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My links for June 6th through June 10th

These are my links for June 6th through June 10th:

Three Best Travel Secrets

I’ve been tagged by Robin Locker at My Mélange to provide my three best travel secrets. She actually tagged me on my Italofile.com site. But I had so many good secrets beyond Italy that I wanted to share my top three non-Italy secrets here. To see the Italy list, head over to Italofile. Have a look at both of them!

Of course, it’s not fair to really call these “secrets,” as there are plenty of other people who have gone before me and recommended the same places. So, just consider these as my current favorites among a bucket-load of tips.

Three Best Travel Secrets


Lycian Coast, Turkey
The Lycian Coast of Turkey is awash in tourists, especially from Europe and particularly from the U.K. But Turkey, in general, has yet to take off as a destination for Americans, which is why I’m including it on my list. This ancient coast is the Mediterranean of my dreams, with dramatic cliff-framed beaches (the beach above is Kaputa? Beach) and ruins from ancient Greeks, Romans, and Lycians (an ancient tribe particular to this region) strewn about. In the off-season, from about October to April when it’s not blazing hot, you can hike the Lycian Way, a 500km trail from Fethiye to Antalya. For a beach holiday, consider staying in Ka? which has a lively, walkable downtown with bars, fish and meze restaurants, and organic textile boutiques.


Kerala, India
One of the most memorable trips I’ve ever taken was aboard a houseboat, adrift in the backwaters of Kerala, one of India’s most southernmost states. I wrote about my backwater trip at length way back in 2004 and, re-reading my posts from that time still give me blissful memories. If you are fortunate to go to India and have time to make it to the south, do not miss the opportunity to ride aboard a kettuvalam (rice boat). I’m sure that with 3G networks these days, you can take this trip without unplugging from your phone and internet. But here is a chance to disconnect completely, with only books and scheduled meals to interrupt your quiet contemplation.

Apalachicola 022

Apalachicola, Florida
When I started writing this list, I didn’t intend to have all beachy destinations. But so be it. Apalachicola is yet another place I have written about on this blog in a two-parter titled Long Weekend in Apalachicola Part 1 and Part 2. If you read those posts, you’ll see that this lazy beach town gets me back to my southern roots. Apalachicola is also part of what’s called Florida’s “Forgotten Coast” because it’s largely undeveloped, in that it is lacking in the over-the-top, on-the-beach high-rise resorts that characterize much of Florida’s shoreline. Apalachicola is also the Oyster Capital of the United States, so you can get the fattest, freshest oysters here, either on the half-shell or fried up for a po-boy.

So there’s my non-Italy list. I’m not going to tag a whole bunch of people like I did for my Italy list, but I will give props to Katie at Tripbase, who started this whole meme. It’s been fun!

If you’ve enjoyed reading my tips and decide you want to dream up your own list, tag me. I’d love to read what others have to say.

Photos © Melanie Mize Renzulli

The Little Train That Could

Here’s the link to my latest travel article on National Geographic’s Intelligent Travel Blog. This was my first piece for them, and I’m really pleased with how it turned out.

This piece is about the Toy Train in Matheran, a hill station outside of Mumbai. India has submitted the toy train, which made its first run in 1907 during the British Raj era, to UNESCO for consideration as a World Heritage Site.

What was nice about writing this piece is that I mined two different areas to come up with my pitch. Using the power of Twitter, I had just happened to save a search column on Mumbai. One evening when I was looking at that column’s most recent tweets, I saw the headline about UNESCO officials in Matheran. I visited Matheran in 2004 and wrote about it on this blog. I used that blog post to jog my memory about the place, did a little research, and voilà! – a new clip!

The Little Train That Could…Be a World Heritage Site

Photo © Himanshu Sarpotdar

On Republic Day, Starting Anew and Moving On

It has been almost nine months since I left India and last posted on the blog. (You’ll also notice I moved cyber addresses – from http://tblogs.bootsnall.com/miss to here.)

I was ready to leave India last April, but now I look back on that chaos quite fondly. Indeed, I was also fond of today’s holiday – Republic Day – mostly because it falls in late January, one of the most pleasant times weather-wise to be in India, and especially Bombay. Oh to feel those tepid “winter” breezes coming off of Chowpatty Beach!

So, as I was reflecting on my time in India, I decided to upload some of my best India photos on Flickr. These pics are by no means my whole collection of India photos; but, I will certainly be uploading more to this album in the coming weeks.


Update and Great Photo


I apologize for the long silence. In fact, not much has been happening around here. Well, not much except bird flu, temple attacks, and presidential visits. At this point, nearly two years later, India and Bombay have almost become everyday for me. And, sad as it may seem, there comes a time when you become used to (desensitized to?) chaotic driving, street urchins, milk deliverymen on bicycles, unnavigable, paan juice stained sidewalks, piles of burning trash, incense, crowds, poverty, nouveau riche techies, and holy cows. It’s almost time to move on.

That said, I occasionally see things here that I wouldn’t see anywhere else. Take a look at the photo above, taken by a friend of a friend. That’s an actual billboard (called a “hoarding” here) with statistics that aren’t too far-fetched. I don’t know why the designers of the sign used a coffee cup, but there you go.

By the way, as I seem to have run out of words about India, I may start posting some fun photos on occasion. If I put up several at a time, they may even amount to a feature-length article. Figuratively, that is…