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Photo of the Day – Colosseum Rome, Italy

Posted by on Jul 28, 2014 | 0 comments

Photo of the Day – Colosseum Rome, Italy

While it’s true that Rome wasn’t built in a day, I’m a firm believer that its best highlights can be seen in a day if you’re sufficiently motivated. It’s an easily walk-able city and with a steady pace you can tackle magnificent sights like the Colosseum, the Spanish Steps, the Trevi Fountain and even Vatican City in one action-packed day. Of course, if you have the time, Rome is a wonderful city in which to linger over exquisite meals, wander amidst ancient ruins and while away the day people-watching in a piazza. Alas, most of my trips there have been whirlwind stopovers on the way to Greece or long weekends. However, a few years ago I was lucky enough to spend a week in an apartment rental near Campo de Fiore – it was my first chance to really relax and drink in one of Europe’s most glorious cities.

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Photo of the Day – Phang Nga Bay, Thailand

Posted by on Jul 25, 2014 | 1 comment

Photo of the Day – Phang Nga Bay, Thailand

With sheer limestone cliffs jutting out of emerald green waters, Phang Nga Bay is one of Thailand’s most treasured destinations. From Phuket or Phang Nga, hire your own longtail boat (mine ran me about $35 from the dock in Phang Nga) and spend a day exploring the bay with the wind in your hair. Take a ride out to James Bond Island (made famous in the movie, “The Man with the Golden Gun”) and stop for lunch at the water village of Koh Panyee also known as Sea Gypsy Island. In the afternoon, relax on one of the endless secluded beaches that dot the bay. Phang Nga Bay is the perfect place to spend an afternoon enjoying some of Thailand’s most spectacular scenery.

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Photo of the Day – Hohensalzburg Fortress, Salzburg Austria

Posted by on Jul 24, 2014 | 0 comments

Photo of the Day – Hohensalzburg Fortress, Salzburg Austria

The charming city of Salzburg is the birthplace of Mozart and the heart of music and culture on the northern edge of the Alps.  The well-preserved architecture of Salzburg’s stunning old town centre (Altstadt) is often referred to as a “Baroque Jewell” and was inscribed to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1997. Massive Hohensalzburg Fortress is the city’s unmistakable landmark towering over the baroque spires of the city. It’s the largest, fully-preserved fortress in central Europe and offers  sweeping views over the Old Town, the Salzach River and the Alps. Whether you dine at Europe’s oldest restaurant, Stiftskeller St. Peter, or sing Do-Re-Mi in the Mirabell Gardens, you could easily fill a week in this historic town. Or you could do what I did and try your best to see all of Salzburg in just one day.

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Photo of the Day – Merlion Park, Singapore

Posted by on Jul 23, 2014 | 0 comments

Photo of the Day – Merlion Park, Singapore

Situated off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, the tiny Asian city-state of Singapore is a multi-cultural nation made of up 63 islands.  The islands’ residents are a blend of Chinese, Malay and Indian and all three languages (as well as English) are recognized as official languages. The symbol of this highly-urbanized nation - the “Merlion” – is a mythical creature with the head of a lion and the body of a fish. The fish symbolizes the island’s origin as a fishing village and the lion head represents Singapore’s original name – Singapura – meaning “lion city.” On my visit to Singapore on RTW #1, I saw several newly married couples embracing island tradition with a photo op in Merlion Park. On my most recent visit, the skyline of Merlion Park had changed quite a bit with the addition of the massive Marina Bay Sands Hotel. The park is a great place to start any visit to the island of Singapore. 

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Photo of the Day – The Virgin Islands

Posted by on Jul 22, 2014 | 0 comments

Photo of the Day – The Virgin Islands

As part of the Lesser Antilles, the Virgin Islands form the border between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. Both the UK and the US lay claim to these picture-perfect Caribbean islands. To the northeast of the island group; Tortola, Virgin Gorda and Jost Van Dyke are the main islands comprising the British Virgin Islands (BVI). While in the southwest, the islands of St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix anchor the US territory (USVI). In the BVI’s, charter a catamaran to the sparkling shores of White Bay, home to the infamous Soggy Dollar Bar (where this photo was taken). There’s no dock on this pristine strip of white sand so be prepared to leap into the turquoise sea and swim for shore before handing over your drenched bills for a signature “painkiller” cocktail. While in the USVI’s, a visit to the island of St. John reveals the Caribbean as nature intended it. Most of this unspoiled island is protected as a National Park and the limited development keeps accommodation at a premium. A repeat honoree on Condé Nast Traveler’s list of the “10 Best Beaches in the World”, Trunk Bay is St. John‘s most well-known stretch of real estate.

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Photo of the Day – Molokai Hawaii

Posted by on Jul 21, 2014 | 0 comments

Photo of the Day – Molokai Hawaii

At just 38 by 10 miles, Molokai Hawaii lies just across the Pailolo Channel from Maui. It’s the fifth largest of the Hawaiian islands and the least populated. The swaying palms and empty beaches of Molokai bring to mind the Hawaii of old, before tourism took hold. But the island is perhaps best known for the 19th century settlement of Kalaupapa where sufferers of Hansen’s Disease, also known as leprosy, were once forced into quarantine. Beglian priest, Father Damien de Veuster, and Mother Marianne Cope of the Sisters of St. Francis cared for the residents of the Kalaupapa colony and were both canonized Roman Catholic Saints for their service. There are no active cases of Hansen’s Disease on the island today but some patients chose to stay after the quarantine policy was lifted in 1969. Often called the “true Hawaii” and the birthplace of the hula, tiny Molokai has no traffic lights and can easily be seen in a day. But this relaxing bit of Hawaiian paradise offers lots of compelling reasons to stay a little longer.

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Photo of the Day – Gramvousa Beach Crete

Posted by on Jul 18, 2014 | 0 comments

Photo of the Day – Gramvousa Beach Crete

One of Crete’s most popular day trips is a cruise to the remote beaches of Gramvousa and Balos. After a one-hour sail from the town of Kissamos, you’ll arrive at your first stop, the more ambitious of the two, Gramvousa Beach Crete. Gramvousa is known for its perfect stretch of white sand beach and an awesome shipwreck peeking up from the emerald sea just offshore. But its top sight is the Venetian fort sitting atop a steep rock 500ft above sea level. Considered one of the most impressive forts in Crete, most day trip passengers opt to forgo lounging on the beach to make the climb to the top. Though it can be a strenuous hike in the mid-day heat, the trail is lined with colorful flora and fauna and when you reach the top, your efforts will be rewarded with panoramic views of the sea from all sides of the fort. The tremendous views also include a postcard-perfect preview of your next stop across the Balos lagoon.

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