Rundown for the week of May 1, 1999
In Northern Ireland the fragile peace seems to be holding, so is it now
safe to pack your bags and go exploring a place that for decades has been
known as the land of troubles? And if you do go, what's there to see? The
Savvy Traveler's Martin Stott ventured to Belfast to investigate.
Q&A I: Road Music
Rudy talks to listeners about their favorite songs to listen to while
traveling. Here are some suggestions from listeners:
Erik Winter of Hampstead, Maryland: Themes from "Jurassic Park" and
"Raiders of the Lost Ark."
Joan Turner of Bensalem, Pennsylvania: Aaron Copeland's Appalachian Spring
Laura Frankforter: Indigo Girls and Dixie Chicks
Steve Van Der Meer of Fort Collins, Colorado: Theme song from "The
Stewart Reed: "Radar Love" by Golden Earring. Also, Don Henley's "Building the Perfect Beast."
Buzz Aldrin Interview
When Buzz Aldrin and Neil Amstrong took a stroll on the moon in July of
1969, we could scarcely believe that human beings were blasting off into
the stars. Their bravery ignited our hopes and dreams for worlds beyond
the boundries of planet earth. Today, we're a little jaded...no longer
surprised by a rocket launch. But what if anyone...you, your neighbor,
mother, best friend, could take a trip to the moon? Buzz Aldrin thinks it
could happen. Matter of fact, he's got his own organization, Starcraft
Enterprises, through which he lectures and travels throughout the world to
share ideas about the future of civilian space travel. He's also chairs
both the National Space Society and the ShareSpace Foundation, which is a
From the once-in-a-lifetime department, I give you: the year 2000 and this
week's Millenium Watch. The computer world may be calling it Y-2-K, but
for travelers, it's more like "Why NOT 2K?" Why not pay 2K, that
is -- if not more -- for a flight, a cruise, a nightly hotel room
rate...I mean, when are you going to get another chance to ring in the
year 2000? This once-in-a-lifetime- thing seems to be a ticket to
splurge, so travel planners are thinking big--HUGE, actually with prices
to match. So if you've got a few thousand extra to spend on the
triple-zeros, maybe one of these trips is for you.
Silversea is offering Millennium Cruises that let passengers count-down in
Fiji, then sail across the International Date Line, then back to celebrate
all over again. You're looking at a starting price of $30,000 per person.
If you prefer to celebrate in the skies, you can fly around the world on a
chartered Concorde flight. There's a three-week millennium safari, through
Africa, for $40,000, or an 18-day Around- the-World trip which includes
Sydney, Hong Kong, and Cairo, for $75,000 ... about twice as much as the
usual around-the-world package.
Heck, you can break the bank just by staying on the ground. There are
luxury manors and even castles available for rent in England, Scotland,
and Wales for $23,000 a week. As for hotels, the Ritz-Carlton offers what
it oh-so-humbly calls the "Ultimate Experience," reserved for just one
couple at each of its properties. Get a load of this: you get the
hotel's premier suite, private dining room, 18 karat gold watches, a
Jaguar to drive for the weekend, a private 24-hour butler ... the list
goes on. How much? How does 100 grand hit you?
And if you want to be the biggest spender, you can just head to that
traditional favorite, New York City's Times Square, where you'll find the
conveniently named Millennium Broadway Hotel. Take up their offer of
renting out the entire place to ring in 2000: three nights, three million
Travel with Kids
Here, the future and the past come together. When The Savvy Traveler's
Pippin Ross was a young girl, her parents took her and her best friend on
a trip to Washington D.C. Her memories of the nation's capitol have always
provided a graceful backdrop to her most cynical feelings about
government. She recently took her son and his best friend to Washington
D.C. and saw that all the grandeur and history still have a profound
Deal of the Week
There's never been a better time to visit Asia. It's nearly summer, so
the weather is just right. And the continent's stubborn economic
difficulties mean drastically reduced hotels and airfare.
Just take a look at this new package deal from United Airlines. Travel
from the West Coast to Hong Kong, round-trip, spend five nights in one of
the Mandarin Oriental group's luxury hotels--and I mean luxury--for only
$999. You can depart from other U.S. cities for about $50 more.
This is one amazing offer. Once, nine-ninety nine was considered a steal
in airfare. And you couldn't stay five nights in a Mandarin hotel
for half that. Now you get the airfare AND the hotel room. Plus 5,000
bonus miles. Combined with the regular miles you'll earn for flying
across the Pacific, you'll almost have enough for a free round-trip ticket
domestically on United. Even airport transfer is provided. All you have
to do is have fun in one of the world's great cities. The small print:
Travel Monday through Thursday. Offer good from May first 'til December
31st. Call United for details.
Hong Kong at an incredible price--that's my Deal of the Week!
Q&A II: General Questions
Rudy takes listeners' general questions about travel. He mentions:
Summer Travel to Costa Rica
- The Costa Rica Handbook by Moon Publications has a full list of
tour agencies that serve Costa Rica.
- The Monte Verde Cloud Forest Reserve includes both slopes of Tilaran
Mountain and protects many species.
- Poas Volcano is one of the deepest active volcanoes in the world and its
second crater, now a lake, is also well worth the hike.
- Pleasure Break Vacation has
been offering airfare to either Guanacaste region or Quepos Beach from $39
per person from Chicago.
Judaism in Portugal before the Inquisition
- Many organizations provide this service for a fee, usually up to $75.
You can then advertise your place and peruse their listings in their
- The Invented City has properties in the Southwest and can help arrange a
home exchange. Call 800-788-2489 or take a look at their website at http://www.invented-city.com.
- Try the International Home Exchange
Network as an alternative.
- Try these titles: Spanish and Portuguese Jewry or Spanish and Portuguese
Jewry Before and After 1492 available from Amazon.com.
- Remnants of Jewish culture dating as far back as the 15th and 16th
century can be found in Lisbon, Santarem, Tomar, Belmonte, Castelo de Vide
- Though they may not date back to the Inquisition, there are notable
synagogues to visit all over the country. Visit the Synagogue of Lisbon,
erected in 1813. Kosher establishments can be found in Lisbon and
- For more information about Jewish life in Portugal, contact the
Comunidade Isrelita de Lisboa, phone +351-1-385-8604, fax +351-1-388-4304.
- If you decide you want an organized tour, "Jewish Heritage in Portugal"
could meet your needs. The eight-day independent tour, which includes
lodging, costs aroudn $2000 per person, based on two people traveling
together. Air is extra. Call Nob Hill Travel Services at 800-777-8630.
Postcard from an Expatriate
Carmen Delzell, the Savvy Traveler's ex-patriate in Mexico, chose to get
far away from the U-S and find a new life outside America's
borders. "I was running away from it all. Talk shows, truck stops,
boyfriend...oh, and English. I forgot to mention that I knew only enough
Spanish in those days to say beer and how much." A letter from an
ex-patriate in Mexico.
Next Week on The Savvy Traveler
We join one traveler who doesn't go as far as to move to another country.
But by the time she's finished her trip, she's almost one of the
locals...or almost one of the local meals:
"You're not palatable...you're too skinny and frail ...too salty..not
We get an insider's tour of New Zealand's indigenous, formerly
cannibalistic, Maori culture. And remember the old steam locomotives? We
head to Promontory Point, Utah, where the Transcontinental Railroad was
completed...130 years ago:
"The steam loco was the only machine that man ever invented that sort of
had a heart. They throb, they're almost alive. There's a vitality to a
steam locomotive that's lacking in a diesel."
Be there as they re-enact the driving of the spike that linked our nation
in next week's edition of The Savvy Traveler.
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