Tag: travel

Aland Islands: peaceful Baltic outpost

One of the first and most persuasive successes of the League of Nations, the international political body that prefigured the United Nations, was the resolution of the so-called Aland (pronounced “Oh-land”) Islands Question in 1921. This archipelago of about 10,000 islands, only 6,500 of which are large enough to have been named, is usually represented…

Travel: My Cairo Diary

Note: Written in the height of the Mubarak years, long before his overthrow during the so-called Arab Spring of 2011. Bartering is a way of life in this bustling, dirty, exotic city of 15 million people. From the moment you arrive, you will be beseeched and cajoled to buy perfume, eat a shishkebab, hire a…

Yarmouth, picturesque Maritime town, is losing its Jews

A melancholic mist o’erhangs the main street of Yarmouth, an isolated village of about 7,000 people on Nova Scotia’s extreme southwestern shore. Sixty miles from the coast of Maine, Yarmouth has not changed much since its glory days as a thriving regional seaport in the late 19th century, when it served as a major embarkation point…

Visiting a hill tribe in northern Thailand

The mini-van had made it safely up the red mud slopes and Sam, our well-spoken Thai guide, said we’d get back okay provided the heavens didn’t burst. “If it rains, the road will become a sea of mud,” he said indifferently. “We’d get stuck for sure. Maybe even slide off a cliff.” The sky was…

At Innisbrook, a Florida golf resort

“A subtle dog-leg to the left”: that’s how golf pro Matt Hurley describes the 10th hole of Sandpiper — which is to say that it bends ever so slightly. Our golf-cart is idling in a shady grove at Innisbrook, a posh 21-year-old golf resort in Tarpon Springs, on Florida’s Gulf Coast. Its well-landscaped 1,000 acres…

Old synagogue one of Curacao’s many attractions

Situated in the Caribbean some 63 kilometres from Venezuela, the Dutch island of Curacao is a rugged, hilly outcropping with some 160,000 inhabitants. Although most are Catholic, they represent about 80 nationalities and speak four official tongues: English, Dutch, Spanish and Papiamentu, the native lingo that is a smorgasbord of Old Dutch, Portuguese and African…

The Jews of Bangkok, Thailand

Sam Cohen, a petroleum geologist from Calgary, left Canada to work on a large oil field in the Gulf of Thailand about 1983. When his contract expired during an industry slowdown several years later, he chose to remain in the bustling capital city of Bangkok, where a forest of cranes along the skyline suggests an…

Moses Montefiore, a man of his people

His name was Moses; he was a leader of his people; he spent much time in Egypt and the desert; he wandered incessantly; he is associated with a fiery mountain and the holiday of Passover; and his life lasted longer than a century. These traits describe the biblical Moses, of course, but they also refer…

Intrigue and history at American Colony Hotel

A few paces over the line between east and west, the American Colony is reputedly the finest hotel in Arab East Jerusalem, and no less steeped in legend and lore than its more famous counterpart, the King David Hotel, in the western, more prosperous section of the city. Part of the exclusive Relais & Chateaux…

Inside Sotheby’s, famous London auction house

Inside a large public room at Sotheby’s, the famous auction house on New Bond Street in Central London, workers are painstakingly reconstructing another room: an Islamic-style chamber that has been disassembled and shipped here from an Arabian palace. Having once graced the ancestral home of an anonymous sheik, the wood-carved ceiling, walls and floor of…