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Diary of a Flight Attendant

Winnipeg Festival & Pow Wow Sat. March 25th, 2017…Plus Free Meditation classes March 24th-28th 2017-Connect to Mother Earth

Don’t miss the First Annual Tribal Memories Festival and Pow Wow (only $5.00) and Free Sahaja Yoga Meditation Classes http://www.free-meditation.ca/archives/22225 ( that will help you to connect to Mother Earth, your spirit or higher self, everyone and everything…all happening in Winnipeg March, 2017, the Heart of Canada!

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On Saturday March 25th, 2017, everyone, from everywhere is invited to the First Annual Tribal Memories Aboriginal Festival and Pow Wow at the Duckworth Centre, 400 Spence Street, at the University of Winnipeg, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. The entrance fee is only $5.00 and you to get tickets you can call 204-615-7212, email pinefallsauction@gmail.com or at buy at the door, which opens at 5:00pm. The wonderful festival will start at 6:00pm and go to about 11:30 at night.
You can check out the Pow Wow official link with more event details and a chance to find out about more Pow Wows in your area.http://calendar.powwows.com/events/first-annual-tribal-memories-festival-pow-wow/
I had the pleasure of meeting Dakota, Marty and Cody who were inviting everyone passing through Portage Place in Winnipeg to their wonderful, powerful event. They were very warm and brotherly, and I am extending this invitation out to this Aboriginal festival, open to the public, it is a great opportunity to enjoy our oneness and connection with everyone and Mother Earth.
In addition, please join  Sahaja Yoga Winnipeg for Free Meditation Classes from March 24th to March 28th, 2017 to also connect to Mother Earth through a simple, guided meditation known as “thoughtless awareness”, with no hard poses, you can sit in a chair or on the floor, and feel the connection, joy and peace.
Achieving the yoga state is a great tool for students during exam pressures, relieving anxiety, emotional balance, harmony and better health. A great way to de-stress and connect to your higher self. All ages are welcome, and it is always free, in 100 countries, world-wide.
I encourage everyone to drop in! http://www.free-meditation.ca/archives/22225 for links to more classes and great articles celebrating oneness and respect for each other and this planet we share.
Sahaja Yoga also celebrated their R.A.I.N. (Realize Awareness in Nations) to Heal M. E. (Mother Earth) events in Ontario, Canada, with Aboriginal Prayers and many cultural traditions of many backgrounds that are rooted in the truth and essence of our beings. We salute the light in all of you, namaste, miigwetch, thank you.  http://www.free-meditation.ca/archives/20920

SY MARCH WINNIPEG POSTER REVISED 2017

FREE Meditation Classes in Winnipeg Continues March 2017-Drop in tonight! March 16th-28th free classes in “The Heart,” Winnipeg, Manitoba

SY MARCH WINNIPEG POSTER REVISED 2017http://www.free-meditation.ca/archives/22225 Please check out the link for more information about Sahaja Yoga and subscribe to enjoy fresh new articles! Namaste Everyone. We salute the light in all of you.

Frida’s Answer to The Wall between Mexico and U.S…Plus 5 Things To Visit, Eat and Explore in Playa Del Carmen, Tulum and Azul Cenotes

Frida Kahlo, a stoic, talented, resilient, controversial and revered artist and feminist from Mexico, would likely have had plenty to say about “the wall” being built between the borders of United States of America and Mexico. To paraphrase Zen masters, water is stronger than rock. Artists take walls that are divisive and unbending, and transform them into a mere background canvas for a greater purpose.

If your mind is quiet, what they have to say will move you, motivate you, inspire you to be authentic, question, contemplate, and start a new conversation about how we can all make this world a better place, starting with your higher self. The best self you can be. And by example, we raise the consciousness of the planet, moving mountains, and thus transforming walls into a canvas for a new reality.

Let’s continue to explore and respect mother earth and its people everywhere we go. Art, music, mother nature, oneness are louder in their stillness than any wall that has ever been built to divide. The conversation is bringing more and more people together as a backlash. It turned my attention to the beauty of Mexico in a short 4 days worth exploring.20170206_101906Casa de las Flores, Playa Del Carmen, Mexico (all photos by Paula Erskine) A waterfall pours over the staircase wall, with Frida’s artistic attention on a higher plane.20170206_164826

Playa Del Carmen, Mexico…walls become a canvas for a higher message to be enjoyed. Graffiti can be found throughout Playa Del Carmen, a photographer’s treasure. In Tulum we began with a homemade soup before our light trek, then began bird watching.

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In Tulum, Mexico, the walls mark ancient civilizations. Iguanas make these walls their roaming places. Take a “collectivo bus” white van, from Play del Carmen for a little less than $3 U.S. Make sure you bring pesos for better value.20170205_14310220170205_144601Water is stronger than rock and walls…it molds, it soothes…it beckons…it purifies…

20170205_14432020170205_152426After visiting Tulum, we walked towards the closest beach and discovered tejon, which surprised and delighted us. They were very gentle, and liked our cranberries. They are like  Mexican raccoons, also know as coatimundi. They were adorable, and in my experience, ate gently out of hand, but be careful to give these omnivores what they would normally eat. We were quite grateful later to learn that they eat tarantulas too, so for that, we thank them. Time stood still as we socialized with mother earth’s delightful creatures. It was in Tulum that we met this lovely couple, a Canadian artist living in Berlin, with her lawyer boyfriend. We enjoyed chatting with them, and we all agreed that artists and lawyers make very good couples. 20170205_151836020170206_211134At the 3D Museum of Wonders, Kurt Wenner’s art bends walls, taking us out of our comfort zone. Kurt Wenner is a famous street artist and his art was finally recognized and is enjoyed in only 3 museums world wide. Japan, Singapore, and Playa Del Carmen, Mexico. Bring your camera and ask for Gustav, or any staff, who are there to take pictures of you that are mind-bending. It is well worth the $30 U.S., however, Sundays are rumored to be half price. Luckily the museum was open till 10:00pm, we rushed through on our last night in Playa Del Carmen, and it was still very enjoyable. 20170206_20574920170206_205232

Playa Del Carmen has many delicious places to eat, very budget friendly, we loved La Catrina on 4th and 20th…just down the street from the entrance of Mom’s Hostel where we stayed.20170206_11284220170206_104100The view from La Catrina is another wall with even more thought provoking art. An ode to ancient civilizations.

20170206_104357La Catrina makes a delicious breakfast, but they close in the evenings.Mouth watering.

20170206_105331La Catrina’s menu in pesos…bring your appetite!20170206_10572320170207_08395120170207_08385420170207_083848Mom’s hotel is a hostel on 30th and 4th, it is very basic, no frills, but it is clean, and after walking for 2 hours in the heat, walking away from “recommended” hostels on hostel bookers with bed bugs, we found refuge here, without bed bugs. A clean place to to park our stuff and rejuvenate for 4 short days in Mexico.http://www.momshotel.com/ We paid $40 U.S. per night and had no prior reservation. They speak a good amount of English there, and can recommend restaurants nearby where locals go. Like El Fogon https://www.facebook.com/El-Fogon-Playa-del-Carmen-Mexico-113664555317230/20170205_214358El Fogon is on 30th and everything was delicious, we ate there twice which was twice as nice. Two blocks from Mom’s hotel (hostel). Our average dinner cost us about $10 U.S. each with fruit smoothies and guacamole and cactus salad. Many locals can be found here, enjoying a night out with their families.

Then we also ate at Casa Romero Bar and Grill and don’t let the empty restaurant fool you. It is absolutely heavenly tasty, gourmet food, and very reasonable at about $10 U.S. each. The fish was marinated with our choice of butter, garlic and a little bit of chili, and the quacamole with shrimps was to live for. Their lovely family charmed us as the food melted in our mouths. Casa Romero is a hidden treasure in Playa Del Carmen among restaurants.http://casaromeroplaya.com/ Find it on 20th Avenue, between 4th and 6th calle.20170206_19093520170206_19314220170206_19490520170206_190941Casa Romero’s Restaurant walls are adorned with living plants, artfully displayed. They food was cooked to perfection and plated as if we were in a top hotel in Mexico. Don’t let the empty restaurant deter you from dining off the busy areas, it is well worth your tastebuds and budget. We praised the chef personally for the marvelous dinner.

Playa Del Carmen’s beaches are a gathering of beach goers. We can all imagine, a world without walls here. How free it feels to breathe in sun, sky, air, warmth, sea…20170204_153959Azul Cenotes, can also be accessed by collectivo white vans halfway to Tulum, you can line up at the station in Playa Del Carmen, and you can also flag them down. http://www.playadelcarmen.com/blog/cenote-azul. It was approximately $6 U.S., with 4 swimming areas, life jackets and snorkel gear for rent. It was magical. I did some good old fashioned swimming, watched people jump from a cliff, and if you’re really still, the little fish will give you a pedicure. Someone decorated one of the cenotes with rose petals.20170206_12151720170206_12222820170206_12241420170206_101906With a little creativity, we can be like Frida, and rise above the wall to enjoy the history, art, culture, cenotes, sea, and food of Mexico.

Countdown to Croatia Direct Flights 2017; Plus Must See, Do, Experiences of the Adriatic Coast-Selce-Crikvenica to Rijeka

It’s not too late to get a great deal flying direct to Zagreb with Air Transat airlines now servicing Croatia’s capital Zagreb twice per week in 2017. Visit http://www.airtransat.com to fly to Croatia for around $1000 direct! 20160621_221009(Above, image of Kava Tava, Zagreb, all images photographed by Paula Erskine)

(Smart travellers booked end of season last year, around September, October and took advantage of round trip fairs for around $800 for 2017, by booking in late 2016!) Book as soon as you can for prices that still are very decent for truly direct flights to Zagreb, averaging 8 and a half hours flight from Toronto to Zagreb (although the flights are blocked for 9 to 9 and a half, it is less than that.) The new Zagreb airport will be open in 2017 and many are looking forward to landing at an airport built to accommodate the volume of tourists that have just discovered Croatia, or are introducing their kids and grandkids to the mother land and keeping them connected to familial roots.

Let’s take a photographic journey through the Primorje Region (pronounced Preemor-yeh) of Croatia’s Adriatic coastline and discover great things to see, do, eat…starting with Selce and the Crikvenica villages, and later heading towards Rijeka for a dessert bakery with ancient evidence of a mill displayed from under the floor of the café. We will also enjoy the view of Selce has of Krk island and its treasures. Selce behind the scenes, behind Marsala (Marshala Tita) street has many unique alleys and vignettes that please the artist within.

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Inspired artworks can be found by Marijan Mavric, local Croat artist in this Art Laundry Gallery in the village of Selce. Just walk up the hill of Slavka Jelicica street (left, and behind the Tourist Agency on the Riviera) for a local Croatian artist with real talent. It is my mother’s childhood friend, and without prejudice, has many stories expressed in paint and canvas. A great place for contemplation away from the madding crowd of the Riviera. After doing and visiting Art Laundry, head further up the hill to Marsala Tita on your right (single file as the sidewalk is tiny), take a right then first left and get lost in the alleys of Selce. Find your way back to the sea by walking downhill towards the Adriatic sea and panoramic Riviera.20160926_10502920160926_105900Marijan Mavric, Croatian Artist can sometimes be found in the evenings in Selce, at Art Laundry, or his gallery in Grizane . His landscapes capture his surroundings, resembling in some paintings the island of Krk just across the way, where many Selce residents have simple farms with stony-stacked fences, fig trees, potatoes, tomatoes and many other crops. My mother asked him if he is in front of these places when he actually paints them…he said, “It comes from my head, my imagination, my memories…” Having visited many of these corners of Krk island and other Adriatic gems, I can affirm, these places exist, and they are beautiful.

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Selce has a variety of beaches, you can watch Mihuric Scuba Divers suit up and set out to explore a shipwreck. In the distance past the campground, is the beaches of Slane, Selce, and up the campground steps, follow the forested trail to one of Selce’s many pristine beaches.

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Selce’s beach in front of the Tunar Restaurant shaped like a boat is great for families who want to ease in to shallow waters with kids and eat at Tunar’s restaurant. I enjoyed the generous, protein packed salads grilled with salmon (lots of tasty options at Tunar) and along with Kava Anka (kava means coffee, café) on the other side of Selce, are two of the best places to eat locally home-made ice cream. Both places also do coffee very deliciously, and the combination of them both, is quite decadent. Café Bonino in Selce has delicious food and a beautiful view of the beach and the docked boats of locals, with generous sized pizzas and fried squid (ligne, or calimare in Italian) all on Selce’s Riviera.

Next, we peek at my mother’s childhood home in Selce, a place I got to know and love as a child enjoying home-made morsels cooked by my grandmother and my mother with love oozing straight from their hands to my satisfied belly.

Be sure to buy fresh figs while on the Adriatic coast or you can sneak a fig from many of the houses that enjoy their fruits. Then enjoy the home-made jam and bring it home. You can bring anything back into Canada that does not grow in Canada. But a fresh fig, is mouth watering. Below the fig jam beginnings, potatoes coated with spinach, garlic and lemon, grilled zucchinis, and chufte (breaded meat-burgers), any meat you like, with delectable garden spices and parsley. Don’t forget the sautéed garlic and onions!

Also my mom’s cabbage rolls (sarma, similar to the Romanian style) with slabs of pork juices on top melting into the flavours of mixed meats and rice. I always make my mom add extra water a little at a time to make it soupy for me. I just love that sour-savoury combination. And don’t forget that other than home-made, the best place to eat Croatia’s seafood delicacies such as lignje (leeg-nyeh) or calamari or squid, grilled or fried, is Venus on Selce’s Riviera which is always packed with locals and tourists. Their grilled squid is drizzled in olive oil, parsley, garlic and melt in your mouth. Café Bonino and Rokan across from Tunar have good squid too, but Venus is the best.

Krk island has at least 3 great places to eat fried squid in the village of Vrbnik, including Lucy’s up the hill (very generous portions), the port restaurant, and in the many restaurants for a lunch time trip across the Bay of Kvarner.

My grandmother’s home…also known as my baba…

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Selce’s artistic and quaint corners…

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Savoury cabbage rolls only mama can make…

Fried squid, or grilled, or both…worth a try…if they are too big or too chewy, you got “tultsi” which are cheaper, and not real squid. Many good restaurants do have pictures to explain the menu and accommodate the many world-wide travellers that enjoy the Croatian cuisine. 20160927_192733

Selce’s Riviera…just park that convertible and stroll, swim, eat, explore…

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On the border of Selce and Crikvenica (Selce being the beach town portion with superior beaches and atmosphere, a Zabavna (Fun/Arcade) Park and Crikvenica being a bit more of a city with more variety of shops), right next door, is Duga Mall which houses a café veranda view of a section of Krk Island’s rocky coastline that will take your breath away. You can park underground, go above ground level, and this photo does not do the view justice. The cappuccinos and drinks are good but the view is priceless. It was very hard to leave the serene vista, so we took our time. Duga Mall has a few shops and groceries, but in general, Croatia is very affordable.

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Around the corner from Duga Mall is Café Ognjisce (Ognishchyeh) which has the best, most tasty cevapcici (chevaps, or chevapchichi) I have ever had in the area. My local cousins took me here and we ate these barbecued meat morsels with Ajvar (mild red pepper chutney) with such pleasure. We took the rest, to go. We fed lots of relatives with this platter. It was heaven. Ask your Taxi driver to take you here, then go for coffee at Duga Mall upstairs on the veranda (write down the names, show the driver). Well worth it. Come hungry. You know it’s a good place when you see Construction employees and locals frequenting Croatia’s restaurants, it fits their budget too.

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Another wonderful place to enjoy is the bakery Cukerin in Rijeka (take a bus or get a ride from Selce to Reeyehkah. (also known as Fume, Foohmeh in Italian). Cukerin (comes from the word meaning “sugar”) and has wonderful pastries and coffee (kava). Unique to Cukerin, is that when they constructed it, they discovered evidence of ancient wheat stores below, so they gave the café a glass bottom to enjoy a history of a wheat mill in this very spot. The atmosphere is creative, colourful, and well worth navigating the tricky alleys behind Rijeka’s bustling shopping streets. There are very unique shops hidden behind the main promenade. I personally know the bakers at Cukerin, who bake with lots of love and care. You can taste it! We pre-ordered lemon cookies, cinnamon cookies and chocolate pie to bring to friends back in Canada. The chocolate pie is one of my favourites! And it kept very well.

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Beside Cukerin in the old town part of Rijeka is Konoba Volta, their fried squid was absolutely delicious. It has a very romantic atmosphere with outdoor dining and candlelight, and you can go to Cukerin for dessert afterwards. Then meander the alleys and cobblestone streets of Rijeka and soak up the historical architecture.

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Back in Selce, we explore the back alleys behind the smallest church in front of the tourist agency near Kava Anka (arguably the best coffee and icecream in all of Selce). Be sure to visit behind the church all the alleys of 13th division and beyond for surprisingly charming vignettes.

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Crikvenica (below) has more of a city vibe, but a small one, beware the one way streets when driving! Shopping and groceries and the Crikvenica aquarium as well as the promenade and famous “dog beach” and of course “people” beaches are here. Selce-Crikvenica are often paired together, as Selce is a simple, small town that swells in the summer, and reverts back to small village after October. (Selce also has a “dog beach” for those with pets, in a small area near the campground.)

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Selce sunset, a monument to the Tunar perch that honours the tuna fisherman of yore and is lit up at night, like a stairway to heaven. A great view from most of Selce, but Café Bonino has a nice vibe any time of day, as well as Tunar which is the “tuna boat” restaurant just 100 feet away.

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My mom, a “Selcanka” (Selchanka, person raised in the village of Selce, Croatia) enjoying the spectacular view of Krk’s rocky coast from the café veranda of Duga Mall, on the border of Selce-Crikvenica.

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Selce’s walking promenade is very long with a lively panorama of lights, music, fashion and people watching.

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Vrbnik village on Krk island, accessible by boat from Selce, a great day trip.

Croatia Day Trips

Selce’s kupaliste (Kupah-lishteh) beach, (below) great for families with fine rocks added to ease your way into the Adriatic with a larger shallow end. Tunar’s boat shaped Restaurant in the background.

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Mihuric Scuba diving outfit in Selce is a great place to participate in some interesting dive sites at least one of which is a shipwreck. Ahoy! Hope this gives you enough reasons to visit Selce, Crikvenica, Rijeka and Krk. Explore this blog for many more places to visit in Croatia such as Plitvice Park, Rastoke, Zagreb, Krk Island and more!

Don’t forget to leave yourself at least 24 hours after diving before you fly to decompress from the effects of the dives which can interfere with your body’s ability to adjust to flying’s extreme altitudes of 30 to 40,000 feet.

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Scuba diving was my first foray into meditation…a world of beauty, just beneath the surface. Hope this blog inspires you to visit Croatia, leave a comment, meditate or share.

Thoughtless Peace, Andaman Sea, Thailand

curb appeal

Vrbnik on Krk Island across from Selce, a great day trip

Winnipeg Free Meditation Class Continues on Sat. Feb. 18th 2017 from 12-4:30pm, St. Boniface Library

winnipeg-poster-feb-18-2017For a third season, Sahaja Yoga free meditation classes will be held from January to April 2017 at rotating locations offered for free for this non-profit class offerings to the public of Winnipeg at large. We sit in a chair or the floor, and there are no hard poses, we learn how to connect to our higher self, and go on a journey to find out who we are at the core of our being and experiencing the Yoga state. The next session will be as follows:

Saturday February 18th from 12noon to 4:30pm at St. Boniface Library, Salle de Marie Bernard, second floor (yes, there is an elevator).

For more information http://www.free-meditation.ca or http://www.freemeditation.com are great official websites where you can peruse videos, music and presentations with great vibes.

Inner peace and pure joy are two of the many health benefits you will receive as a free gift from the all pervading power of the universe. Everyone is welcome to these guided meditation sessions with plenty of short clips, Q & A, going deeper sessions, clearing the chakras (energy centers) and more. Learn the benefits of foot soaking and connecting to mother earth. (photo by Paula Erskine)OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Free Meditation Classes Winnipeg offered by Sahaja Yoga 2017-Experience Yoga Meditation-Sit in a chair or on the floor

For a third season, Sahaja Yoga free meditation classes will be held from January to April 2017 at rotating locations offered for free for this non-profit class offerings to the public of Winnipeg at large. We sit in a chair or the floor, and there are no hard poses, we learn how to connect to our higher self, and go on a journey to find out who we are at the core of our being and experiencing the Yoga state. The next 2 sessions will be as follows:

Tuesday January 31st on the third floor (no elevator as it is a heritage building) at the Dragon Arts Collective 0n 91 Albert street from 2-3pm, 3-4pm, 4-5pm drop in and feel free to stay for more than one session as we go deeper into the knowledge of a meditation technique known as “thoughtless awareness”. Drop in, no registration required!

For more information http://www.free-meditation.ca or http://www.freemeditation.com are great official websites where you can peruse videos, music and presentations with great vibes.

After that, sessions are on: Wednesday February 1st at St. Boniface Library, 100-131 Provencher Blvd., 2nd floor (yes there is an elevator) in the Salle Marie-Lynne Bernard room. The times are 4-5pm, 5-6pm, 6-7pm, 7-8pm. Again, no need to register, just show up, and be prepared to enjoy inner peace, get connected by experiencing the true meaning of yoga, which means ~connection. More dates will be announced on a month to month basis at least until April and rotating local libraries and venues offering free space.

Inner peace and pure joy are two of the many health benefits you will receive as a free gift from the all pervading power of the universe. Everyone is welcome to these guided meditation sessions with plenty of short clips, Q & A, going deeper sessions, clearing the chakras (energy centres) and more. Learn the benefits of foot soaking and connecting to mother earth. (photo by Paula Erskine)OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Chantal Kreviazuk: A Modern Day Poet and Musical Powerhouse Gives Flawless, Intimate Performance at London Music Hall and Subsequent Tours 2016-2017

London Music Hall in Ontario Canada is one of the best kept secrets in terms of venue. Chantal Kreviazuk delivered a flawless performance and a  rare appearance in close quarters for a mere $50! I was weary that it would be standing room only, but the concert had seating for several hundred in an intimate setting. Chantal’s voice and talent proved to be inspiringly deep, with an incredible range of notes melodiously filling each heart in attendance. Go to http://www.chantalkreviazuk.com/tour.html to attend her concert and purchase her album, which is incredible. You can still catch her in Niagara falls Nov. 19th at 7pm, Thursday Nov. 17th in Chatham, On, and Toronto on Dec. 1, 2016.

Chantal’s singer, song writer, piano playing, audience-connecting lyrics were moving. She’s not afraid to belt out a tune at seemingly any range, from whisper to scream. Her art is a refreshing reprieve from “top 40” radio churnings. Yet you will find her here and there, and realize she has always been on quality radio stations that respect her contribution to music on a global scale. She is disarming, humble, real, funny, and a bonafide rock star.

Hard Sail the title track of her new cd,  makes it impossible to choose a favourite track. Every song draws you in, and my friend and I scramble to read the lyrics that trail off unapologetically for dramatic effect. And then we are so in awe of each brilliant lyric set to piano genius. Kevin Fox accompanied and complemented her with his voice and, was it a cello and guitar? What a glorious combination of strings and keys weaving a musical tale.

In light of poet and lyricist Leonard Cohen’s departure from this world, Chantal treated the audience to his oft covered song, Hallelujah…with heavenly piano playing and singing with crystal clear vocal chords. With references to her children, her singer husband Raine Maida (www.rainemaida.net) of Our Lady Peace, and visiting Peru to help provide hearing aids, it was much like visiting her in her living room. It was only a few short summers ago that Chantal Kreviazuk played the Burlington Sound of Music Festival (soundofmusic.ca ) with Raine Maida much to the delight of both their fans. If music has a heaven, they would be in it.

The difference is, Chantal Kreviazuk seeks to elevate the room with her oozy talent. I don’t know about you all out there, but we were so appreciative of these fresh and truthful words set to music after months of campaign over-coverage of the U.S. Elections. A Canadian flag from the audience made its appearance as the performance went into two encores.

I hope you get a chance to snap up some tickets for Chantal Kreviazuk on her 2016 tour. She reminds me a lot of singer, songwriter, piano player http://www.facebook/marijoelmusic who I thoroughly enjoyed musically during her tour in Canada for Culture days http://www.free-meditation.ca/archives/19833. Their authentic style and indisputable talent seem to be swaying the vote, long closed, towards truth, inner-beauty, talent, peace and the bonding of the like-minded and like-hearted that see the value of coming together as global guardians. Leave it to the artists to raise awareness of what really matters in this lifetime through their modern day poetry as guiding forces through times that are…a changing. Hope such live music concerts inspire you to strum, play and write to define your self, express your self, and share your self.

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Taking a moment to compose her self.

 

 

 

 

Glasgow Great Local Eats and Surviving Cobblestone Streets in Heels

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All photos, fashion stalking and article by Paula Erskine

After many great eating experiences in Glasgow, Scotland, I was pleasantly ecstatic to come across…20160713_202917-1

in a dingy alley I wouldn’t dare venture down without reason. It is located between the shops of Lush and Monsoon and is that delicate balance of delicious, great atmosphere, incredible value (as in, start the car, I think they undercharged me) and a best kept secret.20160713_191342

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The fish and chips are very fresh, fried in clean oil, served on paper dishes and they have great tea specials. “Tea” means lunch/dinner special, usually includes tea or coffee, fish and chips, and is cheap, cheerful and fresh. Generous portions, a beautiful atmosphere, but don’t let the empty chairs fool you. This restaurant sometimes requires reservations, as it is packed with locals as well. The trick is, that as Canadians, and North Americans in general, we eat our dinner quite early, what the Scottish sometimes deem as lunch, so we can benefit from “lunch specials” which tend to be cheaper than dinner menus. Always ask for the lunch menu in Europe, which may be available until 5:00pm in some restaurants. Chippy Doon The Lane is popular among locals. We all want to eat where the locals eat, and not get taken for a ride in overpriced, touristic restaurants. You can find them at this website and I promise you, it will delight your tastebuds.

The Chippy Doon the Lane

84 Buchanan St,
McCormick Lane,
Glasgow G1 3AJ

Call 0141 225 6650

http://thechippyglasgow.com/

Another way to make your Canadian dollar stretch in Europe is: If the waiter asks if you want to pay in Canadian dollars, say no, just the local currency. Your bank will convert it automatically which will be reflected on your credit card bill. Ultimately you are paying the Canadian equivalent even though your bill is in British pounds. When you request to pay in Canadian (which would only be possible via credit card, not cash) then you are charged a fee for this convenience which is added to your bill. So keep your money in your pocket! Now don those heels, grab a hold of a friend, and navigate those cobblestone streets knowing your friends will steady your gait.20160713_1654261

Croatia Direct Flights from Toronto and Montreal Continue into 2016-2017 with Air Transat

All photos and article by Paula Erskine

One can book an Air Transat ticket for a direct flight to Zagreb, Croatia right now for as early as next year, for example, May 30th, 2017 at a price of approximately $871 Canadian dollars and enjoy the comfort of Air Transat’s Airbus 330 fleet. Visit http://www.airtransat.com to book ahead and take advantage of cheap flights to Croatia flying directly out of Toronto, Canada and Montreal, Canada. Air Transat will likely add a second flight weekly to Zagreb, Croatia as of May 2016. Book early to get the deals! Here are some places to visit in Croatia that may delight your senses.

Below, Plitvicka National Park, known to visitors as “paradise,” is less than 2 hours away from Zagreb and enjoyed year round. Easy hiking, hundreds of waterfalls, 16 turquoise lakes.

Rastoke Village, in Slunj (above), is 1 and a half hours from Zagreb, Croatia on the way to Plitvice Park. Imagine opening your window shutters and overlooking a waterfall below your window, with the sound rushing through your veins and the fresh, cool mist rising up through the atmosphere. In this valley, one is surrounded by trees whose roots run deep, taking a drink from the rivers they call home. Eat at Petro, visit Unique Rastoke park (just that part is closed on tuesdays) and eat there too,  the food is fresh and authentic throughout the village…or stay at many of the apartments built on waterfalls in this fairy tale mill town on pristine waters. Simply unmissable and picturesque, any time of year. A peaceful place. Take advantage of the pleasant off season weather with more elbow room than mid-summer to enjoy Croatia even more.

If you are still on the fence, wondering if Croatia is the right destination for you, let me share with you some favorite places to visit that are off the beaten path. Even within the usual hot spots, there are great tips to be shared on how to get the maximum value and enjoyment from your Croatian vacation. For those who travel yearly to the motherland, direct flights to Croatia this summer of 2016 have been a dream come true. In addition, Zagreb has proven to be a great hub for native travelers of Serbia and Bosnia and bordering nations visiting their families. It is very moving to see people of all these nations “going home” to introduce their children and grandchildren to the beautiful lands, lakes, rivers, mountains and the crystal clear Adriatic Sea which were their playgrounds.

It was especially convenient for the older generations to travel “home” on direct flights, most of them wanting to look out the window or watch the air show rather than the individual movie screens at each seat. The atmosphere on board is one of gratitude, appreciation and social friendliness without borders. Although the blocked time of the flight is 9 and a half hours, depending on head and tail winds, the average flight to Zagreb, Croatia from Toronto on Air Transat’s Airbus 330 consistently took only around 8 hours!

Air Transat flights were packed all summer with added adventurers from Quebec and Greater Toronto Area as well as Americans enjoying the tour packages that were very reasonable and action-packed! Below, Ozujsko Pub in Zagreb, beside the Naive Art Gallery Egg in Upper Town serves tasty meats stuffed with cheese and prosciutto (pershuto), grilled vegetables and chicken shishkebabs wrapped in bacon. Tender, fresh, tasty and very reasonable!

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Vinodol Restaurant, lower town, superb eating, Zagreb Croatia

Vinodol Restaurant (lower town), Zagreb Croatia above was absolutely superb eating, with a wonderful indoor skylit atmosphere and outdoor seating too. Below, Kava Tava (upper town)…find an excuse to eat palacinke (palachinke) the Croatian stuffed crepes, dessert, cappucinos, breakfast or sandwiches. Then,  for all you airline buffs, Kava Tava’s decor boasts passenger seats and airplane tables. 20160621_192442

Zagreb’s Upper Town can be reached by Funicular or stairs and is full of incredible places to eat with no lack of creativity, history, architecture, naive and modern art, fountains museums, bird’s eye views, Lake Jarun, shoe shopping in particular in the lower town, and delicious food everywhere. To say Zagreb is hip would be an understatement.

A hidden gem in Zagreb is MS Grill run by Olga who will cook like only a mother can, and specializes in Bosnian dishes such as cevaps (barbecued chevaps are mixed meats, usually lamb, on home made grilled bread served with kajmak (k-eye-mahk) cream cheese, chicken paprikash, and many stews and famous crepes.The truth is, I ate most of the mouth watering meat before I remembered to take a picture. The secret to all the juicy meats, especially the grilled chicken, is the time they take to marinate it all…and I enjoyed it very much on my flight. The portions are too generous, and the prices are ridiculously cheap! You can find them around the corner from the Sheraton Hotel, Zagreb, with the orange canopy, simple. Olga is open from 7 or 8 am till midnight and serves fresh, home made food, her most evident ingredient, is love, warmth and enthusiasm. I do not leave the restaurant without my goodbye hug.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ms-Grill/1549760118614667 This is the facebook page.

Air Transat flights were packed all summer with added adventurers from Quebec and Greater Toronto Area as well as Americans enjoying the tour packages that were very reasonable and action-packed! See you in Zagreb! Check out my other posts for more great places to visit in Croatia! This is StrossMarte, at the top where the Funicular station stop is. Very artsy, great views, puppet shows, and very whimsical somehow.20160906_18551320160906_18555220160906_185448Sveti Marco Square, tiled roof, straight ahead from the Funicular. Many ways to see the city, including a vintage car ride. Fresh fritule, powdered mini doughnuts sometimes filled with jam at a window in upper town. We drop in on an orchestra practicing amid rows of fountains, it was lovely. The architecture, the old gate to the city, is so interesting. I hope to visit Lake Jarun where locals swim and bike in the near future. Until we meet again, Zagreb, I will enjoy my memories. See you in Croatia until early October of 2016 and May 2017 onward.20160906_18491320160823_18350320160823_19023920160906_18403120160906_18503220160817_19534320160906_19051620160906_18185320160906_21042620160817_191813

Up Close and Personal at Burlington Sound of Music’s Grand Finale 2016

The Mohrs singer channeled Janis Joplin and the whole band was incredible. See and hear them here, they will knock you out of the park! http://themohrsband.com/home. Jackie Mohr fronts the band and has music running through her veins. Coolest chic EVER.http://www.newcanadianmusic.ca/releases/p/perfectly-sane-single/the-mohrs/2014-03-26

20160619_142105Unlike the local newspaper, I am not focused on the numbers that attended the free music festival. 200,000 fans is not too shabby over the course of 5 days. If you ask anyone how successful it was, just ask its fans! The atmosphere was so positive, so groovy, like minded music fans saw the Sound of Music Festival as a chance to celebrate Canadian music, show our appreciation for artists trying to change the world, one guitar strum at a time. Yes there was a heat warning. Did we find shade? Yes marvelous shade under the cherry trees, under canopies, at the city hall there were plenty of shady spots too.

The best part was getting up close and personal with the artists. Sean McCann formerly of Great Big Sea took fan photos after his set, and I was not more than 10 feet in front of the stage, sitting comfortably, with no one blocking my view.

Many of the acts were easily accessible, and for a few minutes here and there, you could approach the stage, take your awesome close up photos, get shooed out for not having a press pass, claim innocence, back out towards the gate and retreat victoriously to the shady trees at your leisure with smart phone photos galore. With the breeze coming off the lake, it was totally do-able.

The Mohrs offered original music, with lyrics reflecting modern poetry, like “nobody perfectly sane would want to be with you…” Super catchy, and we’ve all crossed paths with someone in our lives that fits just that bill. Which makes it so much fun to sing along and nod, yes, we love this song! We were very impressed with their energy and charisma and solid talent. Great to see you all perform in Burlington!

Jordan Haller performed on Brant street on Sunday and was very impressive. http://www.jordanhaller.com/#music-section (below, bottom, second from left). Definitely talented. Even a non-tween can appreciate his original music and pop-vibe. The Lighthouse (bottom center picture) may surprise you when you realize you grew up with their songs being played on your parents radio, their fan base was huge on the OLG stage and you can reminisce and enjoy their music here…http://www.lighthouserockson.com/history.html. They relive their glory days these days performing much to the delight of their appreciative fans.

Junkhouse https://www.facebook.com/JUNKHOUSEHAMILTON a band that has performed all over the world, showed that we were truly heart and soul, rock and roll. It was great to hear them praise Hamilton, just across the bridge, and tell their story about their humble beginnings. You see, Hamilton and Burlington are neighbors. We share the same air, the same Lake Ontario, we share the Royal Botanical Gardens, we share a love for music. Russ Wilson on bass below…20160619_153908

Not only is Junkhouse cool, interesting, and talented in an off the beaten track kind of way, lead singer Tom Wilson has that “smart kind of funny because it’s true”, story-telling personality. Unbelievably true! I laughed my head off at those inbetween song stories. Best part is, this is a cool guy with tons of presence, that actually cares not only about his fans, but about the world. Hamilton’s The Red Hill Valley http://theredhillvalleys.com/ fans below, attended the Junkhouse show which was fantastic. I happened to meet lead singer in a guitar shop in Oakville, then I see these fans sporting the t-shirt. That is a good enough reason to mention them in this Hamilton home grown section of talent. A victory for one Hamilton band can pave the way for more steel town talent to take on the world. http://theredhillvalleys.com/music20160619_155015

Tom Wilson of Junkhouse did not depart the stage without leaving a lasting impression by addressing the crowd to be proud of who they are, where they came from, about being nicer and more patient with the people we share this planet with, and that he had faith that this world can and will be a better place to live for all of us if we just start with that. Benevolence becomes Junkhouse, thank you for that.

The Burlington Sound of Music was a first hand experience of artistic musical expressions. As each artist took each fan into their confidence, they drew us closer. Many of the musicians understood that they had a medium to bring people together beyond language borders by entering through each and every one of our hearts.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0de2W97x_Yg, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O-FuQ0h0zPo That you did, Junkhouse, keep shining.20160619_153859[1]