• Outdoor Terrace at Villa in Tuscany

    5 Romantic Destinations to Inspire Your Next Vacation

    <p>Valentine’s Day may be over, but we are still feeling the love! Here are five of our favorite romantic travel destinations.<br> </p> <h3 style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://goo.gl/cLz6v8" target="_blank">5.) THE SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS</a></h3> <p>Heather-covered moors, ruined castles and unspoiled nature… the Scottish Highlands are straight out of a fairy tale.</p> <p><b>How to go:</b> <a href="https://goo.gl/cLz6v8" target="_blank">Scotland Cultural Walking Adventure</a><br><b>Trip Highlights:</b> Stroll through the iconic ruins of Urquhart castle, taste single malt whisky at an acclaimed distillery, and glide between highland mountains on the waters of Loch Ness. Throughout, you’ll spend your nights in lovely country house hotels, and enjoy a wide range of walks from canal towpaths to Edinburgh’s lively High Street.<br><img alt="Man drinking whiskey in Scotland" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7ky&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002lSb" style="height: 345px; width: 500px;"></img></p> <h3 style="text-align: center;"><br><a href="https://goo.gl/IGqp2Y" target="_blank">4.) POSITANO</a></h3> <p>“Positano bites deep. It is a dream place that isn’t quite real when you are there and becomes beckoningly real after you have gone.” John Steinbeck’s essay on Positano was written in May of 1953, but his description holds true today. Breezy Seaside paths encourage a nice slow pace for absorbing the atmosphere or marveling at the gravity defiant cliffside villages.</p> <p><b>How to go:</b> <a href="https://goo.gl/0XP3oC" target="_blank">Amalfi Coast &amp; Capri Cultural Walking Adventure</a>, <a href="https://goo.gl/zoq9bE" target="_blank">Amalfi Al Buon Gusto</a><br><b>Trip Highlights:</b> It’s truly hard to top the magnificent views and the sensation you’ll experience from exploring the country’s most picturesque region! With Classic Journeys, you will view the 14th-century monastery atop Monte Solaro in the island of Capri, stroll through Positano as the sun sets and take part in a medieval paper making demonstration. This trip will be sure to take your breath away.<br><img alt="Positano, Italy" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7ky&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002lSl" style="height: 345px; width: 500px;"></img></p> <h3 style="text-align: center;"><br><a href="https://goo.gl/ShIaB7" target="_blank">3.) MERZOUGA</a></h3> <p>The sunset stretches on forever over waves of red sand. Lanterns cast a magical glow around a quaint desert encampment and cumin-scented stew simmers over a campfire. A night in Merzouga is the epitome of romantic adventure.</p> <p><b>How to go:</b> <a href="https://goo.gl/TGEA7n" target="_blank">Morocco Cultural Walking Adventure</a><br><b>Trip Highlights:</b> For those with more of the zest for adventure, our Morocco tours will be sure to impress. Explore the labyrinthine 9th century Medina in Fès, take a sunset camel ride across 1,000-foot-high sand dunes in Merzouga and shop the world-famous souks of Marrakesh.</p> <h3><img alt="Photographer in Morocco" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7ky&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002lSq" style="height: 345px; width: 500px;"></img></h3> <h3 style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://goo.gl/dpUYGs" target="_blank">2.) ST. EMILION</a></h3> <p>This is Southern France at its best. The picturesque town is also a World Heritage site and renowned for red Bordeaux wines (The Romans first planted vines here in the 2nd century). It is a perfect place to spend the day as you <i>sirote et saveur</i> or “sip and savor” your way through this enchanting region.</p> <p><b>How to go:</b> <a href="https://goo.gl/dpUYGs" target="_blank">Bordeaux &amp; Dordogne Cultural Walking Adventure</a><br><b>Trip Highlights:</b> Be transported into the romance of the Middle Ages as you stroll through Bordeaux’s centuries-old flinty vineyards, limestone caves, and fortified villages.</p> <h3><img alt="Saint Emilion, France" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7ky&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002lSv" style="height: 345px; width: 500px;"></img></h3> <h3 style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://goo.gl/7Jwpnk" target="_blank">1.) TUSCANY</a></h3> <p>Classic, eternal and the ultimate romantic destination! Tuscany will steal your heart as well as your stomach. We’re only half-joking when we argue that the landmarks of Florence, Siena and Tuscany’s gorgeous hilltowns barely distract us from the wonderful food of the region.</p> <p><b>How to go:</b> <a href="https://goo.gl/cFkGF1" target="_blank">A Taste of Tuscany,</a> <a href="https://goo.gl/O7bgMP" target="_blank">Tuscany &amp; the Cinque Terre</a><br><b>Trip Highlights:</b> On our Taste of Tuscany tour, you will sample wines and olive oil, visit cheese makers and experience firsthand how Italians cook and eat at home.<br><img alt="Tuscany, Italy" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7ky&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002lT0" style="height: 345px; width: 500px;"></img></p>

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  • Machu Picchu, Peru

    Paradise Found

    <h3>GO FOR MACHU PICCHU AND DISCOVER A PERU ALIVE WITH NEW EXPERIENCES</h3> <p>It’s funny where bucket list ideas begin. I’d wanted to go to Peru since junior high when I blundered onto my Mom’s View-Master disc from the 1950s. It featured the “Lost City of the Incas,” “Cathedral in Ancient Cuzco,” and “Llamas, Urubamba Valley.” Clicking through those stereoscopic 3D images, I saw that Machu Picchu was just a frame or two in Peru’s story. But I’ll admit that it was <a href="https://goo.gl/ni7KYw" target="_blank">that mysterious city in the Andes that finally drew me there.</a><br><br><img alt="Downtown Cusco" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7l0&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002m9p" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br> </p> <p><a href="https://goo.gl/pZ1D3j" target="_blank">I decided to do my pilgrimage with Classic Journeys</a>, particularly because their itinerary includes parts of three days at Machu Picchu. After waiting so long and traveling that far, I wasn’t about to do a day trip like many visitors. Also, I had the option of going all the way to the top on the luxurious and super scenic Inca Train or of making my approach by walking the last stretch of the famous Inca Trail with a local Quechua guide. That leg rises 1,500 feet on a path that takes five to six hours. It requires a special permit (which Classic Journeys arranged for me), and I was glad I’d spent some pre-trip time on a Stairmaster, because wow was it worth it.<br><br><img alt="llama at Machu Picchu" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7l0&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002m9u" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br><br><br>Via the Inca Trail, we arrived at Machu Picchu at the Sun Gate, which is above the site. Puffs of mist drifted in the cloud forests below. The view took my breath away even more than the trail. After I pinched myself, my mind jumped to the inevitable question of how the heck this place is even possible. During our visit, <a href="https://goo.gl/ni7KYw" target="_blank">we had sensational guides</a> who floated the legends and shared the learning about how it was buildable in the 15th century. I also had time to wander on my own, a rare chance to get a personal sense of one of the world’s most important archaeological sites.<br><br><img alt="Woman feeding llama" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7l0&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002m9G" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br> </p> <p>View-Master wasn’t lying when it taught me that <a href="https://goo.gl/ni7KYw" target="_blank">Machu Picchu is just a drop in the Peruvian bucket</a>. The people we met would have been worth the trip, even if there weren’t a single ruin. Out in the Andes, many of the folks we met, including our guide Marisol, were direct Quechua descendants of the Incas. I talked breeding practices with a llama herder. (Yes, the beasts do spit. Fortunately, their aim is iffy.) In an off-the-beaten-path village, our group dropped in on a local school to visit with the kids and teachers. A heads-up before our trip meant that I had pens, pencils and notebooks to share with them. We also got to hang out with the people of Ollantaytambo, a thriving pre-Columbian village where I nursed my first glass of chicha, the corn beer that’s still brewed pretty much as the Incas did. The boy tending sheep in the Sacred Valley couldn’t have been happier to say hi, or wonder about why we were walking through his valley. Renowned ceramicist Pablo Seminario waved us into his studio like we were long-lost friends.<br><br><img alt="Woman with local school children" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7l0&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002m9Q" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br> </p> <p>Frankly, I’d put Peru right back at the top of my list, just to go back and <a href="https://goo.gl/ni7KYw" target="_blank">experience the country’s luxurious hospitality</a>. Our monastery-turned-hotel in Cusco is ranked as one of South America’s finest. Back out at Machu Picchu, our hotel sat in a 12-acre park with 214 kinds of birds, 372 species of orchids and its own tea plantation. (I picked my own leaves and brewed my own cup. So long, oolong.) Peru’s cuisine is as haute as a snow-capped Andes peak. I would have happily bestowed as many Michelin stars as there are on my ceviche of sea bass, lime juice and hot chilies, crisps of onion and creamy sweet potato.<br><br><img alt="Hotel in Peru" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7l0&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002m9V" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br> </p> <p>After years of anticipation, it could have happened that my actual visit to Peru would be anti-climactic. But I’m feeling a little sorry that I’ve ticked that box. From blockbuster Machu Picchu right through an unforgettable two-pisco-sour sunset in the Urubamba Valley, <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/perufamily" target="_blank">I’d do it all again in a second.</a><br><br><img alt="Rio Sagrado" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7l0&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002m9f" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></p>

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  • Cornwall countryside

    A Perfect Pairing

    <h3><a href="https://goo.gl/9zvvYr" target="_blank">MATCH TRAVEL WITH A PERSONAL PASSION FOR THE ULTIMATE BUCKET-LIST DESTINATION.</a></h3> <p>I once traveled with a husband and wife who were obsessed with — I kid you not— how many kinds of olives they could find and photograph in Provençal markets. I’ve strolled in Cornwall with a lovely woman who knew the King Arthur legends forward and backward. And you should try, sometime, walking in the Vietnamese countryside with a gentleman who’s fulfilling a long held urge to find peace on an old battleground. Many of the most passionate travelers aren’t only about leaving home. They head out in order to live out dreams fueled by interests as far ranging as genealogy or the happy compulsion to visit as many UNESCO World Heritage Sites as possible. Herewith, a few favorite examples of how to pair travel and a special interest to unforgettable effect. </p> <h3><a href="https://goo.gl/Shtj1A" target="_blank">BORDEAUX FOR THE OENOPHILE</a></h3> <br><img alt="Vineyard" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7l1&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002qcS" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br>  <p>You can visit legendary wine regions forever, but to many palates, <a href="https://goo.gl/Shtj1A" target="_blank">Bordeaux is the most timeless.</a> Romans planted the first grapes in the 2nd century. The village of St. Emilion (one of those World Heritage Sites!) sits amid endless patches of gnarled vines. However expert your personal tasting technique is, you appreciate the concept of terroir here like nowhere else. In a cave with a millennium or two of stories to tell, you taste the soil and the air and tradition all at once. It’s truly a pinnacle experience…not to mention a remarkable chance to add<br>some iconic labels to your scrapbook.</p> <h3><a href="https://goo.gl/oxGjxS" target="_blank">CUBA FOR THE MODERN HISTORIAN</a></h3> <p>How often do you get to be an eyewitness to history? That would be every day in Cuba. There’s plenty of distant past, of course. Havana and colonial Trinidad are 500 years old and, ahem, World Heritage Sites. The Missile Crisis generation gets a rush from visiting the Bay of Pigs and being stared down by portraits of Fidel. A feverish mix of hustle in Havana, horse-drawn agriculture, optimistic entrepreneurs and loose-hipped dancers moving to pre-Revolution tunes defines the island these days. Americans call it “normalization,” and the <a href="https://goo.gl/oxGjxS" target="_blank">Cubans you meet let you look “under the hood”</a> to grasp how it feels to want and wait and work to make history happen.<br><br><img alt="Havana" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7l1&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002qc3" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br><br> </p> <h3><a href="https://goo.gl/iYi6YH" target="_blank"><b>TUSCANY FOR THE LOCAVORE</b></a></h3> <p>Farm-to-table is not a very modern concept in Tuscany, a fact you grasp as you sit at a table right on the estate where your lunch was grown. The meal stretches a tad longer than the usual salad you grab at home. Though, not to worry, you can recover back at your villa. <a href="https://goo.gl/iYi6YH" target="_blank">For food lovers, this is a culinary paradise</a> where shepherds make cheese for you … the pasta is shaped by hand … and the oil is pressed from olives that grow just outside your window. Did we mention lunch in San Gimignano, which is of course a World Heritage Site?<br><br><img alt="Group dining together" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7l1&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002qc8" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br> </p>

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