Peru for two: A hiker's take on Machu Picchu, mules and making it to the top

Alicia Castro/Town Crier
The sun illuminates the ruins at Machu Picchu.

We plopped down on the grass, exhausted from the trek and a bit grumpy. But the man beside us couldn’t stop smiling.

Rudy from Los Angeles, we learned, had dreamed of visiting Machu Picchu since he first heard about it in school at age 8. Now in his mid-60s, he’d completed a successful career, raised two brag-worthy children and, at long last, journeyed to see the Incan ruins.


Calistoga pools: Hot fun in the summertime

Eren Göknar/Special to the Town Crier
The grounds of Indian Springs Resort & Spa in Calistoga feature four natural geysers. Since the 19th century, the area has attracted travelers eager to “take the waters,” thought to hold curative powers. The resort recently underwent a $23 million expansion and face-lift.

As we float in the 102-degree thermal pool at the Indian Springs Resort & Spa in Calistoga, the triple-digit heat outside softens my outlook. This might be a good place to retreat after an IPO, I think, as my pool raft bobs near a Buddha statue in lotus pose.

It’s the middle of the week, but all around me adults drift into one another. A smiling couple sails by on two white, plastic rafts linked by blue pool noodles. Children splash wildly, knocking into the relaxed grownups. Although there’s an adults-only pool as well, this place – located at 1712 Lincoln Ave. – is made for families.


Gearing up: Make travel more civilized with accessories

Eren Göknar/Special to the Town Crier
San Francisco-based humangear Inc. sells totes, tubes and tubs for traveling.

In travel, as in romance, it’s the little things that count.

Beyond the glossy brochures lie the travel discomforts too mundane to mention, like unmarked streets, heat waves or long lines.


Venice meets Vegas: Things are not always what they seem

Eren Göknar/Special to the Town Crier;
The Italian-themed Venetian hotel in Las Vegas boasts replicas of Venice icons like St. Mark’s Campanile and the Rialto Bridge,

Floating beneath a blue sky with fluffy, painted-on clouds, we obeyed the gondolier, Pepe, when he told us to kiss as we passed under the arched bridge.

Customers boarding the next gondola smiled their amusement, but we were just part of the act at the Grand Canal and Shoppes at The Venetian and the connecting Palazzo hotel, situated on the north end of the Las Vegas Strip.


Venetian spa offers ways to de-stress

Courtesy of The VEnetian
The HydroSpa in the Canyon Ranch SpaClub at The Venetian in Las Vegas offers a muscle-relaxing bath and radiant lounge chairs.

Vegas cab drivers usually ask if you won or lost as soon as you get in their vehicles. They assume that’s what you come here for, but there’s plenty to do if you just play the slots, as we do.

“We won some and lost some” is our usual response. If you’ve lost a lot more, check out the spa for tension relief.


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