I was seduced by my visit to Valletta. One has to visit Malta to dive into a place, a universe where architecture can date from the prehistoric era, where the Romans lived as well as the Arabs, the French, the Knights of St. John and the British. It’s absolutely fantastic.
A major event on the international calendar, the Valletta festival brings baroque music to the fore in January, in a city where the melodious echoes of the 16th century still resonate. The masterful interpretation of renowned artists (Andrea Bocelli), the beauty and acoustics of prestigious concert venues such as the Manoel Theater, as well as the quality of the works presented, make this festival an inevitable rendez-vous for fans of the genre.
And one could not imagine a more beautiful setting to celebrate baroque music than the city of Valletta, which carries in it the quintessence of this flamboyant time. The Maltese capital as we can discover it today, built by the knight Jean Parisot of Valletta after the Great Siege of the island by the Ottomans in 1565, retains intact perfectly intact the charm and the architectural harmony of its creation.
Unesco’s World Heritage Site for its concentration of monuments from the 16th and 17th centuries, invites you to a wonderful dive in the heart of the rich and spectacular Baroque style.
You may locate in a very comfortable 5-star hotel at the gateway to the historic entrance of Valletta, you will go to meet this exciting city, while enjoying the festival thanks to these exceptional performances that will delight all music lovers. ..
One must never stop dreaming. I wanted to see the island of Santorini. I often went offshore but this time I finally saw those blue domes that amaze and I could set foot there.
Domes that make us realize that we are very far from our starting point.
Yet besides these donkeys that lead us up to Fira to see enchanting sunsets to the romantic aspect, there is an archaeological site that is worth visiting not far away and it is Akrotiri.
Some 9 kilometers south of Fira, along a winding road, is far from imagining that there is an ancient city to visit, a city dating from the 17th century BC according to experts.
There was nothing to suggest that at this place under tons of ashes and pumice stones there existed at one time, far away, a village of nearly 9,000 minoans. Many have believed in the civilization of Atlantis.
This city was buried by a volcanic eruption similar to that which buries the cities of Heculanum and Pompeii. Thus it has been preserved for more than 3500 years. The excellent state of conservation of the buildings and their magnificent frescoes provides an insight into the social, economic and cultural history of the Bronze Age in the Aegean Sea. Before the earthquake, the streets were paved with large stone slabs, beneath which flowed sewers with constant slope throughout the city. Where the streets were heightened after the earthquake, the slabs and the sewer were covered, and a new area was rebuilt with paving stones. Differences in ground level were reached by ramps or stairs, and forestay walls consolidated houses, squares and streets of different levels. These walls and pottery were updated during the works for the Suez Canal when a pressing need demanded pumice stones for its execution. Nothing predicted such a discovery.
How to forget Santorini, its blue waters, its sun, its inhabitants, its ruins and its baklava.
Italy has everything to seduce and Venice remains an exceptional place capable of giving you a real thunderbolt that will last all your life.
My first contact was in the early morning at the arrival of a train coming from Paris. Leaving the station, I was literally overwhelmed by the view of the canals, the old buildings and especially the silence of a city without a car.
The last was on the Queen Victoria, a magnificent cruise ship from Cunard from where on the upper deck I could admire the rooftops of the city. A different perspective but how exhilarating.
A classic stop is St Mark’s Square with its imposing cathedral, its overpriced terraces and its opening onto the lagoon with turquoise waters when the weather is nice. The Palace of the Doges, who ruled the town, and the famous Bridge of Sighs, under which hundreds of gondolas filled with lovers every day pass, who do not know that the sighs which gave their name to the Bridge were not those but rather those of those condemned to death who were going to enforce their condemnation.
From the docks of the lagoon you can see the gondolas, taxi boats, bus boats, rubbish boats and a wide variety of other colored boats. The large steamships that leave the Grand Canal to reach the open sea by sailing between the islands are a striking spectacle. Throughout the canals, you can see these columns painted in twists with very visible colors that serve to moor the boats or to identify a boat-bus stop.
A frequent destination is the island of Murano with its glass craftsmen who offer products for all tastes and all prices.
The true charm of Venice lies for me in the secondary canals and small places less frequented by tourists where you will find old churches to visit and restaurants filled with residents. Everywhere bridges, sometimes very narrow canals and everywhere this silence with, as the only background noise, the occasional passage of a small boat propelled by very quiet engines and the sound of waves lapping on the houses.
Who says Italy, says good food and good wines. Venice has everything you need to satisfy. Not to mention the gelato cone which is a delight at any time of the day. And of course, Venice has beautiful museums, theaters, festivals, a carnival and beautiful things in the windows of the commercial streets.
At sunset, you will see the buildings become orange and when night comes, the water will become a mirror for the lights.
If you resist, you are not like me.
You have to see Venice and take time to live at its own pace!
When my children knew that I was going to live in Florida they offered me equipment for snorkeling. I had never done so and I was thrilled that I could be involved in this activity given the Keys’ reputation for its corals.
Then on a beautiful Sunday afternoon, I, very feverish, tried the experiment. I walk in the water with curiosity and enthusiasm. Beautiful benches of blue fish, tiny yellows, tiny that follow me. I continue, the adventure is beautiful. The snorkel is a fascinating activity where you forget the outside world and you are guided by the beautiful fish The sun rays filter through the water letting us glimpse the tall grasses that attract multicolored fish. Suddenly there is an astonishing effervescence. A fish of about six feet, rather slender but massive, advances. The teeth are prominent. It weighs about 80 pounds (this is the template of one of my old aunts). I am not a fisherman but in the eye it does not look like a trout. He’s lonely and let’s say he has a dirty mouth. Suddenly I have a doubt. I did not think I could beat that fast. The equipment of false siren of the seas has its utility! Then I realized that the beach was much further away than I had anticipated. I do not have hyper ventilated but let’s say I found it hard to catch my breath. The beating heart I came out of the water quite dazed. I probably had a face to face with a barracuda. The fish you do not dream of seeing during his first snorkeling experience, finally not me.
And if the Barracuda were not so dangerous even if they have canines that can cut their victims to pieces? They have a pointy nose and apparent teeth and are cold-blooded predators like all fish. They are not always lonely and can stand in benches with a few thousand buddies. They are not concerned with their offspring, which reaches adulthood at two years. It is however impossible to know the sex of these fish that live about 14 years. They are good prey for fishing enthusiasts but are not edible. For this species equipped with a spine, it is easy for them to find prey in the corals thanks to an elongated silhouette which gives them a great flexibility. The look of predators sticks to their scales for 50 million years.
Now I know that barracuda only very seldom attacks humans unless provoked and this fact has been confirmed by some Crandon Park specialists who have never heard of an attack.
A little advice however: the jewelry is to proscribe since they attract the barracudas that are curious … Anyway this coquetry is useless given the little sex appeal that give us the mask, snorkel and palms!
It is to Napoleon Bonaparte Broward, (the name is not modest I agree and the parents had a lot of humor!) Then governor of the State of Florida, that the county of Broward owes its name. The counties of Palm Beach and Dade were split up to create this new county in 1915.
It took less than a century to make a land unsuitable for humans as a paradise for millions of people.
The task was not easy, however. Roads, ports and a railway were needed for the inhabitants to survive. There was only the sea, the sand, the sun, and the Everglades. It was almost impossible to do culture there.
Yet anthropologists have discovered human remains at Vero Beach on the east coast and at Charlotte Harbor on the west coast. These bones of Indians, hunters of big game would date more than 10 000 years. As food is lacking, there is an evolution of the type of their society. The Indians of this period, whom archaeologists call the « Archaic » eat almost everything they find, and studies have even shown that their teeth were worn out by the sand they would have had in their diet. They are the first residents of Broward County. They are nomads in search of food: crustaceans, fish, deer and bears, seaweeds and pears. They do not stay long in the same place since they are always looking for food.
This tribe which the Spaniards baptized of Tequesta was not the most hospitable. They did not like foreigners and in 1521 Ponce de Leon was killed in Charlotte Harbor and the Spanish mission established at the mouth of the Miami River was abandoned in less than two years. The Tequesta are less and less numerous in this region, they appear no more than 80 in southeastern Florida in 1763. The few remaining Indians fled to Havana when the Spaniards ceded Florida To Great Britain at the end of the war between France and the Indians.
The British again ceded the territories to the Spaniards by the Treaty of Paris after the American Revolution. Finally, Americans were offered Florida by Spain in 1821.
The Seminole Indians, forced to migrate further south, refuse this time to give up their pastures and fertile lands in northern Florida, which they have long cultivated for settlers who try to take ownership of them and do their best for them eliminate. It’s the war.
In 1838, many volunteers and the army commanded by Major William Lauderdale, established a fort at the mouth of the New River. This fort and the one that was later built on the beach bears the name. Yet the fear of the Seminoles persisted more than fifty years after the end of the wars in 1842.
Some farmers still decided to settle in the area and in 1891 there was enough to justify the establishment of a post office. The mail was distributed by a mailman who was barefoot on the beach between Hypoluxo at the end of Lake Worth and Miami.
On February 22, 1896, thanks to Mr. Flagler, who extended the railway line to New River, the first train entered the station. The railroad was there. They were missing the home buyers. With great publicity, Flagler is promoting South Florida. It was the northeastern Swedes who responded to the call and settled in Hallandale and Danes from the Midwest founded Dania. Farmers from the south are looking for better land and are also settling in Pompano and Deerfield.
Everglades drainage and canal dredging north and south of the New River have contributed greatly to the county’s prosperity, both through farming and residential development.
Although between 1920 and 1925 there was an average annual increase of 9,107, between 1950 and 1970 it was much larger, ie 26,808. The population increased from 83,933 to 620,100 inhabitants . If the first arrivals were farmers, the new ones were largely retired. This markedly changed the economy of the region.
The recession of 1974 hit Florida so strongly that there were up to 50,000 condominium apartments not sold at that time. Fortunately, all this is of the past.
The most formidable now are the real estate developers who could disfigure forever this environment that attracted those who were in search of sun and sweetness of life!
How to resist the visit to Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, on Mount Corcovado, of the gigantic statue of Christ the Redeemer in honor of the Princess of Isabella regent of Brazil at a time when the country was under Portuguese rule.
Of course one should not suffer from vertigo to reach this Christ. But the expedition is worth the cost and the displacement because the sight that is offered to our eyes is quite remarkable, fantastic.
This tourist site is the most characteristic and probably the most visited site of the country. This art-deco style sculpture was completed in 1931, it is made of reinforced concrete, and is the largest in the world. High in its 30 meters, it extends its arms over a length of more than 28 meters and is visible from all over the city.
The work is that of the engineer Heitor da Silva Costa, with the French sculptor Paul Landowski as well as the Brazilian artist Carlos Oswald, a colossal achievement.
When you plan to travel with children, do not forget that major North American hotel chains normally have larger rooms than boutique hotels. With young children, forget about the suite, and instead ask for a room with a bathroom or a spacious wardrobe, to grow the cradle at bedtime.
2) If you can not resist the gravitational pull of Walt Disney, you will save money by visiting the dollar store. Prepare gift bags and then give them to your children before entering the amusement park vortex. So, they will no longer ask you for incredibly expensive trinkets from La Reine des neiges or La Petite sirène.
3) Better be too prepared, especially if your child is turbulent. Temporary tattoos for children – such as tattoos.org – which indicate parents’ phone numbers, provide peace of mind in the event of a mishap.
4) Rent the house or apartment of another family instead of a hotel room. You will have a functional kitchen, without having to bring toys, books or cribs.
5) Use storage cubes – zipper bags of various sizes that form suitcase drawers. I prepare a cube per child, so I do not have to empty the bag to find a specific article. Bentley has an excellent selection of luggage.
6) Dinner at the restaurant with children can be difficult, so it is best to have a nice family dinner. Children are in a better mood in the afternoon and dinner is often cheaper than supper.
7) Place paperclips of different colors on the passports of each member of the family, in order to know immediately who they belong to.
8) Easier said than done, but if you can limit the daily screen time, the iPad is the secret weapon of parents traveling. My son can only watch movies in the air and in the car – and he enjoys it every second.
9) Lint rollers can clean everything. Drag the travel format to handle sequins spills, Cheerios on the run, and more.
10) Place Band-Aids on the sockets of your hotel room, to ensure the safety of your children.
11) Whether you need a toilet (good morning cleaning), a family restaurant or a pediatrician, international SIM cards, such as trpprmobile, help you to locate what is necessary for your children, without worrying High roaming rates.