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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India – Third Time Around

A Mumbai Street Market

The Milieu of Mumbai One doesn’t just walk the streets of Mumbai….we find ourselves weaving through the masses, bumping shoulders with locals, besieged with vendors calling, “just take a look”, are dazzled with street-shop colour, enticed by whirling wheels to sample juice from ubiquitous sugar cane grinders; the scorching air wafts with tantalizing food scents and incense, then sudden whiffs of garbage – swirling stimuli bombards our senses. And then we have reason to cross a street…one can stand at the curb forever not daring to step out…or like we quickly learn to do, shimmy up next to locals and do as they do…dash, twist, stop, dash, turn, stop, and dart – between a few dozen vehicles and motorcycles who consider lanes meaningless – the incessant horn blowing are alerts for vehicles squeezing past each other. In the mix are bicycles, oxen hitched to wagons, hand-pulled delivery carts, and the…

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Cyprus

Cyprus

Nicosia (Lefkosia) Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of beauty and love smiled fondly at Cyprus, the island of her birth, giving it an extraordinary beauty, a tender climate, and plenty of sunshine. Is it any wonder so many earthlings over the centuries have desired to own this Mediterranean Island? And being at the crossroads of Europe,…

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…

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…