A Bachelor lands in Christchurch (New Zealand)

. . . doing OK here so far . . . I found a good one bedroom place  for a fairly reasonable amount (by Christchurch standards — everything is outrageously high here due to supply and demand). A Bachelor in Christchurch

The great thing about it is the location..literally five minutes to work walking, two blocks from a giant, gorgeous urban park and botanical gardens, many cool bars and cafés within close walking (staggering) distance.  Central city, art museum and major hospital only two blocks away.

 And across the street from a small urban river that people actually canoe/kayak in (kind of like Boulder, Colorado)…A Bachelor in Christchurch   A Bachelor in Christchurch

Very active outdoor lifestyle and fabulous, always changing weather systems off the ocean..many people jogging, walking, running, biking, skating etc everywhere…giant green trees, grass, ferns, flowers etc all over (Charlotte would love it!).

Haven’t felt any earthquakes yet but that is a serious possibility, almost certainty since this is a very active seismic zone!

People are friendly and outgoing and I’m having a completely different experience this time, so far..not making enough money but making enough to do this, I guess, so it’s all good so far!
The Antigua Boatshed Cafe is a quaint little cafe that has great food and riverside seating and is right across a little parking lot from my apartment …now you get a sense of where I landed and live…I think I did luck out on the bachelor pad!
OK, have to get going and get ready for work!! haha, not used to this kind of schedule!
Take care, best regards to everyone  and especially Charlotte..


Photo credits: Christchurch Chamber of Commerce








Mosaiculture in Montreal

“Passing this along,  wish I was there to see it.
I thought you might enjoy this!”
Montreal Mosaiculture
Montreal Mosaiculture
Once every three years, in a major city somewhere in the world, there is an international competition in horticultural sculpture, called “mosaiculture”.  This year it was Montreal.
This is not topiary  but rather creating sculptures out of living plants. A year in advance, the greatest horticulturalists in the world – from 20 different countries – submitted plans.  Steel armatures were created to support the works (some are 40 feet high); they were then wrapped in steel mesh and filled with dirt and moss and watering hoses. Then they ordered 3  million plants of different shades of green and brown and tan, and these were grown in greenhouses all over Quebec.
In late May, the horticulturalists arrived at the Montreal Botanic Gardens and planted all of their plants into the forms.  These sculptures stood on display through the summer until September 29.  There were 50 major sculptures along a path two miles long.
Montreal Mosaiculture
Truly  incredible!
See more sculptures (33 photos!) and read more about the Montreal Mosaiculture Exhibition 2013, at My Virtual Garden 

Colorado’s Secret: Great Breweries, Distilleries and Wineries

The gorgeous fall weather seemed to attract even MORE bicycles and boisterous revelers to the fun Fall Bicycle and Beer Festival — the Tour de Fat  —  brought to us by New Belgian Brewing Company – one of Colorado’s finest breweries.

A  vacation in Colorado gives you world-class skiing in the winter, summertime hiking and biking trails through the spectacular Rocky Mountains, Colorado Vacations and some of the best distilleries, breweries and wineries you can visit all year round.

Colorado has long been known as one of the top craft beer-producing states in the nation. It has 160 breweries and counting.

The state is now also coming into its own with award-winning craft distilleries, as well as unique wines that are becoming world-renowned.

Colorado’s secret to success may be its “seed-to-table” philosophy. Local ingredients from Colorado farms and often times from the beverage producers’ own farms and gardens are used.

Below is a sampling of some of Colorado’s top distilleries, breweries and wineries offering seed-to-table beverages, most with tasting rooms and tours.


1. Durango’s Ska Brewing Company’s signature True Blonde and True Blonde Dubbel include local honey from Durango’s own Honeyville. They also brew Hoperation Ivy, a wet-hop IPA that coincides with the Colorado hop harvest each August. Hoperation Ivy is made entirely with ingredients sourced in Colorado including organic hops from Leroux Creek Farms in Hotchkiss, and malt from the Colorado Malting Co. in Alamosa.

2. Oskar Blues Brewery in Longmont is a funky little brewpub that started the craft-beer-in-a-can craze ten years ago with Dale’s Pale Ale. Oskar Blues has their own Hops & Heifers Farm that houses a two-acre hop field in addition to growing their own vegetables, Black Angus Cattle and Berkshire Pigs to supply their restaurants.

They also use spent grain from the brewing process to supplement feed for the animals, and they host beer dinners at their farm.


1. Deerhammer Distilling Company in Buena Vista is an award winning micro-distillery specializing in premium small batch whiskey.

Deerhammer sources their grain from the nearby San Luis Valley, their Buena Vista Brandy is made in partnership from grapes grown on Colorado’s Western Slope and the barrel aged spiced apple liqueur to be released this fall was made from 900 pounds of hand cut apples from Cedaredge.

2. Peach Street Distillers in Palisade was named the American Distilling Institute’s 2012 “Distillery of The Year” and utilizes local corn, juniper berries and a variety of fruit from a stone’s throw away from their distillery.

Last year they also made good use of over 90,000 pounds of over-ripened peaches and over 60,000 pounds of over-ripened pears from the Palisade orchards.


1. Augustina’s Winery in Boulder is a one-woman operation creating novel and unexpected blends from unusual grapes sourced from Colorado farms. The Venus de Vino Table Wine is made from Boulder’s Leistikow Farms Marechal Foch grapes.

Augustina’s Winery makes sure that each and every bottle has its own personality and purpose including wines that go with backpacking adventures, mystery novels and gingersnaps.

2. The Winery at Holy Cross Abbey in Cañon City began as an extension of the next-door Benedictine Abbey, and exists independently today.

Not only do they buy some of their fruit from the nearby state penitentiary’s vineyard and orchard management rehab program, but they also created Wild Canyon Harvest from the grapes picked by area residents from vines in their backyards and growing wild.

South Central Colorado was a huge grape growing and wine making region at the end of the 19th Century and now many of those original vines are still growing in backyards and open space.

Find a great budget-friendly Colorado timeshare rental, and start your tours and sampling of these and other breweries, distilleries and wineries.

Source: Inside the Gate

Photo Credit: clarkvision.com

Adapted from an article by  Alice Perkins who is a timeshare travel blogger for RedWeek.com, the largest online market place for timeshare rentals, where vacationers can find luxury accommodations for less than the cost of a typical hotel room.

Purple Potatoes, Poi, and ….Spam?

Culinary Curiosities of Hawaii

There are any numbers of wonderful reasons to take a vacation to the islands of Hawaii. And the food is one of them.

Hawaiian cuisine is a delicious mix of Polynesian, Asian, Portuguese, and American influences.

The Hawaiian Islands also have their own unique foods that certainly add interest to many of their dishes. Here are 3 for you to consider:

1. Poi. 
For centuries a staple of the Polynesian diet, poi is made from the tuber of the taro plant. The tuber is cooked either by baking or steaming, and then mashed to a viscous fluid.

The consistency is determined by the amount of water that is added during the mashing process and again just before serving. The desired consistency is highly personal, and can range from liquid to dough-like, being called one-fingertwo-finger or three-finger, depending on how many fingers you would have to use to eat the poi by dipping it out of the bowl.

Poi has a paste-like texture and a delicate flavor. Fresh poi is sweet. Each day thereafter the poi loses sweetness and turns slightly sour. Sour poi is still quite edible and delicious with salted fish, lomi lomi salmon, and terriyaki meat on the side. Sour poi is also used as a cooking ingredient, usually in breads and rolls.

2. Hawaiian Purple Sweet Potatoes. (See top photo)
These tubers are a member of the morning glory family and are called ‘uala in Hawaiian.

Sweet potatoes are such an important part of a the Polynesian diet that they were one of the 30 plants the Polynesians selected and brought with them when they first settled Hawaii in the 6th century. By 1400 AD sweet potato farming was quite extensive and regular consumption was definitely a main portion of the islander’s healthy diet.

Hawaiian Purple Sweet Potatoes have a beautiful purple coloring which makes them appealing to kids and are visually attractive when plated. Their natural sweetness casts them as a star in desserts and as a wonderful contrasting flavor in savory dishes as well.

They are wonderfully versatile and can be a key ingredient in everything from chips to ice cream. These purple potatoes have a naturally creamy flavor and texture and hold their shape well for salads.

Hawaiian Purple Sweet Potatoes maintain their lovely lavender hue even after cooking

3. Spam. 
Yes, that pink pork that is pressed into a can. Hawaiian residents eat more than 6 million containers every year, the nation’s highest per capita consumption of the processed meat.

The state’s love affair with Spam began during World War II, when rationing created just the right conditions for the rise of a meat that needs no refrigeration and has a remarkably long shelf life.

And leave it to the Hawaiians to make Spam uniquely their own. Served with a Polynesian flair, Spam in the islands can be found combined with rice and wrapped in seaweed, or served with eggs topped with pineapple.

The most popular Hawaiian version of the potted meat is Spammusubi — teriyaki-fried Spam served on nori-wrapped rice, which is massed produced and widely available, including at most convenience stores (see photo).

Spam is served in a variety of forms and can be found on the menus of both high-end restaurants and fast food joints.

Enjoy an island vacation by staying in a budget-friendly Hawaii timeshare rental, and then use your timeshare kitchen to have fun preparing your own Polynesian versions of these culinary curiosities.

Photo Credit (1): tastyislandhawaii.com
Photo Credit (2): iowaavenue.com
Photo Credit (3): emiandkyleheartfood.blogspot.com

Adapted from an article by  Alice Perkins who is a timeshare travel blogger for RedWeek.com, the largest online market place for timeshare rentals, where vacationers can find luxury accommodations for less than the cost of a typical hotel room.


Speaking of Washington, D.C.

Five National Parks Right in Washington, D.C.

Most people think of the National Parks of the U.S. as being large tracks of land such as Yellowstone, Yosemite, and the Great Smoky Mountains. But did you know that there are a number of national parks right in the midst of Washington, D.C.?


1. President’s Park

The President of the United States actually lives in a National Park!

While the grounds of the President’s Park are generally open year-round, certain park areas may be closed at times on a temporary basis by the U.S. Secret Service. This is done to provide security for the safety of the public, of the White House occupants, and of the White House complex itself.

The White House Visitor’s Center is closed at this time for renovations. You can visit the temporary Visitor’s Center located at the Ellipse Pavilion Complex just southeast of the White House.

Here you can ask questions at the information desk, view “Where History Lives,” a 30-minute film on the White House, and browse the gift shop run by the White House Historical Association.

2. National Mall and Memorial Parks

The National Park Service is charged with the maintenance and support of the National Mall and the Memorial Parks. This includes the iconic memorials such as the Lincoln Memorial, the Jefferson Memorial, and the newest addition – the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial.

There are 150 Memorial Parks to visit. This term covers circles, reserves, fountains, and park areas.

Two of the most popular are Constitution Gardens, a 50-acre park where the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial is located; and Potomac Park, which includes the Tidal Basin, home to the 3700 cherry trees gifted to the United States by Japan. Plus 148 more!

To facilitate your experience as you visit these memorials and parks, the National Park Service offers a 
free app
 for your mobile device.

3. George Washington Memorial Parkway

This lovely parkway, maintained by the National Park Service, has been designated an “All American Road,” as a National Scenic Byway. This means that the U.S. Department of Transportation recognizes the parkway for meeting natural, archeological, recreational, cultural, historic, and scenic “intrinsic qualities.”

The parkway was designed as a road that encourages “recreational driving,” and takes you to sites that commemorate important events in American history. And its scenic beauty, along with a network of trails, gives the visitor a place to get away from the hustle and bustle of Washington D.C.’s metropolitan area and enjoy a place to play and to rest.

4. Rock Creek Park

This 1754-acre park follows the course of Rock Creek as it crosses the Maryland/Washington, D.C. border. Considered by many to be a hidden gem, Rock Creek Park is one of the oldest National Parks in the U.S., having been established by Congress in 1890, the same year that the more well-known Yosemite National Park was created.

Rock Creek Park offers picnic areas along the creek, under majestic trees where you can enjoy fresh air, the sounds of birds, and even a sighting of a wild animal or two.

There are also several recreational facilities in the park including an equestrian trail, a challenging golf course, and even an outdoor concert venue. The National Park Service’s only planetarium, built in 1960, is also here, located in the Nature Center.

5. National Capital Parks – East

Stretching from Capitol Hill across 8,000 acres to the Maryland suburbs, National Capital Parks-East consists of 13 park sites that offer recreational, as well as cultural and historic parklands for exploration.

Some of the more well-known National Capital Parks include:

  • Anacosta Park, is one of Washington, D.C.’s largest recreational areas. Its 1200 acres not only offer picnic sites, ball fields, and boating, but is also the home of the United States Park Police helicopter unit known as “Eagles Nest.”
  • Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens, is the only national park created for the propagation of water plants. Here you can see a multitude of beautiful, rare, waterlilies and lotus flowers. You can also explore the last remaining tidal marsh in Washington, D.C.
  • Fort Washington Park commemorates Ft. Washington, the only fort ever to defend the capital city. The fort that is seen today was built in 1824 (the original one having been destroyed during the War of 1812), and was situated to have a good view down the Potomac River to train cannons on advancing enemy ships.

Visiting this park you have extensive bike and hiking paths, as well as picnic areas, and even fishing in the river. You’ll also want to explore the museum, and stay to watch the historical re-enactments that are presented periodically.

Exploring Washington, D.C.’s National Parks gives you beautiful scenery, recreational activities, and history and culture, all in one easy-to-access area.

About the author:

Alice Perkins is a timeshare travel blogger for RedWeek.com, the largest online market place for timeshare rentals, where vacationers can find luxury accommodations for less than the cost of a typical hotel room.

Great Article! THANKS  Tigga.org

Indoor Tropical Islands Resort

      An ingenious concept and use of an obsolete structure – the Tropical Islands Resort appears to provide all the fun and enjoyment of  a true tropical paradise and luxury resort.     

 I am intrigued.        Anyone out there have first-hand experience to share? 

Indoor Tropical Island Resort

No chance for a tropical storm in here!

Incredible pictures show luxury resort complete with sandy beaches,

palm trees and clear blue water…

Indoor Tropical Island Resort

inside an enormous German hangar surrounded by snow…

Indoor Tropical Island Resort

 With sandy beaches, clear blue water and palm trees, this looks like a spectacular and luxurious sun-kissed resort.   Holiday makers can be seen relaxing in swimming shorts and bikinis. Even the occasional flamingo can be spotted.

Indoor Tropical Island Resort
But, not everything is as it seems at The Tropical Islands.     
 The ‘resort’ is actually located on the site of a former Soviet military air base in Krausnick, Germany, inside a hangar built originally to house airships designed to haul long-distance cargo.  
And despite it looking like temperatures are through the roof – outside the giant hanger it is actually snowing.

Indoor Tropical Island Resort

As these incredible pictures show, the resort contains a beach, a lagoon, water slides with adventure park.

Indoor Tropical Island Resort
Indoor Tropical Island Resort
Indoor Tropical Island Resort
Guests can enjoy numerous restaurants, evening shows and can also relax in a sauna.

Indoor Tropical Island Resort

 Indoor Tropical Island Resort

Indoor Tropical Island Resort

Indoor Tropical Island Resort

 Indoor Tropical Island RE\esortThis article came to me via email. I apologize for not being able to give proper credit to the original source. Researching this fascinating destination resort, uncovers several informational references, including the Tropical Islands Resort website. You are encouraged to read through some of these sites for the history, construction, and various perspectives of it, such as this excerpt from a Germany Travel  site:

      The Tropical Islands resort, 60km south of Berlin, is a fascinating tropical world that stretches across an area of 66,000m² and features the world’s largest indoor rain forest, a tropical village with traditional buildings from countries such as Bali and Borneo, Europe’s biggest tropical sauna suite and Germany’s highest water slide. Every day there’s a programme of shows and evening entertainment.