Poimiroo - CMT - San Luis Obispo

Cycling California’s Royal Road – Part II

Cycling California’s El Camino Real is an 800-mile (1,287 km) epic adventure. The appeal of visiting picturesque missions established by Spanish friars between 1769 and 1823 is enhanced by traveling a route that still looks much like it did 200 years ago. Says writer John Poimiroo: “This is not like the Camino de Santiago in Spain where every community and business along the route expects pilgrims. The El Camino Real runs through open country with few directional signs and services. Along some stretches you must make your way much as the padres did.”

The House of Neptune and Amphitrite gets its name from this stunning mosaic in its dining room


The first thing you notice upon entering Herculaneum is how resplendent it is, how unapologetically it asserts itself as Rome’s resort town for the rich and famous. To be sure, you’ve seen plenty of wealthy residents and villas in your hometown of Pompeii, just 5.5 miles away. But whereas Pompeii is a bustling commercial center…


When in Mérida, Do as the Romans Did

  By Richard Varr Corinthian columns stand double-stacked across a wide Roman stage, and although chipped and riddled with cracks, the remarkably well-preserved blue-streaked marble pillars add to the splendor of one of Spain’s most visited landmarks of antiquity: the Roman Theatre of Mérida. “Most of it was hidden in a thick layer of earth…

Doorways decorated for Dia de Muertos. Picture by Ramaa Reddy

Spain’s Colonial Heart Beats Seductively in Mexico’s San Miguel de Allende

San Miguel de Allende lies in the Eastern part of Mexico’s State of Guanajuato, about a three-hour journey from Mexico City. It’s a cobblestoned colonial town with pastel-colored buildings that has changed a lot over the past century yet remained remarkably the same. The city’s main square, or Jardin Principal, is canopied by trees. It’s a popular local hangout where Mariachi bands roam about awaiting paying customers. On the Northern corner stands the majestic Catholic church, Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel.


Dead Yet Still Alive, Three Western Ghost Towns Beguile Intrepid Visitors

When gold was discovered in a frigid creek running through the Sierra Nevada foothills in January of 1848, a headlong Gold Rush began that soon would change the American West. By the following year, hardscrabble prospectors called “49ers” were discovering gold, silver, copper, lead and other valuable metals in isolated canyons bypassed by earlier pioneers. Today, many 19th-century mining communities are eerie ghost towns whose storied pasts consist of crumbling foundations, swirling dust and dangerous fissures. And yet, over the course of time, as decades become eras before turning into centuries, a few towns have survived the sun, storms and inattention.

There’s More to Romania than Transylvania, Dracula and Ghostly Carpathian Forests

Romania conjures mysterious and sinister images of Count Dracula and the Transylvanian forests. The foreboding Bran Castle high in the Carpathian Mountains certainly looks like the location of Irish writer Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Stoker’s story of vampires rising from their coffins is an invented tale. But in autumn when twilight comes early it’s easy to imagine ghostly spirits of the undead lurking in the shadows.

Yet the Bucharest I saw was a bustling metropolis with museums and traffic jams, wide boulevards and cobblestone streets, good restaurants and late-night clubs. And a handful of lakes and gardens.