Category Archive: Themes

Celebrate World Whiskey Day

Take some grain, corn, rye or wheat will do, perhaps malted barley. Ferment in a still. Age in a wooden cask, oak works well, for various years. Then put into bottles. Voila – you have whisky. Or whiskey, if you prefer. As a general rule, it is spelled “whiskey”—with an e—in the United States and Ireland, and “whisky”—without an e—in Scotland, Japan, and Canada. An easy way to remember it is if the country has an “e” in it, so does whisk(e)y. A simple basic process is at the root of all whiskey making, from the rotgut in the backyard still to the smoothest Irish whiskey. However, the process of refining the smooth taste has evolved over generations and has often been passed from one master blender to another. Whiskey has become strictly regulated, with very specifically defined classes and types based […]

Read More

Visiting Museums Around the World: 34 Worth a Visit

Whether I’m traveling or staying close to home, one of my favorite things to do is visit museums. I enjoy museums of all kinds – art, history, archaeology, the quirky and weird – and when visiting a new destination, visiting its museums a quick overview of the country, its culture, and its people. How do you find the right museum to visit, keeping in mind that it is often just a matter of personal taste? The Official Visitors Guide and travel guidebook are great starting points, especially when you’re looking for the major museums in a destination. And while I want to visit those famous museums around the world, once I’ve visited them, I start looking for something different. Sometimes, if you’re the kind of traveler that likes to wander around, and explore the sidestreets and the paths less traveled, […]

Read More

Sail Into Fun: New Carnival Mardi Gras Ship [Review]

Carnival Cruise Line’s new Mardi Gras pays homage to its first cruise ship, the TSS Mardi Gras which was launched in 1972 and retired in 1993. The new Mardi Gras is the first in the new Excel class ship with a passenger capacity of 5,282 passengers making it the largest cruise ship in the Carnival fleet.  I sailed on the first Mardi Gras voyage, a seven-day itinerary out of Port Canaveral (Orlando) with ports of call in San Juan in Puerto Rico, Amber Cove in the Dominican Republic, and Nassau in the Bahamas. We sailed with reduce capacity (70%). Walking on it had that new ship smell and made a favorable first impression. Come along for a look at the ship, her features and amenities, and this special debut sailing. The Ship The ship’s look features a distinct exterior design […]

Read More

The History of the Bikini: Fashion & War

For many women, the selection of the perfect bikini begins long before it’s time to hit the beach during vacation. It may very well be the first to-do item on a vacation preparation list. And for far too many women, there is no greater vacation angst than finding the right swimsuit – whether that’s a modern bikini, two-piece suit, or some other type of women’s swimwear. Learn about the history of the bikini. History of the Modern Day Bikini Archaeologists date the existence of a skimpy swimsuit back to 1600 BC., but the modern world was shocked by the debut of a new swimsuit made of mere inches of fabric. The bikini’s birthdate is considered to be July 5th, 1946. Two competing French designers, Jacques Heim and Louis Reard, are credited with creating a new style of swimwear and changing […]

Read More

The History of the Irish Coffee & the Buena Vista Cafe

Your San Francisco itinerary should include some of the city’s classic culinary dishes, drinks, and snacks. Not sure where to start? For starters, wind down a windy San Francisco day near Fisherman’s Wharf at the Buena Vista Cafe, located at the terminus of the Powell-Hyde Street cable car line. This corner spot’s allure is not just good food and fast service, but also the friendly crowd. On an average day, the old school charm of Buena Vista draws in the thirsty and hungry visitors who fill it to the brim. It can be loud and noisy, this isn’t the spot for quiet conversation. Don’t get put off if a stranger takes an empty seat at your table – patrons grab a seat where they can find it, and that might be next to you. The Buena Vista lays claim to […]

Read More

UNESCO Site: Visiting Malbork Castle, Poland

A visit to Malbork Castle Museum will feature both the historical and artistic aspects. There are also some archaeological activities and research, always looking for ways to add depth to the layers of history of the Teutonic Order and the Castle. The Order of Brothers of the German House of Saint Mary in Jerusalem, usually referred to as the Teutonic Order, is a Catholic religious order dating back to the 12th century. Although it was originally founded as a German military brotherhood, it’s purpose has changed over the years and since 1929 it has been strictly a religious order, although it harkens back to those early years with the conference of honorary knighthoods. Today the Catholic branch of the Order has about 1,000 members, and while originally no women were permitted, members today include a couple of hundred nuns. The Castle of […]

Read More

Enjoy Barge Cruising in Burgundy with European Waterways

We are big cruise fans. We enjoy ocean cruising, river cruising, and earlier this summer we fell in love with barge cruising. We cruised the Burgundy canals, drank fabulous wines, met wonderful people, and enjoyed the history, culture, and cuisine of the area. Burgundy (Bourgogne in French) is located about three and a half hours southeast of Paris and is probably best known for its pinot noir and chardonnay grapes. This was a wine region we wanted to learn more about and the reason we selected the Classic Northern Burgundy itinerary. We were also familiar with the food from this region of France (delicious cheeses, beef bourguignon, coq au vin) and some of the history. This was a perfect itinerary for first-time barge cruisers who are food, wine, and history lovers! We’re excited to review our hotel barge, the itinerary, […]

Read More

A Dozen Gardens From Around the World

The days are getting longer, and with flowers blooming in the yard along with a few peeks of the sun in the sky, it’s a great time to be in Seattle. Spring is finally here! Since the flowers in my garden are not terribly impressive yet – things will be in full color in another few weeks – I turned to some of my blogger friends to get a take on some of their favorite gardens around the world. I selected a dozen of them, one for each month of the year, and hope you can work a visit into one of them during your next vacation. 1.Springtime tulips at Araluen Botanic Park, Western Australia Western Australia conjures up images of red desert, barren gorges and rugged wilderness, but half an hour’s drive from Perth we found Araluen Botanic Park. […]

Read More

Travel for Library Lovers

If you’re a lover of books and literature, you probably already visit libraries when you travel. Whether it’s stopping off to do a little research or get an internet connection at a local library, or to visit a historically or culturally significant site, sleuthing out a library in advance of your travels is worth your time. And if you’re going to be in one destination or an extended period of time, you may be able to get a temporary library card giving you access to books and services for the time you’re there. For a book lover, that’s a big travel bonus. (If you’re looking for reading ideas, you can find some of my recommendations here.) I asked a few traveling friends to share some of their favorite ideas about libraries. The Long Room, Dublin: when Jedi knowledge meets monastic […]

Read More

Celebrate World Wildlife Day

Today, March 3rd, is UN World Wildlife Day. The UN General Assembly made this proclamation in 2013 as a way to celebrate and raise awareness of the world’s wild animals and plants. I’m not an eco-blogger or traveler, but I do make every effort to respect the world around me, making sure that I don’t engage in any behavior that harms the earth and its creatures. Or, if I’m to be more honest with myself and you, I try to minimize the damage my behavior causes to the earth and its creatures (because, yeah, air travel is not eco-friendly). Although I don’t write much on the topic, either, I’m pretty pleased with this podcast I did with Bret Love about Rwanda’s ecotourism attractions, and how tourism is bouncing back after the terrible atrocities of the Civil War and genocide. I […]

Read More