2009

HOLIDAY ARCHIVES

2018

Holiday Greetings from a snowy Nyack, New York.

We feel thankful we were able to continue creating 

articles, photos, films, and a book about our travels in 2008. 

Here is a quartet of recent global adventures 

we’d like to share with you.

Enjoy the journey . . .

CANADA

Canadian maple syrup, old world flavor, and big air were never far away during our sweet experiences in Mont Tremblant where we reveled in a horse-drawn sleigh ride through a pristine blanket of white snow with dynamic performer Richard Lemieux singing Quebecois folksongs accompanied by his rhythmic spoon playing, improvised harmonica interludes, and the delicate jingle of the sleigh bells on the Percheron horses (an ancient breed dating back to the Ice Age).

MICRONESIA

Most visitors who flock to the idyllic, equatorial archipelago of Palau are drawn to the pristine diving in this underwater wonder of the world with colorful coral, stingless jellyfish, and uninhabited islets. Others are mesmerized by the wooden, carved storyboards depicting the legends of the land: tales of breadfruit, lovers, and the introduction of natural childbirth by Spiderman (not our superhero). But our focus was not to just visit the lovely coral reefs, eat the fruit bat soup, or view the impressive art in the local jailhouse. Our  (almost) mission impossible was to locate and collect traditional musical instruments from the independent country of Palau in northwest Micronesia and ship them to a new American museum. After meeting with everyone from fishermen to museum curators we discovered a coconut shell shark rattle, a 300-year-old conch shell, as well as a spear and war club used as rhythm instruments.

JAMAICA

“The name is Bond, James Bond,” may be a familiar refrain. Yet the story behind the origin of this well-known, fictional, British spy is a bit more obscure. Bond was born in Jamaica out of the imagination of author Ian Fleming, who enjoyed a prolonged bachelorhood. When faced with the prospect of his upcoming marriage, Fleming needed to ward off his jitters and calm his nerves. So, retreating to his idyllic winter getaway outside the banana port of Oracabessa (literally “gold head” in Spanish), he created James Bond, a character named after the author of a West Indian bird book. (Bond, an ornithologist?!) Each winter, Fleming returned to his beloved Jamaican villa where he wrote another Bond novel on his custom, gold-plated typewriter. In celebration of Fleming’s centennial birthday, we visited Goldeneye, overlooking seductive, turquoise Caribbean waters and spoke with Ramsey, who shared memories of his former employer’s fondness for rum punch, the shamelady plant, and nude swims accompanied by a harpoon. 

SPAIN

We listened to the sound of the wind as we entered this enchanted place shrouded in mist with barely illuminated stonewalls.  Urueña, a medieval walled village in Spain with a population of about 100, is not in most guidebooks or on many maps. Yet in this treasure of a town, two-and-a-half hours northwest of Madrid, you can wander down deserted narrow lanes and encounter more than a few surprises. There are three musical instrument museums housing everything from a hand-painted hurdy-gurdy to carved castanets with geometric patterns as well as bells resonating with history. The newly opened museum of the book, traces the written language and printed word, featuring ancient clay tablets inscribed with cuneiforms and hieroglyphics, illuminated manuscripts, and assorted printing presses. It’s a town where you can buy locally-made honey at the library or the bar while the gas station on the outskirts of the village serves fresh-squeezed orange juice and a delicious quiche-like, potato tortilla. Discovering the hidden gem of Urueña is a portal to the past. 


WE WISH YOU A JOYOUS HOLIDAY SEASON 

& A HEALTHY NEW YEAR!

WITH LOVE FROM IRIS AND JON










DECEMBER 2008

    Text and Photos © 2008 Iris Brooks and Jon H. Davis

2008

    Text and Photos © 2010 Iris Brooks and Jon H. Davis

    Text and Photos © 2009 Iris Brooks and Jon H. Davis

2010

   Text and Photos © 2012 Iris Brooks and Jon H. Davis

2012

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2011