Tag: travel

Travel in the post-9/11 era

In some way, being on a modern jet aircraft is like riding a magic carpet from the Arabian Nights. No matter how often I fly, I always retain a sense of awe and wonder about the essentially miraculous process of jet travel. Have you ever wondered how Leif Erikson, Marco Polo or Christopher Columbus might…

In the Yucatan, Mayan temples and Spanish conquistadors

“The main thing to remember,” said Pepe, our Mexican guide, “is that the Mayans believed in reincarnation. They believed that unless they fed the sun every morning it would not rise.” High on a promontory overlooking Mexico’s Yucatan coast, Tulum is the only temple the Mayans built by the sea. Considered holy ground, it was…

Merida, a Roman retirement community in Spain

Merida, a city of 41,000 inhabitants in the Spanish province of Estremadura, boasts the most spectacular Roman ruins in Spain and an outstanding museum in which many impressive ancient treasures are housed. One’s introduction to the National Museum of Roman Art in Merida is the town itself. Merida was founded in 25 BC and named…

Travel: Winter interlude in Montreal

Snow was gently falling as I boarded the train at Toronto’s Union Station for VIA Rail’s recently-introduced overnight sleeper car service to Montreal. Before long I was sipping a drink and engaged in conversation with a fellow passenger in the glass-roofed dome car. “What is it about Toronto? They’re such amateurs when it comes to…

Inside glimpse of Hassidic Crown Heights

“One of the reasons we started doing this is because there’s so much misinformation out there about the Hassidic community,” says Rabbi Beryl Epstein, tour guide for a busload of visitors that leaves midtown Manhattan for 770 Eastern Parkway, headquarters of the Lubavitch Hassidic movement in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn. During the 45-minute…

Travel: restoring endangered species to desert

A recently opened camping compound on an Israeli wildlife preserve allows overnight guests to observe coyotes, jackals and other nocturnal animals in action. But you don’t have to sleep over at the Yotvata Hai-Bar Nature Reserve to see these nightly creatures. Daytime visitors may also view a menagerie of rodents, reptiles and arthropods in the…

Travel: Jewish Museum in Eisenstadt, Austria

Less than an hour’s drive east of Vienna, in the low-lying Austrian province of the Burgenland, are a series of towns of special interest to Jewish travellers. These are the once-famous “Siebengemeinden,” the seven noteworthy Jewish communities of Eisenstadt, Mattersdorf, Deutschkreutz, Lackenbach, Kobersdorf, Frauenkirchen and Kittsee. The largest and most significant is Eisenstadt, the provincial…

Travel: Edison Museum & the sleepy hamlet of Vienna

Six kilometers above the northeastern shore of Lake Erie, the sleepy hamlet of Vienna, Ont. boasts a strong but little-known connection with the family of Thomas Alva Edison (1847-1931), the legendary American inventor, who might have been born on Canadian soil but for a quirk of history and fate. Four generations of Edisons lived in…

Travel: London’s Dorchester Hotel is fit for royalty

Situated a short walk from Buckingham Palace in the posh neighborhood of Mayfair, London’s deluxe Dorchester Hotel has had a long and distinguished association with royalty, British and otherwise. In the summer of 1947, some five years before the British Princess Elizabeth was coronated as Queen, her engagement to Prince Philip was announced at a…

Archaeologist devotes life to study of Jerusalem

Dan Bahat, a leading Israeli archaeologist, is in the midst of an extended stint as visiting lecturer at St. Michael’s College at the University of Toronto (this piece was written in 2004; we’re fortunate to have him still in Toronto in 2011). The former chief archaeologist of Jerusalem and senior lecturer at Bar-Ilan University, Bahat…