Viva Las Vegas!

Vegas never disappoints! 3 Nights is a great amount of time for this city. I stayed at the New York New York Hotel and Casino. The hotel is great. I was traveling with a friend who was celebrating a birthday, and they upgraded our room to include views of the strip. The rooms here are spacious, with very comfy beds. The hotel is easy to get around, which makes coming back at the end of some long days, quite easy.

Day 1 started early, and we arrived into Vegas at 11:30am. The main reason for this trip was to see Enrique Iglesias at the Colosseum. The bulk of the day was spent wandering through casinos on the way up to Caesars Palace. I never miss wandering through the Conservatory at the Bellagio. It changes with the seasons, and always has something beautiful to see.

I think one of the best places to see a favorite artist, is in Las Vegas. The showrooms/theaters are designed to ensure that everyone has a great seat. Enrique performed at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace. It was a high energy show that I loved.  He has sold over 137 million records worldwide, making him one of the best selling Latin artists ever.

Our free day was for sleeping a little later, and then heading to the Las Vegas North Premium Outlet mall for some retail therapy. Keeping in mind that the temperatures in Vegas were 38 Celsius while we were there, so a lot of outdoor walking was limited. There are a few ways to get to this mall. A bus will take you from the strip right to the mall, and then you could add in a stop at Fremont street before or after. A taxi will cost about $25 USD, and Uber can be booked for around $11 USD.

Another highlight for this trip was a helicopter tour into the Grand Canyon. This took us over the Hoover Dam, and then into the canyon where we landed, and enjoyed some champagne and snacks. This is something that would be a great addition to any Vegas trip. Coming back, we flew toward Fremont, and then down the strip back to the airport.

Our last evening, we saw La Reve at the Wynn Hotel and Casino. I’ve seen a few Cirque shows, and La Reve is equally as entertaining. There are so many shows to choose from!

Las Vegas is ever changing. It’s one of those destinations that you can go back to over and over again, and almost always see or experience something new.
Prices will vary depending on when you book, and when you travel.

For your next adventure:  resi@fernwehtrvl.com

Montreal for a day!

When your flight is delayed, choose to make the best of it. The airline we were flying with experienced a delay the morning we were to fly out of Montreal. I went to ask if there was another flight we could get on, and there were none. So, they offered a night in a hotel, with meal vouchers, and we decided that we would take this offer and explore a bit of Montreal for the day before flying out the next morning.

We hopped on a bus, then a short train ride to Place-d’Armes which put us in beautiful Old Montreal. A short stroll up the hill brought us right in front of Basilique Notre-Dame. We quickly found a horse and carriage driver, who took us for a spin around this part of the city. He filled us in on the history of the buildings we were passing. Afterwards, we strolled through cobble stone streets to see this beautiful area, and ended up at Place Jacques Cartier. It’s a great area to wander through. We stopped in at a local restaurant, and couldn’t resist having some poutine.

While this was a very quick visit of Old Montreal, we loved every minute! Delays aren’t always so bad. Remember that they can be a part of your traveling experience, and there is almost always a silver lining!

resi@fernwehtrvl.com

Prince Edward Island

This small Canadian island is a place to add to your bucket list. It’s small enough that you could cover all of it in about 4-5 days. I’d suggest staying longer, so that you can get a real feel for the island lifestyle. This island is known as the Birthplace of Confederation and you’ll find a lot of historical information and buildings all over the island.

A great place to base your stay is in the capital, Charlottetown. It is the largest city on the island, but still small enough to easily get around. It is a cruise ship stop in the summer time and offers a ton of restaurants, offering mussels, lobster and a huge array of other seafoods. Not into seafood, no worries, there’s something for every palate! Walking along Great George Street, you’ll find the Great George Hotel. All of the buildings on this block have been here since before 1864.

Day trips from Charlottetown can take you all around the island. The North Cape Coastal drive will take you west of the city, as far as North Cape. The Central Coastal Drive will cover some amazing sites including Green Gables Shore, where you’ll be able to visit the famous Green Gables farm, the setting for Anne of Green Gables. Be sure to include a stop at Cavendish beach, and on the south shore of the island, you’ll have some great views of the Confederation Bridge. This 8 mile, or 12.9 km bridge, joins PEI to New Brunswick. It took 4 years to complete, at a cost of  $1.3 Billion. The Points East Coastal will take you to the East Point Lighthouse. The lighthouse was built in 1867, and still operates today. This drive includes over 50 beaches to check out. My fave is Basin Head, or the Singing Sands beach.
One stop on this drive took us into Murray Harbour, where we had a bite to eat at #5Cafe.

This restaurant is in an old converted church. The food was outstanding! We loved the ambiance of the whole place, and Murray Harbour is a beautiful spot to wander through. Be sure to add this to your list of stops!

Ask me how you can get to PEI! And while you’re out east, let’s build an itinerary that can include some more of the Atlantic provinces. Good food, good fun, Great people!

resi@fernwehtrvl.com
#travelwithre

European River Cruise – Budapest to Paris!

It’s not often that I experience bumps along the way when traveling. The odd trip, a bag is missing on arrival, but it always shows up. It’s always a great reminder to have insurance for unforseen situations. This trip had a small issue at the beginning. Our ship, the Avalon Visionary, was unable to sail into Budapest to pick us up as planned, due to a cargo ship that had ran aground up river. Avalon was able to keep us moving, and we even had an extra stop in Bratislava, Slovakia before continuing on to Vienna for 2 nights. We boarded a coach from Budapest for Bratislava.

Bratislava is the capital of Slovakia, and is on the River Danube. Our guided tour took us around the city to see the Bratislava Castle, Matej Kren Passage, and the Slavin War Memorial among many other sites. This city has a peaceful feel to it and it would be a great place to go back to for a few days.

Next stop — Vienna! Our coach arrives later in the afternoon. There is an optional tour available for the Vienna Royal Waltz, which many of our group join in. Our guided tour the next morning takes us around the city past many highlights before continuing on a walking tour. Vienna is the capital of Austria and has a population of approximately 1.8 million. The Viennese imperial court was famous for its Lippizaner horses. There is plenty of time to wander the city to check out Museums, or stop for a coffee and a piece of the famous Sachertorte. This chocolate cake is a must when traveling to Vienna!

On our last evening in Vienna, we receive news that we will join our ship in Durnstein, Austria the next morning. We are all very excited!!

Durnstein — We arrive and see our ship, and then enjoy a short walking tour into the town of Durnstein on the bank of the Danube. We learn the tale of England’s King Richard the Lionheart, who was imprisoned in the castle whose ruins still stand above the town. Durnstein is also well known for its wineries, and reisling wines. We were also able to sample some delicious apricot brandies and liqueurs!

The Avalon Visionary is a beautiful ship with 12 staterooms, and 52 suites. Once on board, you can just sit back, relax and enjoy the most amazing views. We cruised along the Danube, Rhine Gorge, Main and Mosel rivers on our way to Remich before heading to Paris.  The ship has everything we need for a very enjoyable trip. 3 meals are included each day, with beer and wine at lunch and dinner.

This afternoon, we enjoy a stop in Melk, to see the 11th century Benedictine Abbey, one of Europe’s largest monasteries. The abbey has an library that houses over 80,000 printed books and 2000 manuscripts.

Our next stop is in Passau, Germany. This city is situated at the confluence of the Danube, Inn and Ilz rivers. The Old City was destroyed several times by fires in the 16th and 17th centuries. It is a great place to get to know some German beers which are famous around the world. A favorite thing to do when visiting these cities, is to wander through the Old Towns. Most have narrow streets, and little cafes. It’s a great way to get a feel for the city.

Regensburg is our next stop. This city is more than 2000 years old and in 2006, the whole of the Old City was declared a Unesco World Heritage Site. St Peters Cathedral is a highlight. Six centuries span the beginning of the Cathedral’s construction in 1250 and the final completion of its spires in 1869. The city has no less that 1300 listed buildings of historic interest. We also had the opportunity to enjoy a sausage and sauerkraut treat at the Old Sausage House – Wurstkuchl. It claims to be the world’s oldest fried sausage kitchen. Simply delicious!

Nuremberg! This city is full of so much German history. It embraces both its triumphs and its darkest hours. It became a prosperous medieval city where German Emperors traditionally held their first Imperial Assemby. Later, the Nazis held their party rallies here, so, it became the natural target of allied bombs and the obvious venue for the trials of the Nazi war criminals. Rebuilding has now restored many of the city’s glories.

We spend the night docked near Nuremberg, and the next morning, we have an included day trip to nearby Munich. This is the capital of Bavaria. Our first stop is at Nymphenburg Palace, a summer residence of the Bavarian monarchs. Then, we enjoy our walking tour of Munich ending at the Marienplatz to watch the famous Glockenspiel, which recreates a royal wedding from the 16th century. In our free time, we wander into the Hofbrauhaus Biergarten. This 3 floor beer hall dates back to the 16th century, and is a big draw during Oktoberfest.

Bamberg – The German Rome. This beautiful city is built on 7 hills flanking the River Regnitz. Bambergs Old City has been declared a Unesco World Heritage site. This is definitely a walking city. The Old City Hall is built on a bridge, which makes it’s location quite unique. Bamberg has a true specialty, the Rauch-bier. It has a distinctive smoky flavor that is derived from its malt being roasted over beech-wood. A must try when visiting.

After visiting the city of Wurzburg, it’s hard to believe that most of it was reduced to smoldering rubble during allied air attacks in 1945. Since then, they have risen from the ashes, resorting and recreating many architectural treasures that make this city a great place to visit.

Our Main River Village experiences takes us to Miltenberg, Germany. It is notable for its many beautiful preserve half timbered houses that line its long HauptstaBe (Main Street). The buildings span from the 15th to 17th centuries. Views from the Miltenburg Castle are stunning.

Rudesheim! This is a personal favorite. When we arrive, we go directly to the Siegfrieds Mechanical Musikkabinett. The insutruments and music boxes range from the quaint to the downright bizzare. Afterward, we go for a coffee tasting in Rudesheimer Schloss. This includes brandy and sugar, with coffee and whipped cream. Not to be missed!

In the afternoon, we sail along the Rhine with spectacular views of castles, , vineyards and half timbered villages. This part of Germany is listed as a Unesco protected World Heritage site.

Once we turn onto the Mosel River, we cruise past Koblenz, and on to Bernkastel. The Landshut Castle sits high up on the hill. It is a steep climb, wandering through vineyards up to this medieval fortress, but you are rewarded with great views at the top. The town has a great selection of half timbered houses by the Old City Hall. Spitzhauschen (pointed house), is an extremely narrow vintner’s house dating back to 1416. At the end of the day, we walk to a local winery (Bernkastel Vinothek) to sample a variety of wines from the region.

Nearing the end of the cruise, we dock in Remich, Luxembourg. From here, we take a coach to Trier, Germany’s oldest city. Some say Trier is even older than Rome and that it was populated over a thousand years before Romans arrived. Many of the Roman remains have survived, including a 20000 seat amphitheater; the Porta Nigra; and the Roman bridge, Germany’s oldest bridge, with stone pilings dating from 144AD.

We disembark the ship, and drive to Luxembourg city to catch our train to Paris. It is a smooth ride on a high speed train. Our last 2 nights are in Paris. This is a must see city. Add it to your bucket list. It’s very easy to get around, either walking, metro, bus, or taxi.

Avalon makes sure to take care of all the details. They also offer bicycles that you can use in any of the towns or cities throughout the cruise. There is entertainment on board, along with wine tastings and beer tastings from the various regions we visited.
River cruises can be done for 7 days, or longer. With so many options, you’ll easily find the perfect one for you!

resi@fernwehtrvl.com

Budapest!

From the moment I arrived in Budapest, I loved it! This city has a fantastic vibe. It is the capital city of Hungary and is divided by the River Danube into Buda and Pest. It’s a very walkable city, and also has transit options, and taxis. We walked over 3 of the many bridges that connect both sides. The Chain bridge, built in the 19th century, connects to a funicular that will take you up to Castle Hill to Buda’s Old Town,  where the Budapest History Museum traces city life from Roman times onward. Trinity Square is home to the13th century Matthias churck and the turrets of the Fishermen’s Bastion, which offer amazing views.

I stayed at the Sofitel Chain Bridge. This is a great location. It’s right next to the Danube, and an easy walk to many attractions and shopping. There are a variety of restaurants all over the city. Be sure to try the Hungarian goulash.

One afternoon was spent wandering through the Jewish Quarter. There is a lot of great history here. This quarter became the Jewish Ghetto during World War II. Be sure to include a stop at Szimpla Kert,  which means ruin pub. The atmosphere is great! There are a lot of things to look at while wandering through this pub. In the evenings, you’ll find live music and many party goers.

Another thing to check out is the Shoes on the Danube. These bronze shoes are dedicated to the memory of the victims shot into the Danube by arrow cross militiamen in 1944-45. These shoes are along the Danube near the Parliament Building.

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This is a city I would visit again. From here, we were to begin our River Cruise along the Danube. Due to an issue with a cargo barge that went aground up the river, we are traveling by motorcoach toward the ship. We will stay in Bratislava, Slovakia for 1 night, and then Vienna for 2 nights before catching the ship.

Life is an adventure!

The Crystal Cruise Experience

The beautiful Crystal Symphony was docked in Vancouver today, and I had the opportunity to take a tour. Crystal Cruises offer a variety of options for cruising, and this particular ship was heading for Alaska. It first went into service in May 1995 and has been renovated to become the beauty it is today.

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Checking in is easily done right on board, rather than lining up inside the cruise ship terminal. You’ll be greeted by friendly staff, and a glass of champagne to get you into the vacation state of mind. Boarding starts at 12 noon and staterooms are generally available by 3:00pm. All rooms and suites are very well appointed, and I could’ve easily stayed on board in any of the cabins!

With just around 900 passengers, there is plenty of room in all public areas on board.  No need to have a pre set dining time. You have a variety of up to 8 evening dining venues. Crystal Cruises offers the All Inclusive Crystal Experience. This means, your meals are included, as well as select fine wines, champagne, beer and premium spirits throughout the ship. All non-alcoholic beverages including bottled water, specialty coffees, soft drinks, fresh juices and afternoon Tea and 24 hour room service. Gratuities for housekeeping, bar and dining staff throughout the ship are also included in your rate!

Be sure to check out the gym and the beautiful teak Promenade Deck for strolling, jogging and amazing ocean views while cruising. Golf lessons, and a tennis court are also available. This way, you’ll be able to enjoy all the included meals and drinks guilt free!

This ship was truly amazing! And if you’d like smaller ships, Crystal also offers Yacht Cruises. Consider joining the all suite Crystal Esprit for a voyage through the West Indies and explore yachting harbors and secluded covers. Or River Cruising in Europe. Crystal offers the largest butler-serviced suites in all of European River Cruising.

The possibities are outstanding!

Thinking about traveling the world

Sitting at the coffee shop, I think about the next place I’d like to experience.  I love booking in advance for several reasons. First of all, it gives me the opportunity to research my destination. I usually have a list of things that I want to see and do while at a particular destination.

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Las Vegas – I’ve been to Vegas many times. I find that every time I go back there’s something new to see or do. This is definitely one destination that likes to keep things exciting so that you’ll want to come back again and again. There are a lot of choices, depending on how much your budget will allow. You’ll also find plenty of options that are less expensive than you’d think.  Unique ideas for the more adventurous might be driving a Lamborghini on a real race track, or zip lining on Fremont Street. Basically, if you can think it,  you’ll likely find it in Las Vegas!

Beach Destinations – I have a few faves for just getting away to carib2relax. Jamaica, Antigua and Aruba. Depending on what you like to do on your vacation, there are a ton of choices in destinations. Booking an all inclusive vacation is a great option for someone that just wants to chill for a week, and have all your food and drinks included. Most all inclusive resorts also offer non motorized water sport activities.

 

Europe – So many places to see! If you’ve never been, and haven’t decided on one particular country, maybe a cruise is a good way to experience your first trip abroad. From small river barges, to river Cruises, and ocean cruises, you won’t be at a loss for choices. I love Italy! This is one country I can go back to often.

Asia – Cambodia is a country that I would go back to. I spent a few days in Siem Reap and made sure to check out Angkor Wat. There is so much more to see. On the same trip, I had a great time on a Mekong River cruise that took us from Siem Reap, along the Mekong to Ho Chi Minh City. Stopping in small villages was a definite highlight. Learning the history of both countries was truly amazing.

Places on my bucket list, Machu Picchu and touring Peru. African Safari, Japan, and Thailand. These are the top 4 at this moment. Peru is coming up for September 2019! Machu Picchu is a place I’ve wanted to see for over 30 years.

What is your dream vacation?

Beaches Negril

I recently returned from a trip to Jamaica. This is one of my all time favourite Caribbean islands. I hosted a group and we al stayed at the RIU Negril. During the stay, I had the opportunity to spend a full day at Beaches Negril. This beautiful property is ideally situated on the widest stretch of Negril’s 7 Mile Beach.

There are currently 3 Beaches resorts to choose from. Two in Jamaica, and a third in Turks & Caicos. These resorts are perfect for everyone. Families vacationing with children, couples, singles, or just friends wanting to enjoy a fully all Inclusive vacation together.

Beaches Negril offers a Water theme Park–Pirate’s Island that features 8 water slides and a meandering “lazy” river. Caribbean Adventure with Sesame Street offers themed activities with daily character appearances, parades and stage shows.
With trained nannies, you’ll find time for adult moments, knowing that your kids are well taken care of. They offer services for newborns to 10 year olds. The Kids Camp offers a wide variety of activities in a safe environment. For Tweens and teens, you’ll have a private time at Liquid at Beaches Nightclub from 9:00pm – 11:00pm each night. After that, the club is open to adults only.

With 9 restaurants, an ice cream counter, yogurt bar, and Hot dog stand, you’ll never be at a loss for something to eat. Only two of the restaurants require reservations. These are easily done, so no need to wonder if you’ll get in during your stay. The Mill Restaurant is buffet style offering breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Visit Soy for sushi and sashimi. Stew Fish is on the beach and offers a la carte breakfast, and Jamaican Seafood for dinner. Indulge in some great Italian fare at The Venetian, or Kimonos for Japanese Teppanyaki (reservations required for these two). Lunch an dinner can be enjoyed at Mariachi for some great Tex-Mex, or Bar B Q Park for Jamaican patties, cheese burgers etc for lunch, or late night snacks from 3:00pm to 3:00am. Dino’s Pizzeria offers handmade pizzas tossed to order and baked in a wood stone oven from 11:00am to 5:30pm. Because we were only there for the day, we weren’t able to try everything. We did get to the yogurt bar, pizzeria and Bar B Q Park. We did walk along the 7 mile beach to counter balance all the great foods that we tried!

Cafe de Paris is a French Patisserie offering specialty coffees, crepes made to order and mouth watering pastries! I indulged in a cappuccino on arrival at the resort, and I have to say, it was one of the best I’ve ever had!

With 186 rooms and suites on 20 acres, you’ll find the perfect accommodation for you and your group. Rooms are air conditioned and include flat screen tv’s, iron and ironing boards, coffee maker, telephone, refrigerator, clock radio, in room safe, IPOD docking stations, hair dryer, ceiling fan, all mahogany furniture, private bath and shower. Every room offers a full balcony or patio. Have you got a larger family? How about a 3 bedroom Butler suite to accommodate 12!

What’s included? So much! You’ll have enough activities to keep you busy for the entire duration of your stay. The resort offers Landsports including basketball. Mini-golf, volleyball (beach and pool), lawn croquet, outdoor and indoor chess, billiards, table tennis, soccer, shuffleboard, day and night tennis, cards and board games. Water sports include kayaks, aqua cycles, windsurfing, hobie cats, tubing, stand up paddle boards, glass bottom boats, snorkeling, banana boats, water skiiing, knee boarding and scuba diving! And, if that’s not enough, you can enjoy multiple games in the XBOX play lounge!

This resort was outstanding! I am looking forward to heading back to Jamaica sometime soon to enjoy more than one day at this incredible spot! Who wants to join?

Contact me and let’s get your vacation going! resi@fernwehtrvl.com

Ixtapa 2018

I just returned from the Azul Ixtapa Grand. This was my second time at this resort, and I loved it even more than my last visit. Our group flew in from Vancouver, Calgary, Saskatoon and Regina. I would like to say that Sunwing did an excellent job. All flights arrived early, and getting everyone to the resort was fast and easy. It often seems that you only hear the bad stories when traveling. Sunwing was great from start to finish. I always book Elite Plus, which gives me more leg room, a separate check in line and a few other perks. The cost is minimal, and worth it. The crew were attentive, and took care of everything, making this a super comfortable experience. Thank you Sunwing!
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Like most all inclusive packages, you are able to book any optional excursions right at the resort. This time, I booked the Sea Turtle release tour. This was fantastic, and I would highly recommend this tour if you’re in the area. The guide was very informative, and when we arrived at the beach, we met Felix, who takes care of all the turtles from birth to release.
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The Azul Ixtapa Grand:
This hotel does not fail to impress me. Every room is large and has an ocean view, as well as very comfortable balconies for those that like to chill out and order room service, or just enjoy the sunset. There are 5 restaurants in the resort, plus one additional seafood option between the Grand and the other Azul resort. 1 buffet offers breakfast, lunch and dinner. 1 snack bar near the Infinity pool that has a wide selection of food including burgers, fries, chicken wings. A la cartes are worth checking out. There is an Italian, Asian and Mexican right in the hotel, as well as the Oyster Bar (seafood) about a 10 minute walk away. Lots to choose from and easy to make reservations for all of these.

There a 3 pools that are all very inviting. The infinity pool seems the most popular. It includes a swim up pool bar, and spectacular views of the ocean. The family pool where you can enjoy different activities throughout the day, including water aerobics. And the quiet adult only pool. I made a point of enjoying each of these, and they’re all great.
The beach area is small, but has been updated. There are a lot more lounge chairs to hang out on, as well as a new floating dock.
Whether you’re just chillin, or want to be really active, you won’t be at a loss for things to do at the Azul Grand!
2019 is ready to book. Why not join me for a trip you’ll  love!
resi@fernwehtrvl.com

 

Happy New Year!

What a fabulous year 2017 was, and now we’ll move into 2018!
What do you have planned?

2017 began with a fabulous trip to Ixtapa, Mexico. This included 7 nights all inclusive at the beautiful Azul Ixtapa Grand. I loved it so much, that I’m starting 2018 with another group at the same resort!

 

A quick trip to Las Vegas at the end of February was a great time. Vegas is always an easy getaway, with a lot to do and see. 3 or 4 nights is about perfect!

 

In April of this year, I joined Fernweh Travel, an affiliate of TTI Travel. What a great change this has been. For all your travel needs!

May of 2017 took us to Alaska on board the Coral Princess. The weather was great, the scenery amazing! If you’re thinking of seeing Alaska, a cruise might be ideal for you. Meals are all included, and you only have to unpack once. You’ll see glaciers, and a ton of wildlife along the way.

 

One other highlight for 2017, was the Mekong River Cruise from Cambodia to Vietnam. This was beyond my expectations. Our group enjoyed every moment, from touring the Angkor temples, to cruising the Mekong River and stopping in small villages along the way. Each day got better and better! Add this one to your bucket list!

 

Thank you to all that joined in these experiences, and I look forward to all of you joining again, and to all the new people that want to add in!
If you’re looking to join one of our group trips, or just want to book your own trip, I’m ready for your call!
resi@fernwehtrvl.com  (604) 568-0910
Happy New Year!!

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