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.


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.


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.


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.


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


Now that winter is here, you re going to want to find a place where the sun s rays are actually hot. But what if you re not a beach person?


[caption id="attachment_6413" align="aligncenter" width="530" caption="The Radio City Christmas Spectacular starring the Rockettes is always a special event. (Photo courtesy of MSG Entertainment)"]


The perfect vacation for the summer of 2009? Think beautiful sunsets on a pristine bay, quiet time in a natural preserve, state-of-the-art fitness facilities, great restaurants, and quaint New England shops. Easy to get to, but it feels like it s a world away. I m talking about one of the best-kept secrets in travel destinations Point Lookout in Northport, Maine.