• Japanese lanterns

    5 Foods You Must Eat While in Japan

    <p>Undoubtedly, one of the most popular reasons people visit <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/japan-tours/" target="_blank">Japan</a> is for its layered, long-standing and completely delicious food culture. In the United States, we get access to some of it, primarily through sushi, but the truth is that there’s a culinary world that can only be experienced by visiting the country itself. Here are five foods you have to try while in Japan.<br> </p> <p><b>1. Sushi/Sashimi</b></p> <p>Chances are most of you have eaten sushi in the past, but you’ve never truly eaten sushi until you’ve done so in Japan. The craft is truly an art form--something that must be studied, apprenticed and practiced many times over before any sushi chef can take the reins themselves. Everything--from the fish’s texture to the thickness of the cut--is performed with exacting precision. You’ve likely eaten sushi many times at home, so it only makes sense to head to the source to see how the masters perform their craft.<br><br><img alt="Japanese sushi and sashimi" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001Y4Oc&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM50000000oYIY" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></p> <p><b>2. Ramen</b></p> <p>Depending on where you call home, it wouldn’t be surprising if you’ve dug into a savory bowl of ramen or two. The traditional serving is comprised of noodles, pork broth, thinly sliced pork, and usually accompanied by scallions, a soft-boiled egg and other accoutrements. Japanese ramen chefs also like to turn up the bells and whistles, with different kinds of ramen to satisfy different needs. Do you have a soft spot for chicken katsu? There&#39;s a ramen for that. Prefer chicken broth to pork? They’ve got you covered. Enjoy a good curry? There’s a ramen for that, too. There are other different broth bases, too--soy, salt and many other kinds of permutations. No matter the day or weather, ramen is sure to please.<br><br><img alt="Traditional Japanese ramen" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001Y4Oc&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM50000000oYId" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></p> <p><b>3. Yakitori</b></p> <p>A favorite of revelers and beer drinkers, yakitori is as much of a social event as it is a grilling bonanza. Chicken is often the star of yakitori joints, called Izakayas, which serve a variety of other small plates, too, akin to tapas. There other grilled delights that can be served as yakitori such as duck, eggs, okra, beef and anything else that can possibly be skewered.<br><br><img alt="Japanese yakitori chicken" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001Y4Oc&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM50000000oYIi" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></p> <p><b>4. Okonomiyaki</b></p> <p>With its base including eggs and tempura flakes, okonomiyaki are savory, flour-based pancakes that are prepared on a griddle and served with a variety of ingredients. Think pork, cabbage, cheese, and even caviar, along with vegetables griddled and topped with mayonnaise, sweet sauce and dried tuna flakes, called bonito.<br><br><img alt="Traditional Japanese pancake - okonomiyaki" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001Y4Oc&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM50000000oYIn" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></p> <p><b>5. Gyoza</b></p> <p>Another quintessential Japanese dish is gyoza. As popular in Japan as ramen, this traditional pan-fried dumpling is a staple of Japanese cuisine. Wrapped neatly in a tasty, and convenient, bite-sized package, the gyoza is fried first to achieve a crispy brown bottom and sides, before being steamed to achieve the perfect balance in opposing textures. With both vegetable and meat options, the gyoza is sure to please all parties involved.<br><br><img alt="Japanese gyoza dumpling" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001Y4Oc&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM50000000oYIs" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></p>

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  • 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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  • Aialik bay

    A How(-Not)-To on Alaska Travel

    <p>This was not how I imagined Alaska: A mere 22 minutes after our 9-month-old son Max had FINALLY fallen asleep, a piercing BEEEEEEEP came through on our stateroom speaker, giving my wife and me a jolt, and launching little Max into instant wakefulness:</p> <p>“Attention passengers: our Fine Arts auction is a fun, fast-paced way to collect exceptional works of art! And the next one starts in 15 minutes on Deck 7!!”</p> <p>Seriously? That was the reason for the in-room fog horn?<br><br>It was our third day aboard a major cruise line, sailing through Alaska’s scenic inside passage. Things had been going well enough, I suppose. <a href="https://goo.gl/5Ibwqj" target="_blank">We were very grateful for the chance to visit a part of North America we’d never seen.</a> The trip was an all-family celebration of my father-in-law’s retirement. And the experiences were certainly cool: we heard the echoes of glaciers cracking, watched lumberjacks at work, and spotted surfacing whales. The natural and manmade wonders of Ketchikan, Skagway, Juneau, and Victoria, B.C. still produce vivid memories for me now two years later. I have yet to eat better salmon than I did on a salmon bake in Ketchikan.<br><br><img alt="Whale in Alaska" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7l7&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002qmw" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br> </p> <p>But it only took a few of those Big-Brotherish announcements and mass invasions of small Alaskan towns to make me long for the day when Max is old enough for something like Classic Journeys’ <a href="https://goo.gl/dG5Wnc" target="_blank">Kenai Peninsula Family Journey</a>. And when that day comes, you can be sure that we will visit Alaska again. You see, I had suspected that traveling on a floating hotel would have its compromises, and I was all too right. Cuisine on the ship seldom strayed from mediocrity; the goal of included meals was quantity over quality. To go ashore, every disembarkation required TSA-style security. As it was, every port held streets littered with flyers and teeming with jewelry shop barkers, hawking bracelets and necklaces made with “rare” Alaskan stones. And that pesky in-room PA system…<br><br><img alt="Seward Harbor" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7l7&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002qna" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br> </p> <p>It’s fair to say that “all-inclusive” has an alluring ring to it, but to me, the style of travel fell short. Rather, <a href="https://goo.gl/dG5Wnc" target="_blank">when my family eventually returns to Alaska with Classic Journeys,</a> I know the trip will be “all-encompassing.” Trust me; you’d recognize the difference. Anonymous loudspeaker voices are replaced by a friendly guide who becomes your best friend by week’s end – people like John, Eric, or Wolfgang. Windows to the outside world aren’t a luxury; hotel rooms always beat out ship cabins in this and other ways. There aren’t any hurried family budget meetings, nor schedule gymnastics, to decide whether to go for this glacier walk or that dog sled run… no racing the clock to find some elusive on-board Activities Desk to sign up for your choice activity by cut-off time. I would much rather rely on someone with boots on the ground, <a href="https://goo.gl/dG5Wnc" target="_blank">hand-picking the best of the best for my family</a>, with a few fun surprises in store. And it would also help to know I’ve paid for it all before I leave home. That means being guaranteed a shoreline salmon bake like the one I loved during my cruise, without the FOMO (fear of missing out) inherent to excursion menus … and without hidden costs. I’m good with that.<br><br><img alt="Glacier walk" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7l7&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002qn1" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br> </p> <p>I also happen to know that skipping the ship to Alaska does not mean skipping sea-based activities altogether. You get your fill on a cultural walking adventure, where, in Seward, you find yourself sailing through the deep green waters of the Kenai Fjords aboard a private vessel, docking on the shores and in the coves of Resurrection Bay in search of bald eagles, humpback whales, sea lions, and more. Or visit those same waters by kayak on a family journey. And on both itineraries, guests of all ages climb into rafts one afternoon to gently cruise the Kenai River for the chance to <a href="https://goo.gl/d1PMF8" target="_blank">learn from an expert about local natural history</a>, and the Kenaitzi Tribe whose people once made their lives on the river’s shores.<br><br><img alt="Kayaking" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7l7&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002qnL" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br><br>Alaska is breathtaking no matter how you slice it. I was awestruck during my first trip, taking stock of the monumental glaciers and their fragile place in this world. But just as glaciers and icebergs show but a tip of their greatness, it would be a shame to experience only as much of Alaska’s majesty as your well-tread cruise ship route allows… only sites that can host 40-person shore excursions… or only those activities that get you back to the docks before your hotel sails off into the sunset.<br><br>This concludes your passenger announcements for today.</p>

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