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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

 

 

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Doctor Seminar on the Benefits of Sahaja Yoga Meditation Sunday November 12, 2017 Winnipeg-Always Free

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Walk Off The Earth Kick Off in Burlington at Sound of Music Festival 2017, World Class Performances, Burlington Bred!

walk off the earth 2017 2Walk Off The Earth, Burlington bred, delivered a World Class Performance at the Sound of Music Festival held in Burlington, Ontario which starts this week June 15th-18th, 2017 at Spencer Smith Park. They delivered an epic concert, they surprised us, they entertained us, their talented selves played a medley of more than seven songs with five members on one guitar!

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Walk Off The Earth…Maybe…we are all in this together… Kicked Off Sound of Music 2017, photo by Paula Erskine catwalktorunway.wordpress.com

When Walk Off The Earth covered Gotye’s “Someone I used to Know” (from Australia), playing one guitar together, they had no idea that actor/musician Russell Crowe would tweet about it. This led to millions of hits on you tube and a television spot on Ellen in the U.S.A. The rest is history, but Walk Off The Earth backed it up with loads of talent. So although the show was incredible already, with multiple musicians switching from several instruments each, including kazoos, accordian, guitars, base, drums, electronics, keyboards, and more, Walk Off The Earth did not do what we expected them to do, which was to repeat the performance. They exceeded our expectations, playing one guitar, starting off with “Someone I used to Know” then parlaying that into, at least 7 more songs.

I had to stop counting, because it was so original, with an understanding of how a medley can connect songs (with a shout out to a Beatles cover), and the crowd went ballistic. It is without question, that the happiness that Walk Off The Earth can spread is absolutely, irrevocably, contagious. And their message, if I can be so bold, may be, that maybe, we are all in this, this earth, this world, together, so let’s play together, let’s sing together, let’s enjoy and spread that love for all of mankind right into the atmosphere. Deep down, we all know, we all have the power to change this world for the better.

But there were more surprises in store, Walk Off The Earth is…pregnant! That’s right, pregnant mega musician Sarah Blackwood, lead singer, filtrating harmonies and lit up the stage in collective fashion.

Walk Off The Earth is Pregnant, Sound of Music 2017

Gianni Luminati expressed his concerns when he described “ninjas” harassing others, so he better learn Tae Kwon Do to protect his family. In his white, baggy, jumpsuit, reminiscent of Beastie Boys days, he was ready to battle the negative forces on stage with dancing Tae Kwon Do-ists. His is a different kind of battle, the power of a great song! We heard Gianni sing, rap, harmonize, reggafy, funkafy, sing falsetto while flawlessly moving about stage from lead singer, to guitar, to drums, to kazoo. There is nothing Gianni doesn’t do on stage that doesn’t hit a chord in our heartstrings. You just know he is beautiful inside and out. Walk Off The Earth’s lyrics and choice of song, are otherworldly, they shoot for the moon, shine like the sun, and emit stars. The band also performed acapella.

Walk Off The Earth also invited famous beat boxer Terry to perform with them on stage and then prove solo, that he was a music machine https://www.facebook.com/KRNFX/. What Terry does with his voicebox is insane. The whole crowd went crazy, again.

The Sound of Music Kickoff Concerts on June 11 was one of the best performances I have ever see in my life. I hope this excerpt inspires you to support these musicians by buying their music and feeding your soul. You can find Walk Off The Earth at http://www.walkofftheearth.com/ Their new album is called Fire In My Soul. Let’s make this world a better place by supporting the arts and musicians. They have a story to tell that just may save the world as we know it by inspiring us to live in harmony on this, the planet we share. For more Sound of Music Free Concerts in Burlington 2017, check out the festival lineup happening this Father’s Day week June 15th-18th, 2017 right here: https://soundofmusic.ca/lineup/ And while you’re at it, you can support Canada’s largest Free Outdoor Festival too.

Strength in Collectivity. Walk Off The Earth

 

 

 

 

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.

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.

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

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

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