March-April 2013: Adrienne Rose Block
Jan-Feb 2013: Peter Selman
Nov-Dec 2012: Amy McMahon
Sept-Oct 2012: Will Hatton
The summer while it goes by fast is a full three months and I have a checklist of places I want to travel to before it comes to an end. As I contemplate what to do and where to travel I can’t help but think of the Seven Wonders of the World and the fact I haven’t even seen one. Being a travel buff I want to see them all. The only decision I have is…which one to visit first. While they’re all appealing in their own way, Egypt and its pyramids rounds first choice.
There are many pyramids in Egypt, over a hundred but none are as impressive as the Giza pyramids. The tours are inexpensive and well worth every penny. You’ll be able to go inside the pyramids and see how they were constructed. The insides are humid and can be a bit daunting for someone with claustrophobia. Still, the prospect of being so close to another lifetime of culture and ancient times should not be missed. After you’ve explored the pyramids, you will travel to the Valley Temple where in ancient times they performed mummifications and see the Great Sphinx; otherwise known as the guardian of the pyramids. The Sphinx is the body of a lion and the head of a king.
Near the pyramids are places to take camels rides. Instead of traveling by air conditioned vehicles you can ride on the back of a camel instead to see the sites. The camels will travel at dusk or dawn as it gets quite hot in the desert land. At night the pyramids comes alive with an educational sound and light show. This will be a separate tour.
While the Giza Pyramids are one of the Seven Wonders of the World, it is not the only thing to see while in Cairo. Depending on how many days you’re staying in the area you can take a cruise down the Nile. Visit Wadi Hitan protected area or the Valley of the Whales where the bones of whales can be found. Continue traveling to see the only waterfalls in Egypt. Go to Wadi El Natroun the Christian birthplace of monasticism and visit the four remaining monasteries. The list is endless to do as Cairo is filled with history. If you have time to stay and explore, Cairo will not disappoint.
I don’t know about you but it’s been a long winter and spring. And while I’m ready to hit the beach I’m in need of some spiritual R&R before I dive into my summer romance novel while catching some rays. I could go to my local yoga studio or hop on a plane and head to India.
The Shreyas Retreat is a peaceful sanctuary where you’ll do yoga in the most exquisite of places. This place is not meant for someone who just wants to wake up and do exercise. The staff is all about helping you journey in to self-discovery. It will be a week-long spiritual experience as you push your body and your mind. The rooms where you’ll be meditating or having a yoga session will be free flowing with no walls. Surrounding you will be trees and plant life that breathes life into the air around you. You will either be completely outside standing on grass as you stretch your mind and body or you may be in one of the small palace rooms with pillars. There will be mediation sessions to calm your inner spirit as well as chanting sessions.
The food will be organic for detoxing all that wonderful food you ate throughout the winter months. The food will be vegetarian. There will be no alcohol or smoking allowed. The chefs say a small prayer over the food before they serve it. Everything about this retreat is about spiritual calmness and self-discovery.
When you’re not in a session there are lush gardens to enjoy nature. Throughout the twenty-five acre retreat will be areas of small pools where you can rest, listen to the water and relax your mind. Small pathways are there for walking when you so desire. Each cabin where you’ll reside is simple yet elegant. The walls are soft white and roomy. Some will be next to the pool or freestanding depending on how much privacy you’re looking for.
Before you pull out that bikini or swimsuit take a moment to relax within yourself and wake up in India if only for a week. I know this is what I’m in serious need of. A place where the only thinking I’m doing is on me without a worry. The rest of the summer will still be waiting for me.
Summer is finally here. It’s time to pack up the beach towels, suntan oil and take a break from everyday life. You can go to the nearest beach whether it’s a few miles away or a few hours. Spend the next couple of days doing what you always do every summer or you can skip the same place and experience the ocean in a very different way. Instead seeing the water from the shore, go underwater. Where you’ll dine and sleep looking into the ocean and the aquatic life living there. I know, it doesn’t sound possible but at Poseidon Resort, located on a private island in Fiji, this is exactly what you’ll do.
This will be a week long excursion unlike any other. You have the opportunity of staying above and below the surface. Each offers their own beauty. Above the surface you can watch the sunset as you recline in your suite depending on which room you choose. The rooms consist of king size beds; flat-screen TV’s and marble countertops in the bathrooms with Jacuzzi tubs. Above the surface you’ll have your own splash pool and below the surface you’ll be completely immersed with your own fish feeder. Either room offers complete privacy. Not too worry, unlike other underwater hotels, this one is designed so you won’t feel the effects of being under-water; it will feel as if you’re still on the surface. After you’ve checked in, the activities are limitless.
Once you’re settled in, you can relax; get that suntan you’ve been wishing for all winter long with your favorite book. Take some time in the spa to rejuvenate your body and soul. In the evening, enjoy a gourmet dinner. Take time for a wine tasting course and then get ready to explore the ocean. There are scuba diving and snorkeling excursions. Learn how to navigate your own submarine to explore the ocean. Check out the ocean reef in a two person or sixteen person submarine. Not afraid of heights? Take off and go Parasailing. Explore underwater caves and participate in the tours.
Just like any resort it also has a fitness center, library and for those who really want a once in a lifetime experience, you can get married here. Now that would be one for the photos. This vacation isn’t for everyone. It costs $15,000 per person or $30,000 per couple. I know, it’s extremely pricey, but think of the memories!
It’s been an emotional week and as much as I want sit down and write about a fabulous place to visit I cannot help but look around me in Cambridge and think of everything that has transpired. So I thought instead of leaving this wonderful area I’d share some of the great places Boston has to offer. Because of course there are so many.
New York is known for its “little Italy.” Depending on where you live you’ll swear “little Italy” is in Manhattan or if you’re like me it’s in the Bronx. But New York isn’t the only place with a “little Italy.” Boston has a quaint area called the North End where a cluster of Italian restaurants and pastry shops line the streets. During the summer, there will be tables on the sidewalks where locals will be eating a cannoli or drinking a glass of wine. I’d name a few restaurants but really you can’t go wrong with any of the places in the North End; from the authentic Italian cuisine, to men and women who’ve come straight from Italy and have offered their expertise.
You can’t stay in the North End forever; well maybe you can, but remember if you leave you can always come back! While you’re away from that eggplant rollatini you can’t stop thinking about, you have the opportunity to take a three hour whale watching tour. Chances are you’ll see a Humpback whale and if you don’t they will give you a ticket for a return visit to get that camera shot again.
Don’t want to go that far off land but still want to stay on the waters? One of the most well-known places Boston is known for are the Swan boats rides. At the Boston Gardens, the Swan boats linger on the waters waiting for passengers to take them on a fifteen minute guided ride. If you didn’t already know, Boston has a thing for birds. Not only do they have the Swan boat ride, Red Sox but they also have the Duck tour.
The Duck tour departs at three different areas depending on your interest. First you need to book your tour in advance as it fills up very quickly. Second you need to choose where you want to board. You have the option of the museum of Science, The Prudential Center or the Aquarium. Any choice is a great choice. You can explore any of these places before you board. The Prudential Center is a huge mall with restaurants, stores and a bookstore. The Skywalk Observatory is here as well. You’ll be able to see all of Boston from this viewpoint. The Pru is also near Boston’s famous shopping area, Newbury Street. A great place to go for unique gifts, café’s that have outdoor seating during the warm months, not to mention the beautiful buildings you’ll walk by as you shop and eat here.
The Duck tour itself is not to be missed. It takes you on a boat ride throughout Boston. You’ll see major landmarks accompanied by a guide who will tell you all the fun little facts you never knew. You’ll do this all on a boat that looks like a blue WWII landing vehicle. You won’t be disappointed.
Time to get off the water and head to The Garden, depending on what season you’re in Boston, the Bruins will be playing or the Celtics. Not a sports fan, The Garden also hosts concerts from your favorite entertainer. Boston fans would be very upset if I forgot their beloved baseball team, the Red Sox. Not to too far from The Garden is Fenway Park where you can watch them play most of the year.
Feel like some history on land? Take the Freedom Trail as it’ll show you all the landmarks that make Boston famous. When you’re done head to Harvard square. It’s an open campus and you can walk around to see its grounds or browse the streets filled with shops and one of a kind places to eat.
I could go on and on. Boston itself has so much to offer even for a weekend visit. Not to mention its neighboring towns and such. The Cape is close by, or a drive to Maine. It’s all here to experience and explore. Is it New York? No, it doesn’t have skyscrapers towering over you or the famous landmarks that seem to make it in every movie. But what it does have is a city with a small town feel like everywhere you go is special. It’s not overwhelming; it has its own magic filled with brotherly love. Maybe I’m getting sentimental. I’m okay with that. I live in a great city.
I don’t know about anyone else but I can never get enough of Ireland. I will venture out beyond this lovely country, I promise. But not quite yet. While the search this month is on for the mythical Leprechaun, this summer Ireland will hold quite a dance. You may remember the huge phenomena a few years ago when everyone was obsessed with Riverdance. No, it’s not hip-hop or top 40. What it is, is extreme talent mixed with beautiful Irish music. If you haven’t seen it before, you should put this on your bucket list as you will always remember it.
This summer in Ireland there is going to be a week of dancing to Irish music. Anyone from the novice dancer to the experienced is welcome to attend. Even if you don’t want to participate you can watch the performers and enjoy the shows.
Of course there will be a Master Class as that seems to be everywhere nowadays, and The Gathering is no exception. The best of the best will be invited to apply to the Master Class. You have until April 26th to apply, so don’t delay if you’re interested. You will learn everything from dance to a dancer’s diet to the type of fitness you should be doing to enhance your skill. You will be learning from the best and dancing with the best. Good luck! I will be one of those taking a side course or just watching the stages and drinking my Guinness.
At some point during your visit you will have the opportunity to participate in the Guinness World Record of having the longest Riverdance line. The last record was 652 in Tennessee (United States) and this year Ireland plans to break that record.
There will be guest stars making their appearance during Saturday’s line up on stage. As well as some of the best riverdancing you will ever see. Sunday will end the festivities at the Gaiety. If you miss any of the other performances this one is not to be missed as this will feature some of the top performers of Riverdance. Mark your calendars, get out your dance shoes and get ready for a week of dance in Ireland.