"Setting out on the voyage to Ithaca you must pray that the way be long, full of adventures and experiences."
- Constantine Peter Cavafy "Ithaca"
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©2008 W. Ruth Kozak



ART / LITERARY
FRANCE

Alexandre Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo, bbegins with the arrival of the ship Pharaon (bearing the novel’s protagonist, Edmond Dantes) into Marseille. By a strange coincidence, I arrive in Marseille on the 25th of February, almost exactly two centuries later. I had vowed to visit this sacred place ever since I’d read the novel at an impressionable young age - and finally, here I am.
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SICILY

We enter the harbour of Messina, greeted by a golden lady perched on top of a very tall column. Inscribed at the base are the words - “Vos et ipsam cictatem benedicimus”. This sparks my curiosity and I’m determined to learn more about this edifice guarding the port. I am excited to be in Sicily for the first time.
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SPAIN

Squeezed in among the expectant crowd on the Plaza del Ayuntamiento in Valencia, Spain, I knew I was about to watch an explosion. I did not anticipate the teeth tingling, throat vibrating, ground shaking impact of over 200 pounds of gunpowder going off in what the tourist brochures describe as a "perfectly synchronized rhythmic symphony of noise."
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ENGLAND

It is called Yorkshire’s Jurassic Coast, due to the high amount of fossils found in the area. Ammonites that lived 200 million years ago are commonly found, and occasionally the bones of marine reptiles from that era. Human artefacts have been found in the area from about 9,000 years ago.
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SPAIN

Before I set off on my three week trip to Galicia, Spain’s green, wet and wild northern province, I had a vague idea who Rosalia de Castro was, but none whatsoever about a place called Padron. By the time I hit Santiago de Compostella, I was very familiar with Rosalia and her work.
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ENGLAND

The Ilkley Literature Festival attracts famous writers from Britain and abroad. The Ilkley Literature Festival has been showcasing local and international writing since 1973, when it was opened by the poet W.H. Auden. Its north Yorkshire location also provides an ideal gateway to the Yorkshire Dales National Park.
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FRANCE

I had come to Fontainebleau doubtful of the merits of visiting French palaces. On my first visit to France I had toured Versailles, and any notions I had had of sweeping across luxurious rooms were dashed when my feet hit the expansive gravel entrance and I was bumped aside by a tour leader holding an umbrella high above her head.
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JAPAN

Although less than 1% of the Japanese population is Christian, and December 25 is not a public holiday, Japanese retailers have eagerly adopted the commercial aspects of the season. Some Japanese put up Christmas trees in their homes and exchange gifts, and it is popular to eat “Christmas chicken” from Kentucky Fried Chicken.
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