Saturday, August 28, 2010

Listening to Wales: Arvo Pärt and the Vale of Glamorgan Festival

Arvo Pärt, the Estonian composer, turns seventy-five this September, and he’ll be celebrating part of his birthday week in Wales.  From September 5th through 11th, his glorious music will form the centerpiece of the Vale of Glamorgan Festival, and Pärt will be in attendance September 8th and 9th.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Whale Watching in Hermanus

Every winter, from July to November, Southern Right whales show up along the coastal waters of South Africa’s Western Cape to calve, nurse and begin to rear their young. Walker Bay in Hermanus, a spectacular 90 minute drive across the Overberg Mountains from Cape Town, is the place to be if you want to see these giant mammals as they migrate from their summer feeding grounds in Antarctica. The former fishing village of Hermanus is located on a cove between sea cliffs and the Olifantsberg Mountains. The little town boasts an 8 1/2 mile cliff path, spectacular at any time of the year, but in "whale season" it offers some of the best land-based whale watching in the world.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Traveling in Wales: The Brecon Beacons

Of places to visit in Wales, the Brecon Beacons are typically overlooked in favor of Snowdonia and other higher peaks.  That’s a mistake, for the Brecon Beacons National Park is breathtaking in its beauty and full of things to see and do.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

How to Build a Home

I am not a fan of so-called reality shows on television. My daughter, however, does have a soft spot for "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition," and I must admit, if I catch the start of an episode, I always end up watching until the end. The premise of Extreme Makeover is, the show finds a family who is struggling to maintain its home - often a family member also has a physical disability or condition that makes the current home unsafe. Then the show flies the family off to a week-long vacation, while back at home they construct an entirely new house in one week. The finale is the "big reveal" when the family returns and sees the new home. By this time I am usually crying along with the grateful family members.