Traveling to Mykonos and Santorini Islands in Greece

Traveling to Mykonos and Santorini Islands in Greece

Greece, of course, has the most instantly recognizable vernacular architecture: not only the white-cube style of the Cyclades, so beloved of tourist posters, but the jaunty red pantiles of northern Greece and the neoclassical pediments of the Dodecanese.

Greek handcraft articles are a good buy in any part of Greece and include woven fabrics and small fabric bags from Arahova (near Dephi); woodcarved articles from Metsovon and Vitna (near Tripoli); island knit-wear; textiles from Mykonos; handmade silver jewelry from Ipiros; gold and silver ornaments from Rhodes; ceramics and alabaster from Crete; Sykoros pottery; handwoven shirts and dresses; sandals; sponges; honey; ouzo; brandy; brass and copper; worry beads; embroidery; flokati (long pile rugs in vivid colors).

Traveling to Mykonos and Santorini Islands in Greece

Despite their touristy ambience, Santorini and Mykonos have the two supreme white-cube towns, and nobody can deny that, of the two, Santorini’s has the more dramatic situation, clinging a thousand feet up to the precipitous lip of a sunken volcano. It makes a perfect cruise-ship stop, and the view is a must for first-time visitors; but for me, that is where the attraction ends. Santorini’s town, so pristine and peaceful from a distance, is unexpectedly tacky at close quarters.

The treadmill of backpackers and sightseers arriving briefly to register the view before squeezing onto the narrow black sand beach gives it a feeling more of a transit camp than of a lazy Greek island. Mykonos, too, suffers from an excess of visitors, but it manages to receive them with a sense of style and chic that has been lost on most other major tourist islands. On my trips to Greece, I always enjoy spending a few civilized days on Mykonos, but “Been there, done that” is my normal response to Santorini.

Welcome to Luxembourg

Welcome to Luxembourg

Luxembourg City, founded in 963, was once one of the strongest fortresses in Europe and you can still walk through the Casemates a 14 mile long network of underground passages hewn out of solid rock. The city has 91 bridges, the newest being the Grand Duchess Charlotte Bridge, 178 feet high, which limks the city with the Kirchberg Plateau.

The Ducal Palace, built 1580 and renovated in the 19th century, is not open to public. One of the oldest parts of the City is the Marche aux Poissons (fish market). Here are the Museum of History and Art, and the Natural History Museum while in Luxembourg Park is the J P Pescatore Museum.

Children will enjoy a trip to Bettembourg, seven miles to the south of Luxembourg City, where the Parc Merveilleux has a miniature zoo and farm, a fairy wood and a mini train and boats. Not far to the North East is Walferdange, which also has a children’s park, and Senningen where is a zoo.

Luxembourg Culture

Luxembourg has been overshadowed by the culture of its neighbours. It retains a number of folk traditions, having been for much of its history a profoundly rural country. There are several notable museums, located mostly in the capital. These include the National Museum of History and Art (NMHA), the Luxembourg City History Museum, and the new Grand Duke Jean Museum of Modern Art (Mudam). The National Museum of Military History (MNHM) in Diekirch is especially known for its representations of the Battle of the Bulge. The city of Luxembourg itself is on the UNESCO World Heritage List, on account of the historical importance of its fortifications.

The country has produced some internationally-known artists, including the painters Théo Kerg, Joseph Kutter and Michel Majerus, and photographer Edward Steichen, whose The Family of Man exhibition has been placed on UNESCO’s Memory of the World register, and is now permanently housed in Clervaux. Movie star Loretta Young was of Luxembourgish descent.

Luxembourg was the first city to be named European Capital of Culture twice. The first time was in 1995. In 2007, the European Capital of Culture[132] was to be a cross-border area consisting of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, the Rheinland-Pfalz and Saarland in Germany, the Walloon Region and the German-speaking part of Belgium, and the Lorraine area in France. The event was an attempt to promote mobility and the exchange of ideas, crossing borders physically, psychologically, artistically and emotionally.

Luxembourg was represented at the World Expo 2010 in Shanghai, China, from 1 May to 31 October 2010 with its own pavilion. The pavilion was based on the transliteration of the word Luxembourg into Chinese, “Lu Sen Bao”, which means “Forest and Fortress”. It represented Luxembourg as the “Green Heart in Europe”.

Mystic St. Vincent and the Grenadines

Mystic St. Vincent and the Grenadines

St Vincent and its constellation of green islets, known as the St Vincent Grenadines, constitute one of the healthiest and most relaxing tourist spots in the Caribbean. The people are friendly, the climate radiant, the scenery a delight. Originally claimed by the French, the islands were ceded to Britain in the 18th century. From St Vincent to Petit St Vincent at the far end of the archipelago the islands appear as a collage of emerald hills and glistening beaches. English spoken everywhere.

Climate is sunny and warm, with an average temperature of 78 F. and rainy spells in the summer and fall. Though the dry or showerless period runs from December – April, St Vincent’s sun knows no seasons making the island a year round resort. Arnos Vale Airport is 1.5 miles from the city. Duty-free shop and Tourist Information counter.

Outside the winter season (during May – November period) rates can be lower by one-half or two-thirds, especially in the out-of-town hotels. The Kingstown Tourist Board can arrange accommodations at its two bureaux – one at the airport and the other in town. There are also branches on the islands; Bequia Union.

If the stay does not exceed six months, US, Canadian and British citizens need only proof of identity and return ticket to their respective countries (or, in the case of British citizens, to the country from which they came). Other nationals require passport, in some cases visa, and a smallpox vaccination certificate. Duty-free allowance is 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 0.5 lb tobacco; 1 quart of wine or spirits.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner in Amsterdam

Breakfast, lunch and dinner in Amsterdam

Breakfast will not leave you wondering how you will last out until lunchtime; the Dutch believe in statring the day with a hearty meal. The first meal of the day always served in your hotel in Amsterdam, is nearly always included free in the cost of your hotel room.

There are cafes and restaurants near Dam Square, round the red-light district and Leidseplein. You’re expected to tip. All cafes and restauruants include service in the check. This can be vary from 10 % in snack bars, 10 % – 15 % in most restauruants and to 27 % in expensive ones – but you’re still expected to leave a tip. Leave a further 5 % – 10 % depending on how you rate the service.

Most of the Dutch go in for a koffietafel, as evening meals have a tendency to be very high in carbohydrates. The best advice is: follow their example at lunchtime. There are over twenty-six types of cheese. There are numerous regional specialities to sample; one of the best is groene haring. Follow the example of the Dutch and eat it from the street stalls. It’s at its best during the first few weeks in May and makes a welcome change from hamburgers.

All About Finnish Sauna with Beer

All About Finnish Sauna with Beer

The Sauna, the world famous Finnish bath, is a part of every Finnish home. To be nvited a sauna party is to meet the Finn at his most hospitable.

Finnish beer comes in light or stronger grades. Next to beer the national drink is Finnish Vodka, drunk as Schnapps and like the Finnish berry liquers Mesimarja (Arctic bramble) and Lakka (Cloudberry) is usually served ice cold with meals. Scotch and American whiskies are available. Restaurants (mostly licensed) and bars open until 1 am or 2 am; night clubs open until 4 am.

The Finnish sauna is a substantial part of Finnish culture. There are five million inhabitants and over three million saunas in Finland – an average of one per household. For Finnish people the sauna is a place to relax with friends and family, and a place for physical and mental relaxation as well. Finns think of saunas not as a luxury, but as a necessity. Before the rise of public health care and nursery facilities, almost all Finnish mothers gave birth in saunas.

Many different types of sauna can be found in Finland. They can be classified either by the sauna building itself or by what kind of stove it uses.

The main division of saunas is between once warmed and continuously warmed stoves. All smoke saunas are once warmed, but there are also other type of ovens that are once warmed.

Once warmed stoves have larger amount of stones that are warmed up before the bathing. This can be done by burning wood, with or without chimney, oil or natural gas. Continuously warmed stoves have lower amount of stones that are heated during the bathing. The warming can be done burning wood, oil or natural gas, or electrically.

The temperature in Finnish saunas is 60 to 100 °C (140 to 212 °F), usually 70–80 °C (158–176 °F), and is kept clearly above the dewpoint despite the vaporization of löyly water, so that visible condensation of steam does not occur as in a Turkish sauna.

Two American Symbols: Hot Dog and Hamburger

Two American Symbols: Hot Dog and Hamburger

No description of food in the United States should omit those two products of roadside stands – the hot dog and the hamburger. These popular snacks are consumed by the million in the smallest hamlets and most sophisticated communities.

If the national drink of the country is not a glass of cold milk or a chocolate malted, then it must inevitably be a cup of coffee. Served with cream and sugar, in defiance of experts the world over who advocate only unsweetened black coffee, it is the one beverage that almost everyone drinks for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

To end on a note of complete confusion, calculated to send the theorical French gourmet screaming into the streets, in the Boston and New England area generally, coffee is served with the main course. Naturally no gourmet would permit such a mixture of flavors in his native France.

Two American Symbols: Hot Dog and Hamburger

Argentina: A huge country like a continent

Argentina: A huge country like a continent

A country as huge as this is more like a continent. It is as varied and as different region to region as the whole of North America. Any land made up of tropical jungle with waterfalls, vast ‘prairie’ plains, the Pampa, wild mountains that once were Inca country, though a little ‘Switzerland’ to the ice of the Artarctic, cannot fail to show you something new.

The essence of Argentina is the richness of the land and the people. This si really is cattle country – there are over 100,000,000. In Buenos Aires, the capital, the people are as sophisticated and a cosmopolitan as those in Paris, London or Rome. Life in Buenos Aires is lived in high style.

The Argentines are a very united people, a mixture of European immigrants and Indian stock. They all speak Spanish. Whether they are from the jungle or the mountain ice and snow, they have one common interest – a love of sport. In Argentina, you can hunt, fish, sail, ski, climb mountains, see a glacier that is still growing, explore the jungle, just sit in the sun, swim from sandy beaches or ride.

Welcome to Puerto Rico Beaches


Welcome to Puerto Rico Beaches

Puerto Rico lies between the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean. Ciudad Trujillo is about 45 miles to the west, and st. Thomas, Virgin Islands, is 75 miles to the east of San Juan.

You really are ‘at home abroad’ in Puerto Rico, for its part of the United States, yet truly foreign in atmosphere. It has been called the most European of the Caribbean countries and with justice. The beaches are wonderful, the hotels among the most luxurious, the food familiar or exotic depending on your taste. Yet you have a wonderful feeling of being at home in Puerto Rico despite the fact that chaperones are still the fashion and that coffee and banana trees flourish before your eyes. Fishermen will be particularly happy there. The sun shines year round.

Traveling to Panama and Panama Canal

Traveling to Panama and Panama Canal

Panama, officially called the Republic of Panama (Spanish: República de Panamá), is a country in Central America situated between North and South America. It is bordered by Costa Rica to the west, Colombia to the southeast, the Caribbean to the north and the Pacific Ocean to the south. The capital and largest city is Panama City, whose metropolitan area is home to nearly half of the country’s 3.9 million people.

Panama was inhabited by several indigenous tribes prior to settlement by the Spanish in the 16th century. Panama broke away from Spain in 1821 and joined a union of Nueva Granada, Ecuador, and Venezuela named the Republic of Gran Colombia. When Gran Colombia dissolved in 1831, Panama and Nueva Granada remained joined, eventually becoming the Republic of Colombia.

With the backing of the United States, Panama seceded from Colombia in 1903, allowing the Panama Canal to be built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers between 1904 and 1914. In 1977, an agreement was signed for the total transfer of the Canal from the United States to Panama by the end of the 20th century, which culminated on 31 December 2000.

Revenue from canal tolls continues to represent a significant portion of Panama’s GDP, although commerce, banking, and tourism are major and growing sectors. Panama has the second largest economy in Central America and is also the fastest growing economy and largest per capita consumer in Central America. In 2013, Panama ranked 5th among Latin American countries in terms of the Human Development Index, and 59th in the world.

Since 2010, Panama remains the second most competitive economy in Latin America, according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index. Covering around 40 percent of its land area, Panama’s jungles are home to an abundance of tropical plants and animals – some of them to be found nowhere else on the planet.

Traveling to Panama and Panama Canal

Panama Canal

The Panamá Canal (Spanish: Canal de Panamá) is a man-made 48-mile (77 km) waterway in Panama that connects the Atlantic Ocean (via the Caribbean Sea) to the Pacific Ocean. The canal cuts across the Isthmus of Panama and is a key conduit for international maritime trade. There are locks at each end to lift ships up to Gatun Lake, an artificial lake created to reduce the amount of excavation work required for the canal, 26 metres (85 ft) above sea level. The current locks are 33.5 metres (110 ft) wide. A third, wider lane of locks was constructed between September 2007 and May 2016, and is due to open in June 2016.

France began work on the canal in 1881 but stopped due to engineering problems and a high worker mortality rate. The United States took over the project in 1904, and opened the canal on August 15, 1914. One of the largest and most difficult engineering projects ever undertaken, the Panama Canal shortcut greatly reduced the time for ships to travel between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, enabling them to avoid the lengthy, hazardous Cape Horn route around the southernmost tip of South America via the Drake Passage or Strait of Magellan.

Colombia, France, and later the United States controlled the territory surrounding the canal during construction. The US continued to control the canal and surrounding Panama Canal Zone until the 1977 Torrijos–Carter Treaties provided for handover to Panama. After a period of joint American–Panamanian control, in 1999 the canal was taken over by the Panamanian government, and is now managed and operated by the government-owned Panama Canal Authority.

Annual traffic has risen from about 1,000 ships in 1914, when the canal opened, to 14,702 vessels in 2008, for a total of 333.7 million Panama Canal/Universal Measurement System (PC/UMS) tons. By 2012, more than 815,000 vessels had passed through the canal; the largest ships that can transit the canal today are called Panamax.[1] It takes six to eight hours to pass through the Panama Canal. The American Society of Civil Engineers has called the Panama Canal one of the seven wonders of the modern world.

Florence: The symbol of the Renaissance

Florence: The symbol of the Renaissance

180 miles north of Rome, Florence is one of the great cities of the world. Everywhere you turn in this incomparable town you will see exquisite masterpieces of architecture and art which recall the days when Florence was the undistuped leader of the Renaissance world, under the rule of the powerful Medici family.

Magnificent palaces like the Galleria degli Uffizi, built to house the State Judiciary in 1565 and now one of the largest and most important mseums in the world; Palazzo Pitti, in the Boboli Gardens, which has a modern art gallery and a silver museum as well as Raphael works, Titian and Giorgione. Donatello’s famous statue of St George is in the Bargello Museum (a prison of the 16th century).

The second pair of bronze doors which Ghiberti designed for the Baptistry of the Cathedral of Santa Maria dei Fiori, were described by Michelangelo as ‘the gates of paradise’ and the cathedral itself, with its celebrated bell tower is a glowing masterpiece of colored marble. Every square and every ancient building is a work of art – the 13th century church of Santa Croce, where Machiavelli and Michelangelo are buried; the Dominican monastery of San Marco, with its beautiful Fra Angelico frescoes; the Accademia di Belle Arti, where you can see Michelangelo’s superb statue, David. A copy is in the Piazza della Signoria, which is a busy square in the city and one of the most beautiful open air galleries in Europe.

Florence is also one of the top gourmet cities in Europe. Try bistecca alla Fiorentina, the Fiorentine way with a big juicy steak, or tortino di carciofi (eggs with artichokes), or triglie o baccala alla Livornesei which is a fish and tomato sauce concontion.

Places to enjoy these masterpieces – the roof gardens of the Baglione Palace hotel, where you can dine and dance in the evenings. The Open Gate (Viale Michelangelo); Ristorante Ponte Vecchio, near the famous 14th century bridge; Sabatani (via Panzani); Villa San Domenico (via della Piazzola); Otello (via Orti Oricellari); and if you want to eat American now and then, Doney’s (via de Tornabuoni) does a good line in snacks as well as specials, like scampi alla Medici. Harry’s Bar is a favorite meeting place and Jolly Club is a lively discotheque.