"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


Lake Atitlan, nestled within the fog-shrouded mountains of the Guatemalan highlands, is graced with twelve towns scattered around its periphery like the pearls of a necklace. Over 90% of the inhabitants in the area are indigenous people.
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I was standing at the edge of the bowl-shaped hill hypnotized by the beauty of the aquamarine lake that lay glittering in the basin below - low-lying hill, dense forest and a tranquil lake. I stood there in awe when suddenly my mind took me eons back.
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The chilly Atlantic pushed our ferry off the coast of Ireland towards the rocky Aran Islands in the distance, each wave colored a blue deeper than midnight. When we disembarked, the mist creeping down the rocky bluffs of the island and the sea spray caught in my hair.
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In the still of the early morning we strolled along the palm tree dotted seafront. To our right the Mediterranean Sea is calm...smooth as glass. To our left, the shop and restaurant owners hose off the sidewalks in front of their establishments preparing for a busy day..
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"Bon bini." This lyrical, unusual word greeted me and my family at Queen Beatrix International Airport at Oranjestad, Aruba where we had arrived for a short vacation. Bon bini means welcome in the Papiamento language, one of four languages that are commonly spoken in this Caribbean island. The official language is Dutch while English and Spanish are also widely spoken.
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The Mediterranean has a variety of intriguing historic destinations in Spain, Italy and Greece. One way you can visit some of those fascinating historical sites is via a cruise. Cruise ships usually stop at ports in Italy, Spain, France and Greece from which you visit some of the world's greatest museums and historical architecture.
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It is early morning and the sun is casting shadows on the monumental canyon walls leading into the “rose city” of Petra in the Kingdom of Jordan. Petra is more than 2,000 years old and has some magnificent and amazingly well-preserved buildings that were hand-carved by the Nabataean people, an Arab tribe who ruled this area for hundreds of years starting as early as the sixth century B.C.
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Our hearts were set on introducing our fellow travelers to the spectacular Na Pali Coast, globally renowned for its rugged, breathtaking grandeur, secluded beaches, rainbow waterfalls and, yes, challenging, daunting hikes. Three days of heavy rains and flooding foiled our plans. Steep treacherous cliffs and slick trails make for heart failing excitement, but, not the kind of excitement we were looking for.
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