Mystical Machu Picchu

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Often called the “Lost City of the Incas,” Machu Picchu is a pre-Columbian, Incan site that sits nearly 8,000 feet above sea level in Peru. It is perched on a mountain ridge above the Urubamba Valley northwest of Cusco. Hidden in the mountains, this mysterious site was seemingly not found nor destroyed by the Spaniards during the height of the Spanish Conquest; it appears as if its inhabitants lived in the remote location until the late 1500s. Today, Machu Picchu is a well-preserved reflection of Inca architecture.Continue reading

Disney’s Very Merrytime Cruises

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This holiday season, delight in magical merriment at sea on the Very Merrytime Cruises—new to Disney Cruise Line—available on sailings departing November 9 to December 31, 2013! Share seasonal splendor with loved ones as you enjoy a twist on holiday traditions.

Discover a festive fusion of holiday-themed entertainment, activities and decor—with a life-sized gingerbread house, 24-foot Christmas tree, garlands, poinsettias, shimmering lights and more!Continue reading

The California Coast—A Drive from Anaheim to San Francisco, 8 Days

If you ever wondered what the “Promise Land” really looked like, just take a peek at some of the pictures that I took during our awesome drive from Anaheim to San Francisco, up California’s Pacific Coast Highway 1.

I don’t know about you, but I’d like to think that this is as close as it gets.

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Quinceañeras at Sea

15CrownflowersIn many Latin American cultures, the quinceañera, though it does not always go by that name, is an important rite of passage into adulthood for young women. The word quinceañera literally means “one who is fifteen,” and, traditionally, the quinceañera celebration is held on a girl’s fifteenth birthday, to mark her transition from child to adult.

As the ritual is an important part of many Latin American cultures, it takes on different meanings and overtones in each culture. In Mexico, the tradition of the quinceañera is thought to date back to the times of the Aztecs, although no one knows for sure. In Aztec tradition, young women were expected to marry and care for the household, so they were only taught the skills that would help them do so better. The quinceañera was a signal that the young woman was being prepared for marriage and would soon be available to do just that. The women of the village would teach the young woman the skills needed to maintain a household and be a good wife. Occasionally, if a young girl was a member of the elect, she would be chosen as a priestess, and would be trained to that end.Continue reading