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Showing posts from October, 2018

Europe’s under-the-radar ski spots

Europe’s under-the-radar ski spots By Damien Martin
     The Alps run across the heart of Europe, dividing north from south and providing venues for some of the skiing in the world. France’s Courchevel and the Swiss resorts of St. Moritz, Zermatt, Wengen and Murren have well-deserved reputations the world over for great slopes, après-ski and fine dining. As we’re always on the hunt for the off-the-beaten-path experiences, we thought we’d share our ski destinations in Europe that run a little bit under the radar.

    Separating the boot of Italy from the rest of Europe. South of them, it’s all pasta, pizza, fashion and seaside. Up in the Dolomites, there’s a much more rugged, Germanic feel. From one valley to the next, you might find an entirely different culture and even language, but you’ll always find great runs. Cortina d’Ampezzo -- which hosted the 1956 Winter Olympics -- Alta Badia and Val Gardena are the main resort areas, but there are a dozen or so spots wher you can’t…

Best trips for solo travelers

Best trips for solo travelers By Damien Martin
     Many vacations are about spending quality time with family, reconnecting with old friends or a romantic getaway with the one you love. Sometimes, though, you need a little time to rediscover yourself in a new place. This week, we focus on the best destinations for solo travel.

Wellness resorts
     Odds are you live a stressful life, and if you’re traveling alone, you’re probably looking to relax. There are retreats all across the U.S., from the Berkshires to Arizona, even Miami. How active you are is up to you. Spend the entire time at the spa being pampered if you want. Or expand your horizons with yoga, tai chi, even horseback riding. Even if the most exhilarating thing you do is ditch your phone for the weekend, it could help you recharge.


     Every place you go is like stepping into a different country. The culture, the food, the multitude of languages, there’s no much variety. Yet no matter where you go, you’ll find friendl…

Culinary adventures on five continents

Culinary adventures on five continents By Damien Martin
     One of the great pleasures of travel is leaving your diet at home and sampling the culinary delights your destination is famous for. Paella in Valencia, new Nordic in Copenhagen, street food everywhere: What you eat is a big part of the experience. A few of our Virtuoso partners have put together some fabulous journeys that will ensure your trip is excellent to the last bite.
     At the crossroads of the Mediterranean, Sicily has absorbed a lot of different cultures into its culinary history. Influences from Greeks, Spaniards, Normans and Arabs blend to form a rich cuisine. Sailing June 26, 2019, Ponant is offering a nine-day Sicilian Food & Wine Experience highlighting the arancini of Agrigento, Palermo’s revered street food and the pasta, sardines and eggplant of the islands east. The volcanic soil around Mt. Etna produces spectacular wines to wash it all down.

Chiloe Island, Chile
      Bespoke Journeys by Sportst…

Columbus Day alternatives

Columbus Day alternatives By Damien Martin
     There are several issues with celebrating Christopher Columbus for “discovering” the Americas this week in 1492. Most notably, there were already people living here, he wasn’t even the first European to set foot in the Americas, he thought he was somewhere in Asia and he did some truly awful things when he arrived. What is indisputable is that the world was drastically altered from that day on, with Europe and the rest of the world becoming fully aware of the “New World,” ushering in an era of colonization that shaped the Americas as we know them today. Throughout the region, there are a number of alternative holidays that commemorate the monumental event without praising Columbus himself.

Indigenous Peoples’ Day
     Several U.S. cities and states recognize the second Monday in October as Indigenous Peoples’ Day, which began in Berkeley, Calif., in 1992 to mark the 500th anniversary of Columbus’ voyage. Oregon and Vermont have also offici…

Top stargazing spots

Top stargazing spots By Damien Martin
     You’ll soon be able to journey right into space to get up close and personal with the stars. But not all of us have that kind of cash just lying around. Despite rampant light pollution, there are still places here on earth that are great for taking a break to marvel at the night sky. Here are a few of those spots, as designated by the International Dark-Sky Association.
Aoraki/Mt. Cook National Park, New Zealand
     The park, in combination with the Mackenzie Basin on the South Island, is an international dark sky reserve and has had outdoor lighting controls in place since the 1980s. With 23 peaks around 10,000 feet or higher and city lights a long way off, the reserve is a popular stargazing spot and seeks to honor the tradition role of the stars in navigation and folklore in Maori culture.
Kerry, Ireland
     The Ring of Kerry makes for a fabulous drive full of natural wonders in the daytime. When night falls and the daytrippers are gone, a …