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Zeren Earls

Bio:

A travel writer, Zeren Earls is a native of Turkey, who came to the United States in the late 50s for her college education. She studied psychology at Duke University, where she met her late husband, composer/media artist Paul Earls. Her immersion in the art world through her husband while a fellow at the Center for Advanced Visual Studies at MIT, led to her involvement in First Night in 1976. She was among the initial organizers of the Boston event and became its director in 1980. Pursuant to the event's major growth under her direction, she moved on to found First Night International in 1994. After assisting many communities in the US and abroad in initiating the First Night Celebration, she retired in 2002. Since then she has turned to adventure traveling and writing. Each year she travels to a country that is culturally new to her, China, Egypt, India, Morocco and Vietnam to name a few. In addition to her travels she has been writing her life story.

Recent Articles:

  • Northern Spain Front Page

    The Basque Country

    By: Zeren Earls - Mar 12th, 2018

    The Basque region of northern Spain stands out with its beautiful coastline and unique culture. In addition to being historic towns with notable architecture, the cities of Bilbao, Guernica, San Sebastian and Pamplona boast a vibrant contemporary life flavored with local charm. The network of ancient pilgramage routes, the Camino de Santiago (Way of Saint James) also stretches through this region.

  • Southern France Front Page

    Along the Foothills of the Pyrenees

    By: Zeren Earls - Jan 02nd, 2018

    The walled city of Carcassonne, the heritage site Albi with its Toulouse-Lautrec Museum, the Basque cities of Auch and Bayonne, and the Atlantic coastal cities of Biarritz and Saint-Jean-de-Luz are treasures that make this region of France unique for the visitor.

  • Guggenheim Bilbao at Twenty Front Page

    An Inspiring Success Story

    By: Zeren Earls - Nov 06th, 2017

    The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao recently concluded a year-long celebration of its 20th anniversary under the concept "Art Changes Everything", inspired by the major changes that the city of Bilbao and its residents have experienced since the Museum's opening on October 19, 1997, while at the same time underscoring the transformational capacity of art. I felt fortunate to be able to visit this cultural treasure during a tour of the Basque region of northern Spain in late September.

  • Greenland Front Page

    A journey South of the Polar Circle

    By: Zeren Earls - Sep 13th, 2017

    Greenland, the world's largest island, offers majestic mountains, green valleys and picturesque fjords dotted with icebergs along its eastern coast. Towns of Tasiilaq and Kusuluk are home to Inuits, who have a unique way of life mediated by their environment.

  • Iceland: Part Three Front Page

    Wonders of the North and South Coasts

    By: Zeren Earls - Sep 05th, 2017

    Traveling from the northern fjords near the Arctic Circle by way of Lake Myvatn to the south coast, Iceland offers breathtaking displays of geological wonders. Craters, hot springs, lava fields, roaring waterfalls, geysers glacial rivers and black sand beaches are all within easy reach. Landscapes of beautiful farmlands and cliffs with seabirds are the added bonus.

  • Iceland: Part Two Front Page

    Reykjavik and Western Iceland

    By: Zeren Earls - Aug 27th, 2017

    Iceland is a destination for both the culture and nature enthusiast. Although Reykjavik is a small capital city, its cultural offerings are as varied as those of any major European capital. Snaefellsnes Peninsula in western Iceland is dotted with charming coastal villages and a feast of natural wonders. Snaefelsjokull, a glacier capped 700,000-year-old volcano, looms large over the western end of the peninsula.

  • Iceland: Part One Front Page

    Westman Islands

    By: Zeren Earls - Aug 13th, 2017

    Heimaey is the only inhabited one of the fifteen volcanic Westman Islands on the southeast coast of Iceland. Rising from the cold sea, the island has a rugged appearance which belies its natural beauty and friendly people. Visiting Heimaey is a moving experience to learn about volcanic devastation and people's resilience to rebuild and to preserve the island's nature-made beauty.

  • New Zealand's Urban Wonders Front Page

    Christ Church and Wellington

    By: Zeren Earls - Jun 26th, 2017

    Christ Church is a vibrant coastal city rebuilding itself following a major earthquake devastation of six years ago. Contemporary architecture is on the rise, while historic treasures are being restored. Wellington, the capital city, is an urban wonderland with a thriving movie industry, world-class museums, outdoor cafes, an attractive waterfront, and beautiful botanical gardens.

  • New Zealand: South Island Front Page

    A Wonderland of Natural Beauty

    By: Zeren Earls - Jun 04th, 2017

    Milford Sound with scenic fjords, national parks with spectacular mountain views and cascading waterfalls, and Dart River with thrilling jet-boat rides are the rewards of South Island. Traveling west across the Southern Alps, the rewards continue with the snow-capped Mount Cook region, Fox and San Josef Glaciers, a craggy coastline with "Pancake Rocks", and the artists' haven town of Hokitika.

  • New Zealand: North Island Front Page

    Auckland, Rotorua and Waimangu Volcanic Valley

    By: Zeren Earls - Apr 25th, 2017

    As New Zealand's largest city, Auckland offers a distinctive urban landscape with two harbors, modern high-rises, beautiful gardens, and impressive museums. Rotorua stands out with its geothermal activity and predominant Maori culture. Waimangu Volcanic Valley is a wonderland of crater lakes, hot springs, boiling mud pots, and an exuberant nature that has regenerated following the devastation of an eruption.

  • New Zealand: North Island Front Page

    Bay of Islands

    By: Zeren Earls - Apr 12th, 2017

    A subtropical archipelago, the Bay of Islands is a unique ecosystem of nearly 150 islands. Pristine natural environment with emerald hills and clear turquoise waters set the stage for picturesque historic towns, which mark the crossroads of English and Maori cultures, giving birth to the nation of New Zealand.

  • Northern Greece: Part Two Front Page

    From the Ionian to the Aegean Sea

    By: Zeren Earls - Feb 08th, 2017

    The highlights of this itinerary range from rock formations with monasteries perched atop the cliffs at Meteora to ancient Macedonian cities of Philippi and Amphipolis, the former distinguished as the first place Apostle Paul visited in Europe. The modern cities of Kavala and Thessaloniki enhance the experience with museums, monuments, and antiquities in addition to a vibrant urban life.

  • Northern Greece: Part One Front Page

    From the Aegean to the Ionian Sea

    By: Zeren Earls - Feb 07th, 2017

    Traveling through Northern Greece is a wondrous journey across ancient Macedonia. The scenic land between the modern coastal cities of Thessaloniki on the east and Parga and Preveza on the west, is a treasure trove of antiquities from the time of King Philip II and his son Alexander the Great, along with those from Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman Empires. Biblical treasures along the route enhance the journey.

  • Southern Siberia Front Page

    Along Lake Baikal on the Trans-Siberian Railway

    By: Zeren Earls - Jan 03rd, 2017

    Lake Baikal is the largest and oldest body of fresh water on earth. Traveling along its southern shore by vintage steam train is a unique journey on a coastal precipice with lush mountains on one side and the lake on the other. Listvyanka, an old port town on the lake, is also close to a network of hiking paths. Irkutsk, the capital of Eastern Siberia, reflects a rich and varied cultural heritage as home to 120 nationalities, well worth the distance to get there.

  • Mongolia Part Two Front Page

    Khovsgol Lake and Gobi Desert

    By: Zeren Earls - Dec 01st, 2016

    The vast Khovsgol Lake region in northern Mongolia is home to numerous nomadic herders. As their grazing horses, yaks, and reindeer grace the shores, picturesque gers for locals and visitors add to the pastoral charm. Gobi Desert in the south fascinates with its valleys, sand dunes, ochre-colored cliffs, and the unique two-humped Bactrian camels.

  • Mongolia Part One Front Page

    Ulaanbaatar and Gorkhi-Terelj National Park

    By: Zeren Earls - Oct 01st, 2016

    An independent country since 1990, Mongolia is a vast land situated between China and Russia. It has retained its centuries old nomadic life style and culture, despite 80 years under socialism. Ulaanbaatar , the capital city, is a vibrant metropolis with temples and museums, and is quickly establishing itself in the world community. Gorkhi-Terelj National Park boasts a landscape of forests, granite hills, rivers and meadows. It is home to 550 nomadic families and a favorite vacation spot for city dwellers.

  • China's Yunnan Province: Part Two Front Page

    Dali and Lijiang

    By: Zeren Earls - Sep 11th, 2016

    Dali is an autonomous Bai prefecture on the shores of Lake Erhai, which sits in a high-altitude valley of 6500 feet. Mild climate, beautiful mountain scenery, and unique minority populations make the region an attractive destination. Lijian, nestled in the high mountain plains at 7500 feet, is home to Naxi people, who have a unique culture and religion based on nature worship. Their living quarters is a well-preserved Old Town well worth a visit.

  • China's Yunnan Province: Part One Front Page

    Kunming, The Capital City

    By: Zeren Earls - Sep 07th, 2016

    Burma and Tibet as neighbors, Yunnan is a culturally, ethnically, and geographically diverse, fascinating region of China. Sixteen of China's fifty six ethnic populations live in Kunming, the capital city. Kunming is a vibrant modern city with urban attractions, yet retaining old-fashioned charm and folkloric color.

  • Route of the Maya: Part Six Front Page

    Nicaragua

    By: Zeren Earls - Jun 12th, 2016

    Related to the Aztecs of Central Mexico, Nicarao people settled along the Pacific coast of what is now Nicaragua about 1250 AD. Covering a land mass from the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean, Nicaragua suffered under years of dictatorship and civil war in its recent history. Ready to realize its potential, the beautiful country shines with its capital Managua, as well as Granada, the oldest colonial city of the American mainland, established in 1524.

  • Route of the Maya: Part Five Front Page

    Belize

    By: Zeren Earls - May 31st, 2016

    Boasting a rich ethnic mix on the Caribbean coast, Belize attracts visitors to sun and sea. Lamanai, a 26-mile scenic ride away on the New River, is an ancient city within a subtropical forest, where the Maya lived for over 3000 years.

  • Route of the Maya: Part Four Front Page

    Antigua, Tikal and Yaxha

    By: Zeren Earls - May 25th, 2016

    Founded as the seat of Spain's colonial government in a valley towered over by Volcan de Agua, Antigua is a treasure trove of art and architecture of Colonial Guatemala. Tikal and Yaxha are national parks within a vast tropical jungle with a reserve area of magnificent ruins of ancient cities that pay tribute to the accomplishments of the great Mayan civilization of Central America.

  • Route of the Maya: Part Three Front Page

    Guatemala City, Lake Atitlan and Its Mayan Towns

    By: Zeren Earls - May 04th, 2016

    Guatemala is a wonderland of spectacular natural beauty and local color. Spread on a broad plain surrounded by hills, the capital Guatemala City is a bustling metropolis adorned by both colonial decor and modernity. Lake Atitlan ringed with towering volcanoes and quaint villages is the heart of the Mayan world with unique customs, folklore, and traditions of many color.

  • Route of the Maya: Part Two Front Page

    El Salvador to Honduras

    By: Zeren Earls - Apr 19th, 2016

    Joya de Ceren in El Salvador is a village preserved intact under layers of volcanic ash. Evacuated during eruption, what has been left behind reveal Mayan life from AD 600. Copan in Honduras is the most elaborate of all Mayan cities, as it was home to kings representing God on earth. Temple sculptures and portraits of kings carved in stone amidst a natural setting with birds and trees make the visit a wondrous experience.

  • Route of the Maya: Part One Front Page

    El Salvador

    By: Zeren Earls - Apr 09th, 2016

    The Route of the Maya itinerary through Central America is an opportunity to see the archeological, cultural, and natural wonders of El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Belize, and Nicaragua. El Salvador is home to an attractive Pacific coastline, imposing volcanoes, picturesque small towns, and the vast Cihuatan Archaeological Park.

  • Curitiba Front Page

    The most European city of Brazil

    By: Zeren Earls - Dec 11th, 2015

    A bustling metropolis within easy reach of the Atlantic rain forest, Curitiba is an urban planner's dream with wide avenues, ample green space, and unique modern architecture. The cobblestoned historic center, along with the typical ethnic neighborhoods enhance the city's charm.

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