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Speaking of Travel

Chihuly at Fairchild

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Speaking of Travel Vickie Kelber As part of the Art at Fairchild program at the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in Coral Gables, a special installation of glass sculptures by Dale Chihuly will be on display until May 31, 2015. Instituted in 2004, Art at Fairchild has brought exhibits by such artists as Roy Lichtenstein and Fernando Botero to this tropical wonderland; Chihuly was here once before in 2005. Born in 1941 in Tacoma, Washington, Dale Chihuly is credited as a leader in establishing glassblowing as a fine art. He studied at the University of Wisconsin in the first university level ... Read More »

‘Til the Cows Come Home

Local farmers lead their cows in a descent from their summer home.

Speaking of Travel By Vickie Kelber Although we have visited Switzerland a number of times, usually choosing to spend a month at a time, our travels have always taken place between early June and late August. On our last trip, we went a little later in the season, determined to stay until the cows came home. Cows are an important part of Swiss culture and economy. Think Swiss cheese and chocolate. The cow has become a ubiquitous symbol of the country. After landing at Zurich Airport and getting on the internal transportation tram, we were greeted with a recording of ... Read More »

Fly Fishing on the Middle Provo

There is fly fishing year round on the Middle Provo, even when the ground is snow covered. photoS BY Vickie Kelber

SPEAKING OF TRAVEL Vickie Kelber This column is my husband’s idea. He suggested I write about something in which he is interested. So, at least this week, no museums, no churches, and except for a quick mention, no shopping, no restaurants,…..just a river and some fish. To learn more about fly fishing and the Provo River, I met with Ben Nelson, Matt Puodziunas, and Peter Robinson of Trout Bum 2 in Park City, Utah. Trout Bum 2 is a comprehensive retail and guide service. In 2013 and 2014 it was named Park City’s best fly fishing shop by readers of the ... Read More »

Amsterdam, How It’s Changed

The Stedelijk Museum with its new addition. PHOTO COURTESY OF STEDELIJK MUSEUM

SPEAKING OF TRAVEL Vickie Kelber I first visited Amsterdam in the 70s; my husband and I were last there in the 80s. On that trip, after a week in the city, we traveled on to Brussels. We were amused when a guide who took us to visit Waterloo and some of the countryside chateaus of Belgium referred to Amsterdam as a “doomed city.” On a recent visit there, I’m pleased to report that it is not doomed. It is a vibrant, diverse city, known for its tolerance, picturesque canals, and outstanding art collections. After a recent government sponsored overhaul and renovations ... Read More »

Travel Insurance: Safeguard or Scam?

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SPEAKING OF TRAVEL Vickie Kelber Travelers often consider the purchase of travel insurance. Policies differ, but typically comprehensive insurance covers trip cancellation, delay or interruption expenses and accident and medical expenses. The policies are long, with lots of fine print, conditions and exceptions. For years, we never bothered with trip insurance, but started to as our parents began developing health issues; we never knew if we might be called home unexpectedly. The past few years, as we have aged, we have purchased it for ourselves for international trips. Until recently, our only occasion to put in a claim came in September ... Read More »

Afiyet Olsun

Kumpir stands with their baked potato toppings piled high line  the street in the Ortakoy district of Istanbul. PHOTOS BY VICKIE KELBER

SPEAKING OF TRAVEL Vickie Kelber Many people have asked me about the food in Istanbul; we loved it. There was a wide variety of options available, both in terms of eating establishments and food choices. Street food is popular. Red push carts dot the streets and hole-in-the-wall kiosks are located throughout the city. For a quick breakfast or snack any time of the day, there is limit — thin rounds of baked dough that have been dipped in molasses and sesame seeds. During the day, other carts sell grilled corn on the cob and chocolate covered chestnuts. Kumpir stalls sell baked ... Read More »

Further Afield in Istanbul

The Mehter band performs below the piercing eyes of Atatürk. PHOTOS BY VICKIE KELBER

SPEAKING OF TRAVEL Vickie Kelber After writing about some of the “must sees” in Istanbul (Istanbul Highlights December 26, 2014), I wanted to share other worthy experiences if your travel time allows. The Bosphorus, the 20-mile long strait connecting the Sea of Marmara with the Black Sea, is fundamental to Istanbul. Important for commercial navigation, it separates “old” Istanbul from “new” Europe from Asia; many of the major sights in this city are located along it and ferries regularly traverse it. Istanbul is a big, sprawling city full of neighborhoods and districts. Taking a sightseeing cruise along the Bosphorus provides a ... Read More »

Istanbul Highlights

Hagia Sophia

SPEAKING OF TRAVEL Vickie Kelber Whether visiting Istanbul short term as a cruise port or enjoying an extended stay, the top tourist sights are found in the Sultanhamet district. Also called the Old City, Sultanhamet is the seat of Ottoman Istanbul. The triumvirate of Topkapi Museum Palace, the Hagia Sophia and the Sultanahmet Mosque, more commonly called the Blue Mosque, are adjacent to each other. If visiting on your own, when you descend from the tram at the Sultanhamet stop, it may seem a bit confusing, particularly with the crowds and hawkers selling sight-seeing tours and cruises. Just ignore them or ... Read More »

Picasso/Dali Dali/Picasso

Dali Still Life - Sandia (1924) © Salvador Dalí. Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí, [Artist Rights Society (ARS)], 2014. Collection of The Dalí Museum, Inc., St. Petersburg, FL, 2014. This exhibition was organized by The Dalí Museum and the Museu Picasso, Barcelona, with the collaboration of the Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí and is supported by an indemnity from the U.S. Federal Council on the Arts and the Hu-manities.

SPEAKING OF TRAVEL Vickie Kelber In 2012, I wrote about the unique Dalí Museum in St. Petersburg Florida (www.coastalbreezenews.com/2012/03/22/in-search-of-dali/). If you haven’t been there yet, or even if you have, between now and February 16, 2015 is the time to plan a visit in order to see the special exhibit “Picasso/Dalí Dalí/Picasso”. A monumental undertaking, this exhibit affords the opportunity, for the first time, to explore the relationship of these two masters by viewing their works side by side. Organized by The Dalí and the Museu Picasso in Barcelona, in collaboration with the Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí, this special exhibit brings ... Read More »

Gifts for the Traveler 2014

Three-in-one charging cords eliminate the need to bring different types of cables. PHOTOS BY VICKIE KELBER

SPEAKING OF TRAVEL Vickie Kelber For this year’s review of gifts for the traveler, I asked some frequent travelers what items they find invaluable and what is on their wish lists. It was interesting to find commonalities concerning what is important to them. What follows are all manner of gift suggestions from stocking stuffers to more expensive purchases. First, I want to mention some gadgets that I like. I recently discovered Travelon’s Bag Bungee ($10-$15) which helps secure a second bag or other item, such as a coat, to the telescoping handle of a carryon. In the past, when I ... Read More »

Istanbul Impressions

The Golden Horn of the Bosphorus divides ‘old and ‘new’ Istanbul.

SPEAKING OF TRAVEL Vickie Kelber When we first planned our trip to Istanbul, I was surprised how many people told me that their dream was to travel there or that it was on their “Bucket List.” Everyone I knew who had visited told me that it was beautiful and that we would love it; they were right. It’s difficult to capture the essence of the city in words. There are the cliches of old and new, where east meets west. In a small way, the city reminded me of Budapest where the Danube divides the historical Buda from the more ... Read More »

Murphy’s Law in Istanbul

View of Istanbul from the rooftop terrace of our apartment.  The apartment was outfitted with emergency lights and filtered water. PHOTOS BY VICKIE KELBER

SPEAKING OF TRAVEL Vickie Kelber Three years ago, I wrote a column in which I revealed my six rules for travel. Rule No. 4 was “Prepare for the unexpected.” As we “mature,” it seems more and more of the unexpected can occur, although situations arise no matter what our age. On my first “grand tour” of Europe four decades ago, I and my three traveling companions picnicked on a lovely bridge in Switzerland. One of them, drinking from a bottle of Pepita grapefruit soda, a Swiss favorite, aspirated some of the liquid into his lungs. I stood there frozen, watching ... Read More »

Airline Passenger Rights

Passengers have rights if their flight is delayed or cancelled. SUBMITTED PHOTO

SPEAKING OF TRAVEL Vickie Kelber What are your rights as a passenger if your flight is delayed or cancelled or your luggage lost? Since 2009, the US Department of Transportation has issued some laws that ensure certain rights for domestic airline passengers. When there still was a Continental Airlines, I remember that booking online and having an option to hold a booked flight for 24 hours without payment. Well, it turns out that is the law. If you book through an airline, you have the right to lock in a price for 24 hours without payment. You are entitled to ... Read More »

Websites for Travelers

When visiting the very popular Alhambra, we purchased our tickets ahead of time online. SUBMITTED PHOTOS

SPEAKING OF TRAVEL Vickie Kelber There is so much travel information on the internet that it can be overwhelming. For my annual review of websites, I am going to highlight those I find most helpful when planning a trip. First and foremost is Google. If I want general or specific information about a place, I Google it. Want to know the best time to visit? Google it by entering the location and “best time to visit.” By putting the name of a city and “weather” in the search field, the results reveal the present temperature, precipitation, wind, humidity and forecast ... Read More »

Staying in Touch

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SPEAKING OF TRAVEL Vickie Kelber When packing for travel, think about all the items that smartphones and tablets have replaced: alarm clocks, flashlights, cameras, daily journals, books, guide books, maps, newspapers, compasses, foreign language dictionaries, hard copies of information such as insurance cards and camera manuals. One of the most useful for me when traveling has been the replacement of land lines and the ability to communicate with others in a variety of ways. Telephone plans with companies such as Verizon and AT&T are good only for talk and data in the US. You can purchase an international plan with ... Read More »

Apps for Your Travel Photos

Mobile Monet adds artistic touches to photos. Photo By Vickie Kelber

SPEAKING OF TRAVEL Vickie Kelber It seems to be increasingly more popular for people to use their smartphones and tablets for taking travel photos. I’m not one of those people, but for my annual review of travel apps, I am going to focus on those that enhance the picture taking experience with mobile devices. I have been an Apple user for decades, so I am featuring iDevices and apps, although much of what I mention is also available for Android. Since I don’t take a lot of photos with my devices, I have not used all these apps. Before downloading ... Read More »

Mars Races Saturn

Facing West, 11PM August 8th. Saturn is the brightest object in Libra, the only zodiacal constellation  named after a nonliving object. (Balance Scales). SUBMITTED PHOTO

SOUTHERN SKIES By Mike P. Usher usher34105@earthlink.net Tonight look to the west and among the brightest objects you will see there are Mars and Saturn. Mars is much closer to Earth than Saturn is, but a great deal further away than it was a few months ago. It shows up in the planets magnitude — only at magnitude 0.65. Still, that’s good enough to be the brightest object in this area of the sky. Mars is much closer to the Sun than Saturn is, and the Sun forces it to move much faster than Saturn. This is easy to observe ... Read More »

Vizcaya

View of the Barge and Vizcaya main house from the Teahouse.

SPEAKING OF TRAVEL  Vickie Kelber Vizcaya, the former villa and estate of John Deering in the Coconut Grove section of Miami, had been on my list of places to visit in Florida for more than 10 years. I kept putting it off, and then Hurricane Wilma struck, bringing $3 million damage to the gardens, art work and some of the interior. By 2010, the destroyed cafe and shop had reopened, and the gardens and artwork were coming back to life. This past season, I thought the time had finally arrived for my visit. John Deering was the son of the ... Read More »

Vibrant Ljubljana

A ride along the river in Ljubljana is a peaceful diversion.

SPEAKING OF TRAVEL Vickie Kelber I have two words for people who say the capital cities of Europe are old and stagnant: visit Ljubljana (lyoo-BLYAH-nah). The capital of Slovenia and located approximately in the center of this small country, it is young and vibrant. With a population of about 280,000, the 60,000 students in this city help invigorate it. It is a captivating city in which to spend some time. Major rebuilding after an earthquake in 1895 has made this city an architectural delight with a mixture of some original and restored Baroque and Vienna Secession (art nouveau), along with ... Read More »

Slovenia

An early morning walk in Lake Bled is like walking into a fairy tale. PHOTOS BY VICKIE KELBER

SPEAKING OF TRAVEL Vickie Kelber Located at the northern end of the Adriatic, Slovenia has only 26 miles of coastline. While the Venetian/Mediterranean architecture of the coastal resorts is lovely, the real draw in Slovenia is the natural beauty found in its interior and the charm of the capital city, Ljubljana. Bordered by Austria, Italy, Hungary and Croatia, and slightly smaller than New Jersey, Slovenia boasts that it is the only country with “love” in its name. Unfortunately, people often confuse Slovenia with Slovakia, a country formed after the dissolution of Czechoslovakia or Slavonia, a region in eastern Croatia. Part ... Read More »