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Senior Traveler Recalls Visit To Beautiful Florence, Italy PDF Print E-mail


Florence, or Firenza in Italian, is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. From personal traveling experience, it’s our favorite in Italy, not only for its timeless charm, but because many of the other big cities are too touristy for our taste.

Rome is often overcrowded and commercialized. We couldn't even visit the Vatican, the Forum or the Colosseum without being overwhelmed by busloads of tourists, religious groups, street vendors, creepy would-be guides, urchin pickpockets and phony costumed characters.

Venice is still unique when viewed quickly, but once one goes strolling along the narrow streets or drifts by the canals, there’s the pervasive feel and smell that the city has degenerated into a glorified sewer. The famed pigeons in San Marco Square look great in photos, but in reality are dirty pests that flock and poop all over people to grab the birdseed that sells for a five bucks per a tiny paper cup's worth.

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Seniors Back In Class: Italy Cooking School Experience PDF Print E-mail


You’re never too old to learn something new, and here’s a travel idea that combines education and vacation. And you can do it in sunny Italy. How about a cooking vacation?

One example is a program at Casa Ombuto, a former Italian noble family's villa in picturesque Tuscany. In addition to the culinary schedules during one- to two-week courses, students visit local cultural sites, including historic Florence, where Michelangelo's art and sculpture originated.

There are also cruises to beautiful isles of Capri and Sorrento, where strolling among the outdoor cafes and sampling local dishes are part of the Italian cooking adventure. The students are completely immersed in regional customs, cooking history and skills. Although teaching is in Italian, translators are always present to help others.

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Is Your Hometown Travel Agency Becoming Obsolete? PDF Print E-mail


Guest Senior Editor PJM, London, England: Sorry to see honest, hard-working people lose business, but we believe bricks and mortar travel agencies may soon have to close up shop.

Over the years, we’ve had experiences with excellent, good, so-so and inept local agencies. With the ever-expanding internet, we now click travel sites on our computer to do most of our comparison shopping.

We’ve been all over the globe, including Italy, France, Belgium, Germany, Russia, Las Vegas, Reno, Mexico, Panama Canal, Hawaii, Alaska, South America, the Caribbean, Canada, USA and many more destinations.

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Senior Memories: When It’s Springtime in Hawaii PDF Print E-mail


Visiting Editor BBL, Seattle WA: How can you tell it's springtime in Hawaii? The weather is so warm and beautiful all year long. My first visit was love at first sight with the picturesque islands. It was in February 1945.

I was a 19-year-old sailor, and our troop ship eased into a cove near a beach area on the big island of Hawaii, and stood offshore. Then the quiet beauty was shattered by a very noisy interruption.

Cool tropical breezes were blowing. The surf was gentle. The palm trees were swaying. There were big, fluffy clouds in the sky, and Marine aircraft were bombing the hell out of the beach. The squawk box blared, "Land the landing force!"

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Ex-Navy Logs In: How I Became Cruise Enthused PDF Print E-mail


Senior Travel Guru AJS, Phoenix AZ: I morphed into a senior cruiser despite my original very negative thoughts about it. I retired at age 65.5, and instead just settling down right away, my spouse and I decided to travel. I wanted to experience the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Monument Valley and other dry-land destinations.

A local travel agent suggested we take a cruise from Los Angeles along the Pacific coast of Mexico. My reaction: A cruise! Who the hell wants to go on a cruise? When I cruised the Pacific with the Navy during the Vietnam War, a lot of angry guys tried to kill me! I absolutely insisted I'd never, never, never again go on a cruise!

A week later we were at the pier to board our cruise ship. Griping and moaning, I went up the gangway and to our cabin. I had to admit it was a bit more comfy than Navy crew compartments, and found that the cruise ship had better chow halls. I enjoyed onboard activities, entertainment and visits to Baja ports. Since then, we've sailed on many cruises throughout the world.

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