Saturday, September 29, 2012

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Best Part: Sonora Resort


Room With a View

Sonora Resort, British Colombia, Canada, Rm 077

Just Saying

Anyone else have a problem with a half empty plane piling everyone elbow to elbow in the back, announcing they'll be happy to move you to the front economy seats for a premium? Just saying . . .

Friday, September 21, 2012

Insider's Southern California

Photo by Cynthia Dial
Can it really be time for baseball's regular season to be at an end?? So I headed to Anaheim to watch the Texas Rangers (go TX!!) defeat the LA (I still call them Anaheim) Angels. But as Yogi Berra famously said, "It's not over till it's over."

Thursday, September 20, 2012


The Great Wall of China is also known as the wanli changcheng or Long Wall of 10,000 Li (a li is a measure of distance, approximately 1/3 of a mile). The main wall is around 2,145 miles (3,460 km) long with an extra 1,770 miles (2,860 km) of branches and spurs.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Quote of the Day

Photo by Cynthia Dial
“The first condition of understanding a foreign country is to smell it.” Rudyard Kipling   

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Trip Advisor's Quirky Hotels

Anyone stayed in one of Trip Advisor's Quirky Hotels or somewhere even quirkier? 

I once stayed at the Peabody Orlando (which really isn't quirky) but my room overlooked the tennis court, where the resident ducks walked for their morning exercise.  And I also got to serve as assistant duck master during the Peabody's noted afternoon tea service.  This is a ceremony where the ducks arrive to the sound of trumpets from an elevator and walk a red carpet through the area for high tea.  We were working with a couple of new ducks, the duck master explained.  "Under no circumstances, touch a duck or pick one up.  Just guide them with this walking stick."  However, one duck was not cooperating.  So there I was at the end of our 'parade,' standing in the elevator with the 4 or 5 'well-behaved' ducks using the long stick to block their exit from the elevator.  And in the elevator with the ducks, I waited.  And waited.  And waited.  Finally, here comes the duck master, errant duck under his arm!
To see the list of quirky hotels, go here.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Restaurant Week San Diego

Guess what next week brings to San Diego?  Restaurant Week! 
Sept. 16 - 21, 2012 are dates of the six day celebration where diners can enjoy three-course prix fixe dinner menus for $20, $30 or $40 per person at more than 180 restaurants.  There are also lunch offerings, giving daytime diners the opportunity for two-course prix fixe lunch menus for $10, $15 or $20 per person.  Go here for a list of participating restaurants.  And be sure to make reservations.  Bon appetit!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Top 10 Dramatic Landscapes

Photo by Cynthia Dial
Anyone visited any of the following Trip Advisor top 10 dramatic landscapes? To see list, go here.
Me: 0
What about you?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Travel $aving$

Photo by Cynthia Dial
Wonder how European cities rank regarding hotel rates?  The following table (courtesy of a study by compares rates of 30 main destinations in Europe. The prices shown reflect each establishment’s average rate for the cheapest available double room (minimum 2-star hotel) during the time period spanning June through August 2012.
1.Stockholm 111 Euros
2.Edinburgh 109 Euros
3.Venice 103 Euros
4.Zurich 101 Euros
5.Oslo 94 Euros
6.Copenhagen 93 Euros
7.London 91 Euros
8.Nice 78 Euros
9.Paris 73 Euros
10.Dublin 71 Euros
11.Amsterdam 72 Euros
12.Vienna 71 Euros
13.Munich 71 Euros
14.Barcelona 70 Euros
15.Florence 68 Euros
16.Milan 67 Euros
17.Hamburg 67 Euros
18.Bruxelles 62 Euros
19.Moscow 61 Euros
20.Saint Petersburg 59 Euros
21.Glasgow 58 Euros
22.Marseille 55 Euros
23.Berlin 49 Euros
24.Madrid 49 Euros
25.Lisbon 48 Euros
26.Rome 47 Euros
27.Prague 45 Euros
28.Warsaw 43 Euros
29.Budapest 33 Euros
30.Athens 23 Euros

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Quote of the Day

“Tomorrow New York is going to be here and we’re going to rebuild, and we’re going to be stronger than we were before. . . I want the people of New York to be an example to the rest of the country, and the rest of the world, that terrorism can’t stop us.”
New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, September, 2001

Monday, September 10, 2012

Another Travel Surprise

Another travel first:  While waiting in line to go through customs at San Diego's Lindbergh Airport after returning from Mexico, I remarked to a fellow traveler that it's too bad many travelers who purchased their fav bottles of tequila or kahlua in duty free will have to relinquish them if traveling from SD to another destination because they will forget to put them into checked luggage after claiming their bags in customs and before rechecking them.  This was when I received a surprise.  A very friendly, polite customs agent (no, that was not a typo) announced just this warning, urging travelers with just-purchased spirits to remember to put them into checked luggage.  You go, SD airport, where on Friday I came across the best TSA agent ever in route to Mexico!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Love at First Sight

Puerto Vallarta

First in Travel

First in travel: Just went thru SAN a/p security and it was fun! Seriously, TSA agent Davis, an ex-Marine joked with everyone, though he was quite professional. The tip to a young man in front of me in route to Hawaii: never fly to Hawaii with a group of Marine buddies. Too much time and too much to drink. He repeated the advice to me, which I so appreciated. What a wonderful way to start a long trip! Thanks, Davis.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Insider's Travel Tips

Photo by Cynthia Dial
USAA Magazine talked to many travel professionals — food critics, mileage point wizards, flight attendants, business travelers and service members — and compiled their top 15 tips for making summer vacations 2012 the best ever.  But these tips should be applied year around.  For details, go here.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Insider's San Diego

One of my favorite foreign phrases is "hasta luego," Spanish for "see you later," thus I bid hasta luego to the San Diego Pops Summer Series. Last night's farewell was particularly excellent, Tchaikovsky with the finale being 1812 Overture, complete with synchronized fireworks and cannon blasts. Wow!
Hasta luego, Summer Pops, see you summer 2013.

Insider's San Diego

Photo by Cynthia Dial
A great locals' spot in Ocean Beach (locally known as OB) at the end of Newport Avenue (the main drag) is South Beach Bar & Grill.  And a great choice is the grilled fish taco (it's huge and cheap) along with today's brew, which today was Big Wave Golden Ale from Kona.  Everything was great--all recommendations of friendly/fun server Peter DeMaria.

Insider's USA

Happy Labor Day! Lovely tribute to US on Sail Ho Golf Course.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

In My Own Backyard

Photo by Cynthia Dial
Last night's sky showcased the second full moon of the month, a phenomenon known as the blue moon.  And how perfect that the August 31, 2012 blue moon concurred with the funeral service of Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon.