Wanderlust Wednesday – Best Beaches of the Caribbean

Yes, we are in the hight of winter. And it sucks!!! But for those of us wishing to be anywhere else other than in the snow I give you the best beaches of the Caribbean. Stay cozy and Enjoy!

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GRACE BAY, Turks & Caicos
GREEN BEACH, Puerto Rico
SHOAL BAY, Anguilla
GALLEY BAY, Antigua & Barbuda
MARIGOT BAY, St. Lucia
LORIENT BEACH, St. Barts
TRUNK BAY, St. John
JOBSON’S COVE, Bermuda
NISBET BEACH, Nevis

Source: http://www.cntraveler.com/daily-traveler/2014/01/most-beautiful-caribbean-beaches

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Wanderlust Wednesday – Burano, Italy

If you’re in need of an emotional boost, take a virtual trip to the chipper town of Burano, Italy on this fine Travel Tuesday.

The wee island is located in the same lagoon as Venice, but its colors pop and fizzle in a way that makes it feel almost tropical.

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The houses on Burano obviously follow a special color pattern, dating to the island’s “golden age” when it was first becoming developed. If you live on Burano and wish to paint your house, you must send a letter to the government, and they’ll reply telling you which colors you’re allowed to paint your lot.

Legend says that the island’s fisherman were the first to paint their houses in bright colors, so they could see them while they were out fishing.

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Lacemaking is another one of little Burano’s big highlights. The women of the island have been experts at lace since the 1400s, when Leonardo da Vinci himself visited to shop for cloth that he used on the altar at the Duomo di Milano.

Nowadays, lace stores and ice cream shops and artisan kiosks clutter Burano’s narrow streets.

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Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/05/burano-italy_n_4212666.html?ref=topbar

 

Wanderlust Wednesday: Marseilles, France

Recently gaining the title of a European Capital of Culture for 2013, Marseilles is a historic city known for its cultural diversity. It is France’s second most populated city (after Paris) with a population over a million. One of the largest cities on the Mediterranean and known as a popular commercial port, Marseilles enjoys comfortable year around weather.

With influences from Croatia, Armenia, Turkey, North Africa, the Comoro Islands, China, and Vietnam, Marseilles is a wonderful mix of cultures and influences.

Marseilles most popular dish is the bouillabaisse, a fresh fish stew with vegetables. Here is a great recipe for a quick bouillabaisse.

The Basilique Notre Dame, Marseille
At a café
Prado Beach, Marseille
A wedding
Bouches-du-Rhone, Marseille
In the market

Sources:

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/05/world/europe/marseille-france-tries-to-alter-image-from-rough-to-cultured.html?_r=0

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marseille

http://www.lonelyplanet.com/france/provence/marseille

http://www.marseille-tourisme.com/en/discover-marseille/quick-facts/

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/travel/marseille-200712.html?onsite_source=relatedarticles&onsite_medium=internallink&onsite_campaign=SmithMag&onsite_content=Marseille%27s%20Ethnic%20Bouillabaisse#

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lQseRP–3aY

 

Wanderlust Wednesday: “Cuban Travelogue”

Just read this great travel article on the mysterious island of Cuba, this is our first re-post, hope you enjoy it.

Source: Cuban travelogue: Escaping the all-inclusive resort life | GrindTV.com.

Cuban travelogue: Escaping the all-inclusive resort life

How a cab ride offered temporary salvation from the bizarre world of Cuban tourist traps

August 12, 2013 by

A string of pink plastic nearly ruined my weekend.

Our bus had turned away from the Cuban town of Trinidad, venturing instead toward the sandy peninsula and its row of colossal waterfront hotels adorned with over-nourished tropical plants and Muzak renditions of “Guantanamera.” But it was the neon bracelet that manifested my fears. Instead of spending the weekend in the historic colonial town, we would be spending it in my personal purgatory—a Cuban all-inclusive resort.

Ok, so the resort beach was a nice perk; photo by Kade Krichko

OK, so the resort beach was a nice perk; photo by Kade Krichko

Before I get jumped for being a spoiled college kid or an idealistic punk, hear me out. All-inclusives are great spots for getting away and enjoying a carefree vacation, but they’re also a cultural whitewash. Let me put it this way: people don’t go to resorts to meet the locals. I had come to Cuba to experience something completely foreign (and potentially amazing), so I was bummed to find myself wasting away in a piña-colada-soaked beach chair.

The Cuba resort experience is a strange one. Similar to those in many developing countries, Cuba’s resorts are geared toward a foreign crowd. French fries, ’80s synth-pop, bottomless glasses of Rum Collins—the outside influence is apparent. In fact, very few of the island’s actual inhabitants can afford to stay there. The hotel employees are Cuban, but when their shifts end they return to town or stay in employee housing quarters. They are simply cogs in the country’s tourism machine.

Our first night at the resort we caught the hotel’s version of a variety show. A singer, magician, and pod of dancers took the sparsely decorated and offensively bright stage in front of 10 or so tourists and 100 open seats. For an hour the group went about their choreographed performance like they were entertaining a sell-out crowd, something they apparently did every night at 9 p.m. It was a bizarre display with a handful of older European men clapping along to the music and playfully nudging their (much younger) female companions as we all descended into a haze of sugary rum drinks.

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Cabs share the road with a variety of vehicles in rural parts of Cuba, including the occasional horse and buggy; photo by Kade Krichko

The next day I was determined to at least set foot in Trinidad, a 20-minute cab ride from the resort, and a world away. A couple more from our group made the push too, as well as our appointed tour guide, Alejandro. Alejandro was a 27-year-old Habanero (Havana citizen) who had taught himself English by listening to rock and roll music, was an aspiring photographer, and had quickly become our new friend. He had forgotten his camera, so we lent him one, and we all jumped a taxi as the sun started its late afternoon descent.

Windows down, Canadian and Cuban flags dangling from the rearview mirror, and holes where trunk speakers should have been, our Soviet-era compact sped toward Trinidad, the driver catering to his North American clientele with a classic rock mixed tape. We rolled into town with the Beatles on blast, and Alejandro made sure the cab driver would be around to pick us up before we slipped out into the afternoon heat.

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Alejandro sits shotgun in the classic rock cab; photo by Kade Krichko

Trinidad. Finally.

Trinidad is a slow-moving city full of vibrant color, grooved cobblestone, and the deep shadows and dramatic contrasts that photographer’s drool over. For the first time all weekend, I felt like I was where I needed to be. Our collective wandered the streets and talked to as many people as we could, asking for directions, taking portraits, and immersing ourselves in new surroundings.

Alejandro remembered a casa particular (essentially a bed and breakfast) he had once stayed in with group of French tourists, and took us to say hello. A woman opened the oversize wooden doors and smiled at Alej, inviting us all in, and letting us know that dinner was almost ready (if we should choose to stay). She led us up to the roof and we gazed out over a sea of chipped terracotta, the sounds of guitar and crackly radio frequencies wafting through the late day air. Far in the distance sat our hotel along the Caribbean shore, but the only view I cared about was the living city below me.

Taking in the Trinidad views from the roof above the city as dusk approaches; photo by Kade Krichko

Taking in the Trinidad views from the roof above the city as dusk approaches; photo by Kade Krichko

Our rendezvous hour came too quickly, but before meeting up with the taxi we caught an impromptu street performance with a man plucking his guitar strings on a curb and a little girl who could not get enough of the music. Twirling, jumping, and shaking her hips, the girl wasn’t more than 5, but she commanded her street stage like an accomplished performer. We laughed and snapped a few pictures hoping that somehow our memory cards would do that fleeting moment justice.

The little dancing diva showing off for the camera; photo by Kade Krichko

The little dancing diva showing off for the camera; photo by Kade Krichko

The cab ride back to the resort was lighthearted and relief-filled—our redemptive mission was complete. Our driver once again bumped rock classics, the Eagles’ “Hotel California” sweeping over us while we raced the dipping sun, clouds turning purple and water burning fiery orange as day fought off night. I wanted to press pause right there, but I knew it was just a snapshot in time. I sighed as we rounded the bend and caught sight of our fortress in the sand, the words ringing in my head, “You can check out any time you like, but you can ne-ver leave…”

Street portraiture in downtown Trinidad; photo by Kade Krichko

Street portraiture in downtown Trinidad; photo by Kade Krichko

Brother and sister playing in the late day shadows in the streets of Trinidad; photo by Kade Krichko

Brother and sister playing in the late day shadows in the streets of Trinidad; photo by Kade Krichko

Wanderlust Wednesday: Jamaica

Welcome to Wanderlust Wednesday! Today we turn our attentions to the Caribbean island of Jamaica.

With 2.8 million people on this island of 10,990 square kilometers, Jamaica is the third most populated English-speaking country in the Americas. Originally colonized by the Spanish, the formally named Santiago was taken over by Great Britain in 1655. Jamaica gained its independence from Great Britain on August 6, 1962.

Home to various popular music genres including reggae, ska, mento, rocksteady, and dub, Jamaica possess a rich cultural heritage. Reggae, probably the most popular genre of music from Jamaica, its popularity has traversed the boundaries of the island and become an international sensation. For this Wanderlust Wednesday we enjoy the international appeal of reggae and the beautiful scenery of Jamaica.

Waterfalls
Snorkeling in Long Bay
Bamboo Avenue
Blue Mountains
Progress for LGBT Rights in Jamaica – Jamaica’s First Lesbian Wedding
Dunn’s River Falls
Sandbar Bar
Ocho Rios
Pawpaw Trees

Sources:

http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/countries/jamaica-photos/

http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/countries/sustainable-jamaica-photos-traveler/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jamaica

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reggae

http://www.autostraddle.com/jamaicas-first-lesbian-wedding-ever-in-history-is-adorable-deeply-moving-139623/

Wanderlust Wednesday: Internal Exploration

We all get caught up in the busyness of everyday life and often we forget the benefits of taking time for self-reflection. Today we explore the benefits of internal exploration, possibly the true final frontier.

Meditation is an ancient practice that has experienced a resurgence in recent years. It can take many forms including guided mediation, prayer, and yoga. Regardless of the style of practice, all forms share the common goal of quieting the mind and can often be used for stress reduction.

Here is an excellent meditation video with Deepak Chopra.

 

For more information on meditation, visit the following sites:

http://marc.ucla.edu/body.cfm?id=22&oTopID=22

http://nccam.nih.gov/health/meditation/overview.htm

www.mayoclinic.com/health/meditation/HQ01070