Things to do in Istanbul For so many years, I have wanted to go to Istanbul City. I never really had an idea about what it would be like, but knew that it was a right dab in the middle of the East and the West. Straddling both Europe and Asia, making it the only city in the world to sit across two continents. Somehow, Istanbul
Arrival in the small city of Basel, Switzerland was fast and cheap from the train station in Zurich. Basel is located where the Swiss, French, and German borders meet. It is the third largest city in Switzerland. It also has suburbs in France and in Germany. I had heard that the Basel Christmas Markets were Christmas markets NOT to miss, as the market at Barfüsserplatz and Münsterplatz
Costa Rica is the kind of place where you can commune with nature. It provides the perfect backdrop with its hidden beaches, volcanic mountains, hiking trails, and lush tropical rainforests. In fact, 25% of Costa Rica is dedicated to wildlife and nature, in the form of wildlife preserves and jungles. Making it the perfect place... to retreat to. For many - including me - that
Often dubbed the "land of smiles", Thailand is every bit the "land of temples" as well. Thailand is home to no fewer than 40,000 Buddhist Temples (yes, forty thousand!) and Bangkok is a great place to start exploring them and the place to get familiar with Thai culture. The Thailand temple of Wat Arun is a great place to start and is arguably the main
Jim Thorpe PA is a beautiful small town in Eastern Pennsylvania in the USA. It's a quaint town with museums, shopping, resorts and views of the Poconos mountain range. It's the perfect destination for a Poconos getaway at any time of year and is a great option for weekend getaways in PA. I was lucky enough to visit during fall when the town of Jim
The Bremen Town Musicians statue is based on one of the many Brothers Grimm Fairytales and is a major attraction in Riga, Latvia. The story is simple enough. The Brothers Grimm story is about a donkey, a cat, a dog and a rooster who are past their prime. They feel too old to be useful and are terrified they will be put down by their
Chao Phraya River is one of the major rivers in Thailand, running thru Bangkok. It is known as the River of Kings, formed by four major tributaries including the Ping, the Wang, the Yom, and the Nan Rivers. Ultimately though, it flows into the Gulf of Thailand. It is a very important waterway for the people of central Thailand whose cities lie along this river.
Have you ever heard the words "Mitad del Mundo" or "middle of the world"? I hadn't either until I had a chance to visit the "Mitad del Mundo" right outside of Quito Ecuador. I had no idea there was an exact location where you could stand at the earth's midpoint - 0 degrees latitude, 0 minutes, 0 seconds in Ecuador! Apparently, people come from all over
There are many adorable small towns nestled in the foothills of the Azuay province near Cuenca, Ecuador. This area is the new hub for American retirees that I wrote about in my article "Should We Retire to Ecuador?" The picturesque town of Chordeleg is one of those small quaint towns. Getting there from Cuenca was easy, the bus crested a hill and rolled down into a lush
I stepped onto the shores of the Normandy Beaches where I couldn't stop thinking about how World War II had finally ended in 1945. The end would have never happened if it was not for the bravery of the Allied Forces who landed on the beaches of Normandy in June of 1944, Codename Operation Overload. American, British, and Canadian soldiers, who sacrificed their lives for
It was a foggy morning close to the Black Forest near Breisach, Germany where we had gotten up early to catch the bus to go into the southwest state of Baden-Wurttemberg, near Bavaria. Along the way, we saw many church steeples and stork nests, where on one steeple they actually had their own stork webcam. I have posted it here for you to view and see if
New Orleans Jazz While in the French Quarter, I often heard this apocalyptic song being played by trumpeters in the streets. Since New Orleans is the birthplace of jazz and blues, it might not be all that uncommon. Even a walk down Frenchmen Street will present you with swing, jazz, and blues music that is flowing from open-doored music saloons and bars. This is
Truly we all have wondered what it would be like to travel to an Arabian country after watching Disney's Aladdin, a tale from the book One Thousand and One Nights (Arabian Nights, كتاب ألف ليلة وليلة) and the joys of a camel ride in the desert! Indiana Jones also sparked my interest in Indian Jones and the Last Crusade. In his search for the Holy
I not only like to travel, but I love to travel. So imagine my surprise when even for me, I end up out of my comfort zone! Where on earth could this be? It happened to be Montañita, Ecuador.It was just one of those places that make me feel a little uneasy. Montañita is a little beachside town about one hour's drive outside of Guayaquil in
Have you ever wanted an escape? A place you can go to relax, unwind, and forget about life for a while. I found that at the Cosa Rican Yoga Retreat Blue Osa Retreat & Spa Beach Resort. At Blue Osa, they offer tailor-made experiences for just you, your group, or even for leaders of a retreat/group. Their smart luxurious packages include yoga, spa therapies outside or inside
Old City Jerusalem, Jerusalem the old city There is no place on earth more important to the religions of the world than Jerusalem the old city, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is made up of several key sites to many religions, such as the Temple Mount and the Wailing Wall for the Jews, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre for the Christians and the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa Mosque for the Muslims.
Many women in the Middle East are known for their exotic beauty. Almost all of them looked beautiful to me! Actually, it was difficult to figure out if they were beautiful or not, based strictly on their eyes. However, it is understandable that they would use any form of Kohl eyeliner to deepen the mystery about their eyes. They also use Khol (كحل) Eyeliner with excellent precision.
Regensburg, Germany is a Bavarian medieval city along the Danube River in southeast Germany. It is well known for its well-preserved medieval old town. It also has a famous 12th-century Stone Bridge that has 16 arches that cross the Danube River to the old town center. Located in the south of Germany, Regensburg is a popular day trip from Munich. An atmospheric and charming town,
Photo by PointsandTravel Aomori, Japan: A Japanese Culture Experience As luck would have it, I finally had a chance to make my very first visit to Japan! It had been on my bucket list for quite some time! There is so much mystique and legend about Japanese culture, that I was excited to find out where in Japan I was going! I was invited
The Champagne region of France is like no other wine region in the world. The nearest vineyards are only an hour from Paris’ Charles de Gaulle airport (CDG) on the fast TGV train to Reims. Reims is a perfect justification for a tour of the Champagne Houses in Reims, but don’t forget to walk around the city and enjoy its Gothic Cathedral, a UNESCO world
Taking the short trek on bus 42 from the main square of Piazza de Ferrari in Genoa to Bocadasse, Italy for a half day excursion was quite simple. I had just arrived in the city and had a few hours to spare before I knew the jet lag would set in, so I hopped the city bus and made my way over to Boccadasse, a place
For Dominican culture, food, drinks, and plenty of things to do, look beyond the beach resorts and head to the colonial city of Santo Domingo... while beautiful beach resorts may be the Dominican Republic’s calling card, there are plenty of other riches to be found on the island. Dominican Republic Culture I had wandered these streets before and knew that a return trip was inevitable.
Hermitage St. Petersburg The Evacuation of the Hermitage St Petersburg The sounds of thunder crackle outside the majestic doors of the Hermitage. The enemy was fast approaching during the siege of Leningrad during World War II. The employees of the Hermitage St Petersburg had to hurry, in a panic and in a rush, when the order was given from the restorers for permission
Quinta Mazatlan I am a diehard about Spanish/Mexican architecture, interior design, music, language, and dance, so when I took one peek inside the Ann Maddox Moore room at Quinta Mazatlán, I was immediately enamored with her collection. This assortment, which is only a part of her personal collection, was of cultural Mexican craftsmanship that she had collected on her many trips to Mexico. This is
It was my good fortune to take a tour of the Lucchese Bootmaker facility in El Paso. You are probably thinking I would see how handcrafted boots are made from start to finish. And you are right. But I walked away from there with some insights into life that can be a meaningful byproduct of traveling. As these boots are made for walking. Read on
There are more things to do in Amarillo than you would have imagined. I should know… I am from the area. But when I went back and I did a lot of the “top 10 things to do in Amarillo, TX”, it certainly brought everything back into perspective. Let me start out by saying I was invited by the AMA Tourism board to visit my home
Entering the old stone quarry, I had no idea what to expect. The guide from the luxury Viking River Cruise ship only said to bring a sweater, as it can get cold inside (and he wanted to surprise us!). Little did I know it would be one of the highlights of my southern France tour onboard the Viking River Cruise. The entrance was through the
Mardi Gras is the love of life. It is the harmonic convergence of our food, our music, our creativity, our eccentricity, our neighborhoods, and our joy of living. All at once. - Chris Rose To really understand what a Chicken Run is, you must understand the cultural significance of the above statement. Zydeco music was playing by a live band in the back of a parade-like
I recently was on a trip to Lake Charles, Lousiana for Mardi Gras where I encountered the making of a King Cake! "A what, I asked?" Being from the South, you would think I would have heard of all the desserts out there but never had I heard those words before. There are some words related to food that we eat knowing nothing more than it tastes delicious!
I’m a collector of masks. On display in my home are over 30 masks carefully carted back as my treasures from visits to faraway lands. So naturally, heading to Venice, I was keen on picking up a few Venice masks to add to my collection. I timed my visit to be there during the last three days of the Carnival of Venice so as to
Myanmar Burma Travelers to Myanmar are there to explore the thousands of pagodas and temples that characterize this country (formerly known as Burma). That’s a given. But not to be missed is the surreal watery world of Inle Lake, famous for its natural beauty, glassy waters, and inhabited by Inthas, the native lake-dwellers known as the Myanmar' Water Dwellers of Inle Lake. Photo by
"I'm going without expectations."- Donnie Sexton Photo by Donnie Sexton Myanmar Pagoda Photo That was my mantra when I stepped off the plane in Yangon, Myanmar. To be honest, I had googled a few images from this Southeast Asia destination to get a sense of what kind of photos I could come home with since I was traveling with a group of photographers
Travel to Indonesia I think back in my mind as I traveled to Indonesia, and it races to the morning when I had a chance to escape the stunningly refurbished and luxury 1918 Phoenix Hotel in all its glory. Travel to Indonesia I walked only about five blocks from the hotel when I had to get a police escort in order to actually cross the
I noticed the wrinkles in his face as he stood mute, lips tightly pressed against each other with the skin on his neck muscles taut. He was a thin man, like the ones I typically see when I travel to Indonesia. He was demonstrating one part of the process of the art form of Batik, in the third world workshop facility. I am dripping
Wanderings Through Istanbul, Turkey It is an early weekday morning as I stare out the window of my yellow taxi passing a multitude of red and blue celebration flags. No matter how often I visit exotic Istanbul, Turkey, I always feel like there is something majestic and mysterious about it. Something wafting in the air that makes this place different than all the rest. Maybe