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Tuesday, 01 November 2022

Coming Up Roses, Sacramento, California

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Nestled in a corner of McKinley Park is the Frederick N. Evans Memorial Rose Garden. Over 1,200 varieties of roses grace 1.5 acres of land set in one of the oldest neighborhoods in Sacramento, California. In the early 1870s, the former East Park was privately owned in an undeveloped area of the city. The Sacramento Trolley System purchased the land with the idea of increasing streetcar traffic to the area. The surrounding 30-acre park became the largest recreation area in the city. At that time, the grounds housed picnic grounds, a baseball field, a shooting gallery, and even a zoo. A group of influential women known as the “Tuesday Club” convinced the city to purchase the land in 1902 for $12,500. The park was named in honor of President William McKinley who had been assassinated the previous year. Beginning in 1916, a free Auto Camp hosted campers offering free water,…
Green awareness is a rapidly expanding part of travel and many are looking to visit and support the countries that are devoting resources towards combating climate change. But which places are doing best in that regard? There are many different factors to consider when coming to that answer. For certain people, some measures may be more important than others. Many smaller places have a natural advantage as they have more forests to capture carbon, but what about big cities? Bionic, a UK company, just looked at the 40 most populated cities in the world and ranked them by their speed to green transformation. They looked at air quality, percentage of renewable energy, meat consumption, plastic waste, sustainable jobs and a variety of other categories. The winner was Auckland, New Zealand. Numbers 2-9 of the top ten were all in Europe with Stockholm, Sweden as number two followed by Lyon, France…
Upon the entrance of the Pile Gate into the fortified city of Dubrovnik, I caught a glimpse of a tall man dressed in traditional Troubadour clothes. Although it was a blistering hot summer day, his clothes looked immaculate; his laced shirt was starched and ironed, and his lacquered shoes polished and shined. He was holding a huge, gold-gilded heart in one hand and a basket full of tiny golden hearts in the other. Our eyes met, and he smiled at me, rewarding me with a huge, friendly grin. It turns out Mirso had been welcoming tourists for over 20 years at exactly the same place, offering them a warm greeting and handing them little hearts as a welcome gift. The town’s tourist board didn’t employ him, but Mirso’s love for Dubrovnik’s history and his unwavering desire to share it with everyone who steps in the realm of Dubrovnik’s baroque-medieval splendor…
This video is funny! Filmed primarily on the streets in Western Europe, no one the interviewer asks seems to know where Vilnius is, though they offer ideas as far away as South America! The short video also highlights some of Vilnius' sights and wide panoramas. This film won as the world’s best in the category of 'Tourism Destinations Cities' at CIFFT (the International Committee of Tourism Film Festivals) Circuit. Most promotional type video's are a bore, but not this one! Check it out here:
You can also have your own stab at picking Vilnius out on a map here, good luck!: http://whereisvilnius.com/ This video won by a wide margin over the other's: https://www.cifft.com/ranking_list/?rank_list=1 Go Vilnius was the producer of the video if you'd like more info: https://www.govilnius.lt/homepage
How 599 women saved Fritzie’s life by each giving her one crumb of bread each day from their small ration so that she would have more, and possibly survive, as the youngest one of them all. If you're traveling to Chicago this would be a very moving experience. Please see their press release below: Chicago, IL – Jan. 1, 2022– For the first time ever, innovative virtual reality (VR) technology will be used in a transformational and educational Holocaust remembrance exhibit that immerses visitors in an unforgettable emotional experience intended to build empathy and understanding of our common humanity and to inspire activism to strengthen our world. On International Holocaust Remembrance Day, January 27, 2022, The Journey Back exhibit opens to the public at Illinois Holocaust Museum. A first-of-its kind visitor experience, The Journey Back applies cutting-edge virtual technology to engage visitors in present day and historic Auschwitz through two…
Wednesday, 01 September 2021

Rose's House, Jabal Akhdar, the Sultanate of Oman

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Dozens of stars, cool weather, and birds and crickets' sounds are all reasons to go to Jabal Akhdar in the Sultanate of Oman. Now is the best time to go, especially when it is 22 degrees at night. An excellent place to rent is Rose's House in Alaqur Village. This original-style mud house is full of charm and character. The house has many traditional items, such as clay pottery water jugs and straw-colored mats with embroidery that hang on the walls. It has three bedrooms, suitable for six people, a majlis (a parlor where guests are received) and a living room. The living room is a lovely spot to play cards and board games. The house is owned and run by the Alfahdi brothers – Ahmed, Mustafa, Amjad, and Saeed. It took them two years to renovate it. Amjad explained that they wanted to rent it to show people a…
“We don’t have the money,” said Wolfgang. My big genial driver was expounding on Namibia’s lack of infrastructure. He sounded cheerful. Everything Wolfgang said sounded cheerful, even his lamentations. His case had been made hours ago, when the gravel road had petered out and Wolfgang swerved the rover from side to side, avoiding the deeper mounds of red earth. Happily, we didn’t spin our wheels in any serious way, the route upgraded finally and we continued without incident to the Tropic of Capricorn, its marker sign faded after years of sand and wind, further obscured by the stickers plastered on by previous drivers. It surprised me to feel jazzed about a line of latitude. Not your typical bucket list item. We reached Swakopmund in the late afternoon, stopping by its lighthouse and adjacent market, where Wolfgang inquired about vacancies and found one for me at the Villa Weisse. “Spitzkoppe tomorrow?”…
On our last slow travel road trip before the devastating Covid 19, we rented a studio in the historic center of Reggio Emilia (pop. 171,000), in the Emilia Romagna region of northern Italy, and spent six weeks visiting the neighboring cities of Parma, Modena and Bologna. Some years ago, we spent six weeks during the summer living in a studio in the historic center of Reggio nell’Emilia, while studying their internationally renowned Reggio Approach to early childhood education. We returned twice more to learn more. It has been thirty years since the publication in Newsweek that pronounced the Reggio Emilia preschools as one of the best in the world. Since then, thousands of educators from every corner of the world have visited their schools and learned about their unique approach to early childhood education. The "International Centre for Children Culture and Creativity Loris Malaguzzi”, was dedicated to its founder, Loris…
We arrived at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport, which is one of the busiest airports in Europe, for our two week slow travel adventure. Normally, we have a longer period of time, so we planned well and just focused on the city. Having just finished Dutch Culture in the Golden Age, by J.L Price, I was anxious to spend as much time at the Rijksmuseum as possible. The majority of our time we were joyfully visiting the museums, enjoying several canal rides, and leisurely walking around and admiring the sights along the Amstel River. After researching Amsterdam, we discovered it is a two wheel culture, bikes take priority over pedestrians and there are over 300 miles of bike paths. It also has 165 canals — with a combined length of 50 KM (31 miles). There are 281 bridges and over 2,500 houseboats. The ‘Big Three’ museums and highlights of our slow travel:…
We arrived at O.R.Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg and taxied to our hotel in the northern suburbs. Our quest was to observe, learn, and reflect on South African’s history, culture and unique arts and crafts, especially businesses owned and operated by women. Our slow travel adventure was not intended to take a safari tour; perhaps at another time. We arranged to have a guide for our entire Johannesburg stay. During the next few days, our guide happily took us to visit some of the best art galleries and markets of contemporary and tribal arts, crafts and artifacts from across the African continent. We observed, lingered and were inspired during these exploratory visits. Our guide, Enzokuhle, meaning ‘Do Good’ in Zulu, introduced us to Joburg, (or Jodz) as it’s known, and acquainted us with this economic hub of southern Africa. Enzokulhe mentioned that the city has over 6 million trees! We…

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