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27 November 2011

European Christmas Legends and Traditions—a Look to the Past and Present

The Jena Christkindlmarkt or Christmas Market in Germany.  THIS PHOTO ONLY: Wikimedia.org Rene S. 

From Advent to Christmas to the Epiphany, the holidays herald time-honored traditions and customs that bring the sights and sounds of the season to life throughout Europe and all the world. Truly, it is the most wonderful time of the year. But did you ever wonder how we got here and why we celebrate the religious and secular traditions that we do? As we gather with family and friends this holiday season to recount the stories of Christmas, let us not forget from whence we came. Join me on this journey through the past and present of Christmas legends and traditions.

2016 Advent: November 27 – December 24

13 November 2011

A Spectacular Summer in the Dolomites, the 'Other' Joy of Italy

A flowering meadow bursting with color provides a beautiful foreground leading you into a glacial valley in the majestic Dolomites of northern Italy.  All photography in this post is property of Gina Stark.  Please do not use without permission.  

This week, I am honored to introduce my guest adventurer Gary Scott of RightPathAdventures. You may know him as @RPathAdventures on Twitter but if you don't, he's a world-class mountaineer and guide, published author and mentor who just happened to set the world record  for a speed solo ascent of Alaska's Denali (Mt. McKinley)—25 years ago! Today, Gary leads trekkers on adventures that bring them in personal contact with cultures and places that most of us only ever read or dream about. From Australia to England to Pakistan, Italy and Nepal, not to mention 10 cities across the U.S., Gary has personally led over 100 international expeditions to many of the world's greatest wonders and now, concentrates his efforts on the majestic Dolomites mountains in northern Italy. I hope you enjoy this virtual expedition through the Italian Dolomites with Gary and if you want to find out more about him or his tours around the world, visit his site above and send him an email (address at end of article) too!

Guided Tour Through the Storybook Villages of Alsace, France

Welcome to enchanting Riquewihr in Alsace, France, the first of many storybook villages on our journey through one of the most beautiful and picturesque regions of France, or the world for that matter.  All photography ©Brian Jannsen Photography. Unauthorized use is prohibited.

I am so excited to announce my Guest Photographer Brian Jannsen who is solely responsible for capturing the splendor of Alsace, France, in this article. As soon as I saw his Alsatian photo essay, I fell under its enchantment, and you will too when you see how beautifully he masters light to convey visual romance and warmth that is beyond words. Join us on this photo tour through Alsace, France, and at the end of the article, you can read more about Brian’s photography and his tours through these and other enchanting places. Thank you Brian, for your gift of magic!