"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 Ruth Kozak


I was back on the train to Belfast after decades, the new stock state-of-the-art shiny, clean, comfortable, smooth and fast. Back in the 1980s the train to Belfast shuddered and creaked its way to the city. The seats were blighted with cigarette holes and knife slits, the floors covered in litter, the walls plastered with graffiti.
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Sunshine and colourful buildings invited me out. Quiet empty streets made me feel at home. I knew the sun was there because I’d seen it rising over Stockholm’s highest buildings as my overnight bus from Norway arrived. I knew the classic pastel-coloured architecture from photos, and had seen some bright sparks of paint when arriving.
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As the plane was beginning its descent, I couldn't help but notice how small the islands were, even as they were getting bigger as we were getting closer. The islands of Bermuda actually comprise one of the smallest territories in the world. We were greeted by a Calypso band of seven musicians that immediately got us into the tropical island mood.
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San Francisco never ceases to entertain. But the city hasn’t always been this refined. Between 1849 and 1917, the city enjoyed a raucous reputation known as “the Barbary Coast” period. The Barbary Coast, the original red light district, acquired its name around 1860 from the coast of North Africa where Arab pirates attacked Mediterranean ships.
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The city of Portsmouth, on the south coast of England, is one that has a great coastline and harbor. As such, Portsmouth has plenty of boats! A variety of boats of various shapes and sizes, both modern and more historic, can be found at its harbor. As the city includes a Royal Navy naval base, which is one of the largest in Europe, it has a fascinating naval heritage.
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There’s more to a city than its centrally-located tourist attractions. To really get intimate with a city means exploring some of the neighborhoods that have helped shaped its history through walking its streets, visiting its notable homes, and taking in an atmosphere that allows one to imagine being in another century.
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Present-day Nazareth looks nothing like when it’s most famous son, Jesus, lived here. Fortunately you will not have to stretch your imagination too much if you divide your Nazareth daytrip into two parts. Start with a visit to Nazareth Village, a reconstructed 1st Century AD village where actors are dressed in period costume, and experience life as it was almost 2000 years ago.
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If you enjoyed the liberalism, museums and art galleries of Amsterdam, why not continue on less than an hour’s train ride away in the far less touristy yet decidedly more international 'city of peace and justice,’ Den Haag ('The Hague’)? As well as these kinds of attractions, Den Haag's human rights law courts offer free, extraordinary experiences that can’t be had anywhere else in the world.
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