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Speaking of Travel

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 »

Travel Through Books

Donna Leon’s series about Guido Brunetti takes place in Venice.

SPEAKING OF TRAVEL Vickie Kelber vickieonmarco@comcast.net I enjoy reading books that evoke the culture and neighborhoods of places that we have visited. Italy is a popular setting for authors who write mystery series as well as other novels. I’ve written before about my favorite, the Commissario Guido Brunetti books set in Venice by Donna Leon. Her portraits of Venice are so real, the last time we were there and passed by Brunetti’s headquarters, the questura, I had to restrain myself from stopping in to ask to meet him! We did have a coffee at one of his favorite bars, a ... Read More »

Plitvice Lakes

Sometimes the pools of water are emerald in color.

SPEAKING OF TRAVEL Vickie Kelber vickieonmarco@comcast.net AUNESCO World Natural Heritage Site, Plitvice Lakes in central Croatia near the Bosnia Herzogovenia border is the crown jewel of the eight national parks in this country. The most visited site in Croatia, it is about a three hour drive from Split, two from Zagreb. There are public buses as well as organized excursions from these two cities to the park. When touring Croatia, a visit to the Lakes is a pleasant break from cities, churches, and ruins. We had heard that Plitvice Lakes was beautiful, but were initially somewhat blasé about our visit. ... Read More »

Surprising Zagreb

The National Theater in Zagreb. PHOTOS BY VICKIE KELBER

SPEAKING OF TRAVEL Vickie Kelber vickieonmarco@comcast.net After reading about Zagreb in various guidebooks, I wasn’t expecting much, especially after spending a week in charming Dubrovnik. What a surprise! Zagreb is a great city! It is a city where the “new” town which is not all that new but very modern is more “happening” than the classic old town. Its cafe culture is unlike any we have ever seen and its indoor/outdoor market one of the largest. An important commercial center in Croatia, Zagreb is also very much a university city. It is a place where Franklin Roosevelt Square is not ... Read More »

Along the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail

One of the many Green Herons.

SPEAKING OF TRAVEL Vickie Kelber vickieonmarco@comcast.net The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has identified 515 locations throughout Florida as part of The Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail (GFBWT). The 2,000 miles of “trails” feature excellent bird and wildlife viewing. Highway signs identify each site, and there are guide booklets and a smartphone app available, as well as a very helpful website: floridabirdingtrail.com. At this website, the guide booklets can be downloaded and paper copies ordered. Divided into four geographical areas, each section of the GFBWT has two or three “gateways” with staffed visitor centers that provide information and ... Read More »

The Croatian Istrian Peninsula

Along the Lungomare in Opatija.

SPEAKING OF TRAVEL Vickie Kelber vickieonmarco@comcast.net The Croatian portion of the Istrian Peninsula is located in northwest Croatia, along the Adriatic’s Gulf of Kvarnar. Historically, this area was ruled first by the Romans, followed by the Venetians and then the Austrians. For a while in the 1920s, the Italians regained control. Although Istria became part of Yugoslavia in the 1940s, many towns still have two official names — one Croatian, the other Italian. A small part of the peninsula also lies in Slovenia and Italy. While visiting Istria, the town of Opatija was our home base. I could easily write of ... Read More »

Historic Split

Narodni trg, the People’s Square, in Split is a popular place to stop for refreshment. PHOTOS BY VICKIE KELBER

SPEAKING OF TRAVEL Vickie Kelber vickieonmarco@comcast.net Along the beautiful Dalmatian coast between Dubrovnik and the Istrian Peninsula is the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Split, a major ferry and cruise ship port. The drive north from Dubrovnik passes through the fertile Neretva Valley known for high quality citrus fruit. Fruit and honey stands line the road. The drive also traverses that small portion of Bosnia that is that country’s only outlet to the sea. A local guide told us that for at least five years there has been talk of building a bridge to connect Dubrovnik directly with the rest of ... Read More »

Wilma and Harold’s Lightweight Adventure

Rooftop view of Reykjavik from the Hallgrimskirkja church. PHOTOS BY WILMA SANDERS

SPEAKING OF TRAVEL Vickie Kelber vickieonmarco@comcast.net Unless cruising, which is not our preferred method of travel, grappling with luggage can take some of the pleasure out of a journey. For domestic destinations, we usually use just two carry-ons and a back pack. We literally do carry on our luggage and deal with TSA restrictions by buying any large sizes of liquids or gels, such as toothpaste, when we arrive. For month-long treks to Europe, we bring one larger size suitcase, one carry-on size, which we check, and a backpack. The backpack contains our electronics, items we may want on the ... Read More »

The Black Mountains and Bay of Kotor

A sampling of the local products at the market outside the walls of Kotor.

SPEAKING OF TRAVEL Vickie Kelber vickieonmarco@comcast.net In the Middle Ages, the area now known as Montenegro was referred to as Crna Gora; the country’s official name today is Republika Crna Gora, which translates as “Black Mountain.” The name Montenegro, also meaning black mountain, is Venetian in origin. Unlike the interior and its neighboring countries, the coastal region of Montenegro was never under the control of the Ottomans; Venice ruled the coast from the 1400s until almost 1900. South of Croatia along the Adriatic Sea, Montenegro also borders Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Albania. Although Montenegrins participated in the Balkan Wars with ... Read More »