Remembering JFK

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http://www.hotelkeeper.gr/ The world will never forget the 22nd of November, 1963. 50 years ago John F. Kennedy was assassinated, his death shocked the whole world. A number of events were organised to commemorate his memory. Find out more.

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Ski-Show

It’s always nice to learn about the future. The fans of winter sports, skiing and snowboarding in particular, had the chance to get a glimpse of the future of their favorite sports only last month. During the 2013 London Ski & Snowboard Show top brands presented their latest products and gave the visitors an idea of how the future of their favorite winter sports can look like. Cardiovascular training machines that can help you become a better skier, the Skia Sweetspot Ski Trainer that helps skiers to learn how to find a better balance, new versions of cameras, touch-screen sports gloves (!) for various winter sports are some of the latest gadgets that were presented for the first time to the public.

Did I forget anything? Well, Monarch Airlines interviewed some of the top brands on the field so better check for yourselves if you’re interested to find out more about winter sports gadgets and trends. Learn more here.

Most memorable childhood moments caught on film

Childhood! We’ve all been there! And I am pretty sure that for most of us childhood stands as the time of our lives. Childhood is the promising beginning of a new life, full of joy and happiness. Maybe you don’t remember it by now, but there are always those proofs to remind you of the fact that it was precisely like that! So many parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles of family friends tend to take plenty of photos of the children in their family, especially in their earliest years of life. You know, that very yearly age that ends, let’s say, around the time you turn five and you become a bit more conscious of the social norms. But up until that moment, everything is a bewildering kaleidoscopic sequence of  funny instances, situations and events – all caught by your parents and relatives either on film or on tape, one more quirkier than the other.

Let’s check on the quirkiest instances in which parents, close relatives and friends tend to immortalize on tape or film when it comes to the new-comers to life around them:

1.              At the table

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credit: “theirhistory” on Flickr

Chocolate mousse, tomato sauce and all that whipped cream! Strawberry juice, carrot puree and cranberry pudding! Imagine all of those all around the place and especially all on top of the baby! The little ones tend to eat with their hands and spread food all around them. Grownups find this to be very funny, maybe just because they get nostalgic of those days when they could do it too (?). Thing is, it seems that babies and small children have a lot of fun doing it and probably most of the photos taken of babies and small children are while sitting at the table, ‘eating’… or simply playing it Jackson Pollock with their food. Take a look at your own photo album from when you were little and tell me: how many food photos can you count? Too many to count, I suppose …

2.              Swimming with the ducks

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credit: “Tanya Dawn” on Flickr

Oh, boy! All that baby shampoo and bubble bath splashing around the whole bathroom! As much as the whole grownup population appreciates the benefits of having a modern Mira Showers model installed in their bathrooms in order to avoid the mess and leaks of water all around, they simply love it when babies make a mess. There are too many photos of babies making a mess in the bathroom while playing with their toys! Foam and water everywhere, plastic duckling thrown all over the place, as if the bathroom was a water park and grownups simply trying to catch it all on tape – especially if the baby likes it! Of course! Wish I could explain to those babies: enjoy it as it lasts! As you grow up, your mom won’t like it anymore and you will know what that means! Shouting at you from the living room not to make a mess in the bathroom while you are taking that shower … well, we’ve all been there – both babies and teens. Thing is, grownups can stand the mess in the bathroom only when it comes from a baby. The proof: the many photos that flood the photo albums – and nowadays the Facebook accounts.

3.              On the ‘throne’

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credit: “Geekybiker” on Flickr

Let’s not leave the bathroom just yet! There is yet another instance caught on film that is simply mesmerizing and quite embarrassing when looking at the proof for the already grown up former baby that must have been caught in the deed while still little. What I am talking about is the photos parents tend to take of babies while they are peeing or engaging in their ‘bare necessities’. Why!? I simply wonder! However, the thing is that parents tend to do that – take photos of their little ones in the most embarrassing moments. I still don’t know what is so funny about that! Still, it does get documented quite often! Just take a look at your own album! You might find some proof of your own self patronizing the toilet! Enjoy!

4.              By the beach

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Facing The Waves

What about those castles made of sand? Not the famous song, but the childhood memories that are kept evergreen due to those plentiful of photos that we all have from our childhood. All of that pride and happiness and satisfaction of the castle well-built, oh boy! What a joy! But isn’t there any of you who happens to have been caught in the photo just right when a wave was tearing down the feeble construction? Chances for it to happen might be at first considered to be rather slight; however, waves are many, and so are those dreadful chances of a miniature tsunami to wipe out the wonderful construction.  For sure, many of us remember not only the satisfaction of having our castles ready, but also the shock of seeing it all wiped out in an instant and the waves of tears rolling down the face. It must have been a terrible feeling back then, but it must surely make for a rather amusing memory as grown-ups, at least to a certain extent … after all, all of those castles made of sand wiped out by the big wave stood for just a very truthful lesson of life – isn’t it so?

5.              Trick or Treat!?

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Halloween Costumes 1980

Guess what! Halloween is knocking at our door and now’s the moment to catch up with the fun! Just take a look at all of those wonderful photos, all just as many memories of the greatest period in one man’s life: childhood! There is no child not to have photos taken when dressed as zombie or as Count Dracula. And if you were one of those faint-hearted, then there surely must be proof of you running scared of all your childhood friends, all wearing their quirkiest Halloween gowns. In case you don’t find any, then maybe it’s not too late to get your costume now and get going! Halloween is just around the corner! And that’s for sure the time for childish fun! Enjoy!

Rome: the eternal city of joy!

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Rome, The Eternal City

Rome – the eternal city! Who would not dream of a city break to charming Rome? Rome is a seducing place regardless of the season and of the time of the day. Whether you decide to suddenly fly to Rome for a romantic break in the middle of the winter, indulging in its sophisticated restaurants while out for a romantic dinner in the candle light or you just go out there rambling on the picturesque streets of the historical city, having your flavored cappuccino in the playful morning light, the city will never disappoint you. Would this be the reason why we all call it eternal? Maybe. There are many reasons to hop in a plane at any time and go out there, roaming around the marvelous and always surprising Rome!

As the capital city of Italy and the fifth most populous city in the European Union, with around 5 million inhabitants settled in the city and throughout the borders of the wider metropolitan area, Rome is always busy, colorful and entertaining. Rome is eternal both in the livelihood it encompasses today within its borders and in its long standing history spanning on a period of time of over 2 millennia and a half, from its legendary foundation in 753 BC. Ever since its first days of existence, Rome was meant to be grand and glorious, Rome was meant to transform and reinvent itself, while still carrying through and through a more and more consistent cultural heritage, telling its fascinating story of glamor and success.

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Rome, Main Monuments

Rome today is the third most visited city in the European Union (preceded only by London and Paris), welcoming yearly nearly 10 million tourists. No wonder so many run to Rome, as it stands out as one of the most culturally generous places to visit worldwide. There is the Vatican right in the heart of the city welcoming both Christian pilgrims and culture vultures alike, there are the archaeological remains of the victorious Ancient Rome that so many took inspiration from, there is the Villa Borghese, and the myriad of museums displaying some of humanity’s greatest creations, from antiquity until today. Moreover, there are the numerous affordable flights to Rome that can take anyone there in no time, regardless of the place you find yourself at in the world of the moment. Being so famous of a city, Rome has three airports: the Fiumicino airport and its most important, the older Ciampino and also the Roma-Urbe airport; in case you own your private jet, then the latter is the one for you, to land just a few kilometers from the city center just like a Roman emperor would do.

The infrastructure of Rome is remarkable, in the sense that it would fascinate whoever is to take a look at the map. The roads are disposed in a radial form. Rome is definitely a busy city, especially for the lucky inhabitants of this amazing place, since they might also have other worries while driving around in Rome than to be overwhelmed by the beauty of the place they are blessed with. Basically, Rome acquired its very special character in the more recent years to the particular street noise that came to be part of the identity of nowadays Rome: the inpatient and always accelerated roar of the motorbikes and scooters. Some prefer these means of getting by, since they can sneak in on every street or alley and park their vehicle absolutely everywhere. I can only imagine that they only replaced the sound of carts in Roman times, as no Roman will ever go by foot anywhere.  However, it would be a pity for any visitor not to go for long walks and get lost on the picturesque streets of Rome, stop by for an ice cream or for an espresso in the afternoon.

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Rome, Romantic Night

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Rome, Statuary

There are plenty of things to see and do in Rome when out for a walk. There are the Fontana di Trevi and the other cultural spots that are not to be missed, such as the piazzas (Piazza Navona, Piazza del Popolo, Piazza San Pietro or even Piazza di Spania), the columns (such as Trajan’s Column), the bridges over the Tibre (such as the ancient Ponte SantÁngelo or the rather Renaissance style ones Ponte Cestio, Ponte Milvio, Ponte Nomentano or Ponte Emanuele II), to briefly mention just a few attractions. In addition to that, Rome is the perfect destination for more … contemporary activities that I am sure the ancient Rome’s patricians would have craved for if transposed into nowadays realities. Part of these activities are going out for dinner and going out shopping. Food is particularly good in Rome, and I am not referring only to the pizza. Carciofi alla romana, Gnocchi di semolino alla romana, Spaghetti alla carbonara or Saltimbocca alla romana – how does this sound to you? To me, they sound just as appetizing as the big brand names to be found on the Via dei Condotti in Rome: Bulgari, Fendi, Gucci, D&G, Prada, Versace or Armani and many more. Get ready for an adventure of eternal joy – which could only be Rome! Ciao! Ci vediamo a Roma!

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Fontana di Trevi

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Piazza Navona

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Piazza Del Popolo

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Trajan’s Column

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bridge Ponte SantÁngelo

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Ponte Milvio

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Ponte Vittorio Emanuele II

Pixar Mania

Pixar Animation Studios

Pixar Animation Studios

What is it that makes us love animation? Perhaps it is the fact that there is no other artistic creation or sort of moving image that can help us escape reality in the lightest, most cheerful and playful way. The story of animation goes way back in time, at the beginning of the 20th century.  Since animation came into being as a moving image on a screen many things have changed. First of all, what has changed is the way we, adults, watch animation. Animation films have stopped being the main preoccupation of kids alone, as they might have used to be perceived not until long ago. Especially during the last few decades animation became a main entertaining cultural product for adults, just like in the beginnings of it. One of the main factors to have influenced this switch was also the tremendous success of Pixar films.

If we want to be honest and make justice to animation movies, we cannot open a conversation without at least mentioning the Japanese productions. Some of the best animated films, as well as a number of considerable innovations in the field of animation have been introduced due to Japan and the animation industry; the rest of the world just followed.  Hayao Miyazaki might be just the most well known personality and a great ambassador for the Japanese animated films industry. Spirited Away or Princess Mononoke are just a couple of Miyazaki’s masterpieces, which children and adults alike can watch and be fascinated with.

Spirited Away, Hayao Miyazaki

Spirited Away, Hayao Miyazaki

However, Japan is just one big chapter of the story of animation. Along with it, there are many other pages of it. Let’s just stop at a more recent page: that one about Pixar! When talking about Pixar films, it is always useful to remember that even Steve Jobs was involved in the whole story, as it was his own company (Apple) that funded Pixar in the very early days. Is it basically as if he could have predicted that twenty years later he would be able to sell Pixar to Disney for $7.4 billion, or is it that whatever Steve Jobs made or touched could actually turn into gold? Whatever the situation, the truth is that Pixar makes for a successful story.

The Pixar success story officially started in 1995 along with the release of the first, out of fourteen till this moment, feature-length film, Toy Story. The movie had a tremendous impact on the film industry and it opened the road for Pixar’s latest monumental successes.  If I want to be entirely honest with you, it personally took me a while to get completely fascinated with Pixar films, as I was more into Miyazaki at the time I tried out the Pixar creations. However, it did not take long for me to get hooked. And it was after I watched Finding Nemo for the first time (I watched it numerous times after) that I finally felt that the Pixar creative universe is, indeed, as special as to convince me to stay faithful to it on and on.

The latest film from Pixar to be released is Monsters University, which seems to be doing pretty well at the box office as we speak. I haven’t watched it yet, but I’m looking forward to spend another couple of hours lost in one of the most enjoyable and mind soothing parallel universes of our world!

Toy Story

Toy Story

Finding Nemo

Finding Nemo

Monsters University

Monsters University

For all of those who cannot simply wait to have another taste of Pixar, there is always the chance to plan a trip to the Walt Disney World! Over there, and especially this summer, Pixar-related attractions will make you feel like home; you just need to check on tickets available from FloridaTix and then your only concern will be which Pixar attraction to choose first!

In all of the Disney theme parks (Epcot, Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom), the visitors have the chance to find their favorite Pixar characters and to get to know their world a little bit better. Just to name a few, there is The Seas with Nemo and His Friends, The Laugh Floor featuring Monsters Inc characters, Toy Story Midway Mania, Finding Nemo The Musical and many others…

Toy Story Midway Mania, Disney California Adventure

Toy Story Midway Mania, Disney California Adventure

The Seas with Nemo and His Friends

The Seas with Nemo and His Friends

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Monster’s Inc Laugh Floor, Magic Kingdom

I have watched most of the Pixar films. Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, WALL-E and, of course, Ratatouille would be among my favorites, but I certainly don’t want to imply that any of the other Pixar movies is not worth it! Everything indicates that the story will go on and my hunch is that the story is to be continued by also maintaining the quality standards that Pixar have reached during all of these years. Currently, there are three Pixar films in production: The Good Dinosaur, Inside Out and Finding Dory. I can’t wait to watch them all!