Floriade 2012

2012 Floriade

The Floriade World Horticultural Expo has been held in the Netherlands every 10 years since 1960. This decade’s World Horticultural Expo is being held from April 5 to October 7, 2012 in Venlo, Netherlands. Guests will be able to enjoy flowers, plants, trees, fruits, vegetables all  in a park like setting.

The Expo will cover 163 acres and consist of 5 themed areas separated by woods. The themes are: Relax and Heal, Green Engine, Education and Innovation, the Environment, and World Show Stage.

You can wander through gardens designed by world famous landscape architects and artists. Every day at Floriade is also much more than just plants. The Expo will also feature music, dance, literature, theater and visual art from around the world. Foodies can enjoy local and international cuisine at the various restaurants and cafes on site.


Each themed area will also offer the best of international cuisine. You can imagine yourself on a Spanish Beach or enjoy regional cuisine from the Netherlands. Each garden area offers unique international culinary experiences.

The Floriade allows you to be a part of the garden. Allow the plants to remind you how important they are in our daily lives. Listen to music and enjoy theater. Marvel at the beauty of the gardens in bloom, and enjoy occasional tranquil moment. Enjoy the 2012 Floriade. It will be 10 years before it returns! www.floriade.com/floriade2012



Barcelona & Montserrat 085

Montserrat, Spain

Finding the right shore excursion for your one day cruise stop always leaves you anxious. So many choices, so little time. We had picked our Med cruise for an overview of Europe. I had never been to the Med, my more traveled wife had been years ago. We based our shore trip choices for well rounded exposure to the culture and sights of the region. For Barcelona, we did the city tour and then a trip to Montserrat. We got the highlights of Barcelona, with plenty of Gaudi, a drive through the country side and a tour of the remote abbey at Montserrat.
A rewarding day trip destination from Barcelona is the Benedictine monk retreat of Montserrat. Montserrat or “jagged mountain” in Catalan is the home of the Benedictine abbey, Santa Maria de Montserrat. It has called pilgrims for hundreds of years. The Monastery has religious significance and the ride there will treat you with visions of small villages tucked in the mountains. Once you are there, the vista is breathtaking.
Hikers will be rewarded with some of the most unusual rock formations in Catalonia and of course vistas of the country side. Take the funicular (cable car) to the top of the mountain If you enjoy walking there are also some interesting walks through the mountains where you will experience magnificent views of some of the most unusual rock formations in the whole of Catalonia. You can take a funicular to the top of the mountain and from there you can choose a number of different walks, all with amazing views of the Catalonian countryside.
Montserrat’s religious significance began in 880 when a group of shepherd children saw a bright light descending from the sky accompanied by angles singing. The children ran to tell their parents who went to see for themselves. The parents experienced the same vision, not only once but for whole month. The obvious conclusion was that this was a sign from God.
A local vicar substantiated the vision in a cave on Montserrat. Exploration of the cave yielded an image of the Virgin Mary. The site of the visions is marked by a Holy Grotto, an ordained holy place that is visited by pilgrims and the curious from around the world.
The monastery is home to one of the oldest publishing houses in the world, publishing since 1499. It also is the home for the Virgin of Montserrat, Catalonia’s favorite saint. The Montserrat Boy’s Choir (Escolania) is one of the oldest in Europe. The Basilica’s museum houses works of many important sculptors and painters, including El Greco, Dali and Picasso. www.sacreddestinations.com
Ever the foodies, one of our found memories of our day was the local farmer’s cheese and honey we bought from the vendors inside the grounds. The altitude will bring a chill, be sure to take a jacket, and bring a good camera. On a clear day you can see Majorca, but even if it is not clear, you will be rewarded with a breathtaking panorama of Catalonia.