Pickpocket Incident in Skopje, Macedonia

Pickpocket Incident in Skopje, Macedonia

   Among the many joys of frequent travel is the ease one develops in packing quickly, hopping on a plane and heading off to a fascinating destination.  The ease one develops can also be a drawback.  I found that out on a recent trip to Macedonia – a delightful place I have been to many times. The following tale could have happened in Los Angeles, Seattle or New York – also places familiar to me. The place is not important – the lessons learned are.  My recent trip was three-legged …

Free D-Day Infographic

Free D-Day Infographic

Throughout this summer there will be hundreds of events attracting the traveler to the French Normandy Coast. This year marks the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings and there will many ceremonies commemorating the event that led to the defeat of the Nazis in Europe. This is a perfect year to travel to Normandy. I don’t know about you but I love what travel on a ship has to offer.  The freedom of movement, the enjoyment of the environment and the convenience of cafes, free wi-fi and a boutique makes …

Singles Travel Company LLC

Singles Travel Company LLC

I first met Ann Thomas when I stopped by her Singles Travel Company booth at the Los Angeles Travel and Adventure Show in Long Beach, CA.  I noticed that single travelers were flocking around her busy booth seeking information.  Ann graciously took some time to talk with me about Singles Travel Company and the tours her company offered.   When I stopped by the booth later it was as crowded as it was on my first visit.  The obvious interest of travel show visitors in the single and women’s tours offered …

D-Day 70th Anniversary Tours and Travel

D-Day 70th Anniversary Tours and Travel

    The 70th anniversary of the allied landing known as Operation Overlord or D-Day is being commemorated this year. International travelers will be visiting Normandy and other World II European fields of battle  to honor those who fought and sacrificed for a free Europe. D-Day, the largest amphibious invasion in the history of the world, took place on the French beaches in Normandy. Over 160,000 allied (American, British, Canadian, Free French and Polish and others) soldiers landed on the beaches that damp and overcast day, Nearly 200,000 allied naval …

Rio Dulce, Guatemala

Rio Dulce, Guatemala

    Rio Dulce town (also known as Fronteras) is a place in Guatemala that I have wanted to travel to since my Peace Corps days in 1991-92.  A port town on the river for which it is named, and at the mouth of Lago Isabel, the largest lake in Guatemala, Rio Dulce is a literal haven for yachts traveling the Caribbean. On this trip to Guatemala, though on limited time, I finally made the visit. It was well worth the trip. The Rio Dulce area should not be judged …

Panajachel, Lake Atitlán and Chichicastenango, Guatemala

Panajachel, Lake Atitlán and Chichicastenango, Guatemala

  I chose to take my trip to Panajachel, Lake (Lago) Atitlán and Chichicastenango on a weekend.  The colorful and large market at “Chichi”, as Chichicastenango is locally known, is open on Thursdays and Sundays and I didn’t want to miss it. Mario, the owner of the Casa Luna Hotel, where I was staying in Antigua, set-up a shuttle for me.  A normally two-hour ride to Panajachel (“Pana”) took over three hours the morning I traveled due to heavy traffic through the narrow streets of Sololá. Sololá the regional capital …

A Visit to Antigua, Guatemala – Volume One

A Visit to Antigua, Guatemala – Volume One

Traveling to once familiar places can be both delightful or depressing depending upon one’s specific memories and how the destinations have changed since past visits.  I am currently in Antigua, Guatemala.  I spent many happy hours here in 1991 and 1992 visiting with fellow volunteers when I was in the U.S. Peace Corps.  Although my official site was in the agricultural town of Jutiapa, a five or six hour bus ride east of here, the pleasant time spent in Antigua was either for time-off or training.  My last visit here …

A Gesture of Humanity

A Gesture of Humanity

The most rewarding joys of travel, and life, are the unexpected expressions of kindness and humanity we encounter.  I think often of a particular incident that happened in my travels. On an August day in 2002 I left Kandahar, Afghanistan, where I was doing development work, to go on an R&R trip to Bangkok, Thailand. It was my first trip to Thailand and I was looking forward to time away from the torrid and dusty Kandahar summer. In my haste to get away and relax my trip planning was not …

A Language Lesson and a Sandwich

A Language Lesson and a Sandwich

    Trying to communicate with minimal skills in a foreign language can be frustrating. Attempting to express or gather information when the response from the person spoken to is a quizzical stare can be maddening or ……..entertaining! I once attended a talk and book-signing in San Francisco by the travel writer Pico Iyer.  After his talk he was asked how he felt about traveling in a country where he did not know the language.  Iyer replied that not knowing the language sometimes forces him to use exaggerated gestures and …

For the Considered Traveler

For the Considered Traveler

Travel CT

The Contrarian Traveler is a resource site for unique and budget friendly travel opportunities.  The constantly updated resources listed here are a collection of tools to help you plan and choose your travel itinerary.  A bi-monthly blog includes the latest deals on vacation packages and last minute travel.  The blog also discusses novel destinations and opportunities for the traveler to pursue quests of particular interest.  Included is information about tours and excursions that concentrate on subjects such as the arts, history, anthropology/archeology, sports/recreation and the environment.  You may subscribe to …