"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


It’s almost the end of another year. How will you celebrate New Year's Eve? Here are some of the ways that they celebrate in countries around the world, from Scotland, Brazil and Greece to New Zealand, Hong Kong and Ecuador. However you choose to celebrate, may the New Year bring you happiness and good fortune.
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Travelling through Tuscany in autumn, you are bound to spot olive groves alive with activity as nets are spread out under the trees and olive pickers gather in La Raccolta (Harvest). This yearly event is an ancient tradition and methods have changed little over the centuries.
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The lifeblood of New Orleans is Mardi Gras, jazz, jambalaya and gumbo but “The City That Care Forgot” also has a spiritual side to it – voodoo. This religion was first brought to the Big Easy between 1806 and 1810 when slave ships were re-routed from Santo Domingo (present day Dominican Republic) to New Orleans during the Servile Wars.
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Rome has been importing and distributing water for over 2,000 years. It is believed that the first of Rome’s fountains was established here in the 8th Century. Early fountains were built to service horses as well as humans. Some of the trough-like basins found in the city today are actually beautifully carved sarcophagi bought from churches in the middle-ages after they’d lain unused for centuries.
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The two-lane paved road rises and falls, twists and turns, like a dangling rope, through the rugged Chihuahua hill country of northern Mexico. It’s amazing that one of Mexico's most famous potters lives out here. Shimmering in the stark desert light is the village of Mata Ortiz, home of Mexico's renowned potter Juan Quezada.
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Puerto Rico, an island in the Caribbean, is the smallest island of the Greater Antilles. I had arrived in San Juan for a spring break vacation accompanied by my husband and daughter. We found San Juan to be a unique island where one can not only enjoy a beach vacation but can also have a visit filled with culture, history and natural splendor.
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Rebetiko music had not been on our radar when we stopped in Hydra during our month-long meander through the Greek Islands. Rather we had aimed for Hydra because we were on a quest for 1) great walks, and 2) the Canadian songwriter laureate, Leonard Cohen (or at least, a glimpse into the reason he had chosen Hydra as a writer's haven).
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Folk dancing is something that can be seen all over Greece. We are going to concentrate here on the province of Evros. A place where each village is steeped in tradition, and the local costumes reflect that, with different colours, embroidery styles and other details revealing the locations.
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