Sunday Special – Korčula Island, Croatia


Croatia. This country is definitely on my bucket list. I do want to visit all of the former Yugoslav countries (I have been to three: Slovenia, Serbia, and Macedonia) so of course that includes Croatia. However, that is not the only reason I want to visit it. I understand it is a wonderfully beautiful country with much to see. Islands lie all alongside its Adriatic Coast providing a large number to choose from. Some are major resort locales while others run at a slower pace. Of the latter, one such island is Korčula (also the the name of the main city) in the southern area of Dalmatia. Beaches of course are bountiful with shorelines ranging from sandy to rocky and everything in between. A great way to unwind. Wineries and wine tours are not lacking on the sun-kissed isle. In fact, Korčula Island has some indigenous varietals such as grk and posip.  Many of the wineries have been producing wines for centuries. Additionally, there are stories that explorer Marco Polo was in fact born on this small island and the very house where he supposedly entered the world. I wonder what the Italians have to say about that? LOL.

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Korcula, Croatia – Photo via Wikimedia Commons – Photo taken and owned by Andrzej Wolinski 

Andrzej Wolinski [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

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Town of Korcula – Photo via Wikimedia Commons – Photo taken and owned by Martin Broz 

By Martin Brož (Martin Brož’s camera) [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

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Korcula countryside – are those grapes for wine? Photo via Wikimedia Commons – Photo taken and owned by Anto 

By Anto (talk) 14:40, 7 October 2009 (UTC) (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Sunday Special – Malta


The island archipelago nation of Malta is located in the Mediterranean Sea. Despite being made up of several small isles only three are inhabited. These are Malta, Comino and Gozo. Even with its small area it has a history to rival many larger countries. Over thousands of years it has brought forth countless world powers – Phoenicians, Romans, Arabs, Normans, French, British and the Knights of the Order of St John, to name a few. Now Malta is an independent nation and part of the European Union (EU). Aside from history showcased in old temples, historical forts, archaeological sites and world-class museums Malta boasts other attractions. Stunning grottoes, red or golden sand beaches and its own Blue Lagoon (on Comino Island) that beckons sun-worshipers and water sport aficionados alike. Shopping and dining are in abundance as well.

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Malta’s Blue Lagoon – Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons – Taken and owned by Bengt Nyman 

By Bengt Nyman from Vaxholm, Sweden (IMG_0959) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

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Evening view of Valleta, capital city of Malta – Photo is Public Domain

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Valetta, Malta – Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons – Photo taken and owned by Tony Hisgett

By Tony Hisgett from Birmingham, UK (Valetta 10 Uploaded by tm) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Sunday Special – Positano, Italy (on the Almalfi Coast)


As the daylight hours here in Vancouver have been reduced due to the sad end of Daylight Savings Time I imagine places that are reknown for their sunkissed beaches. Recently my Instagram feed has seen a number of posts of this small sea-side Italian town. Set upon a hill that is awash with buildings and homes painted in bright hues it was once a busy port city back in the 1700s and 1800s. Now this town is recognized as one of the most picturesque in all of the Almalfi Coast. Author John Steinbeck wrote a magazine article about its charms back in the 1950s. Mick Jagger and Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones were holidaying in Positano when they wrote “Midnight Rambler”. Plenty of beaches, food, and relaxation seem to be what this popular locale is known for.

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nillo Beach, Positing, Italy – Photo from Wikipedia Commons – Michael Grmek

By Mihael Grmek (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

 

 

 

Sunday Special – Amsterdam, The Netherlands


When I think of Amsterdam the city in its entirety comes to mind. Unlike other locales where a famous landmark comes to mind, Amsterdam itself forms the image in my mind’s eye. Not many cities have that ability, perhaps because this one is simply cool. Far too many years have passed since I last saw Amsterdam – unless you count the time I was there to get a burger before moving onto my bus and ferry to England. When I was in the Netherlands in December 2014 for one day my friend was amazing – she drove me all over the Dutch countryside and then stopped for that burger. Had I more time I would have re-visited Amsterdam. My prior visit eons ago has left only remnants of memories. I remember canals, colourful narrow buildings and bicycles yet no specifics. A re-visit is certainly due.

It seems the best way to see this colourful city is by being a pedal-pusher. With more bicycles than people and bike paths everywhere it is an obvious choice. Rent a bike and take in the sights. See the colourful gable buildings, chill at any one of parks found in abundance or cruise along the city’s famous canals that make up one quarter of the city space. Tulips are synonymous with The Netherlands so it would be appropriate to visit the floating flower market for not only tulips but flowers of all colours and smells. If you are there in the spring the flower fields (Bollenstreek) are filled with a stunning colour palette of tulips. Later on, when the sun sets and lights go out head out for food and nightlife. Concerts, festivals, cafes and nightclubs will keep you rockin’ and dancing into the wee hours.

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Floating Flower Market set against Amsterdam’s narrow gabled buildings – Photo is Public Domain

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I Amsterdam sign – Photo is Public Domain

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Amsterdam canals at night – Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons – Photo taken and owned by Marcus Obal 

By MarcusObal (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons