Paradise on Earth

Tropical islands with palm trees have long been promoted as “hot” destinations, the ideal romantic getaways for honeymooners , and heaven’s stereotypes for other holidaymakers..

However, as I’m sitting now on my lounge chair at the cruise ship’s 16 years + Solarium  a single sentence keep resonating in my head : ”Paradise on Earth “ .

Yes, I’m enjoying this Alaskan cruise in the inside passage more than last year’s in the Caribbean Sea for the below reasons:

-I live by the sea in a “ hot” country with palm trees : no drastic changes be it weather or scenery

– Every morning , whenever I open the curtains of our stateroom’s balcony, I’m greatly surprised by a totally new panorama, an absolutely different landscape…the crescendo of spectacular sceneries and magnificent fjords culminated today with the much anticipated glaciers.

-We are kept entertained with the multiple impromptu sightings, always on the watch for the ever elusive whales the playful dolphins and the occasional seals…and when totally focused on my book thus oblivious to the enthusiastic shouts of excitement spurred by an interesting spotting, my attention was put back on track where it should’ve belonged by a sympathetic neighbour… thou shall not peel your eyes from the glass window !

Isn’t it “Paradise on Earth”?



Well, according to the Captain, it is such for a growing number of people:

⁃ there are many old timers …for some, it’s a yearly ritual. The question that we are constantly asked : is it your first time?

⁃ there are 40 honeymooners

⁃ there are 239 celebrations- 106 anniversaries and 133 birthdays

The Thimphu Tsechu Festival, Bhutan – 12 October 2016

//Part 8 of 8 //

I’ve always longed to visit this remote kingdom, the Land of Happiness.The opportunity came to fulfill my dream : the Druk Path Trek. Before the inauguration of the asphalt road, this trail was the only route connecting the valley of Paro to the valley of Thimphu through high mountains passes including the Phume La (4210m).

After being off the radar for 5 days, after a lot of “ups and downs “ through breathtaking landscapes, lakes, mountains and valleys, we made it back to civilization as scheduled, in time for the last day of one of the biggest festivals in the country: the Thimphu Tsechu Festival.

This religious festival is held in the capital city for 3 days . Dressed in their best outfits, thousands of people gathered in the courtyard of the famous Tashichho Dzong; by attending it, they are believed to gain merits.


We weren’t the only foreigners, we could distinguish a few other tourists equally enthralled by the colourful celebrations. It was a rainy day, however that didn’t affect the performers ( monks and commoners).


Mask dances like the Guru Tshengye (8 manifestations of Guru Rinpoche), Shaw Shachi ( Dance of the Stags), and many more are usually performed.


That festival was a great finale to an exciting journey in this mountainous kingdom…