The rush of tourists to Geneva, Chamonix, Mont Blanc or Burgundy sweeps them past beautiful, medieval Annecy.   Unless you’ve wandered too far south from the Swiss lowlands around Lake Geneva or too far east from Burgundy, you may not know of Annecy. It’s north of the attractive major French ski areas and west of the Swiss Alps, about 50 miles from Mont Blanc. A casual glance at a map places Annecy in the middle of nothing, surrounded by interesting areas just a little bit closer or further….

Travel bucket lists are dangerous to your health, your approach to travel, your travel experience.   We all have different ideas about travel and opinions to match. I’ve watched spirited discussions between advocates for roll-on versus duffel. Bangkok versus Paris. Hostel vs the Ritz. I’m tolerant of most opinions, but one thing has to stop—travel bucket lists.  Travel bucket lists are dangerous to your health, dangerous to your approach to travel, and likely to dull your travel experience.   Travel bucket lists are dangerous to your health. It…

Greek portraits, Egyptian renderings, Islamic design in a full blown, forgotten, Roman city.   Heliopolis, now known as Baalbek, Lebanon, August 30, 2014   Here in the Bekaa Valley of Lebanon, close by the Syrian border, remains a full blown Rome in Lebanon. It’s remarkable that anything remains in this area torn by war and overrun by conquerors for 3000 years, but it stands. By no means complete, some in ill repair, some rebuilt, reconstructed in part, it stands.   It stands on top of other cities. Heliopolis…

Las Vegas is featured in Middle Eastern travel coincidences. Late August, early September 2014. Part 1, on the road from Beirut to Baalbek. We’d traveled from Las Vegas for three consecutive calendar days by the time we landed in Beirut at 2:40 AM, cleared immigration, made it to the hotel, and managed three hours of sleep before our van showed up to take us to the Baalbek ruins in Bekaa Valley. When we were finally assembled from various pickup points, there were 10 of us from various countries,…

Otavalo, Ecuador, June 1, 2013. Street vendors offer the promise of market day bargains and sometimes buyer’s remorse. The market day bargains hit us the instant we stepped from our hotel onto the sidewalk along what had been a quiet street the night before. This market was once confined to the nondescript Plaza del Poncho, a sprawling concrete slab surrounded by drab buildings. Now it spills into the streets as stalls and pushcarts are stacked up to the sidewalks long past our hotel, some three blocks from the…