History of Antigua is clear to see

Antigua view from Dow Hill copy

On a recent visit to Antigua, the history was brought to life at Dow’s Hill Interpretation Centre.

Dow’s Hill Interpretation Centre offers a well-crafted and knowledgeable production on the history, culture and heritage of Antigua and Barbuda.  It takes you  back into the six ages of time that have and shaped and formed what the island is today,  on a trip through the eras of the American hunters, the enormous British military presence and the struggle against slavery.  Following the fifteen minute film, stand at the top of the hill and you will be able to see key locations in the harbours and forts below that were affected by the history of ships, pirates, slavery and sugar plantations.

Antigua view from Dow Hill intepretation center copy

From English Harbour , the patchwork quilt of British History and the substantial British influence makes sense of the British feel to the island.  There are forty forts on the island, each spaced 2 miles apart.

Nonsuch Bay Resort:   we stayed in a two bedroom, two bathroom apartment overlooking the pool and the ocean, and could have stayed months with the space, the perfectly appointed amenities, and the sheer simple luxurious feeling of it. Rentals are available in 1 to 3 bedroom apartments and for a small extra fee, the resort will stock your fridge with provisions so that you don’t have to waste valuable relaxing time grocery shopping. A return visit to any resort I stay at for research speaks volumes.   I enjoyed it so much, I am returning at the end of the month with my family.


Nonsuch Bay resort beautiful shot 2

The beach and Nonsuch Bay harbour has sail boats, wind surfing, hobie-cats, paddle boards, snorkel equipment.   www.nonsuchbayresort.com

Melody’s trip to Antigua was  sponsored by the Antigua Board of Tourism

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Layover in London – There’s no shortage of things to do in England’s capital city

Somerset House

Oli Scarff,Getty Images

Skaters enjoy a rink in the courtyard of Somerset House in London, England. Inside, visits can tour the Embankment Galleries, which currently feature the exhibit Isabella Blow: Fashion Galore!

Travellers often complain of having to spend important hours at airports between flights — so why not take advantage of a layover in London and indulge in a couple of extra days to see the city’s ever changing museum exhibits and theatre productions.

You can cram a lot into 48 hours and you needn’t spend a lot of money — as many museums are free and you can often get rush seats to the theatre (or indulge in an afternoon matinee) at a fraction of the regular ticket price.

Recently, I was in London again and with only three nights and two full days, I wanted to see as much as possible. Even with such a short visit, we were able to see five exhibits, a hot new play, and retreat to a hip new hotel that everyone is talking about. We even squeezed in a quick shopping expedition to a Marks & Spencer department store.

Below are some highlights you may want to consider for your next visit:

Museums and galleries

Sir John Soane’s Museum — 13 Lincoln’s Inn Fields (www.soane.org). The innovative townhouse of the Georgian-era architect and inveterate collector John Soane is one of London’s hidden treasures — jam-packed with curios, antiquities and artworks. This is hands down my favourite museum in London.

Tate Britain, Millbank — Located in the Millbank area of central London (www.tate.org.uk). This gallery has a dramatically remodelled spiral staircase at the entrance. Here you can walk through 500 years of British art. Check the website for a list of the ever changing art exhibits — in addition to the permanent displays of works by Henry Moore, William Blake, J.M.W. Turner and many more.

Tate Modern, Bankside — Built in a former power plant, this Tate gallery (www.tate.org.uk/visit/tate-modern) offers works of modern and contemporary art.

The first retrospective to encompass the full scope of Richard Hamilton’s 60-year career opens in spring 2014. He is considered to be one of the most influential British artists of the 20th century

Note: Use a Thames River boat to travel between the Tate Britain and Tate Modern galleries. For about $5, it’s a delightful way to see London from another perspective.

The Wellcome Collection — At 183 Euston Rd. (www.wellcomecollection.org). See art, antiquities and artifacts with a medical angle — including Napoleon’s toothbrush and a transcription of the human DNA sequence, which fills an entire bookcase.

Somerset House — The Strand, London (www.somersethouse.org.uk). Home to rotating exhibits, Somerset House is a large neoclassical building overlooking the Thames River in central London. Until March 2, 2014, the Embankment Galleries at Somerset House features the exhibit, Isabella Blow: Fashion Galore!

Victoria and Albert Museum — Cromwell Road, London (www.vam.ac.uk). This is a museum that deserves an entire day of browsing. Much of the gallery is free. You do pay to enter special exhibits. Upcoming exhibits include The Glamour of Italian Fashion 1945 – 2014 (April 5 – July 27, 2014); William Kent: Designing Georgian Britain (March 22 – July 13, 2014); Disobedient Objects (July 28 – Feb. 1, 2015) and many more.

Halcyon Gallery — 144-146 New Bond St., London (www.halcyongallery.com). Halcyon Gallery was established in 1982 as a platform for inspirational art. Bob Dylan currently shows off his artistry in Mood Swings, an exhibit displaying raw industrial iron gates that the musician welded using old metal and random objects such as lawn tools, roller skates and a meat grinder. The show runs to Jan. 25, 2014.

Markets

There is no more colourful way to shop in London than by sampling its many markets. For those who have a genuine interest in food, all corners of the city boast farmers’ markets that sell produce for the dinner table. Specialty markets include Columbia Road’s famous flower market, which packs a Victorian cobbled street with bargain blooms every Sunday.

Find market listings online at: www.londonmarkets.co.uk.

Activities

View from above — Joiner Street (theviewfromtheshard. com). A 60-second elevator ride takes you up 87 storeys to the summit of architect Renzo Piano’s The Shard, an immense glass skyscraper. The reward is a view that stretches for 60 kilometres in all directions.

Hit the dance floor — Karen Hardy Studios, Imperial Wharf, London (www.karenhardystudios.com). Take private ballroom dancing lessons at the studios of a Strictly Come Dancing champion. Choose from a variety of levels of dance. All include a glass of bubbly plus the chance to be photographed with Karen Hardy’s Strictly Come Dancing trophy.

Behind the Scenes — Brit Movie Tours (www.britmovietours.com.) gives tours relating to iconic British films and TV series.

These include studio tours and walking or bus tours of locations used for the filming of Downton Abbey, Game of Thrones and the James Bond and Bridget Jones movies.

Royal palaces — A Historic Royal Palaces membership gives you access to the palaces, invites to special events and a magazine. Learn more about this offer at: www.hrp.org.uk,

Showtime — An AGT Theatre Card can get you half price and priority tickets for many London stage productions. Check it out at www.atgtickets.com

A special scent — The Perfume Studio offers a session with a perfume consultant and the chance to create your own signature fragrance. Find details at www.visittheperfumestudio.com.

 

Heritage

The year 2014 marks 100 years since the start of the First World War. Attractions at sites around England, led by the Imperial War Museums, will be part of a four-year commemorative program of events.

Aug. 4, 1914, the day that England entered the war, will be marked on Aug. 4, 2014 with a candlelit vigil of prayer at Westminster Abbey. For more information, visit www.1914.org.

The Imperial War Museum London will open new First World War Galleries in the summer of 2014. These will tell the story of people whose lives were claimed by the First World War. Learn more online at www.iwm.org.uk

The Georgians and the Vikings will also be remembered.

The British Library and Historic Royal Palaces will mark the 300th anniversary of the accession of George I to the throne with exhibits and events, including a delectable 18th-century Chocolate Kitchen at Hampton Court Palace.

The British Museum will host a major Vikings exhibit from March 6 to June 22.

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Tobago: Trinidad’s Countrified Sibling

Similar to any twins, Trinidad and Tobago are often mentioned together in the same breath. But they are not identical, and like any siblings, they assert their in- dividual identities quite clearly.

“Trinis,” as the locals from the main is- land of Trinidad call themselves, take their holidays in Tobago to get away from the bustling industrialization of their capital, Port of Spain. They find it a restful break to escape to their countrified sibling island.

Tobago was named Magdalena by Christopher Columbus in 1498. It later was re-named by the roaming Caribs and Arowaks for the long pipes they smoked that were filled with tobacco.

After a mere 18-minute flight from Port of Spain, Tobago takes you absolutely off the beaten track, and its appeal is instantaneous.

As John Murphy, acting manager of Magdalena Resort, said: “It is how the Ca- ribbean used to be and should be.”

One of the people I was travelling with commented, “The locals are so nice, I thought they were being sarcastic.”

Trinidad and Tobago are very different twins, but what weaves them together are the similarities. Experiencing waterfalls and forests are quintessential, but there are many other activities to choose from around the two islands, including snor- kelling, diving, hiking and bird watching. Birdwatchers flock to both in hopes of a peek at some of the 244 bird species found in Tobago and 450 in Trinidad.

In Tobago, I bounced around in the back of an open-topped jeep, and grip- ping firmly onto the handrail was the only way to stop from falling out as we ca- reened along a winding Caribbean coastal road. The road was so narrow and muddy with deep puddles, our tires tipped and skidded. I found myself laughing, a mix- ture of nervousness and elation, because I didn’t know what to expect next.

Our driver, Fabio, braked quickly as the jeep tore around a steep corner – the ribbon of the road ahead was completely blocked by a fallen tree. Fabio and Dennis from the second jeep didn’t hesitate as they  leapt out, quickly grabbing machetes. In a Robinson Crusoe manoeuvre, they chopped their way through the branches, freeing up the path. As we drove on, we passed abandoned plantations completely overgrown with vegetation, giving us a brief glimpse into Tobago’s history. 

The first evening on Tobago, we wad- ed up to our waists to board Island Girl, a graceful 43-foot catamaran, crewed by friendly locals that served unending amounts of rum punch and nibbles, all included in the reasonable price. From Mount Irvine Bay, we cruised around the coast of Tobago’s north shore, drink in hand, sitting on the deck of the boat, watching as the sun set in vibrant Carib- bean hues around us. It was a wonderful start to our stay.

The next day, we took the short, 10- minute walk to Argyle Falls, the highest falls on the island, tumbling 175 feet in a series of stepped cascades. Located on the Roxborough Estate, which was a thriving sugar estate up to the 1870s, it has arti- facts of the old sugar mills still in place. Very pretty to see, and if you are feeling a bit too warm, cooling off

and showering under the falls is recommended.

A visit to Fort George is worthwhile to help with an overview of the history of the island, still under the influence of a British-structured government. The number of times the island has changed hands is quite intriguing – now 31 times and counting, including traces of British, Scottish, French, Latvian, Dutch, Chinese and Finnish masters.

The British background is the most evident, with international cricket dominating the sports scene and vehicles driving on the left side of the road. Even the capital city of Scarborough was named by Scottish planters after its Yorkshire counterpart, apparently so named for the resemblance. Coastal, yes, but after that, the similarity ends.

The fort, named after King George III, still has the barracks that housed 200 men from 1784 to 1811, the walls are still crowned with broken glass meant to keep prisoners from escaping. Clinging to a cliff high above the ocean, it offers views of the harbour from the high- est part of the island. Built in the 1780s, this is Tobago’s best-preserved historical site.

The 56,000 people populating Tobago are 90 per cent African and 10 per cent mixed.

Magdalena Resort is the only four-star resort on the island, and it shows. Sprawled over 670 acres, situated along 2 1/2 miles of beach and coastline, the grounds offer nature trails and canopy walks through a virgin mangrove forest. With complimentary bicycles, four pools to dip in, PADI-certified scuba training, a spa, and endless daily activities posted in the lobby including aqua aerobics and Zumba, it is difficult to choose to just sit and relax, but many visitors do.

The resort is home to a PGA-designed championship 18-hole golf course, but many visitors choose to lounge on the beach or by one of the four pools. Shuttle buses travel twice daily to Pigeon Point, a nearby archetypal Caribbean Heritage beach with everything you need.

Off-road Jeep Safari: wwww.toba- gonow.com

islandgirltobago@gmail.com http://www.magdalenagrand.com

as published in The Canadian Jewish News

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Family Table

The blog of travel & lifestyle journalist Melody Wren:

Our family has always gathered at the table every Sunday and look forward to all the Sundays in 2014 together

Originally posted on Steve McCurry's Blog:

The family is the nucleus of civilization.
- Will Durant

ITALY-15021 (1)Perugia, Italy

Researchers have confirmed what parents have known for a long time;
sharing a family meal is good for the spirit,
the brain and the health of all family members.

- Anne Fishel, Ph.D.

01062_ 018, India 50 years after 10/96, INDIA-11301NFIndia

In family life, love is the oil that eases friction,
the cement that binds closer together, and
the music that brings harmony.
– Eva Burrows

VIETNAM-10031Viet Tri City, Vietnam

LATIN_AMERICA-10088Honduras

There is no better classroom
than the family table.
- Kaye Earle

TIBET-10522, 1999, KhamTibet

BURMA-10147NFBurma

Other things may change us,
but we start and end with the family.  

- Anthony Brandt

SRILANKA-10167 Sri Lanka

INDIA-11828NF2_esIndia

Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family.
Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one.

- Jane Howard

LEBANON-10086Lebanon

INDONESIA-10016 Indonesia during monsoon season

You can kiss your family and…

View original 153 more words

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Canada’s coolest restaurant is in Winnipeg. Winter pop-up on ice gives new meaning to term ‘frozen food’

Pop-up restaurant on frozen Winnipeg river offers even cooler line-up this winter

Icy dining room invites Alberta chef to help showcase Canadian Prairie cuisine

RAW: Almond diners

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada—The term frozen food has new meaning in ManitobaRAW: Almond, a pop-up restaurant at the fork of the Assiniboine and Red rivers in Winnipeg, returns for a mid-winter run Jan. 24 – Feb. 13, 2014.

As the wind howls, ardent foodies don down-filled parks, fur aviator caps, and sub-zero boots to dine on ice. In its second year, Raw: Almond claims to be the only pop-up restaurant of its kind in North America.

This year includes a larger dining tent with seating for 30 and a tasting lounge for 10. One wall of the tent will screen videos filmed during construction of the restaurant on ice. Eleven of Winnipeg’s top chefs will take the helm in the kitchen for two nights each. A walk-up weekend brunch will also be served.

Also new for this year, guest chef Jason Barton-Browne, sous chef at Teatro in downtown Calgary, Alberta, will put his kitchen wizardry to work inside the makeshift kitchen on ice. “Making RAW: Almond into something to bring chefs together from across Canada is just a great idea,” Barton-Browne says, who was thrilled to be invited to cook with his Winnipeg compadres.

Like last year, the evening’s menu will be a surprise. Guests will have no idea what’s cooking until they all sit at the long, communal, rough-hewn wood table.

The 32-year-old Barton-Browne hasn’t finalized his five-course tasting menu, but will aim to show off Prairie cuisine using ingredients and dishes that are familiar across the provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta. With the broadening definition and respect for Prairie cuisine, Barton-Browne says guests are in for a memorable feast. He hints at preparing Alberta-inspired borscht, as well as some sort of bison bites.

The main challenge for the chefs is the rudimentary kitchen with few luxuries (only a grill and stove top were used in 2013.) This winter, the kitchen will be open to the dining room to encourage more interaction between the chefs and the guests.

At the tasting bar, another chef will personally serve drinks and create three tapas for an intimate group of 10.

Forks at The Forks 

The RAW: Almond outdoor dining room pops up at the confluence of the Assiniboine and Red rivers at the heart of Manitoba’s capital city. Known as The Forks, the area has evolved into a popular destination for locals, visitors and urban explorers. Indoor venues like The Forks market and Johnston Terminal house restaurants, gift shops, galleries, cappuccino bars, and specialty food and wine purveyors. The area is a must-see for visitors and a favourite haunt for locals who stream to The Forks year round for fresh-air, recreational activities.

The Red River Mutual Trail is a seasonal hub for authentic Canadian winter culture. Once ice conditions permit, a double-wide skating, sledding and walking trail is cleared on the rivers. Rinks are also created along the trail where impromptu games of hockey, spongee, broomball and curling break out among families.

This frozen highway holds the Guinness World Record for longest naturally frozen skating trail, stretching for nearly 6 kilometres up the Assiniboine and Red Rivers, converging at The Forks.

In recent years, architecturally stunning warming huts, chosen during an international design competition, are also erected along the Red River Mutual Trail. The competition has become world renowned, with famed architects like Frank Gehry constructing a humble winter shelter.

The skating trails, the warming huts and the return of RAW: Almond boosts Manitoba’s reputation as a top winter destination in North America.

Comrades in Cuisine

RAW: Almond first stormed Winnipeg’s food scene in winter 2013. Despite the prairie chill of January, the event sold out with 1,300 diners tucking into the tent during its three-week run. The 2014 edition is expected to be even more popular.

RAW: Almond co-creators Mandel Hitzer, chef/owner of Deer + Almond, and architect/designer Joe Kalturnyk of RAW Gallery, came up with the idea of a temporary pop-up eatery in mid-2012. Kalturnyk designed the tent, which resembled a piece of ice thrusting up from the surface, while Hitzer approached a core group of Winnipeg’s chef community to join the party. No one declined.

Hitzer says the mission of RAW: Almond is to connect Winnipeg’s art and food communities, create a truly local food experience, and help redefine the city’s winter reputation.

It’s also about building community. RAW: Almond brings strangers around a table to enjoy a meal and conversation in a one-of-a-kind setting. “It’s the kind of experience that connects people,” Hitzer says.

Looking forward, Hitzer and Kalturnyk plan to evolve RAW: Almond into a winter food festival on ice.

Dinner tickets are $100 each. Tasting bar tickets are $45 each. For tickets contact deer + almond, 204.504.8562. or RAW Gallery of Architecture and Design, 204.998.3923.

For comprehensive information about Winnipeg, Manitoba and its winter attractions, visit www.travelmanitoba.com  andwww.tourismwinnipeg.com

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Know the airport before you arrive

many directions sign

 

For people like me that need to know where they are going before they get there, Google Street View had come to the rescue.  Google Street View has already made it possible to tour the canals of Venice from the comfort of your living room, but now the service has been updated to feature a range of international airports and train stations, so that, if you do decide to go on holiday it will be an altogether more painless experience.  Google Maps now includes 16 airports, more than 50 train and subway stations, a cable car station in Hong Kong , and even the inside of an Emirates Airbus A380 at Dubai Airport.  The service includes Waterloo station in London, Madrid’s Barajas airport, as well as Tokyo International Airport. In a blog post, Ulf Spitzer, Google Street View program manager said: “Now, in addition to scoping out your destination, Street View can help you cut down the stress of travelling by giving you a preview of your journey too. “

The Daily Telegraph

vintageluggage

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Travel Writing Workshops 2014

pile of luggage3

Southampton Art School, Southampton, Ontario

Travel Writing Part I  August 18, 19, 2014   9:00 to 12:00

Love to travel and dream of being a travel writer? Good travel writing is more than just describing where you’ve been and what you’ve seen. Travel writers must convey to readers, the places in their imaginations and beyond, using sensual description, strong narrative, unusual imagery and a clear voice. This course is an opportunity to learn those skills that will transport your writing–and your readers–to faraway places and strange new worlds. If your head is swimming with travel stories… if you like to try new adventures, experiences and explore new cafés, find out how to live the travel writer’s life
Duration of Course: The topics can be covered in two workshops of 4 hours each allowing plenty of time for writing exercises and discussions.

Galapagos 655

Through a series of exercises, this workshop encourages people who love to travel to tap into their ability to write creatively. Discussions will cover how to get started and where to look for publishing opportunities. The workshop will cover the main techniques of travel writing including:
Introduction- the basics on travel writing : different forms; how to write a query, where to access information
Media –how to find a market, information on how to find the magazine or newspaper to suit your travel story
Research – the role
Finding a voice-different ways to incorporate into your writing
Travel writing tips – details only an insider can share
1. CY article Grand Anse beach view from Spice Island Beach resort (sailboat)

Travel Writing Part II  August 21, 22, 2014,   9:00 to 12:00

If you took Travel Writing I in 2012 or 2013, you are eligible for this in-depth workshop. If you haven’t, but you have writing experience, and the accompanying moxy to convince us you are ready for this leap, please join us.

If you are seriously considering trying on the travel writer life, this is the course for you. An in-depth discussion of the realities of the life of travel writing will be accompanied by practical in-depth writing exercises to get you started as a freelancer. Building on the travel writing basics of Part 1, we will delve deeper into what angles you as a writer can pursue. ” Write about what you know.” We have heard the expression, now let’s explore what that means to make it work.

Carrick a rede rope bridge
In this detailed workshop, we will examine publications closely, write sample query letters put an article together step by step . We will develop self-editing skills focussing only on what is important for each article.

The following will be covered sequentially:

Publishing markets: how to find a market that suits your style of writing

Query/Pitches: you will write a query turning it into something you can use
Research : this is a powerful tool, how to use it to get published
Niche/Angle: your unique perspective
Outline: how to outline your article coming up with a formula you can use time and time again
Get Started: the basics on putting yourself out there: what is the first step?
Marketing: how to market yourself, get out there and get published

Scandinave snow covered Muskoka chairs

Mona Lisa SmileTo register:  www.southamptonart.com or call 1-800-806-8838

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