Tourist First

Travel notes and advice from around the world. Above, the daily flight from Managua at the San Carlos, Nicaragua, airstrip.

Friday, May 29, 2020

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Welcome to Steve Bailey's Tourist First! I hope these photos and impressions from my travels will help you plan your own trips once we are again able to travel.  In 2020, my wife and I had to cancel a long-planned two-month trip to Australia and New Zealand because of travel restrictions due to COVID-19, though our own fears of being in a plane during the pandemic would have made us cancel anyway.  As it is, as of Sept. 22, we have not eaten out in a restaurant for more than six months and can't imaging being comfortable doing so any time soon.  We live in San Diego's Little Italy, where restaurants have taken over much of the streets for expanded outdoor dining, but it's restaurants that are the main transmission points for the virus in San Diego. I sympathize with the restaurateurs and other business people who want to fully reopen, but not to the point of risking my health.  

I urge readers of this blog to also put their own health first. Wear masks every time you leave your home and keep them on.  And, while we wait for effective treatments or a vaccine for the virus, we can still dream of traveling the world, and maybe this blog can fuel some dreams. 

These blog posts are not updated once they're posted. For example, my post about a July 2019 visit to Venice does not reflect the terrible damage done by flooding in November 2019. And some hotel links may no longer work, though I do try to delete them when that happens.

Click on the orange links

General Travel
In the Air, a Caste System
Here's What I Want in a Hotel Room 
And see what more than 1,000 of my New York Times readers want in a hotel room
Travel Experiences With Minimal Expense
Strategies for Saving on Travel
My 2008 New York Times column on travel in a motor home or RV
My 2004 New York Times article on eco-resorts in the Caribbean (not all are still operating)
It's Easy to Avoid Credit Card Ripoffs Abroad
Road Trip: Driving from the Chesapeake Bay to San Diego
A Few of My Favorite Travel Snapshots

African Safaris
Itinerary for Six Weeks in Africa
My 2019 New York Times Article on Tips for Your First Safari
The Safari Experience
Botswana: Kalahari Desert
Botswana: Okavango Delta
Namibia: Chobe River
South Africa: Sabi Sand Game Reserve
Tanzania: Ngorongoro Crater
Tanzania: Serengeti

Mendoza: Home of Malbec

Wales: "Retiring" to a Canal Boat

Anzo-Borrego State Park: A Desert in Bloom
Central Coast: Hearst Castle, Elephant Seals and Points South
Idyllwild: Mountain Retreat
Los Angeles: Explorations on Foot
Malibu: The Getty Villa and More
Palm Springs: A Fall Getaway
Paso Robles: A Focus on Wine
San Diego County: A Joy Ride in the Mountains
San Diego County: Life During Coronavirus
San Diego: Cabrillo National Monument
San Diego: Embarcadero Walk
San Diego: Harbor Tour
San Diego: The "Other Zoo" is a Safari Park

Itinerary for Three Weeks in Southeast Asia
Small Airlines for Touring Southeast Asia
Religious Images: The Divine in Southeast Asia
Elephant Valley: Saving Asia's "Living Tractors"
Kep: The Place for Crabs (My Apologies to Chesapeake Bay)
Phnom Penh: Where the Past Is Past
Siam Reap: Gateway to the Angkor Region
The Angkor Temples: Angkor WatAngkor ThomBayonBanteay Srei, and Ta Prohm

Montreal: Frenchy but Not Exotic
Niagara Falls: The Canadian Side, Please
Toronto: First Impressions
Toronto: Second Impressions

Itinerary for Two Months in the Balkans
Dubrovnik: Beach Resort and History Theme Park
Hvar: The Blue Waters of the Adriatic
Split: Ruins and 20th-Century Art
Zagreb: The City of Broken Relationships

Czech Republic
Prague: Music, Art and Architecture

My 1997 New York Times article on the Caribbean's greenest island

Otavalo: My 2002 New York Times article on a New Years visit to the Andes
Quito: Mountain Capital

A Family Road Trip Finds the Best of France
Bordeaux: Wine Capital
The Loire Valley: Chateau Visits 
Paris: Trying to Avoid the Crowds

Itinerary for Two Months in the Balkans
Athens: Better Than I Imagined
Chania: Walls and Charm on Crete
Delphi: The Oracle is Silent
Heraklion: The Capital of Crete
Hydra: Quiet and Carless
Santorini: Island as Shopping Mall
Thessaloniki: A Party Town With Few Foreigners

Reykajavik: Geothermal Wonderland

A 2016 Family Visit
What to Expect If You Visit Iran

Itinerary for a Three-Month Visit
Agrigento: Sicily's Valley of the Temples
Alberobello: Home of the Trulli
Capri: Another World
Catania: Gateway to Mount Etna
Lecce: Baroque Wonderland
Maratea: Italy for Italians
Masala: More Than Wine
Matera: Modern Cave Dwellers
Naples: One Night Isn't Enough
Palermo: Beyond "The Godfather"
Pompeii (and Herculaneum): What Vesuvius Wrought
Rome: The Palaces
Rome: The Churches
Rome: The Ruins
Rome: Dining
Rome: Walking
Siracusa: Outpost of the Ancient Greeks 
Taormina: Mountains and Sea in Sicily
Trieste: The Least Italian City in Italy
Trani: On the Adriatic
Venice: A Summer Visit

Itinerary for Three Weeks in Southeast Asia
Small Airlines for Touring Southeast Asia
Religious Images: The Divine in Southeast Asia 
Luang Prabang: Monks and Tourists 

Assateague: A Fall Afternoon
Annapolis: My 2008 New York Times article on Maryland's capital city
Baltimore: My 2002 New York Times "36 Hours" article on Charm City
Blackwater: My 2012 American Forests article on Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge
Chesapeake Bay: A Fishing Trip
St. Michaels: My 2004 New York Times "36 Hours" article
Tilghman Island: Where I Lived for 10 Years

Ajijic: Expat-Friendly Town on Lake Chapala
Baja California: Cabo Crowds and Peaceful La Paz

Boundary Waters: My 2011 American Forests article on the Boundary Waters Canoe Area

Ole Miss: My Alma Mater
Oxford: My 2008 New York Times article on Faulkner, Football and Food  

Itinerary for Two Months in the Balkans
Kotor: Small but Choice 

Itinerary for a Three-Week Visit
Chefchouen: The Blue City
Essaouira: Beachfront Medina
Fez: The One Must-See City
Meknes: Discovering an Outpost of the Roman Empire
Marrakesh: Not So Tourist-Friendly
Sahara: Camels and Sleeping in a Posh Tent
Tamatert: Village in the High Atlas Mountains
Tangier: Cosmopolitan City With a Past

New York 
Finger Lakes: My 2012 American Forests article on Finger Lakes National Forest

Land of Great Diversity and Monkeys and Volcanos
Managua: Not a Pleasant Place
Ometepe: Volcanos in the Lake 
Rio San Juan: Howler Monkeys and River Huts
Selva Negra: Ecology-Minded Coffee Plantation
Solentiname Islands: A Poet-Priest's Art Project
Solentiname Islands: My 2012 New York Times article and a photo slideshow

Bastimentos: Nature Inn and Chocolate Lodge
Bocas del Toro: Surfers and Backpackers
Boquete: A Coffee Estate in the Mountains
Panama Canal: An 11-Hour Trip Through an Engineering Marvel
Panama City: My 2014 New York Times review of the Panama City Waldorf Astoria 
Kuna Yala: A Cabin on the Water

Adamstown: My 1999 New York Times  article on Shopping for antiques in Amish country

Itinerary for One Month in Peru
Aguas Calientes and Machu Picchu: Mountain in the Rain Forest
Amazon: River and Wildlife Cruise
Amazon: Fatal Fire on a River Cruise Boat
Arequipa: Juanita's Story
Colca Canyon: In Search of Condors
Cusco: The Inca's Capital
Lima: Museo Larco's Amazing Pre-Colombian Pottery
Lima: Ancient Culture, Modern Life
Ollantaytambo: Life Amid the Ruins
Paracas: An Ancient Mystery Beside the Sea

Itinerary for a Three-Week Visit
Belmonte: Mountain Retreat
Evora: Cusine and Cork
Douro Valley: Where the Grapes Grow
Lisbon: Riverfront and Seafront
Obidos: Old Walls and New Buddhas
Porto: The Sweet Life
Sintra: Royal Aerie

St. Vincent and the Grenadines
Bequia: The Moonhole Experience
Bequia: A Happy Island
St. Vincent: My 2004 New York Times article on Petit Byahaut and Other Eco Resorts
St. Vincent: My 2004 New York Times Slide Show on Petit Byahaut

Itinerary for Two Months in the Balkans
Ljubjana: Cozy Capital
Piran: At the Concrete Beach

South Africa
Robben Island: A Visit to Mandela's Prison
Sabi Sand: Safari Satisfaction Guaranteed
Western Cape: Beyond Cape Town and the Wine Regions

Hondarribia: Basque Country
Santa Engracia: Hidden in the Pyrenees

Zanzibar: As Exotic as Its Name

Itinerary for Three Weeks in Southeast Asia
Small Airlines for Touring Southeast Asia
Religious Images: The Divine in Southeast Asia 
Bangkok: River Metropolis

A 2010 Vacation, Istanbul and Beyond
Aboard a Gulet for a Blue Cruise
Istanbul: Seth Kugel Does It on the Cheap
Istanbul: Visiting a Hamam

Itinerary for Three Weeks in Southeast Asia
Small Airlines for Touring Southeast Asia
Religious Images: The Divine in Southeast Asia 
Ha Long Bay: Two Nights on a Junk 
Hanoi: Swarming and Sophisticated
Hoi An: Fine Dining, Fine Silks 

My 2008 New York Times article on Virginia's Eastern Shore

Yellowstone National Park: Morning Glory Pool and Other Wonders

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