Meltdown free vacation secrets

Meltdown free vacation secrets

Sitting on the beach with your Mai-Tai the kids splashing in the water building sand castles it is so peaceful, picture perfect. So why am I grouching at the kids to stop touching their brother. Well, it might be because kids are just gonna be kids. Now how to do we keep the fantasy of our ideal vacation on track?

How to get from "being a number" to "personalized service".

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I was working with my succulents the other day and one was just not doing well. It didn't have mites or a fungus. It wasn't too dry or too wet. I finally just loosened the soil around it and started to talking to it. I am sure my neighbors were highly amused once again. I told my little guy that he was special and just because I had another Bear's Paw that didn't mean he wasn't just as fabulous. I told him it was perfectly fine to grow at his pace and in his style.

This got me thinking about travel. There a plenty of people who really don't mind being on the big tours or big cruises where they just blend in being part of the crowd. At one point in my life I was that person. Now I want more. Not diva picky I have to have my own way, but I want a richer more complete experience.

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My mission when traveling is to be immersed in the culture, the lifestyle, history and foods of that destination. As I have gotten older and become a more confident traveler my goals changed. For me it is all about the experience. But it took me a while to discover to get that rich experience. My travel habits had been mostly arrive, go on the stock standard tours and find a new restaurant. I wanted more but didn’t know how to make it happen.

Then I moved to Chile on my own. It was complete and utter cultural immersion and quite frankly it was terrifying. Imagine being picked up and dropped somewhere where you don’t speak the language. Can’t read the signs. You go into the grocery store and if there are no pictures on the box or can you have no idea what you are buying. Yes, I should have learned some Spanish first. But to my defense Chilean’s speak Spanish but mostly they just speak slang. Trust me their everyday conversational Spanish is confusing to even their neighbors in Peru and Argentina.

These experiences taught me several lessons. One is that I am braver than I ever thought. You are too. Another lesson learned was that pantomimes and drawing pictures is a pretty effective means of communication. So when you are stepping out of your comfort zone remember that little thought.

However, the biggest lessons learned were that with a little planning you really can do whatever it is your heart desires. This is what I bring to the table as travel agent. It all about helping you have an amazing experience. Making memories that last a lifetime. Your trip should be all about what you want to do and experience.

It should be a special time where you feel like you are happy energized and thrilled with what you are doing. Being made to feel special isn't the same as being a Diva, it is being heard and listened to so that your dreams can be fulfilled.

So the nitty gritty here is how do you find one of those travel agents who can get design your travel so it gets your from being a number to personalized service. First you need to interview your travel agent. They are not all created equally.

  • Do they specialize in what you are interested in?

  • Do they do FIT trips? (FIT is customized itineraries)

  • When you are speaking with them are they really listening to you?

  • Ask for references

  • Read Reviews (some agents do not have many as it is often hard to get a client to slow down long enough after their trip to complete one)

  • Ask if they can work with your budget and timeline

Now here are some tips to help the agent help you

  • Give them as many details as you can (destination, time frame, budget, what type of hotels you like to stay at, what hotels you really dislike, what activities are must haves, do you want free time or to be very busy)

  • Give a realistic and honest budget

  • Allow them to discover as many options as possible. You might be surprised that they can find you something perfect but you never would have imagined it.

  • Be honest. If something is really not to your liking speak up. Plans are flexible until paid in full.

  • Remember they are spending a great amount of time in the planning process. They may ask for a planning fee. The reason is that if you choose not to use their service after they have created an itinerary for you, they will have spent hours of work time with no pay. We as travel agents just ask that you treat us with the same respect you would any other professional. (This also gets you white glove top notch service)

Are you team “I love being part of the crowd” or “I love being special”? If you are the latter then you definitely want to contact me today to help you find that specialized trip you are dreaming about. My mission is to help you have experiences and magical memories that will last you a lifetime.

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7 Days in Morocco

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Introducing a new way to travel that doesn’t break the bank. Our same immersive experiences, but local style. Expect hand-picked activities, traditional accommodations, local transport, and simple yet delicious meals. And even better, only $100 deposits (with monthly payment plans) - traveling is now in your future

Today we are exploring Morocco. .

Day 1: Arrive Casablanca Airport, overnight Rabat
Day 2: Transfer to Fes, visiting Meknes and Voulbis, overnight Fes
Day 3: Full Day in Fes, Overnight Fes
Day 4: Day Trip to Chefchouen (the Blue City)
Day 5: Transfer to Marrakesh
Day 6: Full Day Marrakesh
Day 7: Depart Marrakesh Airport

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You will arrive in the beautiful city of Casablanca with it’s many historical and famous sites. The tour be in Casablanca long. I would recommend coming a day or two early so you will have time to explore some of the amazing sites. One of the best ways to start your day of independent tour is with the Cathedrale du Sacre Coeur. Then shop till drop at the Marche Central. Then head over to the Hassan II Mosque. Completed in 1993, the 210 meters (689 feet) mosque rises above the Atlantic Ocean which you can also see through the glass floor inside the magnificent building. This is the number one tourist site in Casablanca.

On the evening of arrival you will be headed to Rabat the Capital city of Morocco. It has impressive modern architecture. After your nigh in Rabat you will be on your way to Fes.

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Roman civilization and later berber cultures make their presence known through the ruins of their great arched edifices in Volubilis. Here the site includes the tubs of Gallienus and tubs of Forum with their fragmentary mosaics, the Mansion engraved with a mosaic of the Labours of Hercules, the Venus’s parade whose mosaics we may only see from the outside. From Voiubilis you will travel to Mekenes. The site includes the tubs of Gallienus and tubs of Forum with their fragmentary mosaics, the Mansion engraved with a mosaic of the Labours of Hercules, the Venus’s parade whose mosaics we may only see from the outside After this day of sensory overload you will travel to Fes where you will spend the night and the next day you will explore this gorgeous city.

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Souk in Fes

home to the oldest medina in North Africa

With the oldest and largest Medina (old town) in North Africa, Fez is the cultural and handicraft center of Morocco. This is the area most famous for purchase of rugs, carpets and handcrafts of all types. The tanneries are an amazing site with what seems like ends vats of color for tanning products.

From Fes you will travel to Chefchaouen.

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The blue city is much more laid back and a great mid trip respite. Instead of vendors inviting you to their shops, you’ll find quiet men waiting for you to ask them about a price. Streets are be filled with locals enjoying their days and echoing laughter from the children playing ball. You can definitely try to get lost and observe local life and many kittens in Chefchaouen.

Once you have recharged your batteries in Chefchaouen you will head to most well known city in Morocco Marrakesh.

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Marrakesh will be your last full day in Morocco and what a way to wrap up your tour. The architecture, culture, art, souks it is all worth seeing and you will leave wishing you had more time.

That can be arranged for you if you desire to have a little extra time.

Right now this amazing trip is only $900. This is for a double occupancy. If this is for you contact me right away as it will fill up fast at this price. If you would like more information on this tour contact me via the button below. I will have quick 20-30 minute conversation with you to explore you travel adventure.

6 Days in Cambodia for $700

Angkor Wat Temple

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Immerse yourself in the beauty, culture, sights and flavors of Cambodia. Explore the fascinating floating village of Tonle Sap. Walk through the temple compound of Angkor Wat. Discover the city of Phnom Pehn and then end your tour in the beautiful city of Siem Reap.

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Siem Reap

explore the streets and find the many treats

While in Siem Reap make sure to find time to explore some of the markets and fairs. My best advice is to see where the local people are lined up to eat and get in line. They know the best places and you rarely go wrong with the food choices. You might though have to be a bit brave in your culinary adventure but it is almost always a fun experience. It will make for a fabulous story when you get home. There is no better way to experience the real culture than to try a popular restaurant or food cart.

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Tonle Sap is an adventure not to be missed. Cruise around this water village with a local guide. Imagine living on the water, running your business from your house boat and watching the children play on their small skiffs. Bar none this will be one of your most unique excursions during the trip.

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Explore the massive temple grounds of Angkor Wat. From the ruins to the beautifully preserved area. The history and rich culture absolutely must be seen, heard and experienced. Just remember that this sacred temple grounds are to be treated with respect at all times. Improper behavior or dress will get you escorted off the premises. It is a site you must see. Another site you will see are the national museum and Royal Palace. They are two of the most impressive buildings in Phnom Pehn. I encourage you to book soon as this land tour of Cambodia will go very fast at this price. (airfare to Cambodia not included. To find out more about this fabulous 6 day Cambodia tour for just $700 click on the button below to schedule a short 20-30 minute travel adventure session.

DITCH BORING VACATIONS FOR THEME VACATIONS

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Spend A Week In Buenos Aires

Dancing

The Tango

I promise we are not talking 80’s theme parties. Instead we are talking about hyper focusing your travel adventure. Many of us long to get out of our travel rut of visiting great cities, doing the tours, taking pictures of the famous sites. I want to dive in and learn something or experience something on my journey. Experiential travel is the top travel category in 2019 according to Travel Market Report.

How do I find an experiential travel idea or theme? Start with something that interests you. The list is nearly endless but are you a Cooking Channel fan? Maybe learning to cook in Cambodia is for you. Do you love photography? A photo safari or photo cruise might be your thing. Do you love to quilt? How about traveling to Bali to see and make your own batik? Do you love cycle? There are multiple cycling tours throughout the world but Europe has some of the best. Tour the famous sites on a bike. Are you a fitness fanatic? A health or wellness tour might be for you. One more. Have a favorite movie? Travel to where it was filmed and walk in the steps of your favorite character. There really is no limit to themes as it is where your interest lie.

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Theme travel can present another dilemma. You are your usual travel partner have vastly different hobbies or interests. The majority of theme travel is done in small groups and fully customized theme travel is widely popular right now. You have a choice to join a small group of people who share your passion for photographing elephants. You spouse can join a small group learning how to perfect their watercolor technique on the Greek Isles. When you arrive home you both have amazing journeys to share. Not your thing? Customize it. A good travel agent is able to customize your journey your way. They may not find elephants to photograph in Greece, but they very likely could find a watercolor artist tutor in India or Africa. This puts you both traveling together but indulging in the experiences you desire. This type of journey in the travel industry is called FIT. I remember the acronym by saying it is journey FIT just for you.

I have a passion for the country of Chile. After living there for 12 years it became my second home. I would love design a small group, no more than 10 people, to share my favorite places. Be warned you might end up in a hotel with dozens of peacocks. Traveling with someone who knows the subject and loves it is truly the start of the formula for a fantastic experience.

Below in order from left to right top to bottom.

Row 1: Learn to make Batik fabric. Visit every Jesuit mission in South America. Travel along the Danube on Bicycles. Study Jie Jitsu in Brazil

Row 2: Cooking class in Italy, Learning the art of making wine in Chile, Shopping in Europe’s famed Christmas markets and Fly fishing in Alaska.

The ideas are pretty endless and with an experienced creative travel agent you will be able to create or find your next great adventure. Our philosophy of travel is “Your Travel Your Way”. No one should be disappointed in their vacation. I know it will happen due to unforeseen circumstance but we do everything in our power to help create the itinerary with the experience you want.

If you would like to schedule a travel adventure session click on the button below. This is a 20-30 minute conversation where you share your travel dream with me. I will listen and take detailed notes so I can best create that dream trip. When you click the link below it is take you to my online scheduler so you may choose a time that best suits you.

BOOK NOW FOR 2020 and 2021

NOW IS THE TIME TO BOOK FOR 2020 & 2021

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Say WHAT? You are kidding right? Nope not kidding. NOW is the time to book your 2020 and 2021 travel. It seems so far away but there are already sold out cruises, sold out tours, sold out hotels in the most popular destinations. It is hard to believe they could be sold out already, but let me show you why they are and why you should jump on the schedule.

PRICE. This is the number one reason you should schedule your vacation now. 19-24 months before departure is the lowest price you will find on cruises and tours. They are even better than last minute deals. Tour companies and cruise lines do not want to have empty spaces/rooms. They offer incredible deals if you book way in advance. The other great side to this is that it gives you a long time to pay off your trip. If you book today for a 2021 vacations your final deposit may not be due until 90 before your trip. If you budget out monthly payments over 19 months your dream trip really can be a reality. You can pay in full at any time.

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Get what you really want

By booking early you get the room, the service, the destination and the date you want.

The BEST goes Fast. If you want to book a specific tour or cruise you need to do it now. Many 2020 cruises are sold out already. Experiential tours and cultural immersion experiences are selling out fast. Why? As the demand for really experiencing a destination or activity sky rockets these tours and groups fill fast. To have real experiential vacation the group size must be kept down which mean rarely will you find a group of more than 10 or 15. Due to the intimate size the number of tours available is limited. They are booked and sold out in no time at all. One of the most popular experiences right now is helmet diving.

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Helmet Diving

Wine and Foodie vacations need to be booked in advance as many wineries are now only doing small group tours. If you would like a suite or veranda on your cruise those cabins are the first to fill.

It is hard to believe you need to book 2 years in advance but I have had so many disappointed clients when they were not able to book the excursion or cruise or tour they really wanted because it was sold out. I hate disappointing anyone so my goal is to get the word out that you need to act now.

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Click on the button above to schedule a free travel adventure session at your convenience. This is a 20-30 minute where we explore your travel desires and see if we are a good match to work together to make this dream come true. Should we decided this not in my wheelhouse I will refer you to a trusted specialist. Your time with me is never wasted. I look forward to hearing from you. Anna

INSIDER'S GUIDE ON WHAT TO EAT IN CHILE

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Calling all foodies! Delights for the taste buds are abundant in Chile. Next to my friends the thing I miss the most about Chile is food. The cuisine is simple yet flavorful and restaurants are entering into the gourmet market with amazing world inspired cuisine. I lived in Chile for 12 years and can honestly say I love their food. This is my insider guide on what to eat while you are there. 

Three meals are eaten. Breakfast is usually a bread with ham and cheese, or butter and jam. Yogurt and sometimes cereal. Lunch is the big meal of the day.It is eaten around 2:00 in the afternoon. Most people get an hour and half to two hours for lunch. Then in the evening they have "once". It literally mean eleven but they also dub tea. It is similar to breakfast but more elaborate. Bread toasted or warm served with some type of lunch meat, cheese, avocado, butter, jams or pate. They almost always have hot tea with lots and lots of sugar. Sometimes they will have a dessert with once like some type of cake.  You may find a big spread with chips or fries. This meal is eaten later around 7-9 pm depending on how long it takes them to get home from work and prepare the meal. I strongly suggest eating some snacks between breakfast and lunch and then between lunch and once.

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Tradition Dishes   You will want to try these dishes as soon as possible and luckily for you they are easy to find. The first dish everyone must try is Pastel del Choclo.  This is a hearty dish made with a ground beef and onion base and topped with a pureed corn topping. Think shepherds pie style. In between the those two layers you will find a black olive, a hard boiled egg, and some white raisins. Often there will be a chicken thigh in there as well. The corn topping is sprinkled with sugar. This is the quintessential dish of Chile.   

Empanadas are next on your must eat list. The traditional style have the ground beef, onion base it is called "pino" in Chile. It will also have a black olive, white raisin, and hard boiled egg inside. These meat pies are delicious. There are a wide variety of empanadas. The ones meant for meals are baked. You can find them with a wide variety of vegetable and vegetarian empanadas are easy to find. My personal favorite is an asparagus and potato mix. So good. Fried emapanadas tend to be filled with fruit and are a yummy dessert. 

Then you have to try Humitas but these are found mostly in the summer when corn is abundant. These are a corn puree mixed with onions and spices then rolled in corn shucks tied and boiled, They look a bit like tamales until the nice corn shuck package is unwrapped. The word humita means bow tie and when you look at these tied up packages look like chubby bow ties. 

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Street Food  OK lets face junk food is so good. Chileans know how to make the best street food and they call it "Chatarra". It is served in little shops and in mini food carts or trucks. They affectionately call these "toxicos". Some of the best sandwiches, hot dogs and fries are found here. 

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Churrasco is a sandwich that is so good. It is thinly sliced beef sauteed and topped with tomato, avocado and mayo and served in a large bun. If you light a light serving of any of these items you must tell them or it will come smothered in them.  Usually these are very large sandwiches so you might want to split one or split some fries to go with

Completos are hot dogs and the traditional style is called a completo. It is a hot dog on a bun with tomato, mayo and avocado. Sound familiar? Once again the toppings are piled on so if you like yours with less you will have to speak up. These people will put anything on a hot dog. When you walk up and see the menu you might not be able to imagine that many ways to top a hot dog. They are all pretty good!

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Next you must try Chilean Sopaipillas. These are nothing like the ones you find in the US or Mexico. These are made with a pumpkin base and are savory not sweet. They often are served with hot sauce, mustard or pebre. (pebre is a salsa made with chopped tomaotes, onions, and cilantro)  

Now if you are hankering something sweet there are so many options but one of the popular sweets is Calzones Rotos which literally means broken underwear. These are strip of dough folded over inside themselves and are fried and covered with powdered sugar. They are so good.  

Another sweet is The Alfajor. This is a light cookie sandwich filled with manjar, a caramel like spread, rolled in coconut, powdered sugar or bathed in chocolate. They are the favorite sweet treat for anytime. The top picture is a plate of Alfajores.

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Keeping with the street theme the next treat is the Chuchufli. Funny sounding name for a delicious treat. These a thin roll of pastry filled with manjar. They are found in most street corner stores, you will see people walking around the streets and on the busses selling them.

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Sea Food

Let's move on to seafood. With over 3,000 kilometers of coastline Chile has an abundance of fresh seafood. They also have some unusual names for it too. Lets start with what is what.
Ostras are oysters.
Jaiva is crab.
Cameron is shrimp.
Lobo is albolone a large sea snail.
Machas are clams.
Centolla is King Crab.

Curanto is a dish from southern Chile. Traditionally it is made in a dug out hole with a fire and covered with leaves. Most often it is made stove top these days. It is this amazing mix of clams, crab, potatoes, chorizo, pork and chicken. So so good. If you travel to the Lakes region and are on the coast you have to try this.

Being the number 2 producer of Salmon in the world you will find none better than here in Chile. It seems like they endless ways to prepare it. If you are on the coast and have the time make a stop at a smaller salmon farm and get a peek at the process of raising these. 

Sopa Marina is a seafood soup and it comes with whatever white meat fish is fresh that day. Often served as an appetizer before your main dish. 

Smoked fish of all types are available and you will even find smoked fish jerky. If fish is your thing you have come to the right place. 

Let's talk bread. There are two popular types of bread. Marraquetas (Mar-ah-ket-ahs) and Hallullahs (eye-you-yuhs). Both are made fresh twice a day and found at all the corner stores and grocerie stores. The Marraqueta is a crusty bread with a soft inside and the hallullah is a flat bread that is denser. Both are amazing and probably the one item everyone has to take with them when they leave. 

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Dessert. No culinary adventure is complete without it. Trust me the Chileans have gigantic sweet teeth. One sweet tooth is just not enough to describe their love for sweets.

Torta de Mil Hojas is the Chilean classic dessert. It has multiple layers of think crispy pastry topped with manjar, repeat and repeat and repeat then cover the outside with manjar and cover with chocolate or chocolate sprinkles. This is a very rich and tiny slice is more than most people can eat

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Another treat are Berlines. These donut like pastries are filled with custard, jam, creme or manjar. They are very popular and you will often see a variety served with once. 

For a more complete guide on What To Eat In Chile click on the link below.

Get Your Guide Here

RESEARCH PROVES TRAVEL IS BETTER THAN CHOCOLATE

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Research commissioned by the Travel Association reports couples who travel together are significantly more satisfied with their relationships; enjoying better sex and improved romance long after the trip ends.
Not surprising, we’ve all known that couples who travel together have healthier, happier relationships compared to those who don’t. Exchange those quick wilting flowers and high calorie candies for a gift that will bring you and your love closer and stronger by planning a romantic getaway

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Almost two thirds of couples (63%) surveyed say a weekend getaway is more likely to spark romance than large or small gifts. Just one-third (36%) viewed receiving small gifts the same way, and only 15% rated getting big gifts like jewelry as important to improving romance.
Getting away together sparks romance! More than eight in ten (83%) of those who travel regularly as a couple say the romance is still alive in their relationship, and fully seven in ten (72%) of the couples surveyed believe traveling inspires romance.

Couples who travel together report having a better sex life than those who don't Three-quarters (77%) of respondents who travel as a couple say that they have a good sex life, compared to 63% of couples who do not travel together. More than one in every four couples (28%) say their sex life improved after traveling together and of those, 40% say sex together is permanently better after travel.
Couples who travel together have more time for intimacy A majority (59%) of couples say that being more intimate is an important reason to vacation together. Among couples that did not take a trip together in the past year, nearly one in four (23%) say they "do not have enough time for intimacy and sex."


The survey interviewed 10,000 adults and found that travel can boost romance because it allows couples time to talk, reconnect and share new experiences. It also provides a change of scenery and a break from the routine of children, chores and busy schedules.

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The best news is that you don't have to travel to Tahiti for week or plan an expensive getaway. Just one night within driving distance from home offers as much opportunity to reconnect, explore and play. Find new restaurants, theaters or wilderness and create a new experience together. 
My favorite two travel quotes are “Travel is not about destination but education” and "Love, like everything else in life, should be a discovery, an adventure, and like most adventures, you don't know you are having one until you're right in the middle of it" 

Are you needing some romance with your love? Wanting a break from the everyday stress of life? It is not too late to plan. Contact me HERE to explore a romantic getaway for you and sweetheart.

10 REASONS TO GO ON A WINE TOUR

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I am so excited about our newest tour company that allows us to offer you amazing world class wine tours. We are able to fully customize these experiences so you are able to experience your wine tour your way. I can't wait to hear your story and hear about the amazing experiences you have while on your tour. To begin the conversation on how to create your dream wine tour,  click on the  this link. TRAVEL ADVENTURE SESSION

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1  We start with our itinerary templates for the chosen destination and then customize it to you reflecting on your personal wine experience level and social, cultural and travel interests and budget based on your desires and needs.  The result: each tour is unique and no two tours are alike! 

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Wine and food adventures combined with meeting the locals, viewing local arts and architecture, visiting galleries, museums, cathedrals, local music and historical site give you a complete cultural experience.  Our goal is help you be fully immersed in the local culture.

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With our guides, guests are part of the “inner circle” learning insider anecdotes and local history about winery families, industry movers and shakers and even ‘gossip’ about the black sheep of the local industry! 

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Our wine-expert guides know the different types of grapes, how wine is made, the impact of terroir (weather & soil) on the various grape varietals. Plus you get backstage access not available to the general public.

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The beautiful Andes, the Tuscan Sun, Romantic French Vineyards. Peace, charm, fresh air, amazing scenery of  awesome wine country. 


Now this you will not find at home. These getaways are an escape from the everyday routine.

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Our tour provider, Wine World Tours, have their expert wine guides do the driving and are dedicated to pampering so there’s no concern about drinking and driving. Just sit back and enjoy the stress-free ambiance and the awesome fresh air vistas. 

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Sampling local chocolates, olive oils, artisan breads and shopping for the best of local craftsmen silks, ceramics and jewelry reflects the local culture and traditions

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Foodie Dreams with Michelin-starred
dining experiences and delicious
encounters in local family
restaurants, trattorias, etc.
where farm-to-table local fresh
and seasonal products are the mantra. 

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Take part in high-end cooking school demos & classes – watch, work and dine with local top chefs who will share the secrets and shortcuts of their regional cooking style and the wines that pair with their signature dishes. 

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Meet the locals and make new friends. That’s part of the fun because people are friendlier in wine country sharing the same love of wine, food and cultural interaction related to this romantic and genial lifestyle. 

Here at Destination Yours Travel my greatest thrill is to create a unique luxury wine tour for you or your group. Complete the form above and write wine tour in the comment section or click here Wine Tour Exploration Session.

WHAT TO EXPLORE IN PARAGUAY

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Paraguay never is at the top of the list of places to visit in South America, but it should be. This is a small landlocked country in the center of South America and the first fun fact is that it has the largest Navy and Coast Guard in South America.  Actually one of the largest in any country. Yep you read that right.

Still recovering from years of dictatorship they have not put as much focus on tourism as many of their neighbors. For this reason I will be making a note on places you might want to hire a guide to help you not only find but maximize your experiences. 

Getting to Paraguay is very easy, you will arrive either in Asunción, the capital city, or crossing over at the Iguazu Falls. Upon entry make sure you get your passport stamped with you tourist permit. So now that you are in Paraguay what is there to do?

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A visit to Asuncion should include these three spots. 
Palacio de Lopez the official office of the President and is the seat oft he national government and one of the treasures of Asuncion's cultural heritage.

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Loma San Jeronimo One of the oldest barrios of the city. Loma San Jeronimo shines with bright dazzling colors, emitting a fun and authentic cultural atmosphere. Observe the traditional homes decorated in a myriad of color that surround the narrow sidewalks and hilly landscape. Eat at a variety of restaurants open all times of the day and try the authentic local barbeque and fish dishes. On the weekend, see the locals out on the streets entertaining tourists with cultural songs and dances. At the street's entrance you can find an information office that offers tour services. 

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Casa de Independencia   A tour of this house-museum is like a spy adventure set in a perfectly preserved colonial house, with furniture, weapons, paintings and objects belonging to the period. Independence House also contains key documents relating to the revolution, after several previous attempts where they did not achieve their goal. 

 Next on your adventure is a real hidden gem but you must use caution and not get close to the edges. Head out to The Saltos del Monday. This amazing park is full of natural landscapes and beautiful waterfalls. Enjoy the beauty and peacefulness. The park has fun rope bridges and abounds in beauty. The perfect place for an adventure.

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La Santisima Trinidad de Parana is one of the most fascinating places in Paraguay. This 17th century Jesuit mission or what was called a reduction, settlement, is the best preserved of several in Paraguay. A visit here is true trip back in history. Please show great respect and don't touch the artifacts as they worked years to preserve them for your enjoyment. 

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YBYCUI National Park is fabulous and requires great physical stamina if you plan on doing climbing. Taking a taxi to the top and then going down is highly recommended unless you are in top shape. But the views and experiences are so worth it.

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Cerro Coro National Park is a huge national treasure. It covers over 5.5 hectacres. It is very easy to get lost in this park you should hire a guide a for the day and go explore. 

Fun Facts:
Paraguay is a bilingual country with Spanish and Guaraní as its languages, and it is the only country where the native language is spoken by more non-natives than natives. It is based on nature and animal sounds called an onomatiopeic language.

Duels are still legal in Paraguay.

Paraguay's favorite sport is soccer. South Americans call them "the Italy of South America", known for rarely scoring but maintaining an incredible defense.

The some 50,000 ethnic Mennonites living in Paraguay are an anabaptist group, most originally from Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands, having migrated to Paraguay through Russia or Canada when their ancestors fled religious persecution. They live in the Chaco region and Eastern Paraguay, speak Plaudietsch & German, and produce most of the country's dairy output.

Paraguayans don't have door bells and to let someone know you are there you clap your hands.

If you bump into someone and don't have time to visit you greet them by saying adios, goodbye.

Photo courtesy of Carlos Bisca

Photo courtesy of Carlos Bisca

Every trip to Paraguay must include a trek to Iguazu Falls. The falls are at the junction of Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina. It is more touted as the place to go by Argentina and Brazil. It is a popular entry point into Paraguay. These falls are truly amazing. The largest hydroelectric dam in South America is between Paraguay and Brazil.  

Paraguay is a fascinating country and a worthy destination on your South American journey. I would love to help you plan your journey. My expertise is in customizing your journey to perfectly suit your dream vacation. To schedule a complementary South American Journey Session when it is convenient for you click HERE.

GALAVANTING IN THE GALAPAGOS

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World travelers share a passion for discovery but there are all sorts of explorers.  The Galapagos are the cornucopia for discovery and exploration of all types. Your exploration will begin in Baltra, Galapagos which served as US military base protecting the Panama Canal during World War II.  From their you adventure will launch via ship to the many islands with their abundant wildlife and beaches.

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Several islands are home to sea lions but one of the largest is Mosquera Islet. This flat islet sits near Baltra and also boasts lava gulls and coastal birds. On the way over and out watch for orcas and dolphins. Loreana and San Cristobal are also fabulous sites to observe the sea lions.

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Explore Dragon Hill, Santa Cruz hike among the iguanas and flamingos while strolling through the Palo Santo trees and cotton plants. Hop on over the red sands of Rabida island and observe the nesting colony of pelicans and the many sea birds who inhabit this volcanic landscape.

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Follow a trail around secluded wetland lagoons to the Tortoise Center on Isabela Island where you may see some of the oldest breeding animals as well as hatchlings. Don’t forget to see the stilts, gallinals and more amazing bird species. Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz Island is home to the Charles Darwin Research Center with it’s tortoise breeding research.   While on the islands and in route to them don’t forget to observe the sea as you are likely to spot sea turtles wandering by your boat and offshore.

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Some of the most unique birds in the world live on the islands. Their names are as amusing as their looks. Names such as Blue Footed Boobies, Stilts, Frigatebirds, Nazca Boobies, and Waved Alabatrosses might have you giggling while your camera shutter clicks away.

Not all is animals, a must see is The Wall of Tears. Found on Isabela Island a penal colony was housed here. Prisoners were forced to build the wall stone by stone, in isolation, only to be forced to tear it down and rebuild over and over. 


Swim with the wildlife, snorkel with the gorgeous sea critters or dive to see the amazing volcanic deposits left far under the sea. Hike, walk or run to explore these amazing islands.

5 THINGS YOU NEVER KNEW YOU NEEDED FOR YOUR CRUISE

(Disclaimer: I may earn a small commission on products purchased from the links provided in this blog post. “Destination  Yours Travel is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com)

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The sea air is calling you. Your bags are packed and you’re ready to go but do you have everything you need? I used to over pack due to fear of not having everything I might want and need on a trip. Now I tend to go the opposite extreme with ultra light packing. Most of the time I do perfectly well, but cruises have special requirements different from hotels and hostels.

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Space is a premium and it is ideal to take something to that will maximize that space and keep you organized.  All of the bathroom toiletries, make-up, hair accessories take up a tremendous amount of space. It can be a hassle to search through bags looking for just what you need. Enter the hanging shoe organizer. But you can’t purchase just any one. It has to be approved by the cruise lines which means it must be fire retardant like the one pictured here.

CRUISE ON BRAND WITH 2 USB PORTS AND CRUISE APPROVED.

CRUISE ON BRAND WITH 2 USB PORTS AND CRUISE APPROVED.

Another staple in our tech savvy world is a power strip with USB ports to allow all of our devices to charge. For most of us this is essential as we use our cell phones for photos. We need or at least want our tablets or e-reader, camera charger, c-pap machine and the list goes on. Then multiple by the number of people per stateroom and the need for plugs is always greater than the number available. Since there are so many travel power strips and cubes out there you would think you could use any one of them but not so. The cruise industry has very strong fire safety standards, for good reason. Your power strip must be approved by the cruise lines. The one below is a good example.

Now that you are ready to head out the door with all of your electronics charged and ready to go, you might want to think about protecting those electronics. Invest in a simple waterproof case for your cell phone. You might end up at a table for breakfast with a klutz like myself who will accidentally knock over their coffee and flood the table. Pool time, beach time even cocktail hour are full of those moments when in a second your phone is suddenly in the water, dripped on or spilled on or kicked into the pool. A simple waterproof case can save you hundreds of dollars and lot of tears. You might want to try one like the one below. I have used this one and it works. A bonus is that it comes in multiple color choices and you can personalize it to suite you.

BIAGGI ZIP BAG COMES IN A WIDE VARIETY OF COLORS

BIAGGI ZIP BAG COMES IN A WIDE VARIETY OF COLORS

You will need a tote of some type to carry your towels, purchases, tablets,  guide books and such. This is the ideal size and very lightweight and folds down to a small pouch when not in use. What I love about this one is that it has two zippers. One is a zippered pocket on the outside. This is perfect for phone, wallet, sunglasses. The main part of the bag also has a top zipper. While we don’t like to think about it you must be safety savvy when traveling. It is much more difficult for a pickpocket to steal your wallet from a zipped bag than an open bag. I lived overseas for many years and saw many tourists who made it easy for the thieves by keeping their purse or bags unzipped, cell phones in outside pockets with no closures. This tote is just what you need.


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Water socks! You need water socks. These are so much easier to walk on the beach in than flip flops or sandals. You can wear them in the water and protect your feet from the sharp shells and coral. These have sturdy flexible rubber soles and reinforced toes. It protects them from the very hot decks and sand. They will protect your feet a little better than open toes shoes while on the ship. Even if you only take them for outdoor shore usage you will not be sorry. Once your home you can use them for beaches, lakes, water crossings when hiking. They come in multiple colors and patterns one for every style and taste. These are very reasonably priced and worth the investment. 

5 REASONS TO GO TO ANTARCTICA IN YOUR LIFETIME

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South America and Antarctica hold a special place in my heart. During my 12  years living in Chile many different modes of travel to these amazing places became available. The most popular mode is by cruise with good reason. There is no way to get up close and personal with the great white continent like on an expedition cruise. No one does luxury expedition cruises like Ponant.  In their recent Escales Magazine article they shared 5 reasons to go to Antarctica at least once in your life. Keep reading to discover these 5 reasons.


The private hunting ground of whalers and sealers during the 19th century, then inaccessible except to explorers and researchers as lucky as they were brave, the Antarctic Peninsula is now opening up, showing its secrets and wonders to those who dare to throw caution to the wind. Here are 5 great reasons to humbly and respectfully visit this fascinating land of peace and freedom.

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ONE
To experience a waking dream…Going to Antarctica means heading off into the unknown, setting sail for a long journey to the very end of the ends of the earth. It means testing your limits by going beyond the Tierra del Fuego, beyond Ushuaia, the southernmost inhabited place on the planet. It means leaving humanity behind to visit an incredible destination whose expressive power alone is enough to amaze you and fill you with wonder before you even get there... before you even set off.

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TWO

To retrace the steps of great explorers...Those of Sir Ernest Shackleton, the British explorer buried in Grytviken, a former whaling station in South Georgia. Those of Captain Jean-Baptiste Charcot, another pioneer of polar exploration: from Port Lockroy to Marguerite Bay via Pléneau Island and Port Charcot, where the remains of the French explorer’s first winter base can be found. Or those of Belgian Adrien de Gerlache, in Neko Harbour. Not forgetting crossing Drake Passage, so named in honour of the English privateer and adventurer, Sir Francis Drake.

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THREE
To feel like the only person in the world…Setting foot on the remote frozen lands of the Antarctic Peninsula is like landing on another planet. No doubt you may initially be thrown off balance, braving the polar cold and suddenly being confronted with the vast emptiness. But, gradually, the pure and mysterious, almost supernatural, atmosphere of this “intact” world which long remained inaccessible becomes intoxicating. Some people would argue it’s a mystical or spiritual experience. A one-on-one with the elements. With yourself. “He who has successfully infiltrated these parts, feels his soul soar”, wrote Jean-Baptiste Charcot.

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FOUR

… and incredibly small...Past the meadows of South Georgia and the Falkland Islands, make way for the spectacular and all-powerful nature of the “white continent”. In front of you, no plants or trees, but white islands with outcropping rocks. All against a backdrop of the imposing Antarctandes mountain range. From the deck of the ship or during Zodiac® outings, the spectacle is breath-taking: between the vast drifting masses of ice in Wilhelmina Bay, the black sand of the volcanic beaches of Deception Island, a former whaler base, the tabular icebergs of the Weddell Sea and crossing Lemaire Channel, surrounded by glaciers. A humbling experience!

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o get close to incredible wild fauna…The secret to the fauna in Antarctica? The krill. The waters surrounding the peninsula are teeming with them. More than enough to satisfy the fauna which includes humpback whales, minke whales, elephant seals, fur seals and penguins, the icons of these polar regions. Supervised by a team of naturalist guides, you’ll encounter various species of penguin: Adélie, King, Chinstrap and Gentoo. And, because in Antarctica the present is often precious, it’ll be a question of not missing a herd of leopard seals basking on the sea ice, a gift from nature which is as unpredictable as it is priceless.

 Are you feeling the need to explore Antarctica? Contact us and we can help make that dream a reality.

6 REASONS TO TAKE A RIVER CRUISE

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In this smartphone easy access time we live in planning your next vacation can be easy until the sheer number of options overwhelm you.  Deciding and narrowing down to the best match for you can paralyze even the most adept researcher. Enter the River Cruise. (Cue up music to Match Maker Maker.) The beauty of the river cruise is that there is a match for everyone. Leisure sightseeing river cruising days still exist but enter the expedition, adventure, cultural active era of cruise itineraries. Below are my 6 reasons why you should make your next vacation a river cruise.

Comfort  Unpack your bags on your floating hotel one time settle in and let your pampering from an attentive crew begin. Onboard dining is usually 4 to 5 star restaurants with gourmet beautiful creations drinks included, wine, beer and sodas are included with lunch and dinner on most cruise lines.  Beautifully decorated cabins with gorgeous window views. Most have french doors and verandas providing the relaxing luxury of sitting on your veranda and watching the scenery pass. On the luxury cruises with Crystal and Silverseas you may find your own personal butler included. The staff are top notch and provide attentive detailed personalized service to the guests. There is just no other way to travel at such a relaxing pace with so many luxuries included. Spa services are usually an additional cost to the cruiser.  The staff are top notch and provide attentive detailed personalized service to the guests.

Value  Almost all river cruises are all inclusive. Excursions, tips, drinks at meals, dining, cabins are the standard inclusions while many lines offer extras such as transportation to the port, concierge services, even airfare is often included. Need to arrive a day early and stay over the night of disembarkation? These services are easily arranged and often at a very nice discount. Don’t run when you see the cost of a river cruise as you will be amazed at all it includes. Contact us today and we will gladly find the best cruise for your vacation. There are river cruises in all price ranges making them an ideal vacation.

Variety of Cruises  Seriously there is a cruise for everyone.  History buffs these are your ideal cruise. The excursions are small groups which can be tailored to your area of history. Medieval, Roman, Greek, World War l or ll, Vietnam, Japanese, African, Colonial, Civil War, Revolutionary War and the lists goes on. Architecture your thing? Silverseas travels over 900 destinations around the globe with some of the most famous and obscure architecture in the world. Bicycle enthusiasts can explore Europe in style with no hassles with AmaWaterways biking cruises, they some of the most inclusive and diverse biking cruises on the marker. The Wine and Food cruises are to not be missed! Artists can book tours or form small groups and have seminars on your medium with excursions to see the great masterpieces or find a beautiful spot to set up your easel and create your masterpiece. Jazz cruises, swing era music, opera, classical, folk, German, Oktoberfest, special groups the music inspired tours are amazing. Explore Europe’s famous Christmas Markets or an food lovers dream trip through Vietnam and Cambodia.

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Group Friendly   Affinity Groups are ideal for river cruises. Groups as small as 5 cabins can be arranged. This size is perfect for small groups, families, educational/instructional getaways. Larger groups are always welcome as well. Quilters, artists, musicians, mom’s get-a-way groups, family reunions, clubs, students, foodies, wine and food aficionados, graduate students, cultural immersion groups and so many more can enjoy custom designed tours and on board seminars.  

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Cultural Immersion  As you cruise down the river you are never more than a few meters from the shore at all times immersed in the culture as you pass by and explore. The ships travel during the night and you awaken at your next port ready to head off onto your next excursion where you will be interacting and learning about the the culture of this destination. Many excursions are made for learning the local culture through cooking, craft, folk dance, local art classes that allow you to learn from the best in the city. These classes are done with either an English speaking instructor or interpreter so you don’t lose any of the wonderful details. Excursions almost always come with a wireless headset type device you can wear so that you can hear the tour leader clearly and not have to be six inches away. OK that might be my personal pet peeve on tours. If I can’t hear the guide and have to become their shadow which makes exploring difficult I do get a bit cranky.  

Simplicity   No matter how complex my trip may be, I crave simplicity. The hassles of micro planning a trip coordinating air, hotel, transportation, meals, tours and knowing that they have to be perfectly timed and deposits paid on each by the correct timeline are all but eliminated with a river cruise. But your a travel agent you say. Yes I am. I love planning other’s trips but hate planning my own. How is that for irony. On a River Cruise you choose your specific cruise and excursions and we take care of the rest.  You can plan a cruise with multiple activities, adventures and on board extras yet it is a truly simple choices and the rest is done for you. Now it doesn’t get much better than that! Call us today to plan your cruise

BIKES, BLOOMS, BELGIUM AND WAFFLES

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Today I am sharing with you a amazing offer and trip of a lifetime offered by AmaWaterways. No one does the spring blooms and the culture of Antwerp and Rotterdam like AmaWaterways. They recently shared a great offer along with a recipe for the famous Belgium Waffles and I can’t wait to share them with you. AmaWaterways is a luxury river cruise line and in my opinion is the best value in the market. The service is top notch with true fine dining. They offer a wide range of excursions to fit a wide array of interests and activity levels. It’s all inclusive nature with the luxury quality make them a high value high quality river cruise option. They are family friendly, as well as single and couple friendly. So without further ado let’s check out AmaWaterways Tulip Time Spring cruise and a delicious waffle recipe!

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Originally known as the Brussels waffle, named for the capital city from which it comes, this waffle is so crisp and light, it nearly melts in your mouth.
Belgium is for Foodies

Known for its incredible selection of cheeses, chocolates, fries, and beer—Belgium is a foodie paradise, with a long tradition of epicurean delights. For example, cheese-making traditions can date back to the Middle Ages! Chocolate, one of Belgium’s leading industries, has been produced here since the early seventeenth century. And while it may be difficult to pinpoint just when and where waffles can trace their origins (the first reference of the Dutch waffle can be found in the 13th century, while researchers have located writings on the French waffle in 1185), one thing is certain: waffles are synonymous with Belgium.

Belgian Waffles

Belgian Waffles are one of the most beloved treats in the country. Brought to the United States at the World’s Fair in the 1960’s, waffles have been a mainstay of Belgian diets for centuries. There are over a dozen classifications of waffles, including the famous stroopwafle of the Netherlands.) But a Belgian Waffle is distinct from all others as it is recognized for its lighter batter, larger squares and deeper waffle pockets (they are made from 1 ½ inch depth irons). Traditionally, this waffle is meant to be eaten as street food, but it is also found in tea rooms, commonly known as gauferies.
Experience a true taste of Belgium. Waffles are a treat for the taste buds as much as the senses.

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Belgian Waffle Recipe 
Ingredients2 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup sugar
2 eggs
½ cup vegetable oil
2 cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preparation MethodOil the waffle maker. Sift the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. In another bowl, separate the egg whites and beat until stiff peaks form. Mix together the egg yolks, milk, oil, and vanilla, stir slightly. Add to dry ingredients and mix well. Fold in egg whites. Cook in waffle iron on medium-high heat for around 5-10 minutes. 

Makes 4-6 servings.

ROMANCE CRUISES

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Is there there anything more romantic than cruising the world with your true love? Cruises just by their nature lend to romance. Beautiful scenery, intimate cabins, exotic locations with fine dining and gorgeous sunrises and sunsets. Ah the thought can make me all love struck.  Most any type of cruise can be romantic but adult only cruises and intimate river cruises are the epitome of romance.

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Special occasions from anniversaries to honeymoons are some of the most common motivations for booking a cruise. Did you know you can get married while cruising? A beautiful shore wedding is easily arranged. Get married on a beautiful beach or a historic wedding in one of Europe’s many cities. A wedding with just the two of you or your full party are now within reach. Renew your vows or just spend idyllic days with your sweetheart. 

Destinations all over the world with cruises from 3 days to 245 days the choice is yours. There are almost endless possibilities and only your imagination and maybe your wallet limit them. While you can find romance on almost any cruise there are certainly cruise lines that cater to and exude romance.

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Seabourn Cruise Line has been ranked #1 Best Cruise line for Couples.  These luxury cruises have all suites with ocean views and fine dining often with Michelin star chefs. They have no more than 300 cabins creating an intimate atmosphere. Ships also offer casinos, pools, duty-free shopping boutiques, a nine-hole putting course and live music venues.  Add in the many exotic ports and they are made for romance. Note they do have strictly enforced dress codes. These cruises are not for children.

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Viking Ocean Cruises are ranked #2 Best Cruise line for Couples.  Cuddled on your suites veranda, in the infinity pool or by Mamsen’s fireplace the opportunities for romantic escapes abound. Viking ocean cruises appeal to active and intellectual adults who are interested in learning about the history and culture of the destinations they visit. This line has 5 identical passenger ships with capacity for 930 with all accommodations having verandas and include complimentary Wi-Fi. 

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Crystal Cruise Lines has been ranked #3 Best Cruise line for Couples.  Crystal is also ranked the #1 Luxury Cruise Line. A cruise with Crystal will find you in a beautiful cabin set for romance. On board both ships you'll find a casino, a spa, a salon and a fitness center along with plenty of engaging activities and enrichment programs like wine tastings, art classes and even magic workshops. As for dining, Crystal features globally inspired fare, as well as specialty restaurants with dishes crafted by celebrated chefs such as Nobu Matsuhisa.

For a romantic river cruise consider the following.

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AmaWaterways adult only cruises offer luxury, fine dining, beautiful staterooms most of which are suites with verandas. The intimate setting of these small ships with no more than 300 passengers offer gorgeous views of amazing cities and river scenes as they travel through some of the most famous rivers around the world. The days are itinerary heavy but with a wide selection of actives. Spend a day exploring on bicycles or strolling through romantic cities. No matter what your daytime activities may include upon return to the ship you will be surrounded by luxury. Relax in the pool or indulge in the spa. Cocktails on the deck or veranda and dining with world class cuisine provide an intimate experience for you and your love. 

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Crystal Cruise Line River Yachts with only 110 guests offer that intimate sailing experience. These ships offer all suite with french balconies and king size beds with their renowned personal butler service.  At least two excursions daily are included with a wide variety to choose from. Come back to Michelen-inspired cuisine in more dining venues than you thought could exist on a ship. The luxury is all in so you do not have to fuss with tips and checks. Unlimited non-alcoholic beverages, fine wines and spirits plus 24 hour room service which includes a restaurant menu, transfers and gratuities. With nothing to worry about this is the perfect romantic setting.

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Scenic Cruise Line  You’ll find each beautifully-appointed suite complemented by stylish amenities, state-of-the-art facilities, the services of a butler and of course, all-inclusive dining, top shelf beverages, Wi-Fi, transfers and gratuities. On our river cruise Space-Ships, the all-inclusive balcony suites feature innovative technology, transforming each balcony into a open air Sun Lounge at the touch of a button, allowing you to enjoy the luxury of extra space as well as the unfolding landscape. On Scenic Eclipse every Suite will offer a private veranda.  This special spot will be a place to watch the world cruise by, observe marine life, marvel at fascinating landscapes and enjoy meals. It will become a favorite place during your luxury cruise. The privacy and intimacy on Scenic’s ships first class. Your dining experience is 5 star inspired and rated. You can’t go wrong with a romantic river cruise with Scenic.

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Uniworld Uniworld’s river cruises with an average of 140 guests provide that small intimate atmosphere. Their all suite ships with personal butler service pamper you like no other. With unlimited beverages, excursion, gratuities, transfers and starting at only $3,499 this boutique river cruise line is ideal for a romantic getaway. Their curated excursion are the top rated in European river cruises.

Celebrating romance is is an investment in the heart. The memories and experiences are lifetime treasures. We would love to help you celebrate romance. Contact us today and we will begin the journey to creating your experience.

MAKING THE MOST OF YOUR VACATION

You carved out the time and saved the money for your much anticipated vacation and now you can’t wait to take off. I love the anticipation of vacation!  In my mind I always picture having the best time and experiencing exciting adventures. Most of the time this is how it works out but every once in a while I am a bit disappointed. What happened? Usually it is me that happened.

(photo courtesy of Pak101)

(photo courtesy of Pak101)

Through many adventures I have found the key to my enjoyment. I believe the key can be slightly different for everyone but it has key similarities. (Oh no, my husband’s corny humor has struck again) Which brings us to the top or first key. Keep your sense of humor. Sometimes those misadventures, disaster meals, failed tours end up being the funniest stories we have to share. Getting really bent out of shape about them won’t change that you had to endure them so just roll with flow and keep your sense of humor! The funnest vacation I have taken was one in which two members on our trip got sick. It put a cramp in our plans and we ended spending two days in a city we had no plans to visit. The things that happened were actually pretty gross but terribly funny.

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Next  is to throw away your timidness and let your inner adventurer out. As you are walking down the street if you see a restaurant with lots of locals waiting to get in, join the line. Chances are it has great food. Don’t limit yourself to well known restaurant chains try the local fare. What you will find is that most local establishments love to have foreign or out of town guests. They often take every opportunity to get to know you. Relish it! Try out your limited knowledge of the local language. Communicate using gestures or draw pictures. You will have an experience that helps immerse you into the local culture. Take a walk in the evening or morning and see what the locals are doing and join them. I will never forget trying Tai Chi in the park in Guangzhou China. Let yourself go and enjoy.

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When I plan a trip I do a lot of internet research. Sometimes I find interesting places that I want to visit but they usually are not on the typical tours or destinations. This is where a good travel agent comes to play, they can and will customize your trip. If you are in Chile and you really want to learn how to learn how to make pastel de choclo and see where they make the pottery it is served in then you should be able to do that. Sometimes booking a private tour or hiring a car to get you where you want to go is worth every penny to get to experience it. A side trip to Pomaire might be exactly what you were hoping to experience.

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Take comfortable clothes and shoes. Nothing ruins a trip faster than blisters on your feet or feeling like you are being squished into spanx. Seriously this should probably be key number one. You want to be carefree, comfortable and able to be spontaneous. Did anyone tell you it was 270 steps to get up to that statue you want to visit? Oops you wore sandals with heels today. Only take those along if you know you are having a night out to be dressed up. Along that line try taking very few clothes and lots of empty suitcase space. You can fill it with all of the new things you want to purchase. Much easier than having to buy a second suitcase while you are shopping.

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I had an amazing adventure in China  trying to find a large suitcase to purchase. The hotel staff sent me to a mall with horrible directions. An hour and half later, walking with a 4 year, old we found it and UGH designer luggage wasn’t in my budget. So as we walked back to the hotel I spotted a grocery store. My daughter was hungry so we went inside to find some snacks. As I walked in looking to my left there was a pen with live chickens.  An entire wall of aquariums with every imaginable odd looking fish, eels and sea critters I couldn’t identify lined the whole left side of the store. There were terrariums with snakes and then aisles of regular grocery store type items. Suitcases but not the size I wanted. If I hadn’t been off on my own I would have missed this site. It is one of the most delightful memories of my time in China.  We did eventually find a suitcase and the child filled it with toys at the store.

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Find your inner adventurer, be brave and don’t be afraid to try something new. Take pictures Be safe. While I encourage you to explore you also need to avoid those areas that are unsafe. Use reputable taxi companies. Use public transit but remember to keep your valuables in a money belt hidden from site. Sadly crime is worldwide and you need to be wise about how your carry your money, passport, etc. But don’t let fear cripple you. Find a travel agent who is knowledgeable of the area. Book excursions through your travel agent or hotel. Avoid the guy at the airport or port who tries to sell you a tour. Keep your sense of humor and have fun.

Spirit of Adventure

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oad up the luggage! 
Board the ship!
Conquer the great unknown!
It is the spirit of adventure and I believe a bit of it resides in us in all, but for some of us it is an burning desire and passion irresistible.  Are you one of us? When I was in 8th grade I told my mom I wanted to be a missionary and she was pretty much appalled at the idea of her baby running off to the wilds. Years later as I was preparing to depart for Chile mom asked me how did I get this desire to run away and be so adventuresome.  There really isn’t an answer for that except that it is something within that says I need to see and touch and smell and experience the world for myself. Nothing is as satisfying as talking to or trying to talk to someone in another culture. Learning their likes and dislikes, trying their food, seeing their architecture and wildlife. 

It is this spirit of adventure that led me to take that step and to now share it with all of you through the gift of travel. Sharing travel is the one of the best gifts I can think of to enrich the soul. Technology has made it easy and affordable to pack up and hit  the high seas and see the world up close and personal. Polar bears in the Arctic, penguins in Antarctica, volcanoes in Iceland, whales around in the northern pacific, Moai in the south pacific. Take your pick of amazing sights and it is within reach. 

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Expedition cruises are an amazing way to get up close, personal and to experience these wonders. The Galapagos with its amazing wildlife not seen elsewhere in the world would be one of my top choices for my next adventure. But the Australian Outback or maybe Ushuaia or explore with National Geographic and with privileged access to whale lagoons. The world has truly become accessible and expedition cruises can get you there. These aren’t fishing boats with primitive quarters and hard lifestyles. The new wave of expedition vessels are luxurious, comfort filled small cruise ships with everything you can imagine to make your trip the adventure of a lifetime. 

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