Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

Sintra Is A Jewel Of Portugal

Jewel-Of-PortugalWHEN I STARTED PHONING FRIENDS to ask about Sintra, in Portugal, I kept hearing the same refrain from those who had actually been there. “Sintra? It started out as a day trip from Lisbon, and we ended up staying a week.” “Sintra? We planned to stay a long weekend and left two weeks later.” It seemed that the spell cast by Sintra was strong indeed, and as I packed for a five-day stay, I couldn’t help but wonder if I’d ever be coming back.

Sintra is one of those places that everyone has heard about but few have visited. All the better, since Sintra, despite the fame of its fantastic palaces, remains a flawless oasis. Carolina Zapf, a New York-based fashion designer, was so captivated by Sintra’s charms that she chose to be married there in the summer of 1999, …

Traveling Alaska Takes Guts

Traveling-AlaskaWHERE THE PERIL STRAIT MEETS the Chatham Strait, by the soaring forests of Chichagof and Baranof islands, seven humpback whales milled and spouted. From the foredeck of the M/V Liseron, our jaunty wood-hulled charter boat, we saw them flex their backs, raise their tails and slide down into the icy water. Minutes passed, then the huge creatures burst to the surface together. The Liseron’s captain had slowed the boat to a near idle to accommodate the curiosity of his sixteen passengers. The humpbacks, he said, were feeding cooperatively by herding their prey (herring, most likely) inside a net of bubbles, then rushing up at them from below and scooping them into their enormous maws. My wife Risa and I had observed whales elsewhere over the years, but the sight of bubble-net feeding, as this was called, was new to us, …