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Today:
*** Greece: Old, Expensive, and Impractical — Yet Worth Every Penny
*** Photographs Sell Articles; Here’s How…
*** Practical Writing Prompt of the Week: How to Turn Those Coffee Photos Into Saleable Articles

Dear Reader,

People keep asking me: How was Greece?

My reply: It was a lot like this bedspread I bought when I was there — old, moderately expensive, and completely impractical… but at the same time, absolutely stunning, romantic, and worth every penny.

It took 17 hours, two airport connections, and a screaming child on (I’m not kidding) all three legs of the flight to get to Rhodes.

Impractical? Yes. Most of Western Europe is reachable by a single flight and little more than half the travel time.

Was it worth it? Was it ever!

Every time we’d walk by a real estate office, my fiancé and I would check the prices. We could see ourselves living happily in Old Rhodes — a walled city with few cars and good wine.

And while we didn’t invest in a home, we did buy that bedspread I mentioned — a king-size cloth of blue and purple velvet stitched together with pieces of old wedding gowns and costumes from nearly every island in Greece.

“The white fabric,” the salesman told us, “is indigenous to the island of Rhodes. Everything else we get from festivals and families all over the Greek islands. Then, by hand, my family and I create these things from their scraps – bed spreads, pillow cases, throw blankets. Some of these pieces are from gowns and costumes over 200 years old and the quality is still good, do you see?”

I sure did. I fell in love with this store even before I made it through the door. And it wasn’t just me. Two of our attendees (a married couple from San Francisco) went back and bought several blankets and throws for their soon-to-be-opened art gallery in San Fran.

The hard part was getting this stuff back to the hotel. In a bag, our bedspread weighted nearly 10 pounds because of all the beads and sequins. 10 pounds can feel like 20 in a matter of minutes when you’re walking.

It was a completely impractical purchase, too, because it’s too heavy to lie under at night. For the past seven nights I’ve had to fold the bedspread down to the foot of the bed before getting in.

But if you could see it, you’d understand why I’m willing to get up a few minutes earlier, just to make the bed. It’s absolutely stunning. And that’s how I feel about the whole island.

Couple that with Rhodes’ virtually nonexistent crime rate, its incredibly friendly restaurant owners and shop keepers, its good wine and fantastic food… and you’ll understand why I didn’t want to leave.

Here are a few of my favorite finds on Rhodes:

** Best restaurant: Marco Polo Mansion, Old Rhodes

** Best meal: Impossible to choose! There were seven of us at the table at the Marco Polo Mansion, so they let us order a bunch of starters (7) and a few main courses (4) and share them. Everything on the island was great though, from the spiced olives on the salad to the moussaka with its fresh eggplant and potatoes, to the sweet baklava for dessert.

** Favorite shop (where we bought our bed spread): Kalimera in Old Rhodes

** Best café drink: Cappuccino with ice cream (or, in some places, espresso with ice cream)

Tomorrow, I’ll send you an article by professional photographer, Michael Ray. Michael shoots mostly food photography and says his clients often come to him with requests like: “Make this look like 7:00 AM on a Sunday.”

In tomorrow’s article, titled, How to Fake Morning Light, Michael will show you how he does it. Try it yourself (and integrate a little coffee into your shots), and when you’re finished, submit your favorite one to our contest at: http://thephotographerslife.com

This month’s first-, second-, and third-place winners will be entered into the final contest for a $2,000 check and bragging rights for the year’s best photograph. For more details, click here.

And don’t forget to tune in tomorrow for Michael Ray’s article on How to Fake Morning Light.

Have a great weekend,

— Lori
Lori Appling
Director, Great Escape Publishing

[Editor’s Note: Learn more about opportunities to profit from your travels (and even from your own home) in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel.]

PRACTICAL WRITING PROMPT OF THE WEEK

Since this month’s photo contest theme is centered around coffee, I’ve been thinking about what you could do with all those coffee pictures you’ve been taking. Here are a few ideas:

** The folks with me in Greece took coffee shots in several cafes on Symi island. They could use them to build a piece on the best places to go on Symi for a cuppa joe… or do a piece on the various kinds of coffee drinks they enjoyed on the island. (The variety was quite extraordinary, including the last cup of iced coffee I had — with toffee in it.)

In your own hometown, you could do the same. Pick out three to five coffee shops and find out if they’re offering holiday specials. If so, turn the results into a round-up.

** Or ask about what the various shops are doing to distinguish themselves from one another — is there a “game night” or a “book club” or live music one evening? If so, you could build a round-up article that revolves around coffee-shop diversions.

** Or, take an entirely different angle and do a round-up piece on where to buy the best gifts for coffee lovers.

======================
READER FEEDBACK: “I got a picture published in a national/international magazine!” – Richard Mendoza

“Every month, Shutterbug has a ‘readers’ assignment’ for people to send in on various topics of their choosing, and one of mine was picked for the March ’06 issue! No money involved, but at least I can now say, ‘I’m published’. It’s a start!

“Shutterbug’s a pretty major publication, with a worldwide readership. So, yes, I was on cloud 9 when I discovered it.

“Once you get to the link, scroll down past the flag pics, and there will be another section called Found Montage. There, it’ll explain what the assignment was. The first pic is mine, and it’s of the rest area by the lions’ veldt at the Wichita zoo. No, it doesn’t make sense, it’s not award-winning, and it won’t get me a free trip around the world, but I did what they asked, they liked what they saw, and I sure ain’t complaining!”
http://shutterbug.com/picture_this/0306picture/

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