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Saturday January 27th in Burlington is a FREE Event-Realize Awareness in Nations to Heal Mother Earth, Ontario, Canada and Croatia’s Inner Peace Sahaja Yoga Classes Begin Jan, 2018.

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On Saturday January 27th in Burlington, Ontario we celebrate the March of the Penguins in a FREE public program that is dynamic, invites the audience to participate in changing the world for the better by changing our consciousness to a collective state of Yoga, which means union or connection. The Burlington event includes a meditation for Mother Earth, some artistic, creative and scientific presentations and for the kids in all of us, music, dance and more!

Families and first-timers are welcome to enjoy the enlightening event which appeals to all walks of life. Join us from 3-5pm at the Brant Hills Community Centre (Mountain side room).  You can sit comfortably in a chair and still achieve the Yoga state, with no hard poses, or on the floor if you prefer. You’re sure to feel joy, peace and a sense that we have the power within to change ourselves and change the world for the better. Come with an open heart and bring your friends and family and feel the positive energy!

On that note, January being a traditional time of re-evaluating our life journey to improve our higher selves let me share even more Yoga Events in the world, this time, in Croatia. Sahaja Yoga helps us humans to achieve a higher awareness through the actualization of Yoga. It is an experience that works out really well in collectivity.

It will make our communities a better place to live in by celebrating our Oneness, come meditate with us, open your heart and have fun! Sahaja Yoga invites you to Croatia for a brand new course curriculum this month. The last two summers my family and I have visited this wonderful, warm bunch of Yoga enthusiasts for blissful meditations in class, and on the pristine beaches of Rijeka and famous cruise destination Pula. We also had meditation retreats in Selce-Crikvenica for the advanced class which were so relaxing and blissful.  Best of all, these instructors speak Croatian, English, Italian and German and even more languages…as does their global class. They adapt and keep communication lines open so everyone can feel the joy and peace within. Every change starts with a single step, at no cost to anyone, and is absolutely priceless. Look forward to meditating with the Croatia crew this coming summer 2018! Stay warm this winter, keep calm and meditate with us!

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Festival of Inner Lights, Burlington December 9th, 2017 from 2-4pm-FREE Admission

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On Saturday December 9th, 2017 please join us at the Art Gallery of Burlington for the Festival of Inner Lights happening between 2-4pm. The Art Gallery is on Lakeshore rd., across from Spencer’s Restaurant and Spencer Smith Park, and the Shoreline room is near the front entrance facing the lake. A dynamic and heart warming event about Yoga Connection, igniting the spark we all have inside to bring back more joy and peace into our lives. This is a family friendly event which includes a guided meditation for Mother Earth we can all participate by sitting in a chair or on the floor in you prefer. Children love to meditate with us!

The word Sahaja in Sanskrit, a very ancient mother language, means “spontaneous” and “born within.” Through a simple guided meditation and just a few seconds of a method known as “thoughtless awareness,” the life force that lies dormant is awakened and can be verified scientifically by each person. The Yoga state can be achieved and felt as a cool river or cool breeze on the hands as it rises along the spine as well as the central nervous system (enlightening the nerves) like the sap that nourishes the tree of life we all have within. At this point we go from being collectively unconscious to collectively conscious human beings. We become aware of a new dimension to our lives. We get connected to the mains and a new reality enlightens our path.

Sahaja Yoga offers the actualization of attaining the Yoga state, also known as moksha, nirvana, enlightenment or simply connection. The poster is an unretouched photograph of pure energy that is awakened from within through Sahaja Yoga methods. Many people who have experienced getting what is known as their “self-realization” have experienced positive, transformational life journeys that will be shared.  The energy feels wonderful, no experience necessary, just come with an open heart and mind.

Expect Youth Ambassadors to inspire your family, listen to a magical flute, watch a creative dance performance, enjoy drums and music from around the globe that will wrap this season up in pure love for community, diversity, brother-sisterhood and positive energy. Please join us and spread the word about this Festival that celebrates our Inner Lights. Please visit and like our articles for more information at http://www.free-meditation.ca/archives/23047

 

 

The Burlington Sound of Music Free Festival Sunday June 11th, June 15th- 18th, 2017 and the Restorative Power of Meditation: Bridging Science and Spirituality June 14th, 2017 are Free to the Public, Drop in Events that are good for your Heart and Soul

Burlington Pier 2013 Debut, photo by Paula Erskine

Burlington Pier, Ontario, Canada, captured musical notes, uncoincidentally, during the Sound of Music Festival-Photo by Paula Erskine

The Burlington Sound of Music Festival 2017 draws over 200,000 music fans from every corner of the globe including our neighbors to the south. It is Canada’s largest outdoor music festival, and never disappoints. There are many ways to enjoy the many bands that play along Brant street, the Burlington City Hall and three stages in Spencer Smith Park on Lakeshore Road overlooking lake Ontario. Many people liken Burlington’s Lake Ontario to a feeling of being near the ocean somehow. So just what is there to discover in Burlington beginning June 14th, 2017? Let’s begin with the hypothesis…

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Destiny is in your hands, photo by Paula Erskine, Spain.

Of course, this connection is interwoven with the truth found in Canada’s original inhabitants, which were aware of its power as far back as 10,000 years or so. Before 150 years of Canada, there was a land of ancient, wise people who lived sustainably, respectfully, passing down stories and traditions and living with gratitude.

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White Pine Dancers Family and Friends will perform at the Burlington Citizenship Ceremony at 1:45pm and Burlington Sound of Music Festival 2017

Sunday June 11th the White Pine Dancers perform as a group of First Nations Family and friends who share their gifts of story, dance and song at 1:45pm at the Sound of Music Festival 2017. Open your hearts and show your love for Canada’s aboriginal nations.

They have a story to tell, one that we can feel through our natural connection to mother earth. I had the privilege of capturing the images of the White Pine Dancers below from a Crawford Lake event.

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facebook.com/whitepinedancers

Before White Pine Dancers, Valley http://www.officialvalley.com/ will perform at 1:00pm and Killin’ Time Band at 3:15pm, http://www.killintimeband.com/,  on Sunday June 11th, 2017.In fact, a great way to enjoy the music festival is to go the website, listen to the lineup at https://soundofmusic.ca/

The website offers music samples from the artists, not all of which I have heard of, but that never stops me from checking out their videos, doing a bit of research and going with bands that inspire me to be a fan and supporting Canadian artists.

Who can forget Burlington’s prides and joys, The Spoons, http://www.spoonsmusic.com/  from the 80’s hitting the stage at 4:30pm, and Walk Off The Earth at 7:30pm. Who of my generation doesn’t remember their songs on the radio? Go Burlington, Go!

Incidentally, Walk Off The Earth made humble passengers on a wintry flight of mine last year, so I was able to express my fanship through trolley offerings aisle-side.20160621_220830 Their cover tune of Gotye “Somebody I used to know” seen here made headlines when actor and musician Russell Crowe tweeted about their video of the whole band playing one guitar right here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FGIiYejABSQ which landed them a guest spot on TV show Ellen. Check out their cover of Adele and they have incredible original songs. Please support them and put Burlington on the map again and again! https://www.facebook.com/walkofftheearth.

Inbetween those Burlingtonians on Sunday June 11th is Tebey at 6:00pm and you can listen to him here, and rocks country with a great voice http://tebeymusic.com/jealous-of-the-sun-official/.20160619_174928

Stay tuned for some more great music and good vibrations as we explore Burlington Sound of Music 2017 and I formulate my playlist for this year. The only negative thing I can say is that, there are sometimes several great acts playing at the same time, so I do make a music plan and prioritize my free concert repertoire.

Here are some great moments I captured on film in recent years at the Burlington Sound of Music Festival..

Artwork in Burlington on Brant street…above…glorious birch trees…

Sean McCann formerly of Great Big Sea, performed last year at Burlington City Hall and was oozing talent and goodness. He is a champion of his own demons.

Sean McCann at Burlington Sound of Music Festival 2016. All photos and article by Paula Erskine

 

 

 

http://www.seanmccannsings.com/, photo Paula Erskine

The Sheepdogs at Burlington Sound of Music Festival 2014

The Sheepdogs played opening night and absolutely rocked it at the Sound of Music Festival 2014. One of the best of 100 free concerts held in Burlington, Ontario. Photo by Paula Erskine, http://www.thesheepdogs.com/

Jarvis Church

Jarvis Church soul singing at Burlington’s Sound of Music Festival 2014. Photographed by Alexis Lagos of http://www.lacedupimagery.com, http://jarvischurch.ca/

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http://www.jullyblack.com/ (Photo credit: Paula Erskine)

Burlington Pier Debut 2013, Sound of Music Festival 2013. Photo by Paula Erskine

The Burlington Pier 2013 Debut, photo by Paula Erskine

20160618_200032 (1)See you in Burlington, where we share borders with Hamilton via this bridge, Oakville, Milton and Halton proper. Let’s not forget our neighbors on the other side of the lake, in the good old U.S. of A. who are always welcome. And to all the tourists world-wide, plan your vacation around this Free Concert Extravaganza in Burlington. Stay tuned for more on this event this week 2017.

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

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

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]

 

Croatia, 24 hours in Action packed Zagreb and the Euro Cup

20160621_192442I just got back from 24 hours in Croatia which was preceded by 24 hours in Paris, where, many Croatians travelled to Paris, then Bordeaux by train, to attend the Euro Cup Games. I had the good fortune to be in Zagreb, Croatia where the streets and squares were adorned with Red and White checkered attire symbolizing the crest of the Croatian flag and the biggest TVs I have ever seen were setup all over the city.20160621_18152120160621_200710

I was lucky to be with an extremely knowledgeable Portugal-qualified soccer (or as they say in Europe) football fan on my crew who gave me the inside knowledge as Croatia played a very exciting game against Spain and ultimately won.

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We watched the game in the streets passing through Ban Jelacic square (pronounced Ban Yelachich). We also watched in the streets from our wooden booths in Kava Tava (Ulica=street, 10000 Ivana Tkalcica pronounced Tkalchicha) and sipped cappucinos to nurse our jet lag back to some semblance of normal. It was an emotional evening and ultimately celebratory and I really enjoyed the energy surrounding us.

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Scenes from Kava Tava Cafe…

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Nothing better than hugging and yelling and crying with strangers that are my brethren once removed. The street of Tkalicica is lined with wonderful outdoor tables, cafes, restaurants to cruise on a pedestrian street in the Upper Town of Zagreb.

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Kava Tava (www.kavatava.com) had many surprises, inside and out, with tea cups imbedded in the wooden booth outdoor seating and passenger airplane seating inside with all kinds of creative touches inside you will want to capture on film and say, you were there! Kava Tava appeals to the flight attendant in all of us, we can’t really put our finger on it, but the creativity of the decor is travel inspired, to say the least.

A very short, action-packed layover, and just a snapshot of Zagreb’s many cool places to be should you find yourself passing through. More exciting places will be added as my layovers in Zagreb progress into the summer.20160621_22064520160621_22191920160621_192546

Currently Air Transat (www.airtransat.com) flies direct to Zagreb, Croatia on your way to the most beautiful coastline and national parks like Plitvice’s turquoise lakes and hundreds of waterfalls which you can view in this blog as well as many wonderful places in the Bay of Kvarner and the island of Krk. See you there! Below, see the hand that beckons.

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The art and numerous hill inspired cafe’s that decorate simple, picturesque allies in Zagreb, Croatia. This is no stuffy, Croatian capital. The hills are alive with the sound of music, art, soccer and bustling evenings lived outdoors all summer long.20160621_20125220160621_19351520160621_20111420160621_19325720160621_19441420160621_222612In the words of Kava Tava Cafe, I could not have said it better, but only, after the Euro Cup Game. 🙂

Burlington Sound of Music 2016 Rejuvenates the Crowds of Fans

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Young Rivals rocked the TD stage on Saturday June 18,2016…all photos and article by Paula Erskine

Still one more day left for seeing free concerts in Burlington Ontario Canada have a look and listen to the jam packed list of talented acts that will make you proud to be Canadian or impressed by your Canadian neighbors who don’t all live in Igloos… http://www.soundofmusic.ca/schedule.

In no particular order in terms of talent, I can share some wonderful images and a commentary about one of the best FREE things to attend in this end of Ontario, which is the Burlington Sound of Music Festival, of which I was privileged to attend at least three partial days due to my limited time in Canada during the flying season.

I cannot hide the fact that I did not see all of the acts, so I am no judge, and nobody likes a critic, but, of the acts I did catch, I cannot deny that there were some favourites. In other words, the following acts will exceed your expectations and actually blew us away because their music emits tremendous heart, soul and talent. The three acts that we loved so far:

Leahy, a family from Lakefield Ontario that performs with a family of 10, with violins, accordian, irish dancing, guitar, drums, gorgeous harmony and a family of 10 brothers and sisters that came from musician parents. Music is in their blood, heart and soul, and if you know anyone who has an inkling for music, they hold a music camp http://www.leahymusiccamp.com. I have no pictures, but they won the entire crowd over, with many surprises, reminding us what it is to have both top notch yet down to earth performance skills as well as incredible talent. They were delightful to watch, what a show on the OLG stage!

Another favourite was Dylan Menzie whose cd I bought called adolescent nature. https://www.bing.com/images/search?q=dylan+menzie&view=detailv2&qpvt=dylan+menzie&id=48F237B3EBC74EC1BE9121F9DA7EBFC3A2D3BC24&selectedIndex=2&ccid=ikjuwZ6z&simid=608001154928674259&thid=OIP.M8a48eec19eb3746632131a31166a2df7o0&ajaxhist=0 Dylan Menzie blew us away, he is so talented, musically, vocally, he is the real deal, with terrific lyrics and great vibes. You have to hear this guy! He is young, with a finger on the pulse of the youth, yet somehow, a wise soul, singing his heart out. We feel you Dylan!https://www.facebook.com/dylanmenzieband. If you want your kids to listen to what talent really sounds like, he is it. And as an adult, I did not find it juvenile at all, only that it brought back memories and that youthful feeling we all hold in our hearts, which never ages.

Sean McCann, formerly of Great Big Sea, really poured his enlightened heart out, and bravely, boldly, shared personal details on his journey through sobriety, the friends he gave up, and the incredible soul searching journey that has given him a new perspective that took his already talented self to new heights in terms of musical giftedness. Sean McCann absolutely has emoted into a higher self that is very much down to earth, very deep, undeniably talented all on his own. His music, his presence poured vibrations out into the entire atmosphere starting from the Cogeco stage on Brant street in the city hall square. His music will make your hair stand on end! He is oozing with incredible vibrations, you can call it the X factor, and perhaps his journey of ups and downs made him who he is today. He is what we call a realized soul. His power, inspirations and talent were previously clouded, but now they pour out through his songs and presence, unimpeded, just free flowing, and without ego.He admitted that he was previously an angry man, but had discovered, that anger, just wants to hurt. Great music in my view, does not necessarily come from an uneventful life, but rather, can be a positive outlet to work out  painful situations that others can relate to. We feel you, Sean, and we can relate.Sean McCann at Burlington Sound of Music Festival 2016. All photos and article by Paula Erskine

It reminds me that there are people, and musicians out there, who have the power to touch our soul once they wake up from the material world and get back to the reasons they got into the music business in the first place. His music is authentically filled with reflection and beauty. Sean McCann also played some favourites from the Great Big Sea days for the crowd and encouraged everyone to sing, saying “we’re all on this path together.” http://www.seanmccannsings.com/ find his wonderful new self here.https://www.facebook.com/GreatBigSean.

Having named names in terms of favourites, and only because it is impossible to see all 100 concerts because many of them are happening simultaneously, I will share a few more acts that I curated from my limited time to attend the festival this year. Here we go…

Let’s talk about the Young Rivals! What most impressed me  and my friend Kathleen about the Young Rivals was the drummer who took turns seamlessly singing and drumming at the same time, try it, just the thought of it! Kathleen and I felt that they way they played was reminiscent of how the Beatles harmonized and sang and rocked. We enjoyed them in the afternoon under some shady cherry trees in Spencer Smith Park. Young Rivals can be found here if you want to watch and listen to their music https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-b8CwNHAx54 and are one of over 100 FREE concerts offered over a 4 day period every year around Father’s Day Weekend which is not to be missed! On second listen, they definitely have a Beatles vibe.

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Young Rivals above.20160618_145531

Enjoying shade under the cherry trees of Spencer Smith Park while breathing in Canadian music, and soaking up the summer.20160618_200016

The boats docked at Burlington’s inlet for some superb views as the music carried over the waves of Lake Ontario, Canada20160618_201223

A few of my favourite attendees…20160618_201744

The Fast Romantics infused the stage with talent, style, charisma, groove, with 6 members in chic rockin’ black and white. They are all so talented and good looking, if you will permit us to say, when the female keyboardist surprised us with playing the horn, we kind of wished all the arrangement had allowed us to hear only her playing, so she could shine a bit more. As it is, they are pretty great, but we would love to hear some musicians shine during different periods throughout the songs. When I heard they had  played with the Sheepdogs from Saskatchewan, I knew they must be talented, takes one talented band, to know another talented band. Well worth seeing, and you can see them here too http://fastromantics.com/

 

Hawksley Workman rounded out the evening talent at the Cogeco stage on Brant street with a huge crowd that spilled in to the streets. Hawksley it seems, is a poet, generally is very down to earth, has some interesting things he does with his voice, mostly at the end of his songs, which we would love to hear more of. But we didn’t mind his artistic, poetic ramblings about trees wrapped in decorative Christmas lights and Thomasville has a sale. His rantings were smoothly and poetically delivered, revealing a calm appreciation for life and a tough journey http://hawksleyworkman.com/. This is someone who was not shy about his spiritual ponderings and gratitude for quiet mornings drinking tea and filling up the bird feeder. Very pleasant and curious, we enjoyed his company. See Hawksley Workman working it in the pic below.

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Sean McCann at the Burlington Sound of Music Festival 2016-Heart and Soul

Sean McCann at Burlington Sound of Music Festival 2016. All photos and article by Paula Erskine

The Fast Romantics were super cool…20160618_20154620160618_201550

Glasgow, Scotland See, Do, Be

All photos and article by Paula ErskineGlasgow, Scotland all photos Paula ErskineKelvingrove Park beside Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum has some of the best trails and things to do in Glasgow, Scotland. Museums in Scotland, Ireland and England are almost always free to the public, which is a great incentive and quite an in-depth European education for travelers. I thoroughly enjoyed the Kelvingrove Museum which also had a great cafe inside check out http://www.glasgowlife.org.uk/museums/kelvingrove/Pages/default.aspx.

Trails along the river near the museum and along the park are shady with sun beaming through and glorious blooms, set against historical buildings, statues and fountains. Three days of sunshine did not go unappreciated by locals who gathered at parks, and shopping street steps to listen to exceptional buskers along Sauchiehall’s pedestrian shopping streets. We enjoyed our lunches, sometimes in the company of like-minded strangers. Side by side, we gather to thank the weather and soak up fresh air and rejuvenate our active selves. Marks and Spencer an Sainsbury have food halls which offer cheaper picnic lunches. A good tip for a cheap dinner is to visit Marks and Spencer 1 hour to 30 minutes before closing, where the yellow price tag gun comes out and discounts the sandwiches, salads, and casseroles before they expire for good. It is a frenzy of the fittest.

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Kelvingrove Park, Glasgow, Scotland above.

I was pleasantly surprised to discover the Centre for Contemporary Arts in Glasgow where I will in the near future enjoy a java at this beautiful skylighted Saramago Cafe in a courtyard hidden inside the CCA. What a gem! It is located at 350 Sauchiehall street (which are wonderful pedestrian streets that are often full of locals and tourists milling about).  I enjoyed two award winning films there for free which were excellent!http://www.glasgowlife.org.uk/museums/kelvingrove/Pages/default.aspx

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The first free film at the CCA was called “Borrowed Time” by Alice May Williams and will be playing from May 28th-July 10th 2016. It is a film that won the JERWOOD/FVU awards. It has a very deep, meaningful, meditative narrative that is juxtaposed against an industrial landscape and I really enjoyed all 16 minutes of it. Indeed, it is a film that reflects upon our current actions and how they may impact our future, hence the name, “Borrowed Time.” The narrative will surprise you. 20160602_174026[1]20160602_161315[1]

The second film by Karen Kramer was centred around the Fukushima nuclear reactor and the consequences of the disaster. Images from nature float in front of the camera with plastics and refuse and Japanese wisdom translated into English subtitles tell a different story. Even though the images sometimes show dilapidated buildings and refuse, the narrative again, is like poetry, life lessons, something that must be re-visited because it is ancient and wise. The CCA is a treasure trove to visit and thought provoke, with a unique book store and gift shop for the curious shopper. 20160602_190305[1]

If that is not enough reason to visit Glasgow, let me tell you about an alternative theatre known affectionately as the GTF standing for Glasgow Film and Theater. I just saw one of the best films I have ever seen called Sing Street, an Irish award winning film set in the 80’s with fantastic music, great actors and great music.Here is the trailer, it is an irresistible film you will want to see again! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jYk2Vx1z6lk. Wait till you hear the improvised songs they come up with, like “Riddle of the Model,” truly hilarious and feel good. The movie epitomizes the phrase “good vibrations.”The Theatre is also at one end of Sauchiehall street where the pedestrian part ends and meets with 12 Rose Street. You will clearly see it at this junction point where 60 seater cinemas treat the public to carefully curated films for about eight and a half pounds.http://www.glasgowfilm.org/theatre. There are also courses and different kinds of memberships you can have to lower your overall costs. If you love alternative and award winning films, and not always spoon fed Hollywood stuff, there are tons of great films to choose from. Enjoy Glasgow, Scotland, the land of the brave new hearts.

What I am planning for my next trip to Glasgow…

ps. Around the corner from the GTF are these interesting places to visit, next time, I will be sure to support some local, artsy places, including The Project Cafe, which has a terrace, poetry corner and is situated 2 blocks away on a quieter street, beside a fabric store. Up the street is St. Aloysius Church, which is sure to be interesting architecturally and house art in different forms. Until we meet again, Glasgow, keep up the great efforts, friendly dispositions and artistic endeavors.

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Fashion Stalking in Amsterdam, Netherlands

Fashion Stalking in Amsterdam's Airport, all images captured by Paula Erskine

Now, before you say, “she’s gone too far,” you must admit, it all makes for entertaining fashion stalking in Amsterdam’s Airport. all images captured by Paula Erskine

Me watching them watching buskers on the street.

Me, watching them, watching buskers on the street.

Berget Lewis, free concert in the park. A great oppournity to fashion stalk. Love that Rihanna hair, Berget.

Berget Lewis, free concert in the park. Work that jumpsuit! Love that Rihanna hair, Berget.

Spectators at Berget's concert in Vondelpark.

Spectators at Berget’s concert in Vondelpark. You go girl!

Gwen Stefani might approve all this stripe fashion.

Gwen Stefani might approve all this stripe fashion.

Fasjoon meets function.

Fashion meets function. So inspiring.

Waiting for a decadent eggs benedict at a popular cafe on the canal, and noting the naturally fashionable Dutch style.

Waiting for a decadent eggs benedict at a popular cafe on the canal, and noting the naturally fashionable Dutch style.

Casual and boating the canals, Amsterdam.

Casual style and boating the canals, Amsterdam.

Downtown Amsterdam, orange pants and messenger bag.

Downtown Amsterdam, orange pants and messenger bag.

On the train to the airport, Amsterdam

On the train to the airport, Amsterdam. Anything goes.