My Unforgettable Jaunt to ‘Eh-land’ Or How I Learned How to Stop Worrying and Love Canada

Ontario turned out to be a very friendly place to sell and sign books although getting there was an ordeal comparable to Rick’s first night on Malta in the novel.It all began innocently enough. While I was waiting for my book to come out, I found a list of Maltese clubs on the Internet and sent letters to all them. Two clubs replied: The Maltese-Canadian Club of London (Ontario) and the Maltese-Canadian Professional and Business Association (MCPBA) of Toronto. The president of the London group invited me to speak briefly before his organization’s annual Christmas Party and promised a turnout of at least 100 people. The MCPBA wanted me to be the guest speaker. My Toronto contact also said he would arrange interviews with the local Maltese television show and the Consulate General of Canada while I was in town.I wasted no time in accepting. Making contacts with the Maltese-American community was essential to the success of the book. Just as important, I wanted to meet the gentleman in Canadian media who I had miraculously contacted while trying to arrange interviews with Mississauga radio stations. Mississauga is the western Toronto suburb where most Maltese live. According to the gentleman, the afternoon I called was the first time he had been in his office in more than three weeks and he was very interested to learn about The Cellini Masterpiece. I sent him a copy on-line and after he read a few of the chapters he e-mailed to suggest that we meet. It took a few more e-mails, but I had firm dates. I would speak in London on the 20th of November and in Toronto on the 23rd and would have lunch with gentleman on the 21st. Now all I had to do was to figure out the best way to get there.My wife found a discounted airfare, but I didn’t know how I would be able to carry the books with me. Driving won by default. Unfortunately the family car is a GMC van and it gets about 8 miles to the gallon and it was more than two thousand miles round trip. Rather than bankrupting myself spending 2.00 a gallon, my son, who is a used car dealer in a small town in southern Minnesota offered to loan me an Olds Achieva, which got 25-35 miles to the gallon. That brought a smile to my face, but it didn’t last long. I would have to pick up the auto at his lot, which meant a drive of 120 miles round trip. When we got there, I found an auto part sitting in the backseat of the Olds. “It’s a part for the brake,” my son’s friend said. “Clint didn’t get around to fixing it. The car will drive fine without it. Oh, and just make sure you don’t roll the driver’s window down. The motor isn’t working right and it won’t go back up. You won’t need to open the window, will you?” I couldn’t believe my ears. “I’ll be driving on the Illinois tollway. I’ll have to pay six or seven tolls.” “Then I guess you’ll have to open the door.” For a moment I considered driving the van.On the way home I found out that the brakes bumped but the car stopped when I put my foot on the pedal and I didn’t have to open the window.The next day I started on my trip. As Clint had promised, the mileage was excellent. When I got to the first stop on the Illinois tollway I forgot that the window didn’t work right and opened it. When I pushed the button to roll it back up, it didn’t move. When I tried it again, it inched up a little ways and stopped. By the second toll it had made it to the top. I decided to push my luck and go through the exact-change lane. Of course the window wouldn’t open. Cars behind me began to honk, so I pulled ahead and opened the door to toss the coins into the receptacle. One of the coins didn’t make it. I was shaking when I got out of the car and threw another dime in.My aim improved as I went, but at the last gate the exit arm wouldn’t open. It still stayed down when I threw in some more coins. I finally emptied my pockets and threw everything I had into the basket. I could almost imagine the extortionist machine smiling as the arm raised and the ‘Thank You’ light came on.Things went fine until I reached the Canadian border. I didn’t have my passport but I did have my driver’s license and military ID, two credit cards and my insurance card. (Unlike Rick I had forgotten my sperm donor’s card.) The agent in the box said, “We’re doing a random inspection. Please pull over to the buildings on the right.”I couldn’t have imagined what would happen next.The customs inspectors told me to unlock all the doors and get out of the car. The young man who looked in the trunk called me over. “You’ve got four boxes of books here. Why didn’t you declare them?””I didn’t know I was supposed to.””Where’s your passport?”I was starting to sweat even though snow was falling. “I didn’t bring it.””You should have. Do you have your ownership card for the car?””No. This is my son’s car.””Come with me.”At least he didn’t have me handcuffed, I thought, as I followed him into the building.”Did you know I can confiscate all these books?” he asked.”No. But I sure hope you don’t. This is my whole inventory. It’s my first novel and I’ve been invited to talk about it to social clubs in London and Toronto.””What kind of book is it?””A mystery-thriller.””Like The DaVinci Code?””Sorta, except it’s set in Malta”Half an hour later I was on my way. I wasn’t turned back at the border and I still had the car. (If the agent had been in a bad mood he could have impounded it.) Best of all, I still had my books, even though my purse was two hundred dollars lighter.What happened at my meetings? I was treated like royalty. Everyone seemed amazed that I was interested enough in Malta to write a book set there. I was regaled with pastizzi, Maltese pies like turnovers filled with spinach, cheese or meat, and was constantly surrounded by people who were anxious to talk to me. I even noticed a few tears when I mentioned landmarks from their hometowns. As I expected, the sales were barely sufficient to cover the expense of the trip, but the friends and contacts I made were of far greater value to me. I was treated cordially by the club members, had very friendly chats with the Consulate General and the interviewer on the Maltese TV station, and was treated as a visiting dignitary wherever I went. My meeting with the media mogul went well and I expect to hear from some of his contacts in the future. Best of all, the car and I made it back to Minneapolis in one piece.Just barely. The unused brake part from the back seat finally was put to use. By the time I was in Missassauga, I had to have a brake job. Well, a temporary one. The wheels were grinding on metal all the way home, and the axle was ready to break when I pulled into my driveway.It was a great trip, but please don’t ever say ‘getting there is half the fun’ around me. Being forced to eat lutefisk without butter can be dangerous to your health.SAHHA u hbibierija

My Top 10-List of Archeological Places [NOW! Spanish and English]

My Top 10-List of Archeological Places [sites] I’ve been to around the World [*indicates dates I was there] By Dennis L. Siluk1–The Taj Mahal [in Agra, India]. The beauty of the Taj Mahal is beyond description, especially on a sunny morning with a little dew from the nearby river. A mausoleum, on the banks of the Yamuna River; it took 22-years to build, and 20,000 laborers. The riverfront is most inspiring. And the Town of Agra is worth a visit. There of course is a love story behind this monument, and you will have to seek it out if it interests you. If all I had seen was the Taj Mahal, on my trip to India, it would have been worth the long voyage. [*l997]2–Giza, or more important, the pyramids of Egypt. We often only see three, but there are four worth ones noticing; the pyramid of Djoser, the oldest of the four pyramids, a stepped pyramid; in the sense of, one layer built over the other. This is northwest, and in the Saqqara site; I personally liked the tomb or pyramid of Cheops, north of Memphis on the plateau of Giza; among the seven wonders of the ancient world. The Sphinx gives the pyramids their mysticism, and even magic I do believe. One could not claim its famous status without the other. [*l998]3–Borobudur (Largest Buddhist temple in the world ((built 760 AD): of Central Java; made of dark volcanic stone, on a natural mound.This site has square and circular terraces, and a top Stupa. It is almost magical. It stands almost 150-feet high, and its square base is 373 feet each side. Designed by Gunadharma; it does have a calming atmosphere, even more so than the Tor of Glastonbury [or Avalon]. Very few places in the world have this calm effect I do believe; Mary’s house on the hill of Ephesus has, along with a few other locations throughout the world. [*1999]4–Easter Island [land of the Moai]; the whole island is an outdoor museum. Many things happened when I arrived on this little island in the Pacific. A spirit filled Island if I had ever seen one. Much more than Maui, or even Malta; it is considered the most isolated island in the world. Some of the statues on the island go from 9-tons to 90-tons. And you have a few craters on the island to venture to; but Rapa Nui, the original name for Easter Island, has some 600-statues to look over so rent a jeep. Some of the statues are up to 33-feet tall. They are all about the island. The dogs run free and the horses run free and so do the spirits; and so did I, on this island, annexed by Chile. [*2002]5–The Great Wall of China. The wall is some 4000-miles long over mountains, deserts and plains. I walked up and along its great walls outside of Beijing, feeling its ancient touch of empire. It was built to keep the barbarians out, some sections date back to 221 BC. Even Genghis Khan crossed over these walls, in 1211 AD. The Ming emperors rebuilt the wall on a larger scale in the 1400s. I loved seeing the Great Walls of Troy, but these took my breath away, they go and go and seem never to stop. Matter-of-fact, it can be seen from outer space. [1996]6–The Acropolis of Athens; in particular the Parthenon; if I go back to Greece, I would like to see Crete, and Knossos, I’ve left so many places out, I’ll never get to them; but I’ve seen the best of the best; and the Acropolis is the best. After reading Mary Renault’s entire book on Greece–for she was my inspiration to go, I went. And each morning I’d walk down by the Acropolis, eat in a local café, and gaze at the beauty of the Acropolis on the hill. This site dates back 5000-years as far as being inhabited; with its many temples, and a fine museum right on location. [*1995]7–Macchu Picchu [the Lost City] there is so much to say about this site, one does not know where to start. This is perhaps the last ancient remains of the Inca civilization of the Andes. There are many dates put on this site, and if one looks it over, you have stones from three different periods I believe, dating back to 2500 BC, to 1250 BC, to the 1400s [AD]; the town of Cuzco remains above it, and a beautiful city it is. Macchu Picchu is 70-miles north of Cuzco, at a height of 9,000 feet; most people do not know, Cuzco, the town is higher, 12,000-feet, so bring something to help you adjusting to its height. I suggest oxygen; or see if a hotel has it there. [*l999]8–The gladiator’s famous home: The Colosseum of Rome. Where gladiatorial played the death game with wild animal hunts; this is the biggest of the Roman amphitheaters. Quite the complex system, with underground passages; you got to go across the street up to a small park, look through the fence to get a good, full picture of it. Or I suppose you could just walk down the street and get all the traffic and other buildings in the picture to. I got to go back and see Pompeii now, a site I’ve longed to see, but I had to see this first. And you can’t help just gazing at it as you walk here and there, it is Rome to me. [*l997]9–Stonehenge–a few miles from Salisbury, megalith stone giants you could call these earthworks here, or heel stones. This stone circle dates to about 2500–3000 BC. It reminds me of Mystery Hill, in New Hampshire, also called, the Stonehenge of America; but of course, has a more powerful appearance. I get the same haunting feelings from here, as I got from Gaza. As if they were fraternal twins. They are said to come from the same time period. Something tells me both the pyramids of Egypt and Stonehenge, and even and Mystery Hill, all belong to a later time. If only you could touch it [the stones at Stonehenge], it was fenced off when I was there, but I’ve heard lately, they were taking the fence down; about time; it takes 90% of its magic away. Everyone suffers because of the destructive habits of a few. I went nonetheless, and have to live with 10% of its magic, good enough. [*l998]10–Angkor Vat [Palaces of the Gods]. Another giant complex: you have within this area, Phnom Bakheng, Angkor Thom [the great city of the Jayavaman VII, inspired by a great Hindu myth], Bayon, Ta Prohm [where trees grow around the ruins, as if they are hugging them]; Ta Som, etcetera. It is a masterpiece of Khmer art and brilliance in building. Surrounded by a huge trench; Angkor Vat, is also spelled Angkor Wat. The food in Cambodia is great, and the people kind. Stick with a guide though. While in Cambodia, I got to go on/in the Mekong River, which was a delight to see, and its fishermen with their nets, and so forth. [2000]In Spanish

Translated by Nancy PenalozaTop 10-List of Archeological Places [sites]Mi lista TOP de los 10 lugares (sitios) Arqueológicos. En el mundo entero en los que he estado [*Indica las fechas que yo estuve allí]By Dennis Siluk1-El TAJ Mahal [en Agra, India]. La belleza del TAJ Mahal está fuera de cualquier descripción, especialmente durante una mañana soleada con un pequeño rocío del río cercano. Un mausoleo, sobre los bancos del Río Yamuna; que tomó 22 años y 20,000 trabajadores para construirlo. La orilla es la más inspiradora. Y la Ciudad de Agra vale una visita. Allí desde luego hay una historia de amor detrás de este monumento, y usted tendrá que buscarlo si esto le interesa. Si todo lo que yo hubiera visto fuera el TAJ Mahal, en mi viaje a la India, habría sido valioso el viaje largo. [*l997]2-Giza, o más importante, las pirámides de Egipto. Nosotros a menudo sólo vemos tres, pero hay cuatro de valor que notamos; la pirámide de Djoser, la más vieja de las cuatro pirámides, una pirámide pasada; en el sentido de, una capa construida sobre la otra. Esto es de noroeste, y en el sitio de Saqqara; personalmente me gustó la tumba o pirámide de Cheops, al norte de Memphis sobre la meseta de Giza; entre las siete maravillas del mundo. La Esfinge da su misticismo a las pirámides, y aún la magia, creo. Uno no podía aclamar su estado famoso sin el otro. [*l998]3-Borobudur (el templo budista Más grande en el mundo) (construido 760 años antes de Cristo)]: de Java Central. Este sitio tiene terrazas cuadradas y circulares, y una cima estepa. Es casi mágico. Esto permanece a casi 150 pies de alto, y su base cuadrada es 373 pies cada lado. Diseñado por Gunadharma; realmente tiene una atmósfera calmada, entonces, aún más que el Peñasco de Glastonbury [o Avalon]. Muy pocos sitios en el mundo tienen este efecto tranquilo que realmente creo; la casa de María sobre la colina de Efeso lo tiene, (junto a otras pocas localidades en todo el mundo); hecho de piedra oscura volcánica, sobre un montón natural. [*1999]4-Isla de Pascua [tierra del Moai]; La isla entera es un museo exterior. Muchas cosas pasaron cuando llegué a esta pequeña isla en el Océano Pacífico. Un espíritu llenó la Isla como si yo alguna vez lo hubiera visto. Mucho más que Maui, o aún Malta; es considerado la isla más aislada en el mundo. Algunas estatuas en las islas van de 9 toneladas a 90 toneladas. Y usted tiene unos cráteres en la isla para aventurarse; pero Rapa Nui, el nombre original para Isla de Pascua, tiene algunas 600 estatuas para revisar, alquilando entonces un jeep. Algunas estatuas están sobre 33 pies de altura. Y ensucian la ciudad los perros y los caballos que corren libres y lo mismo hacen los espíritus; y yo también . La isla esta anexada a Chile. [*2002]5- La Gran Muralla China. La pared es de aproximadamente 4000 millas de largo sobre las montañas, desierto y llano. Me acerqué y a lo largo de sus grandes paredes fuera de Beijing, sintiendo su antiguo toque de Imperio. Fue construido para mantener a los Bárbaros fuera, algunas secciones remontan a 221 AC. Incluso Genghis khan atravesó sobre estas paredes, en 1211 antes de cristo. Los emperadores de Ming reconstruyeron la pared en una escala más grande en los años 1400. Me gustó ver las Grandes Paredes de Troya, pero estos se llevaron mi aliento, ellos van y van y parecen nunca no pararse. Normal, puede ser visto del espacio exterior. [1996]6 – la Acrópolis de Atenas; en particular el Partenón; si vuelvo a Grecia, tendré el gusto de ver Creta, y Knossos, he dejado fuera tantos sitios, nunca los conseguiré; pero he visto lo mejor de lo mejor; y la Acrópolis es lo mejor. Después de leer a Mary Renault todo el libro sobre Grecia – Ya que ella fue mi inspiración para ir, yo fui. Y cada mañana yo tuve que caminar abajo por la Acrópolis, comer en un café local, y dar una mirada fija a la belleza de la Acrópolis sobre la colina. Este sitio remonta de 5000 años tan lejos como siendo habitado; con sus muchos templos, y un excelente museo directamente sobre ubicación. [*1995]7-Macchu Picchu [la Ciudad Perdida] Hay tanto para decir sobre este sitio, uno no sabe donde comenzar. Estos son los restos de quizás el último poder, de la civilización inca de los Andes. Hay muchas fechas puestas en este sitio, y si uno lo mira, usted tiene piedras de tres períodos diferentes, creo, remontando a 2500 AC, a 1250 AC, a los años 1400 [antes de cristo]; la ciudad de Cuzco permanece encima de ello, y es una ciudad hermosa. Macchu Picchu esta a 70 millas al norte de Cuzco, en una altura de 9,000 pies; la mayoría de la gente no conoce, Cuzco, la ciudad es más alta, 12,000 pies, por los tanto traiga algo para ayudarse a adaptarse a su altura. Sugiero el oxígeno; o ver si un hotel lo tiene. [*l999]8 – La Casa Famosa Del Gladiador: El Coliseo de Roma. Donde los gladiadores jugaban el juego de muerte con animales salvajes cazados; este es el más grande de los anfiteatros romanos. Casi el sistema complejo, con pasajes subterráneos; usted tiene que ir a través de la calle hasta un pequeño parque, mirar por las rejas para conseguir una imagen buena de ello. O lo supongo solo podría caminar abajo la calle y conseguir todo el tráfico y otros edificios para la imagen. Conseguí volver y ver Pompeya ahora, un sitio que he tenido muchas ganas de ver, pero tuve que ver esto primero. Y usted no puede ayudar solamente mirando fijamente en ello mientras usted anda aquí y allí, esto es Roma para mí. [*l997]9-Stonehenge-a pocas millas de Salisbury, megalito piedras gigantes que usted podría llamar estos trabajos de tierra aquí, o piedras de talón. Este círculo de piedra remonta aproximadamente 2500-3000 AC. Esto me recuerda de Colina de Misterio, en New Hampshire, también llamado, el Stonehenge de América; pero desde luego, tiene un aspecto más poderoso. Conseguí los mismos sentimientos atormentados desde aquí, que los que conseguí en la Gaza. Como si ellos fueran gemelos fraternales. Ellos, como se dice, vienen del mismo período de tiempo. Algo me dice que ambas pirámides de Egipto y Stonehenge, y aún la Colina de Misterio, todos pertenecen a un tiempo posterior. Si sólo usted pudiera tocarlo [las piedras en Stonehenge], fueron separados con una cerca, cuando yo estaba allí, pero me enteré últimamente, ellos bajaban la valla; algunas veces; esto llevaba al 90 % de su magia. Cada uno sufre debido a los hábitos destructivos de unos cuantos. Fui sin embargo, y tengo que vivir con el 10 % de su magia, bastante bien. [*l998]10-Angkor Vat [Palacios de los Dioses]. Otro complejo gigantesco: usted tiene dentro de este área, Phnom Bakheng, Angkor Thom [la gran ciudad de Jayavaman VII, inspirado por un gran mito hindú], Bayon, Ta Prohm [donde los árboles crecen alrededor de las ruinas, como si ellos los abrazaran]; Ta Som, etcétera. Esto es una obra maestra de arte Khmer y esplendor en el edificio rodeado por enormes zanjas; Angkor Vat, también es deletreado Angkor Wat. La comida en Camboya es buena, y la amabilidad de la gente. Pegado como una guía pienso. Mientras en Camboya, conseguí continuar / en el Río Mekong, el cual era un placer ver, y sus pescadores con sus redes, etcétera, etcétera. [*2000]

Washington D.C., the White House

The original White House was neither white, nor referred to as a house. The first President of the United States lived in three houses while President, none of which were the White House, as it was not completed while he was President. The White House was first referred to as the Presidential Palace, later the Presidential house, and finally the White House, after the war of 1812 when British troops attacked and burned the house. When it was rebuilt it was painted white, and the name White House was born.An Interesting Fact about the White HouseWhen George Washington was deciding where to build it, there was some controversy as to whether it should stand in the North or on the property of the South. Washington finally picked land between the two, and Maryland and Virginia, who were on the border, were happy to donate the land on which the White House now stands, neither north nor South, but in a district, the District of Columbia.The Oval Office, a Symbol of the Modern Day PresidentFor President Taft, the Oval Office may have symbolized his view of the modern-day president. Taft intended to be the center of his administration, and by creating the Oval Office in the center of the West Wing, he was more involved with the day-to-day operation of his presidency than were his recent predecessors.What President Taft could not imagine in 1902 when he built the Oval Office was that the office itself would become a symbol of the Presidency. Over the years, Americans developed a sentimental attachment to the Oval Office through memorable images, such as John Kennedy, Jr. peering through the front panel of his father’s desk or President Nixon talking on the phone with astronauts after a successful voyage. Television broadcasts, such as President Reagan’s speech following the Challenger explosion, would leave lasting impressions in the minds of Americans of both the office and its occupant.The Oval Office became a symbol of strength and reassurance the evening of September 11, 2001, when President George W. Bush delivered comforting words through a televised address from the Oval Office. Less than six months later, President George W. Bush welcomed Afghan Interim Authority Hamid Karzai to the Oval Office. The meeting was a sign of significant progress in the war on terrorism.

Beijing

Though Beijing is an ancient city, used as the capital by many warlords, yet its modern history as a capital begins in the Yuan dynasty (1271-1368) under Kublai Khan, the great grandson of Chengis Khan. Beijing was built for inspiration- to awe the populace with the emperor’s strength. Beijing meant for the occasions and ceremonies, which were performed to balance the Mandate of heaven as well as a safeguard of defense.Beijing is the capital of the People’s Republic of China, located in the Huabei

(North China) Plain. With a population of more than 13.8 million, Beijing covers an area of 16,800 square kilometers.BEIJING RESOURCESBeijing comprises of plains, mountains, as well as hills. Inadequate water supply, poor quality of the soil and huge areas of rocky mountains does not favor farming and agriculture at all. Minerals such as iron and limestone are mined. The forest areas of Beijing are also reducing day by day- but the Beijing tourism is very prosperous.BEIJING ECONOMYBeijing, being the main centre of the political and cultural activity, Beijing is economically quite well developed. The per capital G.D.P. sums up to around 22,000 Yuan.BEIJING LIFESTYLEAccording to statistics, there are 6.14 million employees compared to 4.54 million workers. The education level is also quite high with 95% of the students, graduating from junior high school, entering senior high school.BEIJING POPULATION-Beijing is one of the biggest cities in China, and has a total population of more than 13.83 million, most of who reside in the plain areas. The Beijing population in the hilly areas is quite less, compared to the plain area. Even the population density in Beijing is the highest.To sum up, Beijing is a magnificent place. The local residents of Beijing are hard working and they drop their sweat to earn their livelihood.

Castles in West Germany [Styles]

I spent four years in West Germany, in the 70s, and I’ll tell you, they have an abundance of Castles I had learned. But let me share a few styles with you. I used to think everything was Gothic, because Gothic was kind of the overall look of things but it was not so. Before the Gothic look was Romanesque, which blended into what we see in Germany now, the Gothic look. Grant you, at times it is hard to tell, I think the Germans during the Gothic times tried to copy Romanesque [700 AD to 1250 AD: Romanesque]. In Dieburg, Germany I call the tower there, Gothic, but it really isn’t, it is an 11th century tower, and it has the characteristics of Romanesque, which are a rounded appearance, thick walls with few windows; barrel vaults, rounded arches and domes. I call it Gothic because few people know the other styles. Gothic to me is 1250 AD to about 1500 AD. This style emphasizes vertical; pointed arches, ribbed vaulting; flying buttresses or ramparts [stockades] were developed to support walls, this allowed building tall, narrow windows, with stained glass. Gargoyles to hide rain spouts were created.We all seem to know the Renaissance period quite well, but in comparing them side by side for style, it might be different. Here we return to the horizontal on the grand scale; geometric layouts and designs; classical motifs, columns, rounded arches, domes; free use of detail: the 16 Century.Baroque, it was a style in Germany, not just music as I had often thought of the word Baroque; which fooled me when I first noticed it; go to Babenhausen, West Germany, you will see some Baroque style, I lived right around the corner to a great tower that mesmerized me ever time I passed it, trying to figure out its style, or character. It is between 17the and 18th Centuries. The tower I’m talking about is 1712 AD, so it fits in. The Bergstrass route has a castle on it, between Heidelberg and Darmstadt, of which I’ve been to both cities, Heidelberg, being perhaps the best preserved castle in Germany. And in Darmstadt, I simply went to, when I wanted to do a lot of shopping in. In any case the Frankenstein castle is there, the one they used for the ‘Frankenstein,’ movie in the 1920s. This has a tower that is of the 17th century, but it would fit into the Baroque style, with a mere touch of the Renaissance, thus we see the changing of styles in motion here. I was at the Frankenstein Castle in 1976; and at the Heidelberg Castle in l975.The last style I want to bring to light is the Rococo, 18th Century for the most part. It is a kind of–oh, how do I want to put this: it has twisted curves, shell work and patterns, artificial grottoes, lots of play and detail , light and frivolous. Go to the Wilhelmstal Palace, you will see what I’m talking about, north of Kassel. I was there in l976.Kronach: tourist normally does not go to this castle, it is Rosenberg Castle, which I was there 100-families were living in the Castle. It has a nice courtyard, and dates to about 1430 AD or so. I was there in the winter of l977.Wuerzburg: castle on the hilltop, giving it a powerful position; a beautiful castle inside and out. I went there in 1975. This is one of those Rococo castles you don’t see a lot of; or I didn’t see a lot of or notice. Built around 1719 AD; Napoleon even took a second look at it.Aschaffenburg’s castle “Johannisburg Castle,” as it is called is again a beautiful castle: a pink sandstone palace is really what it is; with some 400-rooms, built around the 12th Century. It had a beautiful clock I remember in it, 18th Century. I lived about seven miles from the palace.Up and down the Mosel River you can see more castles than the mind can remember, and that goes for the Rhine river as well; butt he Mosel is the Spell of the Wine Country, and it is more beautiful than the Rhine, take my word for it. Cochem has a castle on a hill, the Reichsburg, I remember it quite well, and down by the river my twin boy chase the fat geese, and had a great time. Cochem commands the Mosel’s steep slopes, I think formed by volcanic upheavals.The Roman Walls of Augsburg, Germany; you wouldn’t think Augsburg had anything much to do with Rome for style anyway, but it was a campsite once for the armies of the Roman Emperor: Augustus, about 15 BC. I was there in l970, and was amazed at its thick walls. Augsburg has many military fortresses, from WWII, and WWI, which American Soldiers lived in during the 70s. It seems it never did leave its original forte. Augsburg also has its religious merits, but it was not those that appealed to me back then.The Tower at Dieburg Germany [of which I even wrote a book about the tower: ‘Cold Kindness’] is another beautiful piece of stonework [11th century tower], located in a small park, overlooking the once embittered WWII city, bombed by the Americans. I lived here in l974, right across the street from the tower, and I got to know the people of the city quite well, and they were rude at first, but turned out to be quite nice after you got to know them. ‘Die’ in German means ‘the’ and ‘burg,’ means ‘castle or fortress,’ thus the city is named after the tower, “The Tower of the City”; Romanesque style, with a touch of the Gothic look.

Have a Beach of a Time in Paphos Cyprus

Flying into Paphos Airport, you may be surprised to find that the Airport is 15-20 minutes away from Paphos town centre. You may elect to take a taxi into town coerced by the many taxi drivers in the Paphos Airport hall soliciting you to use them for the drive in. Depending on what you want to do on your holiday, this may be a big mistake.If you are staying near the Paphos City Center and are looking to soak up some rays at the beach or do some sightseeing at some point during your holiday, a better alternative may be to pick up a rental car at Paphos Airport. To get a hire car at Paphos Airport, you can do a Google search for “cheap car hire deals Paphos” or visit car hire websites, like Vroom Vroom Vroom, that pool together the prices of all the most popular car rental companies to get a great car rental Paphos [http://www.vroomvroomvroom.co.uk/locations/paphos-airport-car-rental.aspx] deal.Once you have your Paphos Airport hire car, the South Coast of Cyprus is at your beck and call. If going to the beach keep in mind that most of the beaches on the South Coast of Cyprus near Paphos are quite rocky. Most people when going swimming on these beaches put on a pair of old tennis shoes, some reef shoes or some scuba shoes. If you would rather be near a beach that is sandy, you will need to drive up to Coral Bay which is West of Paphos City Centre. The road to Coral Bay is clearly marked with signs down near the Port and Seaside in the City Centre. Expect a 15-20 minute drive on a single lane highway along the coast. You will know that you are close because there are several large hotels that have their own private beaches. Don’t let this intimidate you as there are several places where the public has access to the main beach. Parking is free but make sure you lock up your car. Even if your car is a Paphos Airport hire car, you still need to lock up and not leave any personal items in plain view.If you have small children, a very nice secluded beach is down from a Café called Veronica. You will see the café from the highway as it is designated by a large sign with a big fork and spoon on it. This beach is very well protected from surf, there are several areas where the rocks form a kind of paddling pool for the small ones. You also have the convenience of being right near a nice café that has decent food and restroom facilities.If you do opt to rent a car, and are staying in the city centre, remember to watch the signage for where you can park overnight, where it is free and where they charge money.If sightseeing is your thing, you can drive your Paphos Airport hire car up to Trudos Mountain. Dress warmly as even during the summer months, the top of Trudos can be quite cool—there may even be snow on the ground! You may want to visit the birthplace of Aphrodite or the Tomb of Kings. For more information on these and other tourist spots near Paphos, visit [http://www.cosmosnet.net/azias/cyprus/paphos.html]. Good luck with your holiday plans in Cyprus!

Boston, MA: A Virtual Guided Tour, from a Local’s Perspective

Boston, MA is one of the great cities in America. And while

there are a number of decent tours people can choose from

while visiting Boston, most of them don’t go much beyond

Quincy Market and the Freedom Trail. In this feature written

by the founder of Boston’s Hidden Restaurants and Travel

Guide of America, you will learn about the entire city of

Boston, from Fenway Park to Hyde Park.Boston, at its heart, is a city of neighborhoods. And many of

these sections of Boston have a lot to offer the visitor. While

the virtual tour of Boston is going to begin in familiar

surroundings, you will soon learn about these great

neighborhoods that are often overlooked by tourists.Let’s start downtown, where you have the

historic Boston Common, Quincy Market, Fanueil Hall, and

much more. This bustling area is where most visitors come.

If you go northeast a few blocks, you end up in the

North End, an old Italian neighborhood

with narrow streets and great restaurants. From here, you

can take the tunnel to East Boston, a

close-knit working-class neighborhood that also has a

strong Italian influence, though it also has a large Brazilian

population now, too.From East Boston, cut back through the tunnel and head

north to Charlestown, a charming old

neighborhood with quaint row houses lining steep hills.

From Charlestown, go back through downtown, heading

west through Beacon Hill, a tree-shaded

old-money neighborhood, and both the South

End
and Back Bay, two exciting,

trendy parts of Boston, and go past The

Fens
, where Fenway Park, home of the Boston

Red Sox, is located. You soon arrive in

Allston and Brighton,

two parts of Boston populated by college students. These

funky areas are filled with restaurants, bars, and shops.From Allston, head south, eventually ending up in

Jamaica Plain, one of the funkiest Boston

neighborhoods. Jamaica Plain is filled with ma-and-pa

shops and has some of the most beautiful architecture in

Boston. From here, move southwest into

Roslindale and West

Roxbury
, two mostly middle-class sections of

Boston that are mostly residential, though Roslindale is

becoming known for its terrific restaurants, too. East of here

is Hyde Park, a quiet part of Boston that

hasn’t changed much over the years and feels more like a

suburban town.If you continue east from Hyde Park, you reach

Roxbury and Mattapan,

sprawling neighborhoods that are undergoing a lot of

renovation and beautification. This close-knit part of Boston

has some great parks and wonderful old Victorian houses.Continuing further east, you arrive in

Dorchester, a huge neighborhood that is

mostly working class. Black, Irish, and Vietnamese

neighborhoods make up most of Dorchester, but young

professionals are also discovering its beautiful homes and

old-time charm. From Dorchester, continue northeast into

South Boston, where Boston’s Irish

families have lived for more than a century. Southie has

great beaches, steep hills, and amazing views of downtown.

And it is a neighborhood that takes pride in its

independence and uniqueness.From South Boston, it is an easy drive back into downtown

Boston, stopping by bustling Chinatown

and the charming, quiet Bay Village along

the way. There is much more to Boston than was covered in

this brief article, but you will have to explore the rest of this

great city on your own!Copyright 2005, Boston’s Hidden Restaurants. All Rights

Reserved.

Enjoying the Best of the Mediterranean

The calm, unspoilt and pure waters of the Mediterranean Sea are actually part of the Atlantic Ocean. The Mediterranean is almost completely enclosed by the continents of Europe, Asia and Africa and the Sea connects some of the most fascinating, exciting and beautiful countries in the world including Egypt, Spain, Turkey and Cyprus.The histories of the countries with coastlines brushing the Med are intrinsically linked with this romantic Sea and today they are some of the most attractive and fascinating countries in the world in which to holiday. This article examines some of the main attractions of four of the favourite Mediterranean countries.TurkeyTurkey is the country where east really does meet west and where European and Asian influences combine to create a vibrant and passionate mix. The Turkish people are sincerely welcoming of overseas visitors and charm growing numbers of tourists every year. These visitors are attracted by the stunning sandy beaches of the Med and the five star resorts, facilities and amenities offered all along the Turkish Riviera.If you choose to holiday in Turkey you will be visiting a land where many ancient civilisations and cultures were born, where two of the seven wonders of the ancient world were found and where Cleopatra once holidayed and basked in the sumptuous sunshine. Turkey is a land of contrasts where thousands of years of history have been preserved, where brand new state of the art resort facilities can be enjoyed and where the mighty mountains reach right down into the warm waters of the Mediterranean Sea.GreeceGreece and the Greek Islands like Crete and Corfu are blessed by the inimitable Mediterranean climate that provides long hot and balmy summer days and temperate, mild short winter months. Visiting Greece you will be charmed by the tiny fishing villages that have been little changed for the last hundreds of years and where you can dine in the evening on the day’s fresh catch whilst watching the sun setting into the sea.Pristine whitewashed villages are scattered all along the Mediterranean coastline of Greece like pebbles and you can sail from island to island on a mini-Mediterranean cruise and take in the different sights, sounds and flavours offered on each Greek Island.SpainOnce upon a time the beautiful Spanish coastline was also dotted with tiny fishing communities whose whole lives and histories revolved around the Mediterranean tides and treasures. Today the Spanish coastline to the south of the country is much changed and visitors can enjoy some fantastic five star resorts offering an array and abundance of nightlife, day time excitement and evening entertainment. The resorts on the Costa del Sol, Costa Calida and Costa Blanca are vibrant, beautiful and hugely popular.For those in search of the old Spain just head north and take in the rugged and impressive Mediterranean coastlines along the Costa Brava and Costa Dorada which are dominated by magnificent cliffs, rocky coves and secret sandy beaches.CyprusLast but not least is possibly the most stunning of all of the Mediterranean Islands – namely the island of Cyprus. It is not the Med’s largest island but it is the Med’s most famous and most popular and it offers visitors acres and acres of lush interior, miles and miles of sandy beaches and two incredible mountain ranges where you can ski in the morning before travelling down to the seaside to enjoy an afternoon swim and a barbeque beneath the setting sun.The southern two thirds of Cyprus are inhabited by the friendly and lively Greek Cypriots, and the most popular resorts in Southern Cyprus include Ayia Napa and Paphos where the nightlife is world famous and where the daily activities on offer are plentiful.Northern Cyprus faces the stunning Turkish coastline which is strikingly visible on clear days. The people of the North are probably some of the most friendly and genuinely hospitable people in the entire Mediterranean region and their main resort town is Kyrenia where you can take in the perfectly preserved ancient harbour and the wonders of the ancient castle and the old town before spending your afternoons and evenings lazily whiling away the time dining on beautiful and fresh local food and drinking the best Turkish wines.

Benefits of Guidebooks

Being prepared for a trip gives you a better chance to enjoy your upcoming trip even before you head out the door. In most countries there are tourist information services that can provide you with guide books, as well as a great variety of planners, booklets, brochures, maps, and everything necessary to make your trip a unique experience to have as much fun as possible during your stay in what ever destination you chose.In fact, not only through official and service channels can you get guide books, maps and other material to plan your trip but also through books stores where there are a wide range of resources and advice for anyone, whether you are traveling on luxurious budget or on a slim budget. One of these notorious resources which has attained fame for its commercial success is Route 66, Traveler’s Guide and Roadside Companion by Tom Snyder.”It’s tempting to think of old Route 66, stretching from Chicago to Los Angeles, as a happy accident”, introduces Bobby Troup to which is considered the first modern guide to driving Route 66, a USA Highway became the most famous road in the American highway system and possibly the most storied highway in the world, that originally ran from Chicago, Illinois through Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California before ending at the beach at Santa Monica for a total distance of 2,448 miles (3,940 km).This Traveler’s Guide depicts the importance and use of Guide Books, being such a long way to follow up, it would be hard to make the whole route 66 without maps and other useful readable tools to complete the trip satisfactorily. Tom Snyder not only compiled the main points and attractions alongside the road from its starting point to its opposite end, but he has thoughtfully separated the driving directions.Guide Books like these include his trove of route 66 related anecdotes named as “Roadside Companion” to make the guide even more useful. Additionally to this fact, one of the book’s most distinctive features are several reproductions of period maps from the Automobile Club of Southern California, but over which the route of the modern Interstate was superimposed, giving to the reader at a glance a perspective of the road ahead before start the trip itself.If your are wondering how guide books may serve you, have a look at Route 66, Traveler’s Guide and Roadside Companion to find the answer, though a book that is fun to read and totally helpful for planning a Route 66 drive, to use as an example to learn how to plan for many other travels to any other location worldwide.

Tips for First-Timers to Las Vegas – Getting There

When visiting Las Vegas for the first time it can be quite overwhelming. The following tips can help you enjoy your vacation and relieve unwanted stress.Before You Leave – Book As Much As You Can OnlineLas Vegas is an extremely busy place. The last thing you want is to plan your dream vacation only to find out everything is sold-out when you get there. Las Vegas Hotels, Las Vegas Shows and Las Vegas Tours are the reason people go to Las Vegas.TIP: Book ahead and you will be guaranteed to enjoy your stay.Choosing Your Las Vegas HotelThe main Las Vegas strip is approx. 5 miles from end to end and the most economical way of getting around is to walk. You can take the new monorail or a taxi but these can add up and take away from your fun money. Also, if you are there to sight-see the vast hotel properties you will miss out by taking alternate transportation.TIP: Book a hotel in the middle of the Las Vegas strip. These hotels vary from very economical (Imperial Palace) to very posh (Caesar’s Palace).Flying Into Las Vegas McCarran AirportYou finally made it. Your hotel is booked, your shows are booked and your tours are booked. Now you just want to get to your hotel and relax for a bit. Simple, right? Wrong. Depending on when you get in you will be faced with a wait for a taxi cab and if it is during the day in the summer the heat will almost kill you and if it is late at night the cold will also get to you.TIP: If your travel plans do not include hotel transfers and you are traveling with a partner or a group, send someone outside to stand in line for a taxi cab while the others wait to pick up the luggage. At peak times, waits can be as long as an hour for a taxi cab. Also, do not be afraid to ask the attendant if there are any hotel shuttles you may take, as a lot of times these shuttles leave with many empty seats available.Getting to Your Hotel by Taxi CabTIP: Do not ask your driver to take the strip. It will cost you as you sit in long lines of traffic that seem to move backwards. Taking the #15 will reduce your cab ride substantially as it bypasses the strip and has many exits that will get you to your hotel much faster. Why waste your money?Checking Into Your HotelWhen checking in to your hotel, don’t be afraid to ask the Front Desk if there are any free upgrades available. Depending on the time of the year some hotels are not always booked to capacity and will gladly give you perks when asked politely. Why stay in a standard room if a deluxe room is available at no extra cost. You will appreciate a Jacuzzi tub after walking the strip all day.TIP: Unless your room has a view, try to stay in the lower floors where you can access the main floor by taking the stairs. At peak times you can wait 5 – 10 minutes every time you want to catch an elevator. It can wear on your patience after awhile.2005 © ikrave entertainment group inc., All rights reserved.