I’m a bad traveler; I don’t like getting out of my comfort zone. Since I’m a plus-sized, curmudgeonly woman who doesn’t fit easily into boxes, I have to do out-of-the-box thinking to ensure my comfort and prevent meltdowns when I travel. I’m not built physically or emotionally such that I can hop into the corner store and purchase what I forget to pack. Fortunately, my traveling experiences started in the UK, where people speak English and everything is the same as here – almost. Then I moved on to less similar locales: Netherlands, Italy, Japan, Mexico (San Miguel, not the spring break destinations). My firstRead More →

Travel books, travel guides, and audio tours make all the difference on your first trip somewhere. The DK Eyewitness travel guides are consistently useful, and the Rome book served me well during my visit.Most especially, I love the books’ pictures.. They have great maps and guides to art, architecture, and sights. The pictures help you identify where you are and what you are seeing. It’s a very visually appealing book. Compared to other books where there’s lots of text and little in the way of images, the DK book is an outstanding value. Here’s a scanned a page so that you can see what theRead More →

Unforgettable, signature moments in Rome: 1. On the train coming back from Venice, my niece, my husband, and I sat in one of those two seats facing two seats things. The odd man out was an iconic Italian — round belly, handlebar mustache. I fell asleep. When I woke up, he was in the seats across the aisle with a guy in his late twenties. The two of them were tickling each other, wrestling, hitting each other with their scarves, gloves and umbrellas. No lie. 2. In a restaurant, a Roma was trying to sell roses to an unaccompanied male customer. He gave the RomaRead More →

It’s Friday morning in Rome. I am a bad traveler. We have two full days left (today and tomorrow), and then a full day of travel. I am homesick and tired. It is cold and rainy and I can’t seem to get warm. The artwork is starting to run together. This is a very sad state to be in when I should be appreciating the glories of Rome and Florence. Indeed, it is glorious. Overwhelmingly so. If you could list the top ten pieces of art of Western civilization, we’ve hit at least five of them. The David, The Birth of Venus, The Birth ofRead More →

I am in Rome on vacation. Here are some utterly awesome things: 1. Romans have a different sense of personal space than Americans do. They squish into you, run you over, press into you, and flatten you as they walk on the narrow cobblestone streets. 2. Romans drive like maniacs. There are no lanes, no rules, barely any lights. They whip around corners and plow through crowds in their teeny tiny cars. I will never complain about NY taxi drivers again. Roman drivers and pedestrians play chicken all the time. 3. Your average guy on the street does not speak English. This makes things veryRead More →

The first time I bought a DK travel guide was our trip to Amsterdam a few years ago. I looked at several books, and bought only two: DK’s Amsterdam and Holland books. I felt quite fortunate for my selection. Unlike many of the guides, the DK travel guides are very pictorial. They have breakout images of key sights so that you know exactly where to look. This works for visually oriented travelers. The Amsterdam and Holland books included a delightful canal walk. A long, glossy page unfolds from the book, and it depicts detailed images of the buildings along the canal. The page provides tidbitsRead More →