Category Archives: Europe

Travel News: And the Top Destinations for 2020 are…

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1,300 Travel Advisors did a Survey on Top Destinations for 2020

Virtuoso’s Luxe Report surveyed 1,300 travel advisors from agencies around the world, revealing everything you need to know about travel in 2020: 

Top travel trends are 1) multigenerational travel, 2) authenticity, 3) active or adventure trips, 4) family travel (immediate family) and 5) celebration travel.

Top emerging destinations are 1) Croatia, 2) Antarctica, 3) Iceland, 4) Japan and 5) Portugal.

Top global destinations are 1) Italy, 2) Greece, 3) France, 4) Japan and 5) Croatia.

Top adventure destinations are 1) Antarctica, 2) Alaska, 3) Galapagos Islands, 4) South Africa and 5) Iceland.

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Top Millennial destinations are 1) Greece, 2) Bali, 3) Croatia, 4) Iceland and 5) Cambodia. Top Cities are 1) Paris, 2) Barcelona, 3) Florence, 4) Rome and 5) London.

Top family destinations are 1) Hawaii, 2) Italy, 3) Orlando, 4) Costa Rica and 5) England.

Top honeymoon destinations are 1) French Polynesia, 2) Italy, 3) Greece, 4) Bali and 5) Maldives.

Top solo travel destinations are 1) Italy, 2) England, 3) United States, 4) France and 5) Spain.

Top travel motivations are 1) celebrating a milestone, 2) discovering new destinations, 3) spending time with loved ones, 4) rest and relaxation, and 5) crossing off Wanderlist destinations.

Virtuoso is an exclusive network of high-end travel companies.

Agents Of Change: The Internet Didn’t Replace Travel Advisers

Boston Globe reports: it’s a profession people may think had succumbed to the onslaught of airline and hotel websites and online booking services such as Expedia and Priceline. BUT the travel agent is alive and well, with collective gross bookings of just under $113 billion in 2017. That number is projected to rise to $127 billion by 2021.

“We used to just walk down the street and be reminded of travel agents sitting there behind their windows and with all their special offers,” said Claudia Unger, a research analyst at Phocuswright. “Because we don’t see them, we just assume they’re gone. But most of them have moved into the online space or become independent contractors.”

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Even Phocuswright predicted, in 2006, that travel agents would become extinct. Instead, more than half now work out of their homes or have affiliated with “host” agencies such as Travel Experts, Andavo, Cadence, and Virtuoso. 63% said business is up, 83% are positive about the future. 

The vast expansion of the online travel universe has had another, unexpected consequence: The intimidating number of choices is beginning to channel people back to human experts. Many agents liken themselves today to financial advisers or personal trainers. It’s a definition especially appealing to millennials, about a quarter of whom said they plan to use an agent for at least one vacation in the next two years, MMGY reports. That’s an even higher proportion than for baby boomers who grew up at a time when travel agents still were omnipresent. 

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Archaeologist Discovers Ancient Maya Civilization Sites Through An Online Map

National Post reports archaeologist Takeshi Inomata has used the online map to identify the ruins of 27 previously unknown Maya ceremonial centers that contain a type of construction that archaeologists had never seen before.

Inomata, an archaeologist at the University of Arizona, was thrilled when he made a major discovery using a lidar map he had found online, in the public domain, entirely for free.

The map, published in 2011 by Mexico’s National Institute of Statistics and Geography, covered 4,440 square miles in the Mexican states of Tabasco and Chiapas. The outlines of countless archaeological sites stood out to Inomata.

So far, he has used it to identify the ruins of 27 previously unknown Maya ceremonial centers. Inomata’s new findings include large constructions that are low to the ground,  up to two-thirds of a mile in length, and easily obscured by thick brush.

“If you walk on it, you don’t realize it,” Inomata told the Times. “It’s so big it just looks like a part of the natural landscape.”

His findings are now inspiring other archaeologists to take a look at publicly available LiDAR maps.

Using NASA data from a survey of Mexico, Charles Golden, an anthropology professor at Brandeis University, spotted ancient settlements near the Usumacinta River on the Mexico-Guatemala border.

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Denmark Sets Border Checks At Swedish Border

Denmark’s Justice Minister Nick Haekkerup announced in Copenhagen that the country will set up temporary internal border checks at the border with Sweden starting next month. The move comes after two Swedes were charged with being involved in an explosion outside the Danish Tax Agency in August.

Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said at the time that the government was considering strengthening controls at its border with Sweden. Denmark is connected to Sweden via the Oresund bridge across a 10-mile strait. Thousands of citizens from the two countries commute across the border daily by train and car. Both countries are members of the European Union. 

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Is a Month in Kotor Bay, Montenegro, worth it?

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Our clients the Kafourys traveled to Montenegro earlier this year! Here are their impressions of a month in lovely Montenegro.

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Wanting a location where we could be reasonably warm in March and look out on water, we chose Kotor Bay in Montenegro because of a distant memory. More than 40 years ago when it was Yugoslavia, we drove the entire Dalmation Coast, ending at the city of Kotor which had been heavily damaged by an earthquake just a year before.  We really knew little about modern Kotor or the rest of Montenegro for that matter. 

Spending a month in this small but fascinating country was a gamble that paid off 

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Kotor Bay

Kotor Bay is often compared to the Norwegian fjords and Italian lakes, with steep mountains dropping directly down to the water. Small medieval villages line the bay. The country, and especially Kotor Bay, is becoming the next Adriatic Coast destination now that Croatia is overwhelmed by tourists.  Cruise ships now enter the bay at the city of Herzig Novi and dock at Kotor for day visitors beginning April 1.

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First Impressions of Montenegro?

We flew to the Dubrovnik airport [in Croatia], rented a car, and drove to a small village called Orahovac which is on the bay.  Fortuitously, both the house we rented and its location proved to be perfect. As we were in low season, the 4-bedroom, 3-bathroom house was a bargain.  Both the upstairs bedrooms and lower floor living room/kitchen had large windows looking directly to the bay, and both levels had terraces accommodating chairs and tables.

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Because of its southern exposure, we had sun from early morning till evening. In front of the house was a quiet, narrow street that was used more for strolling than driving. On the other side of the street, a single line of a few small houses, low enough that they did not obstruct our view, faced directly on the bay. Public access to the beach was just steps away.  

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Kotor Town

A 15-minute drive to the end of the bay from Orahovac found us in the town of Kotor.  Backed up against the steep hills, and surrounded by Venetian walls, the old city is pedestrian-only. Visitors walk through narrow cobblestone streets, into lovely squares, between ancient stone mansions, and into medieval churches. 

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Perast

About 10 minutes the other direction is Perast. This town became one of our favorite villages in the world due to Its spectacular location on the bay and the beauty of its buildings.  Golden limestone shines brightly against the cobalt water and the green hills on both sides of the bay.

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During its height in the 15th and 16th Centuries, Perast was major seafaring center. Now it has lost most of its populations and is left as a collection of ancient mansions (rapidly being restored and turned into hotels and tourist apartments) and centuries-old churches.

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Seafood restaurants built onto the water line esplanade. These provide surprisingly sophisticated meals, with seafood their specialties. A half-mile or so offshore are two very small islands. One is a monastery off-limits to tourists. The other holds a church with an amazing history. Both the island and church were built by local sailors in gratitude for being saved from battles or storms at sea.

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Behind the mountains that create the bay are more and more mountains and the sturdy folk who have eked out their existence here. High-quality roads are being built into the hinterlands, and those visitors who want an escape from the beaches of Montenegro’s coastline can find adventures here.  However, many roads remain driveway-wide.

 

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Podgorica, the Capital

Montenegro’s capital city, Podgorica (formerly Titograd) was virtually destroyed in WWII and rebuilt, but has nothing to offer. Better is the former capital from 1878 until WWII, Cetinje. We became quite fond of this small town surrounded by mountains. It has a lovely, human-scale feeling with a pedestrian Main Street, many parks, and modest former embassies that have been turned into well-done museums. Everywhere there are explanatory signs in English for those of us who don’t speak Serbo-Croatian.

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Further south, we visited Skadar Lake which has small villages and eager boatmen to show passengers the abundant waterfowl. This lake is divided between Montenegro and Albania. Since we had not been able to enter that former tightly restricted country when we were here in the 1970s, we decided to see what it was like.  A short drive around the south side of the Albanian Skadar Lake revealed an impoverished country that was in the process of development. 

 

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Toward Albania

 

Driving the coastline was a spectacular treat, as sheer cliffs meet the ocean. Further down Montenegro’s Adriatic coast from the bay, tourism (largely beach-oriented) becomes more intense around Budva and Sveti Stefan. Continuing along the coast to the border with Albania, tourism thins despite interesting towns such as Bar, and Ulcinj with its significant Muslim population.

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So, was it worth it?

One month in Montenegro exceeded our expectations.  Our weather was sunny and pleasant. We encountered exactly one American, dined well, met kind and friendly neighbors, and felt completely safe. We do strongly advise going in low or shoulder seasons to avoid heavy traffic and crowded sites, not to mention inflated prices.

The Kafourys booked their trip with Willamette Intl Travel. Our travel advisors can craft together the perfect getaway for you and yours. Give us a call if you’re in the Portland OR area — 503-224-0180 or info@wittravel.com. 

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SALE: Solo Travelers on Star Clippers 2020

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Attention Solo Travelers! Dreaming of the alluring ports of the Mediterranean or Southeast Asia? Have the sweet and salty air scents on the tip of your nose? Well, you’re in luck!

SALE for Solo Travelers

Star Clippers is offering a SALE just for solo travelers next summer!

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Mediterranean sailings glide through the turquoise waters on a traditional tall sailing ship. Pay call to the delicious ports of Malta, France, Monaco, Italy and the forever Greek Isles.

Southeast Asia sailings drift through deep indigo waters and tropical beaches of Southeast Asia — Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia or Indonesia.

Book by October 31, 2019!

Sail Summer 2020!

Book a select 4 to 28-night sailing on Royal ClipperStar Flyer or Star Clipper and Star Clipper will waive the single supplement fees. Solo Sailings start from $1,110.

Why choose Star Clippers?

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In 1991, Star Clippers launched its first ship the “Star Flyer,” a recreation of the classic sailing ships of the 19th century. Since then, it’s been sailing four gorgeous ships around the world! 

This is the cruise for you if you’re looking for a new way to travel! You’re looking for new experiences.

These ships are a luxury ship experience with a casual, laid-back vibe. The size and nature of the ship allow it to visit ports inaccessible to larger cruise ships.

The journey is as awesome as the destination.

Ask your WIT travel agent more about Star Clippers’ incredible and unique sailing ships. 503-224-0180 or email info@wittravel.com.

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Travel News: How to enjoy Uluru without climbing it

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Venice To Begin Imposing Tourist Tax On Day-Trippers From Next July 1

Associated Press reports Authorities in the Italian canal city of Venice say a tax on day-trippers will start being charged on July 1, 2020. The tax was announced nearly a year ago, but its implementation was delayed as officials worked out how it would be paid and enforced. Authorities said Wednesday that the level of the tax will be decided closer to the date, but a law establishing it set a range of 3-10 euros ($3.30-$11) a day. Visitors staying overnight already pay a tax as part of their accommodation charge. In the coming months, city officials will announce details of how visitors can pay the tax, with efforts focused on pre-payments over the internet or in neighboring provinces. Exceptions will be made for those visiting Venice for work, study or family reasons.

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How to experience Uluru’s magic without climbing the Australian rock

On Oct 26, people will no longer be allowed to climb Uluru rock in Australia. The country is finally honoring the Anangu people’s wishes for this sacred spot and climbing will be forbidden from that date. Instead, tourism is turning its attention to the spiritual aspects of the 1,142 ft high rock. Travel + Leisure details how to experience the beautiful rock’s aura without damaging its geology.

KLM Becomes First Airline To Hit 100 Years With Original Name

Aeronauticsonline reports KLM Royal Dutch Airlines has officially become 100 years old, having been launched on October 7, 1919. The airline has been operating continuously for the past century with the same name as it was originally founded with. The airline was officially established in a solicitor’s office in the Hague on October 7 but didn’t complete its first flight until the year after, on May 17, 1920. KLM’s first aircraft was a DeHavilland DH.16, which operated its first flight, from London’s Croydon airport to Amsterdam in two hours and 15 minutes at an altitude of just 90 meters. The airline purchased its first aircraft (The DH.16 was leased) in 1920, from bankrupt British carrier AT&T. KLM bought four DeHavilland DH.9B aircraft, which helped it to expand its network. KLM’s first intercontinental flight took off in 1924, departing Amsterdam for what is now Jakarta. A technical malfunction led to a delay in the flight, making the initial service take one month and 24 days, departing Amsterdam on October 1 and arriving in modern-day Indonesia on November 24. KLM was the first European carrier to launch flights to the United States after the Second World War, with regular Douglas DC-4 service commencing in May of 1946.

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The Netherlands Wants To Stop Being ‘Holland’

The Netherlands wants to stop being ‘Holland’! Dutch authorities will phase out marketing the country abroad as ‘Holland’ and will begin to use the name ‘Netherlands’, according to Amsterdam’s Adformatie. At the present time, the Netherlands, for the most part, is presenting itself internationally as ‘Holland’. The Dutch authorities are planning to actively use the name ‘Netherlands’ at next year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo and the Eurovision Song Contest 2020 in Rotterdam. The name ‘Holland’ is widely used in regards to the Netherlands because of the name of the two historically most developed regions of the country, South and North Holland. Legally, in relation to the country, the use of the name “Netherlands” is correct. The Netherlands consists of 12 provinces in Europe and several islands in the Caribbean.

Fly Delta App Adds New Features With More To Come

Airline ratings reports Delta Air Lines is boosting its already feature-rich app to expand auto check-in to international flights and as well as give passengers a handle on security wait times in some markets. The US carrier this week released the latest version of its Fly Delta app with color-coding specific to the fare purchased. Each fare, basic economy, main cabin, Delta Comfort +, Delta Premium Select/First Class and Delta One, is assigned a color to act as a visual cue that mirrors those screens and signs at the gate during boarding. Branded colors are a new feature of the latest version of the Fly Delta app. The aim is to make the boarding process easier and help passengers recognize when it’s time to get on the plane.

New features on the way later this year include auto check-in for international flights, integrated security wait times in select markets and pre-select meals for Delta One and domestic First Class customers.

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Travel News: World Routes Awards, Thomas Cook, & Plastic-Free Cruises

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World Routes Awards have interesting winners!

The annual World Routes Awards took place at the Adelaide Convention Centre last week. The awards are highly regarded in the aviation industry for recognizing marketing services that support new and existing air services, as well as excellence and innovation in the route development community.

  • Budapest Airport was named the Overall Winner! The airport’s passenger numbers have risen exponentially, with 2018 recording a rise of 13.5 percent to 14.9 million. A total of 34 new routes have been announced or started so far in 2019.
  • Brisbane Airport won the 20-50 million passenger category, having secured new services from an impressive seven Asian airlines in the last two years. The airport saw total passenger numbers grow by 1.7% to more than 23.6 million in 2018, with international traveler numbers surging by 4.8% to more than six million.

 

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  • In the Over 50 Million Passenger Category, Singapore Changi Airport was named the winner. The airport’s total passenger traffic hit 65.6 million in 2018, a year-on-year rise of 5.5 percent and up from 37.2 million a decade earlier. In the last 12 months, the airport has added seven new passenger airlines, as well as expanding connectivity to the likes of Urumqi, Nanning and Wuhan in China, plus Busan in South Korea and Kolkata in India among others.
  • Tourism Ireland won the Destination Category having experienced its best-ever year for tourism to the island of Ireland in terms of visitor numbers, with growth of 5 percent compared with the previous record year. Last year the organization worked on 69 marketing campaigns with 22 carriers, ten airport partners and made a combined investment of more than €7m promoting travel to the island of Ireland.
  • Vueling secured The Airline Award. This carrier has enjoyed 10 years of consecutive growth, secured The Airline Award. The airline took delivery of its first Airbus A320neo aircraft in 2018 and this year has launched a number of new routes from Bilbao, Tenerife North and Florence.
  • The Overcoming Adversity Award was presented to Puerto Rico Tourism Company. Having faced three unprecedented crises between 2016 and 2017, the organization implemented crises recovery management plan that included restoring core flights and re-establishing international connections. 

Fallout From Thomas Cook’s Demise Will Reach Far And Wide In Travel

One of Europe’s biggest travel companies is no more and the damage it leaves in its wake is likely to take some time to clear. Last Monday, Thomas Cook announced it was shutting down and hundreds of other hoteliers, tour operators and other travel businesses are likely to suffer as a result. No word yet, though, on how much this loss of business might be worth.

And it’s not just companies that will be affected. Turkey, a key destination for European tourists, stands to lose out on as many as 700,000 visitors, according to the head of Turkey’s Hoteliers Federation. With Thomas Cook gone, TUI Group is the only vertically-integrated tour operator left standing in Europe. It too has a business model susceptible to shocks but has spent a considerable amount of money investing in hotels and cruise ships in the last few years, putting it in a better position.

Thomas Cook’s collapse has led to the UK government launching its largest-ever peacetime repatriation with more than a dozen planes brought in to fly stranded customers home over the next two weeks. Airlines like British Airways and Virgin Atlantic are involved. In Germany, Condor airline received a bridging loan from the federal government to secure its future and although other tour operator subsidiaries have not filed for insolvency, they have stopped selling holidays.

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Rival Airlines Are Raising Prices By As Much As 400% After Thomas Cook Collapsed

Unfortunately, this collapse means that travelers have found tickets with rival airlines like Jet2, British Airways, Ryanair, and TUI to have gone up as much as 400%. The collapse left 600,000 people stranded around the world, and many with now-worthless bookings for future flights. One traveler said on Monday that the cost of a flight with British budget airline Jet2 had almost doubled within an hour of Thomas Cook’s collapse. 

China Opens Its Massive New Airport In Beijing

Beijing Daxing International Airport is now open and it’s gorgeous! The massive air hub is expected to become the biggest single terminal by traveler capacity in around two decades. The Chinese leader and top government officials came to the opening ceremony inside the starfish-shaped terminal on Wednesday, days before the country marks the 70th anniversary of the People’s Republic.

Located 46 kilometers from Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, the airport, abbreviated PKX, is set to boost tourism and further support China’s flagship infrastructure project, the Belt and Road Initiative. Daxing airport will also reduce pressure on the overcrowded Beijing Capital International Airport, the second-largest air hub in the world.

Quick facts: 

  • Construction cost around $17.47 billion in total
  • The terminal building alone covers 700,000 square meters
  • The new transport hub will have the capacity to handle about 45 million passengers a year by 2021, and 72 million by 2025.
  • The airport is planned to eventually expand from four to seven runways in total
  • The goal is to serve about 620,000 flights annually, or one flight per minute.

By 2040 the hub wants to be able to welcome 100 million passengers per year, thus becoming the world’s largest single terminal in terms of traveler capacity. The Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in the US currently holds the crown of the world’s busiest airport serving than 100 million travelers, but they are split between its two terminals. 

Norwegian Cruise Line Says It Will Be Plastic Bottle Free By January 1

Norwegian Cruise Line announced it will replace all single-use plastic bottles across its fleet by January 1, 2020, beginning aboard the Norwegian Encore. The company said it is a result of its partnership with JUST Goods, Inc. Andy Stuart, president and CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line, said: “It is imperative that we take meaningful steps to preserve our oceans and the destinations we visit…. While we are aware that this is just the beginning of what we and others need to do to be good stewards of our environment, we are committed to our Sail & Sustain initiatives and will continue to innovate for the overall benefit of the planet and its future.” The company’s ships will now feature JUST, which takes an innovative approach to sourcing and packaging water. The company focuses on an impact model, taking into consideration both how the water is sourced and packaged, according to a press release, as JUST is 100% spring water in a plant-based carton. The carton is made of 82% renewable materials, the paper carton is made from trees grown in responsibly-managed forests and the cap and shoulder are made from a sugarcane-based plastic. It is refillable and recyclable. It will replace over six million single-use plastic bottles every year.

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Port Tampa Bay To Add Three Cruise Lines

Passengers who prefer sailing out of Florida’s Gulf Coast over the ports on the Atlantic side of the state will soon have some new cruise lines to choose from. Holland America, Celebrity and MSC Cruises will sail from Port Tampa Bay next year. Holland America and Celebrity will resume using Port Tampa Bay as a port of call next year, where they will be joined by newcomer MSC Cruises. This will give Port Tampa Bay six cruise lines for next winter, as the three join Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and Norwegian. Even with the additions, Tampa won’t get much closer to Florida’s busiest ports in Miami and Port Canaveral in terms of passenger traffic. While the pair hosted almost 5.6 million and 4.6 million travelers respectively in 2018, Tampa welcomed just over one million people.

Delta Issues A Weather Waiver For Bermuda Ahead Of Tropical Storm Jerry

The US carrier has issued a weather waiver for Bermuda ahead of Tropical storm Jerry. Delta’s team of meteorologists is keeping an eye on the track of Tropical Storm Jerry, which is expected to pass north of Bermuda today into Wednesday afternoon with winds gusts of 35-45 mph. This waiver allows customers with flexibility in their travel plans to make a one-time change to their itinerary without incurring a change fee. 

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Safari Group in Namibia & Kenya

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Christina and John are currently in Namibia & Kenya on their annual guiding trip!

For the first two weeks, they were in Namibia, exploring the world-famous Etosha National Park as well as smaller game reserves and conservancies.

Now in Kenya, it’s two weeks of bliss at Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, Samburu Game Reserve, the Mara and frequent game drives to see cheetahs, lions, elephants, hippos and even leopards!

Because the internet can be sporadic out in the bush, we get only occasional updates from Christina. Here are some of the highlights (with photos!)

August 26 – Namibia

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Hope all is well in PDX!

Arrived yesterday late due to a massive dust storm which delayed the flight by 2 hours. Then we made a 3h drive over rugged terrain but it was well worth the effort.

Probably the most remote spot we have visited since Lake Turkana. Hoanib definitely the quietest spot truly silence amidst stunning scenery. Just our six tents staff guides with no other humans for more than a few hours drive!

Closest is a small Himba tribe we spent a few hours with this morning no men in camp and the women were very open about their lives – amazing experience told us more than we needed to know!

The kids were adorable.

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August 27 – Etosha National Park, Namibia

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Etosha is very, very dry – as is the entire country – Botswana and the Okavango Delta as well.

Last year, this watering hole was pretty full probably to where the Ostrich are standing – now water is a mere trickle.

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They are hoping for some rain come October or the situation will very dire.

Most watering holes are animals only resource to water and survival.

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September 3 – Nambwa Tented Lodge, Namibia

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Our day was spent heading to Nabwa camp! I was in the vehicle hauling the luggage trailer. As the last 15 miles were deep, sandy trail – needless to say it was a rough ride with 2 bogs. So 15 miles took 2 hours.

All is well, group has been really amazing.

We say goodbye to our 2 guides tomorrow as our last 2 nights will be Oman Island Lodge in Botswana so they can’t join us.

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Okavango Delta (Botswana) is much drier than last year, no rain during the season. They are hoping this season starting November will be better – if not, it will mean many of the animals not survive including domestic herds.

Nabwa has VERY limited internet, real bush internet!

September 12 – Ithumba Hills, Kenya

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On our third day here, will be flying back to Nairobi first thing tomorrow.

Has been quite cool with cloudy overcast skies so elephants have not been using the mud bath pools because of the cooler weather.  Last time, it was always in the 90s whereas this time probably low 70’s – which is unheard of.

First evening here treated to light rain and an amazing double rainbow which changed the ebony light to a magnificent hue – a real treat.

Went to 6am early feed and release of the orphans for the day this morning quite a mad house, each vying for a second bottle.

Group of 8 good – all jelling!

September 17 – Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, Kenya

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Started out at 630a with great sighting of a magnificent cheetah, which we bypassed plenty of white rhino to reach.

Our very first cheetah yesterday was Rhino day!

This was followed by a fest bush breakfast where Zachary gave bird watching lesson

Then we delivered all the books and first aid items to the Lewa School which we support by paying the Librarian salary.

Then slow drive back to camp with a visit to Judd to watch the elephants approach.

Right now sitting watching this lion on our evening game drive. What perfect lighting!

Stay tuned until next time for more stories & photos!

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Travel News: First Hurtigruten Ship To Transit Northwest Passage

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Roald Amundsen Becomes First Hurtigruten Ship To Transit Northwest Passage

Cruise Industry News reports the Roald Amundsen has made history, becoming the first Hurtigruten vessel to completely transit the famed Northwest Passage. The 530-guest hybrid vessel was delivered earlier this year and after transit the Passage recently, is approaching Nome, Alaska.

The voyage started in Kangerlussuaq in Greenland on August 20 and will wrap up in Nome in Alaska, a total distance of 4,128 nautical miles. .”We have been heading in the wake and footprint of the famous explorer Roald Amundsen, who did this voyage more than 100 years ago,” said Captain Kai Albrigtsen, addressing the guests aboard the ship.

Portugal Declares War On Cigarette Butts

EtN reports Portugal introduced a strict law aiming at combating smokers who throw the cigarette butts on the ground in public. The new law that approves measures for the collection and treatment of the tobacco waste enters into force on Wednesday. Whoever throws on the floor will be punished with fines between 27.6 US dollars to 276 US dollars.

As of Wednesday, cigarette butts, cigars or other cigarette containing tobacco products will be treated as urban solid waste and therefore their “disposal in public space” is prohibited. Although the law comes into force on Wednesday, it provides for a “transitional period of one year” to adapt to it, which means that only in September 2020 there will be effective fines.

The new law stipulates that “commercial establishments, namely restaurants and establishments where recreational activities take place and all buildings where smoking is prohibited must have ashtrays and equipment for the disposal of undifferentiated and selective waste produced by its costumers”.

The government shall now establish an incentive system within the Environmental Fund and promote consumer awareness campaigns on the responsible destination of tobacco waste, including cigarettes, cigars or other cigarettes. Regarding the tobacco-producing companies, the new law states that they should promote the use of biodegradable materials in the manufacture of tobacco filters.

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Cruise Line Attempts World’s Longest-Ever Continuous Passenger Cruise

Viking Cruises is about to attempt the Guinness world record for the world’s longest-ever continuous passenger cruise. The voyage will be an epic 245-day journey spanning six continents, 51 countries and 111 ports and covering 55,700 nautical miles. Viking, said: “For more than 20 years we have been committed to connecting travelers to culturally immersive experiences that allow them to explore the world in comfort.”

Scandinavia – Caribbean – South America – South Pacific

On August 13, Viking Sun departed Greenwich on the Ultimate World Cruise which will last for 8-months. Starting closer to home around the United Kingdom and then on to Scandinavia, the Caribbean and destinations throughout South America before calling on the remote tropical islands of the South Pacific. Viking Sun will then continue its journey along the coast of Australia and through Asia before returning to the Mediterranean and Europe.

“We broke our own Guinness World Record in 2014 when we christened 16 new river ships in one day. We only launched ocean cruises in 2015 so to already be attempting the world record for the longest continuous passenger cruise four years later is remarkable. Everyone at Viking UK is particularly proud and excited that the cruise is setting sail from Greenwich. We can’t wait to hear all our guests’ stories when they get back.” said Viking.

A Guinness World Record Adjudicator will confirm the successful attempt of the longest-ever passenger cruise with a certificate presentation when the luxury vessel arrives back in London in May 2020. The Ultimate World Cruise starts at £66,990 per person. Within the 245-day Ultimate World Cruise itinerary, guests also have the choice to sail one of two shorter segments of the cruise. 

D’Orsay Museum has reopened its doors after renovations

Our friends over at Chocolatine remind us that the d’Orsay Museum opened its doors with much fanfare after completing a major renovation.

A whole new presentation of its 19th-century masterpieces, and a brand new expanded space, give the galleries new color schemes, new lighting, and separate rooms for many of the great artists on display. Now, both Van Gogh and Gauguin have their own uniquely designed rooms! In addition, new works have been added to the museum’s collection of beloved classics – so many reasons to return!

The D’Orsay is open from Tuesday to Sunday, 9:30am to 6pm. Closed Mondays. 

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