Sunday, August 31, 2014


Great Lakes Cycle

Executive summary by darmansjah

LARGELY unknown except for the regional visitors who have vacationed here for generations, northwest Michigan and the Upper Peninsula are stellar biking country, with gently rolling hills, historic waterside villages, and sweeping Great Lakes vistas. You’ll have to carry your own gear on this circuit, but cozy inns await each evening. Beginners welcome. Adventure Cycling Association: “Great Lakes, Inn-to-Inn,” days; $2,149

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Homeward Bound

  executive summary by darmansjah

YOUR ROOTS ARE SHOWING. Travel Talk April 2013 cover story-Going Home-which featured five essays by writers who traveled to their motherlands, from Taiwan to Sicily-hit close to home for readers. “An unexpected Facebook message from a Swedish cousin in 2008 launched trips to visit family in Sweden, California, Italy, and Canada,” wrote Rian Stenberg of Boca Raton, Fla. “At every turn we felt at home, as if decades and centuries had not passed. The phrase Liz Beatty wrote, ‘shared genetic memory,’ almost brought me to tears. It exists in this transient world and is a powerful motivation to continue the journey.’ Barbara Murphy of Auburn, N.Y., shared her tale of genealogy luck: “In 2010 my husband and I traveled to England. Before we left, I sent a vague letter ‘to the attention of anyone’ at St. Nicholas Church in Potter Heigham, in eastern-most England, from where my great-grandmother emigrated in 1868. The man who received the letter turned it over to this wife, who had a keen interest in genealogy. She wrote back and we arranged to meet; she took us to the churchyard graves of my great-great-great-grandparents and other ancestors, and handed me an envelope with my family history in England dating back to 1605. We toured the tiny town where my family lived so many years ago. I had known my great-grandmother well, and seeing where she grew up was the highlight of our trip.”
Kelli Nakagama of Salt Lake city, Utah, bonded with her parents on a recent trip to explore ancestry in Japan: “My day is a third-generation Japanese American who looks the part but doesn’t speak any Japanese; my mom is a blond-heired American who looked and felt out of place, while I am a mix of the two-and the only one able to understand a bit of the language. Japan was foreign to all three of us, but we were able to bridge gaps for each other: my dad in describing food and customs from his childhood, my mom’s outsider’s perspective, and myhelp with communication. We understand each other better than before.”

In “Unearthing a Polish Past,” Nina Strochlic wrote about Krakow and seeking out the prewar lives of her grandparents, who she wrote had been forced into ghettos in the late 1930s. however the Krakow Ghetto was not established by the Nazis until 1941. “I’ve heard ‘late 1930s’ so often in our family lore that I never questioned it,” explains Strochlic. “I regret not doing so.” The essay also misdescribes Krakow’s Wawel Castle ,which is Polish Renaissance in style.

PARENT TRAP In a column about airplane etiquette, Christopher Elliott suggested that no annoyance “sets off the fireworks as much as Other People’s Kids.” Well, nothing stokes readers’ ire as much as suggesting that parents deserve a pass, with Elliott citing his daughter’s recent behavior as “unfixable.” Phyliss Meyers of Miami,Fla.. wrote: “Why did Elliott forget his own advice to think about others? I have never traveled with children without bag of tricks that kept them content.”

SWISS MISS “Swiss Tracks” lauded the ease of traveling Switzerland by train. Regrettably, our editing proved less efficient: A caption incorrectly located Bern’s Zentrum Paul Klee museum, and the article also misspelled the Italian town of Cervinia.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Going With the Flow

executive summary by darmansjah

BILLOWING ASH FROM Iceland’s Eyjafjallajokull volcano dashed travel plans in 2010, but travel to the icebound peak has been booming since that eruption grounded millions across Europe. Volcano tourism if flaring up globally, and back to life last August, spurring an uptick in visitors to the long-dormant volcano. On Hawaii’s Big Island,  

Kilauea volcano recently marked 30 years of nonstop eruption (the longest in recorded history), but after lava started cascading dramatically into the Pacific this winter, visitors began flocking with renewed vigor. Located in a national park that’s open 24 hours a day, Kilauea offers surreal twilight views, with the renovated Volcano House-the only U.S. hotel on an active volcano-newly reopened. “Seeing the caldera lit up at daybreak remind us that we’re standing on a celestial body an puts our human dramas in perspective,” says Kathleen Hackett, a traveler from California. Tip: Active volcanoes change constantly. Learn Kilauea’s current top vantages from local park rangers, who get morning briefings, and monitor Tongariro flow updates at

Thursday, August 28, 2014

State of the Art

Executive summary by darmansjah

Consider the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market, now in its tenth year, an atlas of artisanship. July 12-14, some 190 artists from 60 countries will convene on Museum Hill under open skies with creations including Cuban paintings, Tuareg jewelry, and Malian indigo wares. Amplifying  the New Mexico city’s year round status as a global arts nexus, more than 20,000 shoppers come not only for the gorgeous goods but also to meet the makers, such as an Afghan khamak collective that transformes embroidery traditions into sumptuous wall hangings.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Getting Horizontal

Executive summary by darmansjah

A CURTAIN IS ALWAYS RISING in Vienna, Austria, with vacant shops now playing new roles as stand along hotel rooms. A trio of architects launched Urbanauts (“city explores”), a network of street-level “lofts” that combine with the funky shops and galleries of Vienna’s fourth District to form “horizontal” hotels. “Our breakfast room is Café Goldegg around the corner; our spa is the Moroccan hammam next door,” says Theresia Kohlmayr, a hotelier’s daughter who helped conceive the project as a creative way to adapt the empty storefronts dotting the area. Since the opening two summers ago, about 400 guests have stayed in the original room (120 euros), a former tailor shop that has been retrofitted wit hlayered window panels that can be adjusted for privacy (or voyeurism). The team plans to roll out three more rooms this year and envisions ten total throughout the Fourth District. Guests check in with a secret code and get the inside track on the neighborhood, receiving bicycles to borrow and a map recommending local businesses that range from holistic pharmacy Saint Charles Apotheke to nightspot Xpedit Kiosk. “This hotel’s lobby,” says Urbanauts partner Christian Kanpp, “is the city.”