ARCHIVES: HISTORIC / ARCHAEOLOGICAL
RECONNECTING WITH THE FRENCH QUARTER'S PAST: New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
by John Goodrow
Surrounding the banks of the Mississippi River are aspects of both the past and the present. Looking out into the river, the steamboats Creole Queen and Natchez take visitors from the French Quarter up the river and transport them into the distant past when the river was the highway of exploration. These steamboats use a paddle wheel to propel themselves along the river.
XUANWU’S IDYLLIC PARK: China
by Daniel Otero
With a space in circumference of 15 kilometers, Xuanwu Lake is a place for those who enjoys nature walks, runs, going to the Isle to view its manmade stone gardens and greenery. The artificial mixes in just nicely with the natural. Life is beating constantly around the Lake and Nanjing Wall, considered by most a bird sanctuary so of interest to bird watchers. There is a scenic panorama of romantic-long walks and boat rides. For 30 RMB (5.81 CAD), tourists can climb the old stone steps to the top of the Wall. If you have enough stamina to walk the 15K, that’s almost one-third of a marathon!
EXPLORING MAYAN TRADING SITES: Mexico
by Marsha Mildon
Standing alone, face to face with a mural depicting the Mayan diving god is one of those Indiana Jones moments that delight me when travelling. My first experience of this rare event happened in March of 2013 in the Xel Ha Architectural Zone. Now I admit up front that when wandering through pre-Hispanic cities in the Americas, I feel a real sense of communication with the original people.
DISCOVERING THE PANAMA CANAL, A WONDER OF OUR MODERN WORLD - Panama
by Edward Quan
Now that the $5.4 billion project to double the Panama Canal’s capacity in order to accommodate even bigger ships as they transverse the 77-kilometers between the Pacific and the Caribbean Oceans is complete, a new era begins for intrepid travelers interested in experiencing this historic wonder of our modern world.
EXPLORING THE ROCK, Gibralter
by Keith Kellett
Folklore has it that the Rock will remain in British possession as long as the Barbary Apes, which roam freely around the Rock, stay. So, they're cared for and pampered … there was even a wing of the Military Hospital devoted to their care. Generally, they just sit around being apes, and pose shamelessly for the camera.
NANJING’S PILU TEMPLE
by Daniel Otero
Hanfu Lu (Street), like most of Nanjing (Jiangsu Province) holds mysteries and hidden treasures which not even the locals know about. One has to look carefully. Then there it is! The Pilu Temple, it’s one of the largest grounds in the whole of China for practicing Buddhist. The Temple was built during the Ming Dynasty. It roughly took forty-four years to build and complete (1522 – 1566).
KAZIMERZ: THE OLD JEWISH QUARTER: Krako, Poland
by Wynne Crombie
At its inception, Kazimierz, founded in the 14th century by King Casimir the Great, was a separate town from Krakow. It was once Krakow’s “medieval twin”. Until the outbreak of World War II, the Jewish religion and culture thrived here. It was the safe haven for Jews from every corner of Europe until the 20th century. Then, with the onset of World War II, it became the scene of Nazi devastation.
THE TAJ MAHAL, A MONUMENT OF LOVE: India
by Marilyn Escue
The mesmerizing marble of the Taj Mahal seems to pull us in and allow us to soak in the majesty of this experience. According to Wikipedia, Taj Mahal means “Crown of Palaces”. But, this is no palace. This is a shrine of love one man had for his favorite wife after she died giving birth to their 14th child.
WALKING AROUND HALF THE WORLD: Isfahan, Iran
by Neil Middleton
Ever since I'd first seen pictures of Isfahan's magnificent mosques of blue and gold, I felt it was one of those places that I just had to go to, a goal in itself with no need for explanation and reasoning. There are many places in Iran that call to the historically minded, or to the curious.
EXPLORING PUDUCHERRY: India
by Rashmi Gopal Rao
Formerly known as Pondicherry, Puducherry is a union territory located close to the city of Chennai in the South India. Puducherry was ruled by the Dutch, Portuguese, British and French colonialists in the 16th and 17th century. A French colony until 1954, it is a great place where both India and French coexist seamlessly giving the place a distinct feel.
A JOURNEY THROUGH PREHISTORIC FRANCE: France
by Emily Monaco
The Aude department of France is a region that seems to exist out of time anyway. While calling prehistoric man a caveman is a misnomer, it is, in fact, within one of these caves, the Caune de l’Arago or Arago Cave, that Tautavel Man was discovered in the 1960s
THE WALLED MEDINA OF FES - A STROLL THROUGH THE MIDDLE AGES: Fes El Bali, Morocco
by Rick Neal
I’m in Fes El Bali, Morocco, or the medina as it’s more commonly known. My tour group and I have entered through Bab Boujeloud (The Blue Gate), one of fourteen gates that lead into the old city. Steps away an endless maze of slender roads and enticing alleyways will carry us back in time.
UNCOVERING HISTORY – THE PIONEER STORE MUSEUM: Chloride, NM, USA
by Bob Hazlett
The store began serving the Chloride mining community in 1880. In 1923, it closed and was boarded up with everything inside. In 1988, when the boards came off, they found a building filled with bats and rats, 75 years of excrement, and underneath it all, the makings of the Pioneer Store Museum.
CHRISTMAS IN EVROS: Greece
by Millie Stavidou
Evros tends to be somewhat off the beaten track for the average visitor to Greece. It is in the northeast of the country, and borders with Turkey and Bulgaria. The people living here count themselves as the descendants of the ancient Thracian people and have a long and proud history. Evros during the festive season is still a magical place.
AN HISTORICAL CHRISTMAS MARKET IN RURAL BAVARIA: Prien, Germany
by Inka Piegsa-Quischotte
I came to Prien am Chiemsee in the south of Bavaria because of these spur of the moment decisions that only born travelers are capable of. The train went around a bend and I was greeted with – forgive the cliché but there is no other expression for it - a picture postcard perfect scene.
LE VIEUX PARIS - WALKING THE ÎLE DE LA CITÉ: Paris, France
by Anne Harrison
Where else to begin exploring Paris, but where the city began? Walking through the Île de la Cité covers some 4000 years of civilisation, from when the first Gauls settled here to those living statues who now pose outside Notre-Dame for tourists.
A CORNER OF A FORGOTTEN FIELD: France
by Anne Harrison
Uncle Harry rests in Dartmoor Cemetery, Becordel-Becourt, not far from Arras. The landscape here is flat, and has been farmed – and fought over – for centuries. Shrapnel from the war still surfaces each season as the fields are farmed.
THE THRACIANS AND THE MOUNTAINS OF ORPHEUS: Bulgaria
by Enzo Sardellaro
Bulgaria remains for me a mysterious country, mainly for the charm of its ancient history, where the enigmatic Thracians played a very important and significant role. Bulgaria is a small country with a community of scarcely seven million people living within a territory that is neither too small nor too large. But if its territory is small, its history is very great
SIGNIFICANT MONUMENTS CELEBRATING ICELANDIC PAST
by William Taylor
Iceland is a magical island surrounded by the most welcoming people, most astounding natural phenomena and breathtaking landscapes. Nestled close to the top of the Earth the country is a vast volcanic laboratory that “produces” the most incredible natural wonders; mudpots gloop, geysers, ice-covered volcanoes and superb geysers are attractions that define this heavenly place.
A VISIT TO AN ANCIENT MINING TOWN: Benalmádena, Spain
by Ana Ruiz
Nearly 3000 years ago, the Phoenicians were interested in Benalmádena for its rich mining resources. Today, Benalmádena is divided into three regions; the typically charming old village of Benalmádena Pueblo, the residential, working town of Arroyo de la Miel, and the posh beach resort of Benalmádena Costa.
DISCOVERING ST. MAARTEN: The Bahamas
by Keith Kellet
If you like quizzes, and you’re ever asked ‘Where do France and the Netherlands share a border?’ … it’s here, on St Martin/Maarten. There are border posts, but they’re rarely, if ever manned, and consists of just a shack, with a French flag on one side, and a Dutch one on the other.
A VISIT TO HORTON HOUSE, A REMNANT OF AMERICA’S HISTORICAL PAST: Jekyll Island, Georgia USA
by Theresa St. John
During my recent stay on Jekyll Island, the hotel manager asked what I was interested in doing while vacationing there. I explained that I loved history and wanted to learn about anything historical on the island. Horton House was on the top of his list.
TOURING THE ROMANTIC CASTLES OF THE COSTA DEL SOL: Spain
by Tina Irving
Little has been chronicled of the castles of the eastern Costa del Sol, the gateway to North Africa. The gloss of the travel brochures show scantily clad bodies and relentless sun but nothing of the magnificent peaceful gardens of the castles of Almunecar, Salobrena and Almeria.
TRAVELS THROUGH THE WEST BANK – HEBRON AND JERICHO: Israel/Palestine
by Troy Herrick
A clash of cultures greets any visitor to the Holy Land. Those who are intent on renewing their faith at the various Biblical sites will undoubtedly be influenced by the political tensions and religious fervor of both Israelis and Palestinians. But there are many other sites of religious and archeological significance that should not be overlooked including Hebron and Jericho.
FIGHTING IN THE NUDE - PREFERENCE OR NECESSITY? Pagaso Springs, Colorado USA
by Karin Leperi
Albert H. Pfeiffer, a European immigrant and a comrade of Kit Carson, was a fur trapper, pioneer, soldier, and Indian agent, born in Germany on October 7, 1822.At the age of twenty-two, he immigrated to America, settling in St. Louis, Missouri in 1844. Seeking a more western experience, he moved on to Santa Fe, New Mexico Territory.
THE DRAGON OF HALONG: Vietnam, Asia
by Anne Harrison
Halong Bay is a major tourist hub, filled with a frenzy of people either visiting or making a living from UNESCO-listed World Heritage Site. Passing through the chaos I wondered if this was where the belly of the dragon had scalded the land. It certainly seems so. Or perhaps his fiery breath so scorched the earth nothing of beauty could grow.
CITY OF SAINTS AND STONES: Avila, Spain
by Inka Piegsa-Quischotte
Finally, I was on my way. For some time I had made plans to visit the city of Avila, also known as the city of saints and stones. As the train was on its way from Madrid, I didn’t dare take my eyes off the window because I didn’t want to miss the first glimpse of the famous Walls of Avila as they rise from the shores of the river Adaja.
A CLEAN SWEEP: Victor, Colorado USA
by Dedra Montoya
“I think we’re kinda stuck in 1900,” says the owner of the Victor Trading Company, Sam Morrison. Walking into the Victorian building in the center of the little gold-mining town of Victor, Colorado, (where time seems to have stood still for over a century), you get the sense you’re wandering back in time.
CHASING THE HOLY GRAIL: Valencia, Spain
by Inka Piegsa-Quischotte
My priority was to find the Holy Grail. The story of the Holy Grail or chalice, which is the cup Jesus supposedly used during the Last Supper, has fired the imagination over centuries. Did it survive, where was it, is the story really true?
PRINCES AND CASTLES
Wales, UK - by Keith Kellett
Ruthin Castle stands on a ridge overlooking the beautiful Vale of Clwyd. It was the castle that gave the town its name, for it’s a corruption of Welsh words meaning ‘red fort’, referring to the sandstone from which it was built. The castle, which Dafydd built in 1277, is in ruins now.
THE MOORISH VILLAGE OF ISTAN
Spain - by Darlene Foster
This was the site of a Moorish rebellion in 1568. All that remains is the site the tower once stood on, the round archway and the courtyard through which horses passed through on the way to the stables. I look down and observe the detailed tile work on the ground.
MEDIEVAL MEANDERINGS IN SOUTHWEST FRANCE
Montségur, Mirepoix and Carcassonne - by Karoline Cullen
In the Languedoc region of southwestern France, I am meandering through a medieval hit list of sights. From a remote Cathar outpost to a busy market town to the stunningly restored walls of a major fortified city, these places ooze atmosphere. Each offers a distinct glimpse into the past.
TOURS AND LORE OF THE AMERICAN SOUTHWEST
United States of America - by Sharron Calvin
Imagine ... Indians singing and dancing around a roaring camp fire or planting seeds by the light of a full moon. These visions and more were felt during my visit to Chaco Canyon National Historical Park, Canyon De Chelly (pronounced shay), National Monument and Casa Malpais Archaeological Park.
BREAKING CODES AT BLETCHLEY PARK
England - by Paris Franz
At first glance, the town of Bletchley, some fifty miles to the north of London, appears to be an unremarkable kind of place. Yet it was here, far from the bombs pounding London and the attention of enemy spies, that hundreds of formidably brainy people broke German, Italian and Japanese codes during World War Two.
PEACE AND TRANQUILITY IN TAOS PUEBLO
New Mexico, USA - by Darlene Foster
The Taos Pueblo, located at the base of the picturesque Sangre de Cristo Mountain Range, is considered to be the oldest continuously inhabited community in the USA and has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site and a National Historic Landmark.
JESUS’ HOME AWAY FROM HOME
The North Shore Of The Sea Of Galilee - by Troy Herrick
Present day visitors to Sea of Galilee will discover “traditional” locations for some of Jesus’ miracles. Early Christian pilgrims selected these sites with little more than faith. Unfortunately no archeology is available from Jesus’ time to confirm the locations that were selected.
SAMARKAND, CITY OF ENCHANTMENT
Uzbekistan, Asia - by Neil Middleton
A part of the world's collective fantasy, Samarkand has always glittered somewhere in the far distance. The magical Silk Road city all the world came to, yet distant enough to have something of the mythical about it. Despite modern transport the city still entices with the allure of the great city.
HISTORY COMES TO LIFE IN MUNICH
Germany - by Johnny Caito
In addition to the chestnut lined beer gardens that fill Munich’s city center, there is a history which runs so deep that one can nearly taste the metallic remnants of 70-year-old bombs. Those who dare to look deeper into the city will find traces of one of the darkest times in the history of the planet and a city so fascinating, that even the biggest history buff’s heads will spin.
A CRUISE AROUND VICTORIA’S HISTORIC HARBOUR
British Columbia, Canada - by Glen Cowley
“Busiest float plane airport in North America” Captain Bob proclaimed as we watched a Harbour Air float plane whine its way to a graceful takeoff and bend its nose to the sky. And busy is an apt word to describe Victoria, B.C.'s inner harbour, especially as viewed from the belly of a many-windowed ferry operated by Victoria Harbour Ferry.
A RARE VISIT TO ANCIENT PERSEPOLIS
Iran - by Neil Middelton
What was once the 'most hated city in the world' is now an empty and silent ruin. It was also one of the richest and most astounding, once famous for its wealth and beauty. Today Persepolis is an isolated ruin in the desert of Southern Iran. It stands empty not just because of its desert location but because it is deep in Iran, a country at once hospitable but seldom visited.
THE GREAT WALL
China - by Keith Kellett
Comparison of Hadrian’s Wall with the Great Wall of China is a bit fanciful for, although there’s some disagreement on the length of the latter, the length of the actual wall is at least almost 4000 miles long. This figure disregards the ditches and trenches, and natural defensive boundaries such as hills and rivers, which add a further 1500 miles to the total.
A TALE OF THREE CAVES
France - by Karoline Cullen
We are in a narrow cave called Font-de-Gaume, near Les Eyzies in the Dordogne Valley of southwest France. This is the cradle of prehistory, where Cro-Magnon man celebrated the world around him with cave paintings. Font-de-Gaume is the first of three different caves we visit for a glimpse of our relatives from distant times.
REMEMBERING JERSEY IN THE WAR TIME
England - by Ana Astri-O’Reilly
Germany’s capture of the Channel Islands (Jersey, Guernsey, Alderney, Herm and Sark) in 1940 not only had strategic importance for Hitler’s plans; it was an emotional triumph for him in that he had finally invaded a portion of his enemy Britain.
THE NEW YORK AND PARIS OF THE MAYAN WORLD
Tikal and Copan, Central America - by Troy Herrick
Today new Mayan cities are still being freed from centuries of overgrowth and opened for the world to discover. You find that there are no standard designs for temples, pyramids or ball courts and that some sites are more “unique” than others. Visitors to Tikal and Copan will discover “the New York and Paris of the Mayan World” respectively.
ART AND HISTORY IN MÁLAGA CITY
Spain - by Ana Ruiz
The rich history of Málaga goes as far back as the 8th century BCE when the Phoenicians founded the trade settlement here they named Malacca. The Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Visigoths, and Moors all left their mark here and throughout the centuries, Málaga continued to thrive as a chief settlement and established harbor.
A TOUCH OF EGYPT IN MADRID: THE DEBOD TEMPLE
Spain - by Keith Kellett
It’s a bit of a shock to see an ‘Egyptian-looking building’ on top of a hill, while on an open-top bus tour of Madrid. It is, I later discovered, Egyptian indeed. Even if you aren’t into ‘things Egyptian’, you can’t help but wonder how an Egyptian temple came to be situated almost in the centre of Spain.
IN MEMORY OF THE TITANIC
Southampton, England - by Matthew Adams
In 2012, Southampton commemorated the 100th anniversary of the Titanic in the month of April.For the anniversary a new state-of-the-art SeaCity Museum was opened at Havelock Road, within the Cultural Quarter of Southampton.
CUENCA AND THE CASA COLGADAS
Spain - by Darlene Foster
My first thought upon observing the houses of the Spanish city of Cuenca, was that I wouldn’t want to be a sleep walker if I lived in one of them. Due to limited space, the former inhabitants of the old city built their houses close to the edge, on a rocky mountaintop. Over the centuries, the relentless wind eroded the lime stone cliffs leaving some houses clinging precariously to the edge.
KRAKOW’S HISTORIC OLD TOWN SQUARE: THE RYNEK GLOWNY
Poland - by Wynne Crombie
Krakow’s Rynek Glowny is the pulse of the city. A self-appointed citizen who calls himself, Pawl Jan (Paul John), appears on the scene in his Magyar/Tartar uniform. His heavy fur hat and gold-buttoned red velvet vest (plus matching culottes) are topped off by a long fur coat. A three-foot long curved sword along with a pistol accessorizes his outfit. Naturally a flowing moustache is in place.
Kumta, India - by Anuradha Shankar
I am not too far from the truth – I am at Mirjan Fort, near Gokarna. The fort, built first in the 12th century and extended in the 16th century, has a long and glorious history. It was the seat of Rani Chennabhairadevi, ruling under the aegis of the Vijayanagar Empire. She was better known as the Pepper Queen, or Raina da Pimenta, as she controlled the spice trade in the area.
ADVENTURE IN NEPAL
Kathmandu, Nepal - by Rusif Huseynov
Welcome to Nepal! Although I and my brother had planned our accommodation, places to go, routes long before, we were still very intrigued to face what might await us, to see what we had expected and had not expected. Having landed on Nepalese soil, we understood we were in a very different world.
THE PUENTE DE DIABLO (DEVIL’S BRIDGE)
Segovia, Spain - by Keith Kellett
The famous Roman aqueduct was first on my list of sight-seeing stops. When the Romans arrived in Spain, Segovia was already an important point on the trade routes, lying at the foot of a mountain range called the Sierra de Guadamara, on the banks of the Rio Clamores.
OF CATHEDRALS, CHURCHES, CHAPELS AND CONVENTS
Old Goa, India - by R. Niranjan Das
Built by the Bijapur Sultans in the 15th century, Velha Goa was evangelised from the 16th to the 18th century by the Portuguese before abandoning it in the 18th century after it was hit by a plague. The beautiful structures have intricate carvings both on the outside and inside.
RIVIERA PARK: THE OLDEST PARK IN SOCHI
Russia - by Mara Baudais
It was a simple restful time with local Russian folk and I felt renewed as others before me had probably also felt. And above all, I felt I had set foot in Russia, the homeland of my great grand-parents. Designed in l898 this park was originally established for the pleasure of Russia’s Tsars who would enjoy extended vacations in Sochi. The subtropical climate of Sochi, on the Black Sea, is the furthest area south in Russia.
THE BASILICA OF SAINT-NAZAIRE-ET-SAINT CELSE
Beziers, France - by Glen Cowley
The basilica of Saint-Nazaire-et-Saint Celse has owned the crest above the city of Beziers, southern France, since pre medieval times. It has graphically revealed the greatness and baseness of mankind with lessons never to be forgotten, or at the least forgotten at our peril. A reminder of why historical knowledge is important.
Bangladesh - by Reema Islam
Armed with bursting enthusiasm, guide books and various brochures from the museum’s dusty shelves, I with two of my trusted girlfriends had set out on an adventurous weekend to Comilla, East of Bangladesh, to check out the ancient sites popularly known as moinamoti.
POETRY IN STONE
Hampi, Karnataka, India - by Trupti Devdas Nayak
Given its historical significance, Hampi has been designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. This means the tourism infrastructure and maintenance is much better now than what it used to be. For many years, as the bustling cities around Hampi grew, the stone mandapas (stone pillared pavilions) on the mountains and carved dancing girls on the stone walls were silent witnesses to all that modern growth brings.
ST. KEVIN'S KITCHEN
Glendalough, County Wicklow, Eire, Ireland - by J.M.Bridgeman
It is a sunny spring morning, perfect for a trip to Glendalough, an ancient "monastic city" set in a surround of Wicklow Mountains National Park, about an hour south of Dublin. Our local guide keeps us alert on the bus ride, pointing out the flora and fauna--the beauty of the yellow gorse which in other non-flowering seasons gets pelted with words such as weed, invasive, and noxious, the blossoming white thorn hedges, shades of green in the long vistas.
KEEPING THE LIGHT
Wisconsin, USA - by Megan Kopp
So treacherous were the waters where Green Bay meets the open body of Lake Michigan, that it was given the name 'Porte des Morts' or 'Death's Door.' The peninsula that would eventually become Door County has 300 miles (483 km) of shoreline. Dotting these shores with life-saving lighthouses to guide shipping vessels in the late 1800s and early 1900s was essential.
DISCOVERING QUADRA ISLAND
British Columbia, Canada - by Glen Cowley
July 30, 1792. This day the long finger of Columbus reached Quadra Island. Be the legacy fair or foul it changed the island forever. The modern day explorer ideally comes to this island to observe, learn and respect people, culture and environment knowing from history what can transpire when we fail to do so. It is not a place to hurry.
A WAR WAS FOUGHT IN THIS PEACEFUL CANYON
Royal Gorge Route, Colorado USA - by Glen Brewer
Beneath the suspension bridge, the canyon is so narrow and the walls so steep that a place for railroad tracks seemed impossible. The river simply must occupy the entire canyon bottom. But in 1879 a “hanging bridge” was devised and built to allow the tracks to pass through the narrow space suspended above the rushing water. This bridge still serves today.
SAN GALGANO AND THE ITALIAN SWORD IN THE STONE
Tuscany, Italy - by Sarah Humphreys
Unlike Arthur’s mighty weapon, The Italian version of Excalibur is on display for all to see, firmly wedged up to its hilt, in a smooth stone in the tiny round chapel of Montesiepi in Southern Tuscany. Cistercian monks built the round chapel of Montesiepi around the “cross” in the stone. Just thirty kilometres from Siena, the abbey is immersed in history and mystery and stunning in all seasons.
AN UNDISCOVERED COUNTRY – FIFTEEN ACRES OF IVY GREEN CEMETERY AND 150 YEARS OF HISTORY
Bremerton, WA, USA - by Mike Howard
I’ve travelled extensively over the last few decades, but have treated my own back yard a bit cavalierly – commuting to work in the early hours and not getting home until dark. Now that I’ve retired, I am constantly astounded by local treasures hidden in plain sight. The fifteen acres were surprisingly easy to cover – and I pretty much visited every grave site, without success.
IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF ALEXANDER THE GREAT
Greece - by W. Ruth Kozak
By the harbour in Thessaloniki, Greece, stands a magnificent statue of the young warrior-king, Alexander the Great, astride his fabled horse Bucephalus. At the base of the monument someone has laid two wreaths. It is June 10, the anniversary of Alexander’s death. I place a simple bouquet of red carnations beside the wreaths. Just who was this ambitious, brilliant young man?
FIGHTING OVER DOKDO
Korea - by Jonathon Engels
Dokdo is easternmost entity of Korea, at least disputably. The two tiny islands, a little more than a twentieth the size of New York’s Central Park, are situated between mainland Korea (135 miles/217 kms) and Japan (155 miles/250 kms). Obviously, in such a situation, both countries are claiming ownership. Japan refers to the islands by yet another name
INSIDE THE DACHAU CONCENTRATION CAMP
Germany - by Alexis Brett
When planning a trip to a former concentration camp in Europe, Auschwitz-Birkenau in Poland tends to be the first one that comes to mind. But no more than 16 kilometers away from Munich lies another former concentration camp that was once used as a model by the Nazis to help design future concentration camps in Europe during the 1940s.
AN “ICEBERG” IN THE PACIFIC
The Battle for Okinawa Japan - by Robert Hale
A quarter of a million men were about to die. No one scheduled a noon family Easter feast. And, for the next 82 days there would be nothing but war! A terrible war! …The Battle of Okinawa begins! It was called “Operation Iceberg.” The island would eventually resemble, not an iceberg, but a blazing hell-on-earth!
THE HISTORICAL ROMAN BRIDGE OF SOMMIERES
France - by Glen Cowley
It is small, by today's standards, but it has something special. A magnet drawing the eyes of the powerful in their time and the tourists of today. Sommieres had and has a Roman bridge. And of that much came to be and is to see. The Vidroule River flows leisurely along its defined banks flanked by nurtured trees and a tended walkway.
CIVIL WAR HISTORY COMES ALIVE
Norfolk, Virginia, USA by Roy A. Barnes
Fort Norfolk goes back to the Revolutionary War era. It was abandoned by the Rebels in 1862, but not before supplying the ammo used by the Confederates’ CSS Merrimac against the USS Monitor in the great ironclad battle. In the midst of a sunny, breezy day, I could feel the presence of those past centuries long gone.
OLD MISSION SANTA BARBARA, QUEEN OF MISSIONS
California, USA by W. Ruth Kozak
Disembarking from the trolley, I stand in awe as I observe the impressive building with its twin bell towers and the imposing architecture that combines Moorish, Mexican, Chumash Indian and Spanish design. In the mosaic-paved entryway a Moorish fountain dating back two hundred years burbles with a spray of water.
FORT WILLIAM HISTORICAL PARK - WHERE HISTORY HAPPENS EVERY DAY
Ontario, Canada by Ron Kness
Fort William is a 40-building reconstructed fur trading distribution post setting on 25 acres. Operating from 1803 to 1821, this was the Northwest Company’s inland headquarters and distribution center where canoe brigades would come in from the remote outposts each July heavily ladened with baled furs.
FROM ANCIENT SPOTTED HORSES TO THE AMERICAN APPALOOSA
A Journey from the Caves Of France to The Hills and Prairies Of Palouse - by Karin Leperi
Up until about a year ago, archaeologists and scientists were divided about what the spotted horse sketches actually represented. Did the dappled horses represent mystical creatures conjured up during lucid dreaming? Were the cave paintings symbolic images with some religious significance or purpose for these ancient cave dwellers?
A LIVING HISTORICAL MONUMENT
Acre, Israel - by Shelly Lachish
Acre’s historical and archaeological intrigue lies in the fact that the forts, mosques, churches, synagogues and labyrinthine alleyways of the Old City that date back 350 years to the Arab and Ottoman periods, conceal below them an exceptionally intact 800 year-old Crusader city that has only recently been discovered.
TOURING AROUND HISTORICAL SAINT-MALO AND MONT-SAINT-MICHEL
France - by Marc Latham
The ancient abbey rises out of sea and silt like the most triangular of mountains, seemingly balanced precariously on its rock without an inch of land wasted; and is big enough to be seen from the edge of its bay, over thirty kilometres (twenty miles) away.
COMING BACK FROM OBSCURITY
Vis, Croatia - by Wynne Crombie
Jurica and Dimar set out to take us to what they referred to as sights untouched by most tourists. Jurica began by reciting all the conquerors of Vis
Turks, Italians, Greeks, Serbs…even the British. Now it’s back to being Croatian. The vestiges of each culture, he added, are the reasons Vis is so appealing.
PAYING RESPECT TO VLADIMIR LENIN,THE FATHER OF RUSSIAN COMMUNISM
Moscow, Russia - by Adam Bennett
As I stared into the thick bulletproof glass separating me from the legendary dogmatic Russian leader I was surprised to see he was still looking his best. During the first few weeks after his death in 1924 Lenin was embalmed and set on display in Red Square. This enabled over ¾ million Russian citizens to pay their respects.
DESMOND CASTLE FROM FORTRESS TO WINE MUSEUM
Ireland - by Keith Kellett
I think Desmond Castle is the first one I ever visited that stood, not on the top of a hill, or in beautiful gardens, but in a street of houses. It dates from around the late 15th/early 16th Century, and is, actually, a ‘fortified tower house’, with spacious store-rooms.
A SOUTHERN USA CIVIL RIGHTS TOUR
United States of America - by Taylor Anderson
For a vacation that touches your heart, stirs your imagination and leaves you with unforgettable memories of delicious food and friendly people, it’s hard to beat a trip through Alabama, moving on to Washington D.C. The fifty-four miles that separate Selma, Birmingham and Montgomery Alabama are filled with sites significant to the civil rights movement of the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s.
EXPLORING THE GREAT CASTLES OF NORTH WALES
Wales - by Roy A. Barnes
The country of Wales may only be small, but every nook and cranny is full of history. 500-plus castles can be found in this part of the United Kingdom, in various degrees of disrepair and/or restoration, often seen on the hillsides as one speeds down the busy motorways. I explored five really special ones, coming away with a greater appreciation of Welsh history and its people.
CARAL, CRADLE OF CIVILIZATION IN THE AMERICAS
Peru, South America - by Troy Herrick
Caral, an abandoned city eroded by time and windswept sand, holds twenty-five structures including six pyramids that are as old as the Step Pyramid in Egypt. More remarkably, this early civilization developed in complete isolation without the use of pottery, metalwork or writing.
THE NATIONAL PARK CONNECTIONS
United States of America - by Robert Hale
This is an interesting anniversary year. The US National Park Idea (America's Best Idea) is 140 years old; Amtrak is 40 years old. They are connected! The Santa Fe, Union Pacific, Southern Pacific, Northern Pacific, Great Northern, Burlington, Milwaukee Road, Chicago and Northwestern all had stops adjacent to, or relatively near national parks.
THEY’RE GREEK TO ME!
Southern Italy and Sicily - by Troy Herrick
Paestum on the Italian mainland plus Agrigento and Syracuse on Sicily are the three best Greek settlements for touring. Each of these UNESCO World Heritage Sites also has a museum displaying a wealth of Greek items. All three sites are easily accessible and make for great day trips into the past.
THE CASTLE OF THE MOORS
Sintra, Portugal - by Ana Astri-O’Reilly
From the train I can see one seemingly small turret on top of a hill. And then another. Then I see that they are joined by a wall. The effect is that of a saddle. They are so high up that it makes me wonder how I will ever reach the castle.
TREKKING THROUGH THE TOWER OF LONDON
England - by Becky Garrison
The Tower of London is a massive twenty-one-tower complex built by William the Conqueror shortly after he came into power in 1066. It served a variety of functions, including a fortress against foreign attack, a repository for the crown jewels, and a refuge for the royal family in times of civil disorder. However, the Tower of London remains notorious as the site for some of England's bloodiest bits, a living testimony to the hell that happened when certain royals ruled the roost.
HISTORICAL CANADIAN LIGHTHOUSES
Canada - by Norman Rubin
Visiting and photographing lighthouses, even collecting replicas of them are popular hobbies for many enthusiasts. In some locations, lighthouses have become popular travel destinations in themselves and the buildings are maintained as tourist attractions. Canada with its long rugged shore is an excellent country for enthusiasts to visit and photograph its historic lighthouses, the national heritages of the land.
OUT AND ABOUT IN XIAN CITY
When touring China's legendary sights with twenty other enthusiasts, my husband Rick and I encounter unimagined marvels in and around Xian, the early capital where Emperors ruled for over 3000 years. Two memorable days begin high atop the ramparts of this ancient city's wall, one of the few remaining in China.
HISTORICAL HOLIDAYS IN THE ALGARVE
The Algarve region of Portugal is full of culture, combining the influences of Arabian, Phoenician, Roman and Portuguese society. The rich historical legacy left behind is definitely worth a visit, whether you're a fan of ancient architecture, you wonder where Algarvian pottery comes from, or you want to know about Henry the Navigator.
FROM CANADA TO THE CARIBBEAN
A Quest To Find The Thunderbird - Bermuda
Serendipity! An invitation to Bermuda! I could continue my voyage of discovery - following the journey of the Thunderbird flying from the mast of HMCS Quesnel, the corvette that served in the Battle of the Atlantic during World War Two.
DOING THE VIENNESE VAULTS
Vienna is the city of castles, palaces, extraordinary churches; it is the city of the Viennese waltz…and the Viennese vaults. Vaults. As in, tombs! Caskets and coffins, and urns filled with ashes. And, urns filled with innards! They are all on display right there…in the church basement. Go on in, and enjoy the “Viennese Vaults.”
UNDER THE EYES OF CAESAR
The head emerged from years in its watery grave. If only stone cold eyes could see! The discovery of a true to life bust of Caesar, in the Fall of 2007 along the shore of the Rhone, was appropriately found in southwestern France for here the great man had some of his greatest victories and the hand of Rome pressed most deeply into the land.
A VISIT TO THE SITE OF THE FIRST CHRISTMAS
Set on the edge of a hill in the little town of Bethlehem, the gray stone Basilica of the Nativity is built over a cave housing the traditional site of Jesus’ birth. Divided between the Greek Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Armenian Churches, the layout of the present structure is as complex as the relationships between the three Christian sects.
THE ETERNAL MYSTERY OF SARDINIA’S NURAGHE
Down through history, ancient civilizations have left inscrutable and symbolic artifacts for us to ponder and puzzle over. The Nuraghe of Sardinia today are still a complete enigma and the focus of fierce academic and archeological discussions as to their origins and purpose.
IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF CAPTAIN GEORGE VANCOUVER AND THE CANNIBAL SPIRIT ON QUADRA ISLAND
British Columbia, Canada
There are not many places on the Pacific Coast where we know for certain Captain George Vancouver walked, but this is one
the beach of Cape Mudge at the southern tip of Quadra Island, across Discovery Passage from Campbell River, British Columbia.
THE JUDEAN DESERT GIVES UP SOME OF ITS SECRETS - Israel
Qumran And Masada
Straddling the shore of the Dead Sea, Highway 90 takes you through some of the most breathtaking desert scenery in the Middle East. En route, you also pass the unobtrusive sites of Qumran and Masada whose presence are only betrayed by signs denoting the park entrances.
WHERE HISTORY HAPPENS EVERYDAY
Fort William Historical Park, Canada
Fort William is a 40-building reconstructed fur trading distribution post setting on 25 acres. Operating from 1803 to 1821, this was the Northwest Company’s inland headquarters and distribution center where canoe brigades would come in from the remote outposts each July heavily ladened with baled furs.
SKARA BRAE AND ITS MANY MYSTERIES
The Orkney Islands
Nestled on a small island just north of the Scotland mainland lies an ancient site that is just begging to be explored. Skara Brae, (a prehistoric village that was built before the Egyptian pyramids), has been listed as one of the “Heart of Neolithic Orkney” World Heritage Sites, and it illustrates a perfect example as to why the Orkney Islands have often been referred to as “The Egypt of the North.
OUT OF THE ATOMIC ASHES, THE CITY LIVES AGAIN
Hiroshima. The very name conjures powerful images of mushroom clouds and devastation. The city’s atomic past is an integral part of its identity, but it is also a living city with fantastic opportunities for fun, culture, and entertainment. During my recent visit, I had the chance to meditate on a dark past at the Atomic Bomb Dome, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, take in a major league baseball game with the Hiroshima Carp, and participate in the annual lantern ceremony on the banks of the Ota River.
LA ESMERALDA - A BEAUTIFUL LADY OF DUBIOUS REPUTE
She is affectionately known as “La Dama Blanca”, the White Lady, but a sinister past has marked her with a blemish she can’t seem to live down. Unfortunately La Esmeralda’s reputation was sullied during the infamous Augusto Pinochet regime from 1973 to 1980 when she was used as a floating jail and torture chamber for political prisoners.
AN ISLAND WITH AN INFAMOUS HISTORY
Pitcairn Island, South Pacific
In 1790, English sailors staged a mutiny on the board the ship 'HMS Bounty'. They found a safe hideout on Pitcairn Island. After being settled by mutineers, the island’s early history was bloody, with many feuds and violent deaths. Now Pitcairn Island is peaceful and its fifty families, many of them descendants of that infamous Bounty crew, welcome visitors to their idyllic tropical home.
THE CASTLE COAST AND HADRIAN’S WALL
I returned to the Hadrian’s Wall path for a big day of sightseeing at a battle site marked on the map. However, upon arrival we found out it was Heavenfield, and the information at the entrance to the grounds of St. Oswald’s church said it was the site of an important Dark Ages battle between British kingdoms in AD 635
200 years after the Romans departed British shores!
THE HEROIC WOMEN OF CHITTORGARH
We are at Chittorgarh, also called Chittaur, in Rajasthan, one of the oldest and biggest forts in India. It was once the bastion of the Mewar Rajputs and was ruled by various kings famed for their courage, but more than them, it is the story of their women that dwells in people’s hearts even today ... each one of them attained immortality in the hearts and minds of Indians. This is the story of some of these women.
A CULTURE WRAPPED IN NATURE
Nepal is primarily known to be a Hindu nation but it is also the birthplace of Buddha. Nepal is home to four world heritage sites, one of which lies in the Kathmandu valley, the valley where its capital by the same name is situated.
CELEBRATING THE ROYAL WEDDING
It was a historic Royal Wedding weekend celebrated in style in British Columbia’s capital city, Victoria, named for Queen Victoria. Victoria is one my favourite local destinations, so my friend and I decided to visit this historic West Coast city to celebrate the royal event.
ROMAN POMPEII - SUSPENDED IN TIME
August 23,79 AD was just a regular day in flourishing Pompeii. Toga-robed citizens traded their goods, discussed politics, exchanged gossip and visited places of worship. Just three days later everything suddenly changed when she vanished completely! Entombed for 1500 years by the catastrophic eruption of Mt. Vesuvius, Pompeii is now one of Europe’s best-preserved archaeological sites.
THE SACRED VALLEY
From the historic Inca city of Cuzco, my wife, Alexa, and I took a collectivo taxi (a mini van filled with local Peruvians) over the mountains surrounding Cuzco down into the “Sacred Valley” to the village of Pisac. The town is situated in the bottom of the valley created by the Urubamba River. The Sacred Valley is lined with massive mountains on either side of the river, with flat farmland in the bottom of the valley.
FEELING OLD IN BYBLOS
How far back in history can you actually go in your imagination? The moment you set foot in Byblos your fantasy needs to switch into overdrive. You are about to explore the oldest continually inhabited city in the world with confirmed remains dating back at least 5000 years.
FADED GLORY – ‘RAMALINGA VILASAM’
Ramanathapuram, South India
Kings and castles may seem to belong to a forgotten era. Yet I have always been keen on exploring old forts and ruined palaces. When I moved into the quaint town of Ramanathapuram in South India, an old palace that silently adorns the market square was the first landmark to catch my attention.
AN ANCIENT CITY THAT TAKES YOUR BREATH AWAY
Isolated on the desolate Bolivian Altiplano, the ancient city of Tiwanaku (Tiahuanaco) is all that remains of the first great Andean civilization. An enigmatic people occupied this cold, harsh plateau for almost 2,800 years and then mysteriously disappeared around 1200 CE.
MUSEUM UNDER OPEN SKY
Starting our trip from Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan with my brother I head south. The road along the beautiful shore of the Caspian Sea leads to Gobustan, one of the famous historical and mystic landmarks of the country. As children we were taken there once by our parents.
THE CITY WITH A STORIED PAST
According to Andean Mythology, Inti the Sun God ordered Manco Qhapac to find “the navel of the earth” (qosco). At the navel, a golden rod could be plunged into the ground until it disappeared. Manco located such a spot – a perfectly flat valley surrounded on all sides by high mountains. He then established Cusco with himself as its first emperor.
AN HISTORIAN’S PILGRIMAGE
Canterbury and its cathedral has withstood centuries of religious change but has remained England’s center of Christianity for over a thousand years. I had the privilege of visiting the cathedral during a trip to England in 2007, and it was a memorable experience.
A MEDICAL MARVEL
Visitors to the Greek island of Kos might be unaware when they arrive of the historical importance of this island but in between enjoying the glorious sunshine, warm waters and beautiful views you cannot go far without stumbling across ancient ruins and landmarks.
CITY OF THE INCAS
Machu Picchu, Peru
As I climb the twisted stone staircase up the mountain, it gives me the view of Machu Picchu that I had seen in countless postcards. This spot is the best-known archaeological site on the entire South American continent. The viewpoint gives me a clear picture of the ruins – allowing me to understand their layout.
TORCELLO - THE FORGOTTEN VENICE
Six miles from Venice. across a vast stretch of water, lies a mysterious relic of a bygone era. the precursor of Venice – Torcello. It was here. on this remote and neglected island. that Venice’s path of destiny began with the creation of an original blueprint of itself.
OSTIA ANTICA - THE OTHER POMPEII
In the early sixties, I had explored Pompeii. Now, over 40 years later, my husband and I set out to investigate Ostia Antica
the other Pompeii. After arriving at the Ostia Metro station, we strolled the few blocks to the entrance. Ahead of us lay the mile-long Decumanus Maximus, the main drag of its day.
In The Footsteps Of Ancient Mayan
Mayan ruins are each unique in their own way. Chichen Itza, Coba and Tulum are no different. Chichen Itza has two cultures; Tulum is a walled city and Coba is 95% unexcavated. I have visited each of these ruins, and found it very humbling to walk in the footsteps of ancient Mayans.
Walking With The Dead
For the ancient Egyptians, the West Bank at Thebes (modern-day Luxor) was their realm of the dead, an august “City of the Dead”, no less. It was a sacred domain where the transition from this life to the next began. The whole area of this ancient necropolis is graced with funerary monuments, each specifically designed to facilitate a safe onward journey into the Underworld.
EXPLORING PUEBLO PAST
San Diego, California
As you walk from the paved trolley stop into arid, sandy “Old Town” San Diego isn’t just a change of terrain, it‘s a step across the sands of time into the early 19th century when the settlement was in transition from Mexican pueblo to American frontier town.
ISLAND OF SEAFARERS
When Juan de Fuca sailed his ship up the Pacific coast of western Canada, into the Straits now named for him, I wonder if he felt a pang of homesickness for his native home, Kefalonia, Greece. Juan de Fuca, whose real name was Iannis Focus, was born in Kefalonia during the reign of the Venetians in 1550, and later went to sea in the service of Spain, on a quest to find the passage that links the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans.
A KING'S COMPASS
I am at the temple of the Oracle of Amon, fabled throughout the ancient world. Alexander the Great stood here, so for once I'm in good company. This is where he came to seek legitimacy for his rule over Egypt. The Oracle confirmed his divinity, although exactly what was said to him he took to his grave eight years later. He did well to get here, to Siwa Oasis in Egypt's Western Desert. Others had disappeared in the attempt.
A TURKISH DELIGHT - EXPLORING BODRUM AND FETHIYE
Turkey My friend and I arrived at Bodrum by ferry from the Greek island of Kos. Bodrum is a beautiful bustling tourist centre. The harbour is dominated by the impressive Castle of St. Peter built by the Knights of St. John. Magnificent yachts from all over the world are anchored there.
THE GLOUCESTER AND SHARPNESS CANAL
England I recently took a short cruise on the Edward Elgar along the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal. This parallels the lower reaches of the river, which is tidal, so was by-passed by the canal. The canal also did away with ships needing to negotiate a dangerous bend in the river. They would sail through the Sharpness Lock, to be man-hauled along the canal to Gloucester.
EXPLORING HISTORIC DAMASCUS - THE UMAYYAD MOSQUE