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Sister Cities

Where is your hometown’s Sister Cities?

Post by Kary

While on a walk through Bayfront Park, I noticed a plaque recognizing Sarasota’s sister cities with a Ceremonial Tree Walk on March 17, 2003.  Sarasota has 8 sister cities!   The placard whose mission and objective reads “To Foster Peace and Understanding and to Develop Respect and Cooperation through Citizen Diplomacy” piqued my curiosity.   

Do you know your hometown's sister cities?

The Sister city program was developed by President Dwight Eisenhower in 1956.  His vision was to promote citizen diplomacy after having seen the severe hatred and after-effects of World War II.  Sarasota got involved early on in 1963 by pairing up with its first sister city, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.  This was part and parcel due to the local Hispanic heritage.  Visits began and to commemorate the exchange to this day there is an Avenida Sarasota in Santo Domingo and the Plaza de Santo Domingo is located next Sarasota’s Municipal Auditorium.  A relationship was maintained through the 1980s when Santo Domingo decided to partner with Miami and New York City instead.  Sarasota declared them to have emeritus status and moved on over the years to its current 8 sisters.

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[Guest Post] Fitness, Food & Fun in Costa Rica

Thank you to Ali Swank at aligoesthedistance.com for this great post and pictures about her recent trip to Costa Rica! Ali is one of my friends I met in college and she is very much into living a healthy and active lifestyle and helping others do the same. Now she has her own personal training business and teaches fitness classes in the Tampa area. If you are interested in running, workout tips, healthy recipes, or personal training definitely check out her website & blog.

Fitness, Food, Fun in Costa Rica. Read more on thetravelinggals.com

Fitness, Food, & Fun in Costa Rica!

I recently just took a vacation with my family on our first trip international trip to Costa Rica! Among a few other similar destinations, we chose Costa Rica for the many activities it offers such as hiking, stand up paddle boarding (SUP), the diverse wildlife, and their beaches and laid-back lifestyle.  The food was fresh and healthy yet simplified, and very tasty. We ate at local “sodas” known as diners. Sodas and most restaurants are known for serving rice and beans with a choice of meat or a Casada, which includes rice and beans, meat, small salad or coleslaw, plantains, and a vegetable. These sodas were found through the country so we definitely got our fill of these!

 Fitness, Food, Fun in Costa Rica. Read more on thetravelinggals.com

We started our trip driving to La Fortuna, a small kind of touristy town near the Arenal Volcano. The area has a lot of history and culture, being settled near the Volcano, of which one of the peaks is still active. We did a self-tour in the Arenal Hanging Bridges Park, a park with six hanging suspended bridges among the rainforest canopy. It was also a botanical park with a variety of plants, flowers, and trees as well as birds and insects. They had beautiful walking trails throughout for a self-guided walk or the option to take a tour.

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Ringling Museum of Art
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Guide to the Ringling Museum in Sarasota, FL

Guide to the Ringling Museum
Post by Kary 
Welcome to one of the many very pleasant surprises of Sarasota. For those of you who have traveled the world and visited museums in Europe and Asia, you are probably thinking, what could a museum in Sarasota have to offer? As it turns out, it has a lot to offer and is definitely worth a trip!
Set on 20 acres of waterfront property, the museum is the culmination of John and Mable Ringling’s love of Sarasota, art and Italy. There are several sections to the Ringling; The Museum of Art, the Ca’d’Zan, the Historic Asolo Theater and the Circus Museum.
Ringling Museum of Art
The Museum of Art
The 31 gallery Museum of Art is modeled after the Uffizi in Florence, Italy. It is an amazing slice of Italy in the heart of Sarasota. Leading up to the Museum building is a perfectly manicured landscape with the Lygia and the Bull sculpture. As you enter, the galleries are on either side of the building and the middle is a huge courtyard with a view of the gulf in the distance.
The courtyard is adorned with replicas of Greek and Italian sculpture with the highlight of a large bronze cast of Michelangelo’s, David. The galleries are a treasure of original paintings and objects largely by the Old Masters, Velazquez, VanDyke, Rubens and Poussin. As John Ringling was amassing his collection, he began educating himself on art and collecting. To this end, he accumulated many art books which became the foundation for the Ringling Art Library. The West Wing was added in the 1960’s to house special exhibitions. It is a modern building emphasized by Joseph’s Coat. Joseph’s Coat is a skyspace by James Turrell that allows visitors to gaze at the sky through a 24 foot opening in the ceiling designed in contemplation of light and perception. There is a continuous calendar of impressive exhibits. The current, Samurai: The Way of the Warrior is a rich and wide-ranging collection of exquisite objects from when Japan was ruled by the samurai military
class organized by Contemporanea Progetti in Florence, Italy. The Center for Asian Art is scheduled to open late February, 2016. It is an exciting expansion that will support teaching and research on Asian history and society through education, exhibitions and programs.
Traveling Gals Tip: The Museum of Art offers free admission every Monday throughout the year!

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New Year's Russia
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New Year Celebrations Around the World

Happy New Year from The Traveling Gals!

Celebrate this year with a new tradition from around the world!

Austria – Austrian revelers burn mortars which is believed to ward off all the evil spirits and negative energies of the past, and ensure everything pleasant and positive for the coming time of the New Year.

Denmark – Danish New Year’s celebrations are raucous.  It is their tradition to save up old dishes and plates all year in order to hurl them at the doors of family and friends. The shattered glassware left littering a person’s front door represents how beloved they are, depending on how many well-wishers turned out to destroy plates in the name of friendship.

New Year's in Ecuador

Ecuador

Ecuador – Ecuadorians start the New Year literally on fire.  Each New Year’s Eve, life-sized or miniature models of public figures, celebrities or fictional characters that are believed to be “sinners” are set on fire at midnight. This is meant to banish the evil of the previous year and clear the air for the New Year.

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Christmas at Disney World
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Christmas at Disney World [Updated For 2017]

Celebrating Christmas at Disney World

Our family has spent Christmas at Disney World for many years. It is our favorite place to spend the holidays. We love all the decorations, music, and holiday events throughout the World. Although we are sad that our beloved Osborne Light show is gone, there are still some wonderful things to do. Because our family is small, we enjoy being able to go out of town to celebrate Christmas at the most magical place on Earth. When we lived in Chicago, we would exchange gifts and have our big Christmas dinner a few days early before escaping the cold weather and heading down to Orlando. Now that we live only a couple hours from Orlando, it is easier than ever for us to hop in the car and celebrate Christmas at Disney World.

Christmas at Disney World - Magic Kingdom

  • Magic Kingdom

Of course there is nowhere more magical then the Magic Kingdom. (Or more crowded.) The decorations here are so beautiful and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is probably the most fun event. It is also a great way to enjoy the park with less of the crowds.

  • EPCOT

At EPCOT there is the Holidays Around the World (which has basically become Food & Wine Festival Part 2). This is a fun way to learn about holiday traditions in other countries around the World Showcase. You can also try different seasonal food and drink favorites. The Candlelight Processional is a beautiful retelling of the story of Christmas with celebrity narrators and a 50-piece orchestra. You also can’t miss Illuminations which has an added holiday presentation that is breathtaking.

  • Hollywood Studios

While we are very disappointed that the Osborne Lights are no longer at Hollywood Studios, they have sort of made up for it with the decorations, the new event this year called Sunset Seasons Greetings and Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! We still really miss the magical feeling of the Osborne Lights.

  • Animal Kingdom

Animal Kingdom doesn’t have any specific holiday celebrations, but we love the decorations! Also check out the decorations at Animal Kingdom Lodge!

  • Disney Springs

Now that everything is open at Disney Springs (and we love it! Check out our review of the Town Center) they have really brought the Christmas magic. You can also meet Santa, sing Christmas carols, and more. Oh, this is also where you can SHOP! And there is even stuff on sale! Our new favorite store is definitely Uniqlo.

 

What are your holiday traditions? Have you ever spent Christmas at Disney World? We would love to hear about it in the comments!

The Traveling Gals

 

 

 

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Celebrate Christmas at Disney World! Read more on thetravelinggals.com

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Top 5 Spooky Scotland Experiences from Tots2Travel

Thank you to Tots2Travel for sharing this post with us! If you are interested in family travel, they have a wonderful blog! Here are some seriously spooky experiences in Scotland that you can enjoy with the kiddies.

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Nowhere does Halloween like America but this year if your family is looking for history and atmosphere on All Hallow’s Eve then you should definitely let Scotland cast its spell. Here is Tots2Travel’s Top 5 spooky days out to frighten your little devils.

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Courtesy of The Real Mary King’s Close

Mary King's Close1 EDINBURGH The Real Mary King’s Close – what’s underneath your feet in Edinburgh can make you shudder – Mary King’s Close is a seriously creepy subterranean warren of underground streets. A few hundred years ago this close was home to entire families therefore all age of visitor can relate to the tales unravelling before them. Many ghost-hunters have explored the streets to see if the area is haunted but most modern tourists are attracted to the social history experience on offer.

The worst version of the close’s story is that the streets were bricked up during an outbreak of the plague leaving the inhabitants to slowly perish. Discover the truth from costumed tour guides who uncover a slice of Edinburgh street life frozen in time since the 17th century.

Costumed Character Tour Guides

Courtesy of The Real Mary King’s Close

witch-949055_12802 AYRSHIRE – One of Scotland’s best loved hoot of a poem about witches, the devil and haunted graveyards is ‘Tam O’ Shanter’. Its liveliness engages kids with Scots literature, if you don’t mind the booze references. The poem tells the raucous tale of drunken Tam who walks home inebriated and spies witches having a fair old party accompanied on the bagpipes by the Devil in Kirk Alloway. When Tam’s spotted by the wildest witch, Cutty Sark, the coven makes chase but Tam escapes over Brig o’ Doon on his trusty mare Meg. The tale’s a whirlwind of witches, music, pub banter and devilment. By taking a trip to Ayrshire you can visit Kirk Alloway, the bridge Tam famously galloped over, the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum and the Tam O’ Shanter Inn.

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How To Decide Your Next Travel Destination

How To Decide Your Next Exciting Travel Destination!

Traveling the world is full of endless possibilities.  It is exciting to think you can go anywhere in the world.  The hard part is deciding where to go!  Planning your next trip requires many different considerations and options.  The following are some strategies to help you select your next journey.

How to Decide your Next Travel Destination

WHO will be traveling?  The choice of who to travel with is significant. Planning a trip with your family is different than planning an adults only or couples trip.

WHAT is your budget?  Spend some time carefully considering your bottom line budget for this trip (including dining, shopping and extraneous spending money).  This is a very important step.  It allows you to be realistic in choosing a destination and experience that is attainable.

WHEN are you able to get away?  The time of year is very important.  The weather is such a vital component in a successful trip.  Some destinations are accessible only during certain times of the year.    The southern hemisphere seasons are reversed from the northern hemisphere.  The cost is different depending on time of year, also.  The time you are available can open up possibilities you did not think were possible or preclude you from you thought were easily attainable.

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