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.


Packing with purpose: Combining travel with philanthropy

Hoping to nurture my high school daughter’s creativity – as well as her AP art grades – I presented her with the 175-pencil Prismacolor set.

Prismacolor is to pencils what Butter is to nail polish. With colors like violets in Imperial, Blue and Lake, it’s a premier brand. Imagine my dismay when Leyna returned from her Learning Community class trip to Havana – sans Prismacolors.


Flying south for the winter: Antarctica trips are not just for the birds

Photos Courtesy of Dave Hadden
Los Altos residents Dave and Joan Hadden watched the scenery from the large boat and a smaller Zodiac.

Standing on the beach with hundreds of thousands of penguins is “the experience of a lifetime,” according to Gail Cheeseman, co-founder of Cheesemans’ Ecology Safaris with her husband, Doug, a retired zoology professor who taught at De Anza College.

The Cheesemans’ 45-year-old son Ted has been on at least 20 expeditions to Antarctica and is a partner in the company.


Cuba libre: Local residents join mad rush of travelers

Natalie Elefant/Special to the Town Crier
Los Altos resident Natalie Elefant noted the vibrant street performances as a traveler in Cuba.

The U.S. restored diplomatic relations with Cuba late last year, enabling Americans to import $100 worth of cigars and rum or $400 in total goods. It’s a small step between the two countries marked for decades by Cold War hostility, but a giant leap for travelers.

Two local residents – Peter Biffar of Los Altos Hills and Natalie Elefant of Los Altos – traveled to Cuba in February. They offered insight on what tourists can expect when they land in Havana.


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