Travel

Travel

Capital wonders: Mexico City for beginners

Like a lot of Californians, I've made dozens of trips to Mexico over the decades – beach resorts in Baja, Maya ruins in the Yucatan, colonial towns in the interior. Yet I'd never made time to explore the capital's top museums and landmarks, even though their global popularity has boomed in recent years. When I finally gave myself a good look at Mexico City this year, most of those attractions surprised me.

Travel

Experiencing the magic of Northern Italy’s lakes

The lakes of Northern Italy, nestled near the foothills of the Alps, are magical, especially, I think, on one's first visit. It was mine – a birthday celebration that I chose to spend with a dozen strangers from the United States, Canada and Brazil.

Travel

Turkey’s terrain, people, history make colorful trip

I've either been pixie dusted or turned into Barney Rubble. Everywhere I look, towering rock "fairy chimneys" dot Turkey's fantastical wonderland of Cappadocia. I'll also explore mystical age-old cave churches, sleep in a "cave hotel" that entombs guests and wine, and scoot-duck-gasp my way through a spooky ancient underground city, one of dozens burrowed here. And wait until I dreamily float over it all in an Oz-like flame-breathing balloon.

Travel

Leavenworth it? Assessing 2 new spots in the Pacific Northwest’s little Bavaria

Leavenworth is a trip. Nestled against the far side of the Cascade mountains just a few hours east of Seattle, this little town does an impression of a Bavarian village with all its might. The beer flows freely and the music is oompah; buildings are decorated with wooden beams, family crests and gingerbread trim (or their trompe l'oeil versions). The HeidleBurger boasts "Best Burgers in Town," and even the 76 station, Starbucks and Howard Johnson's are in on the illusion, their corporate identities trumped, for once, by a civic thematic mission.

They’re not shells? 10 facts about sand dollars — and how killing them could cost you

Did you know sand dollars are living creatures? Drying them out to take home from any South Carolina beach could result in a heavy fine. Here's how to spot the difference between the live ones — and everyone's favorite souvenir.