Europe Travel Blog

Yois Europe

Tuesday, November 12th, 2013

Oklahoma’s boosters like to boast of her accomplishments in gaudy phrases—”from tepees to towers,” and “from arrows to atoms.” Her cities mirror the manner of her men.

Fair Tulsa, cosmopolis on the sandy Arkansas River, by day builds gleaming sky¬scrapers and high-speed expressways, and lives from aviation and aerospace as well as oil cash advance online. American Airlines, the city’s largest employer, keeps some 5,000 persons busy at its maintenance and engineering center. By night, progressive Tulsa washes down her sidewalks—to help back her claim as “America’s Most Beautiful City.”

Oklahoma City, amiable giant, sometimes unkindly called the world’s biggest cow town, ambles over 636 square miles. Oil wells stalk across the city. At Tinker Air Force Base, more than 25,000 persons work in a vast air¬craft-maintenance and supply setup. A few miles to the west, the Federal Aviation Ad¬ministration’s Aeronautical Center keeps tab on every aspect of civil aviation (pages 172-3). There I saw Charles A. Lindbergh’s application of April 26, 1927, for an airplane license; his Spirit of St. Louis, it stated, was to be used in a “Transatlantic Flight.” And there dedicated aeromedical researchers seek to help today’s pilots—men of exactly the same model as Orville and Wilbur Wright or Lindbergh—adapt to aircraft that fly faster and higher all the time.

Oklahoma’s capital is the largest U. S. city ever to elect a woman mayor—Mrs. Patience Latting. It also can claim a more mundane achievement. Back in 1935 the first parking meter was installed here; a nickel bought an hour’s time. At Will Rogers World Airport, I paid grudging tribute to progress—a quarter to let my car rest for 30 minutes.

“Don’t Like Meters. Or Taxes.”

The parking meter’s victory is not yet complete. To my surprise, I saw that Oklahoma’s third largest city, Lawton, eschews them on its streets—a kindness to recall as one woos sleep amid night-firing Army artillery practice at neighboring Fort Sill.

And at tidy, hard-working Prague, population 1,800, about 50 miles east of Oklahoma City, I learned that parking meters and city taxes alike are as welcome as the measles. I dropped in on Mayor L. B. Drury, owner of Drury’s Variety Store, and asked why.

“Don’t like meters,” he said, sitting back in a swivel chair. “Or taxes. We don’t need them. This is a real thrifty town. Our treasury’s got a surplus of about $334,000. We pay off a bond issue by adding $1.50 each month to everybody’s water bill.”

Prague was settled by a few Czechs in the Run of 1891. Others followed. Today farmers bring peanuts, alfalfa, and wheat to market here; cattle, dairying, and oil wells bolster the economy. Prague’s two banks each boast assets of more than $10,000,000—largest in Oklahoma on a per capita basis. And the community owns its water and power lines.

I strolled Main Street’s two business blocks, munching delectable kolaches—fruit-filled sweet rolls—from the Prague Bakery. In the pool hall, old men played dominoes and cards. I drove along quiet back streets, past trim white frame dwellings with neat yards shaded by elms, junipers, oaks, and maples. New one-story houses dotted “Mortgage Hill.” In a large park on the west side of town, people gathered pecans.

“Life is good here,” said Frank SeRik, a friendly, soft-spoken native son, vice president of the Prague National Bank. “We’re very conservative. Everybody goes to church. A few of us still speak Czech, but a lot of old ways are gone. We have a very active Lions Club and Chamber of Commerce.”

Glory Dims as Wells Go Dry

It was time to move on. I cruised north along State Highway 99, and turned off to Shamrock, a town with no future, a desiccated present, and a tumultuous past.

During Shamrock’s heyday, in World War I, with black gold flowing from hundreds of wells, 10,000 people lived in the area. Tipperary Road, three-quarters of a mile long, was appropriately lined with green-fronted businesses. The town had two banks, two newspaper plants, three movie houses, five lumberyards, and enough saloons to slake the thirst of a roistering oil camp. Three doctors and two dentists helped ease her pains.

Perhaps 200 people live in Shamrock today, and some remember. One of them told me, “Why, the pipeline from this field ran all the way to Houston. They shipped the oil to Europe to fight the Kaiser. You should have been here when the war ended. Everybody was shootin’ it up.”

Only a few months before he died, I walked along Tipperary Road with tall Eric E. Ferren, Shamrock’s mayor for 32 years and a Creek County deputy sheriff. Most houses had rotted away; foundations were over¬grown with brush. The old fire bell, a rusty sentinel, hung over the firehouse entrance; the rest of the firehouse had vanished.

Strong sunlight washed a few pallid, sagging buildings, their paint long since flaked away. We stopped before a concrete block¬house with a man-size hole hacked in one wall.

“The First State Bank stood here,” Deputy Ferren said, unconsciously easing his holster. “That’s the vault. It’s the only thing left. Why the hole? Bank robbers made it.”

By 1920 Shamrock’s oil boom had burst, and the roughnecks headed for a strike at Whizbang, over in Osage County. Whizbang soon fizzled out.

A gentle melancholy tugs at one in ghost towns, like the haunting peace of ancient battlefields. Let Oklahoma’s motto—Labor Omnia Vincit—serve as their benediction: “Labor Conquers All Things.”

I drove away, glad to be transient, wanting to watch today’s Sooners at today’s work. In Sapulpa, at Frankoma Pottery, I discovered more than a hundred craftsmen handily turning out nearly 30,000 pieces a week.

White-haired, jovial John Frank escorted me through his pottery, as proud of it as a man should be whose business succeeds on the fifth try. “Any piece of pottery is merely the right mud in the right shape,” Mr. Frank declared. “Its value lies in what it’s worth to live with, for this is the true value of art.”
Last year 120,000 passersby turned off Interstate 44 to tour the plant. John Frank sometimes puzzles over the influx. “I guess they just want to come,” he muses. “My daughter Joniece and I design every piece; my wife Grace Lee runs the show¬room. We are Frankoma. People come be¬cause they like what we create. It’s our greatest compliment.”

Ardmore Caters to Western Craze

All over Oklahoma I saw this story repeated. In the south, at Ardmore, I caught up with the Western-clothing boom.

“It’s the only kind of apparel that is America’s own,” said shirt-sleeved John C. Simpler, general manager of Corral Sportswear. “My father and mother formed this business in 1953, and it’s been growing ever since. People are identifying with the West, with the old, solid, traditional values. Demand for leather¬wear is fantastic. We’ve been operating nine hours a day, six days a week, for months.”

A family man in his mid-thirties whose hobby is flying, John Simpler often visits New York City on business. He said, “Some youngsters there have never seen open country.” A frown. “They’ve never seen a cow or ridden a horse. I’m always glad to get home.” His face brightened. “You can’t beat Oklahoma.”
As we walked to my car, a small boy gal¬loping a large pony suddenly bore down on us, and we leaped from the sidewalk. “See what I mean?” demanded my host happily. You can bump into enterprising business¬men and horses elsewhere, too. On a cool cloudy morning I drove through the undulating green country of the east, a hunter’s and fisherman’s paradise, and onto the north¬east’s Ozark Plateau. In Commerce, where baseball’s Mickey Mantle grew up, I found George Newman busily building the fine boats that bear his name, and I knew better why Oklahoma highways are thronged with cars towing sleek inboards and outboards.

“We’re making about 1,500 runabouts a year now,” Mr. Newman said, “and I can’t see anything but growth ahead. Boating’s great for families, especially fathers. No traffic lanes. No traffic lights. No traffic jams. They can unwind and relax.”

A short drive away I pulled up at the Bar 20 Ranch. “Be glad to show you what a trained cow pony can do,” said Max Blue. Spurs jingling, he took me to the corral.

There I sat with his charming Quapaw Indian wife, Jean Ann, and her sister, Geneva Ramsey, and watched a cowboy cut a cow from a milling herd. Then the rider gave his mount free rein. No matter which way the cow turned to rejoin the herd, the pony anticipated her. Stop. Start. Hesitate. Run this way. That way. Try here. There. A duel to the finish. At last the cow quit, motionless, head down. Without guidance, the pony had won.

Max and Jean Ann breed and train registered quarter horses and run about 500 cows. They hope for an annual calf crop of about 90 percent; most calves, said Max ruefully, seem to be delivered in freezing weather at midnight, with snow on the ground. After the calves are weaned and have grown to some 450 pounds, they are sold. Eventually they arrive at a feedlot, fatten, and go to market.

The Blues raise quarter horses for love and calves for profit. I asked if they had any trouble with rustlers. Max jumped as if he’d heard a rattlesnake.

“There’s rustlin’ goin’ on, you bet! We’re short four head right now in that pasture across the road. One feller, he even used his private plane to spot bunches of cows. If no people were in sight, he’d radio his waiting trucks. They finally caught him.”

Thursday, September 26th, 2013

According to sports therapist Sophie Cope, founder of Westcott Therapies, regular exercise and hot tab after that is helpful for good sleep, but timing is important. Try adding some coconut oil when having a shower, its scent is great, plus it’s great for your entire body – find out how beneficial is coconut oil curly hair treatment, for instance. ‘Exercising in the morning or early afternoon won’t interfere with sleep, whereas a big burst of activity just before bed might. However, yoga or gentle stretching are fine,’ she says.All in good time

Switch off Psychologist Dr David Lewis says, ‘Performing stimulating activities before hitting the sack is the worst way to prepare for sleep. Our brain, like our body, needs some time to wind down gradually.’ Make a sleep zone ‘If you use your bedroom as an office, or watch TV in bed, it can be hard to fall asleep,’ says Dr Idzikowski. ‘If you’re awake in bed, it becomes the place you associate with being awake. Bad insomniacs should even consider moving sex out of the bedroom!’ Snack away It’s difficult trying to sleep on a full stomach, but going to bed hungry can also distract you.

Emegbo says, ‘Dairy products and meat — especially turkey — contain tryptophan, which acts as a sleep inducer This is probably why warm milk is such a popular bedtime drink.’ Check it out GP Dr Rob Hicks says, `If you think your sleeplessness might be caused by night cramps, restless legs, sleep apnoea or depression, consulting your GP may improve matters. There are often many good and straightforward solutions. All in good time

Night cramps, for example, can be helped by drinking tonic water containing quinine.’ Sleeplessness caused by muscle spasms or clinical disorders, such as restless legs syndrome, may respond well if you boost your levels of the minerals magnesium and iron. Nuts and seeds contain high levels of magnesium, or you can try supplementing with 250mg a day. Iron supplements are available in tablet, capsule or liquid form, and you could try taking 15mg a day.

Saturday, May 25th, 2013

SO WE JOURNEY ON, we sense a scenic rhythm—from mountains to open plain to ruggedness again when highlands close in ahead to frame the big handsome valley called the Grand Canyon of the Noatak.

At New Cottonwood Creek we fish in a pool full of sail-finned, iridescent gray­ling. We glide through a scenic narrows, autumn bright, where the riverbed is inlaid with veins of quartz over which we see the big dark shapes of salmon running.

The apartment we booked offers us a beau­tiful two-day vacation: caribou on the mountainsides, golden eagles overhead, storms and rainbows alternately threat­ening and promising, sunset-fired cloud formations. Then we come at last to spruce trees. A welcome sight after so much tundra, this small grove repre­sents the northwest ernmost extension of boreal forest in North America. Wolf tracks dint the shore, and swans call as they wing southward.

grandcanyon02.600x450Now we canoe for six spectacular miles through Noatak Canyon. This is truly a cut, its sheer cliffs rising more than 200 feet above the water. It par­ticularly impressed the river’s first white explorers, who in 1885 paddled and dragged a hide-covered boat up the flooding Noatak for hundreds of miles.

With our modern equipment we and the Eskimo family motoring upriver have it easier. “Seen any moose?” asks a young man, as the family swings in for a chat. They are seeking winter food supplies, fishing and hunting out of a camp a few miles below. We have come to an important subsistence area for the people of Kotzebue and Noatak village. Under provisions of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, much of this region, with its broad forested valley and ponds important to swans and other waterfowl, will henceforth be under Eskimo stewardship.

The Grand Canyon of the Noatak

Sleet spattering on our tents awak­ens us next morning. Mittened and gloved, we paddle through a blinding storm to camp in a sheltering spruce grove. In a nearby river pool young Eric fishes for arctic char. One four-pounder nearly doubles up his light spinning rod, but soon five char lie gleaming on the shore. Cousins of the brook trout, they make a delicious dinner.

On the last day motor­boats ply the river and, ahead, the roofs of Noatak village gleam atop a high bank. Eskimos’ fish racks hung with drying salmon line the strand. Children are casting for char. We stop to chat, and a young Eskimo couple say, “Come up for supper.” Soon we are enjoying caribou stew, fresh-caught salmon, good stories, good songs.

The Grand Canyon of the Noatak

Pleasant as it is to be among folks once more, to feel the warm touch of civilization after nearly three weeks of wilderness travel, we all share a wistful regret for what we have left behind. We have glimpsed original America and tasted a first sacrament of the New World. As we make our last camp, on a river bar, cloud banners glow with moonlight, geese call, and the Noatak flows by “from deep within”—the meaning of its ancient name. We feel its purity and strength, its constant re­newal, and we know that deep within us the Noatak now also flows.






Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013

If you are planning a trip to experience the natural beauty and peace offered by the Norfolk Broads then there is no better way to do this than from the water. Whether you choose a tour or hire your own vessel, this is the best way to enjoy the area.

The Norfolk Broads consist of several rivers and lakes, known as broads, which interconnect and make it possible to explore most of Norfolk from the water. The network totals a square area of 303 kilometres and over 200 kilometres are navigable. This navigable area encompasses seven rivers and sixty-three broads which run through several towns and past many waterside pubs and restaurants. The area has been home to boaters for over a hundred years and is well prepared to cater for holidaymakers’ needs whether you choose to go it alone or join a tour.

The Norfolk BroadsGo It Alone

If you are looking for boat hire Norfolk Broads’ businesses are the best place to start. The owners and operators know the area and will be able to recommend specific vessels that will meet your needs. If you are an amateur enthusiast, this local knowledge could be invaluable as they will also be able to provide you with maps, charts and directions so that you stick to navigable routes and don’t miss out on any of the absolute must-sees in the area.


If you decide to go for boat hire norfolk broads‘ attractions and small hidden jewels become immediately accessible and you can enjoy all that the area has to offer. The broads are filled with attractions to suit most visitors including manor houses, castles and other sites of historic interest as well as walking and cycling paths and quaint villages offering great food and local delicacies.

Norfolk Broads

Organise A Tour

If you are not quite prepared to go it alone, there are a number of tour options available from large tours for many people to smaller, single family boats provided with a pilot. Depending on what you really want from your time, one of these options may work best for you and your family.

Some tours offer options such as inclusive food, making it easier to plan your budget, whilst others offer opportunities to get out and explore some of the many waterside establishments that are popular in the area. Flexibility is also available in terms of timing as you can book a tour or cruise for anything from a one evening jaunt to a week or two following through all the rivers and broads. Tours and cruises are available to suit just about any requirement.

Norfolk Broads

No matter whether you decide to strike out on your own in a hired boat or choose to organise a tour or pilot, you will not regret the decision to explore Norfolk from the water. It is truly the only way to see the area and will allow you to truly understand the appeal of the broads.

Jennifer is a boating enthusiast who writes on the subject of boat charter hire for a number of websites and travel blogs. She firmly believes that the waterways are the best way to enjoy the UK and has extensive experience of traveling around the country in this manner.

Thursday, March 14th, 2013

Article Summary

A school skiing trip is often a fantastically positive experience for school students, building memories, experiences and skills which they will cherish for the rest of their life.

Learning to Ski

A skill for life

Skiing is one of those skills and passions which will stick with you forever. People regularly talk about the skiing bug because once you start you can never stop. Skiing can be both a high adrenaline and extremely relaxing sport, depending on how the individual wants to treat it. It provides a way of escaping the hustle and bustle of modern life like no other and is an ideal form of escapism for the hard working individual. Skiing trips are also highly sociable. Everyone has been invited on at least one skiing holiday in their life. It is a shame to have to pass up this opportunity having not learnt to ski at a young age, which is the ideal time to learn. Skiing is a particularly character building exercise, boosting confidence and physical capability.

A Cost Effective way of Learning to Ski

There is no getting away from the fact that skiing is an expensive sport and one of the reasons young children have the opportunity to learn to ski at a young age is because of the cost, especially the accumulating expenses of family holidays. However there are several reasons why skiing with a school trip is far more cost effective than skiing with a small family. Schools skiing trips tend to operate through tours that provide discounts on travel, food, accommodation, lift passes and skiing equipment. This economy of scale can result in huge reductions in the price of a skiing trip and is especially important when booking ski lessons, as students learn to ski in large groups alongside their friends and cohorts.

Learning to Ski

The Ideal Learning Environment

One of the big advantages about school skiing trips is that they allow the learner to adapt and develop in a particularly unique environment. School skiing trips encourage group development between students of a similar standard, ensuring that the students encourage one another towards self-improvement. Furthermore studies suggest that adolescence is one of the best times to learn to ski. Adolescent students have both the physical and mental maturity to master ideal skiing technique, whilst retaining energy, enthusiasm and an innate capacity to learn.

Learning to Ski

Experiencing a New Environment or Culture

Most school ski tour operators offer trips abroad which are a fantastic way for young people to immerse themselves within a new and diverse culture, practising their foreign language kills and meeting new people.

Unforgettable memories

Anyone who has ever been on a school skiing trip knows it is sure to be an experience they will remember for the rest of their lives. Whether it is moments of mischievousness in the evening or horseplay between friends, mastering a new skill or trick they had been trying all week, or simply building new and stronger relationships between friends.


Jennifer worked as a school ski instructor and ski tourism promoter for over 15 years. She now writes about skiing experience and technique for a range of online and printed media and uses for information about the best school tours and deals.

Sunday, September 30th, 2012

BEST COTTAGE … this one is Grade II listed and has no less than four bedrooms and four reception rooms, all recently refurbished and situated on the High Street in the popular village of Kislingbury, Northamptonshire. The monthly rent (inclusive of professionally landscaped garden maintenance) is £2,000 through Jackson-Stops & Staff.


BEST FARMHOUSE … benefitting from extensive storage buidings, stables and a barn, a swimming pool and tennis court, this Cotswold stone farmhouse in West Hanney, Oxfordshire, has eight bedrooms, three reception rooms, a conservatory and a farmhouse kitchen / breakfast room complete with Aga. Its price is similar to holiday apartments New York. Yours for £4,000 a month through Strutt & Parker .

BEST BARN CONVERSION … with two large and light reception rooms and bedroom suites,`state of the art’ fittings and fine country views from Horspath, Oxfordshire, this one costs 1,520 a month through John D Wood .

BEST OAST HOUSE … featuring four roundels, extensive seven bedroom accommodation, a tennis court, heated pool, a stable block and five acres of gardens and paddocks in Hook Green, Lamberhurst, Kent, FPDSavills is quoting £5,000 a month.

BEST MANOR HOUSE … situated in the centre of Eastbury Berkshire – a popular Downland village which straddles the river Lambourn – this mainly 16th century Grade II listed eight bedroom house is on at £3,250 a month through Strutt & Parker .

BEST BUNGALOW …close to the RiverWey at Byfleet, near Weybridge, this secluded and newly refurbished three bedroom property is on the market for £1,950 a month through John D Wood .


BEST COUNTRY SEAT … Grade I listed, Georgian and occupying a central village position at Much Hadham, Heys, the accommodation includes nine bedrooms, a granny flat with lift, a coach house, stables, a swimming pool, paddocks and gardens of 6 acres all for £8,000 a month through FPDSavills.

BEST STATELY APARTMENT … a large four bedroom penthouse on the top three floors of an Elizabethan mansion set in 39 acres of parkland at Epping, Essex is available furnished for £3,500 a month through FPDSavills.

BEST FOR LONDON WEEKENDERS … b&b London a charming two bedroom furnished cottage set in the beautiful grounds of an old rectory at Saunderton near Princes Risborough costs 850 a month through Cluttons

BEST ADDRESS … Eaton Square, SW1, where Friend & Fakke is seeking £1,550 a week for a prestigious two bedroom first floor flat with high ceilings, a fabulous conservatory, views over and access to the square gardens.


BEST BARGAIN … not what you may normally associate with the illustrious name of Knight Frank whose Notting Hill office has a fab and funky furnished one bed­room flat in Westbourne Park Road,W2, for £325 a week.

BEST DECOR … comprising ‘an eclectic mix of Georgian, Pugin and French Empire influences’ according to Hamptons who is seeking 900 a week for this two bed­room duplex at Anchor Brewhouse, Shad Thames, which enjoys superb river views over Tower Bridge and beyond to the City.

BEST WAREHOUSE CONVERSION … directly on the Thames in Narrow Street, E14, and extending to 2,000 sq ft, this beautifully furnished two bedroom apartment features a spa­cious reception with a luxury open plan kitchen, separate din­ing area and balcony and costs £925 a week through Knight Frank plus special deal on cheap accommodation in Glasgow.

BEST MAISONETTE … refurbished throughout to include limestone flooring and an integrated sound system, this stunning apartment in Eaton Place, SW1, has two bedrooms, two bath­rooms and two reception rooms and is on through John D Wood for £1,800 a week.

BEST MEWS HOUSE… A contemporary two bedroom house in popular Prince’s Gate Mews, SW7, with a large first floor reception room and decked terrace’ a sitting room with open plan kitchen and a garage – currently used as a garage. £1,500 a week. Through Lurot Brand

BEST STUDIO HOUSE … a beautifully furnished and decorated three bedroom house with a galleried reception room, conservatory style dining room and terrace in Glebe Place, SW3, available through Aylesford for £2,500 a week.

BEST FOR IMPACT … A five bedroom family house with a very modern interior, excellent entertaining space and a garden at the Notting Hill Gate end of Pembridge Villas, W11. Unusually the landlord is seeking a 300 a week premium for the privilege of renting the property furnished; empty it costs £2,950 a week through Lane Fox .

BEST PRICE TAG … Extending to some 16,500 sq ft, one of Mayfair’s most unusual properties is centred around a cloistered courtyard and affords what Chesterfield  describe as ‘exceptional contemporary accommodation’ arranged over just three floors. Basically you get four principal reception rooms, seven bedroom suites, an 18 metre swimming pool, a large roof garden as well as underground garaging for four cars and an adjoining two bedroom staff house … all for a take-your-breath-away weekly rent of Z25,000 ! HERE


Thursday, September 27th, 2012

Driving through the mile-long avenue of beech and lime trees that lines the sweeping drive to Lucknam Park Hotel, one is immediately transported to a bygone era of lavish Georgian house parties; of being waited on by an army of devoted staff and of lounging around in opulent surroundings, partakingofone’shost’sgenerosity and hospitality.

Lucknam Park Hotel

Nearly 300 years on, and Lucknam Park is now an impressive Relais & Chateaux hotel, but the air of a private country house party still pervades this elegant Palladian manor. The service is faultless — efficient, friendly and courteous — making you feel instantly at home. There are 41 supremely comfortable bedrooms and suites, most of which have spectacular views over the 500 acres of parkland, which have been recently and tastefully refurbished, containing well-chosen antiques, paintings and gorgeous fabrics. The Park Restaurant, presided over by Head chef Hywel Vaughan Jones (formally of the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park) is to die for — dishes are exquisitely presented, delicious yet light enough to satisfy the modern, health-conscious palate.

Lucknam Park Hotel

But what really sets Lucknam Park apart from the rest, is its impressive array of country pursuits and spa facilities. Whatever mood takes you, there is an activity to suit, from riding in the park to croquet on the lawn; from tennis lessons to clay-pigeon shooting. And if all the activity proves too much, then an afternoon in The Spa will relax and energise. The Health and Beauty salon is an oasis of calm, situated in a delightfully secluded house adjoining the hotel. Luxury treatments range from individually tailored Clarins facials to Thalgo cosmetic marine body treatments. The Spa itself consists of a 13-metre-long heated indoor swimming pool, that in fine weather opens on to a walled rose-garden; plus solarium, steam room and gymnasium —run by a team of professional trainers, who use the perform a wide range of fitness analysis tests.

Lucknam Park Hotel

So for the 21. Century answer to a weekend with Mr Darcy, head for Lucknam Park in Wiltshire, where the      best modern spa-hotel luxury blends seamlessly with traditional country house hospitality.