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Heavenly Vacations -- Go There, Live There

By John Townley and Susan Wishbow Townley

"We gotta get out of this place!" exclaimed Suzie.

"So where we gonna run to?" replied John...

Good question, indeed!  Home is where the heart is, but when you need a break, well...where, indeed?  When that precious vacation time comes along, there's always a debate about just the right place to go to get some rays, get some rest, party for a while, rekindle that fire of love, romance, and personal inspiration that will carry you though the workadays that support your windows on the world.

Not just where, but how?  Around the world in 80 days in a balloon?  A slow boat to China?  A fiesta cruiseboat to nowhere/everywhere?  A magical mystery tour where you wake up surprised every sunrise?

A lot depends on what lights your fire -- your solar fire -- so your Sun sign can be a good start for your vacation plans.  And if you find the country that matches you to a "T" -- your geographical soulmate -- you might even wind up moving there.  Of course, that all depends on whom you meet there...!

 Aries: Germany.  You know this is an Aries country the moment you get on the Autobahn and cars race past you when you're doing 80!  Energy is the name of the game, in the disco sophistication of Berlin or the rustic hideaways of the Black Forest.   Beer, beer, beer is your game at Oktoberfest, but you don't need Autumn to sample the goods -- don some leather shorts for summer hiking in the Alps and, when you're glowing with morning's climb, regale yourself with sausages and saurbraten or stuff yourself with "schweine mit stuffen" at a mountain inn overlooking a sparkling, crystal lake.  Wildflowers are legendary,  flooding meadowed peaks and peeking out of sun-dappled glades to reward the energetic climber.  But when the Aries energy wears you out, try the beach promenade at Wilhelmshaven on the Baltic, where fresh and smoked fish, rollmops washed down with liebfraumilch, show you why "essen und trinken" is indeed the German way of life.  Or, if inland waters are more to your taste, float down the Rhine past rugged, cliff-perched castles guarded by ancient Rhinemaidens and their riverborn Niebelungen gold. 

Taurus:  Ireland.  Fixed, stubborn Taurus ruled by delicate, beautiful Venus.  What a combination!   What country better describes that than Ireland -- tenacious, combative, determined and home of music, dancing, and art that spring from the heart of this enduring, passionate race.  If you wonder whether Taurus really rules the throat, just listen to an Irish tenor singing "Danny Boy" and puzzle no more!  Dance, music, and poetry are the heart of Ireland's oral tradition, the essence of its cultural arts, and you'll find them all everpresent at every local pub, where a few pints of Guinness loosen the bonds of imagination and the stepped beat of the ceildh begins.  This is the land of hearty eating, not fussy palettes, so dig into the corned beef, cabbage, and potatoes to fuel your energy for the dance -- and be ready to dance all night, because remember, Taurus means stamina, and you'll need it!  The graceful turns of the jig and hornpipe are reflected in the frozen music of Celtic art, endless spirals and borders with a mystic past born of prehistoric stone monuments of the high priests of the earth religions that flourished before St. Patrick trod on this green isle.  And green it is  -- there is no greener place on earth, all year around, moist with moss and peat that soften the rolling hills from rocky shore to emerald lake.    All around you, you'll find revival -- of tradition, of lore, of enduring beliefs long-suffering and now come into their own again.  And the throat is ever-present, between sips, whether in song, poetry, or just the gift of gab you get from kissing the Blarney Stone -- there is always a story to tell, happy or tragic, funny or sad, which always comes from the heart.

Gemini:  England.  They say Gemini has two sides and wants it both ways, and no country satisfies that fantasy like England.  It's both terribly sophisticated and utterly rustic -- and one is just a few minutes' drive from the other.  The formal splendor and palaces and museums of London start to give way right outside their "beltway" ("ringroad," please), and in a hour's time you can drop back millenia to the Stone Age at Stonehenge or Avebury, or the compelling spirituality of Glatonbury Tor, King Arthur's Isle of Avalon.  Bed-and-breakfast places are not only affordable, they're really the way to know the people, cool but cordial, surprisingly approachable. Most especially for that cornerstone of England, the "proper English breakfast" -- fried everything and, if you're in the North, don't forget the black pudding!  Although the sophistication of Soho, Carnaby St., Hyde Park, may stimulate your Gemini mind, it is the landscape, the constantly changing skies, the private corners around every corner that give this small country its endless bounty, the scope of Empire within the size of the Empire State. Endless, hidden pristine villages, tiny cloistered gardens, ruined monasteries, sheep-filled moors, windswept islands, placid rivers, shining cliffs, all neatly partitioned together like compartmented thoughts in a well-schooled mind.  Gemini, indeed. A paradise of instant-access variety for the small-car adventurer (it's the only way to go, forget Britrail) who can handle the left-hand side of the road!  There is no country in the world with more to offer in less space, unless you count the inside of your computer and the Internet.  And they speak English!...

Cancer:  The U.S.A. (and Canada).  Irving Berlin said it:  "See America First!"  And for Moon-ruled Cancerians, that's perfect advice for the natural homebody who wants adventure.  America is big -- perhaps the biggest for vacation variety of any country in the world -- and yet it's, well, home.  Home-cooking (Southern-style, Western-style, New England-style). Homeboys and homeruns.  Moon over Miami.  Blue Moon of Kentucky. Vidalia onions, Idaho potatoes. Everywhere you go, the appeal is home, but with a twist.  Go to L.A., how do the Hollywood stars live?  Go to Williamsburg, VA -- how did the colonists live?  Go to the wild West -- how did the frontier folks live?  Whether you're rafting down the Colorado rapids (and, of course, cooking out), or taking in the shows on Broadway (don't forget the Stage Deli after), there's a kind of comfort here that make the heart(and the tummy) grow fonder.  It's no wonder that Americans are most known for taking their home surroundings with them -- who else would travel 5000 miles and then eat at McDonald's in Paris?  So why fight it?  From purple mountains' majesty, from sea to shining sea, there's a feast for the eyes, the heart, and the soul in this still-young country to warm any vacationer's heart, especially if, like your country, you're a Cancer. Be dazzled by the landscape, thrilled by the weather, gorge on golfing, bask on beaches, challenge mountains, float down rivers -- there's a smorgasbord with something for everyone and with a single theme: while on vacation you're still at home, where the heart is.

Leo: France and Italy.  Sun-kings, sunny Riviera, sun-baked beaches and sun-drenched vineyards, lazy lunches under cafe umbrellas, cooled by apertifs and evening kisses.  My oh my, Leo and fifth house, for sure!  Vintage wines and Mediterranean cruises, Montemarte artists and tucked-away bistros, cafe espresso beneath rows of poplars, all roads lead to Rome, all rivers to Paris, life in the moment, languid love, lingering desire.  Intoxicating.  Well, a tourist visa may not guarantee all that, but it's there for the taking, if only briefly,  to dip your toes into a sea of sensuality that these very Leo countries simply exude.  Art, music, architecture -- the lure of the Louvre, the opulence of opera, the romance of the Eternal City.  That's what awaits you, and it's a Leo's dream.  And the food -- well, that goes without saying.  Pop a copy of Guide Michelin into your bag and go from three-star to four-star establishments -- and if your budget can't afford, chances are that small restaurant down the street is crowded with locals for a very good reason.  These folks know the good life, so just fearlessly follow.  The spiritual side is equally as lush, from the breathtaking rose windows of Chartres and Notre Dame to the Michaelangelos of the Vatican.  These countries are in sensory overload, as only a Leo can truly appreciate, the perfect place to slake your thirst for every indulgence.  So give yourself over to your Leo nature and bathe yourself in the senses  -- you work hard, so play hard, French and Italian style, you've earned it!

Virgo: Greece.  Crystal waters, bleached white rocky Aegean seascapes, a beautiful culture baked and soaked by the sun, the purity of late summer growth, virginal, seclusive, and timeless.  Images of white and blue: whitewashed houses and doomed churches surrounded by a shocking azure blue, the "wine-dark" sea, even the doors and window frames are painted an electric blue. And despite its outer austerity, the details are a Virgoan carpet of pleasures to pick and choose.  Especially for the palette: salads brimmed to the gills with sweet tomatoes, olives, onions, cucumbers, and fresh feta cheese, doused with greek olive oil, vinegar, and fresh oregano, dolmades(vine-leaves stuffed with pine nuts and rice, served with tangy lemon sauce) or maybe dzadziki(yogurt, cucumbers, and garlic) or spanakopitta( spinach pie).  The varieties are endless, each a treat unto itself -- not unlike the islands dotting the Aegean, each a world apart, each part of a collection, true Virgo temperament.  And the style's been there for centuries -- this is the land that Virgo's ruler Mercury blessed with the foundation-stones of Western thought:  Plato, Aristotle, Socrates, Alexander.  There words and deeds echo through the temples of the Acropolis up to the peaks of Mount Olympus.  Little marvels abound:  a whisper on the stage ancient Theater of Epidaurus resounds like a loudspeaker to the heights of the marble ruins, reflections of the mysteries of the Ancients.

Libra: China.  This land is not called the Middle Kingdom for nothing --  moderation, balance, and beauty in all things great and small is the watchword for this ancient culture,  a style immediately familiar and rewarding for Libras.  Why fight when you can build a Great Wall, for instance, good fences make good neighbors, and you won't see a more impressive property line anywhere else in the world.  Incense-laden Taoist temples embody the eternal Way Of Life, the philosophy that you return to the balance of nature and go with the flow.  Not a bad idea, when you've got one of the world's greatest cuisines on your plate and it's even polite to burp!  Silks and glorious cloisonne adorn the body and the table, so bring some home to remind you of the trip.  The new communism allows you play in the poshest of nitelife in Hong Kong and Shanghai, and the quiet splendor of the Beijing Palace is enough to take your breath away.  But don't just take in Western-tailored prefab tours, get down for a boatride in a Chinese junk or make it to some of the more extreme places in the world, like the towering gorges of the Yangtze River, once inhabited by robber-barons, or the badlands of the Gobi Desert, home of some of the world's most spectacular dinosaur finds.  In every corner of the land you'll find a combination of peace and harmony with a thousand faces, good reason for the Chinese to consider it the center of the world and the rest of us as unbalanced foreigners!  Beauty in the greatest and the least is what you will find here and ideally, in true Libra fashion, balanced so all can live in harmony.   But remember that none of this applies to their politics right now, so pass on that if you want to enjoy your trip!

Scorpio:  Spain.  Dark-eyed flamenco dancers, mysterious Don Juans, underground dungeons of the Inquisition, deep red wines, Gypsy fortunetellers, all mark the  brooding, passionate Scorpionic quality of Spain -- even its opposite sign, the Bull!  We haven't an argument with that creature, though, so we'd rather dig into a tasty paella with shrimp and shellfish fresh from the Bay of Biscay washed down with sangria and a chaser of Spanish brandy, sweeter and smoother than French Cognacs.  Try a simple repast of Seville oranges and other excellent local fruit.  Torrid tete-a-tetes in a Madrid cafe about epitomize the mood, but there's a light side, like Antonio Gauidi's sand-castle architecture, and a glorious side, like the Alhambra, a treat for the eyes and the spirit.  Or, if you have that Scopio urge to just lay out in splendid self-indulgence, the Mediterranean beaches are paradise en Espanol.  And don't forget who sent Columbus on his way -- you can get into exploration mode on replicas of the Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria in several different versions and locations!  Lady Scorps will want to take home some sultry Spanish lace, but guys might rather collect a Toledo blade or two, still some of the finest edged steel in the world.  Steely, dark-edged and passionate, the Scorpio world of Spain.

Sagittarius: Australia.  A Jupiter-ruled land for sure, breadth and breathtaking are the words for this country of a boundless appetite. Outback diamond in the ruff men, and speaking of diamonds, love those South Australian opals!  Or try pearling from Cape York in Northern Queensland right around to Shark Bay in Western Australia, a distance of only some 1,865 miles...and you thought the States were big...the great outdoor life where everyone loves a "barbie" and a session on the beach, whether sunbathing or surfing! Maybe even some time for cricket or rugby...or go to Sydney for the Olympics in the year 2000!  Pilgrimage to Ayers Rock, the Navel of the World, where dreams were invented or to Boroka Lookout and see the history of of the Kooris(meaning our people).  Put your hand in a kangaroo's pocket, challenge Crocodile Dundee (or just a crocodile), or float above the coral and among the polychrome fish of the Great Barrier Reef.  Sydney harbor is one of the four most beautiful in the world, and if watching a Sagittarian contralto belt out the finest last act, the Sydney Opera House is second to none.  In an expansively indulgent mood?  Down some Foster's or XXX, or for the more delicate palatte, a host of fine vintage wines not only from Australia, but nearby Tasmania.  Few countries have mountains, deserts, plains, rain forests, reefs, oceans all in hot and cold running varieties, not to mention cultures ranging from ancient aborigine mysteries to modern disco mystique -- but he, you're a Sagittarius, so you'll want to try it all!

Capricorn:  India.  If you like old things and cultures that stand the test of time, this subcontinents has it all, and has had it continuously for thousands of years.  Ancient temples adorn the landscape, arising from steaming plains and clinging to Himalayan mountainsides.  The temple incense you inhale today was burned before Buddha was born -- the ancient shrine walls are black with it -- and the sparkling marble of the Taj Mahal was relatively born yesterday in this enduring land.  Despite its Saturn rulership, there's a lusher side, tiger-stalked rainforests dripping from the monsoon, and wave-licked, reefbound shores where sharks and pearls abound.  But sit down to the table, and it's all at the tip of your tongue --  as long as you're ready for the riot of spices, flavors, and textures that mark one of the world's greatest cuisines. From a light kurma to a searing vindaloo, crispy papadums and crunchy pakora, on a bed of basmati rice, washed down (and you'll need it!) by woody, bracing India pale ale. Still up for sweets?  Firni and jalobi, spiced with a whiff of saffron, seal the meal.  And all the while, in the background, a feast for the ears -- the dizzying spirals of sitar music, driven by the boiling, staccatto rhythms of the tabla, beneath the drifting, sinuous songs of the romance of legendary lovers Rama and Sita.  Who says Capricorn's dry?!!

Aquarius:  Russia.  Used to be the Soviet Union was the down side of Aquarius  --  everything equal, all the same, communism.  Now it's Russia again, the more creative side comes out, with dozens of separate cultures all wrapped up into an incredible, newborn stewpot.  A place where you can do crazy, Uranus-type things, like rent your own MIG-29 jet fighter and fly it yourself (with help, of course, from a top gun Russian Air Force pilot).  Stuff yourself with borscht and pirogi, toss down some Stolichnaya, and  take in some incredible balalaika music in a Moscow cafe.  Or, if you want to see a bit of everything, Aquarius-style, a dizzying array of museums are all within walking distance of most hotels in Moscow and St. Petersburg -- even the KGB has its own, where they will assure you they were always very gentle with their guests!  Palaces and cathedrals long neglected during Iron Curtain days have been refurbished to their original golden splendor, and if you want the ultimate in egalitarian, hands-across-the-ocean experience, you can even eat at a McDonald's with a view of the Kremlin!  In the interests of fairness, the countryside has as much to offer, including river excursions with your own personal Volga Boatman, and Baltic cruises from Kaliningrad and other seaports are excellent summer fare (in the winter, try the Caspian Sea).  If there is any key to this country, it is that in true Aquarian style, it covers all the bases, these days with free market finesse! Gorilka (flammable vodka, Ukraine),  z pertsem, approach with caution!  Smoked fish... Catherine The Great, St. and then, together, served on a plate...

Pisces:  Islands, islands!  The place to communicate with your  sensitive, watery nature is, where else, on an island surrounded by gentle, lapping waters, ready to caress you ankles as you merge with the ocean.  Most island nations are ruled by Pisces, so you've really got your pick , but the most convenient to America are the Caribbean  islands and  Bermuda.  If you like a Cuba Libre, mix it with a little Fernandes rum from Barbados which, by the way, is one of the most spiritually haunted places in the ocean.    Or, if you're an animal lover, try Allen's Key in the Bahamas, the only place you can find native iguanas only a hundred miles from our shores.  But most of all, find a place uncrowded and out of the way (like, NOT jam-packed Key West!) where you'll get the privacy to commune with your inner self.   If everybody's talking about it, don't go there!   If you can get a cheap fare to a popular place, take it and then charter a boat for the nearest "who goes there?" spot you can  find.  Or better, just charter your own  boat, set your sails, and cruise for a week or two -- the  windowpane waters will bear you up and talk to you of friendly creatures below as they rock you like a child in a cradle.  Unless, of course, you're in for some yo-heave-ho, in which case an affordable barefoot cruise on a tall ship is just the thing, running the rigging like a pirate of old and then settling down for a tot of grog and a gourmet meal (yes, the cooking's good) when the sails are stowed and you've come to anchor.  But if  spiritual solitude or rolicking adventure is not your speed, a quiet time of golfing and exquisite ocean views are calling you from Bermuda, whose secret ocean caves are the answer to your 12th house dreams, quiet places beckoning below a serene landscape blessed with the green of English hills.                       

-- From Dell Horoscope Magazine, June 1999

Cycles of the Moon & Sun

From Lunar Returns — Meet The Moon.

Seize The Day

Of Time And Tides.

 Paul Kammerer: The Law Of Seriality (fr. Fortean Studies - .pdf)

 Professor Seward's Foray From The Beyond

Toward a Physical Basis for Astrology

 Heavenly Vacations

Your Birthday Headlines

America Quo Vadis

  Copyright © John Townley 2005. All rights reserved.
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