As a child, I used to pore over my father’s pictures of his trip to China to buy furs for his family business, founded by his father and continued by him and his brothers. These photographs provided endless imaginary voyages for me to exotic faraway places. We also subscribed to National Geographic, which I devoured and became enamored of travel photos.
As an adult, travel has been a passion for me and a hobby I love sharing with my husband Arnie, a historian of U.S. diplomatic history. We save up so we can support this hobby and have shared marvelous experiences in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, and North America. In addition, our work has taken us to many corners of the world, including Antigua, Guatemala, for International Planned Parenthood Federation, Western Hemisphere Region; Monrovia, Liberia, for JFK Hospital under a contract with USAID; and São Paulo, Brazil, for Hospital Israelita Albert Einstein, the leading hospital in Latin America.We plan many of our trips ourselves; for travel to remote places, we send Requests for Proposals to several travel agents, often locally based in the countries we plan to visit, to gather a variety of ideas and get competitive bids. We also collect airline and hotel points diligently, relying on the informative milliionmilesecrets.com e-newsletter for tips, which has 20,000 readers. This approach has yielded affordable itineraries, often at a fraction of the higher bids for comparable or identical services and accommodations. (Several of our trip descriptions include contact information for our travel agents.)
As you explore our travels, you will note that we have visited many UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Though this was not by design, following UNESCO’s designations leads to many wonderful adventures. These sites represent masterpieces of human creative genius, unique testimony to a cultural tradition or to a civilization, an outstanding example of building or architecture, superlative natural phenomena or areas of exceptional beauty and aesthetic importance. This travel blog includes a substantial sampling of these 1,031 extraordinary sites, including the Historic Center of Prague, Czech Republic, includng Vrtba Garden; Agrigento, Sicily; Robben Island, Capetown; Antigua, Guatemala; Humble Administrator’s Garden, Suzhou, China; the famous medinas of Essaouira and Marrakesh, Morocco; and the Rock Sites of Cappadocia, Turkey.
When I envisioned this blog, as a way to share our experiences with others, I did not know how many of our travel experiences I would be able to relay through images and narratives. As you travel with me through many continents, countries, and places, I hope you will savor some of these experiences. As a newly married couple, we took a trip from London to Rome by car, sampling much of France, Italy, and Switzerland along the way.
Later, in 1971, when our children Debbie and Mike were four and one, we spent a year and a half in Europe, starting in Estepona on the Costa del Sol, followed by semesters in Thieusies in southern Belgium, in Berlin, and culminating in London. My husband was teaching in Europe for Boston University and tacked on a sabbatical. This was quite an adventure!
Six years ago I embarked on short three-generation trips with my daughter and eldest granddaughter during school breaks. I hope to extend this tradition to my son’s family when my younger granddaughters and grandson are old enough.
Though pictures of our early travels are not yet available in digital form for my blog, they started us on our remarkable path of exploring the world together.
Please join us on our journey!
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Photos by Arnie & Ellen Offner (except as otherwise noted)