Galveston Texas

Exciting Travel Destinations and Tours – Rollercoasters, Beach, and Lots of Seafood Nothing like it! Strolling down the seawall in Galveston, TX on a sunny summer’s day. A light breeze tinted with the taste of salt cools your body to a comfortable temperature. Seagull’s cries cut through the background surf siphoning the sand back to the sea. Wave after wave crashes onto the huge granite blocks at the base of the seawall. Sand and water trickle in and out of the crevices. Endless possibilities. Boat? Beach? Moody Pyramids? Schlitterbahn Water Park? The Historic Pleasure Pier? Or maybe all of them? … Continue reading

Ocean Expo Park, Okinawa (Part II)

Exciting Travel Destinations and Tours – Ocean Expo Park, Okinawa (Part II) Where could you take your Valentine on a beautiful island vacation? Why the Okinawa Ocean Expo Park, of course! If you look at the beautiful flower arrangements they have in the Tropical Dream Garden, your eyes will feast on a profusion of colors: shocking pink, electric blue, emerald green, deep purple, and golden yellows. The color bouquets are surrounded by the leafy green fronds of water plants and palm trees. Orange pots provide another splotch of contrasting paint to a bright canvas of lush proportions. If you are … Continue reading

Ocean Expo Park, Okinawa (Part I)

Exciting Travel Destinations and Tours – Ocean Expo Park, Okinawa (Part I) Welcome to our new friends of the Zook Books’ Exciting Destination Blog. I’ve enjoyed meeting you at the Texas Teen Book Festival, the Texas Library Association, and other book-signing events. Check out last month’s blog on the Shurijo Castle for another tremendous Okinawa treasure. Okinawa, Japan, the main island of the Ryukyu chain, serves as a tropical paradise for many Far East nations. Think of it as a superb vacation resort. Bring sunscreen and light clothing for your day at the Ocean Expo Park. The lush tropical vegetation, … Continue reading

Shurijo Castle, Okinawa

Exciting Travel Destinations and Tours – Shurijo Castle, Okinawa The land where the palm trees sway—although this is a line from a favorite song of mine, Mele Kalikimaka, that Bing Crosby sang about Christmas on the tropical paradise of Hawaii, the phrase also applies to Okinawa, Japan, the main island of the Ryukyu chain. As with many other tourist areas, Okinawa is a place that takes several weeks, if not months, to fully explore. The island is about 70 miles long and 7 miles at the widest point. The narrowest section is two miles. The lush tropical vegetation includes gorgeous … Continue reading

Main Course 2 – The Colosseum – Rome, Italy

Exciting Travel Destinations and Tours – Rome, Italy Our second main course in Rome is the Colosseum. The Colosseum may derive its name from a gigantic statue know as the Colossus that stood nearby. The statue represented Nero. The massive structure of the Colosseum was an engineering marvel for its day. Known as an amphitheater, which literally means two theaters combined, it included four stories above ground and the necessary subfloors to house the wild beasts, gladiators, and other props necessary for entertaining the crowd. It is the largest amphitheater ever constructed. Started in AD 72 by Vespasian, the completion … Continue reading

Main Course 1 – The Forum – Rome, Italy

Exciting Travel Destinations and Tours – Rome, Italy Ancient Rome—the center of world commerce for centuries. Our first Rome main course starts in the center of city life—the Forum. Built on marshy land drained into the nearby Tiber River, the Forum was the meeting place for trade, commerce, and eventually became the location for numerous temples devoted to the main Roman Gods. Within easy walking distance, the cattle and vegetable markets (near the Tiber), Marcellus’ Theater, an outdoor amphitheater, the Circus Maximus, the Hippodrome of Domitian, Titus and Trajan’s Baths, and the Colosseum bordered the Forum. From around 700 B.C. … Continue reading

Rome Appetizer 2 – Capitoline – Rome, Italy

Exciting Travel Destinations and Tours – Rome, Italy Rome—a destination of love and conquest, of fame and ruin. For our second Rome appetizer, we leave Piazza Venezia and move on to the Capitoline, the most famous of the Seven Hills of Rome. The hill consists of two separate hilltops used for different purposes. The church of Santa Maria in Aracoeli currently stands on one hilltop, the other occupied by the remains of the Great Temple of Jupiter. A massive structure awaits us at the center of the two hills. The Piazza el Campidoglio. Michelangelo conceived this plaza, which contains three … Continue reading

Rome Appetizer 1 – Piazza Venezia – Rome, Italy

Exciting Travel Destinations and Tours – Rome, Italy Rome is an incredible destination for a traveler who wants to see what was once a world capital for the European and Middle Eastern continent. Rome dominated with brute force, power, and political might. The remains of the great capitol city inspired many poets, artists, and movie industry professionals to create a rich cultural legacy. It was once said that, “All roads lead to Rome.” A detailed description is too much for this short blog. I’d like to whet your appetite for this scrumptious Rome meal of tourist attractions with a few … Continue reading

The Isle of Capri

Exciting Travel Destinations and Tours – The Isle of Capri – Italy We have to go back. I know it in my heart. I remember listening to the ocean break against the rocky cliffs or gazing into azure waters that spilled white foam on the beach. While some luxuriated in a warm-water swim, snorkel or scuba dive, others rocked on sailing vessels of all types, yachts, touring vessels, and other sea-going transports. The Isle of Capri is a magical, lush paradise, if one exists on this earth. We arrived in the Marina Grande, cruising in on a high-speed catamaran. The … Continue reading

The Königssee (The King’s Lake)

Exciting Travel Destinations and Tours – The Königssee (The King’s Lake) Do you crave the sounds, scents, and sights of a natural setting? Make the time to get away from the bustle of a city for the country flavor of tiny villages in the mountains. Glide in a boat across a glassy lake, visit a historical chapel, and hike to Germany’s highest waterfall, all in one location. Nestled at the base of famous mountains towering as high as 2713 meters, or about 8,900 feet, the Königssee’s crystal clear waters reflect the majesty of snowcapped peaks even in the summertime. This … Continue reading