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CHRISTMAS IN BETHLEHEM

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Millions of Christians around the world make a pilgrimage to the HOLY LAND to visit BETHLEHEM. During the month of December BETHLEHEM is filled with CHRISTMAS wonder and there's no better place to celebrate midnight mass than at Church of Saint Catherine.Some sights to see in Bethlehem areThe Old City,The Mosque of Omar, Rachael's Tomb, The Shepherd's Fields, and Solomon's Pools. The top attraction however is the Church of the Nativity in Manger Square. It's one of the oldest churches in the world. Adjacent to the Church of the Nativity is the Church of Saint Catherine. This is where the Grotto of the Nativity is located.

The Grotto of the Nativity marks the traditional spot of the birthplace of Jesus Christ by the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Church of Saint Catherine is the site of the yearly midnight mass broadcast around the world.

CHRISTMAS in BETHLEHEM in December is a very uplifting and spiritual experience. With so many accommodations to choose from spending a…

INDIA; Yours to Discover

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                                                       Jaipur, INDIA

There are so many fascinating things about INDIA that it would take several pages to fit it all in.

Below is just a short description about one of the oldest countries in the world. INDIA; It's yours to discover.

Ayurveda (the earliest school of medicine) comes from India 

India is the worlds largest and oldest continuous civilization.

The capital of India is New Delhi.

The official language of India is Hindi.

India is the second most populated country in the world.

The Ganges River is India's holiest river. It is known for spiritual purification by the Hindus.

India has more post offices than any other country.

India got its independence in 1947. The premium lager beer "1947" is a celebration beer.

Algebra, Caculus, and Trigonometry originated in India.

The Sanskirt language (Mother of European languages) comes from India.

Yoga has its origins in India and yoga which consists of breath control, body postures, m…

A Tahiti Honeymoon (Island Hopping)

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Overwater Bungalows are a popular lodging option in Tahiti.
TAHITI, (Queen of the Pacific) is the largest island in French Polynesia, Windward Group. It is a tropical paradise with lots of sunshine, breath-taking scenery, turquoise waters and warmhearted Polynesians.  Couples from all over the world come to TAHITI to seek the perfect honeymoon. 

An authentic Tahitian wedding in glorious TAHITIis a ceremony of a lifetime and a honeymoon in TAHITI is genuine bliss. The ideal honeymoon is a stay in an overwater bungalow. Perched above the turquoise waters of a lagoon an "overwater bungalow" is where you'll find romance and serenity. 

Pamper yourself on your honeymoon with some Polynesian spa treatments, a "motu picnic" on a tiny islet in a lagoon, and candlelight dinner at a five star restaurant. Don't leave TAHITI without the perfect gem…..a Tahitian pearl.

Packed with activities the island of TAHITI offers beautiful scenery every step of the way. Spend your day…

Honeymooning in Tahiti (Island Hopping)

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With its beautiful scenery, excellent cuisine,
perfect weather, turquoise beaches and top notch accommodations it's no wonder couples
in "love" are heading to TAHITI for some honeymoon bliss. TAHITI can be very expensive but if you're seeking a honeymoon vacation with lots of luxury than TAHITI might just be your place for
some honeymoon bliss.

More on "TAHITI" when I return for my
next post.





The Pearl of the Indian Ocean (Sri Lanka) Island Hopping

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"The finest island of its size in all the world."           Marco Polo
kaputa.com

An island country, SRI LANKA has Adam's Peak, Ayurveda, bendy palm trees, elephants, exotic fruits, fragrant spices, golden beaches, national parks, tea plantations, UNESCO World Heritage Sites and so much more. 

The gateway to Sri Lanka, Colombo is the largest city with a population of roughly 4 1/2 million. There's a lot to see in Colombo from the Old Dutch Hospital to the Federation of Self Employees Market to the elite neighborhood called Cinnamon Gardens. Colombo has plenty of attractions, entertainment, restaurants, and shopping to keep you busy. From Colombo you can visit the West Coast beach towns of Bentota, Kalutara, and Negombo.

The "West Coast" beach region of Sri Lanka is busy and quite developed so for a harmonic connection with wildlife "Wilpattu National Park" is the place to go. This is where you can take a safari jeep tour. The laid back "South Coas…

Sri Lanka (Island Hopping)

Ramayana is a great Hindu epic that takes place in what is now known as Sri Lanka. Ramayana consists of 24,000 verses in seven books. The story is about Rama and his wife Sita the ideal couple who live a happy life in the forest until Sita is abducted by the demon king Ravana. Sita is held captive on Ravana's island and Ravana is eager to marry Sita. Rama is determined to find Sita so he seeks the help of mighty general monkey Hanuman and his monkey team. Traveling across the sea Rama and Hanuman reach Ravana's island  where there is a fierce battle; Rama and Hanuman successfully kill the demon Ravana and Sita is freed and reunited with Rama. A tropical Buddhist island, Sri Lanka is the land of bendy palm tress, ceylon tea, cinnamon, elephants, fresh coconuts, jungles, sun kissed beaches and over fifty sites related to Ramayana. Located on the southern tip of India in Southeast Asia, Sri Lanka is fast becoming a tourist destination. 
What is there to do and see in SRI LANKA? M…

Nature in Madagascar (Island Hopping)

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The animals of Madagascar mesmerize humans beings because many of them simply cannot be found anywhere else on the planet. Here's a list of some of the living species that make Madagascar home: Aye-Aye, Bamboo-Lemur, Comet Moths, Dwarf Lemur, Red-Ruffed Lemur, Flat Tailed Geckos, Flying Fox, Fossa, Tomato Frog, Panther Chameleons, and Pochards just to name a few. 


                                       Aye-Aye (Courtesy of animal danger.com)


                                        Flying Fox (Courtesy of art.com)


                                      Tomato Frog (Courtesy of Tumblr)

The animals of Madagascar aren't the only spectacular thing to witness. Eventually during your journey the scents of vanilla will enchant you. Madagascar is one of the top producers of vanilla and vanilla is the second most expensive spice in the world. 
                                                Vanilla Orchid (Madagascar)

The vanilla flower is an orchid that produces fruit that is the result of po…

Madagascar; A land of Vastness (Island Hopping)

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(Someday when I can afford to travel to Madagascar I would like to spend a month doing charity work. I've been blessed to meet a few people from this country who have shared valuable information. I thank them and I'm honored that I can write a little bit about this unique country on my blog).


Madagascar is an island country off the coast of Southeast Africa. It is the fourth largest island in the world and is inhabited by over 22 million people. The majority of the population only makes two dollars per day. Although Madagascar has a lot of poverty it has treasures that no other country in the world can claim.

The two modes of transportation to Madagascar are by airplane or ship. It is an adventure to travel to Madagascar by sea on a ship because it's a long and rough trip with the sea being very choppy at times. There are plenty of airlines that fly into Madagascar; Air Austral, Air France, Air Madagscar, Corsair, and Interair. Once you get to Madagascar you will surrounded …

Jolly in Jamaica (Island Hopping)

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"One Love/ People Get Ready"
                  by: Bob Marley
Give thanks and praise to the Lord and I will feel all right. Let's get together and feel all right.


The Jamaican's have a lot to be thankful for. They live on a gorgeous island with 635 miles of coastline, they eat delicious healthy food, and drink refreshing beverages, they have sea grape trees, and swaying palm trees, they have Jamaican rum and island dances. They're the creators of reggae music and they know how to jam. They have the legendary Bob Marley whose music is loved the world over. They have lots of sun and blue skies and so much more.
The average September temperature in Jamaica is 88 degrees (fahrenheit) 31 degrees (celsius). With clear blue skies and lots of sunshine it's easy to feel "Jolly in Jamaica." So if you're looking to island hop to a Caribbean island for a vacation why not choose Jamaica?
Jamaican's refer to their home island as the "Rock." Jamaica i…

Afternoon Tea; Grand Hotel style on Mackinac Island (Island Hopping)

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The Grand Hotel on "Mackinac Island" is the word's largest summer only resort. It was built over 100 years ago with the help of big railroad money and hard workers. To this very day the Grand Hotel is a high style hotel with sheer elegance and traditions. 

One of the traditions that still takes place is "afternoon tea" inside the Parlor of the Grand Hotel. Guests are able to enjoy fresh baked scones, petite fingers sandwiches, an array of delicious pastries along with champagne, tea, and sherry. The elegant afternoon tea is accompanied by a chamber music recital. Served daily from 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm it costs $30.00 per person plus 6% sales tax to enjoy a memorable afternoon inside the lovely Grand Hotel. Non guests must pay the $10.00 entrance fee to enter the Grand Hotel if they'd like to partake in "afternoon tea."


A recipe for Traditional Scones:

2 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 cup cold butter, cut in 1/2 inch cubes
1 cup w…

A Step Back in Time to Mackinac Island (Island Hopping)

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As I sit in front of the majestic bay in Traverse City (Northern Michigan) typing away on my laptop I can hear "Mackinac Island" calling out to me. Having been to Mackinac Island a handful of times I can honestly say that it's one of the most idyllic islands in the world. Located on Lake Huron and the Straits of Mackinac and covering 3.8 square miles "Mackinac Island' is a shining star that draws 15,000 visitors per day during the summer months of June, July, and August.

Mackinac Island was formed as the glaciers of the last Ice Age began to melt around 13,000 BC. Today in the 21st century locals and tourists are captivated by the island's magnificent beauty. There have been no motor vehicles allowed on the island since 1898. Bicycles and horses are the only modes of transportation on Mackinac Island and that's what makes it feel so old fashioned and unique.
From the moment you set foot on the island all your troubles seem to melt away and you can enjoy ho…

Island Hopping

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The world has thousands of thrilling islands……and soon I'll be writing my next post about islands around the world. There's nothing more thrilling than I S L A N D  H O P P I N G!


Prince Edward Island, Canada

                                                     Jamaica, (The Caribbean)


                                                    Mackinaw Island, Michigan (USA)

                                                                  Madagascar, Africa

                                                                        Gotland, Sweden

Join me soon for: ISLAND HOPPING!

Summer in Stockholm

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With summer in full swing there's still plenty of weeks left to swim and if there's one place in the world where swimming is adored it's the beautiful capital city of Stockholm in Sweden.

Stockholm is a city surrounded by water and it spreads over 14 islands. Stockholm is one of the few cities in the world where taking a dip in the clear waters smack in the middle of the city is a normal thing to do. In the winter the Swedes swim in the many indoor swimming halls but in the summer they swim outdoors.

If you find yourself in Stockholm for a day or two here are a few outdoor swimming spots that will put a smile on your face; Ekhagenbadet, Fredhallsbadet, Hagaparken, Kanaanbadet, Langholmsbadet, Sicklasjon, and Smedsuddsbadet. 

                                There are countless outdoors spots for swimming in Stockholm


STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN HIGHLIGHTS:

ABBA Museum (The famous pop group) has a permanent exhibition of the Swedish Music Hall of Fame.

Stockholm City Hall (Stadshuset) is …

Sweden and Hiking

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Kungsleden "The King of Mountain Trails" is Sweden's longest hiking trail. Located in Northern Sweden the "Kungsleden" beckons lovers of the outdoors who want to experience the ultimate peak. This trail rewards hikers with a spectacular landscape of glaciers, flowers, mountains, and rivers.

It can take over a month to hike the entire length of "Kungsleden" which is 275 miles (443 kilometers) long. The trail goes through four national parks and a nature reserve. It can be enjoyed for days since the trail is equipped with cabins and huts.

From early June until the end of September you can experience the ultimate peak by hiking Sweden's highest mountains and experiencing Northern Sweden to the fullest.

Kungsleden Hiking Tours

www.naturetravels.co.ukhttp://www.naturetravels.co.uk/hiking-trekking-sweden-kings-trail-abisko-kebnekaise-stf8ts1.htm

                                         Enjoy "Swedish Snacks" on your hike!


The Midnight Sun and Northern Sweden

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The Midnight Sun in Northern Sweden


Northern Sweden is famous for the "Midnight Sun" which is an unbroken 24 period of sunlight that occurs during the summer months. Swedish Lapland is where you'll find the Midnight Sun and Northern Lights. The Sami people who live in this region of Sweden are the original Swedes whose roots trace back to the Ice Age.

Northern Sweden is a land of vast wilderness and extraordinary beauty. Abisko National Park spreads over 77 kilometers of land and offers great summer hiking. Lulea the capital of Swedish Lapland is a city with an international feel. Near the city of Lulea is Gammelstad Church Town (A Unesco World Heritage Site). A 15 century stone church is surrounded by red painted houses with white doors and windows. These houses were once used to accommodate Sunday worshippers who travelled from far distance in the countryside and couldn't return home the same day. 

June, July, and August are especially good mon…

June on AEROE ISLAND; A Happy Place to Be!

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                                       Picturesque AEROE ISLAND, DENMARK

Summer has arrived in Europe and June is a spectacular month to enjoy long sunny days. In the Scandinavian country of Denmark on the Baltic Sea sits an idyllic island named "Aeroe Island." The moment you arrive to this majestic island you'll feel like you've entered the pages of a perfectly illustrated fairytale. If there's one place to be in June it's "Aeroe Island."

Beaches, biking trails, churches, cobbled streets, farms, flowers, harbors, pastures, storybook homes and windmills are what you see when you're on lovely Aeroe Island. The three villages of Eroskobing, Marstal, and Soby have their share of culture, lodging, and restaurants. Some people visit Aero Island for a day, a week, a month, the whole summer, or they fall so much in love with it that they stay forever.

During the month of June it doesn't get dark until 11:00 pm so you can enjoy daylight for a very long…

Feeling Happy in Copenhagen

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"The Little Mermaid" statue in Copenhagen
It's hard not to feel happy in Copenhagen. This cosmopolitan Scandinavian city is clean, safe, exciting, and full of open-minded people. Some might even say it feels like a Hans Christian Andersen fairytale. Danish author Hans Christian Andersen wrote many fairytales; The Princess and the Pea, The Snow Queen, The Ugly Duckling, and The Little Mermaid to name a few.

Copenhagen's top attraction is "The Little Mermaid" bronze statue displayed on a rock by the waterside at Langelinje Pier. Made by sculptor Edvard Erichsen "The Little Mermaid" statue is visited by 75% of tourists that come to Copenhagen throughout the year. Other places to visit when in Copenhagen are 
Blue Planet Aquarium, Tivoli Gardens, Stroget Street (for shopping), The Rundetaarn (a 17th century tower) and the famous Danish castle known as Kronborg Castle.

                                  Tivoli Gardens is a favorite attraction

The Danish like…

The land of "Happy People"

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Denmark is considered the happiest country in the world because the citizens contribute to making things work in a positive way.A small, densely populated country Denmark has 406 islands and its most important sources are oil and forms of energy.Join me as I take a tour of this happy country in the Scandinavian region of Europe. 


                                  Dansk Wienerbrod (This is Denmark's famous pastry)

The Danish refer to their pastries as Wienerbrod which means "Viennese Bread" These sweet breads are often filled with cheese, cream, fruit preserves, jam, and nuts.


DANSK WIENERBROD (Danish Pastry)
                                                     (Absolutely Delicious)

Dough: 4 cups flour,  1 and 1/2 cups cold butter, 4 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast, 1/2 cup warm water,1/2 cup heavy cream, 1/2 teaspoon cardamon powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 2 eggs, 1/4 cup sugar.

Filling: Raspberry Preserves (Seedless)

Icing: 1 cup powdered sugar, 2-3 teaspoons warm milk, 1/2 te…

A visit to "Old Hollywood" (California, USA)

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Hollywood, California is known the world over for the movie industry. The 21st century Hollywood has the 20th century Hollywood to thank for starting the incredible movie industry in Southern California many years ago.

Superstar "MICKEY ROONEY" who passed away this month was the last male star of the "golden age of Hollywood." Mr. Rooney made hundreds of films and his legend will live on for years to come. I'd like to dedicate this post to him.

Once upon a time there was a fabulous movie studio known as Metro, Goldwyn, Mayer (MGM). A lot of amazing films were filmed on the MGM sound stages.  MGM had a lot of major stars too including Mickey Rooney who was the #1 star in the world from the late 1930's until the early 1940's. Spanning a film career that lasted ten decades Mr. Rooney was truly a hollywood legend.

Although "LOS ANGELES" is an ultra hip city with 21st century trends one can still take a trip down memory lane and get a taste of what…

A Tribute to Mickey Rooney (Hollywood Superstar)

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The one and only "Mickey Rooney"


The passing of Hollywood legend Mickey Rooney really saddened me because I was a huge fan of his. I had the honor of meeting him in person twice and seeing him perform on stage a few times. 
Mickey Rooney made films for HOLLYWOOD for many decades. Join me on my next post as I take a trip down memory lane to the "Golden Age of Hollywood" when Mickey Rooney was the biggest star in the world and when HOLLYWOOD was the place to be.
A trip to HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA is a combination of old and new.

Sunday in LOS ANGELES (City of Angels)

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Today is Easter Sunday and as I'm enjoying a restful day I can't help but think about my first visit to sunny Los Angeles on a Sunday. I arrived at the beautiful Los Angeles Union Station by Amtrak train and headed straight to Hollywood via the Metro. Yes, Los Angeles actually has a decent public transportation system of buses and a subway system that runs from Downtown Los Angeles to the San Fernando Valley. The metro stops right in the heart of Hollywood and that's where I recommend staying when you arrive to the "City of Angels."

Staying in Hollywood is a legend in itself especially if you check into the Orange Drive Hostel at 1764 North Orange Drive. This boutique hostel was once a 1920's manor home that later became a boarding house. Residents of the boarding house before they became famous were Marilyn Monroe, Gary Cooper, Rita Hayworth, Kim Hunter and Douglas Fairbanks Jr. The Orange Drive Hostel with its old world charm is a great value and it's c…