Destinations

If you like Europe I am sure you have traveled to Italy and most likely more than once. You know all the major regions and cities but do you know Le Marche? It is a region located south of Emilia Romania and north of Abruzzo and it is indeed a hidden gem. Most people, including Italians, have never heard of Le Marche. I just returned from a week there and I am still wondering why it took me so long to discover this unique region of Italy. The main focus of my trip was to visit the “Borghi”.

A “borgo” is a fortified small town built by a noble family around a castle, a church or a fortress between the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. There are a total of 273 registered borghi within Italy and 23 of them are located in Le Marche. A very strict list of 70 criteria allows a borgo to be registered with the institute “I Borghi piu belli d’Italia”. Each borgo is unique. It is a symbol of Italian culture with artistic and architectural heritage, tradition and enogastronomic treasures.

The countryside is a beautiful painting of rolling vineyards, golden grain fields, olive groves and perched ancient borghi. It is a place where you can still feel a genuine sense of discovery and enjoy quiet pleasures as you meander the back roads and walk on cobble stones that haven’t yet been polished by the soles of a million tourists. Traditions are very strong and the opportunities for unique experiences are endless.

Recently I had the opportunity to sail on the beautiful “Regal Princess”, doing the Baltic Sea itinerary. The ship, activities and ports were amazing.

COPENHAGEN, DENMARK – Venice of the North, Copenhagen was founded during the 12th century, A very charming city with 500 year old gabled houses, several beautiful castles and palaces. Best of all, wander thru “Tivoli Gardens, one of Europe’s most celebrated pleasure gardens. Denmark is one of the most safest countries in the world.

OSLO, NORWAY – Beautiful, clean, sophisticated, yet cozy charming, with a blend of 19th-20th century buildings, woodcarvings, bright frescoes and wide avenues dotted with public squares and parks. Oslo is surrounded by hills and lakes which makes this city a paradise for winter and summer sports. Don’t miss the Vigeland Sculpture Park with over 200 human life-cycle sculptures.

We went to Albania, Kosovo, and Albania. The thing that are interesting about these places is they are cash only. You have to be able to get cash at the ATM or take enough with you. The local hotels are cash only as well. If you stay at bigger well known hotels then they should take a credit card. But no place else will take credit cards.

We started our trip out in Tirana. After the long flight that is the closest place to stay for the night and then go on from there. We stayed at the City Hotel. This is a basic hotel. With U.S. standard it would be about a 3 star property. All of the hotels we stayed at was very clean. In the small local hotels they don’t have any elevators and so you have to walk up the stairs. The rooms have anywhere from 1-4 beds. Sometimes they will have a queen and a twin in the room and some rooms might have 4 twin beds in them and so it just depends.

There are bigger hotels and more 4 star hotels as well. They have the International Hotel that is pretty close to the city center.

Watching Jake Sully enter the world of Pandora through his genetically engineered Na’vi body makes you wonder what it must be have been like. How did it feel to walk in the Pandora forest, run through the fields, or fall through the trees? How would it be to smell the air, to see the plants glow at night, to ride the Ikran, the predatory banshee that can fly? If you ever wished for that experience then your dreams have come true! You can now experience Pandora, The World of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Walt Disney World, Orlando Florida. It’s the perfect fit for Avatar fans, like me and my wife!

I had the most amazing opportunity to visit Pandora during its Grand Opening and walk around the Valley of Mo’ara. I was amazed at the mystery of its floating mountains alive with the sounds of life, drumming along like a beating heart. The flora and fauna glow both day and night, move and breathe like the native plants in Pandora. Many adventures wait for you here. Children and parents alike can paint their faces to resemble the Na’vi people. Take the look further with a souvenir T- shirt resembling the Na’vi skin color and war paint, or add a head band adorned with the ears of the Na’vi people. Complete the costume with Na’vi necklaces, bracelets and more. I had the chance to get my face painted at “Colors of Mo’ara” and bought the head band to match. But as soon as my wife saw it, she stole it from me and wore it for the remainder of our trip! People loved the look. We were met with curiosity all day as tourists and Disney Cast Members asked us where we got our Na’vi ears, wanting to know how much we loved Pandora! They wanted to share in our experience, even the face painting and ears! It was a thrill!

Penny Lane BeatlesFrom the birth of the Beatles to the creators of the kilt, this 7-day sojourn through England and Scotland was all about uncovering the best of Britain. Picture-perfect lands and charming cities make this a perfectly balanced way to spend a week in the U.K.

4/29/17 (Day 1) - Arriving in LONDON
After arriving at the Hotel Ibis London Earl’s Court, we all met in the lobby at 4pm. We were introduced to Brooke, the Trip Manager, and from there, we went to the Contiki Basement for a short orientation. Then, we drove to the Westminster Pier, across from the London Eye, for a 45 minute cruise on River Thames. There was champagne waiting for us at Zizzi’s, an Italian restaurant in Greenwich, where we were served way more food than we could eat. Afterwards, we rode back to the hotel in the coach.