Category: "Travel"

gone off

09/13/17 09:54

We're off to Portugal. Here's hoping the AC will be back when we return on the 27th.

By Thomas Swick • Category: Travel

Cuban toast

07/19/17 08:03

Watching the insipid Weekend in Havana last night I did learn one new thing: You always toast with your left arm (faster to the heart).

By Thomas Swick • Category: Travel

A German friend emailed the other day to tell me that she’s going to Mallorca to celebrate her 50th birthday. She felt a little sheepish, she said, because the island is so popular with her compatriots that it’s sometimes called “the 17th state.” (She wondered if she were the only German who hadn’t been there yet.) This delighted me because it gave credence to my claim in The Joys of Travel that the Germans are the world’s greatest travelers. The closest thing we Americans have to a 51st state is not an island that we flock to but one that, as Doug Mack suggests in his excellent new book The Not-Quite States of America, we colonized.

By Thomas Swick • Category: Travel

Sunday I met a man whose business used to take him to Jordan. One day visiting the American embassy in Amman, he noticed a group of people gathered in a room reading Bibles. He asked if they were part of a Bible study group, though it seemed an odd thing for the embassy to host.

"Oh no," he was told, "they're just trying to figure out where to go for the weekend."

By Thomas Swick • Category: Travel

cats and people

03/06/17 10:10

Saturday we went to see Kedi, the beautiful movie about the cats of Istanbul which is also a movie about the residents of Istanbul. What's impressive is not just how they look after the cats, but the noble attitudes that inspire them to do so. They are everyday people but their thoughts sometimes transcend the mundane and touch the spiritual; their sentences are often quietly poetic. The movie makes you want to visit (or return to) Istanbul not just to see its cats but to meet its citizens.

By Thomas Swick • Category: Travel

winter in Greece

10/27/16 09:25

PBS's The Durrells in Corfu appeared two Sundays ago out of the blue and has quickly become my favorite show on television. Not surprisingly, since it involves travel (eccentric family uproots from England to go live on a beautiful Greek island) and has as its main characters not one but two nascent writers: the novelist-and-travel-writer-to-be Larry and the zookeeper-and-memoirist-to-be Gerry (on whose trilogy the show is loosely based). While clearly taking advantage of the popularity of more recent expat-in-paradise books (A Year in Provence, Under the Tuscan Sun), The Durrells in Corfu has a different feel. Here it's not just the locals but the family members who are odd and colorful. (The first and most famous book in the trilogy is titled My Family and Other Animals.) When I lived in Greece, in the winter of 1979, I met a woman, an expat, who told me that people generally preferred Gerry to Larry, who came across as a bit of a prig. When you watch the show, this sounds about right. But I should add that the woman shared a house with six dogs. 

By Thomas Swick • Category: Travel