Posts tagged with "travel"

Opera In The Garden

THE MERRION IN DUBLIN PRESENTS ‘OPERA IN THE GARDEN’ WITH THE WEXFORD FESTIVAL OPERA

This summer, the 5-star Merrion Hotel in Dublin will once again partner with the Wexford Festival Opera for two exclusive performances on June 5 and 6, 2019 to present “Opera in the Garden” in The Merrion’s own private gardens in the heart of Dublin.
During the event, guests will have a preview of one of the Wexford Festival Opera‘s 2019 ShortWork opera productions. Georges Bizet’s one-act comic operette, Le Docteur Miracle, centered around a young man’s attempt to win the hand of the mayor’s daughter, will be specially staged to complement the elegant backdrop of The Merrion’s gardens.

Peter MacCann, General Manager of The Merrion Hotel, said: “We are delighted to welcome the world-renowned Wexford Opera Company to perform one of their ShortWork operas against the backdrop of The Merrion’s tranquil terrace gardens. Last year’s event was a huge success and we were thrilled with how it was received by all those in attendance.”

The black-tie event begins with a Champagne reception on the terrace, followed by the performance, and concludes with a private dinner prepared by Executive Head Chef Ed Cooney and served in the Georgian salons of The Merrion.
Tickets for this event are limited to 100 per night, and are priced at €295 (approx. US$332) per person, including the Champagne reception, performance and dinner with wines.

For more information click here. For more information on Opera in the Garden click here.

ABOUT THE MERRION

The union of four restored Georgian townhouses, joined with a contemporary Garden Wing, The Merrion’s 123 guestrooms and 19 suites include a two-floor Penthouse Suite and private rooftop terrace. The Tethra Spa offers a range of treatments and an in-house pool. In addition to the Garden Room restaurant the Merrion is home to Ireland’s only two-star Michelin restaurant, Patrick Guilbaud. The Merrion houses the largest collection of private art in Ireland outside of the National Gallery. The Merrion is a member of The Leading Hotels of the World.

Le Dîner in Blanc de Paris

On Thursday 6 June 2019, the 31st edition of Le Dîner in Blanc de Paris will take place in one of the most prestigious locations of the French capital.

Last year, several thousand international guests attended this wonderful event where the elegance of everyone’s white outfits gave the evening a magical and universal character. Watch the 2018 video here.
Again, this year, guests are invited from every continent, 30 countries and 90 cities around the world to share this beautiful dinner party infused with elegance, joy and friendship.

Along with American, Canadian, English and Australian guests, whose grand-parents landed 75 years ago exactly on June 6, 1944: D-Day, attendees will participate in the remembrance of this great moment of sacrifice and fraternity. Some of the world’s most important dignitaries will also come to Normandy and to Paris to commemorate this historic anniversary.

Le Dîner en Blanc brings a lot of happiness to everyone. Indeed, for a few hours, it’s a kind of magic that envelops the event, making guests more stunning, cities more beautiful and the future much brighter…. In their best attire and their most joyous mood, guests are reminded of the delight it is to share this amazing evening with strangers that can become friends in an instant.

Close your eyes and immerse yourself in the feeling brought by thousands of dazzling and sparkling lights, making your heart sing… once again.

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Six Day Ancient Ireland Tour

 The cinematic journey back in time is nearly over. The History channel’s blockbuster hit, “Vikings” is scheduled to conclude its sixth – and final season in 2020.
But in Ireland the Vikings and their lasting influence still remain. An award-winning tour operator, Vagabond Small Group Tours of Ireland, recreates for visitors Ireland’s own Viking history in some of the places where the Vikings pillaged and plundered in their quest for precious baubles and arable lands.
 
The company’s Driftwood: 6 Day Ancient Ireland Tour travels south from the gateway city, Dublin, through County Wicklow (old Norse for “Vikings Meadow”) where many episodes of “Vikings” were shot. (This fully guided small group tour won a “best” award at the 2019 Irish Tourism Industry Awards.)
 
Guests may envision Vikings landing longboats off the Irish Sea and the flags of Norman invaders from England who, with help, eventually did them in. The artifacts they’ve left behind signal bloodshed one moment and repentance the next. More than any other region of Ireland, this coastline separated by mountains from inland valleys defines how the Irish came to be in the 5000 years since Stone Age settlements.
“A common view is the Vikings were raiders who didn’t stick around. But some did. As early as 800 AD they set up winter camps (longphorts) here, plotting how to loot the wealth of monasteries, intermarrying with indigenous Celtic Gael, putting down roots and founding our first capital at Waterford,” notes Rob Rankin, co-owner of Vagabond Tours. “The Vikings had a settlement in 841 AD in what is now Dublin. Then in the late 12th century, another predator, the Normans, thrust and parried the assorted kingdoms of Gaelic Ireland.”
 
The tour’s first major stop explores the site of a Viking attack on Christmas night in 835 AD on Glendalough, a 6th century monastic center. Farther south comes the Viking Triangle, the virtual museum cities of Waterford, Wexford and Kilkenny. The Vikings founded Ireland’s first city, Waterford (Norse for “windy fjord”), in 914. Here one can visit museums and buildings rife with Viking lore. Participants on this trip have the option to:

  • Tour the Viking Museum in Ireland’s oldest civic building, the 800-year- old Reginald’s Tower;
  • Watch history come to life at the 3D King of the Vikings virtual reality experience. 
  • Step into a real 13th century chamber at the Medieval Museum,
  • Behold the elegance of 18th century Georgian Waterford at the Bishop’s Palace Museum. 

While in Waterford, now famous worldwide for its crystal stemware, guests revel in two nights of luxury – hardly Viking style — at Waterford Castle Hotel. (The castle became a hotel in the 1980s and underwent a major refurbishment in 2015.) Little Island, on which the castle stands, is strategically encircled by Kings Channel and River Suir. From the 6th century it housed a monastic center. From the 9th to 11th centuries the Vikings built fortifications on what was then called Island Vra (Dane’s Island). The early 12th century stone castle remained in the hands of its original owners, the Fitzgeralds (later kings of Ireland) for over 800 years. The island was a reward for the family’s role in the 1170 Norman invasion. (In Woodstown, just upstream from the castle, is relatively new evidence of a significant Viking settlement unearthed in the 21st century.)
 
At the mouth of another river the Vikings established in the 9th century a settlement they called Ueigsfjord or Waesfjord (“ford of the waterlogged island”), today’s Wexford. The Norse controlled this region until challenged, in part, by the Normans early in the 12th century. (In nearby New Ross guests may opt to visit the Ros Tapestry where 150 stitchers since 1998 have created 15 dramatic tapestries depicting Norman history in Ireland.)
 
In Kilkenny, the stronghold of a Norse clan since the 6th century, artifacts are buried deep. But in the 1990s a tour guide discovered silver and bronze treasures including buttons from a Viking coat.
 
In addition to Waterford Castle, other aristocratic homes and their gardens are players on this itinerary. Visitors will:

  • Behold the splendor of 12th century Kilkenny Castle,
  • Ramble the Robinsonian gardens of Altamount House,
  • Dress for battle at the medieval Ballyhack Castle,
  • Walk in awe around 13th century Tintern Abbey,
  • Kiss the Blarney Stone and explore Blarney Castle and Gardens. 

Departures (14 total in 2019) from Dublin are from mid-April through mid-October. The per person double rate is €1,819 (€315 single supplement).
 
On all of its tours, Vagabond staff curate locally owned accommodations, pubs and restaurants that help serve their goal of authenticity. In the end the mission is to have guests “love Ireland as much as we do.” Transport is in a custom 4×4 Mercedes ‘Vagatron’ that allows access beyond where regular tour buses go.

Air Italy launches direct San Francisco-Milan service

SFO becomes 4th US destination served and 2nd in California. New San Francisco-Milan service comes one week after inauguration of direct flights from LAX. LAX and SFO to be joined by first direct service from Canada when Toronto- Milan is launched on May 6th

Air Italy’s first non-stop flight from San Francisco to Milan was inaugurated today, taking off from San Francisco at 7.10 pm, adding a fourth direct service from the United States, following last week’s launch of Los Angeles-Milan and the launch last year of New York JFK-Milan and Miami-Milan. The new San Francisco-Milan IG938 service, which will operate four times weekly was inaugurated by Air Italy’s Accountable Manager and Chief Flight and Ground Operations Officer, Captain Konstantinos Iliakis, who was greeted by Jeff Littlefield Chief Operating Officer, San Francisco International Airport, and Lorenzo Ortona, Italian Consul General of San Francisco, and Mark Chandler, Director of International Trade, San Francisco Major’s Office. In celebration of this new service, there was a traditional cake and ribbon cutting ceremony as the departure of the A330 aircraft was marked with a celebratory water cannon.

Air Italy Chief Operating Officer, Rossen Dimitrov, said: “We are proud to launching a new flight to California for the second time in just eight days, this being our fourth new direct route from the United States and our second from California. It is a great pleasure to add San Francisco to our network as it is sure to be a success with both our leisure and business travellers. “San Francisco is undoubtedly one of the world’s great cities. Famous as being the gateway to Silicon Valley and the Napa wine region, the city has undoubtedly always been a catalyst for many social, cultural and economic developments since its foundation. “Our home Italy similarly needs little introduction – and we are extremely excited to open this new direct gateway to all that Milan and the beautiful Italy have to offer. “From the fashion capital of Milan to the amazing beaches and islands in the south, Italy has an endless range of options for our many tourists, always accompanied of course by the great Italian food.” The new flights San Francisco-Milan service operates four times weekly (Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Tuesday) with Air Italy’s new Airbus 330-200 offering 24 seats in Business and 228 in Economy class. The service benefits from seamless domestic connections between Milan and central and southern Italy, namely Rome, Naples, Palermo, Catania, Lamezia Terme, Cagliari and Olbia.

For the San Francisco service, Business Class passengers will benefit from Air Italy’s completely new on-board business product that was revealed just last week on the first Milan-Los Angeles flight. Featuring an entirely new tableware, in-flight dining menus, cutlery and chinaware that have all been specially crafted to meet travellers’ expectations, Air Italy’s Business Class passengers will enjoy an even more elevated experience. “Complementing this is our new dine-on-demand service, meaning our Business Class customers can select from our extensive à la carte menu at any time, and in any order, to create their own unique dining experience – all of which delivers yet again on our brand promise as we help our customers to – Imagine The World Differently,” added Mr. Dimitrov.

To find out further details and to take advantage of promotional fares on the new San Francisco-Milan service, simply visit www.airitaly.com, use the Air Italy App, or contact the Call Center +39 0789 52682 or your travel agent.

Aqua Expeditions Cruise Line

AQUA EXPEDITIONS SET TO ENTER COASTAL CRUISE MARKET IN LATE 2019

Boutique luxury cruise line to launch three new destinations and double its fleet by mid-2020

The world’s most respected boutique luxury cruise line – Aqua Expeditions – is set to enter the coastal cruise market in the fall of 2019, after operating as an Amazon and Mekong River cruise line for the past twelve years. A month ago, Aqua Expeditions finalized the purchase of a long-range 200-foot explorer yacht originally built for Britain’s Royal Navy; the vessel is now undergoing a complete refurbishment designed to transform it into an ultra-modern luxury expedition cruise ship catering to affluent explorers.

Scheduled to begin full operations in November 2019, the explorer class vessel will serve three new destinations with year-round departures. The full announcement on vessel name, facts, destinations and itinerary details will be released globally on May 8, 2019.

The May 8th announcement will also unveil a brand-new, state-of-the-art, luxury river cruise vessel to consolidate Aqua Expeditions’ position as one of the leaders in the river-cruise market. Once this and the recently purchased expedition vessel are in operation, Aqua Expeditions will have doubled its fleet from two to four vessels by mid-2020.

“Even as we grow, as an owner, I remain deeply involved in every aspect of the new vessels – from the minutiae of the design details to the intricacies of the itineraries — just as we did when we started out in 2007,” says CEO Francesco Galli Zugaro, “and, as with all Aqua Expeditions vessels, we are partnering both with renowned designers and critically acclaimed chefs to provide a world-class experience.”

The fleet expansion and geographic diversification underscore Aqua Expeditions’ long-time dedication to providing:

  • highly personalized luxury travel experiences
  • immersive excursions into the wildlife and culture of each region
  • world-class cuisine and dining experiences by renowned chefs
  • highly tailored guest services and itineraries
  • designer ships with elegant and contemporary aesthetics
  • a commitment to community, sustainability and preservation

“The new ships and destinations we will reveal next month are certain to intrigue the sophisticated traveler,” added Galli Zugaro.

ABOUT AQUA EXPEDITIONS

A recognized global leader in luxury small-ship cruises, Aqua Expeditions explores the world’s most wildlife- and culture-rich destinations aboard best-in-class vessels of stylish contemporary design. On board, Aqua Expeditions offers tailored five-star itineraries, a highly-exclusive 1:1 crew-to-guest ratio with personalized service, a cuisine experience crafted by acclaimed chefs, and expert-guided activities and excursions. Aqua Expeditions currently operates river cruise ships Aria Amazon on the Peruvian Amazon and Aqua Mekong on the Mekong river in Cambodia and Vietnam. For more information, please visit www.aquaexpeditions.com.

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The Fall of The Wall 30th Anniversary

THE ORANIA.BERLIN CELEBRATES THE FALL OF THE WALL, THE BAUHAUS CENTENARY AND MORE

2019 is a big year for the city of Berlin as it marks the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. And the hip Orania. Berlin in Kreuzburg is celebrating with numerous new packages in honor of the major happenings and anniversaries taking place this year.

EASTER IN KREUZBERG: April 14-28, 2019:

For Easter this year, the Orania.Berlin is offering a special Easter surprise for kids, tickets to concerts at the hotel, and a one-hour boat trip during which guests can discover a whole new side of Berlin.

100 YEARS OF BAUHAUS: April 26-October 31,2019

2019 marks the 100th anniversary of the start of the Bauhaus movement, which inspired much of Berlin’s unique and modern architecture. Hotel guests will receive a guide to discover the movement’s history before hitting the streets to see its lasting effects on the city’s landscape, as well as check out local exhibits such as “Original Bauhaus” at Berlinische Galerie in Kreuzburg, just steps from the hotel.

30TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE FALL OF THE WALL: April 26-October 31, 2019

To mark 30 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Orania.Berlin, which is located in the former Western part of the city right near the border, is offering a two-hour walking tour of the Berlin Wall for guests to learn about the history of the city’s division, the struggle for freedom and the process of reunification.

XJAZZ FESTIVAL: May 8-12, 2019

In May, Berlin’s biggest annual jazz festival takes place in and around the Orania.Berlin. The festival features more than 50 musical acts from around the world, as well as a variety of jazz workshops. Tickets for the concerts and events held at the Orania.Berlin are included in the room rates. Find more information here.

Make Earth Day Every Day

Make Earth Day, Every Day when you Travel

What better way to celebrate Earth Day than to be surrounded by Mother Nature’s gifts while simultaneously helping her grow? The following companies offer travelers unique and fun ways to give back to the communities they visit and places they travel to, not just on Earth Day but all year round.

Offer a Student Their First Wilderness Experience with Discover Outdoors

Explore our parks and mountains with Discover Outdoors and provide a student the same opportunity. For every hike and trip taken, a portion of each payment funds a student’s very own trip to experience the best of the outdoors. The Discover Outdoors Foundation has provided hundreds of deserving youth with the opportunity to explore the intricacies of our world for the first time. The core of Discover Outdoors is a commitment to making the natural world available and accessible to all people while positively impacting learning.

Tag a Hammerhead Shark and prevent extinction with PELORUS travel specialists

Experience a Yacht Expedition to the Galapagos with PELORUS and not only will you dive around the island of Mosquera, observing hammerhead sharks; you can also help tag these sharks and monitor their whereabouts upon your return home. As the sharks become increasingly endangered, scientists are searching for ways to help their population rebound. Thanks to tracking data generated from tags, scientists have some of the first evidence showing pregnant hammerheads from those Galapagos islands may be migrating to mainland South American countries like Ecuador to give birth. If they can further confirm these findings, it may help governments better protect the species before it slides closer toward extinction.

Restore Coral and Support Communities at Bawah Reserve, Indonesia

This Earth Day at Bawah Reserve, a secluded luxury private archipelago off the coast of Singapore, guests can take part in a conservation dive and participate by developing coral tree nurseries or monitoring and protecting sea turtles.The Bawah Anambas  Foundation (BAF) aims to improve the overall ecosystem in the Anambas, both underwater and terrestrial, as well as sustainably lifting the community’s welfare.

Adopt an Iguana at San Ignacio Resort Hotel in Belize

Recognized as the #1 thing to do in San Ignacio by Trip Advisor, spend the day at the Green Iguana Conservation Project at San Ignacio Resort Hotel. The project is an interactive exhibit that offers a close look at green iguanas while conserving and looking after this endangered species. Through educational efforts in the community, the public is informed about the green iguana’s role in the Belizean ecosystem. When you donate through the “Adopt an Iguana Program,” you help this endangered species story be told and impact the length of their survival while simultaneously funding student scholarships.

Experience the Biodiversity of the Amazon Rainforest with Delfin Amazon Cruises

As part of your Amazon riverboat expedition with Delfin Amazon Cruises, you will visit the Rescue & Rehabilitation Center of River Mammals (ACOBIA). Here you will have the chance to feed manatees and learn why they are on the endangered species list. Amazon South America river manatees are unique and docile creatures, which is why so many people have taken to adopting them illegally as pets. The ACOBIA foundation is dedicated to saving and rehabilitating rescued manatees from various communities and markets of Amazon South America. On your Amazon riverboat expedition, you will learn about these amazing creatures also meet other animals rescued from captures, such as monkeys, river otters, and caimans.

Norwegian’s Giving Joy U.S. Debut

NORWEGIAN CRUISE LINE DOUBLES CRUISE GIVEAWAYS AND ADDS TO GRAND PRIZING FOR ‘GIVING JOY’ TEACHER RECOGNITION INITIATIVE

-In Advance of Teacher Appreciation Week, Cruise Line Offers Chance at 30 Free Cruises and Grand Prizes of $25,000, $15,000 and $10,000-

-Campaign Launched to Coincide with Norwegian Joy’s Debut in the U.S.-

With just one week remaining for Norwegian Cruise Line’s highly successful ‘Giving Joy’ campaign, an effort developed to recognize and reward deserving teachers, the brand has upped the ante by doubling the cruise prize giveaway to 30 and increasing the grand prize giveaways to $25,000, $15,000 and $10,000 for the top three teachers’ schools.

“This campaign has clearly resonated with the public, with nearly 45,000 nominations and 1.4 million votes in just three weeks,” said Andy Stuart, President and CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line. “We set out to gift 15 cruises in honor of our 15th ship, Norwegian Joy, but given the engagement and appreciation of this effort, we have decided to double the joy and award 30 educators who make an impact in children’s lives in a positive and meaningful way.”

Norwegian Cruise Line’s ‘Giving Joy’ campaign, which celebrates the intersection of travel and education, runs through April 12, 2019. The company is asking for nominations of certified or accredited teachers in the U.S. and Canada who are inspiring joy in the classroom. The 30 teachers with the most votes will win a seven-day cruise for two.  They will also be provided airfare and accommodations for an award ceremony taking place in Seattle on May 3, 2019, where they will have the chance to win $25,000, $15,000 and $10,000 for their schools.

“I encourage everyone to continue to nominate the teachers in their lives that have made a difference, and take the opportunity to recognize the outstanding work they do every day,” said Stuart. “We are excited to see all the final submissions for the campaign and to celebrate the winners as we welcome Norwegian Joy to Seattle.”

To nominate a favorite teacher, to vote and for terms and conditions, please visit nclgivingjoy.com.

For more information about Norwegian Cruise Line and to book a cruise, please contact a travel professional, call 888-NCL-CRUISE (625-2784) or visit www.ncl.com.

About Norwegian Cruise Line

As the innovator in global cruise travel, Norwegian Cruise Line has been breaking the boundaries of traditional cruising for over 52 years. Most notably, the cruise line revolutionized the industry by offering guests the freedom and flexibility to design their ideal vacation on their preferred schedule with no assigned dining and entertainment times and no formal dress codes. Today, its fleet of 16 contemporary ships sail to nearly 300 of some of the world’s most desirable destinations, including Great Stirrup Cay, the company’s private island in the Bahamas and its resort destination Harvest Caye in Belize.  Norwegian Cruise Line not only provides superior guest service from land to sea, but also offers a wide variety of award-winning entertainment and dining options as well as a range of accommodations across the fleet, including solo-traveler staterooms, mini-suites, spa-suites and The Haven by Norwegian®, the company’s ship-within-a-ship concept. For additional information or to book a cruise, contact a travel professional, call 888-NCL-CRUISE (625-2784) or visit www.ncl.com.

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Royalton Suites Cancún

By Tenzin Tsephel × Vaughn Lowery

Spring Break is creeping around the corner and you know what that means–time to start booking a relaxing place to stay while you enjoy your vacation extravaganza! At Royalton Suites Cancún, this 4.5 out of 5 star resorts aim is to meet and go above and beyond your expectations. With their excellent customer service, you will be taken care of with the highest quality of care. The resort is a little over a month old as of today and is within walking distance from beautiful downtown Cancún. Officers are available onsite both by the beach side as well as inside the lobby. The resort offers breathtakingly stunning views, stylish architecture, and exceptional service. Inside your booked room, you can find luxurious detailing as every piece was designed to make your experience magical. Enjoy a refreshing shower with their waterfall shower head capabilities where the showering area can fit about 2-5 people–pretty spacious! Inside each suite is a beautiful architecturally-built room designed to give you the feel of extreme luxury.

For all you food lovers out there, Royalton Suites Cancún offers seven restaurants and six bars to fuel your taste buds! You can enjoy local and international delights in buffet styles or à la carte dining venues and end it off with a cocktail, or two, or maybe even grab a cup of coffee at their café. The available dining areas are: Gourmet Marché, Hunter Steakhouse, Agave, Jade, C/X Culinary Experience, SCORE Sports Bar and Lounge, Grazie Italian Trattoria, Beach Club Grill, and Coffee Lounge.

As for their international drinks, you can enjoy a glass at Martini Mix, Sands Beach Bar, Level 18, Dips Pool Bar, or at their Lobby bar. Want to experience a FULL-out luxury vacation treatment? The resort offers a Diamond Club Member package that includes the following goodies/experience:

• Preferred room locations

• Butler service

• Exclusive bar, pool and beach areas with waiter service

• Exclusive Diamond Club Lounge access

• Daily, continental breakfast service in lounge

• Upgraded room service menu

• Luxury amenities in room

• 10% discount on spa treatments and hair dresser

• Day Spa facials, massages, therapeutic pools–why not go ahead and relax that body and mind of yours?

The wow-factor does not end there. The resort offers Level 18, a rooftop area for the most magical experience yet.

It is a rooftop cabana lounge with a panoramic view of the most sought-after sight lines. This area is for adults only and also has a pool, available modern dining, and a nightclub experience. For all you party-goers, at Level 18 you can find a dance party every Thursday evening with a live DJ and amazing LED lights that flash the night away. All you do is wear your brightest whites and let it all out! For those who are more family-oriented or on family vacations, Royalton Suites has a Clubhouse Kids Club, a Hangout Teens Lounge, and offers overall sports and recreational activities that include dancing your heart away to Zumba, yoga, a gym facility, and more. So why not bring all the family right on over and enjoy this royal treatment all together?

If you are looking for more special package deals, there are some designed for birthdays, friends’ getaways, anniversaries, and even for spicing up your romance with your significant other. The birthday package deal is set at $249 package rate per room. This includes a special door/room décor at your arrival, breakfast in bed, a complimentary dinner and cake, and to top it all off a reserved beach spot with a couple’s massage. For birthdays directed at kids, there is a $99 package rate per room. This includes a special room/door décor at your arrival, a complimentary birthday cake, breakfast-served, a special meet and greet with the resort’s Kids Character and ending it all off with a family photo for the memories. More into a getaway with your friends? There is a package that offers a $299 rate per quad room, a complimentary section of wine, and unlimited hydrotherapy pool access. For anniversaries, there is a $299 rate for two, a couple’s spa treatment, breakfast in bed experience, one romantic dinner for two, and a bottle of premium wine at your convenience.

Special occasion celebrations are also available at the resort for weddings or even group events. Of course, a little help along the way in the means of transportation to get to the resort doesn’t hurt! That is what Nexus Tours is here for. Tour Nexus is your leading destination management company that arranges your tours and transportation for you so you can have a safe and efficient way of traveling to your destination. Oh, the fun part? Tour Nexus can even arranged parasailing and jet skiing for your outdoor/active lovers! Paradise snorkeling is also in the books near the beautiful islands…So, what are you waiting for? Time is ticking and Spring Break is nearly here! Book your stay now with Tour Nexus to Royalton Suites Cancún and start living life NOW.

Ciclismo Classico Cycling

Ciclismo Classico Cites Four Bike Trips In La Bella Italia That Burn Up The Road, Gelato and Carbs

The calories are climbing. But who’s counting? You are climbing, too, on a bike somewhere in Italy, burning up the road, gelato and pasta carbs as leisurely as you can.

Food — and the pursuit thereof — is a passion of Ciclismo Classico, the first company to launch small group guided bicycle tours in Italy 30 years ago.

Lauren Hefferon, founder and owner, recently asked her Ciclismo Classico guides in Italy about the gustatory delights guests can anticipate. Here are inner foodie-inspired sketches of specialties in four distinct regions.

Puglia, Basilicata, Campania, and Calabria

Pedaling Sea to Sea across the Italian peninsula is the scenery and gelato-driven Bike Across Southern Italy, part of the Giro del Gelato series, a six-day immersion (from $5,995 per person) in everything beautiful. The 2019 departures are Aug 27-Sep 7 and Sep 24-Oct 5. A tour of Matera, the famous city of stone, may be hard-pressed to compete with the fact that guests enjoy unlimited gelato (ice cream) daily, sampling flavors from some of the best artigianale gelateria (shops/stands offering artisanal ice cream). There are also demonstrations on how to create gelato and granita, a semi-frozen dessert usually made of fruits.

Cycling (an average of 39 miles daily) from Fano to Porto Ercole, the real Mediterranean diet emerges: pastas including tube-shaped paccheri, vermicelli with anchovies and wild fennel, linguine with lemon, spaghetti with clams and a 20th century creation, scialatielli; veggies; olive oil; fresh seafood; buffalo mozzarella, eggplant parmigiana and pizza! Also included:

  • The constant perfume of orange and eucalyptus
  • Amazing guided visits of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites
  • “Old World” hospitality from Italian natives
  • Breathtaking rides along the cliffs of the Cilento Coast
  • Sampling freshly-made Mozzarella and fresh peperoncini
  • Guide Frank Yantorno treats his guests to a cooking class where wife and husband together show how to prepare their fresh produce. These may include home-made scialatielle (a short and thick version of linguini), a pretzel-shaped fried pizza and le fritte, (French fries) over which home-produced honey and rosemary are drizzled. For details see here.

Sicily

  • Tastes turn to love and gelato come spring. Enrico Pizzorni, guide, says Sicily (and southern Italy) have the best gelaterie (ice cream shops) in the world. Gelato was birthed here when Romans stored snow from Mt. Etna in caves to be delivered it to the rich who in turn mixed in fruits and honey, creating sorbet. Today suited business men enjoy gelato or granita in a brioche (a cool morning sandwich) on their way to work. Whipped cream, pistachios, almonds, ricotta, honey and lemon can also be folded in. Other infusions include rosemary, onion of Giarratana, Moscato (wine) and Aztec chocolate with hot pepper. On the Aeolian Islands flavors vary by season: watermelon, fig, prickly pear and peach.

Focacce, pizze, calzoni, pidoni, scacce, arancini, and panelle are among the salty or sweet snacks villages display. In Palazzolo Acreide, a tiny village the Greeks founded some 2500 years ago, is Corsino that serves state-of-the-art sweet pastries highlighting their locally treasured almonds and ricotta.

Guests bike some 28 miles a day on the 2019 nine-day La Bella Sicilia, from $5,695 per person: April 21-29, My 5-13, May 20-28, Sept. 15-23, Sept. 29-Oct 7, Oct. 13-21, Oct. 27-Nov. 4 and Nov. 10-18. For details see here.

Puglia

The charms that lie in Italy’s boot until recently have been largely ignored. But Ciclismo Classico has a soft spot in its heart for La Bella Puglia, a nine-day tour from $5,395 per person. Departures in 2019 are April 26-May 4, May 25-June 2, June 7-15, Sept. 6-14, Sept. 20-28, Oct. 4-12 and Nov. 2-10. Guests bike on average 39 miles a day exploring fertile valleys, the cone-shaped dwellings (trulli), cave dwellings (sassi) and villages perched on steep limestone hills. See here.

For guide Henrick Murphy this is a journey of the senses through orange groves and eucalyptus trees, sampling freshly made mozzarella and fresh pepperoncini and imbibing what he calls a “cycle-food bomb” of fava bean puree with cicoria (chicory) at a farm in Alberobello. A guest favorite is cime di rape (turnip tops) with orecchiette (little ears pasta).

In Puglia peasant traditions are still intact. The cuisine reflects roots born of necessity and sometimes scarcity. Seafood, olive oil, artichokes and dense bread are plentiful, as is the ubiquitous orecchiette with tomato sauce. One town is famous for its capocollo, a traditional dry-cured neck of pork, typically sliced very thin.

Piedmont

This region of the northern Apennines is a favorite of both Enrico and Henrick. Enrico’s passion for gelato is satisfied here with what he calls “killer fresh, fruit-based gelati. He can’t get enough of a hazelnut torrone (nougat) made from a secret recipe.

Added Henrick, “On the last day on our Piedmont: Barolo & Truffles trip we stop in to meet with honey producer Giuseppe Pitarresi who has been producing honey and various other related organic products since 1990. We are lucky enough to visit the hives and afterwards have a taste of il Re (the King) of energy boosters — honey!” We’re zooming up those hills after that!”

The per person rate for this eight-day immersion into the food and wine of the Piedmont is from $5,195. Departure dates still available in 2019 are August 23-30, Sept. 20-27 and Oct. 4-11. Guests cycle an average of 35 miles daily, enroute enjoying:

  • Sumptuous dinners at Enoclub in Alba and Schiavia in Acqui Terme;
  • Introductions to vineyard-laden hillsides of world-famous local wines such as Barolo, Barbaresco and Barbera with private wine tastings with local hosts and sommeliers;
  • A meet-up with a truffle hunter and his dog for a lecture on truffles.

The Piedmont is considered Italy’s greatest single wine region. Piemontese cuisine blends northern Italian and French influences. Truffles and mushrooms are seasonal key players. Come autumn cyclists may sample Tartufo Bianco (white truffle) at Fiere del Tartufo (International Truffle Fair) in Alba, Moncalvo and Acqui Terme.

La cucina Piemontese is a mosaic of more than a thousand recipes from the diverse areas and tiny valleys. Two foodie experiences include cucina casalinga, dishes made over generations at home. Young people are creating locande (inns) that serve authentic dishes with a slick, innovative presentation. See here.

For more food and wine themed tours from Ciclismo Classico see here.

For a full listing of trips in Italy and across the globe with additional information, detailed itineraries, trip availability and reservations please contact Ciclismo Classico by phone: 800.866.7314 (US & Canada) or 781.646.3377 (outside of North America), or visit online.

About Ciclismo Classico

Small group sightseeing through Italy by bike was a new concept in 1989 when Ciclismo Classico burst onto the scene to become the first company in the world to specialize in active cycle tours of Italy. Leading this charge was Lauren Hefferon who established another world-first: a woman-owned bike tour company.

This company’s rallying cry then and now is “Pedal Your Passion!” Tours are led by native-born guides who on average have each served Ciclismo Classico clients in excess of 10 years. Daily rides are carefully blended with a variety of cultural and culinary experiences and served up as the Ciclismo Menu that includes musical evenings, language lessons, wine and beer tastings, personalized cycling clinics, cooking demonstrations and opportunities for spontaneous discovery and cross-cultural interaction. Guests are carefully matched with a tour style and pedaling pace perfect for them, then outfitted with a quintessentially Italian, high-performance Bianchi bike. Having now expanded beyond Italy to represent tour destinations worldwide, Ciclismo also offers hiking itineraries, private and custom trip planning, photo tours and the ease of touring by electric bike. Recognized by media icons such as National Geographic Traveler and Outside Magazine, Ciclismo Classico is widely considered to be one of the premier active travel companies in the world.

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