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Rundown for the Week of July 6, 2001

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Bad Taste Tour: The Barbed Wire Museum by Cash Peters
Whenever our intrepid reporter, Cash Peters, takes us on one of his infamous Bad Taste Tours, it's pretty cut and dry. The Parisian Sewer Tour? Bad Taste. The Red Light District of Amsterdam? No brainer. But every once in awhile Cash stumbles upon a place where it's hard to decide if what we're encountering is tacky and disturbing, or if it's just plain weird. You decide as Cash takes us on a trip to the Barbed Wire Museum in Kansas.

The Fish Feste by Frank Browning
Try this for unexpected: let's go to Italy - and no, I'm not talking Rome, I'm not talking Tuscany. I'm not talking Venice. Forget those spots. It's in the Italian boondocks, especially in summer, where you find dozens of authentic celebrations. Villages go all out in these yearly parties to honor their local olive oil or maybe a single strain of wheat. They reenact ancient tribal battles and, although most of these festivals are named for one saint or another, their roots go back even further than the arrival of a Christian God. Writer Frank Browning has brought back this story of a small fishing village called Camogli, just south of Genoa on the northern Mediterranean coast. The annual feste, festival, to understate it, is the biggest event of the year.

The 'Bama Press Junket by Judie Fein
Judie Fein, our Brooklyn-bred contributor, recently met up with a group of fellow travel writers in the heart of Dixie to learn how different places try to sell themselves as tourist destinations. The event is called a Travel Writers' Marketplace and Judie, her husband, and another writer had just headed out with their guide, Debbie, to explore the delights of Huntsville, Lauderdale, and Florence. Florence, Alabama, that is.

Sue Halpern's Monarch Madness
We do sometimes wind up in trouble when we travel. And then on the other hand, we often wind up in unexpected delight. Writer Sue Halpern was minding her own business on a vacation in Mexico when she innocently agreed to go on a group hike. What she saw on that outing inspired her to spend the next seven years studying something that looks like a work of art but is, in fact, an insect.

Mass Tourism
If gorgeous gothic churches stir you, Spain might be your next choice. Contributor Naomi Lewin reports from several Spanish cathedrals where she went a step further than just gazing at the architecture and the stained glass windows. Naomi visited these churches during mass for the locals. And the sounds of the nuns singing, the organ music swelling, seemed to fill her soul.

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