Maria Tallchief, America’s Most Famous Prima Ballerina

Although she became one of the most famous prima ballerinas in America, Maria Tallchief was a young girl much like many other young girls her age. She loved horses and exploring the wide, open spaces of nature. She was born in Oklahoma, the daughter of a Native American Indian Chief of the Osage Nation. Her mother had dreams for Maria and her sister, Marjorie, to become famous entertainers. When Maria was three, she was sent to ballet class. Even when she was young, she was already working very hard. Her days were filled with schoolwork and ballet and music lessons. She and her sister often performed at local events and rodeos.
In 1933, when Maria was eight, the family packed up the car and drove to Los Angeles to start a new life. Maria was amazed to see huge groves of orange trees and the Pacific Ocean, which scared her a bit, since she had never seen so much water before. Before she knew it, her mother had found a new place to live and a new ballet school, right in the neighborhood where they made their first stop after arriving in Los Angeles.
Maria never really committed to being a ballerina until she was twelve, when she began classes with the famous Russian ballerina named Bronisalva Nijinska, who had a powerful personality, and was a very demanding teacher. From her, Maria learned to be disciplined and precise and that being a dancer requires hard work. It was at this time that she made the choice to become a ballerina and dedicate herself to her art.
Her burning desire to dance brought her to many places, including Europe, where she danced with the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo and the Paris Opera. While she was in Europe, she met George Balanchine, a Russian choreographer. She became his wife, and they returned to America, where he founded the New York City Ballet. Maria became the company’s first prima ballerina. She danced as many as eight performances a week, and her legend grew because she was such an energetic and powerful dancer. Balanchine created more than thirty-two ballets for her, including The Firebird, and the Sugarplum Fairy in the Nutcracker. The ballets she danced were very difficult, but her dancing looked effortless. Her complete devotion, discipline and hard work made her incredibly famous.
Tallchief danced with New York City Ballet until 1960, although she was a guest artist in the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo from 1955-1956, where she was paid the highest salary a dancer had ever received. In 1962She was Rudolph Nuryev’s chosen partner for his first televised American performance after he defected from Russia. She continued to dance with New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theater and other groups until her retirement in 1965. The announcement of her retirement came as a shock, since she was only forty-one years old, but she made the decision to retire while she was still in her prime.
She chose to share her considerable knowledge and love of dance with other young dancers, teaching them to devote themselves with a single point of focus as dancers. She founded the Chicago City Ballet with her sister Marjorie in 1981, and served as artistic director there until 1987 and artistic advisor to Chicago Festival Ballet from 1990 through present day. She has received the Kennedy Center Honors and the National Medal of Arts from the National Endowment of the Arts in Washington D.C.

Traveling to Spain Is Incredible

Located on the west side of Europe, Spain is a beautiful country; diversified and filled with attractions, Spain shares the famous Iberian Peninsula with Portugal, Andorra and Gibraltar. Spain is a nation of massive cultural and geographical diversity, commonly a shock for vacationers who are hoping to come across a country mostly recognized for its beach tourism. If you choose to travel to the Spanish territory, you’ll meet in your way much more than you would expect. The green valleys, snowy mountains, beautiful hills and lush meadows will surely manage to impress you. Its seashores are likewise well-known and really worth traveling to. The western and south part of Spain is entitled with beautiful coasts and famous beaches, while the North side is more compact and relaxing entitled with creeks and appealing wastelands.
Every year Spain manages to gather millions of international travelers. The amazing places of interest, engaging activities and welcoming accommodations have really turned Spain into an ideal summer spot. Madrid, the capital is positioned in the center of the country. Also known as the heart of Spain, Madrid is directly linked to the main provinces. It has a well developed cultural and financial history and it is a city worth admiring. Moving a bit south, we get to Barcelona, the favorite city of tourists from around the world. Aside from being extremely developed, Barcelona is the perfect combination of urbanism, technology and beach resort. Here tourists have a lot of activities to try out and most of them are linked to water sports. So as to describe Spain in a couples of words, you should know that the territory is just magic; topped with flamenco dancers, bullfighters and sangria drinks, the country is definitely a place to take into account whenever you’re getting ready for a summer retreat. Yet, Spain is not just about the coastlines. The north side of the country is covered in emerald mountains beautiful castles and interesting medieval towns.
Some of Spain’s most famous destinations apart from the main land are islands of the Canaries, Mallorca and Ibiza. As part of the Canary Islands we distinguish Tenerife, the biggest island and the most famous. Some beautiful places to admire in Tenerife are Puerto de la Cruz, Los Cristianos, Santa Cruz de Tenerife and Playa de las Americas. Tenerife is a beautiful summer destination with breathtaking landscapes and appealing places of interest. Within the island, you’ll come across numerous engaging resorts and summer spots to take advantage of.
Another popular destination in Spain is the island of Gran Canaria, also a part of the Canary Islands archipelago. With nearly 8 million inhabitants, the destination is a fabulous location for a summer getaway. Additionally called a continent in miniature, Grand Canaria comes along with endless beaches, beautiful dunes, picturesque village and abundant vegetation. Las Palmas and Play del Ingles are 2 of its most crowded locations. Every year millions of travelers come to Grad Canaria to enjoy the weather and try out the array of water activities. For family enthusiasts, the best locations on the island are Maspalomas- an old fashioned touristic town and Meloneras. Enjoy your retreat, have some real fun choose to come back some day to Gran Canaria. The location is indeed mesmerizing. The beautiful natural attractions and the breathtaking scenery will convert your adventure into the ultimate experience.
Teenagers and young people who want to party all night long should definitely check out Puerto Rico as well. Here the beach parties, water activities and thrilling sports are constantly attracting more students every year. Additionally, you can rent a boat and go off shore to enjoy dolphin watching, wind surfing or sailing. Fuerteventura is also an exceptional island of the Canaries you might want to take a closer look at. The UNESCO reserve is ideal for tourists who want to explore the hails and esteem the unusual beaches. Caleta de Fuste is a beautiful summer resort in Fuerteventura. Mostly preferred by couples, the place is quiet and tranquil usually appropriate for those who want to be alone.
Although all the above mentioned destinations were pretty engaging for a summer escapade, Spain’s centerpiece in terms of beaches is definitely Mallorca. Entitled with numerous clubs, luxury resorts and smooth coastlines, Mallorca is a paradise of Spain that gathers unlimited tourists every year. As soon as you get here, remember to visit the most important places, namely Santa Ponsa, one of the best beaches and Palma, the main city.

Portugal – A Country For Every Kind of Taste

If you are thinking about visiting this beautiful country on southern Europe, you need to know which regions should be in all Portugal vacation packages. If you aren’t able to visit all of them in one trip, even better because it means you will come back.
North – Besides its colorful villages, this region of Portugal is known for its natural beauty, with a lot of green areas, perfect for those who like Nature. This part of the country is ideal for people that enjoy good food and wine. The origins of the internationally famous Port wine lie on northern Portugal. On the river Douro’s shores, you can enjoy the harvest and even participate in the jam of this superb wine.
Center – The center of Portugal has so many different regions that it seems almost impossible that they all belong to the same country. From Coimbra, the city of Roman origin, to the coastline with magnificent beaches where you can eat delicious fish caught every morning by Portuguese fishermen and Serra da Estrela where people around the country go to ski in winter, this country has everything to make your stay memorable.
Lisbon – There is so much to talk about Lisbon that it’s necessary to dedicate this city a whole article, so we are going to focus on the region where the capital of Portugal is situated, which can’t be left out of a journey around the country. Up north, we find Fatima, a mandatory place of pilgrimage for those who are Catholic but even those who don’t believe in God or have other religion, can overlook the mysticism of this sanctuary. Other place you can’t miss during your vacations is the magical town of Sintra with a marvelous view over the ocean and over Lisbon close to the river Tagus.
Alentejo – This quiet region is known for the high temperatures in the summer and the calmness of its inhabitants. With lovely and almost desert beaches along the coastline, the Alentejo has plain fields covered by olive trees, vineyards and flocks of sheep. Evora, famous for the Temple of Diana, which proves the passage of the Romans through the town is classified as World Heritage by UNESCO. All over the town you can see gothic and renaissance churches which show the mix of cultures that were in the origin of the town.
Algarve – The southern coast of Portugal is a touristic place being much visited both by Portuguese people and foreigners during their vacations. Bathed by the Mediterranean Sea, the Algarve is known for its mild weather almost all year and for its fantastic beaches. One of Algarve’s main attractions is the large offer of golf courses, which makes this region one of the favorite destinations for those who practice this cities and villages reflect the heritage left by the Arabic presence in the territory, present in the architecture, namely on the chimneys of the houses known for its geometrical shape.
Islands – Besides the mainland, Portugal possesses two archipelagos, the Madeira and the Azores. The island of Madeira is a charming holiday destination mainly because of the mild weather, which results from the Golf water currents that bathe the region. Amazing landscapes characterized by mountains contrast with the exuberant green of the vineyards, the bananas plantations and other crops. The archipelago of Azores has nine islands where you can discover a superb flora of European and Mediterranean origins. The Azores is a paradise of forests, which cover great part of the mountains of almost all nine islands.

Make Your Way Through the Greek Islands by Ferry!

There is no doubt that Greece is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. “The Jewel of Mediterranean,” as it has been previously called, has the tenth longest coastline in the world at 14,880 km (9,246 mi) in length, featuring an enormous number of islands (approximately 1400, of which only 227 are inhabited). Millions of tourists visit Greece every year (mostly during the summer months) and leave the country with many wonderful memories that are hard to forget.
I am convinced that any traveler that has visited Greece will surely tell you about the natural beauty of the country and about its rich cultural background. Most travelers visit the Greek Islands because they combine all the assets mentioned above plus they have wonderful beaches where the traveler can enjoy swimming.
There are many ways that a traveler can access the islands. He can either go there by air (most major Greek Islands have airports) or by sea. Although the idea of traveling by plane can be rather tempting and comfortable, it can also be rather expensive. Moreover, another good idea is taking a cruise to the Greek islands – however it can also be rather expensive and does not give you the freedom to explore the islands by yourself.
In my opinion, the most enjoyable way to travel through Greek islands is by ferry. Traveling by ferry is most suitable for the kind of traveler that loves the sea and considers ferries as part of his holiday. These people are the lucky ones who can treat a long ferry journey as a fun thing to do, rather than a business traveler who just wants to get to his destination as quick as possible. The ferries in Greece are modern, fast and comfortable.
No matter in which way you decide to visit Greece and regardless of the time of the year Greece surely give you some unforgettable experiences…

7 Reasons Why Iceland, Land of Fire and Ice, Should Be on Your Vacation List

1. One of the reasons why an Iceland vacation is so popular, and should not be missed, is that the country is dotted with hot springs and thermal pools which are often perfect for bathing in. These may seem like an unusual contrast in areas where there is plenty of snow and ice, and they make a unique bathing attraction which brings in visitors from around the world.
2. There are a large number of both geysers and glaciers in Iceland, and these are fascinating to see. Many of the glaciers are enormous, and there are geysers that can be found in some unexpected spots. These natural formations and geyser activity may not be seen often in other areas of the world, but in Iceland they are seen very frequently.
3. Another reason that an Iceland vacation should be on your short list of possible destinations is the population of this country. The people are known to be very welcoming and friendly, yet tough and independent at the same time. Friendliness is a national attribute, and a stay in this country will make you feel right at home.
4. You can arrange for an Iceland vacation that can fit in almost any budget, from one which is small and modest to one that is large and includes a number of luxury preferences. There are many different levels and price ranges for every aspect of your stay, including your lodging, food, drinks, and others. Whether you are on a tight allowance or you have an unlimited supply of cash you can have a great time here.
5. The incredible night life in Iceland is almost unbelievable. Many of the bars and clubs do not open until midnight or later, and then they do not close until 8am or later. The visitors and locals both will go from one establishment to the next, enjoying great drinks, fantastic food, and all of the socializing they could possibly want.
6. The scenic highlands and beautiful vistas, with a natural beauty which is untouched and pristine in most areas of the country, is one of the top reasons to choose an Iceland vacation. This is a land that is still the same in many ways as it was hundreds or even thousands of years ago. The landscapes consist of scenes and views which are incredible.
7. Iceland is a country with a large number of volcanoes, some dormant and some that are still active in a number of ways. These volcanoes are responsible for the thermal pools and the geysers, and they can make an Iceland vacation a unique experience which cannot be found anywhere else in the world.

Denmark For the Tourist

In the peace and quiet of this little country of Denmark, it’s difficult to imagine barbaric Vikings strutting around with their swords and spears. Tourists of all kinds will find Denmark a great destination with everything from sandy beaches, fjords and coves to scenic country side with ring forts and castles and centuries old monuments to savor. Denmark is best visited during August but April to October is quite acceptable as the weather is hospitable during this time.
Copenhagen is the capital city of Denmark and this city is on the islands Amager and Zealand. Copenhagen is famous for houses with spires and copper roofs and this city has even received the nickname as the city of copper roofs. Copnhagen enchants tourists with its cobbled streets and the Little mermaid that can be found at the entrance to the harbor among other things.
The city of Copenhagen is one of the most tourist friendly cities in the world and offers a lot of sights that are of aesthetic or historical value such as parks, monuments, gardens and old build buildings and as every other city famous among tourists does, Copenhagen also has its own amusement park called the Tivoli. The city has a wide network of rail links that are quite inexpensive and provide for an excellent mode of public transport for the tourist as well as the locals.
There are many tours one can take in the city of Copenhagen that includes Vikingland tour which will take you to a Viking ship Museum where samples of ships built by the Vikings are kept. The royal tour takes one to the Kristianborg palace and there is also a tour of the well known Carlsberg brewery.
Tourism in Denmark is not just restricted to the city of Copenhagen as there are a plethora of other destinations that Denmark offers. Aalborg finds itself as home to a large burial ground for Vikings in addition to an old renaissance building. There are a group of over 60 buildings here in this city that are of historical or architectural interest that have been moved in their entirety to this spot from all over Denmark.
Funen is another place that should be included on every itinerary. This place is referred to as the ‘Garden of Denmark’ as its country sides are just beautiful with ancient parks and gardens which house mansions and castles and everything else that you can relate to the times of royalty and mysticism. The main city of Funen is Odense and is named after Oden, a Norse god. This city is referred to as the ‘City of fairytales’, it’s interesting how every place in Denmark seems to have a title bestowed upon it. Hans Christian Robertson was born here in the city of Odense and the city celebrates a festival commemorating him and his works every July and August.
Kunthenborg park which is in the Lolland region of Demark is the largest park in Denmark with many species of flora and Fauna to be found here. Hammershus in Bornholm is a castle in ruins and is a tourist’s delight along with Elsinore which is the site of a great fortress called Kronborg.

How to Have a Great Vacation in Norway

Norway is Europe’s northernmost country. It is one of the most loved vacation destinations in the world. Matter of fact, a vacation in Norway has so much to offer and compete with amidst the magnificence of its neighbors. However, the dramatic landscape and northern chill provides an opportunity to engage in certain Arctic activities such as spotting whales, walruses, polar bears and meandering the fjords as well as alpine or cross country skiing.
There are lots of things to do when opting for a vacation in Norway. You can get a chance to see the Northern Lights, to stroll the streets of Bergen, to tour Urnes, Heddal and Borgund. You can also settle inside the Oslo Opera House or enjoy other cultural and traditional festivities the country can offer.
Aside from the Northern lights and midnight sun, Alpine skiing is another favorite activity in Norway. Moreover, a vacation in Norway would mean visiting places like Oslo (southeastern part of Norway; the oldest part of the city; near Akershus Castle); Narvik (Norway’s most vital iron-ore harbor; popular for its mountainous surroundings during the winter time); Tromso (the starting point of Polar Expeditions; popular for its large-sized herring fisheries, seal hunting, shipping and as the northernmost brewery in the world); and the North Cape (the known highlight of the Baltic Sea). Other known destinations include Honningsyag, Campground at Otta and more.
Then again, a vacation in Norway won’t be complete without a place to stay. One of the most noted Songsfjord Gjestehus. It is the most highly appreciated accommodation along the Varanger Peninsula. The owner actually rebuilt a small fishing village in this place. It is easy to spot due to its brightly colored houses within a snowy landscape. The place is furnished with antiques and they have an excellent chef with its unique menu of Norwegian dishes. Towns near the facility include Tana Bru and Berlevag.
A vacation in Norway offers enjoyment, relaxation and a lot of learning about their traditions and heritage. It is loved by many tourists because of the hospitality and friendly nature of the locals. Norway is definitely one country worth visiting.

Stockholm, Sweden Travel and Beyond

What comes to mind when we think about Sweden? It has been widely known as the land of the Vikings. It was the land of the Vikings as a matter of history but now, it is a place of wide stretches of breathtaking landscapes and cosmopolitan cities on the other end. Here is something that you can use as your Stockholm guide when you decide to go on a vacation in this magical place.
The Swedes have a high standard of living; they have fascinating architecture, a panoramic coastline and are blessed with amazing islands. These are just some of the things that Sweden has to offers its visitors. The ultimate Stockholm accommodation I must say! Despite the fact that it is a fairly expensive country, Sweden offers more than just travel no matter what your budget or travel style is.
There are a lot of luxury and budget Stockholm accommodation available for you to choose from. If you are worried about not knowing what to do or where to go when you get there, worry no more! Sweden is a country that has a lot of fun things to get you busy with such as going on day trips, indulging in a spa experience and you would love the nightlife here as well.
If you are in Stockholm and you adore going on day trips and excursions, I would recommend that you check out Vaxholm which is a really beautiful city and is only 40 minutes away by car. It is an enchanting small city by the sea with an old fortress to visit. You should also see Smådalarö and Dalarö. It would take you approximately 50 minutes to get there by car. A simple guide that I believe you would enjoy.
These two small and ancient towns in the archipelago are located very close to each other and are still located in mainland Sweden. Dalarö would be a very good jump-off point to take a boat trip out to the fascinating island of Huvudskär. It would take you the whole day to get there but I guarantee that it is sure worth every minute and every dime you spend.
Another Stockholm guide that everybody should consider is the nightlife. It is quite good and you would be surprised to see so many beautiful and friendly people. Make sure you dress up and look trendy and come early if you want to get in the trendiest places. In Sweden, you would have a better chance by coming early or you could call the nightclub in advance to make your reservations. Their bouncers are known to be very picky. They will not let you in if you come after midnight if your name is not on the guest list. Be sure to take the necessary precautions so your otherwise wonderful evening would not be spoiled by not being admitted at the entrance.
After a long night of partying, you would enjoy treating yourself to a relaxing spa experience. There are a number of spas in Stockholm that you could choose from. Most visitors would choose the spa accommodation and packages in their hotels or in the city malls. These spas are excessively beautiful but the prices could be too much because of their location.
There are a couple of Japanese spas which would take a 15- minute cab ride if you are looking to enjoy a relaxing environment and see a bit of Stockholm. They offer a wide range of treatments from facials, to hand and foot massages, pedicures as well as a variety of body scrubs, masks, baths, slimming body treatments. These places even have restaurants for your convenience. Sweden and great Stockholm accommodation is definitely a place for travel and beyond.

Travel to Finland – Land of Ice and Brilliant Northern Lights

Being located at the Arctic Circle, the winters are quite long and snowy while the summer days come for a brief period say two and half months or more wherein the sun simply does not set. Both the winter and the summer seasons in Finland have an idyllic charm of their own with a special set of adventures and activities to enjoy.
Traveling to Finland during summer means you are visiting in the months of June, July and August. Long and warm sunshine filled days beckon you to enjoy all day long. You could spend an entire holiday week in Karelia in Eastern Finland and try out fishing in the Lake Pielinen, quad safari biking in the wetlands of Karelian wilderness, try your hand in cooking Karelian pasties and lots more. Most rejuvenating of them all could be the opportunity to use the spa and sauna almost free or a golf session, a canoeing trip in the lake and lots more. You could spend a few relaxed days at Lapland watching the reindeer graze across or try your hand at motoring. Embark upon a fishing trip or a hiking trip and enjoy your days in complete leisure.
If you travel to Finland in winter, you could experience a brief stay in a snow hotel which is built each year with snow. Each of the snow suites and rooms are well decorated with snow sculptures. Experience a ride in kick sledge or sauna as much as you wish and make it a point to visit the traditional villages with their rustic charm intact as well. Do make a sure shot trip to view the very famous Northern Lights which are visible in the Finnish Lapland. These lights move east to west in the form of ray or fast moving pulsing shapes. Well, if the nights are cloudless, you surely going to enjoy witnessing the best of this natural phenomenon which sets you amazed and spell bounded to no limits. Also called as the Aurora Borealis, they are most visible in the months of September, October, February and March while they appear in bright colours of green, blue, yellow, violet and even red.
As you travel to Finland and its interiors, you will find traditional villages with their marketplace, stores, churches and even farms modernized yet simple and traditional. Browsing and shopping through each of them brings in great pleasure and enjoyment as you get to know lost of information about the Sami culture and their lifestyle.
Though Finland has modernized and most of the people live in cities and towns, give them an option they would rush back to their countryside homes and cottages for a few days of idyllic peace and relaxation. Hence with no dearth of activities and places to see, Finland does prove to be a popular tourist destination.