There are many different ways to approach sightseeing. Some pore over guidebooks, searching for star-rated sights and planning their every move; others seem lackadaisical and wait for others to do the planning for them. For a Monday in Dublin, I took the random approach by walking out of my hotel door and deciding to take what came to me as I wandered across the city.
Spain can surprise even seasoned travelers. The cultures of the Roman Empire, the medieval Arabs and the Celtic world are still wonderfully evident in Spain — if you look. The government has spent millions restoring crumbling monasteries and castles to create lodging for visitors. The mountains have snowcapped peaks within sight of cities where the temperature can register 90 degrees. And, the restaurants offer much more than paella and sangria.
My aunt and I spent a wonderful two-week sightseeing vacation in Switzerland. The trip was a package tour that allowed us to experience the Alps by rail, and was my aunt’s treat as her gift to me for my birthday. I am a train travel devotee and have traveled extensively throughout North America on trains, but this was my first opportunity to ride intercity and regional trains in Europe.
Train travel in Europe is a bargain and, best of all, it’s easy — No need to adjust to driving a reverse standard on the opposite side of the road. No hassles about parking. No reason to stop for bathroom or fuel breaks. No need to break the bank with a rental car and petrol.
Umbria, Tuscany’s next door neighbor, has not been as celebrated and glorified. Yet that often-overlooked region encompasses artistic, scenic and other treasures that reward those who seek them out. For starters, Umbria boasts a setting of magnificent landscapes. The jagged Apennine Mountains lead to rolling hillsides that flatten into lush valleys blanketed by fields of wildflowers.