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Jane Durrell onboard the Ryndam ocean liner, 1953.
"Life on board ship is my life, and obviously I was born in Indiana by a fluke,” I wrote in a letter to my parents in 1953, a letter that miraculously came to hand all these years later. Air travel then was exotic and, at least to me, a little scary. My husband and I booked passage on Holland-America’s new, post-war liner the Ryndam to go to Europe, returning by the Ryndam’...
Writer and traveler Jane Durrell with grandson William in Santa Fe.
S anta Fe is its own place. Walking its inviting streets, you are not likely to think, “Oh, this reminds me of Dayton, Ohio. Or San Francisco. Or Indianapolis.” I was in Santa Fe recently—not for the first time—and found it as individual and pleasurable as on my previous visits. My visit was in the company of family members, enough of us that we rented a modest house for a...
Prato della Valle, Padova, Italy
Admittedly, Padova (or Padua as this northern Italian city is called on U.S. maps) is not on most people’s travel list of must-sees. But while it’s not Rome, Florence, or Venice, it has many charms, and because it’s so close to Venice, makes a wonderful base of operations for visiting the city of canals. Venice is an amazing city and one definitely worth gaping at before it...
The Grand Tetons
In Big Sky Country, the moniker fits. But as Montana’s skies open for pastel sunsets, ominous storms, and star-sprinkled nights, the earth below provides equal wonderment. A clockwise circuit of Bozeman and Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks proves a memorable adventure celebrating the beauty of America. Scenic gateway Bozeman, Mont., is an excellent gateway to the national parks...
Spoon sculpture at The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis
Minneapolis is a good theater town. It’s a good art town. It’s an interesting town architecturally. I understand a famous mall isn’t far away—the enormous Mall of America in nearby Bloomington—but theater and art and architecture kept me too busy to check that out. I understand it’s the most visited mall in the world, although not by me. Minneapolis isn’t...
The Root River Trail in Minnesota
People come to the quiet southeastern Minnesota village of Lanesboro for two reasons: to bicycle the splendid Root River Trail and its adjunct, the Harmony-Preston Valley Trail, or to go to the theater. Or to do both. The most unlikely theater town of my experience, Lanesboro’s Commonweal Theater Company’s season begins in April with an Ibsen festival the weekend of April 12-14 and...
Fountain on Rossio Square in Lisbon, Portugal
The amazing thing about Europe is how countries that abut one another can be so different. Drive from one U.S. state to another and you’ll barely be able to tell the difference, but cross a border in Europe and the differences can be amazing. The most obvious one is language, and when you go from Spain to Portugal you’ve made quite a jump, especially as Spanish is so common in the...
MN_0910_Cuba3
In Cuba, umbrellas go up against the sun and the hand-held fan has never gone out of use or out of fashion. [caption id="attachment_14081" align="alignright" width="280" caption="Carriages and bicycle rickshaws supplement taxis. (photos by Jane Durrell)"][/caption] This lovely, long, alligator-shaped island that curves just below Key West is off-limits to...
YLe0710_SeasonedTravelerEurope
If you re planning a European getaway, you ll want to know a thing or two about currency exchange before you go. Keep in mind that fees and surcharges vary from place to place and the best way to pay for things in Europe is widely debated. Whether you decide to pay for most things with cash, credit cards, or prepaid travel cards, you should always have more than one option available in case...