• Here comes the Bride!

    Budapest, Hungary…sights seen, goulash tasted, nightlife sampled!

    I was just enjoying some time strolling in the sun when I stumbled across a beautiful pastel colored church. It looked as if it were constructed from confectioner’s sugar…I sat outside and suddenly a wedding party arrived!

    It was Saturday early evening and a crowd formed for the impending nuptials…my curiosity took hold and I stayed to watch the festivities!

    The fashion was over the top! Slits up to here, glitter and bling, and skin for days…this pretty little church was suddenly bedazzled! Obviously, style here is a bit different…more obvious and flamboyant! Women evoked the vibe of a stripper or a drag queen…and all the various unique hair colors just topped it all off! What was going on?But as revealing as the outfits were, no exposed shoulders in church; demure shawls and boleros were out in force, even the bride wore a shawl over her strapless dress.

    Regardless of what I would consider a series of fashion don’ts, it became clear this was a special moment in a fairytale setting…balloons were ready to be set free to celebrate the marriage in addition to throwing rice.

    Being part of this couple’s special day, even if only as a gawker, is another once in a lifetime moment that a journey like this can only bring! I am lucky enough to be able to bank a fortune of priceless moments like this so far this trip…

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  • Karma is a Boomerang!

    Prague, Czech Republic…My sister told me a story that I never heard before. It was the story of a good deed someone had done for me…

    In 2003 I became very ill; I was hospitalized for 3 weeks and near death and I desperately needed amazing healthcare and a miracle! Obviously I got both!

    At the time, her friend visited The Church of our Lady of Victory in Prague and arranged a mass in my name. It is believed the church houses an icon with the power to perform miracles, the icon is of the infant Jesus…the statue is dressed in a changing wardrobe of ornate vestments and religious pilgrims come the world over to pray to it for miracles. Even Pope John Paul II kneeled at the statue’s feet during his visit to Prague.

    I am not overly religious, but believe in karma. Someone does good to you, you repay that goodness if you can. In this instance I can! This isn’t a religious quest for me, it’s a pilgrimage of good karma.

    I didn’t think I was going to find the church, I went to two other churches by mistake before finding the correct one. I am great at directions, so was my getting lost TWICE some kind of sign? I did not waiver, I was more determined than ever to find it! Sore from walking, I finally came upon the simple facade of the church!

    As I walked through the church I saw the statue and stopped. I proceeded to tour the church…as I walked, suddenly from nowhere a priest called out to me! I did a double take! Me? He stopped dead in his track mid-conversation to talk to me…
    “where are you from, my son?” I responded and he said he too was there last year while visiting New Jersey. He proceeded to place his hand on my shoulder and said “welcome” and walked away. The crowd was stunned and looked at me like some kind of ghost! A few chuckled nervously…

    A bit overwhelmed by that, I found the English version of the prayer to the Infant Jesus of Prague Shrine and knelt to pray, wishing success for that good samaritan that prayed for me.

    Karma is an important force, I know this for sure…it works beyond religious beliefs…I may refer to it flippantly but it’s a principle I adhere to!

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  • Un-Orthodox Inspiration!

    Old Town Corfu, Greece..luckily we stayed in port late tonight…after a nice Greek dinner, a stroll thru Old Town was a welcome way to work off a few calories. The town starts hoping late, as Greeks eat dinner well after 10pm…

    Hearing the sounds of singing, I could see a little Orthodox church (the hieroglyphic Greek writing doesn’t allow me to make out the name) alive with people and glowing with plenty of candlelight. Inside, a choir was caroling some Greek songs as bearded men clad in heavy black robes looked on. The ornate tiny church housed a brilliant display of religious vestments that dated back over century. The sophisticated brocades, subtle metallic colors, and intricate trims held inspiration for something totally modern. I need to ponder this surprise fashion moment…

    Lighting a candle as we left, we took a final walk through the crescent moon lit town and bid goodbye to another enchanting port on this journey!

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  • Holy bat cave, Robin!

    Montserrat, Spain…today I embarked on a quick day trip out of Barcelona! After a late night hitting the local clubs and bars in Eixample district of Barcelona, I thought a different view of Catalonia was in order.

    Perched high in the cavernous mountain side, the Monastery housing the scuplture of the black Madonna behind its altar seems detached from the rest of the world, set in an absolutely rugged yet breathtaking spot!

    Getting here isn’t as simple as it seems…again I had to navigate the train system, this time in the pickpocket heaven of Espanya station! Clutching my man-purse like an old lady, I set out! No one was messing with me…after the hourlong train ride, it’s time for the 5 minute cable car ride to the top…Geez, adventures never cease on this trip, I guess I am determined to ignore all my comfort zones…

    Standing the whole ride in what is essentially a yellow basket, the view is fantastic but the ride is not for the faint of heart! Again I seem to have landed in another ancient world…how did this place get here in the middle of stalactite looking terrain?

    One more ride up, this time on the funicular to Sant Joan in order to view it all from an even higher vantage point…what other means of transport shall I employ today?

    Anyway, this isn’t a religious outing…it’s a marvel of both nature and the will of man to build amongst it! Who even knew this existed, obscure places like this reaffirm my love of travel. Remember, much of any journey lies in discovery of places you never knew you wanted to visit!

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