Here are more reader responses to our question about European dream vacations. For some it's still a dream. Other travelers have managed to check that off their bucket list.

Iceland is on the way to Europe, right?

My dream trip is not Tuscany. No, I'm not craving Paris or London. No city in Europe draws my soul the way Iceland's rocky moonscape calls to me.

I've been interested in spending some time in Iceland since stopping over at the airport in Reykjavík in 1973. My mother invited me to join her for a visit to my sister and her family, who were living in Germany. We booked tickets on the new (to Americans) Icelandair, which would take us on a northern route with a stopover in a place neither of us had ever heard of before. Upon seeing the black, green and white beauty of Iceland, I fell in love.

We flew into Reykjavik at dawn. It was the year that Eldfell erupted on the island of Heimaey off the coast of Iceland. The sun was coming up, and I woke to a spectacular light show in the black Atlantic water -- fire spitting high into the morning sky against the soft blush of dawn.

The landing in Reykjavik brought its own special delight. Buttery Iceland poppies in salmon, cream and scarlet bobbled the length of the runway. I'm sure that's all gone now with a modern 21st-century airport, but it was a lovely scene -- those gorgeous poppies against the gray skies and dark earth of the north. We only spent a couple of hours there, but I left a piece of my heart in that place and have had a thirst to return ever since.


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I have started planning my itinerary for the Blue Lagoon and Harpa concert hall. I want to visit the Library of Water and make the slow, winding drive on "the Ring" to find lava caves and glaciers and isolated country towns, and, of course, to have many walks under a sky lit up by the aurora borealis, uncertain if I'm walking at dusk or dawn or some other time in the cold northern night.

Maybe this year ...

-- Rosalie Arntzen, Sunnyvale

What should we see, eat in Portugal?

We want to visit Portugal -- and not just Lisbon and Porto. We would love to hear recommendations. Restaurants in Lisbon would be useful.

-- Annette Glanckopf, Palo Alto

Don't put off the trips you've dreamed about

While my husband and I were young, we always talked about where we would travel. Then we had our son and our ideas of travel changed to more "family centered" destinations. When our son graduated from college, we again began to talk about where we would go.

He always wanted to take me to Italy -- where he had gone while in college. I, on the other hand, dreamed of going to Ireland -- the land of my family. We talked about how we would have to wait until we retired.

As that time approached, we started to make plans to go to Italy. Unfortunately, he was diagnosed with cancer and died a year later. Since that time, I've thought often about fulfilling that dream of his and going to Italy. Somehow, I don't think I want to do it by myself. It wouldn't be the same if I couldn't share it with him.

Instead, I've thought that maybe I should do some of the things that I wanted to do, but that he wasn't interested in. But Machu Picchu or the Galapagos Islands are not likely in my future. After two knee replacement surgeries, I wouldn't be physically able to do these trips.

I still take the time to explore California -- trying to take a long weekend at least once every other month. Still, it's hard to enjoy without my travel companion of 40 years!

I remember the advice that so many people gave us over the years: "Travel while you can -- at least you'll have your memories." I would so much like to echo that sentiment to everyone out there who is pondering where they will go next.

-- Diane Riggs, Hayward