Remembering Sensational Syria

Syria Video by Irene and Rick Butler- Syria “wowed” us with its rich culture, its fascinating history, its ancient sites,…

Egypt’s Sinai Region

Mt Sinai The Sinai Peninsula is a stunning desertscape of rugged limestone and granite mountains with substantial areas of shifting…

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Tirana Albania

Scanderbeg Square

If size matters, the Skanderbeg Square in Tirana is definitely in the winner’s circle, or more accurately – oval. The large central section is the length of two footballs fields. It is lorded over by an equestrian statue of Skanderbeg, who fought for freedom from Ottoman rule. This Albanian national hero replaced the huge statue of former dictator Enver Hoxha that was pulled down by an angry mob in 1991. From our 14th floor room at the Tirana International Hotel, we watch the chaos of unmitigated traffic zoom around the square – crazed lane changing and near-misses, especially as cars squeeze into the flow from side-streets. Cars even speed between pedestrians crossing on a walk-signal! Although harrowing to us, locals take it in their stride, not even flinching when their coat fabric is brushed by a vehicle. Out from the square a grand boulevard stretches about two kilometers filled with…

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Pristina Kosovo

NewBorn Monument

The first monument we come upon in Pristina is of large block letters spelling “NEWBORN”- first unveiled in brilliant yellow on February 17, 2008, the day Kosovo declared independence from Serbia. And every year since, before the February 17th Independence Day celebration the monument undergoes a paint-job, and is unveiled in a ceremony flaunting its…

Skopje Macedonia

A city of monuments! Skopje has amazing statues of historic figures and national heroes…here, there, and everywhere. All are impressive – but if I had to choose a favourite, it would be the monument in the city’s main square “Plostad Makedonija”. A gigantic marble fountain with water spurting in a sequence of heights around lions…

Belgrade Serbia

Knez Mihailova Blvd

I’ve heard Belgrade described as “gritty exuberance”, and think this is as good as any two-word descriptor of the Serbian capital. The pedestrian boulevard Knez Mihailova is indeed the epitome of exuberance with its plethora of cafes, many edged with ice-cream freezers, popcorn wagons. Designer fashion shops run side-by-side along its length with wall-to-wall locals…

Sarajevo Bosnia Hercegovina

Old Sarajevo

Old Sarajevo is where East-meets-West in an intriguing atmosphere. Spires with crosses reach up from Christian churches, a historic synagogue stands firm, and minarets of mosques tower. In the centre of this square pigeons congregate around the Sebilj Drinking Fountain with good reason – an elderly gentleman runs a small stand where passers-by purchase small…

Zagreb Croatia

Ban Jelacic Square

If I had only one word to describe Zagreb, it would be “character”- charismatic character at that! September is a month of festivities – Zagrebacki Vremeplov (Zagreb Time Machine); and Ban Jelacic Square, hosting many of the events is a mere block from our door! Crowds cover every inch of space between tents filled with…

Ljubljana Slovenia

Dragon Bridge

Under an ominous sky the Dragon Bridge emits a smoldering aura like the aftermath of fiery breath from the four on-guard dragons. This fearsome beast is the city emblem, appearing on the coat of arms. Legends abound about the dragon, one being an old Slavonic belief that a dragon releases the earth’s waters, ensuring fertility.…

Prague, Czech Republic

Prague Old Town

Each city around the world has its own feel. On our first walk over Charles Bridge and through the Old Town streets we find Prague to be one of the busiest historic districts to date – hordes of people jostle for space, inevitably someone steps in front of Rick’s camera as he is about to…