Rita Cook

Midsummer, Midsummer in Sweden

by Rita Cook on August 13, 2012

midsummer celebration in Sweden

The Swedes just love their Midsummer celebration.  In fact, Midsummer is one of the biggest celebrations of the year in Sweden.  Since the Swedes must endure the long, cold winters, even just a first touch of warm weather gives them a good excuse to get outside and celebrate.  Traditionally a pagan ritual, Midsummer was the […]


Barge Cruising in France’s Burgundy Region

by Rita Cook on May 30, 2012

french barge cruise

Cruising in France’s Burgundy region is an experience that rivals the best cruises in the world.  While the boat I was on, Europeans Waterways’ La Belle Epoque, was slow going down the French canals, the scenery and world class service meant drinks within moments of asking, biking on the banks of the shallow canal, lounging […]


Peru: Cruising the Amazon in Stylish Luxury

by Rita Cook on May 28, 2012

luxury amazon cruising

Forget about trekking to the Amazon and roughing – unless you just want to do that.  Instead, check out the M/V Aria who just launched their five-star floating hotel offering cruises to the northern part of the Amazon River in Peru. Cruising is an Amazon experience in every sense of the word because it’s still all about […]


Festivals in Spain

by Rita Cook on April 30, 2012

Las Fallas - Courtesy of Valencia Tourism Board

For festivals, look no further than the country of Spain for an exciting reason to celebrate.  With as many as 50 festivals to celebrate thoughout the year, a person could literally take in a festival somewhere in Spain just about any week of the year.  For me, I have my favorites for no particular reason other than when […]


Barcelona Art: The World of Gaudi

by Rita Cook on April 27, 2012

Architecture by Gaudi-Courtesy of Barcelona Turisme

When I think of Barcelona, Spain, the thought of Antoni Gaudi, the Catalonian architect born in 1852, always comes to mind. After all, the city is covered in the man’s work.  In fact, Gaudi’s work over the years has irrevocably influenced the face of Barcelona architecture like none other before or after. Influenced primarily by nature, […]

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Legends and Myths on the Road to Santiago

by Rita Cook on April 26, 2012

Pilgrims-Courtesy Tourist Office of Spain in Miami

While many folks have heard of the Road to Santiago and it’s a to-do on many a  bucket list, the truth is that unless you have a lot of time on your hands you will likely not do the roughly 500-mile stretch of road in one trip.  Instead you might do it stages over the […]


Every Room is Different at This Madrid Hotel

by Rita Cook on April 2, 2012

White Room

Madrid’s Hotel Silken Puerta America is located in an Art Deco building about 15 minutes from the Madrid Barajas International Airport.  The 12-story building of red, purple, yellow, and orange, is the only hotel of its kind in the world and an art lover’s paradise.  The exterior of the hotel was designed by the French architect Jean […]


What Makes Belgian Chocolate So Good?

by Rita Cook on March 28, 2012

Wittamer chocolate, Brussels

Is Belgium the chocolate capital of the world?  Many say yes!  Last month on a trip to Brussels, Belgium I set out to find if that was true.  After all, every time I head to Belgium someone reminds me that I must bring back chocolate of some kind. Belgium actually got its reputation for chocolate […]

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Cooking Classes in Belgium

by Rita Cook on March 22, 2012

Cooking Time in Belgium

I’m no cook and I will be the first to admit it. However, trying my hand at a cooking school in Brussels, Belgium, with a group of friends was too much to pass up. Keep in mind I am a person who can’t even boil water – but I was assured that by the end […]


Visiting Puglia: The High Heel of Italy’s Boot

by Rita Cook on February 20, 2012

Alberobella, Puglia, Italy

If you haven’t traveled south in Italy to the Adriatic then you really are missing out by not visiting the “high heel on the boot” of Italy.  It is an alternative to Tuscany, perhaps, and a good one.  Don’t visit the same old sights every time when you can head to Italy – head south to […]