Story and photos by Tom Weber
to singer-songwriter John Denver's monumental 1970 folk-country-pop
ballad Take Me Home, Country Roads, about the little winding
roads he travelled, I'm asking some other off-the-beaten-path byways
to not take me home, but, rather, take me along.
Let me explain.
For the next eight days I'll be traveling
in style as a guest of Insight Vacations, a global business-class travel
company, to sample a portion of one of its premium escorted "Country
Roads" itineraries here in Bella Italia.
As part of a group of international media
selected for this familiarization trip, I'll experience first-hand Insight's
off-the-beaten path tour of central Italy's Umbria and Tuscany regions,
along with Rome and Venice.
We start out in the Eternal City and the
Vatican and end up in La Serenissima. Along the way, our luxury
motorcoach will stop in Orvieto, Perugia, Assisi, Spello, Cortona, Fonterutoli
in the heart of Chianti wine country San Gimignano, and
the Ferrari Museum in Maranello.
According to the invitation, I'll be under
the watchful eye of a dedicated tour director-slash-storyteller and
local expert art-history guides; I'll have VIP FastTrack to all of the
sights; I'll stay at some of Insight's Signature and Gold-level hotels,
including a 17th century Tuscan villa-estate; I'll savor extraordinary
regional cuisine prepared by master chefs and paired with exquisite
wines; and, I'll toast the end of the tour by sipping a Bellini,
the stylish aperitivo created at American author-journalist Ernest
Hemingway's favorite Venetian watering hole: Harry's Bar.
Sounds wonderful, doesn't it?
For complete information on Insight Vacations'
12 Italian premium and luxury escorted itineraries and over 100 journeys
throughout Europe just click
HERE, or call toll free (888) 680-1241, or contact your travel agent.
Like a multi-course Italian dinner feast,
be on the lookout for my series of dispatches as I dish out my observations
of traveling some of those "Country Roads" of central Italy
in style with Insight Vacations.
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
* * * *
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.
* * * *
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.
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.
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.
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!
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
Discovering Art, Culture and Cuisine in Lancaster
Lancaster has always been one of those cities that I pass
through on the way to some other destination. But last week was different.
I finally took the time to explore the place and wow, was I surprised!
I discovered a downtown full of charm, culture, cuisine and community
spirit. My recent getaway began when a friend and I drove about 60 miles
north of Los Angeles toward the Mojave Desert and checked into the Towneplace
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.