"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


In 1997 Western Samoa was renamed Samoa. It consists of the two main islands of Upolu and Savai’i plus many smaller ones. Samoa is relaxed and casual, warm and sunny with friendly people, none of whom are in a hurry. You can go to Samoa to enjoy the beaches and unwind, but there’s also plenty to see and do. I was keen to find what remained of its colonial history.
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During one summer, I took a holiday in the seaside town of Paignton, one of three towns in Torbay alongside Brixham and Torquay. It is part of a supposed English Riviera that has miles of sandy beaches, and some great coastal landscapes. Aside from soaking up the sun on Paignton's beaches, soak up the history at Torbay's museums, steam railway, Oldway Mansion and Berry Head.
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Hanoi is a contrast of old and new with some intriguing contradictions. The National Museum is housed in an old colonial building. The 900 year old Temple of Literature was a center of Confucian learning and thought. The French-era Opera House is beautifully appointed ... and located opposite the Hanoi stock exchange in a square that includes a Gucci store and the Hanoi Hilton.
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Norfolk Island, a self-governing territory of Australia is small, only 8 kms by 5kms. It was a popular holiday destination in the 1970s and 1980s. The shops are still there, now rather jaded, but what drew me to Norfolk was its history, in particular its history as a penal colony and as a second home for the Pitcairn Islanders. Norfolk Island is a fascinating destination.
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East Anglia is England’s little Holland. You know you’ve reached the farmlands of East Anglia when the pungent stench of root vegetables hit your nostrils. There are pockets of softer, rolling countryside as well, but mainly East Anglia is flat, very flat. It’s a hostile landscape, the kind of place where you have to be tough and insular to survive.
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As a British person travelling in the Deep South, a new world of history, food and adventure lay before me. I wanted to see as many historical sites as possible within my six-week trip, and Boone Hall Plantation was in my top five places to see. The best destinations are those that stir the soul, pull at the heartstrings or blow us away with their beauty. For me, Boone Hall managed to do all three.
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Bergen’s beautiful location on Norway’s south-western tip; gateway to Norway’s two UNESCO natural heritage fjords; has almost daily rain. Moreover, the precipitation regularly falls as hail and snow even in May. However, I also saw how beautiful the water looked sweeping the air from Vagen bay to Mount Ulriken; the highest of the seven mountains circling Bergen’s UNESCO cultural heritage Bryggen docks.
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The mountain rises out of the rainforest an emerald pyramid. I look at its sheer vertical flanks that stretch upwards on and on until they puncture the sky high above and I wonder: What have I let myself in for? This is Sri Pada, also known as Adam’s Peak. It is the only mountain in the world to be venerated by four major world religions: by Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims and Christians.
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