Category Archives: Italy

Rumi Magic


Rumi Quiote 8

Although Rumi lived way back in the 13th century, his teachings have had a universal appeal, spreading across national borders and ethnic discords. Muslim communities across Central and South Asia have embraced his spiritual legacy for over seven centuries.

Today his inspirational poems can be appreciated in many languages. And thanks to American scholar and Rumi whiz Coleman Barks, this 13th century Persian mystic has risen to become the most popular and best selling poet in the United States. Since 1976, when Barks began publishing his interpretations of Rumi’s work, The Hand of Poetry, Five Mystic Poets of Persia in 1993, The Essential Rumi in 1995 and The Book of Love in 2003 have hit the bookshelves, delighting the young and old alike. ‎

Rumi Quote

Rumi quote 9


Crystal Lakes & Dreamy Valleys


Lake PromenadeSalzkammergut. Austria’s famous region of spectacular Alpine lakes, scenic valleys, and rugged mountain peaks stretches from Salzburg to the east into parts of Upper Austria and Styria. › … › Lakes & Nature › Salzkammergut – Lake District

Since the saying goes, “A picture is worth a thousand words,” I will leave the storytelling for the most part to some of the most picturesque snapshots from my recent trip. However, I‘d like to tell you a little bit about some of the most scenic and famous lake communities of the Salzkammergut. Mountain Vistas

Hallstatt, extensively featured on my last blog tops the popularity list. But Sankt Wolfgang (St. Wolfgang), and Mondsee are right behind. The lake town St. Wolfgang, rising along Wolfgangsee (Lake Wolfgang), east of Salzburg, houses the iconic hotel, “Weisses Roessl”, (White Horse Inn.)

After becoming the movie set of the famous 19th century German operetta, “Im Weissen Roessl,” by Austrian composer Robert Stolz,, the little town transformed into a booming tourist magnet.

The town’s landmark, the well-preserved Pilgrimage Church, guarding the lake is home to a gigantic, intricately carved winged altarpiece.St. Wolfgang Pilgramage Church

Exploring the lake is easy with the many ferries, including an 1873 paddle steamer, cruising around the emerald lakeshore.Schafberg and Lake St. Wolfgang

The nearby Schafbergbahn, a steam-powered cog railway, is another must see on your visit to the area. The steep climb up to the Schafberg summit, offering sweeping views of alpine lakes and snowcapped mountain ranges, made its movie debut in “The Sound of Music” when Maria and the Von Trapp kids sang their way around Salzburg and beyond.Alpine Vistas

Mondsee, a colorful town skirting the northern tip of crescent-shaped Mondsee, (moon lake), gained much fame after Basilica St. Michael was chosen for the movie nuptials of Maria and Captain Von Trapp. Just 15 miles from Salzburg, this community of quaint cafes and restaurants draws international crowds and Austrian locals alike.

Besides its rich culture, ancient history, and natural beauty, the Salzkammergut region brims with opportunities for water enthusiasts as well as for those folks who just like to sit on the shore, hurling pebbles into the glassy water as the ships go by.Into the Wind










Alpine Gold

Alpine Gold

Buried deep within the famous mountain ranges of the Austrian Alps lies a precious commodity. White gold. This mineral rich mountain salt has been the main income source for eons, generating a flourishing mining history dating back 7,000 years.

At the center of it all sits the fairytale lake community Hallstatt. A Unesco World Heritage site, its flower draped 16th-century Alpine houses stacked on top of each other along the steep cliffs dominating the shore of Lake Hallstatt, Hallstätter See, pull visitors from near and far. After some high-profile Chinese folks fell in love with this medieval mining town, creating of a replica on Chinese soil, photo-snapping Chinese tourists have been crowding the quaint shops in search for this ‘white gold,’ the Hallstatt Salz.

Salzwelten,, the oldest salt mine in the world, is the town’s big tourist draw towering high above the town. Exploring these ancient caves, tourists ride a funicular railway to the mine entrance. After slipping on heavy suites and sliding down into this vast world deep below the ground, they travel backward to the days when settlers of the Iron Age Hallstatt culture, the Celts and the Romans inhabited the region.

The sleepy community of Obertraun, just a short drive around the sparkling deep-blue lake, offers another once-in-a-lifetime thrill. Obertraun BeachObertraun Lake ViewThe 5Fingers Viewing Platform on top of the Krippenstein. Stepping off the cable car after a gripping ascent literally takes your breath away. The sweeping lake below and sprawling Alpine vistas sure make for an unforgettable, dizzying sight.Lake Panorama

If you prefer to stay closer to the ground, an extensive grid of hiking trails, tranquil beaches, and scenic cruises along stretches of romantic lakeshore beckon. Hallstatt


The Green Heart of Europe

The Green Heart of Europe

Vienna… an experience for all your senses. According to the World Economic Forum, Austria’s imperial capital sprawling along the famous Blue Danube River has been named the “City with the highest quality of life.” And strolling through the manicured city parks, down pompous avenues, and past baroque facades, this quality of life pulsating in the green heart of Europe puts a little spring in my step. At the festive Ringstrasse,, I breathe in its grand flair. Vienna Heldenplatz 4The Kunsthistorische Museum, Art History museum to my left, boasts the world’s largest collection of Bruegel paintings. A perfect replica, the Naturhistorische Museum (Natural History) to my right houses some 30 million objects, offering a journey through time from the very ancient to the present., These two palatial structures, built to house the vast collection of the Habsburg Dynasty, opened its doors more than a century ago. Vienna Musem 4Resting at the Staatsoper fountain,, one of the world’s leading opera houses, I daydream about Mozart, Beethoven, Strauss, about the Vienna Philharmonic orchestra,, and the Viennese Boys’ Choir, Vienna Opera 2At the Hotel Sacher next door I lose myself in the heavenly desserts that made Vienna so famous. www.sacher.comVienna Hotel Sacher 2Heading down Kärntnerstrasse, the very special Viennese charm awaits you.ärntner_Straße, imperial facades, cozy coffee houses, world-class shops and restaurants draw me into a constant 180 sweep until the sight of medieval St. Stephen’s Cathedral stops me in my track. Vienna St. StephenThe very heart of the city is pulsating with an infectious vibrancy. Everywhere I look, ladies step in and out of designer stores, tourists snap pictures, while others indulge in the many outdoor cafes along the Graben, Vienna GrabenIn the many souvenir shops, Mozart’s timeless smile gleams from countless chocolate boxes while Klimt’s golden kiss, featured on T-shirts and memorabilia, fetches equal attention. Under a huge white umbrella at the regal Cafe Demel, savoring my own Viennese Eiskaffee, Eiskaffee 4my mind swirls, drenched in the city’s imperial nostalgia and delightful contemporary vibe. On a packed, rumbling subway back to the hotel, I remember the clacking of horse hoofs, the oohing and ahing tourists riding around in the Fiakers, those shiny horse drawn carriages that date back to Vienna’s imperial days. HofburgIt’s almost midnight and I’m buzzing all over. Enchanted, I can’t wait for tomorrow. Vienna’s grand past and heritage awaits me.


Horse Haven


Aubrey & Bo

It all started with Aubrey and Bo. Two gorgeous trail horses. When Aubrey showed up as Christmas gift outside Tami Marler’s ranch home, and she in turn surprised her husband with Bo, the couple didn’t have the slightest inkling about the bumpy ride ahead.

After moving into a cozy country home on the outskirts of Coweta, a 40-minute car ride southeast of Tulsa, Tami made her longtime dream a reality. And then, while scrolling through Facebook one January day, Tami’s eyes landed on the “Save a Slaughter Bound Horse,” page. Jake, a stunning lookalike of Aubrey popped up, set to be slaughtered that Jakeday. Tami couldn’t bare the thought. Her heart melted. Horrified, she searched the Internet for more info as time was running out. Taking a chance to save the stallion, Tami dished out a total of 1,200 dollars unaware that this would lead to her newfound purpose. From that day forward, keeping a close watch on the “Save a Slaughter Bound Horse” page,, Tami made it her mission to rescue a horse bound for slaughter. So far, she has taken seven horses from slaughter to salvation.

To make a bigger impact in saving these horses off the kill lot, Tami founded “Swingin’ D Horse Rescue,” First and foremost, this non-profit saves horses from slaughter with the goal of finding them loving homes for the remainder of their days.

Visiting the ranch one sunny afternoon, watching Tami feed, brush, and pet all her horses, I realized how much time and resources it takes to care for these equine beauties.  Tami Grooming Large

Besides food and boarding, veterinary check ups, dental and hoof care are continuous necessities that require ongoing funding.

It’s been a most unusual ride for this former beauty queen. The first time I saw her, I was newly married to her father, Bob Marler, and we admired her wowing the crowd with her bluesy rendition of “Since I fell for You.” After winning the Miss Oklahoma title in  Tami Miss OK

1989, a successful career in television broadcasting followed until Jake showed up on her computer screen, launching this feisty Red Head on a path she’d never imagined.


The Manhattan Project


Heading north out of Santa Fe, curving around a rugged canyon,

the unusual town of Los Alamos beckons after a scenic 33-mile drive.

Tucked away in the Jemez Mountains of Northern New Mexico, this sprawling community once housed Pueblo Indians and the Los Alamos Ranch School until the early 1940’s.

Today, the world renowned Los Alamos Science Laboratory,, dominates every aspect of life around this progressive science hub that changed the course of world history in 1945. Cruising down modern boulevards, it’s hard to picture the immense transformation that took place here after government officials scouted the area for a top-secret mission, The Manhattan Project,, in the summer of 1942. This remote mesa offered everything for a central laboratory: west of the Mississippi, far away from both coastlines, a suitable climate, isolated for safety, and sparsely populated. So, once the ranch school and surrounding land was purchased in November 1942, things snowballed. The school closed in January 1943, bulldozers arrived, serenity was shattered, and in the blink of an eye, an entire town rose from the dirt. Scientists from every corner of the globe descended on Los Alamos with one common goal: to develop the first atomic bomb that would put an end to the German war machine’s conquest during World War II. Spearheaded by General Leslie R. Groves, physicist Dr. Robert Oppenheimer directed the scientific developmentsimg_1710-1and designing of the two atomic bombs that came to be known as Little Boy and Fat Man.

The story about the Manhattan Project is an astonishing one. The many exhibits at the Bradbury Science Museum, depict a vivid narrative of the challenging times between 1942 and 1946. img_1698-1Watching the historic movie offers another fascinating glimpse into the lives of the thousand men and women who tirelessly worked in this town unlike any other. img_1701-1There were no poor, no jails, no unemployment, no sidewalks. The area was kept in total secrecy. Access in and out of Los Alamos was limited. Tight security checks were the norm whenever leaving or returning to the secret city. All newcomers had to report to an office on 109 East Palace Avenue,, in Santa Fe for processing. Secrecy required everybody to share the same mailing address, Post Office Box 1663, Santa Fe, New Mexico, and that address also appeared on all birth certificates issued during those years. By the time testing of the atomic bombs was completed in April 1945, the war in Europe was over. So the bombs were dropped over Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which brought about the surrender of Japan and the end of World War II in 1945.

Sky on Fire

Sky on Fire

Have you ever dropped everything to step out into the stunning aftermath of a thunderstorm? When the scenery prompted you to take a twirl in the moisture-tinged air?The last time I did, the clouds and blue banner of sky had transformed into a ferocious twirl of ominous shades, spewing across the horizon like a dragon. As you may know, Santa Fe is quite the place for the most spectacular mountain vistas, deep blue skies, and bold orange red sunsets. But that late afternoon as I stretched my arms skyward, the monstrous cloud train colliding with the setting sun left the sky on fire.



Soon On The Road Again


Hello to all of you out there who have been following my travel. I will soon be on the road again, this time taking you to some spectacular sights within the USA. However, I have started a second blog, which will be featuring my road trips around California. I can’t wait to share my stories.