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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Athens Greece

Herodes Atticus Odeon...

A forest of people move through the Acropolis entrance with it being “free admittance” Sunday. We pass through the Dionysos Theatre and up an embankment to the unmistakable arches of Herodes Atticus Odeon…and after 16 years since we have last tread on Athenian soil – it is once more before us… The Parthenon – personifying elegance and eloquence, grandeur and glory, victory and virtue, a connecting of body and spirit in the solidity of marble pillars radiating an ethereal essence. From the Parthenon we make our way around the citadel to the temple of Athena Nike, the Erechtheion, and the ruins of many other grandiose pillared structures – sentinels of the Golden Age of Athens. There are two ways up to the Acropolis (that we know of) – one on a rather ordinary roadway, and the other through winding streets sided by whitewashed walls, some barely wide enough to walk…

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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…

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.…