"Setting out on the voyage to Ithaca you must pray that the way be long, full of adventures and experiences."
- Constantine Peter Cavafy "Ithaca"
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ruth's travel blog
©2008 W. Ruth Kozak


It’s as though I have entered a vast underground cathedral, perhaps one created by Gaudi, because of the way the vaulted ceilings drip with wax-like stalactites. Everything is diffused with colour, as if light has filtered through stained glass windows. The only sound is the soft dipping of the boatman’s paddle.
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I'm a food lover and if you're one too, you'll appreciate my journey through the enchanting country of Belgium. I am on a quick three-day tour of Brussels, Dinant Ghent and Bruges and there are plenty of opportunities to indulge my taste buds with some Belgian specialties that not only are delicious but also have an interesting history dating back hundreds of years.
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I first saw Sint-Janshospitaal while cruising along the canals of Bruges. Tall gothic windows looked over the water. In medieval times this wing doubled as both a chapel and a ward.
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“Oh no! we are stuck!” Esther cries in dismay. The Land Rover, driven by a quiet native man, is mired down deeply. We are on the way to the trailhead for a mountain trek to view the Mulu Pinnacles and now we are stopped in a huge muddy section of the narrow, tree lined jungle track.
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The Maya flourished for centuries in the dry hot desert of the Yucatan Peninsula, establishing a society which has kept archeologists busy with study. How? The presence of easily accessed underground fresh water.
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By the time we left the hotel, it was already late afternoon, and our plane left at dawn. The buildings shimmered with a golden glow particular to Italian cities of stone and marble. After fortifying ourselves with an espresso, we strolled to the stylish Via Veneto.
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The night sky brightens abruptly as quick stabs of lightning pierce the dark tropical clouds while we glide onto the airport runway. The fierce storm shakes our plane and the rain obscures the scant glow of the landing lights. We are at Kota Kinabalu (KK as the locals call it) in North Borneo.
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I was standing on the slopes of an Indonesian volcano, covered in mud, trying to remember how exactly I came to be there. I cast my mind back to my teen years when I read a fascinating book about the magical beauty of Bali. Bali resurfaced forty years later when I saw a travel agent advertising Balinese tour packages.
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