Irene Shaland’s Cuba article The Island within an Island: The Cuban Jewish Story of Survival was published on August 22nd by the Sephardi Ideas Monthly, a magazine of the American Sephardic Federation and Center for Jewish History Research of New York. On August 23rd, the essay was also published by the Mosaic, a magazine dedicated to advancing philosophical discussions related to Jewish history and Judaism. See the excerpts below:
Read more Jewish history stories in Irene Shaland’s latest book:
Alex and I have traveled to nearly 70 countries. We celebrated our birthdays and anniversaries in places like a street corner café on Easter Island, tiny seafood restaurant in Cochi, Kerala, a second century BC villa –turned Renaissance palace-turned art studio in Rome; opera singers’ favorite tavern in Palermo near the famed Teatro Massimo, just to name a few. But we had the most unique experience this year on March 5th, when our new friend Steve Lane, Kangaroo Island’s Sea Dragon Lodge owner and our exceptional guide, took us to the remote Snellings Beach on the north coast. As a present on our milestone wedding anniversary, Steve invited us for a luncheon inside a… tree.
Continue reading “Celebrating a Milestone Anniversary inside the Enchanted Fig Tree of Australia”
Since childhood, I always wanted to live among the animals of Australia – even if for a few days only. And this was how the Kangaroo Island, a small dot in the Indian Ocean, materialized first in my imagination, and then – in our itinerary for the Spring 2016 trip. Overlooked by most popular guidebooks, this third largest Australian island (after Tasmania and Melville) remains the largest secret of that country for many globe trotters. There are precious few corners left in our 21st century urbanized world where Australian animals could be observed in the wild, and Kangaroo Island is exactly that place.
Continue reading “Where to Stay on Kangaroo Island, Australia: the Sea Dragon Lodge is an Excellent Choice”
Are you going to Iceland on vacation or business? Take a look at this Insight Guides Iceland. This book is a great trip companion. Invaluable for trip planning and once you arrived, for exploring. Lots of historical and current information and photos. Articles are well written and maps are some of the best.
Continue reading “Going to Iceland? We recommend this book”
All visitors to Iceland fall into two distinctive categories: those who saw the northern lights and those who did not. When Irene set her trip target on Iceland, she was determined to place herself, our daughter, and I squarely in the first category. The problem was that unlike the predictable crowds at JFK on the way to Iceland, the famous northern lights of Iceland are highly unpredictable. However, the best time to see them is from November through December. So mid-November looked pretty good. Oh, and it also happens to be one of the coldest months of the year.
Continue reading “Chasing the Elusive Northern Lights in Iceland”
In one of our earlier blog posts, we recommended a few credit cards that do not charge foreign transaction fees when you use the card outside of the US. If you travel abroad and don’t have one of those credit cards, your “conventional” credit card might be charging in the area of 2% for foreign transaction fees every time you swipe your Visa or MasterCard at a restaurant, hotel, or car rental office.
Continue reading “How to Avoid Credit Card Foreign Transaction Fees – Part Two”
Text and photos by Alex Shaland
Going on an African safari by yourself or in a small group is not advisable. Suppose, you are standing in front of a lion or a rhinoceros and trying to calculate your chances of getting out of this situation in one piece and hopefully not perforated in too many places. You are staring at the whatever it is that is going to do a very bad thing to you and all that is going through your mind is “o sh….t”. But look at the situation from the lion’s point of view. It has to charge you, yes you. Who else is there to eat? You are the protein!
Continue reading “African Safari Tips: The Importance of Good Company”
The third largest city of Sicily, a UNESCO-listed Catania lies in close proximity to the majestic mountain Etna. The city was always subject to the brooding moods of that volcano. In the late 1600s, Mt. Etna struck twice: first drowning Catania and over 12,000 of its inhabitants in boiling lava, and then, in less than 25 years, leveling the city again by a murderous earthquake. Only 2,000 people survived. However, like phoenix out of ashes, Catania, rebuilt by architects from Rome, was reborn as one of the greatest baroque cities of the Mediterranean.
Continue reading “Overlooked by visitors, Catania is a masterpiece of Sicilian Baroque”
I came across the name “Casa Cuseni” when I was reading about Tennessee Williams and his beloved partner, painter/poet Henry Faulkner, spending many happy months in Taormina while staying in Casa Cuseni. I knew then, without a doubt, that when we are in Sicily, we will follow the steps of Tennessee! We and our four friends arrived at Casa Cuseni on a beautiful late September afternoon. We were met by the B&B’s smiling owner, an MD and art lover, Francesco Spadaro, and we followed him up the stairs through a terraced garden.
Continue reading “Following the Steps of Tennessee Williams in Sicily: Taormina’s Casa Cuseni”
I selected a B&B in Palermo called BB22 not only because of its high reputation and excellent reviews, but also because I wanted to support those who restore Palermian ancient palaces. BB22, a hidden gem in the heart of historic Palermo, is comprised of six luxurious rooms inside a 16th-century Palazzo Pantelleria located on a tiny back street in an ancient Vucciria neighborhood.
Continue reading “Best B&B in Palermo”