Remembering JFK

resize 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.

Rome: the eternal city of joy!


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.


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.


Rome, Romantic Night


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!


Fontana di Trevi


Piazza Navona


Piazza Del Popolo


Trajan’s Column


bridge Ponte SantÁngelo


Ponte Milvio


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


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!

Remembering Asterix

Asteris & Obelix

Asteris & Obelix

Why is it that we love Asterix and his adventures? One could argue that people will always love the spirit of resistance, the idea that they will always be a few who will never surrender, but fight and never give up, as irrationally and stubbornly as one might actually dare to think that it even fringes absurdity at times. Some others would probably say that it was this particular French humor incorporated in the pages of Asterix that made them laugh continuously. Finally, it would be safe to argue that Asterix will always remind us of the good old days of comics when people didn’t die like flies; as a matter of fact, no one ever dies in Asterix! There seems to be a certain degree of innocence in old European comics such as Tintin or Asterix; kids today are exposed to much more violent and cynical comic creations. Every time period imposes its own rules and attitudes and this element transcends through the pages of Asterix.


Asterix, The Village

I personally grew up with Asterix… and not only! Lucky Luke was also one of my childhood heroes. With Asterix, though, I had a bigger chance of bursting into laughter as Obelix, Asterix’s best friend and companion in all kinds of adventures, was admittedly a hilarious character. Obelix could not take even a step without that reassuring presence of his beloved doggie named Idefix. A charming character, indeed!

Cacofonix & Idefix

What was also of great importance in Asterix’s enormous success worldwide was the importance on the details. Asterix’s village, the only village of Gaul (nowadays France) resisting to the Roman rule, was filled with a number of attractive characters, all of them adding to the general picture. My personal favorite would have been (without a single doubt) the village’s bard, Cacofonix: in the end of each book, he was to be found tied on a tree in order not to sing for yet another time with what was considered by his fellow villages as a terribly annoying singing voice!

But enough with slipping down the memory lane! Now is just about time for some good news: Asterix intends to live forever! The comic was originally created by Rene Goscinny (writer) and Albert Uderzo (illustrator), but it continued to reach the audience even after the premature death of Goscinny back in 1977. Uderzo took over and published a few more of Asterix’s adventures in the ancient Roman world and as it seems as definite by now, Asterix will continue to explore new lands and seek for new adventures even without Uderzo’s creative efforts.

There is a new book coming out this year entitled Asterix and the Picts. It will actually be the first Asterix book ever created without Uderzo’s active participation on the project, but it will be released with his full permission. Now, there has been a challenging debate going on lately concerning the fact of whether the new Asterix, which is to be made without the guidance and the creative spirit of at least one of its two original creators, will continue to entertain the readers in the same engaging way that it got its fans used to over the decades.  My opinion is that it was just about time for Asterix to enter a new era, while paying all respect to its particular history. Asterix has grown bigger and bigger over the decades, exceeding expectations. Asterix even has his own theme park! Located just outside Paris, the Parc Asterix receives over 1.5 million visitors per year. You can easily book your own tickets at AttractionTix and live the experience in one of the park’s many roller-coasters and other fun activities.






I’m personally looking forward to the new Asterix coming out later this year, given the fact that I was slightly disappointed by the last book, entitled Asterix and the Falling Sky, where some… aliens arrive in the village. I do hope that new creators will revive the French legend and new readers and fans will learn about the unbeatable and brave Asterix and Obelix.

Till then, one can always watch one of the four live action movies that have been released over the years, which have met consistent box office success. What is more, there is an upcoming new Asterix animated film expected in 2014. Asterix : The Land of Gods will be the first animated Asterix movie in stereoscopy 3D. Get ready for the new adventures!

Three engaging ways of learning about … Whales!

Jumping Whale

Whales – the wonderful mysterious creatures of the oceans! Whales are immense mammals populating the oceans, fully adapted to life in the water. They have been living in the deep waters since times immemorial – let’s say around 50 million years ago.

Whales are very special creatures belonging to the Cetacea order and they come in various kinds and sizes, according to the sub-order they are part of. Therefore, we have the Mysticeti (or baleen whales), part of which are the blue whale, the minke whale, the bowhead whale and the humpback whale; and then we have the Odontoceti sub-order – meaning toothed whales – and these are the pilot whale, the beluga whale, the killer whale and the sperm whale or cachalot, which is actually from 16 to 20.5 meters long and the mammal with the largest brain living on Planet Earth.

There are various ways of learning about whales. One could easily do some research about these creatures and expand on the amount of information about whales. But one could also choose more entertaining and engaging ways of learning about these amazing mammals – some of the oldest on our planet – that could not only enlarge the amount of information, but could also increase the level of understanding of the information receives and also of awareness concerning this species.

Let me give you just a few examples:

Natural Science Museum or, why not, The Whale Museum

You can go and visit a natural science museum in your area. Natural science museums usually display information in a visitor-friendly manner, so that you can easily learn about our planet. Also, children love these types of museums, as they can sometimes see displayed skeletons of the creatures that they learn about. Paying a visit to a natural sciences museum is a great experience for children and parents alike to expand their knowledge and vision about Planet Earth. Or, why not, if you are indeed keen on learning all that can be learned about whales in a museum, then you can simply visit The Whale Museum located in Friday Harbor in the San Juan Islands.

Why not have dinner with a whale?

SeaWorld Florida, Whale Show

However, if you are not quite the museum type and you have never had the geek’s attitude, but rather that of a more active person, set on fun and adventure, there is another thrilling way to learn about whales along with all of your family. For sure the children will be exhilarated if you surprise them with some SeaWorld tickets from FloridaTix. There is that they could watch not only whales, but also penguins and dolphins. Plus, what you could so is dine with Shamu – the VIP killer whale of the SeaWorld in Orlando, Florida. Don’t worry – there will be a thick glass between you, not for you to somehow accidentally turn into Shamu’s dinner, after all. It would surely be a most amazing and unforgettable experience and maybe the closest you could have to a whale, given that special safety measures are taken by the park’s administration for you to enjoy what could be the most entertaining way of learning about whales without risking to become the bate.

Back to school!

Read Moby Dick and live a great adventure along with Captain Ahab and his crew!

If you have always been the introspective type then there would be a most enjoyable way for you to get a thorough understanding of what a whale is all about. There is a book that has become a classic and is one of the most appreciated treasures of literature that the American culture has ever given to humanity: Moby Dick by Herman Melville. Ever since it has been first published in 1851 the book made an impact on the audience, especially because back in those days of the 19th century whalers were astutely hunting these wonderful creatures of the seas and waters for their oil and meat. You will get caught in the adventures of Captain Ahab and his obsession with Moby Dick and his revenge upon the whale that had left him crippled, but in many other aspects that accurately reflect both the spirit of an era and matters that lie deeply in the human nature. The whole book follows a hunt of a creature that seems bigger than life itself – a whale, the whale, The Moby Dick, which captain Ahab sees as a foe, attributing to it some rather human features that actually reflect his own human self, sometimes in the darkest corners of it.

One must understand, though, the perspective of the writer and the time when the novel has been written, as back then, in the 19th century, there were many incidents concerning whales; many have died trying, but some have also succeeded in killing whales – unfortunately! Because nowadays whales are considered to be vulnerable species (with some kinds of whales even being considered extinct species, such as the sperm whale or cachalot, Moby Dick being one of these also) and maybe you should always have this in mind throughout your educational quests, no matter which one you will go for.


Around the world in 80… showers!

Traveling all around the world is the dream of many of us. Ever since 1873, when Jules Verne published his renowned book Around the World in 80 Days, the world is set on this particular number: 80! Up until today, Verne’s influential book is still thought to be a cultural reference that inspires many and feeds the imagination of even more… Today, it might be easier to travel all around the globe in 80 days, though. The world has changed in a remarkable manner since 1873!

As a matter of fact everyone must have given a thought or two to traveling all around the world in 80 days, at least for a fleeting instant. Back in our childhood we must have surely fancied about it, especially when reading Verne’s novel. As grown-ups, we might fancy it still, especially during those stressful days at work or when at home while checking on the bills. Doesn’t it feels like running away!? Doesn’t it feel like taking a refreshing break sometimes? Doesn’t it feel that it’s just about time to go for the adventure of your lifetime all around the globe in 80 days? For sure it does, for many of us!  Still, truth is, not all of us have the chance to go for it. However, for those who have, the idea of traveling around the world in 80 days might seem not so original and authentic anymore.

But what about traveling all around the world in 80 showers!? If it might be too boring of a thought to travel the world in 80 days, then it is at least intriguing to travel the world in 80… showers! Quite recently, a traveler completed a fascinating voyage around the world his quest for showers. His aim and target was to witness, take notice and try out for himself as many showering experiences as possible.

Gary Knox, a blogger and a traveler who got stroke by luck was the one to be chosen among 600 candidates to travel on behalf of Mira Showers, a popular brand in the world of showers. Knox wondered around the world for months, updating everyone about his latest adventures through his social media accounts.

Knox visited India, Panama, Australia, New Zealand, America, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Hong Kong, among various other places. As for what he saw and experience… well, he took a bath with the lovely elephants of Kerala in wonderful India, for starters! He also visited Queenstown in New Zealand, where the world’s first commercial jumping site is located. He did jump, yes! from a height of 43 meters, as a matter of fact! He visited the pilgrimage of Kumbh Mela in what must have been an unforgettable experience, as Kumbh Mela is the place where millions of Hindus celebrate their very much alive beliefs and tradition every 12 years. Who can ever doubt that Gary Knox is a lucky man!? He even made it to Niagara Falls! He crossed the Panama Canal and, more or less, he did go on the traces of Jules Verne’s fascinating and adventurous characters…

To travel the world in 80 showers must have been an enriching, fun and educative trip. Gary Knox must have enjoyed it the most, but same goes for all those following his Facebook account for months, waiting to get a glimpse of his new adventures in so many different corners of the world.

Apart from being organized for entertaining or commercial purposes, the trip sponsored by the top shower brand Mira Showers along with travel agents WeHoliday and WeFly ,also stood for a humane chance and a remarkable opportunity to raise awareness on issues of poverty. Knox’s trip was also linked with WaterAid, a global charity organization aiming to improve access to drinkable or clean water in Third World countries. It is deeply sad to think about the daily reality of people who do not have access to drinking water. Knox witnessed this harsh reality that some of our fellow humans have to face daily in their lives. Raising funds for Water Aid continues even after Knox’s trip is over, as he kept us posted through his blog and brought a great deal of attention around the issue. We can now only hope that more and more people will get the help they need due to a noble cause that should definitely concern us all.

I hope that this effort will find inspire more and we’ll have the chance to see it happening again in the near future!