Friday, December 31, 2010

Still need votes for the North Pole

I really do want to blog my way to the North Pole.  Really, I do, and I still need your votes!  I'd like to at least get to the top 5!  C'mon, give it a go!

Happy New Year!

May 2011 bring you joy, good health, and lots of travels!  Do you make New Year's Resolutions?  Do you have a travel bucket list? 

Australia Flooding Larger than France and Germany Combined

Australia flood zone bigger than Texas.  The area in Queensland is affecting over 200,000 people, with more flooding expected.  Queensland has set up a disaster relief program, and we can probably help via the Red Cross. 

Thursday, December 30, 2010

What are your favorite travel memories for 2010?

Really, I want to know.  Was it a cruise?  Lying out on a beach?  A bicycle vacation?  A hike?  Diving?  A safari?  What was your favorite destination?  Food?  Would love to hear from you!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

It's Raining, and You're on Vacation: Solutions!

1.  There are museums, and then there are obscure museums.  The Paris Sewers Museum explores the fascinating view of Paris, with gothic arches and tunnels and adventure and that Parisian sense of j'en sais quois.  It's raining, you're in Paris, go explore off the beaten path!

2.  There's a funny postcard I once saw in Amsterdam:  two pictures, one labeled Summer in Amsterdam, the other, Winter in Amsterdam.  In both images, it is bucketing rain.  Every time I've been to Amsterdam, it has been rainy most of the time.  One of my favorite things to do is to sit in one of the Brown Cafes, sipping coffee or a chocolate, watching the world go by.  So relaxing!  They are good for a drink, a coffee, a snack, and conversation. 

3. I saw the same above mentioned postcard applied to London.  So, go see a play!  London Theatre is some of the best in the world, and I've seen some amazing examples over the years.  So worth it!  I saw Vanessa Redgrave in a Tennessee Williams play that was riveting; Rowan Atkinson doing Chekov one-act plays; London Theatre is captivating.

4.  Oh, you know you need some pampering.  Budapest is the city of Spas!  With 118 thermal springs, you can spend all day in the healing waters.  Or if you happen to be in Rotorua, try out Hell's Gate.  Set in a geothermal reserve (like Yellowstone or Iceland), rich in Maori Culture, you can use the thermal springs, get a mud bath, a massage, or other treatments.  Where's the like button?

5.  Take a cooking class.  It's not just wonderful to eat Italian cuisine.  You can learn to cook like a local, shop like a local, enjoy like a local. 

And if all else fails, go out and play in the rain!  It can be fun!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Western Wedge Wildflower Safari

Western Wedge Wildflower Safari

14 day flying safari highlighting some of Western Australia's best
"This tour is carefully scheduled to coincide with many significant ecological events.  On day one make a spectacular scenic flight at cliff-level along the Great Australian Bight, viewing whales and their calves from above - a view that rare few ever experience.  From there see the vast contrast of this gargantuan state from turquiose coral filled waters of Ningaloo Reef, the wildflowers in the sandy soil of Kalbarri right down to the high-rainfall tall timber country in the south where you will walk amongst the Valley of the Giants" - John Dyer
Tour highlights:
  • Stay at Wild Bush Luxury's Sal Salis retreat, Ningaloo Reef
  • Fly at cliff level across the Great Australian Bight
  • See Humpback and Right whales in calving season
  • Meander through Western Australia's wildflower spectacular in Kalbarri, Shark Bay, Margaret River and Esperance
  • Margaret River wineries including lunch at Vasse Felix
  • Australia's prettiest beaches at Cape le Grand, Esperence
  • Private tour of Kangaroo Island's diverse flora and fauna
Departure dates:
  • 12th September 2011
  • 3rd October 2011

There is no better way for you to celebrate the New Year than a trip to Riviera Maya, Mexico!

When the weather is still frigid and unbearable, an escape to the warm and sunny atmosphere of El Dorado Spa Resorts & Azul Hotels is just what you need!  Take advantage of some amazing rates. Whether you are looking for a fun family getaway or a chic couples retreat, these resorts are sure to satisfy any need. With a truly unique Gourmet Inclusive concept, which encompasses a la carte dining, 24-hour room service,
beach and pool butlers, and personalized concierge services; this is a perfect excape.  I have some incredible rates, so call me!

Book by Jan. 3, 2011 and travel up to April 23, 2011. 

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Top Five Things To Do In Sydney Australia

Sydney is a great city, with probably the most beautiful natural harbour on earth.  Yes, I'm having an opinion.  People tend to try to cram a lot in a very short period of time, which is too bad.  I think that the cities of Australia are worth as long a visit as someone going to Paris, or London, or Rome -- really, people do spend a week or more in those places.  Why not Sydney?

So here's my list:

1.  Bridge Climb will give you spectacular views of the city, the Opera House, the Harbour - all while climbing to the top of one of the icons of Sydney.  The Sydney Harbour Bridge is as well-known a sight at San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge.  You're strapped in, you get a bridge-suit, you're guided, and you're maybe thinking you're out of your mind, but this is a real thrill.

2.  You know you've always wanted to try this.    Let's Go Surfing - Bondi Beach - is a surfing school that can get even a grandma like me to stand up on a board.  It's a 2 hour lesson in a small group in easy waves.  Plus, this is the beach that has all the Surf Life Savers, ladies.  These are good looking blokes!

3.  Australia has some amazing food.  Fresh produce, and a great and famous Fish Market that also offers cooking school.  Somehow, I feel that a cooking class in a local market makes you feel more like a part of the place.  It's like a total immersion!

4. The Sydney Opera House is magnificent.  One of the most expressive buildings I've seen, I think I've taken over 500 photos of it.  And made one watercolor.  And seen a performance or several.  And done group tours, and private tours, and backstage tours - you need to do it.  Learn the history, fall in love with the building, experience it for yourself.  But don't wait til the last minute, you do need to pre-book your tours.

5.  Yes, you want to do a cruise on Sydney Harbour.  But you want to Cruise Like A Local.  Really, the choice is being on a vessel with maybe 200 of your closest strangers, or on a small, private yacht owned by a local, and really feeling the place.  Done it both ways.  I prefer Sea Sydney Cruises, and cruising like a local.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Holiday Travel Memories

One of my favorite travel memories was a trip to London over Christmas and New Years with Victory Gardens Theater, located in Chicago.  It was an amazing trip.  We saw Shakespeare, and Tennessee Williams, and Chekov - among a lot of other plays.  Redgrave was in the Tennessee Williams and I was with a group of people who didn't want to applaud because of her politics - yet her performance was so riviting, that the entire group was on their collective feet at the end of the play.  It was an amazing event - this was in 1988, and I remember only the emotion of the play.

London was like a fairy tale for Christmas. I loved the experience.  And I would love to hear your holiday travel memories.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Yelam Seyalkoodum! It means ‘everything is possible'

I learned about this from Pam of Nerd's Eye View.  Pam Mandel is a wonderful blogger, and she's one of the co-founders of  Passports with Purpose.   From their mission statement:  "Passports with Purpose is an annual Travel Bloggers’ fundraiser. In 2009, 90 bloggers participated and raised almost $30,000 to build a school in rural Cambodia (complete with a school nurse and a kitchen garden that provides each child a daily meal). In 2010, we have set our sights even higher. With your help, we will raise $50,000 to build a village, brick by brick, in rural India through our partnership with Friends of LAFTI."

This year, they've reached their goal of $50,000, but you can still participate.  I am signing up to participate for 2011, and will donate a gift certificate of some sort.  But it all goes to my belief that travel can help heal the world. 

Friday, December 10, 2010

Packable Holiday Gifts

Traveling with kids for the holidays?  HipTravelMama shared some tips for the best packable Christmas gifts for kids.  What with all the TSA Regulations, it's fun to pack something soft, light weight, and safe.  My personal favorite is the
Sushi Dinner shown on Etsy. 

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Blog your way to the North Pole

Quark Expeditions has a great contest!  Blog your way to the North Pole.  I'm entering, please vote for me!

Man Arrested for Dropping Anchor Onboard ms Ryndam

What was he thinking?  Rick Ehlert, a 44 year old California man, has been arrested for dropping anchor while sailing on Holland America's ms Ryndam over the weekend.  His statement?  He knew how to release the anchor because he owns a 50-foot yacht with a similar anchor.  Really?

Although the ship was undamaged, the action did endanger ship and passengers.  So, we'll all sort of wait to see what the trial brings.  Yes, I'm having an opinion and would not be unbiased on his jury.