Monday, April 20, 2015

SILVER SHADOW: AN ATLANTIC COASTAL ADVENTURE


BY JANET STEINBERG

La vie est belle.  Life is beautiful…on the high seas.
Many years ago, an ocean liner’s slogan was “Getting there is half the fun”.  As a dyed-in-the-wool cruiseaholic, I am compelled to bring that slogan up to date for the 21st century.  My version has to be: “How you get there is more than half the fun”. My recent cruise aboard Silversea’s Silver Shadow was living proof of that.


GETTING THERE ON SILVER SHADOW IS MORE THAN HALF THE FUN

Monday, April 6, 2015

DUBLIN: TREASURE IRELAND



BY JANET STEINBERG

“In Dublin’s fair city, where the girls are so pretty,

I first set my eyes on sweet Molly Malone…” 

Just as the tragic ballad laments, there she stood greeting me at the top of Grafton Street.  In all her buxom bronze splendor, the 18th-century fish-monger is still drawing a crowd to her wheel-barrow laden with cockles and mussels.  Immortalized in 1988 by sculptor Jean Rynhart, Molly Malone has been affectionately, yet irreverently, dubbed by irrepressible Dubliners as “The Tart with the Cart”.

MOLLY MALONE

Monday, March 23, 2015

BUDAPEST: A HUNGARIAN RHAPSODY



BY JANET STEINBERG

“I would not eat the soup of life with a fork; I would continue to use a big ladle.”
                                                     George Lang, Holocaust Survivor/Restaurateur 

TIME: 11 PM.  PLACE: The Danube River.  COUNTRY: Hungary.
As we glided down the Danube on our approach to Budapest, all passengers rushed to the upper deck of  the river boat that had been our floating hotel for the past week.  The cruise staff had forewarned us not to miss the sight of this city that would be our on-shore home for the last three days of our Danube River tour.

As we approached the final stretch, a breathtaking sight appeared before our eyes.  The city of Budapest, gracing both sides of the Danube River, was ablaze with thousands of lights.  Lights outlining the regal bridges; lights outlining the Neoclassical buildings; lights outlining the grand monuments.  Budapest (pronounced Budapesht) was a veritable fairyland.  A fantasy that Walt Disney might have conjured up.

With morning came reality.  Here we were, one-fourth of the way around the world, in an exotic, mysterious city that had been devastated in WWII and inaccessibly cloistered behind an Iron Curtain in the last half of the 20th century.  Here we were, watching history being made in a city that was, once again, being rebuilt and reinvented by its proud people.

The city we know as Budapest was once three cities existing side by side.  Obuda, with Celtic and Roman ruins, is the oldest section; Buda is the home of Castle Hill and the finest residential areas; and Pest is the seat of the bustling government and commercial areas.  

PEST FROM THE BUDA SIDE

Monday, March 9, 2015

ICELAND: A NAME OF DECEPTION

BY JANET STEINBERG



“Iceland is one of the most beautiful countries in the world…”

Julie Christie, actor



They shouldn’t call Iceland “Iceland".


Once thought to be a cold barren place sans people, this Arctic land has no snow and ice in the summer.  Berries, vegetables and flowers grow in many places and the sun shines on the entire region for at least part of the day from March to September.  That is, unless it rains.  At the onset of summer, the sun never sets and white nights illuminate the annual June 23rd golf tournament which begins at midnight.     


The misnomer of this Scandinavian island dates back more than a millenium (874 AD) to Ingolfur Arnarson, a Norwegian Viking frequently credited with discovering the island. By naming it Iceland, he hoped to discourage future voyagers from settling on this green and appealing island.  Throughout the centuries, unsuccessful attempts have been made to rename the country Iceland, just 625-miles west of Norway, is a craggy land of fire and ice...where steam and snow are side by side...where erupting volcanoes, boiling geysers and bubbling hot springs lie next to glistening glaciers and ice fields.  This land of Europe's largest waterfalls is etched with craters of slumbering volcanoes that pockmark an eerie landscape so lunar-like that America's moon-mission astronauts trained there. Known as "The Land of the Midnight Sun," Iceland, a country the size of the state of Ohoi, has a total population of appproximately 323,000. 

WELCOME TO ICELAND

Monday, February 23, 2015

BARBADOS: THE SUNNY BRITISH ISLE


BY JANET STEINBERG

Barbados is a magical mélange of hustle, bustle, charm, and class.  Beneath a turquoise sky, and surrounded by aquamarine waters, this idyllic island is a solace for relaxation and a virtual mecca for active lifestyles and cultural pursuits.  It is endless sun-washed, sugary, sand beaches and craggy, dark, underground caves.  It is green monkeys and flying fish; reggae and karaoke; booze cruises and rum tours; beachfront hair braiders and spa-tacular hot stone massages.


BEAUTIFUL BARBADOS BEACH