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Lake Bled - I feel Slovenia

According  to legend, Lake Bled was created by fairies. Bled Island was the setting for their joyous dancing on starry nights. No wonder this place is magical.  Bled Island I walked along the south shore of the lake from the pletna boat station near the Grand Hotel following the trail that’s parallel to the Cesta Svobode road. I passed some beautiful mansions, an abandoned house and a tunnel on the way and stopped at a lookout point where I had a good view of Bled Island. Forgetting to bring a hat was a huge faux pas as the sun was so unforgiving. It was an easier walk back to the center of Bled with the sun behind me. I did bring bottled water and that was clearly a bright idea. Pletna Boats These colorful boats take passengers to Bled Island for 12 euros. There is a scheduled hourly departure. It doesn’t include the entry fee to the Church of the Mother of God and the Clock Tower. Bled Castle and the neo Gothic Church of St. Martin Notice the turquoise blue waters of the lake and how
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Hundertwasserhaus

Friedensreich Hundertwasser, an Austrian painter, graphic artist and environmental activist, conceptualized Hundertwasserhaus. Together with the architect, Joseph Krawina, his ideas were realized with the creation of Hundertwasser House in Vienna’s 3rd District.  Hundertwasserhaus is a 52-unit apartment building owned by the City of Vienna.  Hundertwasser shunned straight lines. He thought they were “godless” and “is something cowardly drawn with a rule, without thought or feeling; it is a line which does not exist in nature.” Notice the uneven lines drawn across the façade of the building and how colorful paint defines each floor within the lines resulting in a wave of colors.  Tenants are allowed to decorate or alter their own windows. Hundertwasser believed buildings should coexist with nature.  Nowhere is it more evident than in this rooftop garden. The apartment building also has its own dome.       “Tree tenants” add to the natural landscape in an urban structure.  A little fores

Train-ing to Denali

  Goldstar Service with Alaska Railroad Taking the train to Denali is one of the best ways to enjoy the Alaskan landscape. The trip from Fairbanks to Denali takes four hours and riding in premium class with its glass dome ceiling certainly adds to the total experience. There’s also an outdoor platform if you wish to take pictures with the glass windows out of the way. Goldstar service also includes breakfast if you leave early in the morning and two complimentary drinks. There’s a bar conveniently located in your car. And a guide who talks about the views and the few towns you see along the way. Your luggage is checked through to your hotel. On the way back to Fairbanks, I opted for an Adventure Class seat which is about half the price of the Goldstar seat. There is no glass dome ceiling but the windows are large and clean and the cleaning service stops at each car every half hour or so to clean the restrooms and empty the trash bin. There’s one downside to this train journey. While my

By Sternwheeler on the Chena River

Sternwheeler Riverboat This three-hour leisurely cruise on the Chena River was one of the best experiences I had in Fairbanks. As our riverboat slowly made its way to the confluence with the Tanana River, I witnessed how life on the river evolved from the subsistence lifestyle of the nomadic Athabascan Indians to the arrival of riverboats that brought the villagers their supplies and correspondence which was replaced by sled dogs during the winter months when the river was frozen to the red-hot housing market by the Chena River today. There’s much to learn as the 100-mile long Chena River continues its journey through time and place. A bush pilot expertly lands his float plane on the Chena River. Bush pilots deliver supplies to remote villages and are also used for tourism purposes. At the Trail Breaker Kennel and home of the late Iditarod four-time champion, Susan Butcher, we had the chance to see a dog mushing demonstration and get up close with some of the huskies at the Athabascan

Fairbanks, the Golden Heart City

  Interior Alaska Arctic Arch  This impressive collection of 100 moose and caribou antlers came from hunters and collectors from Interior Alaska.  “The gift of the arch is to let us imagine the personal stories and respect the intertwined lives represented here.” Sandy Jamieson, Fairbanks artist who crafted the antler arch   Gould Cabin This century old two-room log cabin stands on its original location. It’s the only survivor among the miners’ cottages that were in this area.  The bedroom of the Gould Cabin also includes a sitting area for guests. Mrs. Gould used wallpaper over the flat sawn lumber that covered the logs. It adds extra insulation against the cold. Dining room/kitchen in this compact log cabin. While visiting the historic log cabin at the Visitor Center, I received a flyer with the recipe for salmon chowder. Here it is: Ingredients : 2 tablespoons butter 1 small-medium onion, chopped 1/2 cup chopped celery 1 teaspoon garlic powder2 cups diced potatoes 2 carrots, diced 2

Living in the Arctic Circle

  Welcome to Wiseman, a small community 63 miles north of the Arctic Circle in Alaska. Gold was discovered in Nolan Creek near the village in the early  1900s and miners turned this town into a bustling settlement until the boom ended. Today, there are fewer than twelve people living in Wiseman. It’s the perfect getaway if you crave peace and quiet or love hiking and mountain climbing. Wiseman is sandwiched by the Brooks Mountain Range and the Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve. We passed by a portion of the Alaska Pipeline on the Dalton Highway on our way to Wiseman from Coldfoot where our plane landed. This stretch of highway continues on to Prudhoe Bay in the Arctic Ocean. Residents of Wiseman are allowed to hunt just one moose annually for food consumption. Not surprisingly, there are antlers everywhere. Many of the cabins display antlers above their doors.  Our guide, Jack Reakoff, showed us his house and explained to us the mechanics of heating, cooking, planting vege