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Italy: The Art Of Good Living

Most people’s perception of Italy is that of style, a country whose taste for the good life is matched only by its panache. The food is full of flavour, created with a desire to serve nothing but the best.

Variety is the spice of life; kitchens all over the country try to outwit one another with new recipes, each one tastier than their neighbours.

But what drives the Italian people is their passion, their zest for life. Nowhere else is life lived with so much enthusiasm.

The boys cruise by street cafes in their open top sports cars looking cool, trying to catch the eyes of the girls. The girls drink their coffees, dressed to the nines in their Versace designer dresses and pretend not to notice. This modern day mating ritual continues endlessly.

Elsewhere in Italy, tourists flock annually to this culturally diverse country, making it the fourth most popular destination in the world.

The majority of holidaymakers fly into Rome and make a beeline for the Colosseum. Brought to life in the recent Hollywood epic ‘Gladiator’, the ancient ruin makes no less impression in real life. Built in 80 AD, this bloodthirsty arena became graveyard for many a brave soldier, thrown to the lions with no mercy.

Within the walls of Rome lies the Vatican. Though technically not part of Italy, it is in fact an independent state and the smallest country in the world. Considered by many to be Christianity’s finest Renaissance church, St Peter’s Cathedral is a magnificent piece of architecture. Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel is another must see, though you may have to compete with large crowds. It is advisable to book your visit beforehand.

High up in the mountains sits the beautiful little town of Assisi, overlooking Perugia. The 14th century fortress of Rocca Maggiore sits predominantly, once the sentinel guarding this proud city. It is the birthplace of St Francis and well worth a visit, provided you can negotiate the religious pilgrims.

In the north of Italy sits the vogue city of Milan. The town is famous for its fashion businesses and exquisite shopping. Indeed, the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele is believed to be the oldest shopping mall in the world.

The Biblioteca Ambrosiana holds sketches by Leonardo da Vinci amid its considerable resources of books and drawings. It is one of the main libraries of European culture.

It’s a God Thing

People ask me all the time why I went to occupied Palestine-not just once-but five times since 2005 and why do I care so much about such a small plot of real estate.

I reply, that I went the first time to meet a little boy of Bethlehem who changed my life and to be the Christian delegate amongst the Palestinian and Jewish co-founders of the Olive Trees foundation for Peace [http://www.olivetreesfoundation.org/] an interfaith non-profit dedicated to raising awareness and funds to purchase trees to replace those that have been destroyed by The Wall.

But, my last four trips to occupied Palestine were driven by the fierce urgency of now and a sense of calling; to go-bear witness-and report about the lives of regular people living under military occupation and to learn about and support the grass root efforts of Israeli, Palestinian and International nonviolent activists against the occupation of Palestine.

I also left hearth and home for occupied Palestine five times because injustice anywhere reverberates all over the world and American taxpayers are culpable in where their money is laid down. Annually, over 3.2 billion USA tax dollars are sent to Israel to support the now 40 years of military occupation of the indigenous peoples of the Holy Land.

It was at an Olive Trees Foundation for Peace meeting, that I met a Catholic woman who showed me a photo first published by the Florida Catholic in 2000; a photo that irrevocably changed my life.

Photographer Debbie Hill, captured three year old George [it is his photo that adorns the banner of my website] of Beit Jala, a once peaceful Christian village a five minute car ride from downtown Bethlehem, the morning after the Israeli army destroyed his sanctuary.

Israeli forces had retaliated against a few hopeless militants who had infiltrated George’s neighborhood to snipe across the way into the illegal settlement/colony of Gilo, about a mile from the top of the hill not far from George’s home.

The shrapnel that blew apart the wall of George’s bedroom read ‘Made in USA ‘ and was delivered via American made Apache helicopters.

The second I saw George’s eyes, in that photo, my heart said “DO SOMETHING!”

What could I possibly do I wondered, but I did make a copy of the photo, put it in a frame and placed it upon the altar [a bar high table] in the upper room of my home. Dozens of times a day, I stop and gaze into the eyes of that little boy of Bethlehem and wonder what it will take to end the insane cycle of violence in the Holy Land; which is in pieces-bantustans.

When I met George for the first time in June 2005, I vowed to him that the rest of my life would be dedicated to doing all I could to help bring about the end of the occupation of Palestine.

Of course I had no clue as to what I would or could possibly do, or how much of an ‘impossible mission’ I had promised a little child of Bethlehem. But, every morning I wake up and wonder what I can do today in the pursuit of peace and justice; equal human rights for all, for that is the only way Israel will ever be secure.

A month after my first return home from occupied territory, I put up my website and became a civilian journalist; which is best understood as one who goes out of their comfort zone to report for the benefit of we the people, without orders or censorship from editors or paychecks from conglomerates.

The first civilian journalist may well have been Rachel Corrie, the altruistic young American and volunteer with ISM/International Solidarity movement who was run over and killed by the weight of a Caterpillar bulldozer in Gaza in 2003, four days before America bombed Baghdad.

Rachel and other NONVIOLENT activists had spent hours protesting against the demolition of the home of a pharmacist with five children in Gaza. The Corrie family has sought but has yet to receive justice; an open Congressional investigation and admission of accountability by the Caterpillar Company which continues to reap profits from manufacturing products that further the military occupation of Palestine.

On February 7 2003, Rachel wrote:

“…no amount of reading, attendance at conferences, documentary viewing and word of mouth could have prepared me for the reality of the situation here. You just can’t imagine it unless you see it – and even then you are always well aware that your experience of it is not at all the reality…Nobody in my family has been shot, driving in their car, by a rocket launcher from a tower at the end of a major street in my hometown…When I leave for school or work I can be relatively certain that there will not be a heavily armed soldier waiting…at a checkpoint with the power to decide whether I can go about my business, and whether I can get home again when I’m done…I am in Rafah: a city of about 140,000 people, approximately 60% of whom are refugees – many of whom are twice or three times refugees. Today, as I walked on top of the rubble where homes once stood, Egyptian soldiers called to me from the other side of the border, ‘Go! Go!’ because a tank was coming. And then waving and [asking] ‘What’s your name?’

“Something disturbing about this friendly curiosity. It reminded me of how much, to some degree, we are all kids curious about other kids. Egyptian kids shouting at strange women wandering into the path of tanks. Palestinian kids shot from the tanks when they peak out from behind walls to see what’s going on. International kids standing in front of tanks with banners. Israeli kids in the tanks anonymously – occasionally shouting and also occasionally waving – many forced to be here, many just aggressive – shooting into the houses as we wander away…There is a great deal of concern here about the “reoccupation of Gaza”. Gaza is reoccupied every day to various extents but I think the fear is that the tanks will enter all the streets and remain here instead of entering some of the streets and then withdrawing after some hours or days to observe and shoot from the edges of the communities. If people aren’t already thinking about the consequences of this war for the people of the entire region then I hope you will start.”[1]

It was the events of THAT DAY we call 9/11 topped off by President Bush’s advice a few days later to we the people that we should all go shopping if we wanted to help, that drove my curiosity to learn “about the consequences” of USA foreign policy in the Middle East.

Being a Christian, I also was driven by the need to forgive, love and do good to my ‘enemies’ that led me to connect with the interfaith non-profit OTFFP/Olive Trees Foundation for Peace during the summer of 2003.

I connected with the OTFFP after reading two oped’s published in the Orlando Sentinel written by the Palestinian Muslim and American Jewish Co-Founders of the OTFFP regarding the need for open dialogue that recognizes, respects and empathizes with the pain of the other; for when that happens, anyone of good will, will be moved by compassion to do something to alleviate the pain of the other.

The OTFFP organization united American and Israeli Jews, Christians and Muslims after THAT DAY we call 9/11 to literally extend the olive branch of peace to all the cousins in Father Abraham’s family in Israel Palestine by providing the funds to purchase fruit bearing trees on both sides of The Wall. So far, 30,000 have been rooted.

After a few phone calls and emails to the OTFFP organization, I committed to attend a Sunday afternoon OTFFP meeting in south Orlando following the final third of my first year of weekend retreats for students in a two year formation program for Spiritual Director’s.

During 2002-2003, I participated in a central Florida, Episcopal-Methodist Formation Program for SD/Spiritual Director’s/SD’s. SD’s are not counselors or therapists, but are centered and prayerful people who have learned to listen with their hearts to any other speaking of their struggles with God.

I knew going into the program that I would NOT be hanging out a shingle as an SD, I was drawn to be there for the curriculum; studying the saints and various ways of prayer. That is also when I began to write creative spiritual literature.

But on a Sunday afternoon in the summer of 2003, after concluding my final weekend retreat I attended my first OTFFP meeting and my life was irrevocably changed, and it began that morning during a guided meditation.

The workshop leader instructed my class to close our eyes and breathe deep and slow as she invited us to enter into a long corridor with many closed doors; and then, she went silent. Immediately, I imagined myself skipping, jumping, dancing and running past miles of closed doors as I headed to the end of that long corridor. I was aware of, but not interested in any of the closed doors on my right and left. I headed straight ahead although it was a while before I saw the enormous cathedral sized double doors at the very end of the hallway. As I approached the wooden doors they slowly opened into the inner space and I could see trees and mountains. After crossing the threshold, I realized I stood upon a mountain top and I could see for miles. There were people of every color and creed, in diverse dress and all were at rest and in peaceful harmony under those trees.

When the workshop leader interrupted my reverie, I did not want to leave that mountain top. I also had no clue if I had a glimpse of heaven or a possibility for this world, but as I was on my way to meet some of the Olive Trees for Peace people I thought that had something to do with my imaginative meditation.

I was the first to arrive at Dr. Diab’s home for the meeting, and on that Sunday I was the only Christian in a room filled with American Jews and Palestinian Muslims. I was in awe of all of them as I prayed, “Jesus Christ! Will you look at all these Muslims and Jews doing exactly what you commanded your followers must do; forgive, love and bless ones enemies. Imagine when all we Christians do it too!”

It was that fateful day that led me to travel two hours every Tuesday afternoon for many months in order to listen and write down Dr. Diab’s memoirs, with the intention that it would be for his grandchildren.

But, being an Irish story teller, dissident and spiritual creative, I had no control over the six fictional characters that welled up within me and who began to converse with Dr. Diab during the days that followed our Tuesday meetings. Not until I completed, KEEP HOPE ALIVE did I even realize that my ‘imaginary friends’ also represented six different ways to intuit, love and serve God.

KEEP HOPE ALIVE is also an historical fiction based on the memoirs of a 1948 Palestinian Muslim refugee who became an American citizen with Top Secret Clearance during the Cold War and founded the non-profit interfaith Olive Trees Foundation for Peace as a positive response to THAT DAY we call 9/11.

Because of my connection to the OTFFP, I journeyed the first time to occupied territory in June 2005. I wrote down everything I experienced, felt in my gut and wondered about. I went places I had never imagined existed and I did things I never thought I would or could; such as leaving Ramallah for Jerusalem late at night with a driver I did not know and who only spoke Arabic.

That morning, I rode along with Dr. Diab and his driver to Ramallah from Jerusalem, and witnessed the Wall in full frontal, brutal view. On my left was a thirty foot high wall of concrete; on my right, only rows of bankrupt businesses.

“Financed with U.S. aid at a cost of $1.5 million per mile, the Israeli wall prevents residents from receiving health care and emergency medical services. In other areas, the barrier separates farmers from their olive groves which have been their families’ sole livelihood for generations.” [Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, Page 43, Jan/Feb. 2007]

Dr. Diab and I had an appointment at the Palestinian Authority’s compound, where Arafat is now buried.

We met with Rafiq Husseini, chief of staff to President Abbas who informed us, “We have lost more than 1.1 million fruit-bearing trees in Palestinian territories. Trees are about food, the environment, and life. Ancient trees have been demolished by tanks, and we thank the Olive Trees Foundation for Peace for addressing the need to replace them and rebuild the faith of our people. Palestine has always been tolerant to people of all religions. The Jews came here out of Spain along with many Arabs — and then came Zionism. When one wants to take over another, war happens. President Abbas is a very bad politician; he does not lie! He is ready to move on from the past. We have quit crying over our losses; we must move on. Live and let live is the motto of this administration. We can not carry on a battle; it must stop. Peace can only happen with peace, not force. President Abbas has promised, ‘We will do whatever it takes to show the world we want peace.’ We need America to help us. The best thing would be for Americans to come and see the truth of the situation for themselves. I encourage Americans to come and see the Wall; it has nothing to do with security, but everything to do with grabbing water and more land. When Americans understand the real situation, things will change for the better. The humiliation at the checkpoints is beyond belief. It can drive anyone to desperation. We condemn all terrorism, but resisting occupation is necessary.”

After that meeting, Dr. Diab set off for his home village in the Galilee and I explored Ramallah with a friend who was born and lives there. Just before midnight, my friend walked me through the checkpoint to where the cabs waited. I cringed when I saw the watchtower’s small window lit up, and I considered how easy it would be to be shot at and never see it coming. The ground was rocky, uneven, and littered with debris and the only light was from the moon.

My friend bargained with a cabbie in Arabic and I marveled that I, who hated to fly before 9/11 and with absolutely no sense of direction at all, who only speaks and understands English, was traveling alone through occupied territory without any fear at all.

After two weeks of traveling through Israel Palestine with ten other Americans connected with the OTFFP, I remained alone in Jerusalem for the following three days and once again, my life was irrevocably changed.

On the third Tuesday in June of 2005- six days before I returned to the USA- after an excruciatingly painful day in Hebron, I crossed paths with Vanunu for the first time.

In April 2005, two months before my first trip to Jerusalem, I turned the TV on that had last been tuned onto the History channel. They were broadcasting a show called, “Sexpionage” all about Russian female spies and one from the Mossad.

The very first clip that ran before my eyes was of Vanunu being transported to his closed door trial depicting his inspired move to write upon his palm: “HIJACKED” and the Rome flight number he had been on. That was followed by a clip of Shimon Perez in 1986 stating that Israel would never be the first in the Mid East to possess nuclear weapons.

Then, a black and white photo of a bearded, unkempt and disheveled Vanunu filled the TV screen and I thought his eyes looked just like George’s of Beit Jala’s, and again, I heard in my heart:

“Do Something!”

I did email Vanunu after that show to thank him for what he had done in 1986 and to let him know that I and nine other Americans would be in his territory in two months and we would like to take him to dinner or lunch. But, just days before that trip, a Palestinian American warned me not to contact Vanunu as Israel had denied him the right to speak to not just foreign media but also ordered him to not speak to any foreigners at all.

Only because a friend from Ramallah happened to be in Jerusalem on the third Tuesday in June 2005, and invited me out to dinner, did I venture out again. I had no hunger for food after my day in Hebron but as we walked towards the Old City and neared St. Georges Cathedral where Vanunu had been living, I asked my friend if he knew about Vanunu. He recalled hearing about Vanunu’s release from prison in 2004, but he did not know Vanunu was a Christian who had grown up in an Orthodox Jewish home but rejected the faith at 14 years old.

As we entered the courtyard, Vanunu was on his way out to a meeting and a few minutes difference and we would have missed him completely.

Instead I was startled by his physical presence, for I had imagined Vanunu to be dark eyed and much taller than I at 5’4″. Vanunu is not much taller or heavier than I, but what knocked me for a loop were his light green-blue eyes that immediately reminded me of the eyes of an old woman I met in 1998, who irrevocably changed my life.

Her name was Bernice and I crossed paths with her for the first time just a few weeks after I began visiting someone at a local nursing home. As I walked down the hallway, Bernice called out, “Help me. Help me.”

I had been a registered nurse for twenty-five years and when ever I hear someone ask for help, I am compelled to do something, or at least try. All Bernice wanted was for me to change her position, for she was completely paralyzed. From a distance I thought her eyes were dark, but as I approached her, I was startled at how light green-blue they were. That day was the beginning of my now ten year nursing home ministry, and although I have no clue what color Jesus’ eyes may have been, in that moment, I sensed/experienced the presence of The Other; that mystery we call God, for lack of a better word. Crossing paths with Bernice was the first time I had known a visceral, intuitive experience of the presence of God within another. It happened for the second time in the courtyard of St. George’s Cathedral in 2005, during the chance crossing of paths with Vanunu, who inspired me to do something I had not yet imagined I would or could.

During our third meeting, while Vanunu was telling me about growing up in Marrakech, Morocco he asked me if I had ever seen the “Dorothy Day” movie, “The Man who Knew Too Much” for the beginning scenes were shot where he grew up.

He meant to say Doris Day, but in that moment I realized my childhood dream of being Brenda Starr had matured, for Vanunu’s slip of the tongue was the catalyst for me to begin to imagine following in the footsteps of Dorothy Day, the 20th century socialist muckraker who became a Christian and a voice for the voiceless in her newspaper The Catholic Worker, which persists today.

Dorothy Day understood that, “Love is not the starving of whole populations. Love is not the bombardment of open cities. Love is not killing……Our manifesto is the Sermon on the Mount, which means that we will try to be peacemakers.”

During my travels through occupied Palestine and after listening with my heart to the people who shared their stories with me, I asked everyone, “How can I help? What can I do to try to be a peacemaker?”

Everyone responded, “Tell our stories.”

Dorothy Day and Rachel Corrie told the stories of the oppressed. They both are dead, but as long as I can do something and have breath, I too will tell the stories as I try to be a peacemaker by seeking justice; equal human rights for all, and persist to hope for the best.

Might you do something too.

1. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2003/mar/18/usa.israel

Italys Art Of Good Living

Italy is mostly perceived by people as a country full of style which, only its own panache can match in the taste of good life. The food here is created with a desire to serve the very best of Italy. Kitchens in every part of Italy tries to outsmart, one another by introducing fresh recipes each time, comparatively being tastier than the other one. Their passion and zeal, for life is what that drives the Italian people. In Italy life is lived with so much zest, unlike any other place. Italy has its own ritual of modern day mating. Italian boys can be seen flaunting in their open top sports gear cruising by the street, looking cool, and roaming around in a desire to catch the any girls eyes. Girls getting dressed to the nines, pretending not to notice anything, drinking coffees in their designer dresses. This trend continues endlessly. In this region of Italy you can find a comfortable Italy vacation rental without any difficulty. Vacation in Italy is known as the fourth most popular holiday destination in the world. To this culturally diverse city the tourists flock annually. Majorities of diverse holidaymakers fly to Rome and rush for the Colosseum. The Hollywood movie Gladiator has brought an impression of real life. Many soldiers were thrown to the lions den with no mercy in 80 AD. This arena was then became the graveyard for these brave soldiers. The Vatican, technically not a part of Italy, lies within the walls of Rome. In fact it is the smallest country and an independent state. St Peter’s Cathedral is considered by all as the finest Renaissance Church of Christianity. It is a wonderful piece of architecture. Though one may have to compete with large crowds, the Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel is another must see piece of art. One should beforehand book ones visit so as not fall in trouble competing with large crowd. Overlooking Perugia is captivating small town of Assisi. Assisi sits high up in the mountains. Rocca Maggiore a 14th century fortress that was once regarded as a sentinel guarding this beautiful city. If one can negotiate the religious pilgrims then this place is worth watching. Also this is the place where St Francis was born. In the north part of Italy is the beautiful city of Milan. Milan is renowned for its exquisite shopping and fashion businesses. In fact the oldest shopping mall of the world the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele is in Milan. Biblioteca Ambrosiana is among the most important libraries of European culture. It has Leonardo da Vincis sketches and copious documents of drawings and books. Italys richest architecture is the combination of these art pieces. Tourist feel that they get the best Italy vacation package here.Vacation in Italy, is a good place to start your vacation. You can start your vacation planning selecting Italy vacation rentals and popular itineraries, choosing from a wide range of Italy vacation packages. You may further customize it to suit your requirements and conveniences. You can view some of the most beautiful places in Italy dating from the period of the Etruscan , Rome & Venetian merchants.shttp://www.italy-vacation.com

Travel destinations: Rome, Italy – Part 12

ROME

My first yearnings for Rome began when I was sixteen. I became closely associated with an Italian family from Reggio Calabria. I was drawn to their natural warmth of manner and admired their stoic qualities and most of all their strong family feeling. Migrating to Australia would not have been easy. They encountered language difficulties and often racial discrimination. I listened to their stories about life in their village and the beauty of the mountains and sea, and I drank in the music and emotion of their Italian language. I bought Italian records, watched Italian movies and even studied the language. You could say I was devoted to the Italian culture by the time I saw the romantic film, “Three Coins in the Fountain,” and the theme song became a hit. I made up my mind that one day I would go to Rome.

__________

As the taxi sped along the motorway from Rome’s Fiumicino airport my heart sank as we passed miles of modern housing development flats and industry. It wasn’t until we were approaching the city itself that I became absolutely enthralled by the sight of a great, ancient, Roman wall. I had never seen anything so massive.

I gripped the seat while the taxi driver forged on among a mass of mopeds and small cars all vying for position on the congested road. The sight of immense monumental buildings transfixed my gaze and helped to take my mind off the impending danger of the traffic.

The taxi pulled into a lane way to park and the driver pointed to the hotel around the corner. Heaving heavy cases, my friend and I negotiated the pedestrian crossing through a maze of people to find the hotel entrance was off the street, down a passageway, then up an elevator to the third floor. The manager greeted us half heartedly. He was obviously irritated because our presence was interrupting his viewing of the soccer on the television. Ungraciously, he gave directions to where we would find our suite.

Tired, after early morning flights from a Greek Island I had been loathe to leave, my first impression of Rome was disappointing. Faced with the greyness of old buildings, roaring traffic and a hotel room that was dim and poky after the luxury of our island accommodation my spirits were low. But after a short rest we ventured out, determined not to waste a moment of time as there was much to see. We headed for a highly decorated church building across the

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Italian Air Travel Booking Tips

The cost of flying within Italy is often comparable to the cost of train travel, although be sure to include the expense of getting to and from the airport. When flying out of Italian airports, always check with the airport or tourist agency about upcoming strikes, which are frequent in Italy and often affect air travel. The work stoppages are called by trade unions over contractual disputes, and can also ground or delay flights to and from Italy operated by several European carriers, including British Airways and Air France.

Things to Think About when booking

When you book, look for nonstop flights and remember that “direct” flights stop at least once. Try to avoid connecting flights, which require a change of plane. Two airlines may operate a connecting flight jointly, so ask whether your airline operates every segment of the trip. You may find that the carrier you prefer flies you only part of the way. Check web sites to find more booking tip, to check prices and to make online flight reservations.

When flying internationally, you must usually choose between a domestic carrier, the national flag carrier of the country you are visiting (Alitalia for Italy), and a foreign carrier from a third country. National flag carriers have the greatest number of non stops. Domestic carriers may have better connections to your hometown and serve a greater number of gateway cities. Third-party carriers may have a price advantage.

On international flights, Alitalia serves Rome, Milan, and Venice. The major international hubs in Italy are Milan and Rome, served by Continental Airlines and Delta Air Lines. American Airlines flies into just Milan. US Airways serves only Rome.

Alitalia and British Airways have direct flights from London’s Heathrow and Gatwick airports to Milan and Rome. From Manchester, British Airways has daily flights to Milan and Rome. Smaller, no-frills airlines also provide service between Great Britain and Italy.

EasyJet connects Gatwick with Bologna. British Midland connects Heathrow and Milan. Ryanair, departing from London’s Stansted Airport, has daily flights to Milan, Rome, Pisa, and Venice. Meridiana has two or three direct flights each week between Gatwick and Olbia on Sardinia in summer, and daily flights to Rome and Florence throughout the year. From its hub in Brussels, Virgin Express files to Milan, Catania, and Rome.

Alitalia connects Canada and Italy. Air Canada flies to Munich for connections to Rome, Florence, and Milan via Lufthansa. Qantas flies from various cities in Australia via Bangkok, arriving in Rome. Alitalia and New Zealand Air fly from Auckland to Rome with a stop in London. Another option if you’re coming from Australia or New Zealand is Thai Airlines, landing in Rome via Bangkok.

When buying tickets for flights within Italy, on Alitalia and small carriers such as Meridiana and Air One shop around for the best deals. Tickets are frequently sold at discounted prices, so check the cost of flights, even one-way, as an alternative to train travel.

Travel tour Italy

Traveling to Italy can be a dream-come-true experience. From the Ancient Roman Empire to the Medieval Tuscan fortress towns and the Venetian Republic, Italy has got culturally rich history to offer the curious visitors. With a lot of options for cheap travel, people across the world have started visiting Italy for their vacations. For a complete European experience, you need to visit this romantic destination of Italy. If looking for budget accommodations, you can go for cheap hotels and budget hotels in Italy.
Italy has got lots in store for the lovers of art, history, architecture, and music. With a blend of all these panache, Italy stands apart with its rich, bold, and romantic flavors. Italy is the most visited vacation spot in Europe. People in Italy are charming and sociable. They like to do everything in a big and better way. Some of the favorite topics among the Italians are food, families, music and custom. Knowing Italy through books and media is not enough to cherish its splendor. Visit this place to include in the list of the memorable experiences of your life.
What’s stopping you from taking a vacation to Italy? Is it high expenditure, insufficient budget, and chaos of booking a hotel? No need to worry! A variety of trusted providers offer quality services that help you find Cheap Hotel, budget accommodation, and discount hotels. If not a hotel, then you can rent a house or an apartment for a few days. Another way of sticking on to your budget in Italy is to use public transportation whenever possible. Italy is popular for its far reaching rail network. You can also take an Italian pocket dictionary for an adventurous feel.
Another way of saving money without compromising on quality is to go for an off-season vacation. Try to avoid peak season from summer months of June to August. The best off-season month to visit Italy is September. Do not worry; the sights of the Italian summer would still be bountiful in September. One of the plus points of visiting Italy in off-season is that you can roam around without seeing crowds of visitors. Moreover the services would even be better owing to the low number of people visiting. Hotel rates per night go more affordable during off-season. Also the hotels and airfares are cheaper in the off season as compared to other times. One can also find a variety of discounts that are available for guided tours.For complete information on travel to Italy and other regions in Europe, discount hotels, Cheap Hotel, and budget accommodation in Italy, visit www.TravelTourItaly.com.
Italy Tour/a> Italy travel guide for tours, vacation in Italy, Hotels in Rome, Venice, Naples, Florence, to Italian Hotels, Milan, cheap lodging, Accommodation, Budget Rooms, Sightseeing, Italian Beaches.

Biography: Paavo Nurmi, the flying Finn

With another Olympiad upon us, we should be reminded of the great moments provided by our many Olympic heroes. A lot of these great moments were provided by long distance runners. Throughout the long and storied history of the Olympic Games, there have been a great many runners whose names and deeds have become the stuff of legend. There was Abebe Bikila, a member of Ethiopian emperor Haile Selasse’s Palace Guard, who would come out of nowhere to win the Marathon at the 1960 Summer Olympic Games in Rome while running in his bare feet! He would repeat his victory at Tokyo in 1964 – this time wearing shoes. Emil Zatopek of Czechoslovakia would win unprecedented TRIPLE Gold Medals in the 5000 Meter Run, 10000 Meter Run, and the Marathon at the 1952 Summer Olympic Games in Helsinki, Finland. Finally, there was Frank Shorter who would become the first U.S. Gold Medalist in the Marathon in 64 years at Munich, West Germany in 1972. His victory was significant because it set off a nationwide running boom that, to some degree, continues to this day. Perhaps the greatest Olympic distance runner of all was Paavo Nurmi, the legendary “Flying Finn”, whose Olympic career spanned the period from 1920 to 1928. Nurmi would win a record NINE Gold Medals in Track and Field events. This record would be equaled seventy two years later by Carl Lewis – a sprinter!

Paavo Nurmi was born on June 13, 1897 in Torvu, Finland. His father, a carpenter, died when he was only 12 years old. One of the more remarkable facts about Nurmi was that he had a resting heart rate of ONLY 39 beats per minute! Nurmi had his earliest success at 3000 Meters, but it was during a short stint in the army that he first attracted attention. Nurmi entered a 20 Kilometer march with full equipment. Running was allowed, so he ran the entire way. In spite of the fact that he was carrying a rifle, a cartridge belt, and an 11 pound sack of sand, he finished the course way ahead of everyone else. So quickly, in fact, that some officials were convinced that he had cheated.

All throughout his running career, Nurmi ran his races with a stopwatch. However, towards the end of his races, he would toss the watch on the ground. His first Olympic Gold Medal came at the 1920 Olympic Games in Antwerp, Belgium in the 10000 Meter Run. Afterwords, Second Place finisher, Joseph Guillemot of France (who had beaten Nurmi in the 5000 Meter Run earlier in the Games) vomited on Nurmi’s shoes. This was

Flights to Cork, Ireland

Cork International Airport is the gateway to the beautiful Southwest of Ireland. Last year over 3.2 million visitors passed through its terminals – it has certainly come a long way since its first landing back in 1961. Cork Airport is now the 3rd largest airport in the Republic of Ireland. Located just 8 kilometres south from Cork City centre and ideally positioned on the N22, N20, N8 and N25, there’s easy access from all areas.

SkyLink and Bus Éireann operate a regular service between the airport and the city centre. The journey takes approximately 25 minutes. Bus Éireann also run a service to Kinsale, taking in Cork Airport. You’ll find a taxi rank outside the arrivals hall. You can also hire a car at one of the car rental desks. Our advice though is to book your car hire before you travel to Cork to avoid disappointment.

Just two years ago on the 15th August 2006, Cork Airport officially opened a new state of the art terminal. Designed by Jacobs Engineering Group and HOK, this new terminal is the first 21st century airport terminal of it?s kind in Ireland.

Located right in the centre of Cork Airport Complex you’ll find the Radisson SAS Hotel. This is a popular hotel ideal for those wishing to catch an early morning flight or who have a late arrival time. Offering first class facilities all rooms are en-suite and include satellite television, direct dial telephone, trouser press, hairdryer, tea and coffee making facilities, mini bar on request and all rooms are air conditioned. There’s also a 24 hour shuttle bus service to and from Cork Airport available. Two other excellent choices are the 3 star Travelodge Cork Airport and the 4 star Cork International Airport Hotel.

Which airlines fly to/from Cork?

A very large number of Irish, British and European destinations are serviced by Cork Airport, the complete list of scheduled flight destinations is as follows:

Alicante – Aer Lingus
Amsterdam – Aer Lingus
Barcelona – Aer Lingus
Belfast – Aer Arann
Berlin – Aer Lingus
Birmingham – Aer Lingus & bmi baby
Bratislava (Vienna) – SkyEurope
Brest – Aer Arann
Bristol – Aer Arann
Carcassonne – Ryanair
Cardiff – Aer Arann
Dublin – Aer Arann & Ryanair
East Midlands – Ryanair (until October 2008)
Edinburgh – Aer Arran
Faro – Aer Lingus
Galway – Aer Arann
Gdansk – Wizz Air
Geneva – Aer Lingus
Glasgow – Ryanair (until October 2008)
Jersey – Aer Lingus
Katowice – Wizz Air
Lanzarote – Aer Lingus
La Rochelle – Aer Arann
Leeds Bradford – Aer Arann
Liverpool – Ryanair
London Gatwick – Ryanair
London Heathrow – Aer Lingus
London Stansted – Ryanair
Lorient – Aer Arann
Malaga – Aer Lingus
Manchester – bmi baby & Aer Lingus
Munich – Aer Lingus
Nantes – Aer Arann
Newcastle – Jet2.com
Newquay – Air Southwest
Nice – Aer Lingus
Paris – Aer Lingus
Plymouth – Air Southwest
Prague – Aer Lingus
Rome – Aer Lingus
Southampton – Aer Arann
Tenerife – Aer Lingus
Warsaw – Wizz Air

For holiday destinations operating from Cork here is a listing of Charter Flights to/from Cork Airport:

Almeria – Falcon
Bodrum – Sunworld
Bulgaria – Sunway, Budget Travel, Falcon, Concorde.
Dubrovnik – Condorde, Sunworld.
Faro – Budget Travel, Sunworld, Topflight, Stein Travel, Panorama, Falcon.
Gran Canaria – Budget Travel, Sunway, Stein Travel.
Heraklion – Budget Travel.
Izmir – Budget Travel, Sunway, Sunworld.
Lanzarote – Budget Travel, Sunway, Sunworld, Stein Travel, Falcon, Topflight, Panorama Travel.
Majorca – Sunway, Stein Travel, Budget Travel, Falcon, Sunworld, Panorama.
Malaga – Stein Travel, Budget Travel, Falcon.
Reus – Budget Travel, Falcon.
Santorini – XL Airways.
Tunisia – Panorama.
Verona – Topflight.

Mairead Foley writes for the Ireland travel and accommodation website http://www.GoIreland.com

Visit GoIreland for all you need to know before visiting Cork, like what to see and where to go. You can also book B&Bs, hostels, guesthouses, self catering and Cork hotels.

Dream of Flying

Flying Lesson

Unaided I could fly, swooping and diving.

No Icarus was I for what was there about me

that could melt? – no wings necessary;

just the will not to be on my feet and

no ambition for cloud lands that only freeze.

I knew the secret and could tell it, so soon

it was a family affair. We had a journey to make

to a place and for a purpose I cannot now recall

if indeed I ever knew.

Low we went and fast, laughing at the surprise

on every ground-fast face. We swerved between them

just inches from the pavement. At first we flew sitting

as if on invisible seats: our magic was prosaic;

but soon we became bolder.

Once I broke away down a peeling corridor to a dingy bar and through it without stopping to order: no greater intoxication needed.

After the swerves came now the swoops, clearing buildings with outspread limbs and unpractised ease, for confidence and skill came without effort. I tell you there was no fear and why should you disbelieve this plain fact? (Pilate asked what truth was, but I know he never flew – except in old jokes)

I let the others go on and perched on a chimney pot to think this out. How did I know old Pontius never flew?

One night in Judea he could have dreamed of soaring over the sea to Rome. But I dismissed that at once as irrelevant, for I was not dreaming.

For me then, on that hard unsteady roost, I was in the real world that had brought me sudden and unlooked for grace, just as true as all the griefs and joys that buffet and bend us from our first breathing.

I knew I had the knowledge of the birds, but no need of wings or mighty muscles. All you had to do was clear and simple – to be freely shared as soon as I was ready. But that was for later: now my companions were gone and I was just sitting. It was time to fly again.

Time to fly again, but now without remembrance of how I had first begun. The chimney pot was suddenly steeple high. A time for thought to cease. I trusted and toppled forward. A slither on damp slates and then, and then, a joyful soar.

And I knew the secret again and I knew that trust was part of it. Not all of it, but the soul of it, if a secret can have a soul. So much easier to trust when flying. Staying low now, arms outflung, along a road straight and deep between hushed trees. It was growing dark, but I did not doubt I would find the others.

I was with them again and we flew together among high silent ruins of factories. All life was gone from their gaunt bricks and chimneys but we were not oppressed, so full were we of our common gift. For us they were not lifeless husks of expectation: they were a playground in which we wheeled and circled.

Then I woke up quite suddenly. For a moment I thought I still had the secret, but the shade of Pilate sniggered as I walked to catch my train.