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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

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FREE CONCERT with Winner of The Voice in Oakville, Ontario Thursday May 19th, 2016

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Who? -Yoann FreeJay is the Winner of The Voice France

What?- He will perform Free Public Programs on May 19th at 7pm in Oakville and in the GTA on May 27th, in addition to many high schools to spread Inner Peace, Oneness. Also will perform in the GTA on May 27th, North York

Why? -To spread Inner Peace, Re-Connect with Mother Earth, Harmony and Outer Peace through R.A.I.N. to heal M.E. movement and local initiative.

-R.A.I.N. TO HEAL M.E. stands for Realize Awareness In Nations to heal Mother Earth.

-Shulin Zhang, a local teen, and dynamic volunteer for a non-profit group, promotes inner peace in schools and is also part of R.A.I.N. to heal M.E.

-May is Mental Health Awareness Month, many schools have already benefited from participating in the inner peace workshops, gaining tools to deal with    stress and depression, with many appreciation letters, thank you letters and testimonials.

How? Yoann FreeJay studied Musical Therapy and his music can touch the heart and soul, and help people of all ages, especially youth.

Where and When? Poster at top of page Thursday May 19th, 7-9pm, Regional Municipality of Halton Auditorium, 1151 Bronte road, Oakville

Friday May 27th, 7-9pm, North York Centre, Council Chamber 5100 Yonge st. Toronto, and many high schools to spread inner peace.


http://www.free-meditation.ca/archives/21206

Here is a brand new video from the main TV channel in France, aired on “The Voice” TV show this last Saturday in France (7 millions viewers) – giving news about Yoann’s shift to USA and his up-coming English album.: https://www.facebook.com/YoannFreeJay/videos/1221527374539131/ 

“THE VOICE” NEWS: YOANN FREEJAY IN USA! [English subtitles] On partage? 😀 Tellement hâte de pouvoir vous en dire plus…! L ♥ V E you ma…
  • Yoann FreeJay -> Winner of The Voice of France (Garou‘s team!)
  • Established in LA, USA -> ‘Individual with Extraordinary Abilities & Achievement’ visa
  • He is currently working on his new album and collaborating with some fantastic musicians
Yoann is supporting our team’s initiative for 2016 that is dedicated to Earth, People, Spirituality:
RAINtohealME
Yoann Freejay is promoting this  initiative that was born in Burlington, Ontario, Canada — and that is led further by selected Global Youth Leader 2016 — Shulin Zhang (18 years old, gr 12 student in Oakville)

·         Awarded with Peace Maker Certificate at Just Peace Summit 2016 in New York by “We are Family” foundation -> Three Dot Dash international youth movement
·         Co-founder of RAIN organization; inspirational speaker and mental health ambassador (inner peace meditation/yoga workshops)
·         Recognized by the Government of Canada with a certificate offered at “RAIN to heal ME” event dedicated to International Women’s Day on March 12, 2016

Mentored by Cora Neumann — USA, founder of Global First Ladies Alliance
Star Guest:

 

Yoann FreeJay (Freget)
– Speaker, Live Performance

 


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Special Guest
Shulin Zhang – Student Facilitator / Global Personality Inspirational Speaker

 

 

As A Citizen Reporter of Winnipeg

My experience as a citizen reporter for Winnipeg’s Community News Commons has been one of mutual respect and professionalism in journalism. I want to thank Noah the editor for recognizing that Winnipeg’s population may be interested in Free meditation classes offered at local libraries. His edits are actually in tune with the material presented, and I really appreciate this opportunity to express my gratitude for having published two of my articles towards helping seekers of truth, better mental health, yoga enthusiasts, and the need for everyone on this planet to connect and heal with their higher self, each other and mother earth. Thank you for recognizing that local solutions can have global impact on neighboring brothers and sisters and change the quality of our lives, for the better. Please read below an informative article on the real meaning of the word Yoga and the impact this newly-felt inner peace is having on the community of Winnipeg. Free classes as being offered in February for the second month in a row, but this time, at the St. Boniface Library.

CNC is an online news hub authored by you, your friends and neighbours, sharing stories to make our world a better place. By creating CNC, The Winnipeg Foundation believes a more informed and engaged community is a more caring and giving community, building the capacity needed for stronger, healthier neighbourhoods.

Connecting to higher self and to deeper sense of purpose

“I finally feel a sense of peace,” said one woman.

“I feel the life force all throughout my hands,” said another.

“I look forward to it all week, I am so excited and feel this amazing connection!” one more person exclaimed.

Meditation-YogapantsThese are just a few reactions to the most recent Winnipeg Free Meditation classes held in January at Millennium Library.

Beginning Feb. 8, these sessions will be held for the second consecutive month with added daytime classes at a new location – St. Boniface Library, 100-131 Provencher Blvd, on the second floor, Salle Marie-Lynn Bernard (room).

Many attendees confirm enthusiastically each class builds upon that new sense of being connected to their higher self, as well as feeling a deeper sense of purpose. The casual observer can witness curious participants and deep seekers transform from class to class, and after just three sessions, are beaming.

“It is both relaxing, and energizing,” one man said in describing this new-found awareness as a source of joy and peace.

Between the two thoughts generated by the past and future is a space that can be widened in the present, known as “thoughtless awareness.” This inner sense of satisfaction transforms a person’s perspective and improves one’s health on every level.

Sessions are great for beginners or for those seeking inner peace and tools to deal with every day stress. Classes require no special clothes or exercises or previous experience. One can sit in a chair or on the floor if they prefer.

Included in the class is a guided meditation that is easy to follow – gentle chakra (energy centres within our subtle system) cleansing workshops, helping attendees gain their self-realization, the Sanskrit definition of the word Yoga, which means union or connection.

Sessions include work on opening one's spiritual chakras.

Once one has achieved and established a connection with one’s higher self, a new vibratory awareness reveals very simply the state of a person’s energy centres and how someone can correct them on their own, becoming a more balanced and more joyful person.

There is a belief one should not pay for this state of yoga because it is everyone’s birthright to access and to gain this new, pure knowledge of the higher self. Climbing the Himalayas is not necessary to receive enlightenment in these modern times, due to this unique discovery.

This is the second year of this meditation marathon that has attracted interest of seekers of truth from all walks of life.

In last month’s sessions, attendees enjoyed a guided meditation and learned about the wonderful qualities inside every human being. Several attendees felt sensations in their hands, indicating they achieved the yoga state in just one session. The questions were insightful and specific. The genuine smiles were priceless.

It is clear many people recognize there is more to life than materialistic pursuits; such as, learning how to balance emotions and incorporate techniques to heal depression and anxiety.

SahajaYoga_Poster_Winnipeg_Feb_2016 (618x800)In an effort to cover more material and explore this new-found peace, a total of nine sessions are slated for February 2016 which include several daytime and evening classes.

Three daytime classes will be held on Feb. 8, with two more daytime sessions to be offered free to the public on Feb. 24.

Evening classes are Feb. 10 starting at 7:15 p.m., as well as on Feb. 22 with three classes starting from 5:30 p.m., one hour each.

Participants are invited to join as many classes as they like, with new presentations and short clips to watch for each session. There is no limit to how many classes one can attend; in fact, people are encouraged to take advantage and stay for more than one.

Drop in guests can join in anytime for even more meditation. There is always a brief review for newcomers. One is never early or late, as the invitation is to pop in anytime and slip into a chair.

Attendees’ hands are kept open on their laps to enjoy this refreshing new dimension that can be felt from within, and can enhance happiness and reinforce a joy of life. Removing one’s shoes, if comfortable doing so, is a simple way to connect to Mother Earth and feel more relaxed. Many great tips have been shared so far, with more to come.

Indeed, anyone can learn to use this power within to become more detached from problems and stresses, and more in tune with the joy of their spirit. It is believed a person can evolve their personality only when they are in the present, and have achieved self-realization.

It is a spontaneous, living process, by which one can experiment, like a scientist, and find out what is the truth of one’s being. It can be felt as it rises along the central nervous system as a “cool river” or “cool breeze” that has been described in many traditions throughout history.

A by-product of this new awakened energy inside is improved physical, mental, emotional and spiritual healing. The idea of separation is a myth, because all humans are connected to everyone and everything.

Please contact sahajayogawinnipeg@gmail.com for more information, or join the Facebook page, Winnipeg Free Meditation.

About

Paula Erskine is a Winnipeg Free Meditation Instructor and flight attendant, enjoying her crew rest teaching meditation in Winnipeg in between her flight travels down south. She received her self-realization more than eight years ago and has a pure desire to spread this joyful state to others.

 

Raise Awareness in Nations to heal Mother Earth: In harmony with Indigenous Teachings

Thank you Phyllis for being part of the Raising Awareness In Nations to heal Mother Earth initiative that is a wonderful, Burlington based initiative based on the teachings of Sahaja Yoga which is very in harmony with Indigenous teachings and that of the true messengers that appeared throughout history. Your awe inspiring talk was extremely beautiful, relevant, positive, empowered, you matter, everyone on this earth matters, you have a deep understanding and compassion and message of transformation through connecting with your spirit, through self-respect, respect for others, and living in harmony with mother earth and it’s peoples. You are a highly respected member of the Sahaja Yoga community. The collective attention of the entire room was enjoying the vibrations of what you spoke which was well researched and from your heart and soul. You are glowing with the light of the spirit, may the force be with you. Namaste. I salute the light in you.

Red Road Kwe

We all are enjoying the oddly warm winter we are having this year. Although it feels like a blessing we need to be award of the effects it is having on other parts of the world as well as our home cities.

I must admit that I am rather fond of this weather but this is very damaging to our future sustainability. R.A.I.N to heal M.E (realize awareness in nations to heal mother earth) is a grassroots initiative to come together as ALL nations to look at ways to bring awareness and make changes to heal our planet. I have been deeply involved in the free 12 month programs across Ontario to come up with solutions, and to meditate collectively to bring awareness within each and everyone of us. http://www.free-meditation.ca

This proposal was created by the Sahaja Yogini’s of the Halton region. These volunteers have committed there time, talent and…

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Croatia’s Beaches on Krk Island can be “A Pound of Therapeutic Dirt”

Muddy Escape to Klimno

Add Klimno beach bay area in the Bay of Kvarner on the island of Krk in the Primorje (Preemorryeh) region of Croatia to your list of reasons to visit Croatia with direct flights from Toronto at http://www.airtransat.com.  This beach is unique to even to Krk’s pristine, rocky and crystal clear beaches because of it’s healing mud and you can expect the shallow waters to be much warmer than other bodies of water. In mid-summer, it can feel like a bathtub! If you are like some of my relatives that prefer warmer water and sun for their joints, this is the place to visit and makes a great day trip.

For those planning trips earlier than peak season, around June, or after the madding crowds have thinned in September and October,  guesthouses throughout Croatia are significantly cheaper. Even the beginning of July you can still get good prices on rentals at private residences. September and October, the prices for rooms or “apartmans” drop collectively according to the tourist rates set by the board. Even in mid-season, you generally don’t pay per person, so you can get an apartment for two couples for the equivalent of 75-100 Euros which is very reasonable.

The shallow waters of Klimno are also ideal for families playing a game of “Pitzigeen” with a tiny ball in a wide circle and diving and volleying to keep the ball in the air. The game is a cross between water polo and volleyball, passing on scoring, in lieu of splashing. You can pack a picnic with your taxi boat or load up the car and drive across the bridge near Rijeka and follow the well marked signs and roundabouts.

Klimno can be reached by taxi boat from Selce, boat tour, or by car by crossing the bridge where Rijeka airport is located on the island of Krk. Unlike other pristine rock beaches typical of Croatia’s coast and islands, this area boasts therapeutic mud to cure anything from sports injuries, to arthritic complaints. It is also has great detoxifying properties when applied topically and deep cleans your pores. The sea is a plethora of curing properties in itself, cradling us in it’s elemental salt and minerals and purifying our soul. The mud and sea draw out aches, pains, impurities, negativity, and fill us up with positivity.

I was told to let the black mud dry on the skin in the sun which is part of the healing process. Enter the Adriatic Sea which is quite shallow here, rinse and repeat 2 more times for maximum benefits. Luckily, I had my wonderful Uncle Zvonko take us there by fishing boat.  We laughed and smothered ourselves in mud pits. The mud pits are tricky, so be careful with children and just dip from the shallow puddles of mud to be on the safe side, rather than immersing yourself into the deep pools.

Easily accessible from Selce or Crikvenica with some tours offered which include this beach. Don’t want to do the mass tour thing? Hire your own taxi boat and make a half day of it. A word of warning, you will have a faint, peculiar smell coming off your pores for about 2-3 days.  So, don’t do what I do and go on a lengthy road trip with your cousin…unless you roll your windows down. All that cleansing smells like a pound of dirt!

After our day trip, we parked my Uncle Zvonko’s boat near the red posted pier and ate the best grilled calamari (squid in English, or lignje-Leegnyeh in Croatian) I have ever had. While waiting for our savoury soups, I tried to gently shoo 3 wasps from drinking from my bitter lemon soda pop bottle. The waiter assured me they were domestic wasps with a wink. So I poured bitter lemon into a small dish on the side and slowly lured them away from the table.

Dinner ended with a final dip in the water and the start of the big “Bura”, or big winds where we fought against waves in his teensy boat. Fortunately, halfway to Selce, the waves subsided and the wind picked up as we made our way back to Selce by night. My Uncle is a very experienced fisherman, and we waited a little too long to get back to the mainland. We lived to tell the tale, but there was a lot of praying going on.

It is very important to consult the locals, the fisherman on matters of the winds, the “Bura” and take the car when the occasional weather change happens. The wind can look harmless and be fine to swim in from the shore, but avoid taking kayaks, floating beds or inexperienced boat trips which can carry you away.

To enjoy earth’s gifts, we have to respect that we can never conquer it.  The panoramic view of the village of Selce, our mainland refuge, can be enjoyed incoming from Krk, usually a 45 minute-1 hour ride. We would have strolled the riviera, but headed straight for bed after a day in the healing mud, sea and sun.

There are many more places to visit on Krk Island, like Vrbnik (a village built on cliffs), with a pirate ship and glass bottom boat tour from the charming village of Selce. The town of Krk, Baska (Bashka), and many more villages on Krk are as unique as the changing landscapes shaped by the sea. For more great places to visit in Croatia and around the world, please explore this world loving blog and let me know where you have enjoyed travelling.