Biden says he will travel to Texas to visit families of school shooting victims ‘in the coming days’

“Jill and I will be traveling to Texas in the coming days to meet with the families and let them know we have a sense of their pain, and hopefully bring some little comfort to a community in shock, in grief and in trauma,” Biden said at the White House during a signing event for an executive order on police reform.

“As a nation, I think we all must be for them. Everyone,” he added. “And we must ask: When in God’s name will we do what needs to be done to, if not completely stop, fundamentally change the amount of the carnage that goes on in this country?”

Echoing remarks he made Tuesday night in a national address, Biden said he was “sick and tired of what’s going on.”

He said “common sense” gun reform wouldn’t “prevent every tragedy,” but would still “have significant impact, and have no negative impact on the Second Amendment.”

“The Second Amendment is not absolute,” Biden said. “When it was passed you couldn’t own a cannon. You couldn’t own certain kinds of weapons. There’s just always been limitations.”

“The idea an 18-year-old can buy weapons of war designed and marketed to kill is, I think, just wrong. It just violates common sense,” the President continued.

“Where’s the backbone?” he asked. “Where’s the courage to stand up to a very powerful lobby?”

The President said on Wednesday that “one modest step” Congress could take immediately would be to confirm his nominee to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Steve Dettelbach, who vowed earlier Wednesday at a Senate confirmation hearing that he would not be influenced by political considerations if he secures the job.

“The Senate should confirm him without delay, without excuse,” Biden said. “Send the nomination to my desk. It’s time for action.”

With 21 dead and 17 others injured, the attack at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde was the deadliest school shooting in almost a decade, shaking a nation still reeling from a mass shooting in Buffalo, New York, just 10 days ago.

Details about how the shooting unfolded have continued to be released by law enforcement officials on Wednesday as more is learned about the crime. The suspect shot his grandmother, drove to the nearby school, forced his way inside adjoining classrooms and opened fire at a group of kids and faculty. Officers eventually forced their way into the barricaded room and a Border Patrol officer fatally shot him.

Tuesday’s massacre is the second-deadliest school shooting since 2012, when 26 children and adults were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, and it was at least the 30th shooting at a K-12 school in 2022, according to a CNN tally.

Biden, in his national address Tuesday night, recalled the Sandy Hook shooting, which happened when he was vice president.

“I had hoped when I became President I would not have to do this again,” he said. “How many scores of little children who witnessed what happened — see their friends die as if they’re in a battlefield, for God’s sake? They’ll live with it the rest of their lives.”

Biden signs executive order on police reform

Biden’s comments on Wednesday took place during a ceremony for the signing of an executive order aimed at federal policing reforms.

The order, signed on the second anniversary of the police killing of George Floyd, is more limited than the sweeping legislation that has been blocked by Republican opposition in Congress.

Members of Floyd’s family, the families of other individuals killed by police, members of Congress, members of the law enforcement community and members of the Cabinet were also present.

Vice President Kamala Harris addressed the families in the room at the ceremony, saying that though the order to address police reform will not take away their pain, the new action is “a long overdue, critical step forward.”

The order takes several actions that will be applied to federal officers, including efforts that ban chokeholds, expand the use of body-worn cameras and restrict no-knock warrants.

The order also mandates that the Justice Department create a new national database of police misconduct, which will be used by all federal law enforcement agencies and required for federal personnel screenings. The database will also be used to screen state and local officers who participate in federal joint task forces.

Biden’s order also brings back and enhances Obama-era limitations on the transfer of military equipment to local police departments, which had been rolled back by the Trump administration.

During his speech on Wednesday, Biden again promised to do “everything” in his power to pass police reform and again urged Congress to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.

“George’s name is not just going to be a hashtag, your daddy’s name is going to be known for a long time. As a nation, we’re going to ensure his legacy and the legacy of so many others remembered today. It’s not about their death, but what we do in their memory, that matters. Purpose,” Biden said, addressing Floyd’s daughter, Gianna.

After signing the order, Biden invited Gianna to sit at the signing desk.

Harris, who had received the pen Biden used to sign the order moments earlier, then leaned over and gifted it to her.

The President then told the crowd: “You know what she told me when I saw her? … Seriously, she pulled me aside and said, ‘My daddy’s going to change the world.'”

This story has been updated with additional developments on Wednesday.

CNN’s Sam Fossum contributed to this report.

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Best Time to Visit Spain for Great Weather, Travel Deals, and More

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Visiting Italy: Cities and Places to Visit, Tips and Recommendations | Bakir Djulich

Cities and places to visit in ItalyMy own collage / Bakir Djulich

If you’re looking for a country with it all – art, culture, food, wine, fashion, architecture, history, and stunning scenery – then Italy is the place for you. Travelers to Italy are spoiled for choice when it comes to destinations: from the canals of Venice and the beaches of the Amalfi Coast to the rolling hills of Tuscany and the medieval city of Florence. Italy is truly a feast for the senses. It is not surprising that 70% of the top 100 travel influencers listed Italy as a must-visit country in Europe.

According to, the best months to visit Italy are April, May, June, September, and October. The shoulder months offer the best weather—not too hot and not too cold—along with smaller crowds and cheaper hotel rates. Spring (April-June) and fall (September-October) are the best times to visit Italy. To help you plan your trip, I’ve compiled a list of my top 10 cities and places in Italy for travelers. So whether you’re looking for urban adventures or rural escapes, here are my picks for Italy’s best places to visit.

1. Rome

As the capital city of Italy, Rome is unsurprisingly one of the most popular destinations for travelers to the country. Rome has something to offer everyone, from the Colosseum and the Vatican City to world-class museums and art galleries. And let’s not forget about the food – from crunchy pizzas and fresh pasta dishes to gelato (Italian ice cream), there are plenty of delicious things to eat in Rome. Also, in Rome, you can find some of the best shopping in Italy, with designer boutiques and high-end stores lining the streets.

2. Florence

Florence is one of Italy’s most historic cities, renowned for its art and architecture. Visitors to Florence can explore famous sights like the Duomo (the city’s cathedral), the Ponte Vecchio (one of the world’s oldest bridges), and the Uffizi Gallery (home to masterpieces by Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Botticelli). Or take a stroll through Florence’s picturesque streets and enjoy the city’s relaxed atmosphere.

3. Venice

Venice is unlike any other city globally, with its canals and bridges crisscrossing the city center. A visit to Venice wouldn’t be complete without a ride on a gondola, and there are plenty of other things to do, too, from exploring the Venetian Palaces to taking a tour of the canals. For something truly unique, take a trip to Venice during the Carnivale festival, when colorful costumes and masked revelers transform the city.

4. Siena

Siena is a small city located in central Italy and is famous for its shell-shaped main square – the Piazza del Campo. This is where the annual Palio horse race takes place, an event that dates back to the Middle Ages. Siena is also known for its Gothic architecture, with the Cathedral of Siena being one of the most iconic buildings in the city. If you’re visiting in summer, take a dip in one of Siena’s many public pools – a great way to cool off after exploring this historic city.

5. Naples

Naples is located on Italy’s south coast and is well-known for its vibrant atmosphere and delicious food. As the birthplace of pizza, Naples is unsurprisingly one of the best places in Italy to eat this popular dish (make sure to try it with a glass of local wine). Actually, according to hashtag statistics, the #naplespizza hashtag on Instagram has over 11K posts created around it. Other must-try dishes in Naples include spaghetti alla puttanesca (spaghetti with tomatoes, olives, and anchovies) and fried zucchini flowers. And don’t forget to visit the nearby city of Pompeii, an ancient Roman town destroyed by a volcanic eruption in 79 AD.

6. Cinque Terre

The Cinque Terre is a stunning stretch of coastline located on Italy’s northwest coast. The region comprises five picturesque villages – Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore – which are connected by a network of hiking trails. These trails offer breathtaking views of the Mediterranean Sea and are the perfect way to explore the Cinque Terre’s dramatic coastline.

7. Lake Como

Lake Como is one of Italy’s most beautiful lakes and is a popular destination for locals and visitors. The lake is surrounded by mountains and is dotted with pretty towns and villages, making it the perfect place to enjoy some quiet time in nature. According to the official site of Lake Como, visitors to the lake can take advantage of the many activities, from hiking and biking to sailing and windsurfing. Or relax on the shore of the lake and take in the stunning scenery.

8. Sicily

Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea and is located just off the coast of southern Italy. The island has a long history, dating back to ancient times, and several well-preserved archaeological sites are home. Sicily is also famous for its baroque architecture, with the city of Palermo being a perfect place to see this style of architecture. And of course, no visit to Sicily would be complete without trying some of the island’s delicious food, including fresh seafood and the famous cannoli pastry.

9. Verona

Verona is a city located in northern Italy and is best known as the setting for Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Visitors to Verona can explore the city’s Roman ruins, visit the house where Juliet supposedly lived, or take a stroll through one of Verona’s many parks. The city is also home to several excellent restaurants, making it the perfect place to enjoy some traditional Italian cuisine.

10. Milan

Milan is Italy’s second-largest city and is considered the fashion capital of the world. The city is home to several high-end designer stores and more affordable fashion outlets. Visitors to Milan can also enjoy its many museums and art galleries or stroll through one of the city’s beautiful parks. And of course, no visit to Milan would be complete without sampling some of the city’s delicious food, including dishes such as risotto alla Milanese and Osso Buco Alla Milanese.

Italy is a country that has something to offer everyone, from its stunning scenery and delicious food to its rich history and culture. So why not add it to your travel list and start planning your trip today? Have you already been to Italy? What are your experiences in this beautiful country?

References: ; ;

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12 Best Hidden Gems In Europe To Visit In 2022, Revealed By European Best Destinations

With picturesque villages, gorgeous hill towns, seaside resorts and medieval hamlets among vineyards and lakes, Europe abounds with “secret” destinations away from the crowds.

European Best Destinations (EBD) has released its 2022 list of “Best Hidden Gems in Europe” to entice travelers on the hunt for unique experiences free from mass tourism and a hunger to reconnect with nature.

“Amazing secret pueblos blancos in Spain, the Algarve islands of Portugal, secret medieval villages in Italy, and beautiful beaches in Georgia” are among the recommendations by the organization, which is part of the European Commission’s EDEN Network (“European Destinations of Excellence”) working to promote sustainable tourism on the continent.

These are 12 of the top Secret Destinations on the EBD list. All the hidden gems are here and include Sant’ Angelo Ischia Island in Italy, Zahara de la Sierra Cadiz in Spain’s Andalusia, St Jean Cap Ferrat Provence-Alpes-Côtes-D’Azur in France, Hondarribia, Basque Country in Spain, Theoule-sur-Mer, Provence-Alpes-Côte-D’Azur in France, Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, Alpes de Haute Provence in France, Ilha do Farol, Algarve in Portugal, Trogir Split, Dalmatia in Croatia, Sesimbra, Costa Azul in Portugal and Savona, Liguria in Italy.

1. Batumi, Adjara Region, Georgia

This sparkling, beautiful destination known as the ‘Pearl of the Black Sea’ in Europe and awarded by the World Travel Awards as “Europe’s Leading Emerging Tourism Destination” made it to the top of the Best Hidden Gems in Europe.

Located on the coast of Georgia’s Ajara region, Batumi boasts more than 2,000 years of history and is at the crossroads of Europe and Asia. This vibrant city invites you to experience the contrast between ancient sites and modern lifestyles.

Due to its year-round subtropical and mild climate, Batumi can be visited in any season. Its national parks have recently been recognized by UNESCO as World’s Natural Heritage sites.

In old Batumi, the main streets lead to the port — hence its renown as a city that looks at the sea.

“We love strolling through the historic streets of Batumi’s old city centre, hiking, biking or canyoning in the nearby Adjara mountains, visiting one of the most beautiful botanical gardens in Europe, lazing around on Batumi beach or being pampered in a wellness hotel facing the sea,” writes EBD.

Rich in history, heritage, museums unique in the world and among Europe’s most daring architectures, Batumi is also a destination for foodies and wine lovers.

The city is a perfect destination in summer, combining city-break and beach, wellness and shopping. Autumn dresses its parks and the Adjara Region in flamboyant colors, making it probably the best time of the year to combine city break and nature getaway as a couple or with family or friends.

With new trendy hotels opening every day, Asian and European fusion restaurants, rooftop bars atop extraordinary buildings, independent shops, designers, stylists and an exceptional nightlife, Batumi is much more than one of the Best Hidden Gems in Europe: It stands out as one of the best City Breaks in Europe.

2. Torrevieja, Alicante, Spain

Torrevieja, (meaning ‘Old Tower’) is a seaside city on the Costa Blanca in southern Valencia on Spain’s Mediterranean coast.

Located between two salt lagoons, the Laguna Salada de Torrevieja and the Laguna de La Mata are excellent destinations for birdwatchers, cyclists and nature lovers.

The protected reserves are separated by a strip of land and are habitats for many species and more than 100 birds including flamingos and other waders.

“The ‘Laguna Salada de Torrevieja’ is a pink lake that will blow your Instagram account and leave you with memories for a lifetime,” advises EBD.

It’s located in the Natural Park of the Lagunas de la Mata y Torrevieja and in addition to having exceptional color, this lake is said to have therapeutic properties — especially for rheumatism — thanks to the healing components of its salty waters.

Torrevieja also has miles of sublime sandy beaches, a picturesque seafront promenade, waterparks and modern sports centers.

3. Pietrapertosa, Basilicata Region, Italy

Pietrapertosa is a village in Southern Italy’s Basilicata region, situated in a mountainous area within the regional park of Gallipoli Cognato Piccole Dolomiti Lucane.

Pietrapertosa’s first name was “Lucania,” derived from Leukos, and means “sacred wood” in line with the identity of this region located between the heel and the tip of the boot of Italy.

This region of forests and mountains is best known for the troglodyte stone city of Matera. Don’t miss a stop at “Castelmezzano,” another village considered one of the best hidden gems of Italy.

Like Castelmezzano, Pietrapertosa seems to be built into the rock. With its narrow streets and medieval houses at the foot of the castle, this hamlet is one of Italy’s most beautiful medieval villages.

Climb to the top of the castle and enjoy breathtaking views and enjoy a unique experience taking one of Europe’s fastest zip lines, joining Castelmezzano and Pietraportosa.

4. Rio Marina, Elba Island, Tuscany, Italy

Rio Marina is one of the best hidden gems in Tuscany. Located on the island of Elba, Rio Marina is a destination of rare beauty, nestled between the sea and the mountains.

Mining capital of the island, Rio Marina no longer attracts gold diggers but, rather, holidaymakers looking for beaches of fine golden sand, crystal clear waters, hidden coves and secret beaches such as Cala delle Alghe or the Spiaggia Luisi d’Angelo.

Eight ferries a day connect Piombino (mainland) to Covo (Elba Island) located 10 minutes by car from Rio Marina.

Elba is the biggest island of the Tuscan Archipelago and the third largest in Italy after Sardinia and Sicily. Together with eight other islands, including Giglio, Giannutri and Montecristo, it’s part of the National Park of the Tuscan Archipelago, Europe’s largest marine park.

5. Losinj Island, Primorje-Gorksi, Kotar County, Croatia

Located 10 minutes by car from the sublime town of Mali Losinj, Veli Losinj is “a secret destination that will make you fall in love with Croatia,” according to EBD.

Natural landscapes, crystal clear blue waters, extraordinary beaches, sun and good food have made Croatia into one of the trendiest countries in recent years.

Veli Losinj was an important fishing port until the beginning of the 20th century. Over the years the village has been transformed to welcome tourists.

Located at the foot of the Kalvarija mountain and facing the Mediterranean, Veli Losinj is one of the most beautiful islands of Croatia.

6. Calella de Palafrugell, Catalonia, Spain

Calella de Palafrugell is a perfect destination to escape from the city and enjoy the idleness of an authentic old fishing village.

With its various rocky coves, sandy beaches and excellent fish restaurants, whitewashed buildings fringing the waterfront and fishing boats on the shore, the town is a showcase of ‘low key as a way of life.’

With its intact architecture, Calella de Palafrugell is one of the most beautiful villages on the Costa Brava.

7. Bauduen, Provence-Alpes-Cote-d’Azur, France

Not many people know this little paradise 90 minutes from Nice. A perfect place for exploring the Gorges du Verdon, Bauduen is also a privileged holiday spot in the heart of nature.

This traditional village appeals to families that take advantage of the activities offered by the nautical center, observe the starry sky at the astronomical observatory or visit the children’s museum “Art in Toys.”

The few restaurants and brasseries in Bauduen offer simple and tasty cuisine at affordable prices compared to some restaurants on the Côte d’Azur.

Bauduen is also one of the most beautiful villages in France.

8. Moraira, Alicante, Costa Blanca, Spain

Moraira is the kind of small seaside resorts one dreams of for a holiday by the sea. Far from the crowds and soulless buildings, this family seaside resort on the water offers a relaxing holiday under Spanish coast sun.

With its cliffs, pine trees and sublime villas, Moraira resembles Capri in Italy and is one of the most beautiful villages on the Costa Blanca.

Beautiful beaches and a temperate climate that’s never too hot even in the heat of summer, Moraira is situated on the beautiful mountainous northeastern tip of the Costa Blanca.

The town has grown from a small fishing village to a holiday and retirement resort with an impressive marina, a variety of local shops, markets, harbor-side fish restaurants and bars and has still managed to preserve its Spanish character.

9. Thun, Canton of Bern, Switzerland

Thun is a town by Lake Thun in Switzerland’s Bernese Oberland region.

The turreted Thun Castle, dating back to the 1100s, stands on a hill above the old town and has sweeping views of the Alps.

Popular with the inhabitants of Bern, who come to spend relaxing weekends not far from the Swiss capital, Thun is one of Switzerland’s best hidden gems with Spiez just a short drive away.

For walks or bike rides along the lake, mountain biking, water and winter activities or for a visit steeped in gastronomy and wellness, Thun is a destination made for lovers of nature and wide open spaces.

10. Port Grimaud, Provence-Alpes-Côte-d’Azur, France

The town of Grimaud on the French Riviera is perfect for lovers of old stones, steep streets and typical Provençal villages while Port Grimaud will appeal to lovers of various watercraft including sailboats and yachts.

Grimaud is a village and commune in the Var department in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region in southeastern France with historical links to Monaco’s Grimaldi family.

The famous coastal town of Port Grimaud, a colorful port, nicknamed ‘The Little Venice of Provence’ and endorsed as a 20th Century Heritage site has only been in existence for some 50 years and is well-loved for its laid-back way of life.

EBD recommends that visitors “wander along the canals, take a boat trip, or count the different colors on the facades.”

11. Quedlinburg, Saxony Anhalt, Germany

Quedlinburg is a typical German town of half-timbered houses and medieval streets.

Its beautiful walks include visits to its castle and the church that shelters the tomb of a 10th century German king, as well as walks around the vast forests that surround it.

Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Quedlinburg was a powerful and wealthy city in the Middle Ages and is also one of the most beautiful medieval cities in Europe.

During a stay in Quedlinburg, be sure to visit Erfurt, one of the best hidden gems of Germany, which in winter hosts one of the most beautiful Christmas markets.

12. Sainte Marguerite Island, Lerin Islands, Alpes Maritimes, France

The Île Sainte-Marguerite is the largest of the Lérins Islands, about a half-mile offshore from the French Riviera town of Cannes.

Clean, calm, without cars and surrounded by crystal-clear water, the island is described by its tourist office as a destination with serene beauty.

A mixture of sea air, eucalyptus and maritime pines, Sainte-Marguerite Island is an ideal destination to rest, swim, walk, cycle or simply enjoy beautiful natural and wild beaches.

Many cruises depart daily from the port of Cannes but also from the Port of “Golfe-Juan” and “Juan-les-Pins” towards Sainte Marguerite Island.

Two restaurants, open from April to October, specialize in local specialities. “A unique destination for a business seminar in the countryside, exceptional holidays in a 100% natural setting, sports holidays, alone, as a couple or with the family,” according to EBD.

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diamond head : Reservations required to visit Hawaii’s famous Diamond Head State Monument

Reservations required to visit Hawaii's famous Diamond Head State Monument

Reservations required to visit Hawaii’s famous Diamond Head State Monument

Out-of-state visitors to the Diamond Head State Monument in Hawaii, locally known as Lē’ahi, are now required to make reservations prior to the visit. Residents have free access to the park but those …

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Travel: Visit Monterey Bay with #PhotowalksTV

We began our Highway 1 central California coastal journey in April, with episodes in Pismo Beach and San Luis Obispo, and the car comes to a final stop in in Monterey, before turning back and heading home.

A 6-hour drive from the South Bay, or about two hours south of San Francisco, Monterey is home to arguably the greatest aquarium on the West Coast, historic Cannery Row and Fishermans Wharf and of course, all those great views.

By Jefferson Graham

Monterey is one of California’s oldest cities. It was founded in 1770 and officially was added to the United States in 1848.

At one time Monterey was best known as a place where sardines were canned–in Cannery Row, the subject of John Steinbeck’s book of the same name. Sardines were packed and shipped in Monterey from the 1920s until the 1950s on what was once called Ocean View Blvd. It was renamed Cannery Row in 1953 in honor of Steinbeck and is now a tourist attraction with shops selling t-shirts and trinkets and everything from pizza to cinnamon rolls.

In the 1980s the Monterey Bay Aquarium bought the former Hovden Cannery and built an aquarium around it. It is home to more than 600 species of plants and animals.

Monterey is one of the smaller California cities, with just under 30,000 residents, Monterey is also home to Presidio with nearly 10,000 active military members. Photowise, it’s hard to top the aquarium. For tips on how to get great shots there, watch the above video.

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A visit to Bursa, unforgotten Ottoman capital: Travel tips from locals

Turkey’s Bursa is one of the cities that left a mark on Turkish writer and poet Ahmet Hamdi Tanpınar’s soul. Bursa is, in a way, Ahmet Hamdi Tanpınar himself. After the relocation of the Ottoman Empire’s capital to Istanbul, his contemplations on Bursa as a city pushed into solitude correlates with the loneliness he experienced throughout his life.

Undoubtedly, it is a unique city that can be much-admired with its historical texture, even though it is slightly disrupted due to increasing tourism in the area.

The courtyard of Koza Han, Bursa, Turkey. (Shutterstock Photo)
The courtyard of Koza Han, Bursa, Turkey. (Shutterstock Photo)

Generally, when I set out to embark on a new journey in a new city, I want to explore every corner and its famous dishes. However, the recommended places on the internet are the ones popular on social media and somehow lack quality and authenticity. For this reason, my friend from Bursa was my tour guide during my short but colorful journey.

Located on the skirts of Mount Uludağ (meaning Great Mountain in Turkish) and witness to the birth of the Ottoman Empire, Bursa is very difficult to explore in two days – one week may be required at least. However, for those who do not have the opportunity to take a long vacation, this quick tour will help you get to know the most iconic spots of the city and experience the most beautiful flavors.

Take your time in serene courts of inns

A Turkish coffee master brews coffee on embers in Koza Han, Bursa, Turkey, May 2, 2022. (Photo courtesy of Buse Keskin)
A Turkish coffee master brews coffee on embers in Koza Han, Bursa, Turkey, May 2, 2022. (Photo courtesy of Buse Keskin)

Bursa, as an important trade city throughout history, is home to numerous inns and bazaars that maintained the pulse of the economy. Especially for traders who had to pass through the trade routes of Anatolia, inns were old versions of today’s hotels, an ideal place to have a night’s stay. The bazaars, consisting of narrow and long streets with shops, developed alongside the inns in new quarters of the city during the reign of Orhan Ghazi, or Sultan Orhan.

Since every inn in the Ottoman period monopolized the task of being a covered marketplace for a certain type of material, the trade item that was sold to retailers and artisans also lent its name to that inn. For example, if the item was cotton, it was called “cotton inn.”

You can find almost everything you are looking for in this area, which is very similar to Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar and narrow shopping streets of Eminönü. If you want to take a breath after a long shopping tour, you can drink coffee on embers in the peaceful courtyard of Koza Han (Chrysalis Inn), where you are greeted with birds chirping and products made of high-quality silk, or you can enjoy a quiet moment with the indispensable Turkish tea-simit duo.

Kayhan Bazaar in the inn area is where the “meatballs with pita” (pideli köfte) restaurants are concentrated. The smell of melted butter tantalizing your nostrils when you enter the bazaar is one of the spot’s trademarks. Meatballs with pita are very similar in taste to the Iskender kebab, which is another Bursa special. This unique flavor is also called “gariban kebab,” especially by the local people of Bursa, because it costs less.

Pideli köfte accompanied by şıra (fermented grape juice) in Kayhan Bazaar, Bursa, Turkey, May 2, 2022. (Photo courtesy of Buse Keskin)
Pideli köfte accompanied by şıra (fermented grape juice) in Kayhan Bazaar, Bursa, Turkey, May 2, 2022. (Photo courtesy of Buse Keskin)

Along with the pita meatballs, a drink called şıra is served alongside to ensure that the butter does not disturb the stomach. Şıra is a Turkish soft drink made from slightly fermented grape juice.

Founders of Ottoman Empire

The tombs of Osman Ghazi and Orhan Ghazi, the founding fathers of the Ottoman Empire, are located in the Tophane area. Many people who want to commemorate their ancestors show great interest in these tombs. They are located approximately 10 minutes from Bursa Ulu (Grand) Mosque by walking.

An aerial view of Gölyazı peninsula at sunset, Bursa, Turkey. (Shutterstock Photo)
An aerial view of Gölyazı peninsula at sunset, Bursa, Turkey. (Shutterstock Photo)

Those who come to Tophane also have the chance to watch the city from above. The famous cannon shots heard from every district of the city during Ramadan are fired from here, as the quarter’s name bears. Also, the first building that comes to mind in this area is the Clock Tower. There are three different Turkish flags on the top of the tower.

700-year-old village: Cumalıkızık

The historic character of the village with its cobblestones has been very well preserved and is a great example of the rural civil architecture of the early Ottoman period. Due to this feature, the village has been added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List. The villages located between the slopes of Uludağ are called “kızık.” One assumes that either the villagers used to gather for Friday prayers or the village was founded on a Friday, Cuma in Turkish, lending it the name Cumalıkızık.

Ottoman houses in the village of Cumalıkızık, Bursa, Turkey, March 6, 2021. (Shutterstock Photo)
Ottoman houses in the village of Cumalıkızık, Bursa, Turkey, March 6, 2021. (Shutterstock Photo)

Local women of the village sell many handmade sundried foods made of curd, tomatoes and flour, noodles and delicious black mulberry juice.

Deep history of Gölyazı pennisula

Turkey's famous stork 'Yaren,' meaning 'close friend' in Turkish, poses for Daily Sabah, Bursa, Turkey, May 2, 2022. (Photo courtesy of Buse Keskin)
Turkey’s famous stork “Yaren,” meaning “close friend” in Turkish, poses for Daily Sabah, Bursa, Turkey, May 2, 2022. (Photo courtesy of Buse Keskin)

Gölyazı is also known as Apollonia, the name of an ancient sun god, and is one of the richest settlements in Bursa. There are two peninsulas in the north of Lake Uluabat and seven islands near it. Gölyazı is connected to the island in the middle of this lake by a bridge. The village had been home to Turks and Greeks who lived peacefully for centuries.

One of the monuments of the village is the “weeping plane tree” because of the red liquid that flows from its trunk. There are also many legends attributed to the tree, including lovers who were unable to reunite. The island can be toured via fishing boats accompanied by sunset.

I had a chance to encounter the island’s, and even Turkey’s, famous stork “Yaren,” which means “close friend” in Turkish. It was on the shore, catching a few rays on a mild spring day.

Mouth-watering candied chestnuts

This candies flavor is attributed to Bursa’s special formula. Made with chestnuts collected from trees on the foothills of Uludağ, there are many local shops where candied chestnuts can be bought in several varieties, such as filled with pistachio or covered in chocolate.

Candied chesnuts. (Shutterstock Photo)
Candied chesnuts. (Shutterstock Photo)

This sweet treat is so popular it has received geographical indication from the Turkish Patent and Trademark Office.

It is quite easy to visit Bursa from Istanbul since a one to two-hour motorway drive, depending on your location in the megalopolis, will get you there. Bursa Metropolitan Municipality also operates shuttle buses to Istanbul’s airports. There are also frequent intercity bus links from all over Turkey to Bursa, the capital of the Turkish automotive industry and longtime hub of coach bus companies.

If you want to skirt the traffic, which can be notorious during rush hours and holidays, you can take passenger ferries operated by IDO and BUDO from several locations in Istanbul to Marmara Sea port town of Mudanya, which is easily accessible from downtown Bursa. During your expedition, you can enjoy the blues of the Marmara Sea during your 1 1/2 hour trip.

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19 veterans travel to Washington D.C. to visit war memorials thanks to Honor Flight Houston

HOUSTON – Nineteen veterans will depart to Washington D.C. Friday morning as part of ‘Honor Flight Houston’ in the first flight since the COVID-19 pandemic.

In collaboration with Schlumberger, Honor Flight, Southwest Airlines, and Houston Airports, the group of World War II, Korea and Vietnam veterans plan to visit their respective war memorials dedicated to their service and sacrifice.

Both the veterans and organizers say their experience will be memorable.

The group departed from Houston’s Hobby Airport Friday morning. A surprise return with a water cannon salute with Houston Fire Department along with more surprises are planned for Saturday evening along with a greeting from 100+ family members and fellow veterans.

To learn more about Honor Flight Houston, click here.

Copyright 2022 by KPRC Click2Houston – All rights reserved.

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Here are some etiquette tips if you are planning to visit Japan’s therapeutic onsens (hot springs):

If you’re sore from hiking or tired from Izakaya-hopping in Japan, there’s a perfect way to unwind—sink into one of the many warm and fuzzy onsens (hot springs). Rooted deeply in the Japanese culture, these baths are considered therapeutic, mystical and holy.

How they came about is not clear, but they are believed to date back to the first century. One finds their reference in the Nihon Shoki, the second-oldest book of classical Japanese history. Once the railways developed in the island nation, onsens moved up in status from being a traditional endowment that could only be accessed by the nobility and warrior clans, to one of the island nation’s top touristy attractions today, gathering name, fame and carving an identity for itself.

Back in the day, these baths were called ‘health resorts’ and were a thing of luxury, especially in the Kamakura period (1192 to 1333), also the time when feudalism was gaining root in Japan.

While there are hundreds of onsens in Japan, some of the best ones are located in the country’s northern island of Hokkaido. Owing to a lot of geothermal activity (hot springs are heated by geothermal heat) in the area, there are several peaceful ones to choose from. But mind your etiquette before you take a dip.

* Swimsuits, wraparounds, and towels should not be taken into the water. Even though some of the modern ‘konyokus’ or mixed-gender baths, allow bathers to wear wraps, traditionalists cringe at the thought. These springs are traditionally meant for nude bathing.
* Do not jump into the water. Ease yourself in. Onsen’s should not be treated like swimming pools. Do not wear goggles or swimming caps.
* You are expected to remove makeup before entering an onsen. Most baths will provide a cleansing oil, but you can use your own too.

Wash before you head into the waters. This is done to maintain hygiene and to prevent a heat shock upon entering, as bathing before will neutralise the body’s temperature. Be careful as to not occupy the washing space for too long.

* Tie your hair in a ponytail or bun if you have long hair.
* Certain onsens prohibit people with tattoos as the social stigma around them is very strong, however, things are changing.
* Do not be noisy: Locals enjoy these baths for relaxation. Loud chatters can be disturbing.
* Phones should not be carried in the bath nor should they be used in the changing room. It is. 
* People with BP conditions should consult their doctor before heading to an onsen. In the hot water, blood vessels widen and blood pressure decreases. But when you leave the water, these blood vessels contract, increasing pressure immediately.
* Do not use other people’s shampoos if you see them lying around. Only use the ones provided by the resort or carry your own.  
* Do not carry liquor or tobacco into the water.
* Running around or creating a nuisance of any kind won’t be taken kindly. 

Once you have check-listed the above, you are free to enjoy the many benefits of the healing waters. It is especially great for those suffering from rheumatic conditions and sleeping disorders. Because the water has a high concentration of silica, a chemical compound that promotes the production of collagen, it treats rough or eczema-prone skin very well. Need any more reason to travel for to experience one?

Fact check

* Just because there is a warm body of water, does not mean it is an onsen. It has to be a certified bath to be considered an onsen.
* The water temperature must be over 25°C.
* An onsen derives its therapeutic value through its mineral content. These include calcium, sulphur, iron, and magnesium.
* There is no standard colour of an onsen’s water. It can range from clear to cloudy.

Once the railways developed, onsens moved up in status from being a traditional endowment that could only be accessed by the nobility and warrior clans, to one of the top touristy attractions today

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Travel news: British tourist to visit world’s most dangerous island | UK | News

Miles Routledge, who uses the Twitter handle Lord Miles Routledge, has built a reputation as being a “danger tourist” having visited multiple hotspots in the past – including Kabul during the Taliban takeover. His latest plan will be to visit a renowned island in the Indian Ocean known for a hostile indigenous tribe who have had very little contact with the outside world and remain one of the world’s last uncontacted peoples in the world.

Devout Christian Mr Routledge is hoping to visit North Sentinel Island located in the Bay of Bengal.

Previous attempts by others visiting the protected island, which belongs to India, have resulted in death at the hands of the locals.

In 1867, British explorers had to fend off attacks from the natives as they awaiting rescue following their vessel becoming shipwrecked off the coast of the island.

In 2006, two fishermen were killed by the natives known as the Sentinelese.

And American Christian missionary John Allen Chau met the same fate when he attempted to spread the word of God on the island in 2018.

Contact with the islanders is not only discouraged due to their extremely violent nature but to protect the group from the outside world, in particular from disease and viruses other nations have long become immune to.

Mr Routledge has devised a plan to document the group without putting himself or the tribe at risk

Taking to Twitter, he wrote: “Buy 2 small boats and go to North Sentinel Island.

“One crew sets off fireworks to distract the primitives.

“One crew in decontaminated suits sets up Starlink, cameras and a solar panel all hidden.

“Twitch of uncontacted tribes, $$$ and help science.

“Tell me why this wouldn’t work.”

World’s most mysterious places Britons can’t visit

Mr Routledge claims this would allow for a Twitch stream to be set up and monitor the mostly undocumented tribe.

He says this will help science and make money along the way.

Adding another plan to his ambitious adventure, he wrote: “Or like, go with a drone disguised as a big bird, film content, boom exclusive footage of non-contacted tribe that’s near priceless.”

Warning of the dangers ahead, one Twitter user replied to Mr Routledge by saying: “Go in a suit of armour.

“What are they going to do against a knight with their little sticks?”

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Mr Routledge has conducted other dangerous trips in his travels.

In April, he was seen to have “tea with the Taliban” during a visit to Afghanistan.

Tweeted about the encounter, he wrote: “Tea with the Taliban.

I’m in Afghanistan, walked into Taliban residency by accident and after talking they gave me food, tea and even offered for me to stay the night.

“They are so kind!”

Should Miles Routledge visit the island? Will the visit pose a danger to the islanders in light of the recent global virus? Let us know your thoughts by CLICKING HERE and joining the debate in our comments section below – Every Voice Matters!

He has also travelled to Ukraine during the Russian invasion, and spent time in Kazakhstan during riots.

In reference to his Sentinel Island idea, he later claimed that he wasn’t being completely serious.

He tweeted: “I mentioned this before but I’ve had a lot of new followers then, it’s always good to get further perspective on s**t posts that may turn into something real one day.”

Mr Routledge has been contacted by for comment.

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