Paros Island, Greece


Desert to Sea

The day trip from Amman, Jordan to Jerusalem started with a taxi ride to the Jordanian border followed by:  passport stamped, fee paid, shuttle bus from Jordanian border to Israeli border, 2 checkpoints(1 Jordanian and 1 Israeli), Israeli immigration, 3 more security checks with x-rays and passports checked each time, military patrols carrying machine guns throughout the buildings and another bus to another Israeli checkpoint.  After officially entering Israel,  I found a taxi driver who showed us(met a woman who worked for a NGO in Amman and she joined me on this excursion) the sites of Palestine, Jerusalem and Jericho. Continue reading

Good-bye pasta, hello hummus…….


Desert crossing sign

Ciao, Italy — loved you but decided to leave you…. inexpensive flights, tourist bargains in the Middle East and time to go before anything else happens led me to Amman, Jordan.   I visited all the four compass points and places in between–  crusader and Arab castles, deserts, Jordan River, Dead and Red Sea, Petra and Little Petra, Roman ruins, Hadrian’s Arch, towns whose names I can’t spell or pronounce…..

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Bologna, Verona, Venice, Rome…..


I only spent 24 hours in Bologna which is comprised of  universities, industries, and food!   Just when I thought it was impossible to have bigger or more ornate or more something buildings/churches, another city comes along, and outshines the previous one — Bologna was no exception.

I had lunch at a locals’ restaurant on a side street.  The all in one mâitre’d-waiter-bartender-cashier greeted me like his long-lost friend, took my order after many “prego’s, prego’s”(please, please)never said only once, and “si, si’s(yes, yes) same applies — all one word acknowledgements must be said at least twice, but preferably three times. The regular lunch crowd arrived around 12:30ish and re-emphasized the importance of community in daily Italian life.   Everyone knew one another and was greeted warmly by the all-in-one only employee(!), some received their usual drink, others heard the daily special and ordered as they walked to their table. Everyone spoke at the same time, gesticulated with their hands and forks constantly, nodded and never stopped eating.  Noise level reached new heights as 1:15pm approached and started to taper off around 1:45pm — I learned weeks ago lunch is a 2 hour affair – enjoy the food, appreciate the ambiance, savor the flavors, and absorb the sights/aromas that make up one of the main components of Italian life – FOOD. Continue reading

Turin, Parma…on to Bologna


The 2006 Winter Olympics were held in Turin –???  “Might have been your first clue, Lisa, with regards to climate.”  People dressed in full length down filled coats might have been another CLUE…not to mention the kids getting on the train with snowboards…oh, and , THOSE are the ALPS in the background there….  Trenitalia rumbled thru tunnels, snow-covered valleys, stopped at every little village ever known to mankind, and arrived in Turin, northern Italy which happened to be snow-free – THANK YOU!!!  But, it was a bit on the chilly side!

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