How to Travel with Carry-ons ONLY

Irene and RIck Butler

Whether travelling for long periods, through several countries, or just going for a week; we only travel with carry-ons. My husband Rick and I travel consecutively for many months annually, visiting a number of countries, hence numerous flights. Regardless of the length of these travel-stints (our last one entailed 25 countries in 9 months) – we take only a carry-on each. Here's how we travel with ... Read Full Article

Tirana, Albania: From Despair to Hope

13 Restaurant row

An energetic and progressive Tirana is what we see. Fine places to dine, vibrant shops, parks for strolling, traffic chaos, buildings undergoing facelifts, new structures taking form under a flourish of cranes. Locals tell us Tirana has changed beyond belief from its once austere and dull grey of past decades. The country’s sobering history is evidenced throughout the city in Ottoman, Italian and ... Read Full Article

When in Kosovo Enjoy Pristina and Nearby Prizren

Kosovo National Library

The atmosphere is effervescent! Families are out enjoying a sunny Sunday. Small cafes are filled to capacity. The scent of roasting chestnuts wafts from charcoal burners on every corner. A visit to Kosovo shows that tourism is on its way up, and rightfully so! And, When in Kosovo Enjoy Pristina and Nearby Prizren. We absorb the scope of light-hearted activity as we walk along Mother Teresa ... Read Full Article

Inside an Iceland Volcano

Indelible experience

In past travels I have climbed through lava tubes, run from blasts of sulfur fumes from active volcanos, have witnessed fiery lava drop with steamy sizzles into the sea….BUT when told by a fellow traveler I could descend 120 meters (400ft) “into” an actual volcano chamber, I guffaw, “Yah, right… what Sci Fi have you taken to be reality – Jules Verne’s?” But here I am, with my husband Rick and nine ... Read Full Article

Ireland’s Ancient Burial Mounds

White quartz brought by pilgrims

Older than Stonehenge and the Pyramids of Giza! My passion for archeology spikes with the thought of seeing 5,000 year-old-tombs! My husband Rick is a willing participant as we point our rental car away from Dublin towards the vast area of Brú na Bóinne. This complex Megalithic site in County Meath, Ireland is known for its three major tombs - Newgrange, Knowth and Dowth (together deemed a UNESCO ... Read Full Article

St. Petersburg, Russia – the Enchantress

Venice-like streets along canals in St. Petersburg

  “If Moscow and St Petersburg were sisters, Moscow would be serious and businesslike, compared to this relaxed, light-hearted sibling,” I say with a flourish to my husband Rick. The main street, Nevsky Prospekt, bustles with chattering people strolling arm-in-arm relishing the day. The historic area side-streets with imperial classical architecture in pastels of coral, opal, gold, and ... Read Full Article

Lake Baikal, Siberia – Russia’s Galapagos

Listvyanka nestled in boreal forest

  All who leave Moscow on the Trans-Siberian Railway stop at Irkutsk, the closest city from which to visit Siberia’s jewel, Lake Baikal. This world renowned lake is located just before the dividing point where travelers by rail choose one of three routes to complete their epic journey. Alas, my husband Rick and I do not have time on this trip to visit the area via the Trans-Siberian ... Read Full Article

Discovering Moscow with a Phrase Book and Map – Beyond the City’s Historic Heart

Upper St Peter's Monastery - main church

The luxury of having a full week in Moscow is that after visiting the Kremlin and Red Square, there is still time to discover the pulse of the city as you explore the streets radiating from these highly visited sites. The choices are so varied they defy being put into categories while  also revealing the many faces of Russian history. Along Petrovka Ulitsa (street) my husband Rick and I ... Read Full Article

Discovering Moscow with a Phrase Book and Map – The Kremlin and Red Square

St Basil's Cathedral

  An hour to go and crowds are gathering. Leaving our shady niche in the flowery Alexandrovsky Garden, my husband Rick and I stake a spot with a good view along the outside northwest Kremlin wall. Exactly on the hour all heads turn toward three soldiers “goosestep” marching; their legs with locked knees swing in unison high off the ground, their rifles balance vertically from their left ... Read Full Article

Feasting Our Way Thru Kiev and Odessa


  “It’s worth a trip to Ukraine for the food and beer alone!” - was my husband Rick’s continual comment throughout our visit. Cosmopolitan Kiev and touristy Odessa offer a large selection of cuisines and price ranges, but our choice was to seek out restaurants serving up home-style Ukrainian fare. Traditional Ukrainian cuisine is rich with natural ingredients. Meals usually consist of ... Read Full Article