Japan’s Spectacular Himeji Castle

As American tourists, we tend to think of Europe as the pinnacle for spectacular castles. However, while certainly there are some amazing castles all across the European continent, that perspective ignores one of feudalism's greatest homes: Japan. Japanese feudal society was every bit as complex as that in Europe, and with it came - as…

A Day in Bethlehem

Editor's note: it is impossible to capture the magnitude of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in a huge book, let alone in an article about visiting Bethlehem. Some aspects of the conflict are necessary to explain as they affect the day-to-day experiences a traveler, like our Sam Spector, would have. We at The Royal Tour recognize that…

The Garlic Capitol of the World

The smell wafts through the air, permeating even the car I'm driving. Garlic. Fresh garlic growing all over. This is Gilroy, California, and the smell greets visitors like an old friend. Warm, familiar, emotional. That is garlic for me, and a sure sign I've arrived in the city known as the Garlic Capitol of the…

The Apples of Oak Glen

The role of apples in societal lore is well documented. From the snake in the Garden of Eden encouraging Eve to eat from the Tree of Knowledge what has come to be thought of as an apple to Johnny Appleseed and his pot hat spreading seeds all over America to my own Jewish tradition of…

Surf City USA

You know we're going to Surf City 'cause it's two to one / You know we're going to Surf City, gonna have some fun Jan and Dean - not The Beach Boys, as is normally thought - pump through my brain as I exit the 405 freeway and head down toward the Pacific in Huntington…

Visiting the Mt. Wilson Observatory

Atop a 5,700 foot mountain overlooking most of Los Angeles lies a place most Angelenos have never been. Driving about 40 minutes up California Highway 2 - Angeles Crest Highway - from La Canada Flintridge into the heart of Angeles National Forest will bring visitors into a world seemingly incredibly distant from the city, and…