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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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Fittingly, the last seven miles to Black Rock Lodge in the Cayo District of Belize require endurance. A rocky ride over unpaved road, through orange trees and grazing cattle, leads to the modest Black Rock sign. From there, the final stretch is a steep incline. Nothing so beautiful should be reached too easily.

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In M rida, in the Yucatan, people dance in the streets. Every Sunday evening.