Freeport, Bahamas

by: Stephanie Larkin (reading – 4.8. - 10.8.)

Freeport, Bahamas

The Bahamas were discovered by Christopher Columbus during his first voyage. He called the area "baja mar", which means low or shallow sea, and the name stayed to this day. The British arrived in the 1600s after the Spaniards had left in search of gold, and many British fleeing the American Revolution settled there, along with southerners during the American Civil War. The Bahamas became an independent member of the British Commonwealth in 1973.

Freeport, and the nearby resort area of Port Lucaya, are located on Grand Bahama Island, which is the fourth largest island of the Bahamas. They were developed over the past 50 years to be resort areas, as opposed to other Caribbean towns which grew out of a historic area.

Things to Do

While docked in Freeport/Port Lucaya, there are plenty of activities to keep you busy, including golf, shopping, snorkeling, boating, and visiting the beaches and casinos. There are also beautiful natural wonders to explore at the Lucayan National Park, the Rand Nature Center and the Garden of the Groves. UNEXSO - which stands for Underwater Exploration Society - offers some of the best snorkel, scuba and dolphin encounter experiences anywhere.

Getting Around

Both Freeport and Port Lucaya are a bit of a hike from the cruise terminal, so if you aren't part of a shore excursion - which includes transportation - you'll need to take a taxi or scooter rental to get around.


They say that it's 'better in the Bahamas', and concerning the weather - they are generally correct! Temperatures in this subtropical area range from about 70-90 degrees Fahrenheit, with warm ocean breezes.

About The Author

Stephanie Larkin is the editor of , as well as . She and her family love to cruise - her 3 children especially love the towel animals and chocolates left on the beds at night!

The Majesty of Sistine Chapel

by: Paolo Pedica (reading – 11.8. - 17.8.)

The Sistine Chapel isn’t only about Michelangelo. It’s a collection of art from the minds and hands of other great Italian painters. The history of the Sistine Chapel can be traced back in the 1400s when the pope at that time, Sixtus IV della Rovere, opted to have Capella Mana renovated. The results are the different paintings and false drapes that do not only mean beauty but story as well. Among the most popular painters who labored include Pietro Perugino, Domenico Ghirlandaio, and Sandro Boticelli, and Pier Matteo d'Amelia, who painted the skies full of stars. It was in August 15, 1483, when Michelangelo Buonarroti took the responsibility of altering some of the designs of the Sistine Chapel, per the initiative of Julius II della Rovere, Sixtus IV’s nephew.

The Ceiling

The greatest art piece of the Sistine Chapel would probably be its ceiling. However, if not for the cracks that could have been effects of the excavation, we will not be able to appreciate the most magnificent work of Michelangelo. The tale of the ceiling is quite enthralling. It seems like God planted desire in Michelangelo’s heart. It should have just been a mere visual representation of the 12 Apostles. Feeling dissatisfied, though, Michelangelo, with the full permission of Julius II, decided to change everything. If you will take a good look on the different depictions on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, you’ll know that it is actually composed of the 9 central stories that make up the Genesis, such as the Fall of Man, the story of Noah, and the Story of Creation. The painting usually starts at the entrance wall of the chapel.

The Last Judgment

After the Sack of Rome and before the start of the Council of Trent, Michelangelo worked on the Last Judgment, a huge mural occupying the entire wall at the back of the Sistine Chapel altar. It was a representation of the coming of Christ and the day of damnation. It showed the various nude souls descending into hell or ascending into heaven after they have faced clear judgment from Christ.

Looking at the Last Judgment, you will probably not feel awed of the entire backdrop but of the entire message it hopes to convey. It displayed the great reverence of the people to the ultimate power of God. The painting had been controversial, however, after Cardinal Carafa thought that it was very immoral and obscene, considering that the images were deliberately showing their genitals. He ordered the removal of the fresco, which could have been pushed through if not for the insistence and persistence of Michelangelo. To tame down its effect on the onlookers, the genital as were then later “covered” by Daniele da Volterra.

Touring the Chapel

There are many Italian tours that include visitation to the Sistine Chapel. You can even simply choose to tour the Vatican Museums, and definitely, you will land yourself inside the chapel. Normally, the tourists will arrive inside the chapel passing through the back portion of the altar. Then, they will observe the chapel until they can reach the entrance of the church. This will give them better opportunities to study and marvel at the different masterpieces surrounding and within the chapel. Nevertheless, before you can enter the chapel, you need to have tickets or entrance passes, which you can possibly get at the gates.

Whiling Away at the Gorgeous Vatican Gardens

There’s one garden that will remind you that there will always be a special place you can run to whenever you feel troubled, but it doesn’t take the fact that its overall design is more than enough to make you feel so blessed for the rest of your life. Such can be the simple message you will get once you get into the Vatican Gardens.

A tour to the Vatican Gardens can take up to 3 hours. By now, you probably have a good idea of just how vast and big it is. In fact, it covers 1/3 of the entire land area of the Vatican City, the smallest country in the entire world. Walking through the various types of foliages means going back on the history that span for more than 2 centuries.

A Look-back on the Gardens

The history of the Vatican Gardens can be traced back on the times when it was then a large orchard and vineyard that’s part of the Apostolic Palace. It used to be surrounded by walls until it was torn down, and two courtyards emerged. They were called the Pine Cone, or Pigna, and the Belvedere. There are two reasons why the gardens were created. First, Nicholas V wanted to have a venue for their papal court ceremonies. He also liked something that would give him some form of entertainment.

Today, anybody can visit the Vatican Gardens, provided that they choose to take a private guided tour. Normally, it will be opened at 11:00 a.m., every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday between March and October. For the remaining months, it will be accessible every Saturday, on 11:00 a.m.

The Vatican Gardens is like going through another kind of world—a beautiful one—as expressed by the pair of small arches that can be located at the back area of the First Martyrs Courtyard. There’s a 2-mile Renaissance Wall, which is now being occupied by the oval piazza and St. Peter’s Basilica. You can also find the world-famous Sistine Chapel, Vatican Museums, and other offices totaling almost 10,000 rooms.

The Different Species Found in the Gardens

Plants are not all Italian. As a matter of fact, it’s like taking a stroll into the different natural flora of the world, as almost every country is well-represented in the Vatican Gardens. You will be able to observe North America’s maples, evergreen magnolia, and plane trees; Lebanon’s cedars; Japan’s sago palms; and Tasmania’s eucalyptus, to name a few. Over the years, churchmen and missionaries contributed their own finds in the garden. Fortunately, they have found a great home in the Roman soil.

One of the highlights of the tour will be reaching the slope found at the eastern portion of the Vatican Hill, which was then considered to be infested with wild snakes by the ancient Romans. However, it’s also the perfect venue for the Etruscans to practice their prophecies. The hill today is far from the untamed jungle you may have in mind. It’s now covered with well-tended beds, lawns, and shrubs. There are around 30 gardeners who take care of the garden full time, so you know that you’re not going to be disappointed once you decide to visit.

There are simply some places on Earth that will make you feel that life can still be rosy and a walk in the park. Just think of the Vatican Gardens, and you’ll know what this means.

About The Author

Paolo Pedica writes articles for Rome tours. The author gives valuable information about Vatican tours and Rome excursions, Ancient Rome and Rome day tours which are available at

Sushi Recipe

by: Eugene Yeng Aik Ngin (reading – 18.8. - 24.8.)

Sushi is a delicious, healthy and easy to prepare food. Deciding on and finding your ingredients, preparing the beautiful presentation, and enjoying your creation are all part of the fun of sushi. Finding a great sushi recipe is the first step in putting together a wonderful meal.

Sushi, traditionally, refers to rice, but it has developed to include the whole concept of the finger food. It commonly is a fish or vegetable, served with vinegar rice. A sushi recipe can be presented in several ways. Some common ways are wrapped in seaweed, served in a bowl, in bite size pieces or in a cone type wrap. Wide ranges of vegetables, seafood, and shellfish are used throughout a sushi recipe.

There are some common ingredients that you should always have on hand to prepare a good sushi recipe. These include seaweed called nori, rice, and sushi vinegar. These are the base ingredients you will need to start with for any sushi recipe. Several sauces such as soy sauce, and wasabi; a spicy paste like substance, are commonly served with sushi to enhance the flavor. Common vegetables in a sushi recipe include carrots, cucumber, peppers, and avocado. Common seafood used in sushi recipes are crab, salmon, octopus, and shrimp. This is by no means an exhaustive list of what you can use in your sushi recipe. The sky is the limit. Get creative as you like with your sushi recipe.

Where can you find a good sushi recipe? There are several great places to find a good sushi recipe. A great place to start is the Internet. By doing a quick search through a search engine for sushi recipe, you can find some great websites that will provide you with a great sushi recipe. Often, they will provide you with detailed pictures and instructions that can help when preparing your sushi recipe. Also, try bookstores for their cookbook selections or local sushi restaurants to see if they will share their sushi recipe.

There are several pieces of kitchen equipment that can help you in preparing a sushi recipe. One of the most important pieces of equipment is a sharp knife. A sharp knife is essential in cutting and preparing the ingredients for your sushi recipe. It will allow you to cut your fish into thin slices, slice vegetables into attractive shapes and designs, and do all of these with ease. Another very helpful piece of equipment is a bamboo mat, traditionally called sushimaki sudare or makisu. This mat is what you use when you roll your sushi such as in a California roll. It is possible to roll with your hands, but the rice can be very sticky, so the mat can help eliminate a little frustration while preparing your sushi recipe. Other equipment such as rice cookers and sushi presses can also help make the preparation quicker, but they are not essential for preparing a good sushi recipe.

A final touch in the presentation of your sushi recipe is the plates and dishes you serve them on and the utensils that you use to eat them. Patterned china dishes, saucers, and cups are a beautiful touch. You can also use matching dispensers for items such as soy sauce. Often, chopsticks are used when eating sushi. Chopsticks come in all styles from wooded to metal and can complement your presentation beautifully. You can also eat sushi with your fingers, so make sure to have some nice matching napkins with the dishes.

It is easy to find the ingredients you need to complete your sushi recipe. Sushi recipes generally use basic ingredients that can be found easily. Many of the ingredients, if not all, can be purchased at most local grocery stores. If your grocery store does not carry what you need, try asking them to bring it in. Many companies will bring in supplies that are requested by their customers. For more complicated recipes that require special ingredients, many Asian specialty stores carry the more obscure ingredients on a regular basis. These stores can provide hard to find sushi recipe ingredients, often directly from Asian suppliers. A final option for finding your sushi recipe ingredients is online. There are countless websites that you can use to order everything from your good ingredients to equipment to finishing touches such as utensils.

Sushi is a wonderful food style. It's fun to follow a sushi recipe and see your final result. Many people consider preparing a sushi recipe an art form. It can be an exciting addition to your family dinner or an impressive dinner party concept. With a great sushi recipe, you can make out standing delicacies. It can be a great bonding event; gather the family together and everyone can make their own sushi dish. Grab your sushi recipe, your ingredients, your equipment, and have some fun.

About The Author

Eugene Yeng is the webmaster of . This website is a resourceful portal on sushi recipes and thai recipes.

A Cat's Amazing Whiskers

by: Sharon Cowherd (reading – 25.8. - 31.8.)

Have you ever experienced the tickle from one of your cat’s whiskers as they brush against your face or neck? I have been tickled on many occasions from each of my cats as they rub up against me for attention or curling up on my shoulder to go to sleep. I never really thought about what they use their whiskers for, all I really knew is that they tickled me a lot.

Besides giving each cat their own unique distinction, whiskers are a functional part of a cat. Whiskers are a sensory system for cats made up of nerve endings that allow them to feel the lightest touch, even an air current.

Cats are known to be farsighted and they will use their whiskers to move around in those areas that they are not able to see clearly. Even cats that are blind or their vision is deteriorating will rely more on their whiskers to move about. Cats that are born with their vision impaired will often have longer whiskers to help them move around. If a cat were to lose their whiskers, they would more than likely bump into things.

You also can tell the mood of your cat from their whiskers. When your cat is calm you will see that their whiskers will be pushed forward. And if your cat is stressed out or is being defensive their whiskers will be pulled closer to their face.

If you have more than one cat, have you noticed that the whiskers of each of them are not the same? The length of a cat’s whiskers even varies between breeds. I currently have three cats and have noticed that each one has whiskers that are different in length to the others. I have also noticed that Tiggy my oldest cat has a few whiskers that are not all white, but have some black in them. While the other two, Leena and Cooper, have whiskers that are all white.

Most of us see the cat’s whiskers above their eyes and around their mouth, also called muzzle. But did you know that they also have whiskers on the back of their front legs or what would be considered their wrists. I never knew that, but after I read about it, I looked on mine and they have them. They are not as long as the whiskers on their face, but they have them.

Whiskers do get very long and some people are tempted to trim them thinking that they should be to help the cat. But whiskers are never to be trimmed, cut, or any other method of removing them. The cats do have nerve endings in the whiskers and they will feel the trimming and it will not be pleasant for them. Have you ever touched one of the whiskers on your cat’s face? Did you notice them blink or twitch? It is because their whiskers are very sensitive and should be treated with care.

Whiskers can be ticklish when applied to us in the right fashion, and they are a very distinctive characteristic on a cat. We should always leave a cat's whiskers alone, as they are their guide to moving around.

About The Author

Sharon Cowherd maintains Caring for Your Cat, a blog about her experiences and knowledge of caring for her cats. You can read more about Sharon and her cats at