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Speaking of Travel

Graze Your Way Around the World

The Greece marketplace booth featured gyros, moussaka, spanakopita, saganaki, Greek wines and a Tzatziki martini.

SPEAKING OF TRAVEL Vickie Kelber Before settling in for the heat and humidity of summer in Florida, think about planning an activity for the more temperate weather of fall. Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival in Orlando will take place September 25-November 16, 2015. Featuring foods from around the world, this year will be the 20th for this annual event. If you have never been to Epcot or are an Epcot fan and don’t have an opportunity to frequent a lot of ethnic restaurants, you might want to plan a visit. With the exception of Columbus Day weekend, this is a ... Read More »

Glaciers – Visit them Soon

Further along the Aletsch; the black stripes along the surface are known as medial moraines, rick debris pushed along the sides of the streams of ice. PHOTOS BY VICKIE KELBER

SPEAKING OF TRAVEL Vickie Kelber Although I love a tropical climate, many of our travels have taken us to places noted for their glaciers. These visits have always occurred in the warmer months, for I would never venture forth in winter to an area capable of producing glaciers. Even my glacier skiing experiences were in the northern hemisphere in August. Simplistically, a glacier forms when, over years, more snow accumulates in the winter than can melt in the summer. The mass of snow gradually turns into glacial ice. While new snow/ice is added to the top of the glacier, the bottom ... Read More »

Tulip Time in Holland

Tulip time in Holland. PHOTOS BY ART MANBURG

SPEAKING OF TRAVEL Vickie Kelber One of the best times to visit Holland is when the flowers, for which it is known, are in their full splendor, on display at Keukenhof Gardens, from mid-March through mid-May. Although people often use the terms “Holland” and “the Netherlands” interchangeably, Holland refers to only two of the twelve provinces that comprise the country of the Netherlands. North and South Holland are home to the Netherlands’ major cities of Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and other popular destinations such as Leiden, Delft, and Haarlem. Tulips are not native to Holland; they were imported from the Ottoman ... Read More »

A Festival for Everyone

Alp horns are a part of most festivals in alpine Switzerland. PHOTOS BYVICKIE KELBER

SPEAKING OF TRAVEL Vickie Kelber Every country has its celebrations and festivals, but it seems that the diminutive Switzerland, not quite as large as Vermont and New Hampshire combined, has more than its share, especially in the summer and early autumn. Perhaps it is the hard working character of the Swiss (yes, I know I am stereotyping) that makes them want to party so much. Or, the long cold winters that inspire everyone to get outside in the warmer weather and celebrate, squeezing in as much enjoyment as possible, before fall turns into early winter. We’ve visited Switzerland many times, often ... Read More »

In Search of Swiss Cheese

Outside the beautiful walled city of Gruyeres. photos by vickie kelber

SPEAKING OF TRAVEL Vickie Kelber Switzerland is known for its cheese. Most of us have eaten “Swiss” cheese. Yet, few of us have experienced true Swiss cheese, for most of what is sold at local deli counters is a cheaper, lower quality commodity produced either domestically or from another country. It is made from pasteurized milk from cows fed on silage and often contains artificial ingredients. True Swiss cheese has no milk treatment, no artificial ingredients, no preservatives and comes from cows fed only grass or hay; no silage is allowed for Swiss cheese. The craft of cheesemaking in Switzerland dates ... Read More »

Bird Rookery Swamp

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By Vickie Kelber   In my quest to explore the wonders that are, as I like to call it, “in our own back yard”, a friend and I set off early one morning for the Bird Rookery Swamp Trail off Immokalee Road. Many of you know of, if not visited Audubon’s Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary. The Bird Rookery is located adjacent and to the south of this preserve on Shady Hollow Boulevard, about 50 minutes from Marco Island. Open since 2011, Bird Rookery Swamp Trail is part of the South Florida Water Management District’s CREW, Corkscrew Regional Ecosystem Watershed. The trail ... Read More »

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 »