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Ready, Set, Go to Havana - But New Regulations Make That More Difficult to Do

The Trump Administration changed the regulations covering travel to Cuba. Travel is still legal though considerably more restrictive. 

Most dramatically, no U.S. citizen may engage in commercial transactions with Cuban military entities. Since all hotels and restaurants are government-owned, the only stays legally allowed are in private homes available for rent. 

Known as casa particular, these homes, like Air B&B, can be spartan or comfortable but they are far less available than rooms in hotels.  

With this change, the U.S. seeks to put a strangle-hold on the Cuban economy. The situation is similar to what it was during the height of the Cold War, which was when I first visited. 

If you find a way to visit Havana and I hope you do, here is my article about why you should want to go and tips to help you while you are there.
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Over almost twenty years, I visited Havana three times, accompanying my wife along with a d…
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Family Fun and Day-Tripping in Amsterdam

Moving into the colder months, be sure to carry an umbrella or rain coat when you visit Amsterdam. Don't let the rain stop you from renting a bicycle. It's still the best way to see Amsterdam.


A city on a uniquely human-scale, there's so much to see in Amsterdam, focusing day trips in a single area will help you enjoy the city at a leisurely pace.   
MUSEUMPLEIN AND DE PIJP

Amsterdam is home to dozens of great museums, not the least of which are the Amsterdam Historical Museum (Kalverstraat 92) , the inspiring Dutch Resistance Museum (Plantage Kerklaan 61), the Filmmuseum (Vondelpark 3), the Foam-Fotografiemuseum (Keizersgracht 609), the Royal Palace (Dam), and the remarkable Hermitage Amsterdam (Amstel 51). 
For a day trip, three of Amsterdam's best museums are conveniently within a block of one another in the Museum Plaza (Museumplein) just south of the city center.  

The Stedelijk Museum (Museumplein 10) houses an impressive collection of modern art. The national ar…

An Island Shrine, a Special Meal and a Unique Museum in Japan's Aichi Prefecture

In pursuit of a week-long adventure in Japan’s heartlandShoryudo Region, I sped west from Tokyo on the Tōkaidō Shinkansen. The train’s path followed the Old Tōkaidō Road (the 'eastern sea' road), used for centuries to travel between the governmental capital in Edo (modern Tokyo) and the Imperial capital in Kyoto. I was on my way to Aichi Prefecture which hugs the Pacific coast and offers a rich experience with culture, history, nature and culinary deliciousness.

I settled into my seat on the train, happy to be in Japan where public transportation makes it easy to explore all parts of the island nation. For intercity visits under three hours, I'll always take  the 200+ mph Shinkansen. 
Called the "bullet train" for good reason. Stand near railroad tracks as a Shinkansen passes and it feels like a jet on wheels is streaking by. Inside, when I'm sitting in a comfortable seat, reading a book or snacking on a bento box, I forget how fast we're traveling.  

I woul…