Samoa – “A Place in my Heart”

Apia, Samoa - Designerella

Have you ever watched a travel movie or even read a story about some heart-warming and spiritual connection at some far away locale? While I have visited many fabulous places, it is Apia, Samoa that provided such an experience. The island is a little speck of land located in the southern Pacific Ocean and has an amazing offering of very distinct and different environments from which to explore.

Apia, Samoa - Designerella

Apia, Samoa - Designerella

The environment is magnificent, but it is the warmth and happiness seen the people here that provides the spiritual connection. Locals are kind and generous people that follow the Fa’a Samoa, or the Samoan way. This involves respecting the matai, or chiefs, aiga, or extended family, and the church. It is the Christian church here that they follow and the motto of the country is “Samoa is founded on God”.

Apia, Samoa - Designerella

Apia, Samoa - Designerella

Apia, Samoa - Designerella

People of Samoa are amazing in their openness. One special person I met, and I felt like I known her forever, is a Samoa native Beatrice. She introduced me to some more fabulous people. The children in the villages are so happy and energetic to be around. Their excitement is contagious and helps you not only explore the island but yourself.

Apia, Samoa - Designerella

Apia, Samoa - Designerella

Apia, Samoa - Designerella

Apia, Samoa - Designerella

Apia, Samoa - Designerella

Apia, Samoa - Designerella

Apia, Samoa - Designerella

Apia, Samoa - Designerella

The people here are so colorful and maybe it is because they are competing with the natural beauty. Flowers are found in every beautiful tropical color.

Apia, Samoa - Designerella

Apia, Samoa - Designerella

There are no words to describe my experience here in Samoa.  The people are beautiful and honest and I achieved an amazing spiritual connection. I look forward to when I can return to this magnificent island to spend some time with my friends and experience more of Samoa.

Hilo, Hawaii!

Hilo, Hawaii - Designerella

Located on the Big Island of Hawaiʻi, the port of Hilo is a gateway to explore a land of fire and brimstone, great waves, jaw-dropping waterfalls, lush rainforest and craggy coastlines.  The natural beauty of Hawaii is just remarkable.

Hilo, Hawaii - Designerella

Hilo, Hawaii - Designerella

Akaka Falls is twice the height of world-famous Niagara Falls located at the border of New York and Ontario, Canada.  With a straight fall of 442 feet you can hear the thundering sounds of Akaka Falls as the water crashes into the pool below.  It is also not uncommon to see beautiful rainbows as the sun strikes the misty water spray.

Hilo, Hawaii - Designerella

Hilo, Hawaii - Designerella

Hilo, Hawaii - Designerella

While not native to Hawaii, peacocks are found on several of the islands including the big island and Maui. Typically shy creatures there are some areas where they have become accustom to people. Some will even show their beautiful plumage to the delight of visitors.

Hilo, Hawaii - Designerella

Hilo, Hawaii - Designerella

Hilo, Hawaii - Designerella

The Big Island of Hawai’i with its beautiful flowers and natural surroundings provides many adventures. There always seems to be much more to see on this Pacific paradise.

Under the Sea

Gran Canaria, Spain - Designerella

On the opposite side of Gran Canaria from Las Palmas is Puerto de Mogán. Here you can take a submarine ride to see what life is like under the sea. It is an amazing experience that provides breathtaking views fish in a comfortable and relaxed environment.

Gran Canaria, Spain - Designerella

Gran Canaria, Spain - Designerella

Gran Canaria, Spain - Designerella

Gran Canaria, Spain - Designerella

Shipwrecks show the perils of man trying to conquer the sea. Now on the seabed floor, shipwrecks provide structure which attract schools of fish.

Gran Canaria, Spain - Designerella

Gran Canaria, Spain - Designerella

Leaving the sea, the port town of Purto de Mogán.  It is known as the “Venice of the Canaries” because of the many bridges over small canals near the marina. Here one can find sailboats of all sizes navigating near the shores of this fine island.

Gran Canaria, Spain - Designerella

Gran Canaria, Spain - Designerella

Gran Canaria, Spain - Designerella

In addition to the bridges, another aspect Puerto de Mogán is known for is colorful flowers. This time of year, beautiful red, purple and orange flowers spill over the bridges, through the fences and over the arches. Walking along the seashore the flowers provide a great contrast to the blue sea.

Gran Canaria, Spain - Designerella

Gran Canaria, Spain - Designerella

Gran Canaria, Spain - Designerella

Gran Canaria, Spain - Designerella

Gran Canaria, Spain - Designerella

Puerto de Mogán is a hidden treasure in the Canary Islands with jewels both above and below water that should not be missed.

Gran Canaria, Spain - Designerella

Cyprus

Cyprus is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Located in the Eastern half of the Mediterranean, it has had multiple civilizations claim ownership through the millenia. Currently the island is divided between the Greek half that call the island Κύπρος and the Turkish half that call the island Kıbrıs. Whatever you want to call the island, it is a Mediterranean paradise. The island with its semi-arid climate and the rolling hills that fall into the sea is an enjoyable environment.

Cyprus - Designerella

Cyprus - Designerella

Cyprus - Designerella

There are beautiful flowers everywhere. These pink flowers just peeked out of the sandy white stone walls.

Cyprus - Designerella

In the town of Πάφος, in English Paphos, there is a restaurant called The Pelican Restaurant. Appropriately, they have a real pelican that greet the locals and tourist as they enter the restaurant. The feathery creature is magnificent and very people friendly.

Cyprus - Designerella

Cyprus - Designerella

Cyprus - Designerella

One of the main attractions in Paphos is the medieval Paphos Castle. Right along harbor stand this imposing fortress served to defend those living in the city. Originally built by the Byzantines, the castle was nearly destroyed in a powerful earthquake in 1222. The castle was subsequently rebuilt to provide protection for the city. Then in 1570, after the city was captured by the Venetians, they dismantled the building. Once the city was in Ottoman hands, they built the powerful fortress we see today. The inscription above the only entrance places the Ottoman rebuild at 1592 AD.

Cyprus - Designerella

Cyprus - Designerella

Cyprus - Designerella

Cyprus - Designerella

Cyprus is a Mediterranean paradise. With the warmest weather in the European Union, it is no wonder European vacationers head here when the weather back home turns cold and grey.

Cephalonia, Greece

Cefalonia, Greece - Designerella

The turquoise blue waters accent the beautiful landscape on the island of Cephalonia. Κεφαλονιά is the largest of the Ionian islands off the west coast of Greece. After taking port in Σάμη, or in English Sámi, I set off to explore this fascinating island. What I found was remarkably beautiful and nearly inaccessible beaches, bright flowers and a spectacular cave lake.

The world famous Myrtos Beach is located on Cephalonia. To reach the beach, visitors must travel down a terrifying path filled with hairpin turns. From the hills above the beach-goers looked like ants on the mile-long beach.

Cefalonia, Greece - Designerella

Cefalonia, Greece - Designerella

Cefalonia, Greece - Designerella

The town of Fiskardo, or in Greek Φισκάρδο, has an amazing waterfront. The streets along the port are lined with coffee shops, tavernas and souvenirs shops.  Here in this charmful little town the flowers were in full bloom, decorating the buildings, shops and restaurants.

Cefalonia, Greece - Designerella

Cefalonia, Greece - Designerella

Melissani Lake, the most spectacular cave lake on the island and was definitely worth the visit. A man-made tunnel was made to allow tourists to reach the shores of the open lake. Once entering the tunnel and reaching the lake, the temperature drops dramatically from outside. When the sun is directly overhead the light pours in and reflects of the white limestone bottom to produce the amazing blue color.

Cefalonia, Greece - Designerella

Cefalonia, Greece - Designerella

Natural Beauty

Iris - Designerella

I find art in natural beauty.  This weekend I was able to experiment with my new camera lens.  I came across some beautiful gardens and was able to capture natural beauty in some photographs.  I would never consider myself a photographer but I do enjoy capturing beautiful moments that appear in my life.  I just wanted to share a few photographs of flowers that I would love to have in my garden some day.

Wild Rose - Designerella

Daylily - Designerella

Red Hot Pokers - Designerella