You were able to find a round-trip ticket from Toronto to Winnipeg 20,000 airplane points Plus $ 90 Taxes and fees.
A round-trip airplane redemption with calm air from Winnipeg to Churchill will cost extra 15,000 airplane points Plus around $ 330 Taxes and fees.
So, for the total cost 35,000 airplane points And 420, You are being a very strong 4.19cpp Price. The cost will be even higher if you plan your trip during the peak tourist season, as the cash value of the flight from / to Churchill will be much higher.
In both cases, the money saved using points can be put to good use by paying for accommodation, tours and a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
One thing to note is that Callum Air has a separate cancellation policy for airplane redemption flights. If you wish to cancel, you can resubmit your miles at a fee of $ 78.75 per passenger. Unfortunately, redemption taxes and fees are non-refundable, so you may be fairly out of money if you change your plan.
3. Air cribback
Air Quebec is a regional airline based in Val d’Or, Quebec. The airline serves 16 destinations in Quebec and Ontario, mainly on the shores of James Bay. Its Hawker and Dash-8 fleet flew from Timmins, Val d’Or and the Montreal hub.
Good morning, or evening from Qatar Airways Qsuites! You know the drill when I’m writing from the sky – this time, I’m starting a trip Dubai, Turkey and Georgia For a month.
The Prince of Travel team is joining forces on a Load Revenge travel circuit. There is some cross-over in our travels and I will give samples of some aspiring products that we have already reviewed on the blog. Fortunately, I find time to fully enjoy these experiences while not in “work mode”, while focusing on my blog’s contributions in some new areas that Prince of Travel has not covered.
Let’s get started here, because it was several convenient hotel bookings that started my plan. I’ll draw a picture so that things come together – empty with me because it’s not in chronological order.
The trip originated from speculative bookings on the days of Marriott Bonbay’s award chart death. I’ve identified a handful of properties that I would like to see, and have thrown my entire forest fear point balance into some refundable redemption. I thought I would never again lock in some unique experience at a rate and want to see if any trips would grow around them. Shooting first, planning later.
One such property is the Bodrum EDITION, which was on my radar as one of the most recommended Marriott Forest Horse hotels by my more experienced Miles & Points friends. Total 200,000 forest fear points for five nights.
(Of course, a few hours after I booked, the same dates were going for 80,000 points per night, which increased to 50,000 points. As we were warned earlier, Bodrum EDITION was among the biggest price increases.)
After I emptied my point balance at Bodram Edition and a few more hotels, I had only one 85,000-point Free Night Award Certificate Welcome bonus from my Marriott Bonavoy Brilliant Card, and I have no clear idea how to use it.
I was chatting with Rachel, our assistant at the Prince of Travel. He suggested, “Hey, I’ll stay in Al Maha for two nights before you come to the bedroom. We have to stop on the way! ”
Sure enough, both nights the old Category 8 standard rate was going for 85,000 points! I’ve caught one, a friend has caught another, and we’ll be sofa-surfing with each other on a chaotic weekend of desert decay.
To have such a brief stay, you’d better believe that I would maximize my time, allow them to check-in as soon as possible, and with the last check-out I could finish my outbound flight without missing a beat.
I arranged a night in Dubai before my Al Maha arrived. As a first-time visitor, I’ll be at Four Point Sheikh Zayed Road, near the Burj Khalifa and Dubai Mall – an important tourist attraction, and I need to do something to get energy through my jet-lag.
Suddenly, a speculative booking was becoming a realistic plan.
Fast forward to the side of the bedroom now, in Istanbul. I booked five nights at the JW Marriott Istanbul Bosphorus, highly recommended and well positioned around Caracas. Older Category 5 hotels cost between 30,000-40,000 points per night. I secured my booking after I dropped the prize chart. The price actually dipped a bit here and there, but I finally locked myself in Five-night block for 149,000 points In total.
After that, I would stay in Cappadocia for four nights. I booked Terra Cave Hotel In Expedia for TD, uses 104,000 TD Award Points, The equivalent of CA $ 520. (I can still finish the month More The TD Awards that I started with, thanks for the current nice welcome bonus on the TD First Class Travel Visa Infinite Card.)
After that, I’m going to Georgia for the rest of my trip. I currently booked for four nights at the Tbilisi Marriott. In cash, any Marriott Bonavoy Hotel in Tbilisi is currently eligible for a 20% discount for four or more nights. I was able to get a rate US $ 181 per night, Which is more than I expected (I hope I’ll offset it with cheaper food and daily expenses), but not more than the nearby Courtyard Hotel.
The rest of my time in Georgia is as open as this moment. Weather permitting, I would like to visit some small town for hiking and mineral bathing in the mountains.
Once Bodrum EDITION and Al Maha came together, finding a way to get there in style was paramount. Since I made these bookings on March 28, it has been challenging to find the desired prize in six weeks.
I have long been interested in using Qatar Airways Qsuites, including previous plans for the Omicron variant in South Africa. Traveling to the Middle East, it was a good opportunity to do so.
After a long and arduous search, I finally found a seat on a Qatar flight from Washington to Doha on a date that worked for my Al Maha arrival. However, the plan was far from ideal: it required a false-plane red-eye in Air Canada signature class with an upgraded latitude fare, an overnight stay at a hotel in Toronto and a separate airplane ticket in Washington.
Fortunately, I got some last minute availability on the Doha route from Seattle. I didn’t waste time changing my ticket, as it saved me an extra day of travel. Also, instead of taking a bus from Vancouver to Seattle, I avoided the cumbersome need for a negative antigen test to enter the United States for a mere connection.
Although I could book a flight with British Airways Avios through my Qatar Avios subscription, I used 70,000 American AA Advantage Mile + CA $ 54.10. Avios is easy to earn, but I’ve been sitting on a big balance of AAdvantage miles for a while, so I chose to keep the cash fee low.
I will be staying at the Doha terminal for eight hours before a short night flight to Dubai. Since the connection in front of me (short distance) is in first class, I am entitled to go to Al Safwa first class lounge, where I will definitely spend my entire vacation. Also, due to being at Airside, I do not need a negative PCR test to enter Qatar.
Once I finish at Al Maha, my airplane ticket starts. First, I’m on an “outbound” leg Etihad Airways, From Abu Dhabi to Istanbul. Unfortunately I couldn’t find a business class award seat on this flight, although I’m looking for one with a seat alert on ExpertFlyer. For now, I’m paying 12,500 airplane points For this the economy is bound.
From there, I quickly headed straight back to Bodrum, with a round-trip cash fare Turkish Airlines. I pay about CA $ 120 For tickets
After visiting the city for five days back in Istanbul, I received a one-way cash fare with Turkish Airlines. Kayseri, Cappadocia’s largest airport. I almost paid CA $ 70 For tickets
After that, I have a one-way cash rent Pegasus Airlines, Istanbul’s Sabiha Goksen International Airport (SAW) is a low-cost carrier in Turkey, with connections from Kayseri to Tbilisi. I paid US $ 162.62 For international tickets, including a checked bag.
Finally, I will pick up my airplane ticket with a “return” leg from Turkish Airlines Tbilisi to Istanbul to Seattle, all business class, ending with a quick Air Canada connection to Vancouver. This limitation of travel costs 81,900 airplane points, The last hour of the economy brought down the total price of tickets with a favorable dynamic price.
With no availability on the Turkish route in Canada, I was lucky to get a seat From Istanbul to Seattle Leg, a new route that was launched the same day I was booking my flight. This puts me in a Boeing 787 Dreamliner instead of a Boeing 777, a good choice for a single traveler due to the cabin configuration.
By booking both airplane bound on the same ticket as the open jaw, I only had to pay a one-time CA $ 39 partner booking fee. All in all, the price of booking has come 94,400 airplane points + $ 152.50.
Car rental and activities
Digging deeper into what I wanted to see and do, I decided to rent a few cars.
For Al Mahr, I am taking a two-day fare from Dubai to Abu Dhabi International Airport as a one-way route. I’m renting হার 92.94 for two days with Hertz, which I cover 9,294 MBNA prize points. It was cheaper than arranging a taxi for a short stay, and it was more convenient as I was on a tight schedule. (I love my desert drive!)
I am renting a car for Cappadocia, where I am waiting for the flexibility to explore the extraordinary landscape at my own pace. I made a four-day booking for 251.79, which I covered 50,400 TD award points.
I would probably do the same thing in Georgia, for the same reason as Cappadocia. Starting partially during my time in the capital Tbilisi, I currently get a 6-day rental for books at $ 451.75, covered with 90,400 TD award points.
For activities, I booked my Cappadocia balloon ride early with butterfly balloons on TJ’s recommendation. If my flight was delayed due to the weather, I was able to get a place in the second of my four mornings, with the house quite shaky.
Otherwise, I still have some things to find out. I will probably promise to visit a Burj Khalifa in the next hour. Outside of that, we’ll see where the road takes me!
My trip to Colombia earlier this year was the first major trip since the epidemic. It was my revenge as a Traveler. It was a big step, which I needed.
This trip has a bit of a different flavor. As my first major ambitious travel experience in Points, all Domino fell in the right direction, not to mention a rather complex puzzle, this is my revenge as a Point collector. That’s the decent thing to do, and it should end there.
Previously, I was very careful to keep myself where I felt I needed to be. This time around, I’ve picked out some of the things I’d like to see, and I’m coming on a trip with a lighter, more open and irrational attitude. I’m so excited to try new things, just say I can, thanks to the power of Miles and Points!
Are you planning a trip with the kids but not sure where to start? We’ve shared the best family travel tips from their last year’s full-time trip to Sharing The Wonder. After a year on the road, they learned a lot about traveling as a family and what it takes to navigate the new normal. Are you ready to travel with your family?
Best Family Travel Tips
When we sold our home and set out as a family together in June 2021, we had little idea where our trip would take us, how we would all fit into full-time travel, or what we would learn along the way. .
We started with a comprehensive itinerary, which has changed many, many times since we started the journey. As we travel and as our kids get older we are constantly learning how to make travel the best for all of us.
Over 9 months later, we’ve celebrated multiple birthdays and holidays on the street, and still learning what’s best for our family, our travel speeds have changed, and of course, we’re doing something wrong here and there.
Our kids were about 4 and 6 when we took to the streets. Here are some of the ones we learned along the way, which we hope will be useful for other traveling families. Here are our top family travel tips for traveling with kids.
1. Stay safe
Our first priority when going somewhere with our kids is safety. We are often asked how to travel safely with children! In most places, a little common sense goes a long way.
When traveling with children as a family, research the destination (and specific neighborhood) in advance to make sure you are in a safe area. Make a plan when you’re separated – kids need to know what to expect, and how to find a safe adult to help if needed.
We recommend that everyone in the family wear an ID bracelet. You can personalize them as you wish, we include the child’s name, mother and father’s phone number, any allergies and blood type.
Thus, whether it is a separation, or a car accident, children have information to identify them and to communicate with both parents. Remember, most kids don’t memorize their parents’ cell phone numbers!
Learn more about how to keep kids safe while traveling: Your Worst Fear: A Complete Guide to Keeping Kids Safe While Traveling.
Read more travel safety tips
2. Set expectations with kids
One of the things we learned during our family trips was that kids need to know what is coming and what to expect. The more we outline what to expect from the kids over the next few days or weeks, the better they will roll the dice.
We try to get kids involved in deciding when we can – which museum to go to today, or what kind of food we should have for dinner.
3. Everything takes longer when traveling with kids
Everything takes more time with the kids! A typical bathroom stop can extend up to twenty minutes. It takes a lot longer than just having two of us go through airport security, or check-in for four people at the check-in.
Plan extra time, especially for airports. The distance between safety, gates, bathroom breaks, and much-needed meals can be long for short legs. We often think we are leaving in a lot of time and then finish dashing for food before boarding our flight.
4. Get the designated plane seat
When booking air travel, pre-book your seats whenever you can. Many US airlines do not guarantee family seating if you choose the lowest fare category. It can be stressful to change at the last minute or ask other passengers to accompany you – if you know that you have a seat together before you arrive at the airport, you will have a smooth trip.
Consider the best seating arrangements for your family – as a family of four, we prefer to book two sets of seats in front of two more seats – so that both children have window seats and adults have middle seats. This means we can easily push things back and forth over the seats and even talk to each other without disturbing the other passengers.
For buses, which often have two rows of seats, we prefer to have two on each side of the corridor. Buses often have very high-backed seats, which means if the kids sit together in front of us, we can’t see them well. If they are by our side across the corridor, we can see them and help them if needed, they can play together.
5. Plan a recovery day
Plan a recovery day after your arrival, especially when changing time zones. Changing the time to adjust it can take up to a full day for kids per hour.
If you plan the day slowly after you arrive, you will have time to adjust a bit and the kids will not be so whimsical when you are trying to get to a major tourist attraction. Save big events when everyone feels good
We try to schedule more important trips ahead of our trip. So, if there are some things that we really want to see in a new place, we do them in 2 and 3 days That way, if someone is sick, or you find that the place is closed, you have a chance to reschedule it. If this is the last day of your trip, you are out of luck.
6. Find a family room
Many hotels outside the United States have family rooms with multiple beds. We are often able to book a room with a double bed and 2 or 3 twin beds. Although our kids have shared many double bed road-tripping across the US, we also know that they sleep better if they have their own bed. In many parts of the world, it’s easy to compromise.
If you have older children, you can book a connecting room or two in a smaller hotel. We see that it comes much higher in the old towns, where the buildings are small and everything is tightly packed.
We like to book hotels with breakfast. We find that feeding everyone in the morning helps us to get our day off to a good start. When we can, we keep bananas or other simple snacks at home so that the kids can wake up hungry and eat something.
7. Bring headphones
Bring headphones for kids! If you can, get headphones where you can completely remove the cord when it’s not plugged into a device.
Not only are they great for watching shows on tablets on long travel days, but they’re also great for protecting kids’ ears in other situations. We used them on live music shows, watching fireworks and even on loud boats!
We love these Beats Wireless Headphones that have sound isolation, volume-control and foldable.
8. Engage in behavior
The fun part of traveling is finding new treats and new tastes – so we treat more when we travel than when we are at home. This could mean going to a grocery store to pick up new snacks to try, or stopping for ice cream or gelato and looking for flavors we can’t find at home. You can create a game by trying new fruits!
Sometimes that means we pick something we don’t like (like ketchup flavored potato chips in Mexico), but often we all find new choices. The kids loved the Lukuma fruit from Peru, and they tried everything they could to get that taste before we left!
9. Take public transport
Try public transportation! It’s cheaper than a taxi, and often the favorite part of the day kids. They like to live in the new city and go to the metro – the journey becomes as fun as the destination!
The more diverse the transport, the better- Look for trolleys, cable cars, subways, buses and even boats. While we were learning about the Oregon and Santa Fe trails, we were all excited to get on a vintage stagecoach and a truly covered wagon!
10. Kids need exercise
Plan exercise and play time on your schedule. Kids need to get their wiggles out! After wandering around a museum in silence, we try to find a playground where they can run, jump and scream.
We also see that when they absorb a lot of new things mentally, they need time to be physical to help them process all the new things around them.
When we do road trips around the United States, we try to find a playground with picnic benches for lunch. Adults get to sit outside, kids get to play after eating before getting back in the car.
Wherever we are, we find playgrounds a great place to meet other kids, even if it’s just for a few minutes of playing together. For older kids, you may want to schedule a rope course or zip line so they can get the same physical challenge.
We also see that kids need downtime – for some kids, it’s time to read quietly, for others it’s time to make a game with the toys, seeds or feathers they’ve accumulated that week.
11. Pack specific items for traveling with kids
Some things that you may not find on every packing list come in handy when we travel. Here are some of the weirdest things we like to carry when we travel as a family:
Our favorite random supply for traveling with kids
– A plastic knife. This deli knife of plastic sleeve is in my purse. It can go through airport security and is great when you need to share a bagel or pastry in exactly four ways.
-Gel stain remover. My kids spread things all the time. This gel is easier to carry than liquid stain removal and helps to remove stains before we wash things.
– A sharpener. Many rented apartments have dull knives! We can easily sharpen knives when cooking in a rented apartment.
Read more packing tips for travel:
12. School can happen anywhere
There are many ways to conduct street schooling – some traveling families choose “unschooling” or “worldschooling” where they base their child’s education on a combination of child-led interests and opportunities around them in a particular place.
Other families more formally choose homeschooling, sticking to a curriculum that is aligned with state guidelines. Keep in mind that specific states have very different requirements, so check carefully whether you are maintaining state residence or returning your children to public school after your trip.
We choose a hybrid model – our kids have an online curriculum that they follow, which keeps them engaged in a more traditional school model and keeps them connected to the state curriculum. This means that if most second graders learn about the Constitution, then our children are learning the same information.
We work a few hours a week on this program, but spend most of our travel time learning from the university and the sites and museums around us. Where better to learn about Harry Truman than freedom, MO?
13. Just go!
Traveling as a family is a little more complicated than before, but it’s still worth it.
Parents often wonder if their children will remember to travel when they are young. It doesn’t really matter if they remember every city or every site you visit – just the travel work is changing them and influencing how they see the world. You are providing them with a broader view of the world and exposure to different people and cultures.
There will never be a perfect time to travel with your kids – there will always be an excuse to wait for a different age or a different situation. The world is changing fast, and we have no guarantee of any more opportunities. So go for it, the world is waiting.
As Europe begins to open up to travelers again, it is more exciting than ever to think about the cultural treasures that lie ahead. For me, one of the greatest joys of travel is to personally associate with great art and architecture – which I have collected in a book. Top 100 Masterpieces in Europe. Here’s an old favorite:
The cave in Lascaux is amazing for how fashionable the human cave is. The walls are painted with animals – bears, wolves, bulls, horses, deer and cats – and even some extinct animals, such as the woolly mammoth. Homo sapiens are rarely seen, but there are human handprints.
All this was done about 20,000 years ago in the Stone Age, now in southwestern France. Before the advent of writing, metalwork, and agriculture, it was about four times older than Stonehenge and the Egyptian pyramids. The caves were painted not by the Hulking, herbaceous Neanderthals but by a fully formed Homo sapiens known as Cro-Magnon.
These are not raw doodles with charcoal-tipped sticks. Cave paintings were a sophisticated, expensive, and time-consuming engineering project designed and implemented around 18,000 BC by dedicated artists supported by a unified and stable culture. First, all their materials had to be taken to a cold, pitch-black, hard-to-reach place. (They did not live in these deep limestone caves.) The “canvas” was huge প্রধান the main caves in Las Vegas are longer than a football field, and some animals are depicted as being 16 feet tall. They built scaffolding to reach the roof and high walls. They ground the minerals with a mortar and pastel to mix the paints. They worked by torch and oil lamp. They prepared the scene by creating the main outline of the image with a Connect-the-Dots series point. This Cro-Magnon Michelangelos then built their Stone Age Sistine Chapels, balancing on the Vara.
The paintings are impressively realistic. Artists used wavy black outlines to suggest moving creatures. They use different pigment scores to get a range of colors. For their paint “brush”, they employed a kind of sponge made from animal skin. In another technique, they will draw an outline, then fill it with spray paint – blown through a tube made of hollow bone.
Abhishek Kalpana. Visitors will be taken deep into the cave, with the help of flashlights, into a cold, resonant, and other mundane chamber. Someone will light a torch and a lamp in the dark, and suddenly – Hush! Creatures running around caves like prehistoric movies will shake lives.
Why did the Stone Age people – whose lives were probably hard and uncertain – bother to create such an apparent luxury as art? No one knows. Maybe because, as hunters, they were magically drawing pictures to increase the supply of game. Or maybe they thought that if they could “master” the animal by drawing it, they could master it later in the war. Did they worship animals?
Or maybe the result of a universal human drive to create paintings, and these caves were the first art galleries in Europe to bring in the first tourists. While the caves are closed to today’s tourists, the carefully crafted replica caves give visitors a vibrant Stone Age experience.
Today, visiting Lascaux II and IV, as these replica caves are called, allows you to share a common experience with a caveman. You may feel a bond with these longtime people … or you may be amazed at how different they were from us. After all, the art remains the same as the human species – a mystery. And a surprise.
For me, one of the greatest joys of travel is to personally associate with great art and architecture – which I have collected in a book. Top 100 Masterpieces in Europe. Here’s my favorite one:
Nowhere more beautiful than the splendor of the Moorish civilization – the last and greatest Moorish palace in Europe.
For seven centuries (711-1492), most of Spain was Muslim, ruled by Islamic Moors in North Africa. While the rest of Europe slept through the Dark Ages, Spain flourished under Moorish rule. The end result was the Alhambra – a sprawling complex of palaces and gardens on a hill in Granada. And the highlight is the magnificent Palacios Nazaris, where the Sultan and his family lived, worked and ran the court.
You enter through the perfume court of Myrtles, a world of ornately decorated rooms, stucco “stalactites”, filigree windows and bubble fountains. Water – so rare and precious in the Islamic world – was the purest symbol of life. Alhambra water, equipped with water everywhere: standing still, cascading, with secret conversation masks, and drip-dropping play.
When you explore the labyrinth of rooms, you can easily imagine the sultans smoking hookahs, sitting on pillows and Persian carpets, lighting heavy curtains and lamps in the windows. The walls and ceiling are covered with intricate patterns carved in wood and stucco. (If the Alhambra’s built-in patterns show Escheresk, you’ve got it back: the artist MC Escher was inspired by Alhambra.) Because Muslim artists avoided painting living creatures, they embellished it with calligraphy – engraved in Arabic and quotations from poetry. Verses. A phrase – “Only Allah wins” – has been repeated 9,000 times.
The General Leaf Garden – manicured hedges, reflective pools, playful fountains and a summer palace – where the sultans took a break from palace life. Its architect, in a way, was the Qur’an, which says that heaven is like a succulent oasis, and “those who believe and do good deeds will enter the gardens through which rivers flow” (Qur’an 22.23).
The courtyard, where many pictures of the Alhambra lion have been taken, has been named for the 12 marble lion fountains. The four channels carry water outwards – figuratively into the corner of the earth and literally into the Sultan’s private apartment. A poem carved on the Alhambra wall says that the fountain flows “crystal-clear water” like “a full moon shining from a cloudless sky.”
The largest room in the palace is the ornate throne room – the grand hall of ambassadors. Here the Sultan, seated on his throne under the star-domed roof, received the spectators. The ceiling (like a giant jigsaw puzzle) made of 8,017 pieces of wood, indicates the complexity of God’s infinite universe.
In Spanish history the throne room represents the ephemeral of the torch. It was here that the last Moorish king surrendered to the Christians in 1492. And it was here that the new king, Ferdinand and Isabella called Christopher Columbus “Sí, señor”, embarking on his voyage to a new world that would enrich Spain. But the glory of the Alhambra has survived, adding a charm and grace to Spanish art for centuries.
Today, the Alhambra stands as a thought-provoking reminder of a fascinating Moorish world that may have blossomed throughout Europe – but it did not.
As Europe begins to open up to travelers again, it is more exciting than ever to think about the cultural treasures that lie ahead. For me, one of the great joys of traveling is meeting the great art personally – which I have collected in a book. Top 100 Masterpieces in Europe. Here’s my favorite one:
For 2,000 years, the Parthenon temple in Athens was almost completely intact. But in 1687, during the siege of Athens, the Parthenon was used to store a huge cache of ammunition. (See where this is going?) Pow! A huge explosion sent huge portions of the Parthenon everywhere. Then in 1801, the British ambassador, Lord Elgin, took the most valuable surviving bits of carved stone to London, where they still fascinate visitors today – “Elgin Marble”.
The British Museum in London displays the statues and relief panels that once housed the now-empty outer top of the Parthenon. Reliefs carved around 430 BC, part of a 500-foot-long fridge that once ringed in the temple. They show 56 snapshots of the most festive ceremonies in ancient Athens: a great parade on Mount Acropolis to celebrate the city’s birthday.
The parade begins with the men on horseback, fighting to rein in their spirits. Then came the musicians playing the flute, while the women danced. Prominent citizens rode chariots, children rode side by side, and priests led the official bulls for the sacrifice. At the heart of the procession is a group of teenagers. Dressed in elegant clothing, they carried gifts to the gods, such as burning incense and wine jugs.
The most important gift of the girls parade was given: a folded dress. As the parade ends inside the Parthenon, the girls symbolically present the Athena costume to the temple’s 40-foot-tall gold-and-ivory statue.
Realism is incredible: the well-defined muscles of men, the swollen veins of horses. The intricately decorated garments of the girls look as stable as their flute columns, but they come out naturally – human form derived from stone. These panels were originally painted in dark colors. In the busyness of the details, the fridge has a unified element – all the heads are at the same level, moving in the same direction, creating a single ribbon of humanity around the Parthenon.
The main entrance to the Parthenon was adorned with a magnificent view depicting the birth of the city of Athens. These statues are located inside the triangular shaped pediment above the door. It shows the Greek gods walking around at an Olympian banquet. Suddenly, there is a stir of activity. The gods are leaning towards a miracle: Zeus has just split his head to reveal Athena, the symbol of the city. (Unfortunately, that original view is missing – it’s empty space at the top of the triangle.)
These pediment sculptures are realistic and three-dimensional, leaning in a completely natural and relaxed manner. Women’s clothing naturally grips and dyes, revealing their perfect physique at the bottom.
A final set of relief panels (so-called metophos) depicts a Greek legend that encompasses the entire Parthenon. They show that the ancient Greeks were fighting with the brutal Centurion. It’s free to pull hair, squeeze the throat, kick the shin, and hit the knee with the groin. Ultimately, people are on the rise – a symbol of how civilized Athenians have triumphed over their barbaric neighbors.
In real life, the Greeks came out of a brutal war and limited their recovery by building Parthenon. Precious Elgin marbles represent the largest crop cream of Greek temples. And they capture the moment in human history when civilization triumphed over barbarism, over rational thought over animal will, and over discipline.
As Europe begins to open up to travelers again, it is more exciting than ever to think about the cultural treasures that lie ahead. For me, one of the great joys of traveling is meeting the great art personally – which I have collected in a book. Top 100 Masterpieces in Europe. Here’s my favorite one:
The ghostly face of this woman immediately makes it clear that – despite the great beauty of this figure – it does not tell a happy story. The Lady of Shalt knows she is floating in a river for her destruction.
English artist John William Waterhouse depicts the dramatic climax of a legendary story. The Lady of Shalt spent her entire life confined to a castle near King Arthur Camelot, and was forbidden to look outside in agony. He could only observe the world indirectly through reflection in his mirror. But one day, the handsome Knight Lancelot climbs past. He was so hurt that he broke the rules and looked straight at her. Now she has followed her track and boarded a boat, leaving the mooring chain, when she set off unknowingly to find her loved one, whatever the cost.
Riverside landscapes – reeds, ink water, dark atmospheres, and even flying birds – evoke the melancholy beauty of the moment. Mrs. Shalt is glowing brightly, her white gown and red hair radiating from a dark background. Waterhouse focuses on provocative details, such as the lady’s discreet hair, pearl necklace, light rumple dress and clothed hands. For the lady’s face, he drew his own wife. The colors – red, green and blue – shine bright, clear and bright, like stained glass windows.
The whole scene looks medieval, yet it was painted in an industrial era when Britain was leading the world in new technologies such as electricity and trains. As Victorian Britain progressed, its artists looked to the past. The Waterhouse was inspired by a group of British artists known as the “Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood”, who painted medieval brides and legendary lovers with heartbreaking beauty.
Pre-Rafalites hated overacting. So – even in the midst of great tragedy, high spirits and moral dilemmas – this lady has just raised an eyebrow. But there is a lot of talk around him. Night is coming down, predicting his dark fate. The first leaf of autumn has fallen, near her thighs. He brought bright tapestries woven into captivity, with a view of the world of comfortable illusions that he once knew. Now he is led only by a faint lantern of Prove, a small crucifix to strengthen his faith, and three fragile candles – one of which is still burning.
Victorians of all ages knew this romantic legend (which was also Tennyson’s best-selling poem). Everyone can read their own meaning in the painting: the lady has chosen to leave her safe-but-confused existence to follow the truth. She is following her heart despite the danger. Even at the cost of losing herself in the process, she risks finding intimacy, love, and sex. His facial expressions show a mixture of fear, hope, weakness and a perception that – whatever it is – is his destiny.
He leaves the chain. Then, Tennyson writes, “like some brave spectator in a trance,” he “went down the fading expanse of the river.” Legend has it that the Lady of Shalt’s boat sailed down and washed ashore at Camelet, where Lancelot saw it and mourned for her. He surrendered under the curse of seeing the world as it is.
JK, this is a picture of 13th century hell from Florence Baptistery. Europe has been plagued by many plagues and epidemics for centuries – and in the Middle Ages (before they performed the miracle of the vaccine), they thought it was the wrath of God or Satan that was making their lives miserable. There was no science to ignore them – like today, when many in our society insist on bringing this avoidable misery to our community.
At the time, life was “wicked, brutal, and short-lived”, obsessed with what came after medieval people: would I go to heaven or hell? And this mosaic made clear the fate of the wicked. You will be sent to hell, where the soul is swallowed up by horned ogres, bitten by snakes, harassed by spoke-eared monsters, and roasted in eternal fire.
The Baptistery of Florence is even older than this 13th century mosaic. Built on top of the Roman Foundation, it is the oldest surviving building in the city – about 1,000 years old. Baptistery is best known for its bronze renaissance doors (including the “Gates of Heaven” of Ghibarti), but its interior still retains a medieval mood. It is dark and mysterious, topped with an octagonal dome of gold mosaics of angels and biblical scenes.
It is the mosaic of Judgment Day to be mastered. Christ sits on a throne, extends his arms, and gives the final thumbs-up and thumbs-down. The righteous go to heaven, others to hell.
Of course, in medieval times no one knew what hell was. Even the Bible lacked anything specific, only describing a place that was dark, underground, burning, unpleasant, eternal, and detached from the kingdom of blessing.
The mission of the artists who made this mosaic: to bring hell to life. It is a chaotic entanglement, scattered corpses, scattered snakes and flames of fire. In the center sits a bull-headed monster, his arms outstretched like Christ’s monstrous Doppelganger. He jumps on a poor spirit, grabs the next path with his hand, and jumps on two more spirits, while snakes can catch more prey from his ears and tail.
Such graphic descriptions were groundbreaking in pre-Renaissance times. We see the beast’s six-pack abs, braided beard and wrinkled red cloak that echoes the blazing fire. Cursed people have natural postures – crouching, bending, gestures – and their sore faces tell a sad story of eternal torment.
The reality of this mosaic proved to be extremely influential for proto-Renaissance artists such as Giotto, and the building itself inspired Renaissance architects such as Brunelleschi. And shortly after this mosaic was completed, a small child named Dante Alighieri was immersed in the Baptismal font just below it. Dante is well aware of this hellish scene. When he wrote his epic, Inferno (“Hell”), he described it with the same vivid imagery: crazy landscapes, crowds of naked people, a minotaur in the center, and so on. Dante’s motifs have inspired other artists over the centuries (such as Giotto and Signorelli) who created European altars, paintings, novels, and paintings. These have shaped the imagination of people all over the world. And much of it can be found in the Florentine Baptists and the anonymous artists who labored here in the 13th century, determined to give them hell.
I believe the memory of regular travel can be good for the solar. Here’s my favorite one– And I want to hear some of your most memorable travel stories.
It’s the summer of 2008, and I’m hanging out with my hosts Hans and Marjet in my B&B living room on the outskirts of Amsterdam in Harlem. Reaching my Heineken, I noticed that it was sitting in a handbook that the Dutch government had created to teach prostitutes about safe sex. Thumbing through it, I tell Hans, “It’s both artistic and clear.”
“It’s Victoria without a secret,” he whispered jokingly.
“Isn’t that shocking to a lot of people?” I ask.
“Only to the English and the Americans,” he replied. Remember, this is Holland. Last night we saw a local TV documentary. It was about body piercings, in full graphic detail – tits, penis, everything. There was a special on Kamasutra last week. I have never seen sexual gymnastics. These were two more documentaries for our Dutch. . . It doesn’t matter. These would probably be big hits on American TV. ”
“I don’t know,” I say, realizing that I found the handbook more interesting than Hans. “But do you know which is the most visited page on my website? A silly little article comparing the two sex museums in Amsterdam. “
“Sex is not a click here. This is not a ban in Holland, “said Marget. “But we are not reckless about sex. Dutch teenage pregnancies are half that of Americans. “
Save money on B&B. As a bonus, I find that B&B hosts are often great students of intercultural human nature and like to share their results. They give me an intimate glimpse of a culture I couldn’t get from the front desk of the hotel.
This is certainly true of Hans and Marjet, who encourage guests to thoroughly prepare themselves at home. And in their living room, with its well-worn chairs, crowded books, fun near-antiques, and a steep piano that is jammed with shattered music, it’s easy to feel at home.
Hans and Marjet live in three rooms and rent five. Hans would like a place to stay a little longer. Like her neighbors, she could glass her backyard, but she couldn’t stand her juicy but pint-sized garden business. He brought me another beer and asked, “How long are you going to stay here?”
“Not long enough” is my regular response. I’m Hans’s pet Yankee. He is in a personal crusade to slow me down. To Hans, I’m a fine-grained, goal-oriented American.
Hans provides their guests with more insight into the cultural differences. “We Dutch are in the middle,” he said. “We are as skilled as the Germans – that’s why there are so many American companies in Holland. But we want to live like the French. “
“And cracking jokes like the English,” Marget added. “Everyone here appreciates the British sense of humor. We watch BBC for comedy. “
Hans also sees cultural differences in the way their guests eat breakfast. “Americans like tough advice and want to be guided. Europeans – especially Germans – know what they want. It took the French three days to defrost. But Americans talk and make friends quickly. Europeans, even if there is no language difference, put their personal formal island on the breakfast table. “
He leans forward, pointing to two of their kitchen tables. “If the Germans were sitting here and the Americans were sitting there, I would break the ice. Introducing the Americans to the Germans, I say, ‘OK, they left their guns in the state.’ We are like Dutch Germans – but with humor. “
Coming back to our discussion of how different cultures interact with sex, Margaret tells Hans, “Tell Rick the story of the‘ Dutch boys on the English beach ’. This body thing can be stressful for the Americans, but it sends the English under their pillows. “
“As a schoolboy I traveled to England with a friend,” Hans began. “We changed our pants on the beach without the hassle of towels – no problem. We are good Dutch boys. As usual, there was a visitor to the beach: bench-loaded retired Britons enjoying the fresh air, suffering through their wet sandwiches. When my friend starts to change his swimsuit, all the people turn their heads. Rejoicing in our power to remove the English masses, we repeated this step. I pulled my trousers down and all heads turned again. “
“We don’t see much English on our beach,” said Margot, smiling as if she were hearing the story for the first time.
“We get most Americans,” Hans said.
“We would be happy to fill our house with only Americans,” Marget said. “It’s easy to communicate with Americans. They’re open. They’ve taught me to express myself, to say what I think.”
Hans pauses to mimic a Tony Tiger tourist, “Oh wow, that’s great! What a beautiful home you have here!”
“Americans are shocked,” Marget added.
“The English don’t know how to be shocked,” says Hans.
I think you almost surprised them on that beach, “Margett said.” When we went to Colorado, my trip got better when I learned to say ‘wow’ a few times a day. “
“When an American asks, ‘How are you?’ We say, ‘OK’ means ‘good’. The American says, ‘It doesn’t feel good.’ We explain, ‘We are European.’
Hans says, “Then the American answers, ‘Oh, yeah – you’re honest.'”
“There are big ‘smiles and winning’ signs in the market, even in the shopping bags of the supermarket,” said Marjet, fascinated by the sincerity of America’s smiling face.
“It’s true,” I agree. “Only in America can you find a bank that fines tellers if they don’t tell every client to ‘have a nice day’.”
Hans says, “Did you know that the Dutch are the most desirable workers at Disneyland Paris? Because most Dutch are open-minded. We can laugh all day. And we speak our language.”
Marget explains, “When someone in Holland asks, ‘Do you speak your language?’ They mean: Do you speak Dutch with French, German and English?
Hans continues. “And for us, friendly performances may be less tedious than French ones. Can you imagine a Frenchman laughing all day?”
Hans closes my Heineken glass. “God created the whole earth. It was wonderful. But France. . . It was just so perfect. So he spoke French to keep things in balance.
“And Canada could have it all: British culture, French food, American knowledge,” said Marget.
“But they have messed up and got British food, French knowledge and American culture.”
As I climb up the steep Dutch stairs to my bedroom, I think of the value of friends on the street. The most memorable moments of this day came after visiting my sights.
Although I know otherwise, I often find myself wondering if the name “Afghanistan” comes from an ancient word for “tragedy.”
Afghanistan is in the headlines again – quickly, and almost without resistance, occupied by Taliban leaders who envision a medieval-style caliphate. To some of my generation, this weekend’s events seem like a daunting task to look at that turbulent corner of a lifetime. First, during the decade-long war that raged around in the 1980s, Afghanistan held the USSR hostage. And now – after two decades, nearly a trillion dollars, and thousands of American lives – the United States is learning the same lesson: reluctant to rule this despicable land.
Easy to point fingers: Should George W. Bush have invaded the country in 2001? Should Donald Trump have reached an agreement with the Taliban in early 2020? Should Joe Biden have withdrawn American troops so soon? But in the end, no one has the answer … that’s why we find ourselves in this same place.
One thing is clear: the repeated failure of powerful countries to impose our will on the Afghan people is a reflection of our nationalism … our inability to understand what motivates them. And using Afghanistan to score political points with American voters ignores the horrific human cost of instability that has ruined the lives of everyday Afghans for generations.
In my case, that tragedy is even more difficult to observe because I have enjoyed people-to-people contacts in Afghanistan. As the news unfolded, I was swimming through the memories of my journey from Istanbul to Kathmandu in 1978 at the age of 23 on the “Hippie Trail”. It was a trip of a lifetime – which is not possible now. Every border crossing was a drama, and every rest stop was a lifelong memory.
On the Iran-Afghanistan border – surrounded by abandoned VW vans separated by drug-seeking guards and telling the story of European, Aussie, and American backpackers staring at dusty glass displays who were caught with drugs and spending time in Afghan prisons – we We kept (so that no one could put anything illegal in them) and we were waiting for the doctor to test our vaccine. My travel companion, Jean, needed a shot, and I still remember turning the dull needle as it struggled to break his skin.
Once on the streets of Afghanistan, on our way to Herat in our packed minibus, the driver stopped, pulled out a knife in the blazing sun, and said, “Your ticket price has gone up further.” An Indian traveler calmed the religious uproar from our Americans, and we are all welcome in Afghanistan.
In Herat, a city and cultural center in western Afghanistan, we spent the night watching flashlight chariots on the roof of our hotel. There was an Odyssey every day – not just sightseeing, but just wandering around the market and gardens and random surroundings. This was in the aftermath of a communist coup backed by the USSR. A Soviet tank was parked in the main courtyard, and the restaurant had a menu whose price was literally marked and a note: “Thanks for the Soviet liberation.”
Following our bus journey across Afghanistan which was of course the only paved road in the whole country (a foreign aid project). The terrain looked like a dry desert. I remember the monotony of a broken cemetery by the side of the road, the dusty forest of Hegledy-Pigldy tomb in the desert. Even with 50 passengers, the toilet break lasted only a few minutes: the bus would not stop anywhere in the middle, the men would go to the left side of the road, and the women would gather on the right side of the road. With their big black dress tents, they will be sitting together.
Truck stops seem to be designed to allow bus drivers to smoke hashish. At one point, I remember a circle of people sitting on their haunches and walking around with something they were smoking when they all saw a goat skin cut.
Kabul was the only real city in the country. It seemed to exist only because a county had to have an urban center to be governed – a kind of urban necessity on a land that didn’t really know what to do with a city. I have seen people wearing uniforms who, to this day, wear only tribal clothing.
As I sat down to eat in the backpackers’ cafeteria, a man appeared at my table. He said, “May I join you?” I said, “You already have it.” He asked, “Are you American?” I said, “Yes.”
And then he went on a well-worn spiral: “I’m a professor here in Afghanistan. And I want you to know that in this world, one third of people eat with spoons and forks like you. One third eat with chopsticks. And one third of people eat with their fingers. And we are all equally civilized. “
This meeting became the most influential in my life – like all my other visits to Afghanistan, it walled off my nationalism and rearranged my cultural furniture.
One of the highlights of any overland trip in India was crossing the fabulous Khyber Pass to leave Afghanistan. We were scared of Westerners, sitting on the bus, responsibly carrying our luggage in our laps, we realized that we had almost arrived in India – which would feel strange to come home. Our bus ticket comes with a “safety supplement” to ensure a safe passage. The fees were paid to the autonomous tribes who “ruled” the area between the capital city and the border with Pakistan. I was more than happy to pay this little extra for their vintage rifles, rolling under their rocky castles, flags flying in the air (which had nothing to do with Afghanistan) and bearded sentries.
Coming out of the rugged and arid mountains of Afghanistan, a wide-open and moist plain opened up. The stones of Iran and Afghanistan were behind us. And expanded to one billion people in Pakistan and India.
With this post, I’m starting a seven-day series featuring photos from my travels and excerpts from my 1978 journal through Afghanistan. (I wrote this article from vague memories; upcoming entries were written with perseverance every night, describing the adventures of that day in this fascinating country.) Stay tuned, and let’s keep the Afghan people in our thoughts and prayers.