"Setting out on the voyage to Ithaca you must pray that the way be long, full of adventures and experiences."
- Constantine Peter Cavafy "Ithaca"
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©2008 Ruth Kozak
ARCHIVES: FASCINATING CITIES



A GLIMPSE OF RUSSIA IN SITKA
by Cynthia J. Notti

Sarah Palin’s infamous quote about seeing Russia from her doorstep has some truth to it. If you visit the remote island of Little Diomede you can see Russia’s island Big Diomede. At a mere 2.3 miles apart, the international dateline runs between the two islands separating Russia from the United States by a whole day. So, in theory, you can travel two minutes to Russia and be 23 hours into the future. I don’t recommend you time travel this way, as it is illegal to cross the Bering Strait.


CAPE TOWN: Top Historical Places And Monuments You Can Visit - South Africa
by William Taylor

If you are passionate about history and about learning more about other countries’ heritage, your visit to Cape Town will offer you a lot of opportunities to explore the vibrant past of the city. You can either go on an organized tour or create your own itinerary to visit some of the exquisite historical buildings and museums of Cape Town.


THE BEST PLACES TO FIND PEACE AND QUIET IN LONDON
ENGLAND
by Elizabeth von Pier

London is noisy and teeming with tourists and horn-honking traffic. Crowds queue up in line or push and shove to see the sights. I spent three weeks there this past summer and, along with everyone else, I visited the usual attractions, queuing up in lines and pushing and shoving. But I also found that not far from the mayhem are lovely little places where you can quietly sit on a shady bench and rest and renew yourself. Here are some of the gems that I discovered.


TAKE THE HIGHWAY THAT’S THE BEST TO FLAGSTAFF ARIZONA
by Rick Neal

My heart skips when I spot the familiar road sign that leads to my hotel, and not just because I’m relieved to finally be here. For the next few days I’ll be residing on the Main Street of America: Route 66. Spanning nearly 2,500 miles from Chicago to Santa Monica, California, this iconic roadway is one of America’s most revered highways. That night I sleep like a newborn, waking only once to the melancholic trill of a distant train whistle.


A TOWN OF HISTORY, CUISINE, AND CREATIVITY: Hillsborough, North Carolina<
by Connie Pearson

Do you hear them? As you stroll the streets and wander the cemeteries of Hillsborough, do you hear the echoes of the past? The clip-clop of horse-drawn carriages. The restless whisperings turning to impassioned cries of revolutionaries wanting freedom from England’s tyranny. The speeches of the brave men willing to sign that defiant Declaration.


EXPLORING MACKINTOSH’S GLASGOW:Scotland
by John Thomson

Glasgow is Scotland’s largest city, a little shabby in parts I must admit, its once busy dockyards replaced by a shopping mall, an amusement centre and a transportation museum. Thankfully, many of Glasgow’s magnificent sandstone buildings remain intact, a reminder of its better days when the city was flush with pride.


PASTEL SUNSHINE THOUGHTS IN STOCKHOLM: Sweden
by Marc Latham

Stockholm was relatively easy to navigate, and I soon found myself in The Old Town. It now houses the royal palace and cathedral, as well as numerous cobbled alleyways dating back to medieval times. Quaint shops and restaurants line the narrow streets, while the bright eastern seafront of Skeppsbron is probably Stockholm’s most famous ima


DISCOVERING AN OLD FASHIONED GERMAN CHRISTMAS:The Mountains of Washington State
by Edward Quan

Want to experience an old fashion German Christmas; yet don’t have the time or resources to fly the family to Europe this December? Consider visiting the Leavenworth Christmas Lighting Festival located in the heart of the Cascade Mountains of Washington State. Where over half a million Christmas lights with an abundance of holiday cheer sparkles in American’s Ultimate Holiday Town.


HISTORIC SITES OF WWII IN HONOLULU: Hawaii, USA
by Larry Zaletel

I found that I was standing on Ford Island staring at the bullet holes in the hangar walls, the broken glass windows and the pockmarked concrete runway. History was all around me from the strafing Japanese airplanes. It has been over 70 years since that day December 7, 1941, a date which lives in infamy. All around the hangers the scars of war are present.


THREE GENERATIONS ENJOY SEDONA: Arizona
by Darlene Foster

The town provides a relaxed atmosphere with a creative flair. The soothing terracotta buildings blend in perfectly with the surroundings. The town centre displays samples of local paintings, sculptures and carvings. Wandering the streets of Sedona is like walking through an outdoor art gallery.


RAVENNA PIECE BY PIECE: Italy
by Sarah Humphreys

No trip to Ravenna would be complete without visiting her stunning UNESCO sites, described as having “remarkable significance by virtue of the supreme artistry of the mosaic art that the monuments contain, and also because of the crucial evidence that they provide of artistic and religious relationships in European History.”


NEW LIFE IN OLD GUATEMALA: Central America<
by Jonathon Engels

Nueva Guatemala de la Asunción is now internationally identified as Guatemala City, one of the most dangerous cities in the world. Locally, it is known simply as Guate, and tourists avoid it. On the other hand, the previous capital, known as Antigua Guatemala (“Old Guatemala”), receives over million tourists annually.


SOUTH AFRICA’S MOTHER CITY ... THE FAIREST CAPE OF THEM ALL: Cape Town, South Africa
by Lynn Smith

Ask any South African which is the most beautiful city in South Africa and the answer will invariably be “Cape Town “– and with good reason. This is the city where I lived for some years and when I visit it again, I realise just how much I have missed its vibrancy.


TIME BEFORE PRESENT - TEMPLES, FUNERALS AND A WEDDING: Kathmandu, Nepal
by Brian K. Smith

As I walked through the streets of the ancient city a resting group of riot policemen posed for a candid picture. This was a time when civil war was on the mountain kingdom’s doorstep. It looked as though the country was about to self-destruct. It did survive that turmoil and moved on with shaky footing until April 25, 2015, when a 7.9 Richter scale earthquake hit.


THE TOWN TOO SPIRITED TO DIE:Jerome, Arizona, USA
by Noreen Kompanik

For over one hundred and thirty years thousands of folks have come to Jerome. Many left their mark and some may have never left. Jerome resides in a time warp, where the past and present co-exist. The present struggles to take root while the past never quite lets go. And like the spirits that meander about, the town’s spirit also refuses to die.


VIVA YBOR! PLACE OF HISTORY, CUISINE AND CIGARS: Florida, USA
by Karen Pacheco

We’re not in Cuba. We’re in Ybor (pronounced EE-bor) an historic, multi-cultural neighbourhood of Tampa, Florida, former flourishing cigar centre of the world. While it’s not the rich environment it once was during the late 1890’s to 1929; this community has evolved into a delightful mix of culture, cuisine and history.


ROCK AND ROLL AND REVOLUTION IN PRAGUE: Czech Republic
by Emily Monaco

I’ve always been fascinated by revolutions and rebellions, particularly in countries that I’m otherwise not that familiar with. What do rock and roll music and the fall of the Iron Curtain have in common? In Prague, the answer is quite a bit. There’s little more evocative of what makes a people tick than what makes them revolt.


NEW ORLEANS TODAY, AFTER THE HURRICANE: Louisiana, USA
by Larry Zaletel

New Orleans is known for many things: seafood, i.e. crawfish, shrimp, crab and also for its music and musicians. The New Orleans area has the most home grown musicians in the country. However if New Orleans is known for anything it is a slogan and an attitude of, “Laissez les bons temps rouler, let the good times roll.”


A DAY TRIP THROUGH PARADISE: Suzhou, China
by Troy Herrick

Marco Polo himself named Suzhou “the Venice of the East” because of its canal system. Suzhou is also the Garden City and once had over 100 classical Chinese gardens of which only 69 now remain. Bind these two together and you have what the Chinese refer to as “paradise on earth”.


A STEP BACK IN TIME
Galena, Illinois USA - by Wynne Crombie

Galena is a National Historic Center with 3,500 residents. Its downtown brick-fronted buildings look much the same as they did 150 years ago…undeniably, part of the charm. The Historic District encompasses 85 percent of the city. of Galena and includes more than 800 properties.


PITTSBURGH’S POSITIVELY OFFBEAT GEMS
Pennsylvania, United States - by Roy A. Barnes

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, was once synonymous with steel and the home of some of the most iconic barons of finance and industry. But even as the steel industry in America has declined and the barons of generations past are no more, the city can boast one of the greatest collections of offbeat attractions of any major city.


PARIS’S ANCIENT ISLANDS IN THE SEINE
France - by Lynn Smith

Some 700 hundred years ago an anonymous author wrote: “To be in Paris, is to be.” How apt those words were, I thought, as I strolled along the streets of Paris early one morning some months ago. My goal was to explore the two beautiful gems lying in the River Seine – the Ile de la Cité and the Ile Saint-Louis.


A FASCINATING VISIT TO THE CITY ON THE NILE
Cairo, Egypt - by W. Ruth Kozak

Cairo is the largest city in the Middle East. Of course there are areas of the city that look run-down. There are other more affluent suburbs of the city. Cairo’s modern ‘downtown’ is on the east bank of the Nile. It was built under the influence of French architects and there are many beautiful mosques as well as Coptic sights to see there.


A DAY BY THE SEA
Brighton, England - by Paris Franz

Brighton had been the destination of choice for many a day at the seaside during my childhood, and would be forever associated in my mind with windswept, pebbled beaches and ideas of escape. It’s been said you should never go back to places where you were happy, lest the reality not measure up, but how could I not?

WINNIPEG’S HISTORIC FRENCH QUARTER
Canada - by Donna Janke

St. Boniface was founded in 1818 with the establishment of a Catholic mission. It became part of Winnipeg, Manitoba in 1972. Home to one of the largest French-Canadian communities outside the province of Québec, its rich history includes voyageurs, fur traders, European settlers, Catholic missionaries, rebellion, and the birth of the province of Manitoba.

HISTORY, SPORT AND NATURE WINS TOUR DE FRANCE START
Leeds, England - by Marc Latham

198 cyclists will ride 1864 miles (3500km) over three weeks, aiming for the 101st Tour de France finish line in Paris on July 27th. The third biggest sporting event in the world will start in the north of England for the first time. Leeds is steeped in sport and history, so it is a great choice for the 2014 Le Grand Depart on July 5th.

LIVERPOOL WEEKEND WINS ME OVER
England - by Melissa Gardiner

I must admit to having my doubts about Liverpool’s World Heritage Status and its European Capital of Culture award back in 2008. The reality is that my visit to Liverpool was a wonderful surprise, from the moment I walked out of Lime Street Station to see the magnificent St. George’s Hall across the road, to my farewell drink in Ye Hole in the Wall pub.

BACK TO THE FUTURE
Belfast, Ireland - by Helen Moat

I was back on the train to Belfast after decades, the new stock state-of-the-art shiny, clean, comfortable, smooth and fast. Back in the 1980s the train to Belfast shuddered and creaked its way to the city. The seats were blighted with cigarette holes and knife slits, the floors covered in litter, the walls plastered with graffiti.

PASTEL SUNSHINE THOUGHTS IN STOCKHOLM
Sweden - by Marc Latham

Sunshine and colourful buildings invited me out. Quiet empty streets made me feel at home. I knew the sun was there because I’d seen it rising over Stockholm’s highest buildings as my overnight bus from Norway arrived. I knew the classic pastel-coloured architecture from photos, and had seen some bright sparks of paint when arriving.

THE JEWEL OF THE ATLANTIC
Bermuda - by Ana Ruiz

As the plane was beginning its descent, I couldn't help but notice how small the islands were, even as they were getting bigger as we were getting closer. The islands of Bermuda actually comprise one of the smallest territories in the world. We were greeted by a Calypso band of seven musicians that immediately got us into the tropical island mood.

SHADES OF THE BARBARY COAST
San Francisco, USA - by Troy Herrick

San Francisco never ceases to entertain. But the city hasn’t always been this refined. Between 1849 and 1917, the city enjoyed a raucous reputation known as “the Barbary Coast” period. The Barbary Coast, the original red light district, acquired its name around 1860 from the coast of North Africa where Arab pirates attacked Mediterranean ships.

A STROLL ALONG THE COAST OF PORTSMOUTH
England - by Matthew Adams

The city of Portsmouth, on the south coast of England, is one that has a great coastline and harbor. As such, Portsmouth has plenty of boats! A variety of boats of various shapes and sizes, both modern and more historic, can be found at its harbor. As the city includes a Royal Navy naval base, which is one of the largest in Europe, it has a fascinating naval heritage.

HISTORIC NEIGHBORHOODS OF SPOKANE
Washington State, USA - by Roy A. Barnes

There’s more to a city than its centrally-located tourist attractions. To really get intimate with a city means exploring some of the neighborhoods that have helped shaped its history through walking its streets, visiting its notable homes, and taking in an atmosphere that allows one to imagine being in another century.

A VISIT TO JESUS’ HOMETOWN
Nazareth, Israel - by Troy Herrick

Present-day Nazareth looks nothing like when it’s most famous son, Jesus, lived here. Fortunately you will not have to stretch your imagination too much if you divide your Nazareth daytrip into two parts. Start with a visit to Nazareth Village, a reconstructed 1st Century AD village where actors are dressed in period costume, and experience life as it was almost 2000 years ago.

THERE’S A CERTAIN HUMANITY IN THE HAGUE
The Netherlands - by Angela Lapham

If you enjoyed the liberalism, museums and art galleries of Amsterdam, why not continue on less than an hour’s train ride away in the far less touristy yet decidedly more international 'city of peace and justice,’ Den Haag ('The Hague’)? As well as these kinds of attractions, Den Haag's human rights law courts offer free, extraordinary experiences that can’t be had anywhere else in the world.

EXPLORING DOWNTOWN SPOKANE'S HISTORIC SPOTS
Spokane, Washington USA - by Roy A. Barnes

As a mining, agriculture, and forestry hub, beginning in the late 19th century, Spokane has played an important role in shaping the Pacific Northwest, despite being overshadowed by other cities in the region like Seattle and Portland. But I found that the city offers so much colorful history and character, especially in downtown.

CHESLEA HIGH LINE: A GREEN SPACE ABOVE THE REST
New York City, USA - by Anna Marie D’Angelo

If you haven’t been to New York City in a few years, chances are you haven’t taken a delightful walk along the Cheslea High Line in Manhattan’s lower west side. Opened in 2009, the linear elevated park, officially called The High Line, was built on the remains of a derelict freight train route near the Hudson River.

AIGUES MORTES
France - by Glen Cowley

Aigues Mortes: the “Dead Waters”! The name echoes ominous as if heralding some darkened castle from the Lord of the Rings; and the place does rise singular from the fen lands that are the Camargue in southern France. Yet there is no darkness weighing upon the shoulders this crusader city.

GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN
Fountain City, Tennessee, USA - by Melanie Harless

I did not attend Fountain City’s funeral, but a friend told me about it later and said it was quite an event that ended with the playing of “Taps.” I lived in Fountain City from the time I was nine until I got married and left, so I consider it my hometown. This trip was a sentimental journey for me.

MARATHON INTRODUCES BEAUTIFUL MODERNISME
Barcelona, Spain - by Marc Latham

My plane was on time, but I was twenty-five years late. Now I’d finally made it to Barcelona; to run a marathon in a few days time. In my experience, independent travel can be just as gruelling as organised events, but achievements usually go unrecognised; taking place with only road and nature as witness; forgotten like desert dust blown off a worn rucksack.

BAROQUE CHURCHES AND A SHOPPING MALL WITH A TEMPLE TO ROMAN GODS
Mainz, Germany - by W. Ruth Kozak

Imagine shopping in an ancient Roman temple dedicated to Isis and the Great Mother. In Mainz, Germany a modern shopping mall is built right over such a place. The archaeological ruins of Taberna Archaeologica are part of the attraction of the busy mall discovered when excavations were made.

THE PLACE WHERE LIBERTY WAS FOUGHT
Worcester, England - by W. Ruth Kozak

The picturesque city of Worcester in Worcestershire, the West Midlands of England, is a modern city with a fascinating past. From its early beginnings as a Roman fort in the first century, down through the ages Worcester has been noted as an important centre of British history, known as ‘the place where Liberty was fought’.

KEEPING AUSTIN WEIRD
Texas, USA - by Paul Norton

More than one resident proclaimed to us “I’m not from Texas … I’m from Austin”. It gradually dawned on me that this is more than a cute turn of phrase. The reason why we love Austin so much is because it’s so different from the rest of Texas. It’s like a little Democrat island in the middle of a great big Republican sea.

CUENCA, THE REAL EL DORADO
Ecuador, South America - by Bani Amor

To celebrate his victory, Túpac IncaYupanqui (whose name meant ‘noble Inca accountant’) began to build a beautiful city there that would rival Cuzco as the heart of the Incan empire, a city that two generations later would be subjugated by the Spanish in their quest for the mythical land of El Dorado, the city now known as the colonial gem of Ecuador:

NAPLES BEYOND THE TRAIN STATION
Italy by Troy Herrick

Like me, your first impression of Naples is colored by the imposing maze of streets adjoining the train station. The success of your visit to old Napoli largely depends upon how quickly you can escape from this area of the city without becoming lost. And the secret to a successful escape is to ride the bus to your first tourist destination.

EXPLORING OMAN’S COLORFUL HISTORY IN MUSCAT
by Inka Piegsa-quischotte

When preparing for my recent five day trip to Oman, I was surprised to read on several informative websites that ‘there is not much to see and do in Muscat itself’. This being the capital of Oman and knowing something about the country’s colorful history, I seriously doubted the validity of this statement and, sure enough, I am able prove it wrong.

LISTENING TO THE WIND AND IMDEZAN IN ESSAOUIRA
Morocco - by Inka Piegsa-quischotte

Not for nothing is Essaouria called ‘City of the Wind’ as well as ‘The Moroccan Woodstock’. History, culture, art, crafts, music and a sin fin of water sport — all these things define the Moroccan port town on the Atlantic which has fascinated as diverse personalities as Winston Churchill, Orson Welles and Jimi Hendrix.

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - ROUGH TOUGH AND MEAN?
A Boy, A Church And A Cemetery - by Helen Moat

Glasgow has had its ups and downs. London it isn't – nor Edinburgh. There's nothing twee, contrived, touristy or pretty-pretty about Glasgow. Glasgow is down-to-earth, has real character. It's smart, gritty, witty, vibrant and alive. It's the genuine article.

ESCAPING FROM THE “REAL” EUROPE
Palermo, Sicily, Italy - by Raluca Maier

Situated in the northwest of the island of Sicily, Palermo has architectural and cultural influences from Northern Africa, Greece, but also Spain and Italy - although in Europe, makes you realize since the first moment you step on the Palermiam ground, that this is not typical Europe at all.

LISBON AND SINTRA
Portugal - by Marc Latham

I took a last look at the breathtakingly colourful and elaborate palace from its level. Perched atop a mountain containing trees from around the world, the palace looks like a Disney castle resting in an environmentalist's dream.

JERUSALEM - THE LAST DAYS OF JESUS
Israel - by Troy Herrick

Almost two thousand years ago, the world was changed forever by the death and resurrection of Jesus. With the spread of Christianity, countless pilgrims have visited Jerusalem over the ages to renew their faith at the holy sites associated with his last days.

RYNEK STAREGO MIASTA, WARSAW’S OLD TOWN SQUARE
Poland - by Wynne Crombie

The cool November sun shone off the buildings. The burnished yellows and reds of the Renaissance, and Baroque structures had been carefully replicated. 75 years ago, the Square had been reduced to a pile of rubble by the German Luftwaffe. The Square was reconstructed mainly in the 1950s from old photos and 700-year-old drawings.

QUIRKY PARIS
France - by Rosrin Wuithiran

The most eloquent tribute to Granada's charm is to be found above it, high in the Sierra Nevada mountains. Boabdil, last man standing for the Moors in Spain, turned here to look back at the splendour he had just handed over to the Christian monarchs, Isabella and Ferdinand. Defeated, he let out a cry for his beloved palace, one of the great architectural treasures of Islam.

LITTLE TOWN WITH RICH HERITAGE
Rogersville, USA

The intriguing past of Rogersville, Tennessee begins in the late eighteenth century. A good place to begin enjoying this history is Crockett Springs Park located in the central part of town off W. Main Street, accessible from Rogers Street or Rogan Road. Here one will find Rogers Cemetery where Davy Crockett's grandparents are buried.

I’M DREAMING OF A DICKENS CHRISTMAS
London, England

I've always dreamed of celebrating Christmas in London, a real Dickens Christmas where the famous writer once lived. A Victorian Christmas with all the old traditions set right in the place where they all began. Charles Dickens probably had more influence on the way we celebrate Christmas today than any single individual.

THE PORTS OF MENORCA
Ciutadella And Mahon, Spain

The ports of Menorca sit almost opposite each other, one on the east coast, and the other on the west, of the northernmost of the three Spanish Balearic Islands. Just as the northern and southern parts of Menorca have very different characteristics, so have the ports in the east and the west. But both are soaked in history with much to offer, and are well worth visiting.

MY TURKISH DELIGHT - AN ANKARA ADVENTURE
Turkey

I was in Ankara for three weeks, and I wasn't interested in shops or bars. And Istanbul was not practical
I had two short weekends ahead of me, during which I had to do a lot of preparation work. I was in Ankara, and I love being in new places. The city must have something to offer, and I would find it.

SAVORING ZURICH’S OLD & NEW HISTORY
Switzerland

Until I visited Zurich , I associated the city with just one thing
high finance. But after my journey last autumn to this city of just under 400,000 inhabitants, I left with a new appreciation of how the old and new of this historical city that pre-dates Roman times are blended nicely like the ingredients of a fine Swiss chocolate bar.

CELTIC TRADITION AND SIDERA
Aviles, Spain

The drone of bagpipes echoes up a narrow cobble stone street. You catch a glimpse of a country dancer’s bright white dress across the town square. Not so unusual you say? I would agree if we were enjoying a hot toddy in Edinburgh. But it’s unlikely you’ll hear a Scottish brogue anywhere near here. This is the city of Aviles in the Principality of Asturias Spain.

CHANGING CHENGDU
China

Although I knew the first settlers named the area Tianfuzhi Guó, (The Country of Heaven) four thousand years ago, this reference didn’t sit easily with the veneer of dirt encrusting the buildings and occasional person. Still, as it was recently named as China’s fourth most liveable city, I was certain I would be able to unearth the cultural charm.

A CITY OF TWO TALES
Granada, Spain

The most eloquent tribute to Granada's charm is to be found above it, high in the Sierra Nevada mountains. Boabdil, last man standing for the Moors in Spain, turned here to look back at the splendour he had just handed over to the Christian monarchs, Isabella and Ferdinand. Defeated, he let out a cry for his beloved palace, one of the great architectural treasures of Islam.

DIRTY DAN’S LEGACY
Fairhaven, Washington

Founded in the 1880’s by Dirty Dan Harris as he was known because of his somewhat less then scrupulous dealings, we only discovered this charming town a few years ago. Since then we have returned on numerous occasions. Fairhaven Village is an easy day trip from anywhere in Metro Vancouver by car or from Vancouver by train. If you are travelling from Victoria B.C. this historic town is a three-hour Washington State passenger ferry ride away.

DURBAN - A SLICE OF AFRICA
South Africa

The city of Durban on the north-west coast of South Africa does not feature in most travellers’ plans. It is steamy in summer, allegedly unsafe, a bit dirty, and the beach strip is rowdy. So why go? To experience the “real” urban South Africa and enjoy value for money. Good highways, an excellent game reserve close-by, and warm hospitality are other draws.

PRESERVING HISTORY
Cleveland, Tennessee

The growing city of Cleveland, Tennessee has a population of over 38,000. In late 2007, it was ranked nationally as one of 50 best places to raise a family by BusinessWeek.com. Also, Forbes Magazine found Cleveland to be one of the top communities in the nation to do business. While a good place to do business and raise a family, it would hardly seem to be a destination for history buffs, but the town has made preserving history a priority.

KNOCKING AT HEAVEN’S DOORS
Qatar, Doha

Visiting Doha, in Qatar which claims to have taken over from Dubai as the stop-over destination choice between the northern and southern hemispheres, one discovers the Middle East just needs some seriously good PR - and the oil Sheiks are trying their hardest to achieve just that.

A CULTURAL ADVENTURE
Havana, Cuba

So much has written about the crumbling decadence, the poverty and third-worldness of Cuba that it is impossible for an artist to perform or visit the country without any fears and preconceived notions. I would turn tables on deprivation and use our band’s first performance in Cuba to introduce our music to the land that gave birth to the ”Bay of Pigs.”

BAROQUE BEAUTY, MODERN MARVEL
Valletta, Malta

Valletta, a city “Built by Gentlemen for Gentleman”, has received the ultimate accolade. It has the distinction of being known by the Maltese, as Il-Belt. Where else in the world does one find a UNESCO World Heritage Site, christened Superbissima by the rest of Europe immediately it was built, being referred to as ‘The City’ in so laid-back a manner?

HAUNTING TOURS IN AMERICAN CITIES
Chicago, New Orleans, Hollywood, New York and Savannah

Haunting tours to five US cities noted for their outstanding scandalous, murderous and strange behavior by a few of their illustrious and nefarious citizens – their ghosts and spirits still haunt the byways and thoroughfares of the cities. On a tour for the curious folk, the skeptics who will visit the haunted sites in the cities of America could make them a real believer in ghosts.

EXPLORING BAKU
Azerbaijan

I lived in Baku, Azerbaijan for over 20 years. But I rediscovered the city for myself once again when I was guiding a guest from Switzerland around. As I showed him the landmarks and told him the related history, explaining their meaning, I fell in love all over again with my city.

OLD MALACCA TOWN - MALAYSIA’S HISTORIC CITY
Malaysia

A fugitive Sumatran prince established Malaysia’s first sultanate in Malacca during the 1400’s…and as it turned out, he’d recognized a good thing when he saw it! Very quickly, his sleepy seaside-fishing village developed into a prosperous cosmopolitan port, changing hands again and again over time.

HOMES OF SPLENDOR, SPEED, AND SPIRIT
Daytona Beach, Florida

Daytona Beach is known nationally as hosting the famed Daytona 500 and has been a hotspot for young hedonistic Spring Breakers to kick up their heels. Yet this place is more than somewhere to get a nice tan or to escape from the wintry climates.

SCOTLAND
Edinburgh

Edinburgh has a worldwide reputation for its thriving and dynamic arts scene which comes to a head in August each year when millions of visitors converge on the city to enjoy the International and 'Fringe' Festivals.

ITALY - ENCHANTING LUCCA
Tuscany, Italy

Being an opera lover, I decide to visit Lucca in 2008 to celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the Maestro Puccini in his home town. Little did I know that my day in Lucca would turn out to be a chain of dramatic and emotional events just like scenes from an Italian opera.

RETURN TO SARAJEVO
Bosnia-Herzegovina

I looked up through the clear blue sky as the commercial jet flew high over the valley. It was 2004 and Sarajevo, Bosnia-Hercegovina was still suffering from the scars of the 1990s war. Progress had been made, buildings rebuilt, and people were moving on with their lives. I had hoped then to come back again one day.

WHERE HISTORY STARTS
Moscow, Russia

For me (and for the majority of tourists) Moscow is a big Russian city with lots of business centers and sightseeing among which were the Red Square, St. Basil’s Cathedral, Kremlin and other famous places. But frankly speaking, if you want to get to know the capital of Russia it is not enough to visit only these “standard sightseeing” places.

FLAVOR OF NEW ORLEANS IN TWENTY FOUR HOURS
Louisiana

While Bourbon Street, jazz, voodoo, street musicians and good food are always available, the season has lengthy lulls when Mardi Gras-related activities are unavailable. How do you compensate for those down- times? You find that “extra adrenaline rush” by sampling everything that New Orleans has to offer over a single 24 hour period.

THE 2010 WINTER OLYMPICS
Vancouver, Canada

As Host City of the 2010 Winter Olympics and Paralympic Games, we Vancouverites will welcome the world this February. I’ve lived here most of my life and will share with you all the sights and attractions my city has to offer, including Vancouver’s colourful history.

SHAKESPEARE'S LONDON
London, England

Little appears to be left of Shakespeare's London. We know where he worked, and where he lived; but the Blackfriars theatre is no more, and though Ireland Yard (where Shakespeare bought a house when he could afford it) still exists, the buildings are much later.

THE WHOLE ENCHALADA
Oaxaca, Mexico

Oaxaca, however, brings a taste of everything - art, music, cuisine, culture, handicrafts, architecture, jewelry, museums and monumental history - to the table; and the result is a feast of all things Mexican - all in one delightful place.

TEL AVIV TURNS 100
Israel

Fireworks lit up the sky and a melody echoed across the stage as some of Israel’s top performers prepared for one of Tel Aviv’s grandest nights. Cheered on by over 100,000 enthusiastic fans, Rabin Square was filled with exuberant spectators ready to partake in the celebrations of Tel Aviv's 100th Anniversary.

VISITING ISTANBUL ONE DAY WITH PRESIDENT OBAMA
Istanbul, Turkey

Last April, I was in Istanbul when United States President Obama paid a visit to the city. We followed the same itinerary, except I didn’t have the political meetings that Obama had. It was Obama’s first visit to a country where ninety percent of the people are Muslim. I am there on my second visit to the city to write about how it has changed in the last ten years.

HISTORIC HAVANA, INDEPENDENT CUBA
Havana, Cuba

Before arriving in Havana on a warm January evening I thought modern day Cuba was held together as a country by socialism, with the deteriorating health of Fidel Castro threatening its identity and survival. By the time I left Havana three days later I realised that modern Cuba is as much about history and its long fight for independence as it is about the current government and its policies.

WALKING THE BARRIOS OF SANTIAGO
Santiago, Chile

Located in one of the most spectacular settings of any city in the world, Chile is unique. From the lush Plaza de Armas in Santiago Centro with it’s colonial architectural gems, to the high-tech Las Condes financial district with it’s modern skyscrapers, Santiago has much to offer the visitor.

GRONINGEN, A VERY DUTCH CITY
Groningen, The Netherlands

It’s Sunday morning and Groningen is still sleeping. A huge number of bikes are locked everywhere, the streets are quite deserted and the shops closed. Only a few hours ago the atmosphere was completely different
pubs and discos were crowded with people, streets were full of boys and girls walking across the town or getting something to eat at one of the ambulant food sellers.

CYCLING THE DUTCH CAPITAL
Amsterdam, The Netherlands

From edgy contemporary art to classic architecture to modern engineering marvels, the city has something for everyone. The best way to see this wide array of sights is by bike, the primary mode of transport in Holland and without argument the most efficient.

VENICE, MISTRESS OF THE SEAS
Venice, Italy

It is my first morning in Venice and I am anxious to explore her ancient promenades. Venice is a city dappled with light, tremulous and flashing, shimmering gently beneath the bridges and seeping into the shadowy lanes.

STROLLING LEVUKA - FIJI'S HERITAGE CAPITAL
Levuka, Fiji

With her extraordinary past still harkening to the 1800's, Levuka snuggles on Ovalau Island's eastern side, just ten air-minutes off Fiji's mainland. Once the South Pacific's lawless 'black birding' center and popular with sailors, whalers and sandalwood traders, Levuka is easily Fiji's most picturesque town today.

CASPER, WYOMING
Where Personal and Frontier History Merge

The venues that travelers deem as either a neat place to visit or a waste of time and money are often spots where the dramas, the highs, and lows of another’s past may have played out, leaving imbedded memories. Such is the case for the venue of Casper, Wyoming, where I came of age in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

ISTANBUL, A CITY OF SURPRISES
Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul straddles the Bosphorous, the strip of water that divides Europe and Asia. It's a city with a mixed heritage – Roman, Greek, and Turkish – and whatever happens to Turkey's claims to membership of the European Union, Istanbul will remain an ambiguous city, with a foot in both continents.

A PLACE FOR DREAMERS
Bologna, Italy

One of the last big cities left in Italy that refuses to cater to the influx of tourists, Bologna packs as much culture into its winding vias and shady piazzas as its more popular cousins, Rome and Florence. There is a potent feeling of opportunity that hangs in the air, a vibrancy and excitement for life that radiates from the young residents of this college community.

THE FESTIVAL CITY
Edinburgh

The fun starts in the beginning – or the end – of the year with Edinburgh’s Hogmanay, a multi-faceted festival brightening up the long dark nights of winter and welcoming in the New Year. Many modern day traditions for the New Year come from Scotland, including the iconic Auld Lang Syne song, written by Scottish poet Robert Burns. The song is written in Scots, which explains why many find the lyrics to be near undecipherable.

WALLPECKERS - CHIPPING AWAY A PIECE OF HISTORY
Berlin

"In Berlin we don’t have woodpeckers; we have wallpeckers," Eva, a native Berliner, tells me. "People come to the Berlin Wall with picks and hammers trying to take home a piece of history." I can understand why. I have thought about doing this myself. Why pay twenty Euro dollars for a small piece of the wall when you can get your own much larger piece free?

THE ANTIQUITIES OF SPLIT
Croatia

The Peristil Hotel was a part of the Diocletian Palace, the basis of today’s Split. The Roman emperor, of the same name, had viewed this as his retirement, “mega-mansion” and eventual burial ground for himself. It is ironic justice that the Christians he murdered during his reign are buried there instead.

A SMALL SLICE OF THE BIG APPLE
New York City, New York

There’s plenty to see in Manhattan, so when you only have a few days like my friend and I did, plan ahead exactly what your priorities are. Our main focus was to see a Broadway show, check out the museums, and take in a night of jazz at one of NYC’s famous jazz clubs. In four days we did all this and much more.

WHAT TO SEE, WHERE TO GO, WHAT TO DO
Beijing, China

Beijing is buzzing with activity as it prepares for the 2008 Olympic games. If you’re headed there for either business or pleasure, you’re in for an unforgettable journey into the history and culture of a 5,000 year old civilization.

THE WONDERS OF KUALA LUMPUR
Malaysia

In the words of British novelist and playwright Somerset Maugham, “If you haven’t seen this place, you haven’t seen the world.” He was referring to Malaysia. And he was right.

EXPERIENCE THE HISTORY
Louisville, Kentucky

In Louisville, Kentucky, I found some of the city’s best gems using a variety of transport means, and in the process fulfilled one childhood wish. From flying in a classic biplane to riverboating on the Ohio River, my getting travel-intimate with this city was made all the more fun and adventurous.