7 things NOT to take with you on holidays

by Marie Drouvin, 10th of June, 2017.

Image: Working on vacationMy aunt visited us a few weeks ago. We had a great time, nothing to say about that. But what shocked me is the amount of time she actually spent doing the exact same things she would have done home. She left three days later, without really having been here at all.

I wondered what she could have done to avoid the situation, and I came up with a list.

Consider leaving these home while on holiday:

Anything that won’t pass at the airport

Taking the plane? Be careful of what you put in your suitcases. Depending on which companies, which airports, which country, or even the political state, we might want to leave some items home.

As a rule of thumb, it is better to avoid big bottles, aerosols, knives and jars. Generally there is a specific liquid limit. The airport website almost always has information about this, but you can phone the company or the airport if you are unsure.

And that applies for the return flight too! I have seen people throwing away gifts they bought their friends because security wouldn’t let them pass with it. So let’s try to avoid to splurge in duty-free giant perfume bottles on the way in! Or we will have to leave them at the airport on the way back.

Smartphones and Tablets

This may be the hard one for you. Do we really need to send all those pictures to our loved ones during our holidays or could it wait until we come back ?  Is that blurry Skype phone call completely necessary ?

We’d better enjoy the moment of peace, open our eyes and take in all the goodness about the scenery/people in front of us. Our loved ones will be happy to hear all about it when you come back. Our games will still be where we left them. And a map is surely better than a big surprise on your mobile bill.

Travel Girl on PhoneCameras

This one is difficult. If you are not a camera addict, or a passionate photographer, or only use it sparingly, you obviously don’t have to leave your camera home.

I know, bringing back home plenty of nice pictures is pretty much fixed into our holiday rituals. Although when I see hordes of tourist capturing everything they see through the lenses of their camera, I cringe.

Do they realise they are missing the best part of their holidays ? I don’t know about you, but the reason I travel is to discover, not bringing back pictures.

Travel Selfie on the beachEveryday Problems

Sure, not having our awful colleagues on our backs is great. But it doesn’t have to be the only thing we are thinking / talking about. First off, because it will bore every person we talk to and second, we need a rest. Let’s leave them where they are, and enjoy the moment. 

After all, holidays are a break in our everyday life. Right?

Which leads us to the next point:

Work

By now, you probably understood the general idea of this article. The success of a holiday lies in the principle of rest. Yet many people are taking last minute assignments, phone calls, or “short” Skype meetings and end up on their computers while they were supposed to enjoy themselves by the pool, or hiking in the mountains. 

It is such a shame to pay for holidays they won’t enjoy, don’t you think? Beside why are they taking a week off to start with?

Travel SuitcasesOver-packed Suitcases

I know how tempting it can be to fill our suitcases. « We never know », « We will be happy to have it if ever we need it ». And by all means take the essential in case of emergency. But we should avoid a scenario such as “me and my three suitcases when I first travelled alone”.

Five evening dresses, and two pairs of cocktail shoes are probably a bit too much for a week abroad. You can usually have access to a laundry service, which will cost less than a second suitcase in the plane, let alone a third one.

Nowadays, I try to still have room to bring back a few memories in my suitcase when I pack. Yes, it is possible!

Negativity

You don’t have to like everything. But trust me, no guide is going to pleasantly surprise you if you don’t want to. First of all because it would be unpleasant for him or her and second of all because you won’t learn anything no matter how hard he or she tries.

I have overheard a few times groups of tourists speaking badly about what they were visiting. They obviously weren’t aware that I was understanding them. How could they? French people don’t speak English right? The point is, whether they understand you or not, don’t speak badly of a local when you are in front of him or her. Body language can be rude too.

Without a certain openness everything is going to be bad anyway. Snails are going to taste bad if you already think it is disgusting. Impressionism is not going to be better in real-life if you dislike it. French people are going to be rude if you clearly expect them to be. 

Discovery is only accessible to the curious, so be curious, be open and ask questions. I promise, French don’t bite. (I obviously can’t say anything about other countries).

I hope you enjoyed this list, and I will see you soon for another article on World Traveling Joe !

About world Traveling Joe:  Joe markets memberships in a traveling social club that enjoys  over 1,000,000 members. He aggregates all things travel for super volume buying power. Members can choose from over 10,000 dream trips each year at prices that average 60% less than general internet pricing. PRICE GUARANTEE:  If you purchase a trip and find it cheaper within 7 days, you get a FULL REFUND and go on the trip for free!  see more http://www.worldtravelingjoe.com  http://www.worldtravelingjoe.dreamtrips.com/refer

Credits:  This article written by Ms. Marie Drouvin, Guest Writer. https://www.linkedin.com/in/marie-drouvin-528229140/

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One day gourmet road-trip in the Somme The France tourist don’t see….. by Marie Drouvin

France dessertWhen it comes to France, I know that most foreigners think of Paris and Provence. However, I was born in Amiens, the capital of the Somme, one of the departments of Picardy, one of the 22 original regions of France. Since 2015, the 22 regions became 13 and Picardy was fused with the Nord-Pas-de-Calais, the northernmost region of France. The Somme is the central 1 department of the new big region. Even if Paris is not that far, everything here is different. Think of the north as being the complete opposite of the south, culturally and culinary.

France Amiens

Here are a few things you should know: take a coat, your sunscreen, some walking shoes and a good camera. Be ready to see a lot: old, new, sad, happy, funny, natural and human made, the Somme is modelled on the human life.

Are you ready ?
From Paris, we pass Beauvais and we enter in the Somme. As we go on, the landscape slowly transitions. Meadows become rarer, the horizon spreads and you can now see quite far. From time to time the car passes next to a group of gigantic wind turbines. We are in the middle of agricultural land. Depending on the season the colours change: Summer is full of warm wheat golds and dark greens; Autumn of earthly browns and oranges; Winter of dark greys ; and Spring of crisp flowery yellows and bright greens. One thing is sure though, we won’t eat tomatoes and olive oil.

France sheep

Suddenly on the horizon a mountain ! And as we get closer, it isn’t anymore. It’s a white building. We are arriving in Amiens, and this building is its crown: the Cathedral of Our Lady. If you thought Notre Dame of Paris was magnificent, wait until you see Amiens’. It is twice as big, three times more decorated and a million times more beautiful. Amiens was once a glorious medieval city, and there were plenty of houses still standing at the beginning of the XXth century. Unfortunately, almost everything was destroyed in the two wars. Lucky for us, the Cathedral is still standing.

France Cathedral

Ah well ! All that medieval grandiosity whet our appetites. Time to eat ! And to find restaurants in Amiens, I know the best neighbourhood: Saint Leu. Further down the Cathedral, along the river Somme, Saint Leu is the oldest area of the city, stuffed with nice little restaurants and picturesque houses. No, the man in the river isn’t real, it is just a statue (dressed by first years of the universities each year as an initiation).  Choose a restaurant with the Ficelle Picarde on its menu. That is the most traditional dish around
here. A savoury crepe is stuffed with a piece of ham and finely chopped mushrooms mixed with béchamel sauce. It is rolled, sprinkled with cheese and put in the oven. Pure delight !  Disclaimer : to compensate our lack of oil, we use generous quantities of butter.

France Ficell Picarde For someone with a sweet tooth I would recommend Amiens’ oldest speciality : the macaron. Careful though ! It is not the macaron you probably have heard of. This one is not a meringue, it is rather a biscuit made with almond paste, eggs whites and honey (and sometimes fruits). Have a look around the Trogneux chocolaterie. 2 Full already ?

Let’s go back to the car and en route pour Abbeville! But before let’s stop in a little village called Quesnoy-le-Montant to taste another speciality : the Gâteau Battu (the beaten cake). I don’t know if I should tell you what the ingredients of this fluffy brioche are, but let’s say it involves a LOT of butter and quite a few egg yolks. The cakes are cooked in a high mould, giving them an unmistakable shape. More than its little vanilla taste, it is the texture you would be ready to sell your soul for. 3

France gatteau

1 https://www.frenchentree.com/news/map-of-france-redrawn/

2 http://www.trogneux.fr/boutique/liste_produits.cfm?type=6&code_lg=lg_fr

To digest a bit, let’s walk along the Somme. You will notice the many canal locks all along the river. It is actually possible to walk on a fully pedestrian path from Peronne (further East than Amiens) to Saint Valery sur Somme (mouth of the river Somme). It is the old towing path and it stretched on 120km.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

France bay of somme

Back in the car, and still following the river, the landscape changes again. We left the plateaus of Picardy in Amiens to follow the Valley of the Somme. Here we see a few meadows but mainly marshes. Chances are, you will spot quite a few animals: herons, hares, roes, hawks and pheasants.

Once in Abbeville, we can visit one of its many sites: the tiny but worthy museum of Boucher de Perthes, the Saint Sepulcre Church with modern stained-glass windows, or the Belfry. Let’s slow down and enjoy ourselves at the terrace of a café. We will taste the sweetness of the Picardy apple in a juice or something less common, a rhubarb nectar. This sparkling drink, very low in alcohol, is appreciated during the traditional french apéro, a snack centred around a drink before dinner. All gathered around the table, let me explain something about the region.

As you may have guessed already, the northern climate isn’t favourable to grape culture. And therefor, no traditional wine. Although we have abundance of something else: barley. The north of France, as Belgium and England, is a great producer of beers. You can taste local small brewerie beers around the Somme. Just ask for a El Belle, a Gueule Cassée Ambrée, Blonde or a Poppy. The Poppy beer is said to have a First World War taste. Do you know why the english chose the poppy as they commemorative flower ? Because it was the first flower to grow on the graves of their soldiers. It gave birth to a legend. Where there is a poppy, an english soldier fell. The colours at the beginning of summer will never let us forget about the massacre that was the Great War.

On a more joyful note: dinner! And I am taking you back to the car in the direction of the coast. Once again, the landscape is changing. The closer we get to our destination, the less common the scenery becomes. You won’t believe me but sometimes the sea covers the meadows up to the side of the road. And depending on the season, sheep are grazing the salty grass. Those sheep are a speciality around here: the pré salé lamb. It is a meat less strong than a regular lamb, and more tender. We are arriving in the bay of the Somme, the most poetic place around. The bay is a refuge for birds, traditions and mist. Picture vast stretches of white sand. Then imagine it even more vast. You would be half way through getting the real picture. Le Crotoy and Saint Valery are at both side of the bay, sometimes you can walk across the bay from one to another, sometimes.. not often. The tides are enormous. The water is a mix of fresh and salted. It is truly a place of transition. The perfect weather to discover it is a greyish, misty kind of day, with a bit of wind.

France Le crotoyLe Crotoy is a small fishing town, with a charming market. If you want tradition and authenticity this is the right place. Small local based restaurants, houses of dark red brick, and a long stretch of fine sand for a beach. The speciality ? Mussels. If you fancy something a bit more classy, I’ll take you to Saint Valery. Unlike Le Crotoy, Saint Valery is a town for upper class vacations. The marina is full of small white boats, apart from a few more authentic ones. Although, Saint Valery will offer you the best in terms of food. The market is filled with interesting stalls and shops that sell local products. If we have time, we will check out the tea shop and its wonderful smells, and the sweet shop, because they have lollipops of all flavours (poppy, cantaloupe, rose, mint, apricot, strawberry, violet..). In terms of history both villages have their share. But Saint Valery stands out for her myriad of famous names: Victor Hugo, Toulouse-Lautrec, Jules Verne, Edgar Degas, William the Conqueror who went on to invade England and Joan of Arc before she was send to be burned in Rouen.

Regardless of which town you would have chosen, you will have a great time.
http://joepastry.com/2011/3 gateau-battu-recipe/
http://www.somme-tourisme.com/amiens-et-autres-histoires/histoire-du-gateau-battu

And it is on this last thought and after a final tasty lollipop that I will say: Goodbye!

A note from Joe:  HI everyone!  I am super excited to bring you this article from our uber talented writer, Marie Drouvin. I visited with Marie about her homeland and her passion about the beauty, history, and culture was overwhelming. I said “we must write this article”. I KNEW it would be good and I wasn’t wrong. Marie, through her writing brings us to the ancient cobblestone streets and the sites and aromas of Northern France, a France that almost no tourist will ever find. Bon appetit’!

About world Traveling Joe:  Joe markets memberships in a traveling social club that enjoys  over 1,000,000 members. He aggregates all things travel for super volume buying power. Members can choose from over 10,000 dream trips each year at prices that average 60% less than general internet pricing. PRICE GUARANTEE:  If you purchase a trip and find it cheaper within 7 days, you get a FULL REFUND and go on the trip for free!  see more http://www.worldtravelingjoe.com  http://www.worldtravelingjoe.dreamtrips.com/refer

Credits:  This article written by Ms. Marie Drouvin, Guest Writer. https://www.linkedin.com/in/marie-drouvin-528229140/

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Conscious Cruising…. The one rule.

CruiseShipPollution.V2

Surely with that many people going on cruise each year it can’t be that wrong ? Can it ? Well can it ? Of course, going on a cruise is an exceptional experience. Everyday a new horizon, no need to travel hours in a uncomfortable coach, facilities on board, themed parties, and a certain inimitable lifestyle. But as travelers we should also ask ourselves this question: at what cost ?

These giant monsters of the sea represent a growing part of the global tourism industry. 24.2 million passengers last year to be exact, and a expectation of even more in 2017 (http://www.cruising.org/docs/default-source/research/2016_clia_sotci.pdf?sfvrsn=0) ! Let’s put that into context, it is 6 million more than the number of tourist Canada welcomed in 2016.

It would be naive of us to believe something as huge as those cruisers to be harmful on sea life. Every activity onboard produces waste of one form or another : food, oil, sewage, chemicals, etc… In fact even the noise of the engines is causing damages to marine life (http://www.marineinsight.com/environment/effects-of-noise-pollution-from-ships-on-marine-life/). They do not only have a huge impact on the environment, they also have harmful consequences on the passengers’ health. A french documentary recently measured air quality on a cruise ship. The results are alarming. What passengers breathe on the deck is 60 times more concentrated in harmful air pollutants than in a normal environment, making it 20 times worse than in an animated city center ! (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/cruises/news/air-pollution-levels-200-times-higher-on-cruise-ships/) Anyone for a  tanning session on the sun deck ?

If you are a bit like me, what you enjoy most about traveling is the thrill of discovery. Hear this. Quite literally, in August 2016 an enormous cruiser destroyed a little Sicilian marina. (http://www.ybw.com/news-from-yachting-boating-world/carnival-vista-cruise-ship-wake-damages-marina-sicily-41526) Despite the believable justifications of the cruise company, the damage echoes to what could happen in Venice one day or another. What would there be left to discover if the travel industry is destroying its best assets ? Cruisers are fogging up London even more. They are shaking Venice’s fragile foundations. They are chasing away the notable Caribbean sea life. The list goes on.

Cruise companies will tell you: «We produce business. We make those destinations live. They would be nothing to discover if we weren’t investing in it.». And yes, to a certain extent it is true. But think about it. It also means, the travel industry, and I insist on the word ‘industry’, is ruling destinations we seek for their particularities. It condemns sites to be sites. It freezes them in a artificial frame. And when it comes to the economical repercussions, there again it is arguable. Many locals, in France, Mexico or elsewhere, are living from the tourism industry. B&Bs, hotels and restaurants are not made full by the arrival of all-inclusive cruisers. And the rest replies on the cruise companies to bring tourists.

Fjords_of_Norway-1

Now, that being said, I personally think cruises can be enjoyed. How to cruise with minimal impact ? One simple rule: Scale down. Nowadays, there is a myriad of small-scaled cruises, ready to take you on the next big adventure. A cruise where the ship is not the destination. A cruise that is not only better for you, but also hold a promise of sustainability for future generations. A cruise to enjoy the many adventures destinations can offer while taking steps to preserve such destinations. And if you thought you would be limited, think again. Whether it’s the Caribbeans (http://islandwindjammers.com/sailing-ship-sagitta.aspx), the Norwegian fjords, the mysterious Mekong (http://www.ewaterways.com/ship/angkor%20pandaw/gallery/) , Alaska (https://www.uncruise.com/why-us/our-fleet/wilderness-explorer) or Spain (http://www.adventure-life.com/mediterranean/cruises/11438/glories-of-spain-portugal#overview )… Joe will find you the perfect low-impact cruise !

Alaskan Cruise

The one rule is simple. Then it’s all up to you to enjoy your cruise, free of guilt.

A note from Joe: It is with great pleasure that I introduce Ms. Marie Drouvin. Ms. Drouvin recently joined the WTJ team as a guest travel writer. I am very impressed at her work and am delighted to have her working with us. Please be sure to view her credentials and follow her on social media. You will be hearing much more from her soon!

About world Traveling Joe:  Joe markets memberships in a traveling social club that enjoys  over 1,000,000 members. He aggregates all things travel for super volume buying power. Members can choose from over 10,000 dream trips each year at prices that average 60% less than general internet pricing. PRICE GUARANTEE:  If you purchase a trip and find it cheaper within 7 days, you get a FULL REFUND and go on the trip for free!

Credits:  This article written by Ms. Marie Drouvin, Guest Writer. https://www.linkedin.com/in/marie-drouvin-528229140/

Main Photo:  Joshua Barlow barlow@yesengine.com  ph: 202-460-9100

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Mardis Gras… RIO STYLE!

RIO CARNIVAL FESTIVAL 2017

By Vikki Loh

rio-carnival-2015-sao-clemente

Rio is best known for the Rio Carnival Festival every February.  This year, the festival runs from February 18 –March 5.  The beautiful parades begin February 24th and tickets are available NOW. Thousands of people attend.  There is so much to see and do during Carnival Festival time. There are many balls, galas, samba competitions, and street parades. Feel free to join the march or  just sit back and watch the fun.

Of course, there is LOTS of dancing at Carnivale….. from the streets to ball room and if you don’t know how to dance?  That’s okay!  Visit one of the dance schools in Rio.  The schools don’t have really quick classes in how to dance but you’re welcome to watch and see if you can pick it up yourself.  The dance competitions for the schools are one of the biggest events during the Carnival Festival time.

Besides the nightlife, during the day, if you want to relax and sip a cool drink, the beautiful beaches are yours for the taking.  The women of Rio are beautiful and the men are handsome.

If you want to take a break from all of the festivities during Carnival time, please visit Sugarloaf Mountain.  This is a must see!  You take a cable car up to the top of the mountain for breath-taking views of Rio!

Many celebrities come to Rio to entertain.American concerts are big, but not like RIO. Sir Rod Stewart packed the Copacabana area with 3,500,000  revelers.  Barry Manilow wrote a song about Copacabana, simply titled,”Copacabana.”  American artist at Carnivale always  brings tourism and business to Rio.

rio-5

History of Rio:  (formally – Rio de Janeiro Brazil)

Landing in Guanabara Bay on January 1st, 1502, the Portuguese Royal family claimed the Rio Provence for their own. Because of the way the bay forms the opening of a river, this region was called Rio De Janeiro, which means. “River of January”.  Shortly after, many battles were fought.  Many countries wanted this region for the own, especially, the French.  After fighting for 2 years, the French lost.  To protect the country from more battles, the city was moved to a safer position on a hill, which was later named as Castle Hill.

Sugarcane, gold, diamonds, and coffee were the country’s main staples in the early 1700s.  The sugarcane plantations dwindled when other countries started to farm sugarcane as well.  Once gold and diamonds were discovered in Rio, many neighboring countries tried to take over Rio.  When the gold and diamond mines dried up, Rio had to find other economic resources to sustain their country.  Rio started exporting coffee.  Many coffee plantations sprouted up and became Rio’s next source to supplement their economic situation.  The coffee boom brought great wealth to the city..

rio-7

 Where to Stay:

Are you on a budget or do you always go for the luxury hotels wherever you go or are you in the middle?  Rio offers everything from the most luxurious places to stay to the clean, nice budget places to stay.  It just depends on what you want.

But be sure and stay in a safe region like the Southern region of Rio.  Copacabana, Ipanema and Lebion are the safest and most beautiful places to stay while in Rio for the Carnival.  Especially, Ipanema and Lebion.

If your budget does not allow this, your next option is to stay in Botafogo, Lapa and Flamengo.  Although these places are more in the downtown area of Rio, they are within 15-20 minutes of Copacabana and Ipanema.  During Carnival time, the subway is an option to travel since they run 24-hours a day.

rio-jesus

Getting There:

There are many international hubs in Rio.  It is easy to get there.  There are many public transportation systems to take once you are there.

I have never been to Rio.  After writing this article, I now want to go!  Even by myself!

About the Author:  Vikki Loh is an accomplished, published travel writer based in Southern California. She writes travel articles, publishes a travel blog and a video VLOG. Vikki is also a medium. She frequently hunts for and communicates with the spirits and writes very entertaining and informative articles about the subject. She can be reached at:  Vikki Loh vlinorangecounty@gmail.com   Follow Vikki:  https://www.facebook.com/vikki.lohberri.1

 

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Romance at the Sugar Plantation?

 Yes…But it is better known as Nevis Island.

A few years ago I was looking for a destination that was “a little off the beaten path” and I found it. In fact, I found a destination that didn’t even have a commercial airport. So do we have to swim there?  I will talk more about GETTING THERE, but here is a hint… think 70 foot yacht and a Pina Colada!

For the Historians

Christopher Columbus, while on his second voyage, was the first western person to lay eyes on Nevis.  While anchoring off Nevis on November 11, 1493, Columbus mistakenly thought that the cloud cover that often shrouds Nevis’ peak, was snow.  The Spanish word for snow is “Nieves”, hence today’s corrupt form of the word, Nevis.

Nevis was officially settled by the British in 1628. This however, didn’t last long as the Spanish invaded and took over in 1629.  The tiny settlement grew to be the primary sugar source for Spain, England and America.  A tug-of-war over Nevis went on between the British, Dutch, French, and Spanish governments for the next two-hundred years over this tiny island until each were producing their own sugar which left this beautiful little island to us travelers!

nevis-church-st-paulOne of the oldest buildings in Nevis is the Bath House.  It was built in 1778 as a playground for the rich and famous, such as Prince William Henry, Lord Nelson, and Samuel Taylor Coleridge just to name a few. The Bath House sits on the Bath Stream, which has temperatures of 104F-108F.

nevis-church-st-paul-1

St Paul’s Anglican Church was built around 1830, built in a cruciform plan with a gabled roof, and along side of it is the Parish School.  Inside the walled yard one will find graves dating back to 1669.

Nevis botanical garden 1.jpgThe Botanical Gardens was created by Joseph and Martha Murphy from Philadelphia a few years back. They wanted a tranquil place to preserve flora from all over the world, so they chose the Montpelier Estate area with views of Nevis Peak. Today you can stay at The Montpelier Plantation in this tranquil and scenic location.

Traveler info about the Island

Nevis is a volcanic formed Island that has created a beautiful dormant volcano centerpiece that is generally covered with puffy clouds (or some think, steam from the volcano). On a clear day, it can be seen from the entire 36 sq miles of the island. Old sugar plantations dot the landscape in the hills around the volcano, as well as many at sea level. In my opinion, the view from the high area plantations, 360 degrees from several are the best in the world. Many of these have been turned into hotels, bars and restaurants.  A tour of these plantations is a MUST. I highly suggest renting a car and taking the narrow road (one lane and dirt in some areas) that goes the entire perimeter of the Island. You can do this in a half day.

Where to stay

The only place I have ever actually hung my hat is the Four Seasons. It is WONDERFUL. You can sit on the beach all day and see maybe a half dozen other people. It is truly a remote beach. Even the newspaper comes only once a day and is delivered by fax machine (yes they still have one on Nevis, Island). This is QUIET like you have never heard before (did I say that right?).  In order to get the full sugar plantation experience I recommend the Nisbet Plantation or the Montpelier Plantation. You can stay in and around, or even have dinner and cocktails near the old sugar mills that have been there since the 1600’s. That is an experience you will want to share at the office water cooler for years!

nevis-sugar-room   nevis-montpelier

It’s your WONDERFUL choice… stay in a 1600’s sugar mill or have the beach to yourself!

nevis-4-seasons   nevis-room

Getting There

Nevis does have a commercial airport now, for you contemporary travelers, but for the adventurers I suggest the old way. St. Kitts is a vibrant Caribbean Island with a good airport that can be accessed direct from any semi major airport. Remember the Yacht and Pina Colada? The Four Seasons will meet you at the airport, grab your bags, put a drink in your hand and deliver you safely and securely direct to your villa via  a complimentary YACHT TRIP. I completely forgot I even brought a suitcase until I opened the closet in my villa and saw it sitting there! GREAT SERVICE!  Other hotel plantations have similar service, just ask first.

ROMANTIC Memories sparked by SUGAR!

Every time I open a bag of sugar in my kitchen I think of that beautiful night on the deck of my villa listening to the waves roll in near all those sugar plantations.  I will just leave it at that!  It makes me want to go back – NOW!

This article written by:  Melody Lile with contributions from World Traveling Joe.       http://www.worldtravelingjoe.com  facebook.com/worldtravelingjoe    Twitter:  @worldtraveljoe

Contact Joe: joe@worldtravelingjoe.com

 Credits:  Nevis Island, Nisbet Plantation, Montpelier Plantation http://www.fourseasons.com/nevis/    http://www.nevisisland.com   http://www.montpeliernevis.com     http://www.nisbetplantation.com

 

 

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Family Winemaking in Italy….. it ALWAYS begins with a bottle of wine!

italian-family-winemaking

Family Wine Making in Italy. Beautiful words. I am proud to say that I have PERSONALLY experienced it, drinking it at least. I wish I could say I had been part of the process but enjoying the final product will have to suffice.

Rome, Florence, Venice I must say are insanely beautiful but are wine tourist traps. But, it doesn’t have to be that way but you have to be a savvy consumer and learn a couple important Italian words – Nonno del vini or vini di famiglia. These are your keys to the BEST FAMILY WINES of Italy. You will find it is also the best price, if you get charged at all!

Making Wine the “FAMILY WAY”

Typically it all starts with a discussion over a healthy serving of Sopressatta, Copa, Proscuitto, Romano, Asiago, Fontina and Focaccia.  Typical Italian Charcuterie and cheeses. There are many topics to cover. Where will we get the fruit, who will do the various tasks of de-stemming, crushing, pressing and bottling. The process usually looks like this:

grapes-2Source the Grapes:  Mamma, Papa or Grandpa knows best.

There are over 3,000 different Italian varietals. Basically any area can lay claim to their own grape because it is grown there (Of course, classifed wines may differ but this discussion is for family home made wines). Given the number of varietals, very little time is spent on  that subject… it is just “known” that Aunt Sicilia has good grapes on her property or many other “known” sources. Who cares what you call it, just call it GREAT WINE!

grape-stompingCrush: Italians like their women FULL BODY just like their wine.

The crush is a BIG DAY in the life of a wine and YES they still stomp grapes. Of course the contemporary new generations of people have opted for newer methods but there are still MANY home wineries that STOMP the grapes. WHY?  Well, it’s actually better for the grapes. The soft tissue of the feet “cushion” the press of the grape that minimizes bruising of the skins.  The desired result is to extract the juice without pulverizing the skins and releasing what you don’t want. Bigger women, Bigger softer feet, Bigger and more balanced wine – you get the picture.

Fermentation:  The NOBLE ROT.

Many Italian family wine makers have no idea about all of the contemporary and sophisticated yeast strains. They simply allow the grapes to use organic wild yeast that is natural to the vinicultural area and the decomposition of the grapes, hence NOBLE ROT. In fact a widely used practice was to let the grapes go to a mild rot on the vine to get the fermentation started. Yes, fermentation actually started the initial phase on the vine. Today, there are fine examples of this used for higher brix level dessert wines. Wine families do have their own yeast strains that have been passed for generations.

demijohn

Aging and Bottling:  What do we have to put this wine in?

This is probably the most varied part of the Italian Family process. The most popular ageing and bottling methods include demijohns which are 5-7 gallon glass jugs (hence the moniker “JUG WINE) glass bottles, glass jars and wine bags.  These wines are meant to be consumed SOON after the process is complete, therefore not much use of further aging methods such as wine barrels.

il-latini-restaurantOrdering Wine in Italy:  Tourist wine or Lafamiglia Vini?

My first few days in Italy I learned a valuable lesson. You are either a dumb wealthy tourist or Uno dei bravi ragazzi (one of the god guys). The waiter will ALWAYS assume the former. You will be presented an English written menu and wine list. Here is your GOLDEN TIP. Ask for these menus printed in Italian (c’mon- you know the word Lasagna!). Of course unless you really do speak Italian you won’t be able to understand the wine list…. but you don’t have to. Just look it over carefully, then look at the waiter and say one of these two phrases:  Nonno del vini OR vini di famiglia. You are asking for GRANDPA’S WINE or THE FAMILY WINE. I like to use both phrases one after the other… and chuckle. Your phrase will be met with a warm smile, probably the best wine you will get in Italy, and a check that may not even have a charge for wine!  ENJOY MY FRIENDS!

Contact Joe and Follow Joe: joe@worldtravelingjoe.com

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Age 59 and SEXY? OR The sexiest, most romantic hotel in the world! It’s only how you choose to look at it.

YES! I am nearing 59 years old so I choose the former but many in the world certainly would go along if we wanted to call the SLS in Las Vegas the sexiest most romantic hotel in the world.

The 59 year Sahara Hotel was closed just about 5 years for the all new SLS. Cheers to Sam Nazarian for an outstanding renovation and bringing this Las Vegas icon back to  life. And he did it for a mere $415 million. I say that a little smugly, but really, in the day of billion dollar hotels, I think this was AMAZING!

Descriptive words used in reviews of this property include beautiful, sexy, romantic, best ever, vibrant,  colorful, playful, and just downright FUN FOR ADULTS. The crowning touch has to be the mirror right above the center of the bed. I mean who could ask for more than being able to look up just before going to  sleep to make sure the cover is fixed just right…….

See the SLS Brochure:  https://issuu.com/slslasvegas/docs/sls_las_vegas_sales_e-brochure_digi

Book it: http://www.worldtravelingjoe.dreamtrips.com

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PLAN AHEAD for a GREAT travel experience. Tips from road warriors.

TRAVELING TO AIRPORTS AND FLIGHTS

AIRLINE CHECK-IN

It would be wise to reconfirm all flight reservations with the carrier about 24 hours before departure. This will help prevent any unforeseen schedule changes and give you time to adjust your plans accordingly.

IF YOU CAN’T MAKE YOUR FLIGHT

Don’t just be a no show if something comes up that prevents you from making your flight. Contact the carrier right away, inform them that you can’t make the flight, and they will direct you on the next step to take.

PLAN TO LEAVE EARLY TO ALLOW FOR UNEXPECTED TRAFFIC, ROAD CONSTRUCTION,OR OTHER DELAYS

It happens. Your trip is almost over and you’re headed home. Suddenly, your rental car (or even taxi or train) breaks down on the way to the airport. Or, there’s a big backup on the highway. By the time you get the situation taken care of, you’ve missed your flight (or train). Wise travelers always allow plenty of margin for error by leaving early. Sure, you may end up with some extra time on your hands, but if you plan ahead, you can put that time to good use. Also, if you get stuck, always call the carrier to let them know. If you are taking a long and expensive trip, you might even consider staying at a nearby hotel so you can have a restful departure.

WEATHER CONDITIONS

Weather conditions can cause havoc on the transportation system. Summer (not winter) is prime time for getting stuck in airports. If you travel enough, it will happen to you. So, plan ahead with extra power for your electronics. Take along some packable and nourishing snacks. Get in line immediately and call the airline at the same time. You never know which will be quicker. If you have a savvy buddy back home, let them know about the trouble and have them check other options for you.

VERIFY AIRPORT, TERMINAL OR STATION INFORMATION

Many cities have multiple airports and train stations. Make sure you know the correct airport and terminal or station. It’s your job to be at the right place at the right time. If you’re not sure, ask lots of questions until you ARE indeed sure. There are many good flight tracker apps that show you the location of your plane REAL TIME. It’s fun and keeps you informed.

UNEXPECTED BAGGAGE FEES AND RULE CHANGES

Each airline has individual baggage fee policies and they can change at any time. Some baggage fees are payable at the time of ticket purchase up until check-in, and they are not included in the price of your ticket. Be a savvy traveler and refer to the airline’s website to check all baggage fees before departure. In some cases, checking in online prior to departure allows for significant savings on baggage fees. Always have a credit card handy just in case.

DELAYED BAGGAGE

If you arrive at your final destination and your bags are missing, it is important to file a claim with your carrier BEFORE you leave the airport. Once you have filed your claim, make sure you are given a claim document and confirmation number. If you don’t hear from the carrier within 24 hours, call the phone number on the claim form to follow-up. TIP: Baggage tags can easily tear off during handing, so always place an additional ID card inside your luggage that includes your home address, cell number, email, and your final destination.

LABOR STRIKES

It doesn’t happen often, but a labor strike can mess up your plans quickly. You are typically at the mercy of the carrier, so contact them directly to have them accommodate you. You may also contact your travel rep to inquire about re-ticketing options or rebooking on another carrier.
HOTEL

HOTEL ACCOMMODATIONS

If your hotel room does not meet your expectations, always speak to the front desk clerk. In most cases, if another room is available, they are happy to assist you. Escalate to a supervisor, if necessary.

HOTEL RESERVATIONS AND ROOM REQUESTS

Always call to reconfirm hotel details 24 hours before arrival. Many smaller hotels are not necessarily electronically connected and still rely on tax or manual tools (easily lost) to coordinate online reservations- If you have special room requirements (i.e. non-smoking), then they should be confirmed during the call. Make sure you clarify the distinction between a “requirement” and a ‘request’, because requests are often viewed as optional or “if available”.
CAR RENTALS AND SHUTTLES

AVOID DAMAGE COSTS CHARGED BY A RENTAL CAR COMPANY

You are expected to return a rental car in the same condition you received it. Sometimes, even a mechanical failure you did not cause could still be charged to you (unreasonable wear or use). The safest bet is generally to buy the insurance provided by the rental company or make sure the insurance you carry (i.e. credit card coverage) kicks in for these type situations. Also, make sure your vehicle is checked and documented by an agent (keep a copy) before you leave the return area.

SHUTTLE SERVICE

Call the hotel where you will be staying to inquire about shuttle services. Some hotels offer this service free of charge, but you must call ahead to make arrangements.
PERSONAL INFORMATION AND VALUABLES

CREDIT CARDS AND IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS

It’s probably every traveler’s biggest fear. Your wallet and/or passport are stolen or lost First, cancel credit cards by calling each of their cancellation hotlines. If they were stolen, contact the local police. If your passport is gone, contact your nearest embassy or consulate. You may still be allowed to travel, but the authorities will investigate. Take into consideration that your trip will possibly be delayed.

VALUABLES

Savvy travelers avoid bringing along valuables or irreplaceable items. If they are lost or stolen, even from a hotel safe, the insurer may want original appraisals. Many carriers and properties also severely limit reimbursements and often exclude items such as heirlooms, antiques, eyeglasses, medicine, jewelry, photo equipment, and electronics. Ask yourself if you really need it that badly.

SHIPPED PURCHASES THAT NEVER ARRIVED

Souvenirs are often a part of traveling. If you ever buy an item too big to pack with you, always do your own shipping. Don’t trust a merchant to send it to you after you have paid for it They may not ship it, or even if they do, it may not be done correctly and may get lost or held up in customs. Always pay for significant purchases by credit card because it’s great fraud protection and might be the only proof you have.
Miscellaneous

DESTINATION ETIQUETTE

When traveling your personal or local etiquette may have an opposite meaning in a foreign destination. For example, wearing camouflage apparel, chewing gum, or shaking someone’s hand may be considered offensive by some. We recommend that you do some research on the internet to learn about local etiquette where you are traveling.

TOUR OPERATOR OR CARRIER CHANGES PLANS

You thought you were going to be on a nice, quick airplane flight and instead you spend hours on a bus. Be aware that most common carriers and tour operators have the full right to change hotels and mode of travel without compensation. It’s right there in the tiny print.
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NYE Times Square: Joe’s Adventure & Survival Guide

Hello fellow Travelers!

I thought I should offer a few hints, a few do’s, a few don’ts for making a trip to Times Square for the big party an enjoyable one.

First let me say…. EVERYONE walking upright in this big beautiful world of ours should spend at least one New Year’s Eve in Times Square. I mean, really….  can you legitimately go to meet your maker having not checked this one off your bucket list?  I almost think that angel at the gate just doesn’t let you pass until………

World Traveling Joe’s Time Square NEW YEARS EVE Adventure and Survival Guide.

In general I am not a guy that stays up really late unless in Barcelona. I am the kind of guy that likes to plan things out to get the most of every experience. This is a story of a GREAT PLAN going BAD fast.  Hopefully you can learn and will be RICHLY rewarded with a WONDERFUL Times Square experience.

Dinner at Tao at 6PM:  This was a GREAT DECISION. Food was incredible and the people watching SUPERB. Lots of celebs LOVE this $70 million revenue restaurant.

Broadway Play: OK, I was thinking, go to a play keep awake until things start heating up in Times Square. Probably time for dessert and after dinner drinks before heading into the zoo (oops meant Times Square). This initially was a GREAT decision, that is until walking out after the play. A cabbie informed us that all the streets had already been closed off and no reason for a cab. We started walking just the few blocks to Times Square but found that those streets were closed to pedestrian traffic too, even to people dressed in REALLY NICE in theatre clothes. We arrived WAY below times square after a 2 hour jigsaw puzzle of walking about 2.5 miles. The wifey was clearly not excited about my grandiose plan for the evening when she just walked over 2 miles in high heels! GOOD PLAN GONE REALLY BAD.

Ball Drop:  A policeman was nice enough to move a few feet so that we could squeeze by and get a rocking back and forth view of the ball drop. It was extraordinary in all its’ splendor.  VERY GOOD DECISION even though we were SUPER tired of walking.

HEADING TO THE HOTEL: This proved to be one of the worst experiences of my life. I am claustrophobic (don’t like to be in tight places). We started toward our hotel and the crowd PUSHED us almost two blocks away with absolutely no choice on our part. You see, when 2-3 million people want to go one way and you want to go the other it really doesn’t matter, you are “going with the flow” or getting trampled. I am thankful I am tall so I could hold my above others or not sure what I would have done. It is the only time I have actually had thoughts of fearing for my life. We finally got behind a large column and just stayed there until the majority of the crowd dissipated (high heels off in 28 degree weather at that point). We finally arrived at our hotel at approximately 3AM.

Hint’s:   (Oh heck these are MANDATORY!)

The streets will start closing at noon. Plan your evening and route accordingly. Plan your return route. If you are taking a cab into the city – get there before 3PM to save the first stage of walking. Wear denim and COMFORTABLE shoes. Dress warm and bring pocket warmers. Bring a raincoat or other liquid resistant outwear. If it doesn’t rain you will CERTAINLY be doused by all sorts of beverages and that is 100% guaranteed. Bring snacks. Nearby restaurants will start closing by 3PM. Mentally get psyched for NO BATHROOM. I don’t have a good tip for this but I think there are 2 million people trying to get into 2 porta potties – ain’t happening. Find a spot to stand that has some vertical cover in case of a crowd rush, preferably far enough away to have at least 1ft x 1ft of standing space. Do not have loose items:  Example if you drop your cell phone there is some risk of not being able to pick it up. As it grows closer to midnight the crowd starts pushing harder and harder toward the ball drop. EXPECT super crowded conditions.

WOW! I hope I didn’t scare you. You do have to experience it yourself. Just be prepared. Just Like Gilligan thought he was out for a 3 hour tour! And see what happened to him!

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Joe’s pick for NYE ! Party at The Gansevoort Park Ave Roof Top !

Rise to the top this New Year’s Eve and celebrate the biggest night of the year at Manhattan’s reigning A- list nightlife destination that will surely be the talk and the toast of the town. Bright lights, big city, fabulous penthouse locale and you’ll be able to revel in it all perched 20 stories high above NoMad’s Park Avenue. Gansevoort Park Avenue’s Rooftop Bar & Lounge is a smart, sexy and sophisticated New York City nightlife oasis, housed on the tri-level penthouse floors of the stylishly hip and uber-chic Gansevoort Park Avenue Hotel.

Here is why you need to be there:

**Premium Open Bar for 5 hours   **A-List for celeb sight seeing  **   ** 6 lounges  **  ** Breathtaking Views   ** Fireplaces

BE SURE to Check out the  Poolside Penthouse and Red Room!

It’s $185 but WELL WORTH IT.  It’s not just a night, it’s a LIFE EXPERIENCE.  DO IT RIGHT!

Watch for me…. WORLD TRAVELING JOE

PS:  Joe doesn’t get a dime from these people…. he genuinely thinks this is the place to be.

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