Post Date Feb 23

Comforts of Home

Travel evolves. Riding up to the next caravansary on the trade route is no longer the usual way to find a bed for the night. Travel is less about point to point now where the bed is a welcome change from sleeping rough because there is no other option. As more people have leisure time, heading out on a holiday is less likely to require a bedroll and sleeping in the weather. Camping out is more of luxury for people that want to get close to nature but usually comes with tents, sleeping bags and probably a cell phone and starts to look like glamping instead of sleeping rough. Luckily for those not interested in giving up modern convenience, time has changed what holiday accommodations look like now.

Camel Travel

Photo Credit: Philip Clifford

A generic motel on the side of a motorway or a questionable room above the pub would have been the only options for people traveling without servants not so long ago. Back then, a holiday with the whole family would be a difficult balance between renting multiple rooms to avoid feeling like a tin of sardines and draining the family fortune. Either option doesn’t lend itself to a relaxing getaway to the seaside. This is one of the nice things about evolution in travel, the world has listened and holiday stays don’t need to brutish. People appreciate that the comforts of home are important and should be attainable without purchasing a second home.

A second home is not as crazy as it sounds when you start looking deeper into the options available. Not to purchase, but to borrow for a shorter time, holiday rental houses make sense for taking care of the whole family. Say you fancy a seaside getaway. Looking for Polperro holiday homes in Cornwall will turn up surprisingly comfortable options that don’t include waiting for the band to retire for the evening before you get to sleep. Room for the whole family and a place to feed them all is nice change from choosing of which flavour of crisps in the vending machine down the hall will tame their hunger. Equally important to consider is, as lovely as Polperro is in the summer, it may not be the only family holiday destination for the family year after year. Comforts of home without the permanent second home.

Post Date Feb 17

Top Things To Do In Columbia

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No longer a no-go zone of South America, Colombia has risen to the challenge of proving itself as a fantastic place to head to for a holiday that’s guaranteed to be filled with friendly people, classic architecture, history and amazing food. Still slightly off the beaten track of South America, go now to enjoy this hidden gem of a country. If you hire a car, you’ll see the smaller villages and the road less travelled of this stunning country, just remember to take out direct car excess cover in case anything goes wrong.

Bogotá
The country’s capital, Bogotá, takes the bronze medal for third highest in the world. The northern part of the city is the place to be for the best entertainment and boutique hotels as well as bars which boast great views of the Andes mountain range that surrounds the city. Colonial buildings, steak houses and the city’s top museums are found in the La Candelaria area, the historic epicentre of downtown Bogota. Head to the museums mid-week if you want to skip the queues.

A novel setting
If literature is where it’s at for you, stay in Cartagena de Indias, or Cartagena for short. The setting of many a novel by Gabriel García Márquez, Colombia’s Nobel Prize winning author, Cartagena boasts a divine beach and colonial town located side by side on Colombia’s Caribbean coast. A picture-perfect setting, spend your days wandering around the Unesco World Heritage centre of the old town and sample locally grown coffee in one of the many cafés dotted around town. You can expect service with a smile from the friendly locals.

Soapy sets
Whether you’re a telenovela (soap opera) fan or not, the delightful town of Barichara is bound to enthrall you. The filming location for numerous soap operas – the other addiction for the coffee drinkers of Colombia – it’s a film makers dream. Three hundred year old whitewashed houses and tiny cobbled streets just add to its charm. Visit the Catedral de la Inmaculada Concepción, a sandstone cathedral built in the 18th century which, at sunset appears to turn orange. If you’re looking for something that costs absolutely nada, meander in the Parque Para Las Artes, a local park which showcases local sculptors and hosts free concerts in the ampitheatre.

Eat to your heart’s content
Foodwise, you can’t go wrong in Colombia. From fruit of every colour and variety to steak, freshly caught fish and of course, chocolate, Colombian cuisine will whet your appetite and have you asking for more. Simply prepared with fresh ingredients, it is wholesome and delicious. Wash your dinner down with locally sourced coffee and give something back to the local community.

Post Date Jan 23

Discovering Ireland’s Whiskey Trail

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Ireland is a country known for its beautiful, lush, green countryside, friendly people, and whiskey!!

One of the best ways to explore this amazing country is to follow the whiskey trail and taste your way around. There are plenty of distilleries who welcome visitors and are more than happy to show you how they craft their brew and encourage you to taste their wares.

Dingle Distillery

This extremely small distillery is new (opened in 2012) and their first whiskey won’t be ready until 2016; it takes time for the Dingle air to mature and mellow this craft brewed elixir. They have a great history of brewing though – having risen from the Porterhouse Brewing Company – and also produce a mighty fine gin and vodka.

Kilbeggan Distillery

As one of the oldest Irish distilleries, Kilbeggan has the history behind it to prove that it is worth a visit. Thanks to prohibition and evolving technology there was a time when this great house was silent. Fortunately good taste prevailed and the stills were once again fired up in the 1980’s to start producing some of the best whiskey in the world again.

Bushmills Distillery

Bushmills is probably one of the best known whiskey brands in the world. The distillery is the pride of the town and a tour here is well worth the time and effort. A guided experience to help you understand just how whiskey is made right from the grain to the golden liquid that we all love to taste. No visit to Irelands whiskey trail would be complete without a visit to Bushmills.

Cooley Distillery

Another ‘risen from the ashes’ distillery, the Cooley distillery opened the old Ceimici Teo Distillery in Dundalk in the late 1980’s and has pushed through to produce some mighty fine whiskey. It’s not always easy for these very small producers to feign off take over by larger brands but Cooley has stood the test of time and even grown since their humble beginnings.

When visiting Ireland, you may find that it is the history of whiskey that is as interesting as the tasting during your time there. You may even find that, when you get home, you may be interested in finding wooden barrels for sale so that you can continue your exploration into the flavors of whiskey and maybe even age some of your own spirits, wine and beer.

Post Date Jan 16

Celebrate Milestone Anniversaries with Luxury Travel

Milestone anniversaries are a great way for getting the whole family together to celebrate parents or grandparents. The family together is the best present and an honour to the relationship that spawned everyone, a tangible proof of their success. The years together may not have always been blissful but the celebration should be more than a rubber chicken dinner at the community hall or cramped awkwardly in the sitting room.

Family Dinner

Photo Credit: Amandajm

There are better options for celebrating the ones you love like a beautiful island destination. Heading to a destination means no one family member is stuck with hosting the lot of you in their home or is making all the arrangements at the community hall. When everyone is away from home the interruptions from things like work are kept at bay. There is a chance to relax, reconnect with people you may be missing because of busy schedules, and truly focus on celebrating the honoured couple.

Working Hard in the Kitchen

Photo Credit: FEMA Photo Library

This calls for the treat of luxury travel, a bank of budget hotel rooms won’t due for a celebration of this scale. A villa that holds the whole extended family comfortably is much more fitting for the occasion. There is room for the quiet ones to get away and room for more boisterous family fun. Destinations to fit the family idea of fun run from beach and poolside house in Barbados for the sun and water sport lovers to a secluded villa in Tuscany for the food and wine lovers.

Tuscany Villa Pool

Photo Credit: www.to-tuscany.com

Travel to a luxury villa destination comes with some bonus items that many do not realize. The biggest one is a kitchen. This doesn’t necessarily mean that someone is going to get stuck in the kitchen for a big family dinners. It does mean that early risers can get to their morning coffee or cuppa tea without needing to wrangle the sleepy family members out to a restaurant for breakfast. If children are in the family mix, having ready access to snacks can help to avoid the hunger induced melt down while searching for a place to eat with a table for a dozen. Picky eaters can have a stash of their go to food in case the local food isn’t quite up to snuff for them.

A luxury villa with a kitchen and dining room to fit the entire clan for the big anniversary celebration dinner can be the best setting when professional chef is added to the mix. You don’t need a member of the family to attend Le Cordon Bleu to make this happen. Hiring a local chef to prepare either family favourites or local specialities can create a luxury travel experience that the family won’t soon forget. If the villa is in a secluded location, hidden among the Tuscan hills, hiring a chef for the entire visit will keep the family from starving from a lack of local language.

Private Chef Dinner

Photo Credit: pixabay.com

Post Date Jan 12

South Africa: Culture, Seclusion, Natural Beauty

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The African continent’s most southerly nation has long been a hotspot for intrepid travellers, though only recently had it begun to garner the attention it so rightly deserves. South Africa shines with a diverse, electric culture; an exceptionally beautiful natural landscape; and harbours so many amazing things to see and do that visitors will be hard pressed to even enjoy a fraction during the length of one trip. With so much present in the country however, what hot spots should be at the top of travellers’ itineraries?

Franschhoek Wine Tram

The wineries and vineyards of the Cape Winelands are internationally renowned and, thanks to their being set amongst staggeringly lush countryside, visitors should definitely consider exploring this gorgeous area. The Frankschhoek Wine Tram is the method of choice for wine lovers to traverse this otherwise rugged and mountainous landscape; open-sided, the tram makes for an unforgettable, sensory experience. Nearby, stay at the Owners Cottage at Grande Provence. The luxury accommodations are a white-linen-draped sanctuary within a sanctuary, featuring a pool, huge rooms and, naturally, a private chef!

Cape Town

Well known to even the Africa-ignorant, Cape Town is an excellent destination that couples stunning natural vistas with fun loving cosmopolitanism. Sun-worshippers will have cause to celebrate upon arriving in Cape Town- the city boasts wonderful stretches of pristine sand- and the Waterfront is a lively, fun place to while away evenings having a drink or enjoying some South African cuisine. There’s even casinos available for those that want to inject a little excitement into their visit, though we’d suggest you play a few games online during the flight over on Blackdiamondcasino- South Africans are no pushovers when it comes to poker!

Garden Route

If getting tipsy off of a few too many vintages doesn’t float your boat, and if the hustle and bustle of Cape Town simply isn’t for you, South Africa’s Garden Route will be right up your alley. The stretch, located between Port Elizabeth and Cape Town, is an adventurer’s paradise, known across the world for it’s exciting treasures. As well as hiking, kayaking, and horse riding, nature lovers will be enticed by the great number of dolphins that frequent the waters of the route, along which also lie plentiful beaches, quiet seaside villages and great wild expanses just waiting to be explored.