Derek Ray

Derek became enraptured with visiting strange, new places during a Eurail adventure shortly after his graduation from UCLA. He has subsequently journeyed throughout Europe, Asia, Latin America and the US. As an educator, he believes that travel encourages a better understanding of and appreciation for other cultures. He also believes in packing light. Derek has been contributing his travel stories and photos to the Reader since 2009.

View Derek Ray's site-user page to see Derek's photos, site comments, and more.

Latest Articles

Discover San Diego's native heritage

The Pala and Kumeyaay: a pre-Spanish history.

Few people know that San Diego County has more American Indian reservations than any other county in the nation. Native American tribes have lived in the area for over 12,000 years. Today, a majority of ...

A taste of Southern Italy: Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast

Sorrento is well positioned as the gateway to several locations of interest in southern Italy, including Pompeii, Capri, and the spectacular, meandering Amalfi Coast. But the town of 17,000 is also worth exploring in its ...

Go green in Encinitas

Day tripping to a couple North County public gardens.

When most people think of Encinitas, the beach is probably the first thing to come to mind. Moonlight and Swami’s are two of the best in the county. But the seaside community is also home ...

Essential Budapest

A guide to the Eastern European city's classic treasures.

Few people are aware that Budapest is actually two cities, Buda and Pest, situated along the banks of the Danube River. Most visitors stay in Pest – it's got more to offer in terms of ...

Mystical Glendalough, Ireland

An hour from Dublin, find ancient ruins, hiking trails and postcard beauty.

As I walked near the mist-shrouded lakes beyond the ruins of the Glendalough monastery, it was easy to imagine there were magical creatures just beyond my field of vision. A misty morning stroll past the ...

Small-town Italy: a Tuscan welcome, Greve in Chianti

8th in a series. Derek Ray finds good wine and the simple life in Tuscany.

While visiting Florence, I took the opportunity to spend a few nights in a little town about 30 kilometers to the south called Greve in Chianti. The Chianti region, well known for its Chianti Classico ...

Small-town Italy: Orvieto and Civita

7th article in a series on the country's lesser-visited charms.

For hundreds of years, Orvieto was a major stopping point along the road from Florence to Rome. It was so highly regarded through the centuries that it is only one of two cities outside of ...

Small-town Italy: Vernazza

Explore this highlight of northern Italy's Cinque Terre.

Life seems mellow and tranquil in the tiny, idyllic seaside town of Vernazza in Italy’s Cinque Terre. But the community suffered a traumatic experience in October 2011 when torrential rains led to a flash flood ...

Small-town Italy: Montelupone

Hilltop jewel in the Marche region.

The Marche region of Italy is rarely included among travel itineraries to Italy. It’s also scarcely mentioned in most guidebooks – yet this may simply enhance its appeal among travelers who yearn to forge a ...