Hakone and Mt. Fuji

Editor’s note: Like Sam, I also went to Hakone, spending a relaxing day in the hot - and cold - pools of a traditional onsen. Unlike Sam, I didn’t get to see even a glimpse of Mt. Fuji through the clouds. Next time! In any event, to read more of Sam’s adventures, click here to…

A Mystery Picnic in Pasadena

I don’t often pay attention to the ads that run across my Facebook feed. Photos of my friends and their families? Yes! Travel pictures and content from my fellow writers? Also yes! Political rants? Sadly, yes. But ads? Rarely. However, one seemed to appear regularly, and got me to click. It was for a mystery…

The Micro-Nation of San Marino

Editor’s note: like Sam, I also have the goal to visit most, if not all, countries of the world, but especially all the countries of Europe. San Marino is one I’m missing, and will make sure to hit the next time I’m in Italy. For more of Sam’s adventures, click here to visit his index…

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…