Category Archives: Cultural Travel

New Zealand World of Wearable Art WOW Museum

One of many unique dresses on display in the WOW Museum

One of many unique dresses on display in the WOW Museum

Our first stop in Nelson was the WOW Museum featuring the World of Wearable Art and Antique and Unique Car displays. They do manage to have something for everyone. Born through an expansion of the local art culture and galleries, this display focuses on art that is designed to be worn.   Many of these garments are actually winners of the International Wearable Art Awards Show, an international design competition which takes place in New Zealand each September. Art is taken off the wall to adorn the body in wildly wonderful ways and choreographed into an exciting and popular show that can be seen for three weekends in September/October. Winners and other unique entries are then exhibited in the WOW museum and the entire exhibit is changed out twice each year.

A 40 minute video runs continuously in a theatre where guests can come and go as they please. It was amazing to see the choreography and creativity that go into this show. If I were in New Zealand in their spring time, I would definitely make a point of attending this show. I would even consider building a trip around this event, it’s just so unique.

One dress on display at WOW Museum New Zealand

One dress on display at WOW Museum

DSCN1039 WOW Museum (24)A walk through the museum can be accomplished in less than an hour, but it’s worth spending some time watching the show video. There is also a wonderful café on site serving varied and flavorful coffees and teas as well as food items.

My pictures just don’t do justice to this display, but I am posting a few teasers here anyway. While it’s hard to choose one thing that I liked the best, from the very versatile and unique options, I really liked the works of the American artists, pictured here. OK, maybe it’s favoritism because all of the countries had amazing ideas. See more images in the gallery.

Antarctica Travel Seasons and Options

Antarctica has a short travel window, lasting from December through February each year.  A number of cruise ships schedule expeditions during that period, as well as a few land based providers (who still travel by ship).  While all the ships offer wildlife viewing and possible encounters, there are huge differences in the ship size, feel, and atmosphere.

Two adventure companies stand out with me as the most comprehensive and educational when it comes to Antarctica and one is having a huge weekend sale.  I will be open all weekend to accommodate clients who wish to take advantage of this great offer.  I will also add a little incentive to guests who book with me during this sale period.  Call today, this offer will only last for three days.

Sale Dates November 6-8, 2014

Call for other specials  603-434-8100

Hurtigruten Antarctica on sale now. Call today 603-434-8100

Hurtigruten Antarctica on sale now. Call today 603-434-8100

 

 

 

Feast of the Three Wise Men Cologne Germany

Today is the Feast of the Three Wise Men, whose remains are said to be buried in the Cathedral in Cologne. Each hour a mass is held with the church bells chiming throughout the town square.

This is the biggest church in Europe, having been spared during WW2. There are bullet holes evident on the exterior facade along with some blackened walls from coal use, but still it is a beautiful and well cared for piece of history.

Today, four couples were being honored in a special service to renew their wedding vows too. During the services, the church was still open to guests who could view from a distance. Churches like this make Roman churches seem small.

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Norway Fjords Travel

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I cruised the Norwegian Fjords a few weeks ago. The scenery was amazing, as was the experience of seeing how people live in remote fishing villages.

I was fortunate to have the choice between Cunard’s ultra luxury Queen Victoria and Hurtigruten’s Kong Harrald, a medium size cruise ship/ferry service.

We chose Hurtigruten for the inland route and local experience. Spending a full day on deck enjoying the sunshine and views made it the perfect choice.

Ocean or River Cruise- The Differences

Cruise European Rivers

Cruise European Rivers

What’s the difference between an ocean cruise and a river cruise?  River cruises generally focus on cultural and historical sites.  Ports are often right in the city center with included tours and excursions of nearby castles, museums and other points of interest.

Ocean cruises offer a lot of night time entertainment as well as daytime fun onboard.  Many ports of call are at beaches and tourist spots known for shopping and dining.

While at sea, the beauty and tranquility of a distant horizon are seen while cruising.  On a river cruise, vineyards, castles, mountains and small villages catch our eye.  Read more

River cruise differences

Art Illuminations Theme Cruise on AMAWaterways

Art Illuminations Theme Cruise on AMAWaterways

What is the difference in river cruise companies?

Some ships are known for their culinary flair and others for free bicycle use.  Several new “theme cruises” set different sailings apart, from Tulip Time to beer and wine tastings to Jewish heritage and Christmas markets.  The list now includes specials sailings for chocolate lovers as well as golfers and jazz fans.  While most river cruises are geared toward adults and allow two guests per cabin, a few hold special multi-generational sailings where all family members are welcome.  Find the one that feels right to you.  Some of my favorite lines include AMAwaterways, Avalon and Viking but there are many more.

How are they similar?

Unlike ocean cruising, river cruise ships hold no more than 200 guests.  This intimate setting allows for three wonderfully prepared meals each day, cultural and historical speakers, included tours and excursions and unmatched service throughout your cruise.  Because of the lock system on the rivers in Europe, nearly every long ship is the same size.

Avalon Wine Themed Sailings

Calling all wine lovers!

Do you know any individuals or groups
who would enjoy sailing the intimate rivers of Europe
on a luxurious Avalon Waterways River as well as:

Tastings at local wineries
Onboard wine tastings
Onboard food & wine pairing with dinner
Visit a local wine village
Onboard lectures from a wine expert
SAVE $500 per couple when deposit by August 26th, 2014*

The Blue Danube Discovery

November 1, 2015

13 days, Budapest to Prague

from $3289 per person/land only

Burgandy and Provence

Paris to Cote d’Azur

11 days, March 29 and October 25, 2015

from $3549/per person/land only

The Rhine and Mozelle

October 30, 2015

13 days, Amsterdam to Basel

from $4199 per person/land only

Azores Vacation-Ten reasons to visit

azores view of lakes

Azores mountains and lakes

There are at least ten reasons to plan an Azores vacation.

1. Location.  The Azores are a chain of nine islands located about 1800 miles east of Boston and non stop flights are available year round from Boston and Toronto .  Seasonally, there are also direct flights from Montreal and Oakland California.  The flight from Boston only takes four hours.

2. Long tourist season.  For tourists who are looking for a temperate climate during the shoulder seasons, the Azores might be a perfect ft.  Temperatures range from about 50 degrees in January, it’s coldest month, to the high 80s in August.  Read more

How the President is chosen in China

Have you ever wondered how the president is chosen in China, when there is no election process to put him into office?  In China, the government procedures are very different than they are in the free world and the people of the Republic of China have very few opportunities to make their wishes known.

DSCN6011About five years in advance of a presidential appointment, the identity of the future president is published to notify the people of China. The people won’t vote or hold elections but the government will decide who will rule and notifies the country.

The president will stay in office for one to two terms; a single term is 5 years long. He will normally be the Secretary of a large province prior to his appointment to president, but not always.

The top official in the country is technically the general secretary-the leader of the communist party.  Unlike the USA, the top official is not the president. It is traditional, though, that one person holds both the general secretary and the president’s position in China.  This is similar to the President of the USA also holding the position of Commander in Chief. Aside from that, there is no similarity between the governing bodies in these two countries.

China is a country full of history and culture.  Allow me to help plan your trip to this exotic land.  Call today 603-434-8100.

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