The beautiful blue Danube was neither beautiful nor blue.
Gazing over a ramshackle assortment of trailers, creaky amusement-park rides and abandoned Mercedes parts, I surveyed the waterfront of the city Bulgarians call “the little Vienna” and concluded that Strauss would have trouble with the appellation. We were in Ruse, a Bulgarian city on the banks of that fabled river, which was an unappealing shade of gray. From our perch on a pedestrian wharf, we watched shady-looking men in dark jackets prowl and puff on cigarettes among the detritus below.
As Oggi and I sped through the cactus-spiked wilderness of southeast Arizona, I reflected that more than a quarter-century had passed since my first cross-country road trip. And from behind the wheel on Interstate 10, it was surprising how little had changed visually from the summer of 1988 — when my parents took my sister and me on a three-week odyssey from Phoenix to Connecticut.
Hilary J. Larson |
Travel Writer |
The rain came down steadily, at times in torrents, other times in a chilly drizzle under leaden skies. But the legions of marchers on their way from Selma to Montgomery, Ala., to commemorate the recent 50th anniversary of that legendary civil rights march were undaunted by a little precipitation.
It was drizzling as I strolled down Magazine Street in New Orleans’ Lower Garden District. In this city without a major art museum, the architecture and storefront displays are art in and of themselves, and the window in front of me was no exception — a dazzlingly colorful, sparkly arrangement of chic umbrellas.
Texas isn’t an especially popular vacation destination for New Yorkers. (Many Democrats, you may recall, viewed President George W. Bush’s choice of hot, arid Midland for summer vacations as proof of his poor judgment.)