TRAVEL


Puerto Rico


Swiss  International  Air Lines



Israel and  Zurich



Garden  of  Bliss  in  Giverny



Good, Groovy Vibrations in Woodstock

The spirit of Woodstock survives as a nostalgic afterglow in the Catskill mountains of New York. Peace and love vibes linger at the site of the landmark festival held on an August weekend nearly 50 years ago.

Each year, thousands flock to the grounds in Bethel. For baby boomers, it’s a touchstone to their youth. Curious younger visitors want to know what the fuss was about. The Woodstock Music & Art Fair, as it was called, was intended to showcase the  era’s top rock ’n’ roll and folk acts on a farm field Aug. 15-17, 1969. Some 100,000 attendees were expected.
But it morphed into something no one anticipated  a
spontaneous gathering of some 450,000 mostly young people from all over the country. They overwhelmed all provisions for food, shelter, sanitation and medical aid. The influx caused traffic gridlock that paralyzed roads and delayed performers from  reaching the concert area. Torrential rains turned the field into a muddy mess an then Gov. Nelson Rockefeller declared it a disaster area.
Yet amazingly, chaos didn’t lead to catastrophe. Camaraderie prevailed among  festivalgoers, aided by townspeople and authorities.  Woodstock captured  international headlines while attendees saw 32 acts, among them Richie Havens,   Joan Baez, the Who, the Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane.  An instant social phenomenon, it soon took on mythical status. Today, it’s regarded

as an iconic event in rock-music history and the high point of ‘60s youth

counterculture.  To fully experience the Woodstock state of mind, Arts & Leisure News Service  recommends a two-to-three-day visit to the towns of Woodstock and Bethel.

FIRST STOP WOODSTOCK: This small, well-kept village in Ulster County is sheltered by green-carpeted Overlook Mountain. It’s been a colony for artists, writers and free thinkers since 1902. Beginning in the 1960s, musicians including  Bob Dylan, Baez and David Bowie settled there.

So, it was a natural incubator for a music festival by resident/promoter Michael Lang and three business partners.  When townspeople nixed a potential invasion of  “pot-smoking hippies,” they kept the Woodstock name and relocated to Max  Yasgur’s 600-acre dairy farm in Bethel, 67 miles southwest. Today, Woodstock village retains a bohemian aura and capitalizes on its festival  connection. Tinker Street, the main drag, at first looks quaint and traditional,  dominated by a neo-classic town hall and Dutch reform church that anchor a village   green. They vie for attention with art galleries, book stores and cafes.

Hippie-ish residents mingle with tourists in search of Woodstock T-shirts and other memorabilia at shops like Legends, featuring life-size figures of The Blues Brothers  seated outside. Tibetan prayer flags are a common sight – reminders of a nearby  Buddhist monastery. Signs with bright psychedelic colors proclaim: “Calm This  Way,” “Love More, Worry Less” and “Make Every Day Earth Day.” 

BACK TO THE GARDEN: The concert site is a 90-minute drive away on winding  country roads amid pastures in neighboring Sullivan County. The original grounds, on a bowl-shaped hill, are preserved in their natural state (with a large peace  symbol etched in the grass) by the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, a nonprofit corporation started by Cablevision founder Alan Gerry.  On the site’s edge is an outdoor theater, The Pavilion Stage, featuring contemporary performers and accommodating up to 15,000 people.

Close by is the Museum at Bethel Woods, which helps draw up to 40,000 people a year to the area since opening in 2008. This first-class venue celebrates the ’69 festival and its legacy and explores issues of the time -- civil rights, the Vietnam War, recreational drug use -- without promoting any agenda. Galleries covering nearly 9,000 square feet are filled with
photos, interactive  computer screens and artifacts such as a full-size hippie bus covered with Day Glo flowers. You can watch 20 films, including a documentary spotlighting some of Woodstock’s most electrifying performers, such as Janis Joplin, Sly & the Family Stone, Joe Cocker, Santana and guitarist Jimi Hendrix, who closed the festival with

a dynamic version of “The Star Spangled Banner.”

Best of all is a theater-in-the-round, flanked by metal concert towers, with four 50- foot-high screens that simulate the actual concert. Lie down, enjoy filmed  performances and watch the sky change from day to stormy night – without rain or  the sea of mud that resulted in 1969.

It leaves a visitor with the impression that the self-proclaimed “Woodstock Nation”  was like a giant commune enveloped in a bubble of groovy good will and idealism. While the bubble evaporated quickly, it left a legacy that will resonate for a long  time to come.

LODGING: Woodstock village is a good base to explore the area.  The Woodstock Inn on the Millstream has 18 rooms, two cottages and studios on grounds near a cascading stream. It’s within walking distance of downtown and includes continental breakfast; (800) 420-4707; www.woodstock-inn-ny.com

DINING: Woodstock restaurants tout organic and locally sourced foods. For lunch, try the salads and sandwiches at Garden Cafe, 6 Old Forge Road; (845) 679-3600.

For dinner, Joshua’s is a local favorite. An eclectic menu features fish, poultry and  steaks, some with Mediterranean or Middle Eastern accents; 51 Tinker St.; (845)  679-5533.

MORE: Woodstock spawned a continuing cottage industry of films, music

recordings and books. For an entertaining, insightful chronicle, see “Woodstock: Three Days That Rocked the World,” a coffee-table book edited by Mike Evans and  Paul Kingsbury (Sterling Publishing Co. Inc. in association with The Museum at Bethel Woods). Reminiscences of musicians, organizers and fans are packaged in this colorful, photo-driven book.

INFO:  The Museum at Bethel Woods; (866) 781-2922; www.bethelwoodscenter.org

Woodstock village: Woodstock Chamber of Commerce & Arts;

(845) 6796234

www.woodstockchamber.com    Photos : Museum at Bethel Woods

-- Reviewed by Victor Zak


The Art of Prague

Prague is an intoxicating blend of the ancient and modern.

The city has been a crossroads of east and west, Christian and Jewish culture
and scene of many historic events for more than 1,000 years. It’s like a many-layered cake with layers of glory (the Middle Ages) mixed with others of sorrow (the Nazi and Soviet eras). Today’s Prague is a vibrant metropolis of 1.2million people 26 years after the fall of communism. The capital of the Czech Republic is bustling under democracy.

The city beckons travelers with rich architecture, spared the ravages of World War II; first-rate entertainment; and beer acclaimed as among Europe’s finest. This is a great time to visit. Residents exude “uzivat zivota” (joy of life) and seem to relish living in a city that’s a work of art in itself. They are hospitable to foreigners and many speak English. Prices for everything from restaurants to hotels are relative bargains for travelers to Europe.

Prague (Praha in Czech) is really four conjoined towns flanking the immense Vltava River. The Castle District and Little Town are on the left bank, with Old Town and New Town on the right bank.  Public transportation works well, yet Prague best displays its charms for walkers willing to explore its nooks and crannies on winding cobblestone streets.  Meanwhile, it’s always worth visiting Prague’s greatest hits, whether you’re a first-timer or repeat visitor. Arts & Leisure News recommends these sights:

CASTLE DISTRICT:  Prague’s history began here in 880 and this remains the seat of the national government. Enter the world’s largest castle complex through ceremonial doors to see royal palaces, churches, museums, a monastery and garden, featuring Romanesque, Renaissance and Baroque architecture. Gothic St. Vitus Cathedral, resembling Notre Dame, is a gem. It houses the Czech crown jewels and tombs of several saints, including St. Wenceslas, the nation’s patron saint. Situated on one of seven hills above the Vltava, the district offers a choice view of Prague, showing why it’s called “the city of 100 spires.”  Although a little gritty and graffiti-strewn on the outskirts, Prague’s core has an undeniable grandeur.

Just south of this area in Little Town, don’t miss the little Franz Kafka museum, which spotlights the country’s top literary figure (1883-1924). It’s like a haunted labyrinth with black walls, film clips, distorting mirrors and weird sound effects. All conspire to mimic the alienation and bureaucratic nightmares that Kafka captured in his novels “The Trial” and “The Castle.”

ST. CHARLES BRIDGE: Seventeen bridges connect the left and right banks of
the Vltava. Most famous is this bridge, Prague’s visual symbol and touted in guidebooks as “the most beautiful bridge in Europe.” Built during the reign of King Charles IV in 1357, its sandstone blocks span 1,706 feet, linking  Old and Little towns. Thirty Baroque statues, blackened by time, line up on both sides, with Gothic watch towers on either end.  A carnival vibe prevails in this pedestrian-only area. Vendors hawk tchotchkes and toys while swans glide beneath the bridge.

WENCESLAS SQUARE:  is the hub of Prague’s New Town section, new that is since the 14th century when it was a medieval horse market. Today, it’s a glitzy commercial center filled with hotels, restaurants, trendy shops and nightclubs. Dominating the square is an enormous bronze statue of St. Wenceslas. The square has been the site of nearly every major event in modern Czech history: independence in 1918, Nazi invasion in 1939, Soviet Russia’s putdown of protests in 1968 and the “Velvet Revolution” of 1989 when some 750,000 Czechs rallied against the communist regime, sparking its downfall.

Just off the square is the Museum of Communism, an engrossing window on a 40-year period of repression when some 258,000 Czechs were imprisoned for “political crimes” and they were forbidden to listen to “decadent” American jazz or Beatles tunes. The story unfolds through photos, propaganda posters, busts of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin and film footage.  An interrogation room features a spotlight, typewriter for confessions and a phone that rings ominously. 

THE JEWISH QUARTER (JOSEFOV):  was one of Europe’s great centers of Jewish education and philosophy for nearly a millennium, beginning in the 10th century. It’s now the core of the State Jewish Museum, with seven
synagogues housing Judaic treasures over a three-block area. Highlights include silver Torah crowns and other ritual objects at Maisel Synagogue (1591) and the 19th-century, Moorish- style Spanish Synagogue (Pictured). Pinkas Synagogue (1530) has walls inscribed with 77,297 names – a memorial to Czech Jewish victims of Nazi genocide during World War II.  On display here are more than 400 drawings by children held at Terezin Concentration Camp (north of Prague) before their deaths.  The synagogues are in proximity to the old Jewish Cemetery, jampacked with some 12,000 crooked gravestones piled atop one another in a tiny area.

ART, ENTERTAINMENT: More than 20 museums showcase troves of art, ranging from Renaissance masterpieces to Impressionist and modern Czech works. Two of the finest are the National Gallery and Mucha Museum.

The gallery, just north of Old Town, is housed in the 1920s Trade Fair Place, an exhibition hall with an interior resembling a cavernous cruise ship. It’s home to Prague’s largest collection of paintings and sculptures, including works by Picasso, Monet, Renoir, Matisse, Chagall, Rodin and one van Gogh (“Green Corn” 1899).

The Mucha Museum, in an 18th-century palace two blocks off Wenceslas Square in New Town, celebrates painter Alphonse Mucha (1860-1939), a master of Art Nouveau, a style known for rich ornamentation and floral accents.  Exhibits include oil paintings, posters, Mucha’s desk, easel and a film about his life.  A visit will give you a deeper appreciation of the many Art Nouveau building facades in Prague.

Prague’s entertainment scene is effervescent. Among a wealth of options, two must-sees are the 1783 Estates Theatre and a black light show.

The elegant, neo-classical theater in Old Town features classical music concerts and ballets. W.A. Mozart debuted and conducted his opera “Don Giovanni” here in 1787. Czech-born director Milos Forman shot scenes here for his 1984 Mozart film-bio “Amadeus.” 

Cirque du Soleil (without circus acrobatics) meets special effects, mime and dance in Black Light Theater, a dazzling theatrical experience invented by Czechs in the 1960s. Among many such shows in Prague, the Laterna Magika Theater group is acclaimed as the most imaginative. Their revolving productions pack the Nova Scena theater in New Town with tourists and locals.

OLD TOWN: Its 11th-century square is the heart of Prague and its most touristy area. Ringed by colorful Gothic and Renaissance buildings, it’s dominated by Tyn Church and a bronze monument to 15th-century martyr-hero Jan Hus. This auto-free zone is filled with cafes, souvenir sellers, bands playing Dixieland jazz and horse-drawn carriages. A 15th-century astronomical
clock at old Town Hall captivates gridlocked crowds when it strikes the hour and mechanical figures parade above signs of the zodiac.  Take the elevator up 228 feet for a view of cathedral domes and reddish, clay-tile rooftops. See them glow at sunset and you’ll understand why Prague is also called “the Golden City” and why it’s a living work of art.

DINING: Czech cuisine is hearty, heavy on red meats, poultry and potatoes. Pastries are worthy of an emperor. These three restaurants in Prague’s Old Town are top-notch:

The Grand Café Orient sits atop the Cubist House of the Black Madonna, an art museum. The stylish restaurant serves sandwiches, crepes and baguettes.

Have dinner under chandeliers at Kavarna Obecni Dum, an Art-Nouveau café located inside Municipal House, a 1905 ceremonial palace.

King Solomon Restaurant offers traditional kosher dishes (beef and fish) with a Czech flavor. The menu is peppered with sayings to contemplate while awaiting your order: “Troubles with soup are easier to bear than troubles without soup”; “If the stomach is empty, the brain is also empty.”

LODGING: Angelo Hotel in Little Town, part of Vienna International Hotels and Resorts, has 168 rooms.  Amenities include extra-large beds, flat-screen satellite TVs, bathrooms with heated floors and a lavish buffet breakfast; www.angelohotel.com.

INFO: Contact Czech Tourism at www.czechtourism.com;  ( 212) 288-0830.

  1. -Reviewed by Victor Zak

  2. -photos: Czech Tourism



FALL  FOR  NIAGARA  FALLS


The crisp autumn air in the northeast brings with it a colorful landscape, encouraging everyone to get outside and take advantage of this short-lived time of year. The cooler weather also lends itself to less crowds around national landmarks, and nothing is more accurate than in iconic Niagara Falls, N.Y.


When “leaf peepers” or those who are encouraged to take road trips and embrace the fall and all of its harvest, Niagara Falls, N.Y., should come to mind. This part of Western New York, especially Niagara County, is ideal to experience charming historic towns, farm-to-table restaurants, and quaint accommodations; and take a hike or drive to admire the colorful fall foliage. There is no shortage of beautiful fall scenery to be conquered across Niagara USA.


It’s easy to combine sight-seeing with stops at apple orchards and farmers markets, or farm-to-table restaurants. There are many apple orchards to see in Niagara County (agriculture is its top industry) but the best place to pick apples is at Becker Farms & Vizcarra Vineyards. This fifth-generation, “mom and pop” agri-destination has orchards that any city slicker or country bumpkin could be happy getting lost in. This time of year pickers can choose from Macintosh, Cortland and Macoun apples.


For a “rustic experience made with love” (and locally sourced ingredients),
visit Carmelo’s, a farm-to-table restaurant in the heart of the charming and historic Lewiston, N.Y. A second generation, family-run restaurant, the menu changes seasonally – if not daily. The Niagara County growing season may be coming to an end in the fall, however Chef Carmelo Raimondi is taking advantage of the harvest and creating dishes like broccoli soup, a creamy and fresh bowl with perfectly steam vegetables. There is also a lobster salad being served as a starter, and it’s lightly buttered and coated with garlic breadcrumbs. Don’t pass on the steak, seasoned to perfection and on a bed of roasted red peppers, squash and zucchini. It’s topped with a spicy brown sauce that behaves as a gravy.


There’s plenty to do in Niagara USA this time of year, and many of the events involved drinking – wine, beer, tea and more.


All aboard the Vineyard Express! Enjoy a train ride to Spring Lake Winery,
located on the Niagara Wine Trail, USA, and enjoy a dinner with live music. Teetotalers can enjoy tea and ghost stories at a Haunted Victorian Tea, at The Winery at Marjim Manor. Enjoy tea and plenty of haunting tales! The 6th Annual Old Falls Street Oktoberfest features live German music, dancers, and street vendors. Raise your beer stein high and give Proust to the center of downtown Niagara Falls, N.Y. Enjoy authentic German cuisine, and a “Kidtoberfest” zone complete with a petting zoo, bounce house, arts and crafts; snacks and more activities.


If you can’t get enough beer, venture out towards scenic Lake Ontario, known for its Key West worthy sunsets, and stop at Woodcock Brothers Brewery, for craft beers and some of the best brick oven pizza around. Then cozy up to the bar at Barker Brewing, or put the New York Beer Project on your bucket list for next year. This brewery, gastro pub, tap room, beer garden and waterfront deck, will welcome drinkers to the gateway that is Lockport, N.Y. The seat of Niagara County and home to heritage architecture and the historic Erie Canal.


Spend a romantic fall weekend just steps from a Wonder of the World. The Giacomo is the premier luxury boutique hotel in downtown Niagara Falls, N.Y. Choose from 41 rooms of true elegance combined with exemplary service. This art deco hotel is newly renovated, and serves a delicious, complimentary breakfast in its quaint, street level café. Watch passersby – local business people to tourists – as they start their day in this pedestrian-friendly destination.


Days will end during your stay at The Giacomo’s plush bar, also located on the first floor. Choose from signature cocktails or a local wine list that offers something for every palate.


You may want to plan a trip that includes a stay in the countryside, on the Niagara Wine Trail, USA. Located in Newfane, N.Y., the family owned and operated French Country style inn, the Brookins Inn & Suites, offers a perfect setting for pampering and relaxation. The B&B type accommodations are perfect for a weekend getaway. Hosts Bev and Dan Mandaville even offer guests access to the innkeepers pantry, which is fully stocked with complimentary gourmet coffee, snacks, soda, bottled water and juice.



This fall is the perfect time to visit Niagara USA – if not to take in the beautiful fall foliage, then to ride the iconic Maid of the Mist boat tour, which is extending its season until November 8. Explore the roar and get up to Niagara Falls like you’ve never seen. This all-American experience is so monumental, you may even want to keep the signature blue poncho for a souvenir. Boats depart daily from Prospect Point in Niagara Falls State Park (the oldest state park in the United States, designed by famed landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted).


Niagara Falls, N.Y. allows guests to get up close and personal to its famous landmark, and those looking for more adventure, can hike the Niagara Gorge along the Lower Niagara River. This trail is ideal looking for nature – not limited to top-ranked fall foliage and birding. Taking Niagara Falls and the gorge from the air is an amazing experience. Ride Rainbow Air, Inc. and see Niagara Falls and hues of red, orange and yellow that dot the area’s landscape this time of year.



For a full calendar of events and festivals in Niagara USA visit niagara-usa.com.


Review by Michelle Blackley


Photos courtesy of Niagara Tourism & Convention Corporation


XTRAODINAIRE CHRISTOPHER RADKO TO HOST

"Magic and Memories of Christmas 

with Christopher Radko”

A 12 DAY AUTHENTIC AND QUENTESSNTIAL CHRISTMAS EXPERIENCE IN THE MAJESTIC BAVARIAN ALPS


Christopher Radko, dubbed “The czar of Christmas present” by
the New York Times, has announced that he will host the first “MAGIC AND MEMORIES OF CHRISTMAS” tour, a magical 12 day tour of Bavaria and Austria, the lands of enchantment from where our many Christmas dreams come from. It’s a quintessential Christmas experience filled with world holiday traditions, history, culture, and hospitality. Presented by Craft Tours, the tour will take place December 9 – 20, and a free trip is given for every ten people who sign up.  http://www.craftours.com/trips/?page=germany_radko_1215




VIRGINIA’s  EASTERN   SHORE


Choice of the Month”. The Virginia Shore has all the ingredients for this distinction. It’s a wonderful place to travel for good food, leisure activities and a long interesting history. And it’s in the United States.


Virginia Beach combines the attraction of a seaside resort with historical importance. It offers visitors plenty to see and do on the shores of the Atlantic, where the ocean meets the Chesapeake Bay.


Whether your idea of a wonderful and relaxing vacation  includes kayaking with dolphins and zip-lining through the trees or exploring a local oyster farm or sitting or swimming on a sunny beach, fishing in a scenic park or learning more about the aquatic creatures who make their home here, Virginia Beach is the place for you. Virginia Beach attracts thousands of visitors each year and it’s not hard to see why. With festivals, great regional shopping, and plentiful outdoor activities—including a boardwalk, hiking, camping and boating in state parks—there is something to whet every appetite and pique every interest.


The ‘Historic Triangle” of Jamestown, Yorktown and Williamburg  allows the visitor to witness the remains of the 1607 James Fort. Colonial Willimsburg is one of the most Popular travel destinations in the United States. Artists and craftspeople show off their pottery, jewelry and introducing the visitor to what life was like in the 1770s and 1780s.


On May 14, 1607, the Virginia Company settlers landed on Jamestown Island to establish an English colony 60 miles from the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. Discovery of the exact location of the first fort indicates its site was in a secure place, where Spanish ships could not fire point blank into the fort. It was inside this fort that England’s first permanent colony in North America took hold and the seeds for the United States of America grew. And here today you can learn from the experts details to the Jamestown story with their archaeological research.


American Heritage, one of the most revered publications dedicated to covering the history of the United States has named Historic Jamestowne to its Top 25 Heritage favorites



The Renaissance Portsmouth-Norfolk Waterfront Hotel is where modern comfort meets charming local history. Centrally located in The heart of Portsmouth’s Olde Towne Historicic Disrict and  across The E
lizabeth River from downtown Norfolk, I waa impressed   with the magnificent water views from their 294 well appointed rooms. There is easy access to nearby Virginia Beach and be sure to enjoy recreational amenities including an indoor pool and a 24-hour fitness center. Additional amenities include complimentary wireless Internet access, concierge services, and gift shops/newsstands.


If you are driving The Renaissance Hotel will provide parking during your stay. Bring your EZ Pass for easy access around Portsmouth and Coastal Virginia. Norfolk International Airport is located 11 miles from the Renaissance Portsmouth-Norfolk Water front Hotel. For  airport transportation the James River Transportation company can provide your ground transportation to and from your hotel.



Experience an unforgettable dinner at Terrapin, and
locally caught seafood, including Lynnhaven Oysters. Located in the north end of Virginia Beach this fine-dining restaurant is an award-winning James Beard House-recognized contemporary restaurant specializing in American Cuisine, with creative use of seasonal farm-fresh ingredients Terrapin offers an intimate dining experience showcasing Chef Rodney Einhorn. Terrapin is three short blocks from the Virginia Beach Oceanfront. For reservations: (757) 321-6688. They are also on the Web.



Everyone seems to agree that the best place for breakfast is Doc Taylor's located at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront. This breakfast and lunch hotspot was once a doctor’s home office. Since then, it has turned into a favorite among locals. Breakfasts at Doc Taylor's include The Ray Ray (Fried egg atop bacon, cheese and grilled parmesan tomatoes on an onion roll), which was mentioned in Coastal Living's Magazine as one of the area's best sandwiches. The Heart Attack (three eggs, bacon and a chop) and the Nurse Ratchett (omelet with grilled red peppers, portobellos, spinach and hollandaise) are some other favorites to try next time your at the beach.

Doc Taylor’s 207 23rd St. 757-425-5566 | www.DocTaylors.com



With Virginia Beach’s proximity to the Atlantic and the sea’s important role in the area’s history and culture, it makes  sense that it would be home to the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center. With hands-on exhibits and more than 800,000 gallons of aquatic experience, this is the country’s best aquarium. The exhibits are immersive and interactive and you will  come away from this habitat with a knowledge of what is endangered and what  species are edible.



On Hampton Roads you can enjoy the excitement of a space journey  without leaving the ground.  The Virginia Air & Space Center  is an incredible  look at the birthplace of America’s space program and their
visitor center for NASA Langley Research Center and Langley Air Force Base. Your imagination will soar as you launch a rocket, pilot a shuttle and try on wings to feel the lift that makes things fly. Over 100 interactive exhibits detail NASA’s historic achievements, including Apollo 12

Command Module that went up to the moon.


The Adventure Park at Virginia Aquarium — an eco-friendly zip line and aerial adventure experience in the trees above the scenic Owls Creek. Kids, teens and adults can all enjoy The Adventure Park and it's perfect for families or groups too. Up in the trees of the Owls Creek Path you will see wooden platforms at different heights. They are connected ether by zip lines that climbers "zip" across or fun challenge bridges that climbers navigate in order to get from one platform to the next. A series of these bridges makes up an aerial trail.



Photo  by Ed Pollard, Chrysler Museum Photographer


The nationally-renowned Chrysler Museum of Art exhibits a collection of artworks ranging from Ancient Egypt to contemporary times, and is home to one of America’s most outstanding glass collections. The   adjacent Chrysler Glass Studio offers daily demonstrations with visiting artists, and a full range of classes, Also,  glass art becomes performance art. A special accolade to this magnificent museum.  It’s A must see.




Lying at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay  it is only natural to have  one of the nation’s largest and diverse seafood favorites, In 1607 Captain John Smith and his crew spent three days in Virginia Beach surviving mainly off  the fish, oysters, turtles from the sea. In his writings John Smith described the area: “oysters lay as thick as stones,” and the Bay and Rivers contained more sturgeon “ than could be devoured by dog or man.” So slip on your water shoes before embarking on an Oyster Farm Boat Tour with Pleasure House Oysters. Sample Virginia Beach’s legendary Lynnhaven Oysters, while learning about their historical significance and revitalization efforts and touring a local working oyster farm by boat. Muffins, scones and coffee will be provided. Lynnhaven Municipal Marina 3211 Lynnhaven Dr.

What could be better than eating oysters as they are caught. www.PleasureHouseOysters.com


And so I leave you with memories  of this wonderful place and Virginia is truly for Lovers. 


Review by Joyce Hauser



KAUAI


Kauai’s nickname, “the garden isle,” is no exaggeration.

 All Photos credited to the Kauai Visitors Bureau

The Hawaiian chain’s oldest  (6 million years plus) and northernmost island lives up to an Eden-like image with powder-white sand beaches, surf, towering mountains, waterfalls  and rain forests.  There are no big cities or buildings taller than a coconut palm (four stories).  Its scenic grandeur has made it the backdrop of many Hollywood movies, including “South Pacific,” “Blue Hawaii,” “Jurassic Park” and “The Descendants.” 


This is a great place to connect with nature while chilling out at a beach resort or pursuing active diversions such as surfing, kayaking, snorkeling or hiking. In five days, you can see many of Kauai’s top attractions, from natural wonders to culture and history. Arts & Leisure News Service touts these stops on a clockwise road trip from top to bottom of this circular, 552-square-mile island:

Hanalei on the north shore is old Kauai. Its sunken valley, blanketed with fields of taro plants, has been the island’s bread basket for more than 1,000 years.  Folk singers Peter, Paul and Mary made it famous with their song, “Puff the Magic Dragon.” Look closely and you can make out the outline of a dragon in mountains cradling the valley.


Hanalei also features a two-mile long, crescent-shaped bay that’s ranked as one of the world’s top beaches.  Some of Kauai’s highest waves are here and draw champion surfers in winter. During summer, it’s like a calm, aquamarine lake. The beach is framed by mountain peaks up to 4,000 feet with waterfalls that flow like tears.

Next, head south to the eastern shore for a peek into Kauai’s heritage.  Kauai Museum in Lihue, the county seat, is a small building with a wealth of artifacts. They showcase some 1,000 years of history, including its volcanic origins, ancient settlers, arrival of English explorer Capt. James Cook in 1778, missionary culture and Kauai’s evolution from monarchy to U.S.state. On view are feathered leis, models, artworks, vintage photos and an aerial filmed tour.

Also worth a visit in Lihue is Grove Farm Homestead, a sugar plantation founded in 1864, now a living-history museum. Its two-story arts and crafts home is well preserved with furniture, walls and stairs made of native koa wood.  Gardens of tropical trees and aromatic flowers surround it on an 80-acre estate.

On the south shore, don’t miss Allerton Garden in Lawai Valley for a major dose of tropical splendor; it’s one of three sites belonging to the private, nonprofit National Tropical Botanical Gardens. Once a Hawaiian queen’s retreat, Allerton is now home to a world-class collection of rare flowers, plants and trees.  Manicured pathways wind through 80 acres of palms, massive banyan trees, golden bamboo, gingers and many others.  They lead to oases with geometric pools flanked by bronze mermaids or fountains carved from lava rock.

Kauai’s south shore also is home to two other must-sees:  Poipu Beach and spouting horn fountain.Poipu Beach, with calm seas sheltered by a jetty and offshore reef, has been acclaimed “America’s best beach” by the Travel Channel. It’s a magnet for families with small children.

Nearby, spouting horn fountain is a salt-water cousin of Old Faithful. The “fountain” comprises a pair of ancient lava tubes about 10 feet from the shore. Waves push sea water through one tube with enough force to create geyser-like spouts up to 50 feet high. The second tube blows air with a shrieking moan. According to Hawaiian legend, it’s the breath of a dragon guarding the site.

Our journey concludes on Kauai’s western side with its top scenic attraction: Waimea Canyon. Known as the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific,” it’s a mini-version of its Arizona counterpart at 10 miles long and some 3,500-feet deep. But what’s there is choice: ravines and buttes carved by torrential floods, wind and rain through milleniums. Eroded canyon walls expose lava layers with hues of red, brown and green that change colors with shifting sunlight. Numerous lookouts offer views of deep gorges and waterfalls, with Waimea River at the bottom. Rainbows are frequent. The canyon is the centerpiece of Kokee State Park, with 45 miles of hiking trails threading through 4,345 acres.

Where to stay:  Courtyard Kauai at Coconut Beach, Kapaa, on the eastern shore is a Marriott resort with 311 rooms on one of the island’s few oceanfront 

properties. Amenities include a tennis court, fitness center, jogging paths and outdoor swimming pool; (808) 822-3455; www.courtyardkauai.com.

For info: Kauai Visitors Bureau, (800) 262-1400; www.kauaidiscovery.com.

The Road Scholar program offers Kauai trips for seniors that feature light immersion in Hawaiian language and culture, including hula dancing; (877) 426-8056; www.roadscholar.org.

Reviewed by  Victor Zak




NEW  HAVEN


One of the picture perfect postcard towns in the United States is New Haven. Norman Rockwell would have felt right at home with his paints and easel here. With its tree-lined streets and old houses make this an extraordinary place to experience. Not only is it particularly pretty there are many things to see. There is no better place for a cultural experience than the quaint commercial districts, serene residential streets, the famous New Haven Green, and landmarks of American history are only a few of the highlights of a place that has given the world the hamburger, the lollipop, the corkscrew, and the world’s best pizza. Get to know the New Haven community  and enjoy some of New Haven’s wonderful restaurants, shops, and galleries.

And of course Yale University has been a part of the New Haven community for three centuries. The latest exhibition at the Yale University Art Gallery is well worth the visit and children can be part of America’s history.  Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness: American Art from the Yale University Art Gallery is an Exhibition Presented in Three Parts

We the People
July 29–December 31, 2011

Defining the Nation
January 31–April 8, 2012

America Rising
May 8–July 8, 2012

This exhibition draws upon the Gallery’s renowned collection of American art to illuminate the diverse and evolving American experience from the time of the settlements of the 17th century to the World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893. The works in this exhibition—including treasures such as John Trumbull’s Declaration of Independence and Winslow Homer’s Morning Bell—return to New Haven for this three-part presentation.
The Yale University Art Gallery, is the oldest and one of the most important university art museums in America, in the final phase of a fourteen-year renovation and expansion that will transform the visitor’s experience of both the museum and its esteemed collections. The project will enable the Gallery not only to enhance its role as one of the nation’s most prominent teaching institutions but also to join the ranks of the country’s leading public art museums. The expanded Gallery will open December 12, 2012.


Besides the wonderful art exhibits the gift shop is perfect to leave with something special. The museum shop offers visitors a selection of books, cards, and posters that relate to the Center’s collections, as well as gifts from the United Kingdom.


Both a public art museum and a world-renowned research institute for the study of British art and culture, the Yale Center for British Art was presented to the University by Paul Mellon (Yale 1929). It houses the most comprehensive collection of British art outside the United Kingdom.

The collection of paintings, sculpture, prints, drawings, rare books, and manuscripts reflects the development of British art, life, and thought from the Elizabethan period onward. Works on view include masterpieces by John Constable, Benjamin West, Thomas Gainsborough, Joshua Reynolds, George Stubbs, and J.M.W. Turner, as well as major artists from Europe and America who lived and worked in Britain.

A valuable resource for faculty, students, teachers, and the public, the Center offers a year-round schedule of exhibitions and programs, including lectures, concerts, films, symposia, tours, teacher workshops, and more. The Center also houses a reference library, conservation laboratory, and study room for works on paper and rare books and manuscripts.

Opened in 1977, the Center is the last museum designed by the great American architect Louis Kahn. It stands across from Kahn's first major commission, the Yale University Art Gallery. The building's design, with its natural materials and skylit galleries, provides a magnificent environment for viewing art. Admission is free.


There is a varied selection of hotels and bed and breakfast so you have only to go on the web to find your choice. I stayed at The Omni Hotel a gem that as soon as you walk into the lobby the interior proclaims itself as something truly special. It has an irresistible blend of architectural perfection and distinctive artwork with the finest tradition of  hospitality. Every guest is special. This luxury hotel stands out for excellence in all things. The Hotel is also known for their fine dining of French cuisine in their formal dining room.
The hotel is located in downtown New Haven, just steps from the historic campus of Yale University, the New Haven Town Green, a wide selection of museums, the Shubert Theater and boutique shopping. Enjoy breathtaking views from many of the guest rooms and from John Davenport's restaurant.  The Omni New Haven Hotel at Yale is close to Union Station, home to Metro North and Amtrak Railway, and just fifty miles from Hartf
ord's Bradley International Airport.

John Davenport’s at the Top of the Park premier, 19th-floor restaurant welcomes you in an upscale atmosphere with spectacular roof top views. Specializing in creative New England cuisine. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner from 6am to 10pm.


New Haven is replete with art, architecture and history, with great shopping, a thriving nightlife and a program of festivals and events. It has this year 2012-13 won the distinction of being Arts & Leisure News Service favorite city in Connecticut.  Walking along the bluestone sidewalks of the Chapel Street Historic District there is a plethora of one of a kind boutiques and shops, award winning restaurants, and world known museums and theaters.


One of the restaurants that is part of this distinction is the Heirloom Restaurant at 157 Chapel Street, located inside the Study at Yale Hotel on Chapel Street at the heart of Yale University Campus.  Heirloom utilizes the heritage growers and neighboring artisan suppliers of Connecticut and New England for Chef Carey Savona’s Farm Coastal cooking. Savona is passsionate about seasonality, independently creative and didicated to local, heritage cuisine. He earned his kitchen stripes working alongside some of the most talented chefs and restaurateaurs in the Country. Savona has lived and cooked in San Francisco, Connecticut, South Florida, and in New York City.


I started my dinner at the Heirloon with Roasted Octopus with lots of Garlic, Chilies and lime, with Oregano Citronette. And for my main course I had what I consider to be the very best Carolina Soft Shell Crabs, which was ideally served crispy and  perfect with lemon, fennel, tomato, spring greens and creole remoulade. It was a perfect place with a wonderful menu and Arts & Leisure News  gives Heirloon five stars. *****


The Maine Sea Scallops looked good enough to eat but unfortunately I left just a little room for the wonderful desserts so I will have to return to Heirloom for another dinner. You can find more information about Heirloom on the web. 


After dinner we walked to the Shubert Theater to see the Mark Morris Dance Group. Since its opening in 1914, the Shubert Theater has earned the title “Birthplace of the Nation's Greatest Hits” for the number of world and American premieres that debuted on its legendary stage. Situated just down the block from Yale University and the New Haven Green, the Shubert Theater is encompassed by alluring restaurants, including the Heirloom, cafes, shops and world-class museums. Operated by
CAPA, the not-for-profit Shubert Theater offers a variety  performances for every taste and budget.

PURCHASE TICKETS ONLINE, at the Shubert Box Office,
or call 203.562.5666 for information.










New Haven and its Department of Cultural Affairs is a leader in its support of cultural institutions . It has enabled supporting cultural institutions, individual artists, the creative industries and creative entrepreneurs, with  grants to support, Project Storefronts, strategically shaping the social, physical and economic character of a neighborhood, town, city or region around arts and cultural activities.


Last year under their Pilot Program, four businesses tested their ideas at 71 Orange Street in downtown’s Ninth Square. These businesses succeeded in changing what had been a series of seven dark, empty retail spaces into lively, well-lit filled destinations both day and night.


Applications for new businesses are continuously being sought and reviewed. For more information on the web ProjectStorefront.asp or www.projectstorefrontsnewhaven.com or by calling 203-727-7280.


The International Festival of Arts and Entertainment taking place on the New Haven Green has a plethora of talent to add to the talent and accomplishment which will draw me back this wonderful city….New Haven.


Reviewed by  Joyce Hauser



 

PUERTO RICO


In this age of information overload and seemingly endless deadlines, quality “vacation time” seems to take a back seat to our busy life. Usually the excuse is that all great vacations are so far away. If that is your problem you can start packing because I just got back from an amazing seven days in Puerto Rico. I can’t understand why it took me so long to experience this delightful island. Few places can boast of such wonderful beaches, fine hotels, the rain forest, and wonderful cuisine. Imagine lying on a white sandy beach looking or swimming in beautiful blue water and sipping pina colada, made with cream of coconut, Puerto Rican rum and pineapple juice, and you don’t have to spend the whole day traveling to enjoy it.


Join me in the next few days as I take you on a trip to Puerto Rico and especially Old San Juan. Looking beyond the suntanned tourists enjoying the sunshine on the beaches, you’ll see a Caribbean countryside of small, colorful towns filled with people from different parts of the world—always ready with a smile and greeting. The Puerto Rican people are friendly and passionate about their country.


Wear comfortable shoes and get ready to marvel at this wonderful island with a combination of a historical legacy and its beautiful bustling life.  In this report I will try to acquaint you with the area and suggestions of what to see, where to stay and what to eat.


The following hotels are recommended:


Verdanza Hotel is a superb location and contemporary chic in San Juan, Puerto Rico, a member of the Summit Hotels & Resorts collection of Preferred Hotel Groups. The Verdanza Hotel offers 222 guestrooms, including 60 rooms fronting on the pool area, and 9 guest suites. You can choose from three signature restaurants providing culinary menus. Take advantage of their new Wine & Tapas Bar, DiVino, featuring over 40 wine labels by the glass, tastings and Weekly wines.


Bahia Beach Resort & Golf Club, Rio Grande is nestled in a two-mile sandy beach in the northern coast of the island of Puerto Rico. The resort is the first in the Caribbean to be awarded with the Signature Sanctuary certification by Audubon International. Stunning views of the beach and the El Yunque rainforest is a wonderful backdrop for their challenging golf course.


Rio Mar Beach Resort & Spa, (A Wyndham Grand Resort) , is situated between the Atlantic Ocean and the El Yunque Caribbean National Forest in a lush hideaway on the “Isle of Enchantment”. With 500 acres of Flora & Fauna and a multitude of activities the Rio Mar has two championship golf courses (36 holes), tennis complex, Spa and comprehensive family programs. Created to pamper and impress.


Conrad at San Juan Condado Plaza is located on the Condado Strip overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and Condado Lagoon and just five minutes to historic Old San Juan. It is located near museums, historic landmarks and a busy nightlife.


El Conquistador & Golden Door Spa was voted the top Caribbean Spa by readers of Caribbean Travel and Life and the Best Spa for treatments by Conde’ Nast Traveler. The Golden Door has 25 treatment rooms and a staff-to-guest ratio of 4-to-one. Their 6,662-yard golf course changes in elevation providing breathtaking vistas to add to elevate the game.


All five hotels are equipped to make your celebration entering into marriage a wondrous occasion.


More information on each of the hotels can be found on their Web Site.


Puerto Rican cuisine is eclectic and will satisfy the pickiest eaters. The coffee is considered by Europeans to be the best coffee in the world. Although food from the Island is prepared with a multiplicity of richly varied spices and condiments, Puerto Ricans tend to season their food more subtly than one might imagine.


Following are some suggested Restaurants:


Augusto’s Restaurant is recognized by Arts & Leisure News as The Best Restaurant in Puerto Rico.  With its European flair Augusto’s fine cuisine and service has been recognized as the foremost white tablecloth restaurant on the Island.  Let me share with you the menu that we indulged in: Starting with: Coral Cod Tartare with Avocado Mousse and Red Pepper Crocant, then Seared Boat Scallops with Turnip Puree and Chorizo Espuma, continuing our third course, Egg Toasted Potato Gnocchi and Thyme Pumpkin Sauce, and then our main course, Veal Osso Buco Lasagna with Black Truffle Emulsion. Wonderful coffee and Nougatine Souffle with Vanilla Ice-Cream ended the meal.  Bravo to Chef Ariel Rodriguez an ambassador to the Puerto Rican Culinary industry.

Pikayo Restaurant

This is an ideal place to go for the next generation of Puerto Rican fusion cuisine. Pikayo not only keeps up with the latest culinary trends, but it also often sets them, thanks to the inspired guidance of owner and celebrity chef Wilo Benet. Formal but not stuffy, and winner of many culinary awards. It is the best Museum restaurant in Puerto Rico featuring a mixed cuisine.

Palio Restaurant

Indulge yourself with superior service and delicious cuisine in Palio’s Italian Restaurant. Combining an elegant setting with good food will leave you with an unforgettable dining experience.

The three restaurants need reservations.


Art flourishes with craft workers, musicians, composers, playwrights and painters, sculptors and actors in Puerto Rico. For one The Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico houses the finest collection of art in Puerto Rico, representing important schools of painting and sculpture for Europe and the Americas – including a sizable sample of works by Puerto Rican artists. Although many of Puerto Rico’s best accomplishments haves been in the folk arts, the arts has been expanded into many other areas, with today’s artisans producing a great variety of paintings, non-religious sculpture, jewelry and many collectibles and artifacts.


The Museo de Arte Puerto Rico opened its doors in the summer of 2000. The impressive stained-glass back window that runs the height of its five stories accentuates the contemporary design. The museum also constantly brings in exciting new exhibits that make for worthwhile repeat visits, whether it is avant-garde pieces or art from the pre-colonial era.


After enjoying the galleries, visitors might want to head outside into the sculpture gardens, accessible from the 2nd floor. This natural exhibit space boasts hundreds of thousands of plants, including 26 species of trees. Back inside the building, the 2nd floor is also the site of the ActivArte Gallery, a learning space for children with interactive activities such as a labyrinth, art puzzles, and informative computer programs. Their gift shop is excellent and it is a worthwhile look before you leave.



Puerto Rico is a beautiful island with its sandy beaches and brightly colored flowers. Delicious fruits and nuts hang from the trees and tiny little iguanas hop around the trees. The background has mountains that stretch across the island and the rain forest adds to the beauty of this island.


If you are interested in being part of this landscape you might be interested in the government’s implementation of its “Strategic Model for a New Economy.” Governor Luis G. Fortuno has signed into law two key bills that are designed to support increased investment in the Island’s tourism industry. According to the “Tourism Development Act of Puerto Rico” in order to facilitate new or upgraded tourism projects on the Island, the government of Puerto Rico has created a series of tax credits and exemptions for investors. For more information go to Puerto Rico’s Governor Luis Fortuno’s Web Site.


Reviewed by: Joyce  Hauser





SWIISS INTERNATIONAL  AIR LINES

AND  ISRAEL AND ZURICH


The wonders of modern travel were confirmed when I boarded a Swiss International airplane at  JFK in New York to Israel and Zurich. Even before my flight I was offered all that I could expect of this premium airline. 


Arts and Leisure News Service joins in the accolades given to Swiss International being named “Europe’s Leading Airline Business Class’ in this year’s World Travel Awards. This distinction was based on the votes of more than 183,000 specialists from the travel and tourism sector all over the world. 


While you’re waiting to board your plane the exclusive lounge facilities are specially designed with the travelers needs in mind. The spacious lounge offers European and intercontinental travelers comfortable seating in a special place with free Internet access, and wonderful facilities with massage beds and showers. Fresh fruit and a wide selection of hot and cold food are available. Whether you prefer a full course meal or a drink, tea or coffee you won’t want for anything.


On Board after a welcome drink (a glass of champagne, fresh orange juice or water) you can relax, sleep or work. You have the space and privacy you will need with spacious surfaces where you can work with your IPod and USB connections that are available. Your comfortable seat turns into a bed that reclines into a two-meter-long lie-flat air-cushioned bed. Your bed has an individually adjustable firmness/softness setting, and a special massage function. 


Assortments of cocktails or wines are available with a 5-course meal created especially by Swiss International’s star chefs. I tried the kosher food plate on my return flight and I was more than pleased with my dinner catered by the Shalom Air Catering Service. Your entertainment system lets you choose from a movie, music or documentaries and you can rewind or pause the movie so you can fully enjoy your meal. 


The Swiss International Air Line staff was par excellence. Personal attention and commitment to your comfort and relaxation is how I left the plane and know I will be flying Swiss International again. 



         JERUSALEM


As I stepped off the Swiss International plane I was immediately impressed with how grand and modern The Ben Gurion airport was. And with all the airport security my luggage was sent out quite fast.  Ben Gurion Airport is the largest airport in Israel with more than 100 airlines flying from the airport and about nine million passengers traveling through it. This airport was a prophetic glance at the growth and development of this country and I knew this was going to be a special trip. 



Location is one of the most important things to think about when determining how much time you have and how far the sites you want to see are. The Dan Hotel sits on the historic slopes of Mount Scopus overlooking the romantic skyline of Jerusalem and surrounded by the rolling hills of Judea. It is the most desirable location in Western Jerusalem. Overlooking the ancient walls of the Old City, the historical “David Citadel and Tower,” the Jaffa Gate and the city’s most holy sites and cultural attractions are just minutes walking distance from the hotel. The Dan Jerusalem is in the heart of three major western religions.  The hotel houses more than 384 guest rooms and suites all offering the finest in facilities – from electronic safe and mini-bar, individually controlled air-conditioning and heating and computer and fax connections to spacious bathrooms (both bath and shower are separate) and complete guest amenities. The fitness center is considered the best in Jerusalem with its large, heated pool and a place to indulge in massages while overlooking the Old City. As they say “Come and Visit Jerusalem and make the Dan Jerusalem your Home Away from Home. The complimentary shuttle service offered by the hotel makes it easy for guests to get to all prime attractions. On the web for more information: htp//www.danhotels.com/jerusalemHotels/DanJerusalemHotel/ 


Jerusalem is not only rich in history and unique cultural heritage it is a fashionable and an internationally recognized city with bustling streets, enjoyable programs and atmospheric restaurants and cafes. It is an exciting and worthwhile place to visit. So put on your most comfortable walking shoes or sandals and take advantage of the sites and local markets throughout Jerusalem. 



The Western Wall comes alive at night where it is magnificently illuminated. At the wall’s base, in a vast open plaza, you’ll see people lost in prayer. For a person of the Jewish faith, the Western Wall is an emotional look at the past. Up until 1967 it was called The Wailing Wall, for it is said that the wall wailed along with the Jews who over the centuries endured the obstacles to the return of their nation. The exposed wall (which is only a fraction of the actual wall) has seven tiers of huge stones, piled one atop the other, which has stood without cement for two    thousand years.


The holiest site in the Christian Quarter is the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, which is on Christian Quarter Road. This church, which was built on the site of Golgotha (the place where, according to the New Testament, Christ was crucified and buried), occupies a supreme place in the Christian world. 


Before we left Jerusalem we visited the open market to buy some artifacts and souvinirs  to bring home . 


TEL  AVIV


We checked into The Hotel Dan Panorama Hotel that rises above the winding streets of Israel’s wonderful beaches and near the central business district and picturesque Old Jaffa. Entertainment attractions, shops, art galleries and restaurants surround this privileged location. The David Inter-Continental has 559 guestrooms and suites, all of which boast a panoramic view of the dazzling Mediterranean, and all rooms are well fitted with modern amenities. Rooms are very spacious, very comfortable, and up-to-date. The hotel-heated swimming pool has a spacious sun terrace, where guests can bask in the sun and enjoy the view of the Sea. The business center at the Hotel Dan Panorama also provides a comprehensive range of business services. Rooms are luxuriously furnished and include Luxury Bath & Body Works bath products, plush bathrobes TV with movie channels, direct dial telephones, mini-bar, and private safe, tea/coffee making facilities, 24-hour room service and more. . A special note about the competent staff including all those working at the front desk and the concierge who makes your stay memorable by always being there to help you find your way throughout the city or any problems you might have.   For more information:www.danhotels.com/TelAvivHotels/DanPanoramaTelAvivHotel/  


Tel Aviv is unique with its Mediterranean coastlines, and historic port with a plethora of fashionable boutiques, beautiful people, hummus, falafel and the best cup of cappuccino. Israeli’s take their coffee and cafes very seriously.  Tel Aviv means clean and assessable family beaches, delightful villages and cosmopolitan cities that never close.  Its exhilarating and diverse environment provides an extraordinary degree of diversity.  Whether you want a gentle stroll to sharpen your appetite for lunch or a challenging ramble through the commercial center with its museums and art scene, theaters and concerts there is much to do. Tel Aviv has countless fairs, bazaars and markets, and one in particular is the Carmel Market which specializing in fresh produce and low cost clothes. Step back in time in Tel Aviv’s history and Heritage from Roman to Victorian interweaved with twenty-first century attractions and entertainment. Tel Aviv has international recognition for its hip nightlife, exciting gastronomic culture and Bauhaus-influenced architecture. A holiday destination that offers so much.   It has been designated a World Cultural Heritage Site by UNESCO.


In  the 70s I interviewed  Prime  Minister  Golda  Meir. She was the  catalyst  in my returning to Israel in  2012 to  learn more about this country from a desert became a place  where  grapefruits and oranges grew on trees.


Tel Aviv, the first Hebrew city in modern times was founded in 1909 and was built on the sand dunes north of the ancient port city of Jaffa.  Once it was described as a drab, gray city of concrete now you will encounter the largest collection of buildings whose architectural roots can be traced to the Bauhaus architecture of Germany. This architectural style is so prevalent in Tel Aviv that it almost seems as though it were a local style, but it is not. 


If there is one thing that all Israeli’s agree on, it is food and nowhere is it more celebrated than Tel Aviv, which is not a kosher city. Even shellfish is widely available, although there’s not much in the way of swine meat. Tel Aviv is a truly an International city built and populated by immigrants from more than 100 countries so the cuisine gives you many choices. There is never a shortage of places to get a good quick meal. The Israeli Street Food consists of falafel (spiced chickpea fritter) sandwich that has at least four falafels and includes your choice of a number of fresh salads and condiments.  Falafel sandwiches are available throughout Israel. 


Safed's atmosphere, with the buildings of Jerusalem stone, its fascinating history and the Jewish Mysticism engulfs the surrounding landscapes. When Israel became an independent state, in 1949, an Artists Colony was established in the Old City of Safed. The need to establish a focal point – a place for artists to meet - artists who survived the holocaust found their new homeland here, as well as their homes and livelihood. Together they established an Artists Cooperative - the first in its kind in Israel. They used an ancient building in the heart of the Old City of Safed to serve as a permanent exhibition hall for their art works. This General Exhibition, operating as a permanent show for the last 45 years, is in the process of becoming a Museum of Safed Artists. At present there are about 55 artists, painters and sculptors, members of the Artists Colony - including new immigrants from what used to be the Soviet Union. The building next to the General Exhibition was renovated and it contains art workshops and galleries where art works are being displayed and offered for sale.



We had a wonderful kosher meal, the best in Tel Aviv, at the Meatos restaurant before we said good-bye to Israel. The Restaurant offers ingenious creations that meet the highest culinary standards. The fish and seafood are of excellent quality; as well as the meat, poultry vegetables and fruits are all well worth my recommendation. 



ZURICH


If you have only one or two night’s stay in Zurich, I can suggest a good accommodation for convenience and location.  The Radisson BLU Hotel is only a few feet away from the Zurich Airport and the train station,  which runs quite frequently into the city. The Hotel also, offers a free shuttle service to the center of the city. 



The Radisson Blu rooms are modern and comfortable with all the necessary amenities’. air conditioning with flat-screen TV and free coffee and tea.  All rooms offer free Wi-Fi, and LCD TV and a laptop-size safe. The soundproof panorama windows provide spectacular views of the airport or the inside of the atrium and the 52-foot-high wine tower in the lobby has 4,000 bottles of wine and champagne. 

http://www.radissonblu.com/hotel-zurichairport.com


We boarded the train and set out to sample Zurich. Since we only had one day in Zurich we walked fast and focused. Zurich’s rich historic section features cobblestone  streets, a variety of small stores and restaurants and many of the city's most significant religious landmarks. It is a beautiful town with so many shops to visit and with hundreds of new bars, restaurants and clubsone one day was certainly not enough time to take it all in. Located on a picturesque river and lake this affluent, fashion-conscious place enjoys all the things that make Zurich a place I would like to return to. 


Incidentally, Zurich is home to the world’s fourth-biggest stock exchange and is quite important in Switzerland’s financial world.


Reviewed  by Joyce Hauser









 








 


 


 

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