Sunday Stories for November 16th, 2014

Travel plans for this month have changed – I’m no longer heading off to Israel, with the trip postponed until early next year. A Dubai cruise isn’t working into the schedule for next month either. That means November and December are currently travel free (except for the usual flight attendant travel, of course).

I’m disappointed, of course, but in the big picture I know that these things will fall into place for next year, and if I put my nose to the grindstone, something will shake loose for the rest of this year. If you have an idea, please get in touch.

Now, on to what caught my eye this week.

Acropolis in Athens

Police and protesters hurling petrol bombs clash in Athens as strike turns violent

Looking at these photos made me very, very sad. I was in Greece earlier this month and fell in love with the people, the food, its history. When I look at these photos I see places where I spent time (Syntagma Square), sights that I enoyed (Parliament building), and people who love their country. I learned a lot about what Greece has been through from my cab driver. I hope prospective visitors will look beyone this aberration to see the beauty and hospitality of the country. Go. Visit.

Police have clashed with protesters hurling petrol bombs and bottles in central Athens after an anti-government rally called as part of a general strike in Greece turned violent.

Wine me, Dine me and Spa: Hyatt Scottsdale

I’m always looking for a great spot for a getaway weekend, and the Hyatt Regency in Scottsdale looks like an ideal choice. A little over three hours from Seattle, I’m putting this on my list for a mid-winter break.

The grounds of this 27 acre Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort and Spa at Gainey Ranch are gorgeous and just being there will instantly put you in relax mode with a backdrop of the McDowell Mountains.

All 120 Crayon Names, Color Codes and Fun Facts

I loved getting the 64-box of new crayons every fall for back-to-school. Truth be told, I kind of miss that even now. I was a big fan of coloring, and still could be if there was a way for it to be socially acceptable at my age. My favorite colors were Magenta and Blue Violet. What was your fave?

For the last 100 years or so kids have been exploring and creating worlds of color with Crayons. For a lot of us, our life long love affairs with color began with these wax sticks and a blank sheet of paper. According to a Yale University study, the scent of Crayola crayons is among the 20 most recognizable to American adults.

Gondolas on the Grand Canal, Venice Italy

Jessica is in the new “Dream of Venice” book

Venice always gets a bad rap. That’s why I’m glad my pal Jessica has an short essay about the city in an soon-to-be-released book. I’m very happy to see her in print, so check it out. You may just fall in love with Venice, too.

A famously romantic city, Venice is also notoriously hard to love. Complaints about expensive hotels, bad food, smelly canals, and cruise-ship crowds are not entirely unwarranted. Yet Venice remains alluring – she is the vixen on another man’s arm winking at you from across the room, the word at the tip of your tongue that you can’t quite remember.

A collection of Washington state symbols, natural history style

As a lifelong resident of Washington state, I knew many of these. Did you?

Washington has 22 official state symbols to date under the RCW, and 12 of them can be found at the Burke Museum—the Washington state museum of natural history and culture since 1899.

Read original article here: A collection of Washington state symbols, natural history style

Two Washington steakhouses among America’s favorites

My favorite steakhouse didn’t make the list, but  I’d never heard of either of these spots. I’m putting them on the list to give them a try.

Two Western Washington steakhouses reached OpenTable’s top 100 in America by diners’ reviews. And they’re located in the most inconspicuous of cities.


Mary Jo Manzanares is a traveler, travel blogger, and podcaster. In addition to her blog, Traveling with MJ, she hosts the Where Else to Go podcast, and is the founder and the editor-in-chief of The Traveler’s Way, an online travel magazine. Her travel ethos is value luxury - luxury for real people - and her goal is to help travelers know when to splurge and when to save. Mary Jo has been a speaker at various industry events around the world. When she’s not traveling, Mary Jo likes lingering over a cup of coffee, wandering in a museum, sipping wine at a cafe, and sharing it all with friends and readers. Her most recent travels were to Stockholm, a Baltic cruise, and Universal Orlando Resort.

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