Summer Solstice Celebration in Gruyeres, Switzerland

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Knight with armor-bearer. Gruyeres feast. Switzerland.

Knight with armor-bearer. Summer solstice celebration in Gruyeres, Switzerland.

We wanted to visit Switzerland long ago, but we didn’t know what we could find there that was interesting. However, after a wonderful time at the Venice Carnival, the wish to see other medieval festivals in Europe suggested a solution. St. John’s Day in Gruyères, Switzerland, is held in June and coincides with the summer solstice.

For our distant ancestors in pre-Christian times, the summer solstice was the main celebration of the year. Seems, it was time for us now to follow tradition and jump over a ritual bonfire hand in hand.

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Why Not Return the Maltese Islands to the Order of Malta?

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Valletta, the capital of Malta.

Valletta, the capital of Malta.

Really, why not? Most of the modern attractions of Malta were created by the Knights Hospitaller. Of course, we know that the oldest building of the world is located on Gozo, one of the Maltese Islands, but most of the tourists strive to visit Malta to look at the Grand Master’s Palace, majestic cathedrals of Valletta, the city of Valletta itself, and knights’ fortresses around it.

When you approach Valletta from the sea or from the air, you certainly see the wonderful dome of the Carmelite Church. This is a postcard of Malta. The view of this dome, surrounded by yellow buildings and powerful city walls, is forever associated with Malta in the memory of every traveler who ever visited the island.

However, while the Carmelite Church is wonderful outside you will find a very simple interior. Ten minutes will be enough to enjoy it, and then I invite you to visit a real gem of Valletta. If you had the opportunity or time to visit only one attraction of Malta, I would suggest St. John’s Co-Cathedral.

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Why I Went to Ancient Crete and Why You Should

Why I Went to Ancient Crete and Why You Should

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Balos. Crete, Greece.

Balos. Crete, Greece.

Myths of ancient Greece are fairytales. I liked them from childhood and have read them all, but I don’t think that my mother read those myths to me at bedtime. Most of these ancient stories could be very successful screenplays for horror films. Take the biography of the main Greek god, Zeus, for example.

An oracle predicted to Cronus, the ruling Titan, that his son would defeat him and take his throne. To prevent such an unpleasant destiny, Cronus started to swallow every child which was born to his wife, Rhea. I don’t know how many children he swallowed, but at last, Rhea’s patience was exhausted, and she decided to give birth and raise at least one child. With this in mind, she hid in a cave on the island of Crete with the newborn child. It was Zeus. Of course, he successfully realized the prediction and became the main Olympian god.

Today, you can visit the cave of Zeus on the Greek island of Crete.

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