A Visit to Panama

Sandra Bertrand

Immediately upon our Copa Airlines arrival, we settled back in our prearranged taxi to enjoy the looming skyline of Panama City.  It was a warm mid-July night and already the towering skyscrapers were ablaze in all their nocturnal glory.  After all, this is ground zero for the global banking empire.  Even president Juan Carlos Varela’s attempts to hire a commission last year to create more fiscal transparency may find insurmountable difficulties.  Elite lawyers and familial ties run deep.  

Secrets of Quebec City

Barbara Noe Kennedy

Tucked inside centuries’-old fortress walls high above the St. Lawrence River, the capital of La Belle Province beckons with Old World charm. It’s nearly impossible to miss its most famous sights, including the iconic Château Frontenac hotel rising high above the St. Lawrence River in belle-époque splendor; the historic railroad hotel sparkles after a multimillion restoration. And the neighboring Plains of Abraham is where the British won Québec from the French in a pivotal battle in 1759. 

Exploring Burgundy The Province

Barbara Noe Kennedy

Burgundy’s wines are among the most celebrated in the world. Indeed, Montagny, Meursault, and Chassagne-Montrachet are just a few that demonstrate this region’s fervent devotion to terroir and tradition. I adore Burgundy’s wines. But sometimes I wonder why “Burgundy the Wine” is so much more famous than “Burgundy the Province.” Follow this itinerary revealing the charming persona of this hidden gem—its main train station is located only an hour and a half south of Paris—and you’ll see what I mean.

Time-Traveling in Peru: A Journey to Machu Picchu

Michael Verdirame

It is hard to say anything about Machu Picchu that has not already been said.  Discovered—or again, rediscovered—by Hiram Bingham in 1911, the site has been the subject of awe and fascination for over one hundred years.  While much about it has come to light in the last century, there is still much that is not known, and may very well never be known. Many historians believe that Machu Picchu served as a lush and secluded estate for the Incan emperor Pachucatec, though others have speculated that it served a more lofty purpose, perhaps for worshiping the Incan gods or as the end point of a religious pilgrimage.  

Cities With Successful Public Transportation Systems (and a Few Without)

Emily Logan

Americans took a record 10.8 billion transit trips in 2014—the most in 58 years. More cities are realizing the critical role public transportation plays. In addition to getting people from point A to point B, a solid system can make an area the most sought-after neighborhood and attract talent and jobs. As buses and rails rise in popularity, cities’ individual experiences offer lots of lessons, from best practices to cautionary tales about how to build and maintain a great public transportation system. 

Balancing Fear and Freedom in Israel

Michael Verdirame

Yom Kippur will even see a complete shutdown of Tel Aviv’s airport, with no flights allowed in or out.  With all that being said, Tel Aviv and its citizens seem more concerned with quality of life—time spent socializing with friends over drinks and tanning on the beach—than the seemingly endless religious and territorial conflict that surrounds them not only in Israel, but in the entire Middle East region.

Iceland: Land of Elves, Eruptions and Economic Recovery

Michael Verdirame

To find the true initial catalyst for the increase in tourism in Iceland, one has to travel a little further back to 2008, where the default of all three of its privately-owned commercial banks caused Iceland to enter a severe economic depression for the next several years, from which it is still recovering.  According to The Economist, relative to the size of its economy, Iceland’s systemic banking collapse was the largest experienced by any country in economic history.  Like any economic crisis, the price of goods plummeted, causing the country’s initial uptick in tourism, as it became much more affordable than it had been previously. 


Marveling at the Wonders of Greece

Sandra Bertrand

From that first step on Greek soil, be prepared to feel a little lightheadedness—a certain dislocation of everyday certainties is underway.  In the midst of a busy Athens intersection, Hadrian’s Arch, once a gateway to some of the greatest of Roman monuments, stands proud in the midday sun. On the Aegean island of Santorini, one dizzying gaze over the precipitous volcanic cliffs and the rumble of lost Atlantis may sound from the depths below.  Navigating another hairpin turn in Crete’s White Mountains, a cri-cri or wild goat leaps in front of your car window—its hooves as nimble as the Great God Pan’s. 

The Reality of Alaska on Reality TV

Michael Verdirame

Alaska, the place in question, is considered the last frontier by many—a vast, empty land with majestic scenery and an extremely sparse population density.  New reality television shows featuring Alaska are numbered in the dozens and still increasing, with “Alaska State Troopers,” “Buying Alaska,” and “Life Below Zero” being among the most popular.  Does the real Alaska, however, live up to the wondrous Alaska that has served as the inspiration for so much so-called reality?  

Getting Past the Past: How Colombia Reinvented Itself as a Tourist Destination

Michael Verdirame

Columbia is a country of extremes and opposites—beaches and mountains, old and modern, urban grit juxtaposed with breathtaking nature.  There is also a great disparity in the distribution of wealth, with the very rich sharing space with the very poor, and a middle class that finds it difficult to stay in the middle for very long.  Additionally, despite Colombia’s recent emergence as a viable tourist destination, that is not meant to indicate that all parts of the country are safe, leading to the perception of extremes between areas that are perfectly acceptable for tourists to explore and those that are dangerous even for locals.


Subscribe to RSS - Travel