Well, all my travel journalist colleagues seem to be doing it, so I thought it was about time for me to finally compile my own list of favorite travel destinations in 2018. I was blessed to experience such an array of edifying and diverse landscapes and cultures. Did I say diverse? A tour of Henry VIII’s Hampton Court Palace and the Museums of Tulsa, Oklahoma pretty much covers that. And how could I say no to an exploration of Italy’s newest and 20th region, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, where you can hike the Dolomites in the early morning and go swimming in the Adriatic Sea the same day. And along the way enjoy a hybrid of Austrian, Celtic, Slavic and Italian cultures. Come to think of it, the food and wine were pretty good, too.
I’ve always been interested in pre-Columbian Amerindian cultures. I’ve developed a pretty good, though rudimentary, understanding of the Incas in Peru’s Andes, but I was weak on the Aztecs in Mexico City, and the Maya in the Yucatán. I also learned a bit about early Spanish Colonial Cities in my Mexico City and Yucatán tours.
A special thanks to my most esteemed photographer, Deb Roskamp, who gave life to my articles.
So here’s my very subjective list with an extra about Mexico City’s courageous Padre Po thrown in.
Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Italy
London, Paris, Berlin and Udine. Yes, Udine. And let’s not forget about Grado, Salice and Trieste, most definitely Trieste. This is Friuli-Venezia Giulia region of Italy, spread across the far northeastern corner of the nation. I first read about this stunning region of diverse landscapes, languages and cultures over 15 years ago and swore that someday I would see it for myself. This June I finally did.READ MORE
Just as the early morning sun had penetrated the Adriatic Sea’s marine layer, my driver arrived to take me to the Venice airport for my flight home to the U.S. PortoPiccolo proved to be the ideal location to end my journey of Friuli-Venezia Giulia. Located minutes from Trieste, devoid of Roman roads and medieval streets, the upscale seaside resort was the perfect venue to simply relax and reflect about my exploration of Italy’s Friuli-Venezia Giulia Region.READ MORE
And then the rains came down, blessing this magical and sacred city of 21,321,000 million inhabitants, giving them a gentle reprieve from their bustling and productive lives. It has been said that Mexico City has a perfect annual spring temperature, making it an abundant produce belt for Mexico and the rest of the world.READ MORE
Padre Pro’s last request was to be allowed to kneel and pray. When the firing squad’s shots failed to kill him, a soldier shot him at point-blank range. Pro had been falsely accused in the bombing attempt of former Mexican President Álvaro Obregón, and had become a wanted man. Betrayed to the authorities, he was sentenced to death without the benefit of any legal process.READ MORE
People watch in awe as the morning sun first breaks over the ruins of Chichen Itza, a Maya city considered one of the new seven wonders of the world. A shaman conducts a purification ritual in the small contemporary Maya town of Nolo, while a farmer cuts branches off an Agave plant which will be stripped and made into rope (sisal) at the Hacienda of Sotuta de Peon…READ MORE
Palaces & Museums
When one invokes images of English King Henry VIII they’re generally of a grossly obese and egoistical king, who was no stranger to the royal casting couch, despite his marrying a number of his conquests. But this is not the Henry of early years; an avid hunter and sportsman, a helpless romantic, sublime dancer, and highly educated man who actually composed his own songs and played numerous musical instruments.READ MORE
As I stood in downtown Tulsa, Oklahoma I was amazed by the lushness of its greenery and sense of cosmopolitism. This was my first trip to Oklahoma, and in my naiveté, I had thought the whole state was one big Dust Bowl. Perhaps I had seen John Ford’s film adaption of John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath too many times, but that image had been branded in my mind.READ MORE