Bermuda’s Best Beaches

Bermuda is the kind of island where people return year after year; a place where newlyweds promise to make it an annual tradition and families go for yearly reunions. The less-than-two-hour flight from the East Coast makes it easy to give into the pull of the island’s signature pink sand beaches, which are formed by finely crushed coral. On Bermuda, the beaches range from family-friendly and packed with activities, such as kayaking and snorkeling, to secluded romantic nooks, like Jobson’s Cove.

Some of the most popular spots for beach lovers to visit include Tobacco Bay Beach, the half-mile-long Warwick Long Bay Beach, and West Whale Bay Beach, where, as the name suggests, you might glimpse migrating humpback whales in spring. On Bermudas most celebrated beach, Horseshoe Bay, along with natural beauty, you’ll find the added conveniences of snack shacks and chair and umbrella rentals. For exclusive access to one of the island’s best beaches, stay at the Elbow Beach resort which is set on its own private stretch of blush-swept sand.

Boly Mill – Childhood Home of Saint Bernadette


The Boly Mill (so called after the name of the original owner) was, for a period of 10 years (1844-1854), a place of happiness for Bernadette Soubirous.  Now a Catholic Saint, Bernadette is the saint and visionary of Lourdes, France.  She lived here with her parents, her brothers and sister, and also with her grand­mother, her uncles, aunts and cousins.


The photos on display, depict the people of Lourdes in 1850 ; we see the civil, military and religious society of the time (the upper class), and the poo­rer people, millers, stonemasons, peasants and labourers (the lower class).

Our attention is drawn to two families : the Casterot family, who where mas­ter millers resident in the Boly Mill, and the Soubirous family, who where simple mill workers.

A marriage of love united these two families. Franpois loved Louise, in spite of the age difference between them, and in spite of local custom that deman­ded he marry Bernarde the eldest of the family. His love for Louise and their marriage flourished and endured in spite of all the problems.

It was a Christian family united in prayer, open to others, and full of cha­rity towards those less fortunate than themselves.


On the upper floor :

Here is the room where Bernadette was born on January 7 1844. She was baptised two days later (January 9) the day of her parent’s wedding anniver­sary. There is another room where the memorabilia recall : family life at the Mill, its joys and sorrows, work, meals and prayer.

On the ground floor :

One room was used for everything and served as both kitchen and living room. By day, it was a living room and by evening a place of prayer. This was the Mill as it was known to Bernadette, the Mill whose millstones turned in the flow of the Lapacca river.

Bernadette lived the first ten years of her life in an atmosphere of love and faith. Since their marriage on the 9th January 1843 her parents lived happily together. It was during these years, in this loving atmosphere, that Bernadette began to acquire qualities of personal strength and to develop a balanced temperament. These qualities were later to help her weather the storms of her life. The good times gave way to a period of hard struggle. 1853 saw the beginning of this difficult period.

A number of things combined to make life difficult for the family, The indus­trial revolution with its introduction of steam mills, a time of great drought in the region, the family’s great generosity towards the poor and their reluc­tance to force debtors to settle their accounts, were all factors which ultima­tely endangered the future of the family business.

In the Spring of 1854, the family were unable to pay the rent and were thus forced to move to a cheaper mill.

In 1855, a cholera epidemic swept through Lourdes killing 38 people in five weeks. As a result of this epidemic Bernadette herself was to suffer chro­nic asthma for the rest of her life. This was a painful hardship for one so full of life. The epidemic also forced the family to seek yet a cheaper mill to rent. This time they were forced to leave Lourdes and go to Arcizac.

In 1856 famine struck the area and the government distributed free flour. This meant bankruptcy for the Master Miller Soubirous who now found him­self looking for work and was often unemployed. Bernadette’s mother, although she had four children, two having died very young, was forced to go out and work. Bernadette herself worked as a waitress in a local Inn. It was thus impossible for Bernadette to go to school or to receive any formal religious education.

In 1857, the family were unable to pay any rent at all and were forced to seek accomodation in the Old Jail « The Cachot » (a place you should also visit). On March 27th, Franqois Soubirous was wrongly accused of having stolen a bag of flour and was put in jail for a week. Then in November so as to decrease « the number of mouths to be fed », Bernadette was sent as a housemaid to a farm in Bartres where in the evenings she minded the chil­dren and during the day she tended the sheep. She stayed at Bartres till January 1858 just three weeks before the Apparitions.

Bernadette was able to endure this decline in social standards, and this whole series of setbacks and failures, because she found in the family (father and mother, brothers and sister, godfather and godmother, aunts and cou­sins) a stable environment, a family whose love was stronger than misfortune.


Asolo Theater, America’s European Theater in Sarasota

German antiquarian, Adolph Loewi, had the foresight to purchase the Asolo Theater at that time for storage in his private collection.  A. Everett Austin, Jr., who served as the first director of the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, saw the theater in Loewi’s collection and it was love at first sight.  Austin purchased the theater and it was brought to Sarasota in the late 1940s.

Today, the Asolo is the only 18th century theater on American soil. During a recent renova­tion, completed in 2006, the theater moved to a new location on the museum grounds and under­went an extensive cataloguing, cleaning and conservation of the pieces, which were in desper­ate need of repair. “The theater is historic. You step into it and look to the past. But when it came to Sarasota, it brought possibility and promise and represented a future,” says Dwight Currie, associate director for museum programs at the Ringling Museum.  The Historic Asolo Theater was the birthplace for a lot of the theater and music that we enjoy today in Sarasota. It’s not just a dead museum piece. It’s very much alive and forward looking.” What was once a playhouse fit for royalty is now a theater worthy of iconic status in Sarasota’s rich arts community.

Monastery of Santa Maria De Veruela

Veruela, the Oldest Cistercian Monastery in Aragon, Spain

Veruela is situated in a small valley formed by the River Huecha, which has its source very close to the monastery, and is sheltered by the mythical mount Moncayo. The oldest surviving document which mentions the founding of the monastery dates back to 1 145 when the ground at Veruela was donated for the construction of a Cistercian monastery. This religious order was founded in France in 1098 by Roberto de Molesmes who wished to re-establish the original austerity of the fifth century Benedictine order. Molesmes later retired to Citeaux, near Dijon, . Shortly afterwards, Saint Bernard founded Claraval, taking on a monumental spreading and doctrinal task. In Aragon, great orders were established, notably Veruela (1145 or 1146), Rueda (1153) and Piedra (1194), all of which are found in the province of Zaragoza. These religious orders fomented new cultural, spiritual and religious values and brought economic and political advantages. The roturadores (plowmen), as the Cistercian monks were known, due to their economic and agricultural influence, organised their abbeys into real hubs of activity, by ploughing uncultivated land or territorial borders thus regenerating depopulated or sparsely populated areas, both of which are typical of the Veruela region. Controlled water resource management was necessary and thus the Verolense monks set up a wide-ranging network of irrigation channels, weirs and windmills around the Huecha river basin.

The construction of the monastery must have been sufficiently advanced for the community to move there in 1171. Work on the church continued for another two hundred and fifty years. The end result is sparten, with few sculptured ornaments – in keeping with the doctrine of Saint Bernard – However, the cathedral style proportions and craftsmanship demonstrate the extensive financial \resources of the monastery. High returns maintained a large and undiminishing monk community and alll, veel-for continual improvements and extensions to the monastery. Thus, between 1472 and 1617, the Verolense abbots were appointed by the king and no longer by the Cistercian order. Great abbots from this period were Hernando de Aragon (1535 – 1539), grandson of Ferdinand the Catholic, who later became the Archbishop of Zaragoza, and his good friend and successor, Lope Marco (1539 – 1560).

Under the governance of the Cistercian Brotherhood of the Crown of Aragon, created in 1617, the abbots held office for a period of four years until the event of the abolition of monastic orders when church land was sold off. This political change coincided with one of the largest expansion programmes of the monastery, the construction of the new monastery (XVII-XVIII) incorporating individual cells for the monks (around sixty-five cells).

The Becquer family in Veruela

The selling off of land under Mendizabal in 1835 led to the abandonment of the Monastery of Veruela which had been in irreversible decline since the beginning of the century. The Madrid Central Commission for Artistic Monuments (Cornision central de Monumentos Artisticos de Madrid) insisted on the conservation of the monastery, saving it from destruction. Since then it has been the destination for countless romantics, amongst others, the Becquer brothers Between April 1877 and 1973, the jesuits took up residence here, and used the building for training purposes It was declared a national monument in 1919 and became a listed building in 1928. In 1976 the Spanish Directorate General for Fine Arts granted the Provincial Council of Zaragoza permission to preserve and renovate the building Several hundred million pesetas was invested over a sustained period of more than twenty years. In 1998 Veruela became the property of the Provincial Council of Zaragoza which continues to oversee the restoration works and has initiated a cultural development programme.

Following the selling off of the land in 1835, Veruela became a summer retreat for determined travellers who went to study rocks or enjoy the natural beauty spots at Moncayo where according to a saying dating back to 1861   All ailments are cured by the air in Veruela        The poet Gustavo Adolfo Becquer and his brother, the painter Valeriano enjoyed an extended stay in Veruela with their families between December 1863 and July 1864. During this perod, Gustavo Adolfo wrote a series of nine letters known collectively as Desde mi celda (From my cell), written for Madrid’s daily newspaper El Contemporaneo (published between May and October 1864) and Valeriano, who returned to Veruela in August 1865, produced various drawings and water colours, notably Expedicion de Veruela (Columbia University, New York). The poet was already familiar with the area as his wife came from Noviercas in the Sorian area of Moncayo and the Moncayo landscape inspired many of his most famous works such as El monte de las animas (1861), El gnomo and La corza blanca ( 1863)

As a result of their stay in the monastery of Veruela, the two brothers prepared a series of articles on Veruela and its people, written by Gustavo Adolfo and illustrated by Valeriano Becquer s articles published between 1865 and 1869 and his brother Valeriano’s paintings show their interest in anthropology.

San Antonio’s River Walk

Now there’s even more River Walk to enjoy. Earlier this year, an additional stretch of garden-bordered pathways was added along the San Antonio River almost doubling this famed site in length and connecting more of the city’s unparalleled charm. From passages that lead to the San Antonio Museum of Art to restaurants by top chefs, the river is more alluring than ever!

A Day by the River

Wake to the slow-paced life of San Antonio and wander from your riverside hotel room to bustling plazas and walkways brimming with restaurants. From contemporary French eateries to Tex-Mex cocinas, where to dine may be the most option-filled decision of your day.

After you’ve nourished your body, feed your spirit with a leisurely stroll or river boat ride along the River Walk where awe-inspiring art installations have been incorporated throughout the new stretch. The grotto, an artificial cave designed by San Antonio faux bois artist Carlos Cortes acts as a pocket park and natural gallery while allowing you to stroll behind a waterfall.

Many sights will draw you in, including the San Antonio Museum of Art , with its castle-like exterior. Housed in the former Lone Star Brewery, the museum is a stunning example of urban repurposing. Ramble through Wester antiques, examine contemporary American paintings and explore the Nelson t Rockefeller Center for Latin American Art-the largest repository of its kind.

Upriver, the 126-year-old Pearl Brewery awaits. Yet another historic remnant from San Antonio’s days as a major brewing town, the Pearl has been transformed into an urban village along the River Walk. Grab a bite to eat at acclaimed restaurants or peruse the Saturday farmers market. Take a class at the Culinary Institute of America’s San Antonio campus and make time to shop for Mexican tiles, antique fixtures and artisan-made home accents. It’s a cultured haven that’s simply San Antonio.

Downstream, the original River Walk is alive with galleries, authentic shops and a beautiful blend of people. Evenings can be spent watching klkloric performances at an outdoor river theater, sipping Texas beer at a pub or dancing to the sounds of Latin rhythms. The River Walk is also home to a flurry of festivities this fall including New World Wine & Food Festival events, the International Accordion Festival, various Dia de los Muertos celebrations and nearby is the Jazz’s Alive outdoor music fest. It’s this unique culture that brings people back to the river time and time again. You’ll see it in the kind smiles of passers by, hear it in the sounds of mariachis and feel it-deep in the heart.

History of San Sebastian

King Sancho El Sabio of Navarra’s need for a clear route out to sea for his kingdom led him, to grant the Fuero (or privilege of self-governance) to San Sebastian in 1180, including a series of laws which we can assume to be the official foundation of the town. Maritime trade began to join forces with the traditional activities of cod and whale fishing.

Proximity to France and its position on the Road to Santiago route not only encouraged the development of this little coastal town, but also turned it into a key strategic point during times of war; for this reason it became a garrison town during the 12th century. Although it suffered numerous sieges over the course of centuries, the inhabitants always managed to save the city from its enemies; at least, until 1719, when the first capitulation of the town took place, falling into the hands of France for two years. In 1794, the city surrendered again to the French attackers until 1813, when it was liberated by Anglo-Portuguese soldiers. However, this battle sparked off the worst tire in the history of the town, leaving only a few houses standing, and forcing the citizens to reconstruct it almost from scratch, thus creating the Old Town that we know today.

Happier times were to follow, when Queen Isabel II, whose doctors recommended sea bathing to alleviate her skin afflictions, made summering in San Sebastian fashionable. This was back in 1845, and from then on her presence attracted the Court and numerous members of the aristocracy during the summer months. The city started to become famous Fototeca Kutxa.

Although theories abound as to earlier origins, the first written evidence of San Sebastian dates back to 1014, arising from the donation to Leire of the Monastery of San Sebastian, located in El Antiguo Quarter, by Sancho el Mayor, King of Navarre.

and needed space to grow and expand. The walls were demolished in 1864, and the urban development that took place gave rise to the Ensanche Cortazar, the current town centre. San Sebastian reclaimed land from the Urumea river and the marshes were turned into new neighbourhoods, giving birth to a new, more serviceable city.

At the beginning of the 20th Century, San Sebastian experienced a strong population surge and began a period known as the “Belle Epoque”, becoming the preferred tourist destination of the European upper classes. Queen Maria Cristina installed the court in the Miramar Palace during the summer months and luxury hotels, casinos and theatres flourished in response… During the First World War, moneyed Europeans took refuge from the conflict in San Sebastian. Much of the French influence which is noticeable in the town can be attributed to these visitors.

Not quite such happy times followed with the prohibition of gambling in 1925 and the Spanish Civil War in 1936, in spite of which the city continued to be a favourite amongst the upper classes. The following years of heavy industrialisation gave rise to a dark period to which several errors in urbanisation can be attributed. However, during the second half of the 20th century, San Sebastian consolidated its economic, cultural and tourist potential, encouraging new projects and, at the same time, preserving its natural and historical heritage, becoming, in the process, the magnificent combination of modernity and tradition that we know today.

Orlando After the Theme Parks

Do the theme parks in Orlando, then go explore the city’s quieter side. This chic urban oasis flourishes in tropical lushness around wide lakes and shady bungalow communities. It’s a city of snowy egrets, elegant swans, and striking architecture. Friendly enclaves host fashionable restaurants, cool boutiques, and places to simply stroll and enjoy.

Some places to check out in Orlando:

Thornton Park and Downtown High rises reflect on Lake Eola, a gathering spot at sunrise and sunset. Everyone comes here: to rent a swan paddleboat, to see performances at the band shell, to jog around the lake (about 1 mile), to picnic, or even to join tai chi. It’s one of the most visitor-friendly areas. You don’t need a car. Free public transportation of buses and pedicabs (bicycle taxis) makes getting around easy.

SHOP: Several boho-inspired boutiques wrap around the brick-lined streets at East Central Boulevard and Summerlin Avenue.

Urban Think! Bookstore: A bastion of independence, this terrific book store caters to folks looking for great reads, and even better conversations with the amiable shopkeepers.

Zou Zou Boutique: Divas discover primping props at this place where stylish bags and fancy dresses make your credit cards faint.

Hue: This most popular after-work spot straddles the Central/Summerlin corner with a progressive American menu. Try the crispy fried oysters with a wasabi caviar.

Wildside BBQ Bar and Grill: Hearty eaters love this spot on Summerlin for the casual menu and friendly prices. Order a pulled pork sandwich and a mug of ice-cold beer out on the open-air porch.

Sky 60: Top off your evening by sipping cool libations with the hip crowd on the rooftop terrace at this bar on Orange Avenue.

San Sebastian (Donostia), Spain

San Sebastian is a city where the sea converses with the mountains, history with modernity, culture with humankind, and flavours with textures. It’s a big open-air contemporary museum, with the best of exhibition halls – La Concha Bay, which hugs the Cantabrian Sea in its outstretched arms: a gesture reminiscent of the friendly welcome with which its people greet visitors.

In San Sebastian (Donostia in the Basque tongue) you get a taste of the sea and of culture; but its best taste, the one which has made it world-famous with names as international as those of Arzak, Berasategui and Subijana, is that of its food. The world capital of the “pintxo”, San Sebastian is the Spanish city with the highest number of Michelin stars per square metre. Gastronomy is an art and a pleasure that can be tasted in the city’s many bars and restaurants, where the freshly-cooked food will make your mouth water.                                         

San Sebastian throbs with an intense cultural life that goes far beyond its international festivals such as the International Film Festival and Jazzaldia – International Jazz Festival, and has motivated the City to enter the European Capital of Culture 2016 programme. San Sebastian is a city that’s constantly reinventing itself, with ceaseless cultural activity that extends into all spheres of creativity, from contemporary art to urban culture. The diverse museums and the urban sculptures alone are a good excuse for visiting it.

Burgos Cathedral, a Gothic Masterpiece

The city of Burgos was founded in 884.  It has played a major role in the military and political history of Spain.  It was the capital of the united kingdoms of Castile and Leon from 1073, until losing that title to Valladolid after the fall of Granada in 1492.

During the 15th and 16th centuries, Burgos grew from trade, most notably wool.  The wealth generated from the wool trade has financed much of the rich treasures and architecture that can be seen in Burgos today.




Founded in 1221 by Bishop Don Mauricio, Burgos Cathedral is Spain’s third largest church.  It was begun under the reign of Fernando III.  The Latin cross architectural plan measures 82 metres long.  Over three centuries, the construction of the cathedral was carried out in stages.  Many of Europe’s greatest artists and architects were employed for the task.

The style of Burgos Cathedral is mostly Gothic, showing influence from the greate gothic churches of Germany and France.  The nave and cloister were built first, while the intricate crocketed spires and richly decorated side chapels were constructed later.  Built on a sloping hill, the architects had to incorporate stairways inside and out to accommodate the terrain.

The magnificent star-ribbed central dome was begun in 1539.  It rises on four grand pillars.  It is decorated with the images of prophets and saints.  The tomb of the legendary figure of Spain, El Cid, is located directly below the dome.

Travelling to Lombardy

The territory of Lombardy on which I gazed from all around this tower, full as it was of such inexpressible variety of things of every kind, … made it seem to me as if I were really looking at the Elysian Fields…’ The ‘tower’ is the Duomo (cathedral) of Milan described by one of the 17th-century English pioneers of the Grand Tour. This judgement is still fit to describe the extraordinary number of reasons to visit the region.

These range from the Alpine scenery of the Stelvio national park and of Bernina and Adamello – great forests and grasslands dominated by peaks and glaciers – to the delightfully varied scenery around Lakes Maggiore and Garda (on its Lombard shore), Lugano, Como, Varese and Iseo. These offer classical pictures of water, villas and gardens, with mountains looming above the banks, and the surprise of lemons and olives. Then there is the ‘low’ plain with rivers and canals, the red farmhouses, lines of poplars and the green hills. There is an established tradition of taking holidays here.

Places like VaItellina, Valcamonica and the Prealpi of Bergamo retain EL strong identity through their countryside and culture. The many centres of art include Bergamo, Brescia, the Mantua of the Gonzaga family, the Milan of the Visconti, Sforza and the Borromeo families, and Pavia, Sabbioneta and Vigevano.

The Lombardian imprint on history and art has its own special, solid dimension. The colour of brick is very evident: in the farmhouses and the medieval towns, in Romanesque churches, charterhouses and abbeys. Certain landscapes remind one of Leonardo Da Vinci.

Nowadays visitors can choose between delightful hotels right in the centre of Milan, enchanting rustic dwellings amongst vineyards, peaceful, stylish historic mansions, or the comfort and warmth of mountain chalets before or after skiing. Good food and robust wines contribute to the enjoyment of the visit.