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Cruising the Mediterranean

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By Sunny Lockwood and Al Lockwood

Guest Post

For those of us who love to travel, there’s rarely a question of why?

We know why: we want to see new places, learn about new cultures, try new foods, and simply have fun in a city or countryside where we’ve never been before.

The questions we ask are: Where do we want to go next? How can we get there? When can we leave?

My husband and I have had the travel bug since we were young. Now, well into retirement, our wanderlust is strong as ever. And the rewards are equally great.

Studies show that travel is good for the body, the brain and the spirit. And even though our older bodies lack the endurance they once had, we find that travel enlarges our concept of “home” and enriches our experience of wonder.

Imagine being awakened by the deep, resonant melody of church bells, bells that have rung each morning for centuries. That was our experience in Florence.

Or being enveloped in the fragrance of incense from a fortuneteller’s shop. We experienced that each afternoon in Barcelona. Our Airbnb apartment was right above her shop.

Imagine the flavor of dark chocolate gelato setting your taste buds dancing. That was our daily experience in Venice. That and the scene of shiny black gondolas sliding calmly through narrow canals.

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Our stunning world is immense. But our individual lives are brief. So if there’s something you dream of doing, our advice is do it now. While you can.

Sweetheart Al and I choose ocean cruising as our preferred method of long-range travel. There are many reasons for this, including our modest travel budget and our declining mobility. We can no longer hike like there’s no tomorrow, jump into sleeping bags, or pedal bicycles for miles.

But on a cruise we can see the world at our own pace and in our own way while sleeping in the same comfortable bed each night.

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And we’ve chosen to share our adventures through travel memoirs.

Our newest book, Cruising the Mediterranean, brings readers along on our 12-day cruise to Venice, Athens, Istanbul, Ephesus and three Greek islands.

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Even before we left California, we started our trip by adjusting our internal clock so that we’d be on European time when we arrived in Amsterdam. We added four days in Amsterdam just because Al wanted me to see that historic city, before boarding our cruise ship.

In Amsterdam, we used Airbnb. A first for us, and we loved the experience. We stayed in the heart of historic Amsterdam. Actually, our room was in the Red Light District, so our “window shopping” introduced us to the latest in sex toys, edible underwear and items we couldn’t even identify.

We cruised on Holland America. We’ve cruised on other lines, but this 12-day trip fit our pocketbook and visited places we really wanted to see.

At every stop, we experienced something wonderful, from standing on the Acropolis as the morning sun gilded its marble monuments, to watching a rug weaving demonstration in Istanbul.

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We discovered delectable Turkish Delight during a dinner cruise along the Bosphorous Strait. And enjoyed the largest piece of Baklava we’d ever seen in a family-owned restaurant on the island of Santorini.

We’ve done our best to capture in words (and a few photographs) the wonder of our trip. Our goal in writing travel memoirs? To share our fun and fabulous experience. And to encourage others to make their own travel dreams come true.

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*Sunny Lockwood is a retired newspaper reporter, columnist and editor. Her freelance stories and articles have been published in MS magazine, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and other national and regional publications. Al Lockwood is a retired Silicon Valley engineer. He’s a fine art photographer whose work has been published in magazines and newspapers.

*All the images courtesy of Sunny Lockwood and Al Lockwood

 

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Curves in the City

By Nora Vasconcelos

The world looking at us.
The world looking at us.

Mexico city is a place where street art has found an immense canvas. Very often, people who live here, as well as tourists, get surprise with unexpected pieces that bring a nice variation to the everyday routine.

This time, an art installation known as Ball Parade can be observed along a business and touristic corridor of the Mexican capital. It presents a series of football balls with innovative designs, some of the used to promote peace, a better world for the children, and some others to honor the history of famous Mexican teams and players.

The exhibition comes in a fantastic time when it’s all about football in two continents, with the Copa America and the Euro Cup being played at the same time in the USA and France.

The curvy art pieces will remain along Reforma avenue until July 23rd, after that it will travel around Mexico, and, probably, abroad.

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A pure moment of tranquility

By Nora Vasconcelos

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It’s lovely the way this seagull found a quiet moment to wander around the place while lots of tourists were around.

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Time to Spare

By Nora Vasconcelos

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Everyday life sometimes makes us go on a frenetic rush, hurrying up to everywhere, with no time to observe all those unique things that the world is holding for us.

Aware of this, I always try to take a few moments in which I breathe deeply and look around, up and down, and by doing this, I’ve had the chance to admire so many little wonders that frequently remain overlooked.

Then, I let life take its own rhythm, keeping always a little time to spare to enjoy all that peace and beauty that can be found everywhere, particularly when we take the time to stop for a minute, and look around.

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