Posted on December 10, 2018 by Janet Steinberg
Twelve of 2018's Favorite Things

By Janet Steinberg 

My travel experiences are like my children…I love them all. I have no favorites.  However, I must confess, every once in a while even one of my children does something that becomes a favorite. 

It’s the same with travel.  On every trip… in every article I write…there are always some favorites. So, from my 2018 articles, in keeping with the 12 days of Christmas, here are 12 of my favorite things.

 

GLACIER: A magical cruise to Chile’s Laguna San Rafael Glacier is one of the most breathtaking sites in South America…a kaleidoscope of the stunning artistry of Mother Nature.  This awesome wall of ice is a brilliant spectacle played out in hues of blue and white.  The thundering chunks of ice that calved into the lake might well have been crystal sculptures by Lalique, or a pate de verre gem executed by Daum Crystal.  Magnifico!

 

 

CHILE’S LAGUNA SAN RAFAEL GLACIER

 

SUNSET: Mother Nature wears her colors, and paints her pictures, in a myriad of colors.  But none are more universal, and more perfect, than when she yields her brush to paint a sunset.  She does this around the world every day, as the trailing edge of the Sun's disk disappears below the horizon. The sunset in Fortaleza, Brazil, one of the most beautiful ever, creates intense orange, yellow and red colors of the sun and surrounding sky as it prepares to sink below the horizon.

 

 

BRAZILIAN SUNSET

 

FRIEND: Kalimera! (Good morning) was my greeting from an adorable elderly man in Mykonos Greece.  My reply of Efharisto (Thank you) and my best smile made us instant best friends.  And without either of us able to converse verbally, we managed to communicate a bit about his beautiful whitewashed island.  From my charismatic new best friend (whose name I do not even know) I learned where to go for the best coffee, honey-drenched baklava and ouzo (an anise-flavored aperitif widely consumed in Greece).

 

 

MY NEW BEST FRIEND IN GREECE

 

CITY:  Chaotic and crowded Cairo, Egypt is one of the most exciting and exotic capitals in the world.  The largest city on the African continent, Cairo is so vibrantly alive that even the most jaded traveler must yield to its magic. Arriving in Cairo is like falling through the looking glass and ending up in history. Cairo’s over-all flavor is still very much that of the Middle East.  Egyptians in their flowing galabeyas and traditional black robes often make their past seem more vividly alive than their present. The Pyramids of Giza exude an excitement just by the very virtue of being there.  They have been considered to be the greatest of the Ancient Seven Wonders of the World…that they alone would survive the passing of time.  “He who has not seen Cairo,” said a traveler of old, “has not seen the world.“ 

 

 

EGYPT’S PYRAMIDS OF GIZA

 

CONTINENT: To cruise Antarctica, the most eerily beautiful continent on earth you will go below the Equator and beneath the Tropic of Capricorn.  Having sailed the dreaded Drake Passage and crossed the Antarctic Convergence, you will then come to the bottom of the world… to the most hostile continent on earth. This barren, white continent, that thrills the imagination and overwhelms the senses, is a continent of superlatives. While it is the most forbidding, most inaccessible land on earth, it is also the most majestic and most pristine. This harshest, most inhospitable land is also the coldest, the windiest, the highest and the driest.  Antarctica, a land of endless ice shelves, is truly the greatest show on ice.

 

 

SUMMER ATTIRE IN ANTARCTICA

 

FOREIGN MUSEUM: From a distance, the splendid bizarrely shaped $100-million Guggenheim Museum of Modern Art in Bilbao, Spain looked like a massive steel sculpture. Renowned architect Frank Gehry described his limestone and titanium masterpiece as a ship that has run aground.  The museum, opened in 1997, reflects Bilbao's heritage with its suggestion of maritime shapes and sails.  Others have likened the silhouette of Bilbao’s Guggenheim to a roller coaster, a mermaid, a waterfall a hula girl, and a fish.  The building is covered with over 35,000 titanium tiles and pieces of glass strategically placed to catch the natural light.  Maman, Louise Bourgeois' huge bronze spider, stands in front of the museum.

 

GEHRY AND BOURGEOIS MASTERPIECES IN BILBAO, SPAIN

 

DOMESTIC MUSEUM: Neil Armstrong, the first civilian astronaut and the first man on the moon, was a native son of Wapakoneta.   The Armstrong Air and Space Museum features many one-of-a-kind artifacts.  Opened on the third anniversary of the lunar landing (July 20, 1972), the museum was designed to resemble a futuristic moon base.  This moon-like structure, that seems to be rising out of Interstate I-75, is a beautiful site to behold, whether gleaming in the sunlight, or at dusk and nightfall when the dome glows white.  

 

 

WAPAKONETA, OHIO’S TRIBUTE TO NATIVE SON NEIL ARMSTRONG

 

VOW RENEWAL: After 35-years of marriage, passenger Barry planned to surprise his wife Susan with a vow renewal party during a Silversea cruise.  After a bit of socializing in a private lounge, the Social Director invited Barry and a surprised Susan to the front of the room.  “We are gathered here”, the social director began, “to witness the renewal of the Wedding Vows of Susan and Barry who stand before us.  They, nor we, are the same people we were years ago.  Time has brought experience, growth and maturity, so it is fitting from time to time husbands and wives renew the promises of loyalty and love that began their married life ….”   The ship’s captain had the couple repeat their vows.  First, tears…then smiles…and then the kiss! Corks popped from bottles of Dom Perignon, bubbly flowed, and luscious hors d’oeuvres were served. 

 

 

FLORIDA COUPLE RENEW THEIR WEDDING VOWS ON THE HIGH SEAS

 

COOL POOL: Istanbul is the only city in the world that straddles two continents (Europe and Asia) and is embraced by two seas (Aegean and Black) and the connecting Bosporus Strait. The regal Ciragan Palace Hotel, situated on the European shores of the Bosporus and overlooking the ancient city of Istanbul, allows one to fantasize about the luxury and glamour of living in a genuine Ottoman Palace.  With its splendid style, superb location, fascinating view, and resort ambiance, the hotel gives its guests an unforgettable stay in an enchanting, mystical city where East meets West, Europe meets Asia, and the past meets the present.  The Ciragan Palace Hotel’s infinity swimming pool, heated year-round, appears to overflow into the Bosporus. 

 

 

INFINITY POOL AT CIRAGAN PALACE IN ISTANBUL, TURKEY

 

SCULPTURE: The Sibelius Monument, honoring Finnish composer Jean Sibelius, was unveiled in 1967.  It is composed of 527 silver steel pipes. To some viewers, it is reminiscent of organ pipes and Sibelius's beloved birch trees.    To others, its silvery pipes “reflect the change of season and light, echoing birds' song, sighing in the sea breeze and resonating furiously during a storm”.  A bust of the composer sits on a nearby wall. Located in Sibelius Park, the monument site is a place for strolling, resting on nearby benches, or posing for pictures beneath the tubes.

 

 

SIBELIUS MONUMENT IN HELSINKI, FINLAND

 

CEMETERY: Fairview Lawn, in Halifax, Nova Scotia, is perhaps best known as the final resting place for one hundred and twenty-one victims of the sinking of the RMS Titanic. One of the first victims to be carried to his grave at Fairview Lawn was a small, unidentified baby boy.  A haunting tombstone marks his grave. While the Cunard liner Carpathia was taking survivors to New York, 209 of the dead were brought to Halifax.   Fifty-nine of those bodies were shipped home to relatives, but 150 were buried in three Halifax cemeteries.  There were 10 graves at the Jewish Baron de Hirsch Cemetery; 19 at the Catholic Mount Olivet Cemetery; and 121 at the non-denominational Fairview Lawn. 

 

 

GRAVE OF UNKNOWN CHILD WHO DIED ON THE TITANIC

 

GARDEN: Seeing is believing at Butchart Gardens in Victoria, on Vancouver Island in British Columbia.  It's hard to believe that this explosion of blossoms and manicured lawns was once an abandoned limestone quarry.  Butchart's incredible gardens are rated among the most beautiful in the world.  Flowers in a rainbow of brilliant colors have transformed a rocky quarry into a magnificent Sunken Garden. Lacquered bridges cross tiny streams in the serene authentic Japanese Garden, fountains jet to heights of eighty feet and waterfalls cascade down steep walls. Striking displays of floral splendor, accented by hundreds of hidden lights, transform the gardens into a veritable fairyland.

 

 

EXQUISITE BUTCHART GARDENS WAS ONCE A LIMESTONE QUARRY

Janet Steinberg, winner of 47-travel writing awards, resides in Cincinnati but calls the world her home.

 

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