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Archives for May 2013

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Discover the wonders of World Heritage in Paphos

Cyprus has both beautiful scenery and a fascinating history. The island is full of picturesque villages, vineyards and beach resorts. If you’re looking to visit some exciting historical attractions and relax on a sandy beach, Paphos is the perfect location. With year-round sunshine and warm seawater, this area is a popular destination for tourists. The region’s natural attractions are particularly stunning with Paphos Forest, the Akamas Peninsula and the Troodos Mountains all waiting to be explored.

Moorish Fort, Paphos

Paphos is known for its top-class resorts and excellent holiday facilities. The Athena Beach Hotel is a prime example, combining a fantastic beachfront location and sea-views with modern facilities and high-quality service. This hotel is situated in a convenient location close to the main tourist area of Paphos and is just 50 metres away from a selection of bars and restaurants.

If you’re looking for a good-priced deal, the hotel offers all-inclusive packages where food, drink and accommodation are covered in the price of your stay. Book through Jet2Holidays and you could save some money as they offer great prices on package deals. Cyprus is a wonderful place to stay this summer with its sunny weather and well-priced resorts. 

What makes Paphos unique is its incredible world-famous archaeological sites like the Greco-Roman mosaics and medieval castle. The entire area is an UNESCO World Heritage Site and is set to be the European Capital of Culture in 2017 – so visit this summer before the crowds start arriving! During your holiday, make sure you check out the Tomb of the Kings, a impressive collection of rock tombs dating from the ancient Hellenistic and Roman period. These tombs belonged to noblemen and are considered to be historically important because of their unusual design. The Archaeological Museum is another popular attraction that will shed some light on the area’s rich history.

A visit to Cyprus can take you from the island’s historic crumbling fortresses and stunning Roman remnants to its modern, chic holiday facilities meaning you can get the best of both worlds! Once you have exhausted the historical sites and the sandy beaches, why not indulge in a hot-stone massage at one of Paphos’ popular spas. The Opium Health Spa is a particularly luxurious place to visit if you really need some pampering. No matter how low or high your budget is, Cyprus is the perfect place to escape to this summer.

Guest Post

photo by: ronsaunders47

Beach Dreaming and a Giveaway

The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever. – Jacques Cousteau

I love the beach. I love the sea, I love looking at it, being near it, and being in it. I love the sounds of the waves, whether they’re lapping gently or crashing to the shore.

Sunrise at Boston Beach, Jamaica

Sunrise at Boston Beach

The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears or the sea. — Isak Dinesen

I didn’t realize how important being near water was to me until some years ago. I was restless and out of sorts. Nothing I tried brought me back to myself. Then my best friend reminded me that we hadn’t gone to the beach at all that summer. It was November and cold so I bundled up, hopped on the train and took myself to Coney Island.

Morning at Boston Beach, Jamaica

Morning at Boston Beach

I still remember crossing the boardwalk, stepping onto the sand and hearing the roar of the sea. It stirred something so deep inside, I began to sob, then weep uncontrollably. A light rain had started to fall but I didn’t care. I found a huge rock near the water’s edge and sat for hours watching the waves grow larger and larger as the approached the shore, then become smaller and smaller as they receded. By the time I left, I felt at peace. I felt whole again. Since then, I never go for more than a few weeks without going to the beach. Being able to see the sea or having access to it is as important to me as how many bedrooms I have.

Boats at Negril Jamaica

Negril boats

It’s been more than a month since I’ve been to the beach and I’m getting antsy. A fractured ankle has kept me away from home and my daily view of the sea from my back porch. Now my thoughts are filled with images of beaches I’ve been and ones I’m yet to explore.

Dump Up Beach, Mobay

Mobay Beach

I can’t wait to rid my ankle of its bandages, sink my toes into the warm sand and dip them into the cool water.

The sea is flat as glass

On Jamaica’s north coast

The day I took this photo, the sea was so choppy along the coast, Falmouth-bound ships were redirected to Montego Bay. I was surprised to see how flat it was here, as flat as glass.

 If you’re lucky enough to be at the beach, you’re lucky enough. Unknown

Treasure Beach view, Jamaica

Treasure Beach

Playing football near the sea, Hector's River, Jamaica

Football near the sea

Fishermen going out to sea, Little Ochie Jamaica

Sunset boats

As much as I love the sea, I doubt I’d want to be a fisherman.

Boats waiting for the sun to set, Negril Jamaica

Waiting for the sun to set

This is the life!

Sun setting on another day at Rick's Cafe Negril Jamaica

Sunset at Rick’s Cafe

Some people can’t live without the mountains, I can’t live without the sea.

Mountain or sea, which are you?


This is my submission to Travel Photo Thursday, which is organized by Nancie at Budget Travelers Sandbox. Be sure to head over and check out more photos from locations around the world.

For even more travel photos, please check out Becca’s Friday Daydreaming series at Rwethereyetmom. Hope to see you there! 

Summer Beach Bag Giveaway –

In celebration of summer and the beach, I’m giving away a beach bag to one lucky winner. Enter by June 8th by leaving a comment, tweeting about the giveaway #beachbaggiveaway or liking us on Facebook. It’s that easy. Unfortunately, the giveaway is open only to addresses in the United States. Good luck! 



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Ahhh….Ras Natango: When Life Gives You Rocks

“When life gives you rocks,” Ahhh…Ras Natango Gallery and Garden‘s Tamika Williams said, “you make a rock garden!” That’s exactly what Tamika and her husband Ian Williams did with the half acre property they bought 25 years ago. Now, it’s a beautiful garden and gallery, a prominent eco-tourism spot in the small community of Camrose, near Montego Bay, and a fine example of “community tourism” at work.

The idea behind community tourism, which was pioneered in 1978 by local tourism consultant, Diana McIntyre-Pike and Desmond Henry, a former director of tourism, is to use tourism to promote sustainable development in rural areas by bringing visitors to communities where they wouldn’t normally go so that they’d explore and enjoy local resources and talent and meet Jamaicans where they live.

I visited Ahhh….Ras Natango Gallery and Garden earlier this year and heard from Ian and Tamika how they had transformed their piece of rock into their own idea of paradise on earth and got the community of Camrose involved by employing young people, working with the local schools by teaching students art, crafts, how to tend a garden and the benefits of composting. Their story is one of courage and determination, despite the odds, to breathe life into a vision.

I wrote about the couple and their garden yesterday but I wanted to share some of the flowers and other items I saw for today’s Travel Photo Thursday. Enjoy!

“Who takes a hillside and turns it into this?” Tamika Williams

Garden path leading to the gallery

Terraced walkway at Ahhh…Ras Natango Gallery and Garden

When I asked Tamika what the garden had taught her, she responded without hesitation that it had shown her how to be patient and gentle, and to appreciate everyone. “You can’t appreciate the rose,” she said with a twinkle in her eye, “without accepting the thorns.”

Red multi-bloom roses at Ahh....Ras Natango Gallery and Garden

Roses are red

Orchid at Ahhh....Ras Natango Garden

Phalaenopsis Orchid

Flowers on the steps at Ahhh...Ras Natango Gallery and Garden

Flowers on the stairs

Queen Achmea Bromeliad at Ahhh...Ras Natango

Queen Achmea Bromeliad

Garden lizard at Ahhh....Ras Natango Garden


Tree stump fairy villa at Ahhh....Ras Natango Garden

Fairy villa

Rock painting of three of the eighteen endemic species that can be seen at Ahhh…Ras Natango Garden and Gallery. Twenty-four species are endemic to Jamaica.

Jamaican Mango bird painting Ahhh...Ras Natango Garden

Jamaican Mango

Jamaican Woodpecker rock painting at Ahhh...Ras Natango Garden

Jamaican Woodpecker

Rock painting of the Jamaican Orange Quit bird at Ahhh...Ras Natango Gallery

Orange Quit

Rock painting of a shark's head at Ahhh...Ras Natango Garden

Caught between a rock

Rock painting of a lion's head at Ahhh...Ras Natango Garden

A Gentle Lion

Ahhh…Ras Natango Gallery and Garden is located in Camrose, St. James, about 20 minutes from Montego Bay. Entrance $30. A free shuttle service is available from town. Hours – 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on weekdays; on weekends by appointment only. 876-578-2582.

This is my submission to Travel Photo Thursday, which is organized by Nancie at Budget Travelers Sandbox. Be sure to head over and check out more photos from locations around the world.



Ahhh…Ras Natango Gallery and Garden, an Eco-Tourism Destination

When Ahhh….Ras Natango Gallery and Garden’s Ian Williams, aka Ras Natango, first saw the property that would eventually bear his name, he was looking for a place where he and his wife, Tamika, transplants from Kingston, could put down roots and raise their young son. After a bit of negotiating, he bought it on spot, telling Tamika about it only when he returned home. If he expected high fives, he was wrong. She needed more than a little convincing.

View from Ahhh...Ras Natango

View of Montego Bay

You see, the property he bought is tucked into the side of a hill, about 2,000 feet above sea level, with rocks everywhere, some the size of boulders. And it presented its own problems — like how to build on rock and, equally as important for Tamika, then a teacher and an avid gardener, where to put her garden. But Ian, the artist, had a vision and eventually, he won her over.

Part of the rock garden at Ahhh...Ras Natango Gallery and Garden

View of the rock garden

They began slowly building their home, which clings like tentacles to the hillside, starting from the top and adding space below, as needed and funds allowed. When one of the guests at the hotel Ian worked asked to see where he found his inspiration, he realized he needed a studio, and Ras Natango Gallery was born.

Making the Rock Garden

Ian and Tamika continued working and sculpting the land for their use. To create the garden, they terraced and backfilled the hillside with compost, and planted flowers that would thrive in shallow beds.

Rock painted lion at Ahhh...Ras Natango Gallery and Garden

Rock painted lion Ahhh…Ras Natango

Soon lantana, bougainvillea, gladioli, heliconia, hibiscus, zinnia, nasturtium, convolvulus, torch ginger, ginger lily, beehive ginger, cosmos, sunflower, amaryllis, lantana, bromeliads, and several other varieties bloomed. They added fruit trees (mango, guava, cherry, naseberry), and planted herbs and vegetables as well.

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