Olympia Greece: Running Naked for the Olive Crown

The Palaestra, exercise area for the competitors in Olympia

The first competition held at Olympia, Greece was nothing to do with going for the gold. In fact, it was a chariot race that would determine who would win the hand of a beautiful princess, and inherit her father’s kingdom. King Oionomaos of Elis, had a daughter who he loved very much, so he challenged each of her suitors to a chariot race. Thirteen of them died before a man named Pelops ... Read Full Article

Exploring the Historic Sites of Cartagena, Spain

Roman Theater in Cartagena

If you have a passion for ancient history, Cartagena, Spain is a perfect destination. There are layers upon layers of history in this ancient coastal city. Located on Spain’s southern Costa Calida,  it was a naval port as far back as the 16th century and is still one of the most important in the western Mediterranean. Along with a base for warships and a shipyard, the port is now a major ... Read Full Article

Tabarca, Spain: The Pirate’s Island

Old town gate in Tabarca

If anyone mentions ‘pirates’ to me it immediately piques my interest. So when a travel-writer friend suggested that I might like to visit the pirate island of Tabarca off the Costa Blanca in Spain, I was more than interested. Tabarca History The tiny islet once known as Illa de Sant Pau (Saint Paul’s Island) is believed to be where St. Paul disembarked. Up to the end of the 18th century, it ... Read Full Article

The Scandals and Tales of Tredegar House in Wales

The ornate Edney Gates at Tredegar House

It was the mention of the famous pirate Capt. Henry Morgan that first sparked my interest when my cousin Nicola suggested we visit Tredegar House in Wales. Although Capt. Morgan, for whom the famous rum was named, was a distant grandson of the original owner of this 17th century Charles II era country house, it somehow made the visit more intriguing. Tredegar House, near Newport Wales, was ... Read Full Article

Marathon, Greece and the Ghosts of Ancient Warriors

Monument to marathon runners

I stand on the deserted beach of Marathon, Greece, a long crescent of stones and sand. Surf spills over the pebbles, spray bursts like a shower of gold-dust reflecting the dazzling Greek sun. On this beach, with the surf hissing over pebbles red as blood and white as bone, I hear the wind moaning like the voices of the ancient dead, as though the spirits still linger in the shade of the pine ... Read Full Article

Exploring Castles in Bacharach, Germany and Along the Rhine

river boat on the Rhine RIver

It happened to be a rainy day when I drove with my friends from Mainz, Germany to explore some castles along the Rhine River; but a little rain wasn't going to stop us from having lots of fun. The views of vineyards growing up the steep river banks and boats plying their way along the scenic shoreline seemed even more beautiful now that it was shrouded in a misty aura. Sooneck Castle Our ... Read Full Article

Worms, Germany: A City of Churches

The Cathedral of St. Peter

Worms, located on the west bank of the Rhine River, is one of Germany’s oldest cities. Besides the archaeological finds that go back more than 6,000 years, Worms was the scene of several events that shaped European history. It is the site of a medieval epic “the Nibelungelied’ , a story every German child learns at school about a legendary hero, Siegfried, and the Hun destruction of Worms. Legend ... Read Full Article

Greece’s Mysterious Lichadonisia Islands

The beach at Lichondisi island

It’s an overcast, gray October day and the gulls mewling over the sombre sea makes it seem even gloomier. I am standing at the marina at Kamena Vourla, a resort town on the north-east coast of Greece noted for its hot springs. I’m with a group of seniors who have traveled up the coast from Athens on a mystery trip, one that we will take by boat to visit a cluster of little islands known as the ... Read Full Article

Thessaloniki, Greek Macedonia: The Paris of the North

White Tower

Once known as the ‘Paris of the North’, Thessaloniki (Salonika) definitely has a different ambience than Athens. Maybe it’s the city’s close proximity to the sea and the elegant Parisian-style buildings. Or perhaps it’s the vibrant ‘youthful’ feel because of the young people who stroll the plateias and crowd the sea-side tavernas. Thessalonki is, after all, a university city so a large portion of ... Read Full Article

On the Road From Athens to Corinth

Corinthian Columns

The road from Athens to the Peloponnese traverses the coastline past factories and shipyards then climbs high above the sea rewarding us with panoramic views of the sparkling blue Saronic Gulf. My friends and I on our way to visit Corinth, the ancient city that was once a strong rival of Athens. As we descend the pass, we reach a low, flat barren track of land known as the Isthmus that connects ... Read Full Article