Talinn, Estonia – Cruising Scandinavia

Cruising Scandinavia – Next stop: Talinn, Estonia

Next stop: Talinn, Estonia - Cruising Scandinavia  Talinn, Estonia, is another place I really didn’t know much about.  The thing that I will remember most is how thankful they are to have become a democracy in the last 25 years after decades of Communist rule and centuries under the Russian Tsars.

We got to see the marina and village that was built for the 1980 Olympics and are still used today. Then, a tour of Toompea Hill – the fortressed Old Town.

Next stop: Talinn, Estonia - Cruising Scandinavia Next stop: Talinn, Estonia - Cruising Scandinavia

Next stop: Talinn, Estonia - Cruising Scandinavia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More gorgeous buildings – the pink Parliament building and the Alexander Nevsky Russian Orthodox church were standouts.

But my favorite was St. Mary’s Cathedral, a Gothic 15th century church where the old medieval coats of arms are displayed and the tombs of the nobility are located. I felt transported back to the Middle Ages!

Next stop: Talinn, Estonia - Cruising Scandinavia

Guest Author: Vicki L

Gothenburg, Sweden- Cruising Scandinavia

Cruising Scandinavia and the Baltic

 

Second Port of Call: Gothenburg, Sweden

Gothenburg, Sweden is a place I had never heard of. Building began in this area in 1308 when the Norwegian king built a huge fortress to hold Sweden back (must not have worked – it’s Sweden now).

 This church was built in 1914 to resemble the medieval churches.

Cruising Scandinavia: Gothenburg, Sweden   Cruising Scandinavia: Gothenburg, Sweden

There are adorable villages throughout the islands that are on the west coast of the country.

Cruising Scandinavia: Gothenburg, Sweden

Cruising Scandinavia: Gothenburg, Sweden

Cruising Scandinavia: Gothenburg, Sweden

 We had pickled herring with onion for breakfast – I think that will be the one and only time I ever do that.

Guest Author: Vicki L

Oslo, Norway – Cruising Scandinavia

The Cruise Begins!

First Port of Call:  Oslo, Norway

Our Scandinavia and Baltic cruise officially begins in Oslo, Norway.Cruising Scandinavia - Oslo, Norway

Since Chuck is half Norwegian, this was to be a highlight of our trip! Things work out the way they should, but sometimes don’t go as planned. . . the tour we REALLY wanted was sold out by the time we arrived at the ship. . . there was a “high terror” alert in Oslo. . .the temperatures were in the mid 90’s (record heat!), it was humid and tour busses and museums aren’t air conditioned. . . 

BUT we got to berth right next to a Viking fortress – complete with cannons!

Cruising Scandinavia - Oslo, Norway Cruising Scandinavia - Oslo, Norway

 We saw the KonTiki, Fram and Viking Museums

Cruising Scandinavia - Oslo, Norway

Cruising Scandinavia - Oslo, Norway

 and we do have a better insight into Chuck’s Norwegian ancestors!

Next Stop:  Gothenburg, Sweden

Guest Author: Vicki L

 

Cruising Scandinavia & the Baltic

Cruising Scandinavia & the Baltic

 

 But First:  A Big Red Bus Tour of London

 

An amazing adventure cruising Scandinavia and the Baltic gives us visits to Oslo, Gothenburg, Talinn, St Petersburg, & Helsinki.  It begins with a flight into London and a brief but fun tour of London on a Big Red Bus. And, yes, it rained!

Cruising Scandinavia and the Baltic

Cruising Scandinavia and the Baltic

Cruising Scandinavia and the Baltic

Cruising Scandinavia and the Baltic

Cruising Scandinavia and the Baltic

Cruising Scandinavia and the Baltic

 

 

Thanks Vicki for sharing your amazing adventure!

Story and photos: Vicki L

 

Top 50 Cities to See in Your Lifetime

Wow – I have some traveling to do!!

 According to minube.net,  these are the top 50 cities you must visit in your lifetime. From the great ancient capitals to the modern cities of Asia, the Americas, and beyond, these are some of the greatest destinations on Earth.

How many of these top 50 cities have you visited ?

I’ve been to some (5 actually!) and some are already on my list but now my list is a whole lot longer!!

 Any favorites?

1.) Venice, Italy

From its picturesque canals and grandiose basilicas to its colorful homes and cozy wine bars, there's simply nowhere like it on Earth.(Photo by Jesus Lopez)

From its picturesque canals and grandiose basilicas to its colorful homes and cozy wine bars, there’s simply nowhere like it on Earth.(Photo by Jesus Lopez)

2.) Seville, Spain

Seville is the crown-jewel of imperial Spain and visitors can delight at the city's narrow streets lined with orange blossoms, Moorish castles, and some of Spain's most legendary tapas joints. (Photo by Zu Sanchez)

Seville is the crown-jewel of imperial Spain and visitors can delight at the city’s narrow streets lined with orange blossoms, Moorish castles, and some of Spain’s most legendary tapas joints. (Photo by Zu Sanchez)

3.) New York City, USA

It's no wonder New York is often called the "Crossroads of the World." Nowhere else can you find such a mind-blowing concentration of art, culture, cuisine, and business. (Photo by Iker F. Gavilan)

It’s no wonder New York is often called the “Crossroads of the World.” Nowhere else can you find such a mind-blowing concentration of art, culture, cuisine, and business. (Photo by Iker F. Gavilan)

4.) Lhasa, China 

Lhasa is the spiritual center of Tibetan Buddhism and the rugged Himalayas set against Lhasa's incense-filled monasteries and palaces make for one of the most unforgettable views on Earth. (Photo by Juanjo Fontanet)

Lhasa is the spiritual center of Tibetan Buddhism and the rugged Himalayas set against Lhasa’s incense-filled monasteries and palaces make for one of the most unforgettable views on Earth. (Photo by Juanjo Fontanet)

5.) Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

 From the world-famous Carnival to its iconic skyline, Rio de Janeiro is an experience for all five senses. The fact that its home to two of the most famous beaches on Earth doesn't hurt either! (Photo by Stocklapse)

From the world-famous Carnival to its iconic skyline, Rio de Janeiro is an experience for all five senses. The fact that its home to two of the most famous beaches on Earth doesn’t hurt either! (Photo by Stocklapse)

6.) London, England

With its prestigious museums, famous street markets, and bustling financial center, it's no wonder that London is one of the world's most-visited cities. What are you waiting for? London's calling! (Photo by Tbtb

With its prestigious museums, famous street markets, and bustling financial center, it’s no wonder that London is one of the world’s most-visited cities. What are you waiting for? London’s calling! (Photo by Tbtb

7.) Marrakech, Morocco

 Entering the medina of Marrakech is an experience you'll never forget: endless, maze-like corridors full of vibrant souks, stunning architecture, and bubbling tagines around every corner. (Photo by Cesar Blay)

Entering the medina of Marrakech is an experience you’ll never forget: endless, maze-like corridors full of vibrant souks, stunning architecture, and bubbling tagines around every corner. (Photo by Cesar Blay)

8.) Petra, Jordan

Of all the world's great ancient cities, Petra stands in a league of its own. Set in the midst of a epic, wind-swept desert, Petra's monumental rock-cut buildings must be seen to be believed. (Photo by Husar 77)

Of all the world’s great ancient cities, Petra stands in a league of its own. Set in the midst of a epic, wind-swept desert, Petra’s monumental rock-cut buildings must be seen to be believed. (Photo by Husar 77)

9.) Rome, Italy

Walking through Rome is like exploring the world's largest open-air museum. Simply put, no city on Earth combines fine art, cuisine, tons and tons of ancient history quite like the Eternal City. (Photo by Tbtb)

Walking through Rome is like exploring the world’s largest open-air museum. Simply put, no city on Earth combines fine art, cuisine, tons and tons of ancient history quite like the Eternal City. (Photo by Tbtb)

10.) Varanasi, India

Varanasi, one of India's holiest cities, is a true experience for the senses. Seeing the sunrise as the ghats on banks the Ganges fill up with holy men, pilgrims, and locals is a sight you'll never forget. (Photo by Jordi Batet)

Varanasi, one of India’s holiest cities, is a true experience for the senses. Seeing the sunrise as the ghats on banks the Ganges fill up with holy men, pilgrims, and locals is a sight you’ll never forget. (Photo by Jordi Batet)

11.) Florence, Italy

As home of the Renaissance, Florence boasts one of the most incredible art collections on Earth, to say nothing of the gorgeous cathedrals, delicious Tuscan food, and rich, enchanting architecture. (Photo by Ivan Luengo)

As home of the Renaissance, Florence boasts one of the most incredible art collections on Earth, to say nothing of the gorgeous cathedrals, delicious Tuscan food, and rich, enchanting architecture. (Photo by Ivan Luengo)

12.) Havana, Cuba

Exploring the streets of Old Havana is like stepping back in time to a world of majestic pre-revolutionary buildings, classic cars, and the smell of home-cooking mixing with the sea breeze. (Photo by Viajesyfotografia)

Exploring the streets of Old Havana is like stepping back in time to a world of majestic pre-revolutionary buildings, classic cars, and the smell of home-cooking mixing with the sea breeze. (Photo by Viajesyfotografia)

13.) Kyoto, Japan

Kyoto was once the Imperial Capital of Japan and exploring its elegant tea-houses, gardens, and castles is the best way to discover the true essence of traditional Japan. (Photo by Viajesyfotografia)

Kyoto was once the Imperial Capital of Japan and exploring its elegant tea-houses, gardens, and castles is the best way to discover the true essence of traditional Japan. (Photo by Viajesyfotografia)

14.) Jerusalem, Israel

Jerusalem is a true crossroads of cultures, cuisines, and beliefs. Nowhere is this more evident than in the streets of the Old City, home to some of history's greatest persons and events. (Photo by Ignacio Izquierdo)

Jerusalem is a true crossroads of cultures, cuisines, and beliefs. Nowhere is this more evident than in the streets of the Old City, home to some of history’s greatest persons and events. (Photo by Ignacio Izquierdo)

15.) Paris, France

The City of Lights is the place to immerse yourself in breathtaking museums, enchanting squares, and tons of cafes. It's no wonder why it's considered to be the most romantic place on Earth! (Photo by Juan Z. Aranda)

The City of Lights is the place to immerse yourself in breathtaking museums, enchanting squares, and tons of cafes. It’s no wonder why it’s considered to be the most romantic place on Earth! (Photo by Juan Z. Aranda)

16.) Beijing, China

Beijing is China's historical and cultural capital and home to two of the most awe-inspiring places on Earth: the monumental Forbidden City and the Great Wall of China in the nearby mountains.(Photo by David Esteban)

Beijing is China’s historical and cultural capital and home to two of the most awe-inspiring places on Earth: the monumental Forbidden City and the Great Wall of China in the nearby mountains.(Photo by David Esteban)

17.) Lalibela, Ethiopia

Lalibela is one of Ethiopia's great holy cities and is famous around the world for its unique and stunning collection of monolithic churches carved right into the rock below your feet. (Photo by Alfonso N. Tappero)

Lalibela is one of Ethiopia’s great holy cities and is famous around the world for its unique and stunning collection of monolithic churches carved right into the rock below your feet. (Photo by Alfonso N. Tappero)

18.) Granada, Spain

From the glories of the Alhambra to the narrow, cobblestone streets of the Albayzín district, Granada has an undeniable magic that's rarely found even in the great cities of Europe. (Photo by Miguel Eguido)

From the glories of the Alhambra to the narrow, cobblestone streets of the Albayzín district, Granada has an undeniable magic that’s rarely found even in the great cities of Europe. (Photo by Miguel Eguido)

19.) Athens, Greece

The Acropolis has a top spot on many bucket lists, but the city's sunny streets, flower-lined squares, and incredible museums makes Athens much more than just ancient ruins. (Photo by Gianfranco Perlongo)

The Acropolis has a top spot on many bucket lists, but the city’s sunny streets, flower-lined squares, and incredible museums makes Athens much more than just ancient ruins. (Photo by Gianfranco Perlongo)

20.) Bagan, Myanmar

Could the world's best sunrise be in the ancient city of Bagan? Many would say so. Just imagine: the mist evaporating in the day's first light, revealing a near-endless plain of ancient pagodas. (Photo by Gorka Nelson)

Could the world’s best sunrise be in the ancient city of Bagan? Many would say so. Just imagine: the mist evaporating in the day’s first light, revealing a near-endless plain of ancient pagodas. (Photo by Gorka Nelson)

21.) Kathmandu, Nepal

Kathmandu is, for many, the gateway to the majestic Himalayas. With its mixture of sadhus, saffron-robed monks, and iconic prayer flags, it' also one of the most colorful cities on Earth. (Photo by Nic Dalla-Valle)-

Kathmandu is, for many, the gateway to the majestic Himalayas. With its mixture of sadhus, saffron-robed monks, and iconic prayer flags, it’ also one of the most colorful cities on Earth. (Photo by Nic Dalla-Valle)-

22.) Vatican City

The Vatican is a city within a city and home to the Roman Catholic Church. Even if you're just a sightseer, the columns and cupola of St. Peter's Square are enough to take your breath away. (Photo by Pablo L. Ramos)

The Vatican is a city within a city and home to the Roman Catholic Church. Even if you’re just a sightseer, the columns and cupola of St. Peter’s Square are enough to take your breath away. (Photo by Pablo L. Ramos)

23.) Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon truly has it all: sun, sea, and an enchanting and decadent atmosphere like that found amid the sunny, colorful streets of the city's Chiado and Alfama neighborhoods. (Photo by Jessica M. Infante)

Lisbon truly has it all: sun, sea, and an enchanting and decadent atmosphere like that found amid the sunny, colorful streets of the city’s Chiado and Alfama neighborhoods. (Photo by Jessica M. Infante)

24.) Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo seems straight from the future. While this glittering metropolis of 13 million is a Mecca for shopping, foodies, and partiers, it is still home to some truly peaceful shrines and gardens. (Photo by Sandra G. Arangoa)

Tokyo seems straight from the future. While this glittering metropolis of 13 million is a Mecca for shopping, foodies, and partiers, it is still home to some truly peaceful shrines and gardens. (Photo by Sandra G. Arangoa)

25.) Istanbul, Turkey

Yes, Istanbul...the city where east meets west. From its monumental mosques to its bustling bazaars, Istanbul is city that can boast millenia of history and still be more relevant than ever. (Photo by Mikel H)

Yes, Istanbul…the city where east meets west. From its monumental mosques to its bustling bazaars, Istanbul is city that can boast millenia of history and still be more relevant than ever. (Photo by Mikel H)

26.) H?i An, Vietnam

 H?i An is a historic Vietnamese port whose UNESCO-recognized Old City is a unique mix of Japanese, Vietnamese, and European influences. Oh, and just wait until you try the food. (Photo by Vincenzo Tessarin)

H?i An is a historic Vietnamese port whose UNESCO-recognized Old City is a unique mix of Japanese, Vietnamese, and European influences. Oh, and just wait until you try the food. (Photo by Vincenzo Tessarin)

27.) Amsterdam, Netherlands

Amsterdam has one of the world's highest qualities of life, a fact not lost on the millions of visitors charmed by its famous Red Light District and stunning Van Gogh Museum. (Photo by Zu Sanchez) -

Amsterdam has one of the world’s highest qualities of life, a fact not lost on the millions of visitors charmed by its famous Red Light District and stunning Van Gogh Museum. (Photo by Zu Sanchez)

28.) Luxor, Egypt

Set on the banks of the Nile, Luxor is the most stunning of Egypt's ancient cities. Its proximity to Karnak, Thebes, and the Valley of the Kings makes it a must for history-lovers worldwide. (Photo by Pablo Charlon)

Set on the banks of the Nile, Luxor is the most stunning of Egypt’s ancient cities. Its proximity to Karnak, Thebes, and the Valley of the Kings makes it a must for history-lovers worldwide. (Photo by Pablo Charlon)

29.) Berlin, Germany

 Few cities have played such a pivotal role in recent history as Berlin and its legendary nightlife and vibrant restaurant scene also make it one of the most exciting cities in modern Europe. (Photo by Jose P. Rodriguez)

Few cities have played such a pivotal role in recent history as Berlin and its legendary nightlife and vibrant restaurant scene also make it one of the most exciting cities in modern Europe. (Photo by Jose P. Rodriguez)

30.) Jaipur, India

 Jaipur, capital of Rajasthan, is home to some of the India's most spectacular palaces and gardens. It's also part of India's famous "Golden Triangle" featuring the Taj Mahal in Agra and New Delhi. (Photo by Jordi Batet)

Jaipur, capital of Rajasthan, is home to some of the India’s most spectacular palaces and gardens. It’s also part of India’s famous “Golden Triangle” featuring the Taj Mahal in Agra and New Delhi. (Photo by Jordi Batet)

31.) Lyon, France

Lyon is a World Heritage city dating back to Roman times. Try visiting during the Fête des Lumières when the cathedrals, gardens, and streets are illuminated by thousands of lights. (Photo by Christian Belzunce)

Lyon is a World Heritage city dating back to Roman times. Try visiting during the Fête des Lumières when the cathedrals, gardens, and streets are illuminated by thousands of lights. (Photo by Christian Belzunce)

32.) Oia, Greece

Oia is the most famous town on the Greek island of Santorini and its gorgeous white and blue homes cascading down to the sea are the stuff that postcards are made of! (Photo by Gianfranco Perlongo)

Oia is the most famous town on the Greek island of Santorini and its gorgeous white and blue homes cascading down to the sea are the stuff that postcards are made of! (Photo by Gianfranco Perlongo)

33.) Siem Reap, Cambodia

While most come to see the stunning ancient city of Angkor Wat, but Siem Reap's laid-back bohemian-backpacker vibe and tasty food make it a worthy destination on its own. (Photo by Angel B. Arevalo)

While most come to see the stunning ancient city of Angkor Wat, but Siem Reap’s laid-back bohemian-backpacker vibe and tasty food make it a worthy destination on its own. (Photo by Angel B. Arevalo)

34.) Vienna, Austria

Vienna is a majestic Imperial city full of beautiful palaces, manicured gardens, and elegant cafes. The fact that it's consistently voted as one of the world's most livable cities is just the icing on the cake. (Photo by Machbel)

Vienna is a majestic Imperial city full of beautiful palaces, manicured gardens, and elegant cafes. The fact that it’s consistently voted as one of the world’s most livable cities is just the icing on the cake. (Photo by Machbel)

35.) Cusco, Peru

 Besides being the main entry point for those looking to explore the Andes and Machu Picchu, the World Heritage city of Cusco is full of historic temples, monasteries, and gorgeous colonial homes. (Photo by Chris Pearrow)

Besides being the main entry point for those looking to explore the Andes and Machu Picchu, the World Heritage city of Cusco is full of historic temples, monasteries, and gorgeous colonial homes. (Photo by Chris Pearrow)

36.) Cartagena, Colombia

 The colonial city of Cartagena on Colombia's Caribbean coast has a history filled with explorers, pirates, and royalty, and it's UNESCO-recognized Old City is every bit as enchanting as you'd expect.

The colonial city of Cartagena on Colombia’s Caribbean coast has a history filled with explorers, pirates, and royalty, and it’s UNESCO-recognized Old City is every bit as enchanting as you’d expect.

37.) Zanzibar, Tanzania

The ancient city of Zanzibar is one of Africa's top destinations and famous for its white-sand beaches and mix African, Arab, and Portuguese influences in the historic district of Stone Town. (Photo by Naxos)

The ancient city of Zanzibar is one of Africa’s top destinations and famous for its white-sand beaches and mix African, Arab, and Portuguese influences in the historic district of Stone Town. (Photo by Naxos)

38.) Mexico City, Mexico

 Mexico City is a delightful chaos of sights, sounds, and colors. Home to over 20 million people, the city offers beautiful colonial architecture, nearby ruins, and some seriously good food. (Photo by Azu Azul)

Mexico City is a delightful chaos of sights, sounds, and colors. Home to over 20 million people, the city offers beautiful colonial architecture, nearby ruins, and some seriously good food. (Photo by Azu Azul)

39.) Singapore

 Whether on vacation or during a layover, Singapore is a place that needs to be experienced. Exploring Little India is a must, but remember to save time for arguably the best street food in the entire world. (Photo by Dirk Vietzke)

Whether on vacation or during a layover, Singapore is a place that needs to be experienced. Exploring Little India is a must, but remember to save time for arguably the best street food in the entire world. (Photo by Dirk Vietzke)

40.) Las Vegas, USA

Sin City is a favorite among national and international visitors drawn by the city's incomparable mix of fine hotels, famous restaurants, and over-the-top casinos. Viva Las Vegas! (Photo by Surapon Sujjavanich)

Sin City is a favorite among national and international visitors drawn by the city’s incomparable mix of fine hotels, famous restaurants, and over-the-top casinos. Viva Las Vegas! (Photo by Surapon Sujjavanich)

41.) Samarkand, Uzbekistan

Samarkand is an ancient Silk Road city and the madrasas and mosaics of the monumental Registan square are among the world's most beautiful examples of Islamic architecture. (Photo by Sonia R. Salces)

Samarkand is an ancient Silk Road city and the madrasas and mosaics of the monumental Registan square are among the world’s most beautiful examples of Islamic architecture. (Photo by Sonia R. Salces)

42.) Sydney, Australia

From its iconic Opera House to its famous beaches, Sydney knows how to perfectly combine the natural and the urban and leaves no doubt about its place among the greatest cities on Earth. (Photo by Naxos)

From its iconic Opera House to its famous beaches, Sydney knows how to perfectly combine the natural and the urban and leaves no doubt about its place among the greatest cities on Earth. (Photo by Naxos)

43.) San Francisco, California

You didn't think we'd forget San Francisco, did you? It's historic buildings, nearby natural parks, and acclaimed cuisine make it the undoubted star of the American west coast. (Photo by Monica Lewis)

You didn’t think we’d forget San Francisco, did you? It’s historic buildings, nearby natural parks, and acclaimed cuisine make it the undoubted star of the American west coast. (Photo by Monica Lewis)

44.) Mont Saint Michel, France

As over 3 million annual visitors can attest, there are few sights quite as evocative or romantic as the spire of Mont Saint Michel Abbey rising above the tranquil Normandy coast. (Photo by Michel Exaim)

As over 3 million annual visitors can attest, there are few sights quite as evocative or romantic as the spire of Mont Saint Michel Abbey rising above the tranquil Normandy coast. (Photo by Michel Exaim)

45.) Dubrovnik, Croatia

The walled city of Dubrovnik is the jewel of the Adriatic and it's Old City (a World Heritage Site) is one of the most picturesque areas in all of Europe. Don't get us started on the beaches! (Photo by Serviajera)

The walled city of Dubrovnik is the jewel of the Adriatic and it’s Old City (a World Heritage Site) is one of the most picturesque areas in all of Europe. Don’t get us started on the beaches! (Photo by Serviajera)

46.) Bangkok, Thailand

From peaceful temples to exotic markets and rowdy nightclubs, Bangkok has something for everyone. It has become so popular, in fact, that it beat London as 2013's most-visited city! (Photo by Alberto S. Dosantos)

From peaceful temples to exotic markets and rowdy nightclubs, Bangkok has something for everyone. It has become so popular, in fact, that it beat London as 2013’s most-visited city! (Photo by Alberto S. Dosantos)

47.) Buenos Aires, Argentina

Buenos Aires is often called the Paris of South America. From the wide avenues of downtown to the colorful homes and tango clubs of Barrio La Boca, Buenos Aires is a place to savor. (Photo by Flavia Ramos)

Buenos Aires is often called the Paris of South America. From the wide avenues of downtown to the colorful homes and tango clubs of Barrio La Boca, Buenos Aires is a place to savor. (Photo by Flavia Ramos)

48.) Antigua Guatemala, Guatemala

There's one word to describe Antigua Guatemala: magical. Visitors can explore the ruins of colonial churches and monasteries and dive into a bohemian cafe, all under the gaze of the three watchful volcanoes that dominate the horizon. (Photo by Sonia R. Salces

There’s one word to describe Antigua Guatemala: magical. Visitors can explore the ruins of colonial churches and monasteries and dive into a bohemian cafe, all under the gaze of the three watchful volcanoes that dominate the horizon. (Photo by Sonia R. Salces

49.) Prague, Czech Republic

An mix of history, stunning architecture, and hearty cuisine has made Prague one of the world's most-visited cities and a must for travelers searching for the soul of central Europe.(Photo by Alvaro M. Molina)

An mix of history, stunning architecture, and hearty cuisine has made Prague one of the world’s most-visited cities and a must for travelers searching for the soul of central Europe.(Photo by Alvaro M. Molina)

50.) Budapest, Hungary

The countless empires that have ruled Budapest over the years all left a trace on this city often considered to be the most beautiful in Europe. Add a rowdy nightlife scene and plenty of hot springs, and you've got a recipe for travel bliss. (Photo by Raquel Rey)

The countless empires that have ruled Budapest over the years all left a trace on this city often considered to be the most beautiful in Europe. Add a rowdy nightlife scene and plenty of hot springs, and you’ve got a recipe for travel bliss. (Photo by Raquel Rey)

 

 

For more information and photos, visit minube.net

Happy 4th of July!

Go FOURTH and Celebrate!!

Happy 4th of July

 

Fireworks over Tempe Town Lake

Happy 4th of July

 

Happy 4th of July

 

 

 

 

Summer Solstice

Summer Solstice – a traditional time for celebrating

For those in the the Northern Hemisphere, today, (Saturday, June 21) marks the Summer Solstice — the  first official day of summer — when the sun appears highest in the sky, reaching its northernmost point.

Summer Solstice

 Longest Day – Shortest Shadow

This day is also recognized and celebrated as the longest day of year  – the longest hours of daylight for the Northern Hemisphere.

 In ancient China, the summer solstice was observed by a ceremony to celebrate the Earth, femininity, and the “yin” forces (complementing the winter solstice that celebrated the heavens, masculinity and “yang” forces.) According to Chinese tradition, the shortest shadow is found on the day of  summer solstice – also known as the longest day.

Summer Solstice The Summer Solstice in the northern hemisphere is a traditional time for celebrating Nature’s bountifulness. Fruits are swelling with growth and flowers are blooming.  Twilight  lingers late  into the summer evening. If you can, get in touch with Gaia’s nurture by spending some outdoor time and breathing in her beauty.  If you have a celebration planned with friends, more’s the better!  What does the Solstice chart say about this summer quarter? — read more at Mind Body Spirit Astrology.)

In some parts of the United States, events that focus on the theme of the summer solstice are held:  local festivals featuring art or music; environmental awareness activities that focus on using natural sunlight as a source of energy; and family gatherings (especially pool parties and cookouts)

In the north, it is the time of the midnight sun – when the sun never dips below the horizon. Midsummer festivals with bonfires and feasts celebrate the summer and the fertility of the Earth.

In Poland, thousands of lanterns are launched Summer Solstice  for a Magical Midsummer celebration.

 

 

 

 

Summer Solstice

 

 

In southern England, thousands flock to Stonehenge, a 5,000-year-old site on the Salisbury Plain  to celebrate the the June solstice. Some people believe that Stonehenge was built to help ancient people know when the solstice arrived.. Interestingly, the sun rises at a particular point on the horizon as viewed from the centre of the stone circle on day of the June solstice.

 

At the ancient megalithic observatory  of Kokino, the sun rises from a rocky crest filled with astronomical stone markers.  This 3,800-year-old observatory  in the northwestern town of Kumanovov 70 km (43 miles) north of Skopje, Macedonia, is ranked the 4th oldest observatory in the world according to NASA

Summer Solstice

 How do you celebrate?

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Resources:

http://www.mindbodyspiritastrology.com

http://www.ibtimes.com/summer-solstice-2014-5-facts-know-about-first-day-summer-1606440

http://www.timeanddate.com/calendar/june-solstice-customs.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Natural Pools

Natural Pools: A Beautiful Self-Sustaining Swimming

Pool Ecosystem for Your Yard

Natural Pools

Natural pools provide clean, safe, non-chemical swimming within a self-sustaining ecosystem. delighting the senses and providing health benefits to the body.

These pools rely entirely on the plants and animals to condition the water. This is so effective that this pool has been tested and shown to be of drinking water quality. Also, through the continual natural “cleaning process” the pool water never needs changing, saving water. It’s chemical free so it is healthy for people and wildlife alike. It’s truly wild Swimming at home. Would you get one?

“Swimming in natural water is a delight to our senses. Your skin and hair feels soft and your eyes don’t sting. It seems as if, every cell in your body is telling you – this is the way swimming should be.” -David Pagan Butler

 

Here are some free plans to build your own: Mother Earth News 

From:  The Mind Unleashed

 

Sea Life Up Close & Personal!

Sea Life Up Close & Personal!  Sea life is fascinating . . .

and especially fun when you see it up close and personal — like at the beautiful Scripps’ Birch Aquarium in La Jolla California. Sea Life Up Close & Personal!

Located on a hillside overlooking the pacific Ocean, the aquarium offers a delightful experience of watching sea life – brilliant fish, sea grasses, jellyfish -in their world of water.Sea Life Up Close & Personal!

 Sea Life Up Close & Personal!Colorful and amazing fish and other animals swim past the viewing glass. Sea Life Up Close & Personal!Sea Life Up Close & Personal! Some are strange looking – almost pre-historic, some are cute and cartoon-like.

A large 70,000-gallon kelp forest tank is filled with magnificent marine animals. Watching the swaying of the kelp with the fish swimming past is mesmerizing and will captivate you as you watch from a specially designed viewing gallery. Sea Life Up Close & Personal!

Sea Life Up Close & Personal!

Sea Life Up Close & Personal!

 

The Sea Horses are always fascinating to me and this aquarium has Sea Dragons – a relative of Sea Horses.  Sea Life Up Close & Personal!

 

 

Sea Dragons are equally fascinating and appear almost surreal!

 

Sea Life Up Close & Personal!An outside habitat offers ‘touching and feeling’ of tide pool animals such as starfish, hermit crabs, sea cucumbers and anemones. 

During  feeding time the pools come alive as colorful crabs emerge from their crevices to eat. Other inter-active exhibits and displays provide information and  ‘hands on’ learning experiences such as feeling and touching shark’s teeth.Sea Life Up Close & Personal!Sea Life Up Close & Personal!During  feeding time the pools come alive as colorful crabs emerge from their crevices to eat. Other inter-active exhibits and displays provide information and  ‘hands on’ learning experiences such as feeling and touching shark’s teeth.

 

 More photographs of Sea Life

Sea Life Up Close & Personal!Sea Life Up Close & Personal!Sea Life Up Close & Personal!

 

Glass Sculptures in the Desert

Glass Sculptures in the GardenColorful Glass Creations Light Up the Desert 

These dramatic, whimsical and graceful  blown glass  sculptures appear to ‘grow’ amid the flora at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, Arizona. 

Glass Scupltures in the Garden Chihuly in the Garden is a stunning exhibition by world renowned artist, Dale Chihuly.  His “ambitious architectural installations ” are found in historic cities, museums and gardens around the world. Chihuly is “credited with revolutionizing the Studio Glass movement and elevating the perception of glass medium from craft to fine art.” 

Glass in the GardenGlass Sculptures in the Garden

These vibrant and flamboyant sculptures are carefully and artfully placed among the stately,  sometimes stark and mostly muted desert plants.

Chihuly During the  Day

Extraordinary shapes and colors delight visitors during the daylight hours.

Glass Sculptures in the Garden

Glass Sculptures in the Garden

Glass Sculptures in the Garden

Glass Sculptures in the Garden

Glass Sculptures in the Garden

Glass Sculptures in the Garden

Chihuly At Night

After the sun sets, these amazing works of art become colorful bursts of light and swirling shapes in the quiet dark of the Desert Botanical Garden.Glass Sculptures in the Garden

Glass Sculptures in the Garden

Glass Sculptures in the Garden

Glass Sculptures in the Garden

Glass Sculptures in the Garden

Glass Sculptures in the Garden

Glass Sculptures in the Garden

Glass Sculptures in the Garden