Category Archives: Europe

Travel News: New USS Arizona Memorial Opens Next Month

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Updates from the Travel News vector! Every week we feature the latest in industry and traveler-friendly news. So you can stay up to date with the world of travel. 

In the growing trend of kid-friendly themed hotels, Cartoon Network has just opened up a hotel in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. The 165-room hotel sits on a 9-acre property just next to the Dutch Wonderland Family Amusement Park. Check it out at Cartoon Network Hotel and MORE Cartoon Network Hotel.

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There’s a new USS Arizona Memorial in the States—but it’s not in Hawaii, it’s in Arizona. The Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community (SRPMIC), located near Scottsdale, Arizona, is proud to announce the public opening of the USS Arizona Memorial Gardens at Salt River next month on February 22, 2020. The USS Arizona Memorial Gardens at Salt River honors the brave individuals that served aboard the USS Arizona that sank on December 7, 1941, during the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Silversea’s Silver Whisper becomes the first cruise to visit all seven continents in one trip! Their Legends of Cruising 2020 embarked on January 6, and will travel into 62 destinations in 32 countries—including Antarctica.

Australia Updates

Learn more of what is and is not impacted by the Australian firesAustralia Fire Impact on Tourism Sites. Also see Swain Destinations re Australia bushfires

Reading for the Flight

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Mythbusting for spa newbies: Sage advice for those planning a journey into the world of wellness

A Uniquely Japanese take on Nostalgia

10 of the best budget spa holidays in eastern Europe

‘It’s Iceland meets New Zealand’ – exploring Europe’s most epic archipelago

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Russia’s Mysterious City of the Dead

Everything We Know About Cairo’s New Grand Egyptian Museum

The Glitzy European City Going Green

Up in the Air

Facial recognition continues to gain traction. The tech has been added to the Global entry program at 15 airports in the US and overseas, allowing for international travellers to re-enter at a much faster pace. Instead of your fingerprint, it’s your face that gets scanned and matched with government databases—like passport or visa photos.

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For more travel expertise, book an appointment with our agents at our Portland office! 503-224-0180 or email inquiry@wittravel.com. 

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Uniworld’s 100th Anniversary Celebration Event SALE

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Uniworld River Cruises is part of The Travel Corporation, which is why they’re celebrating a special 100th Anniversary!

This means a fabulous 30% discount on select 2020 voyages!!

Join a Uniworld cruise in celebration on any of these amazing departures in 2020 –>

30% OFF: 

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Enchanting Danube, 8 days to Budapest to Passau

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Rhine, Moselle & Blissful Baden-Baden, 12 Days from Baden-Baden to Frankfurt

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Gems of Northern Italy, 10 days from Milan to Venice

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Alluring Amsterdam & Vienna, 15 Days from Vienna to Amsterdam

And many more up to 30% off!

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Call Willamette Intl Travel to find out if a Uniworld Cruise is right for you. 

503-224-0180 | inquiry@wittravel.com

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Why Uniworld?

Uniworld was named #1 River Cruise Line for Families by Travel + Leisure readers for several years in a row!

Respondents noted Uniworld’s “beautiful, one of a kind ships,” “excellent food,” and “impeccable service” (it claims the highest staff-to-guest ratio in its class). One reader simply commented, “Uniworld sets the standard.”

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Uniworld offers cruises around the world, on the Danube, Ganges, Mekong, Nile, Yantze and many more!

Their one-of-a-kind ship collection is famous for their excellent food, impeccable service, fantastic family cruises, and experiential lectures into history, culture and geography.

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Travel News: Eurail Pass adds Latvia & Estonia

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Rush My Passport. There is a new passport courier service that may serve you time when ordering your passport. RushMyPassport can expedite the delivery of your passport from 1-18 days for a fee. It’s even authorized by the US Customs and Border Protection. Got a trip departure and just noticed your passport is due to expire? Learn more at Rush My Passport.

Gatwick Airport in UK is installing permanent facial-recognition for all passengers in addition to passport checks. The tech is supposed to lead to easier traveling, less stress, and faster boarding, and due to roll out in 2022.

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Photo by Simon Clayton on Pexels.com

In Sustainable News, Norwegian becomes the first major cruise line to eliminate plastic bottles!

American Airlines has become the first airline to introduce the Google Assistant’s Interpreter Mode technology in its airport lounges, namely its Admirals Club lounges at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). The tech translates 29 languages, including Arabic, French, German, Japanese, Russian, Spanish and Vietnamese.

Amsterdam is now on the growing list of cities increasing their city taxes. From Jan 1, Amsterdam now asks for an additional 3 euros per person per night, on top fo the current 7% tourist tax.

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Photo by Aleksejs Bergmanis on Pexels.com

The Eurail Pass has added even more countries! As of Jan 2, 2020, the ongoing list of countries now includes Estonia and Latvia. There’s never been a better time to explore Riga and Tallinn! You can also save up on 50% on international ferries such as between Riga and Stockholm, or Tallinn and Helsinki. No seat reservations required! WIT Agents issue various Eurail Passes for your trip to Europe. Ask your agent the details. 

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When is the Best Time to Visit Ireland?

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Celebrated Experiences recently published great tips on how to do Ireland right – and when! So we thought we’d share it with our readers.

Does it rain a lot on Ireland?

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The rumours are true, Ireland’s weather has a lot of rain! Though it can be challenging to predict when the rain will fall, remember that the rainiest months are in the winter. It rains about 150-225 days per year.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that when it rains, the rain lasts all day. Showers often come from the Atlantic and quickly across the country. Plus, don’t forget: without rain, you can’t have rainbows!

When is the Best Time to Visit Ireland?

Ireland has a mild climate, and the weather changes rapidly. Since it’s an Ireland, the country doesn’t suffer from extreme heat or cold.

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In spring and autumn, temperatures generally range from the high 40s to the low 60s (Fahrenheit).

In summer, temperatures average in the 60s, but it can definitely get warmer. In winter, temperatures rarely drop below freezing.

While these temperatures are “averages,” it’s not uncommon to see two, three or even four seasons in a day!

Celebrated Experiences is one of our recommended tour guides in Europe. They curate vacations to your tastes, with trips to England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Italy. Stay in a castle or a small bed and breakfast. 

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What should I wear to Ireland?

After the weather, the most thing people want to know about is what to wear in Ireland. Since the weather changes a lot and temperatures vary, pack in layers so you can always put on or take off a sweater as needed. Sweaters, pullovers, fleeces and similar items are smart choices. Lightweight jackets or raincoats are a must!

The Irish tend to dress more casually than other European countries. but if you’re dining out in a fine restaurant, it’s more common to wear slacks with a jacket and blouses with skirts or paints.

When visiting religious sites, more conservative dress is appropriate–long pants and covered shoulders.

Call your agent at WIT to learn more about Celebrated Experiences’ excellent customizable itineraries. 503-224-0180 or email inquiry@wittravel.com. 

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6 New Attractions Opening Up in 2020

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2020 is in full swing, and the travel industry is looking at some great new attractions opening up this year! From Game of Thrones to Marvel-themed land, here are five places you need to visit in 2020.

6. Academy Museum, Los Angeles

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is getting its own Museum, dedicated to all things cinema. The museum, when it opens, will be filled with “photographs, films, screenplays, props, and memorabilia, such as the famous ruby slippers from “The Wizard of Oz.”

5. Avengers Campus, a new Marvel-themed land, Disneyland

Disney is welcoming new Marvel-themed rides to California! The first ride is a Spider-Man themed ride, followed next by Ant-Man and the Wasp themed restaurant, a live-action show with Doctor Strange, and a ride into Wakanda.

4. M+, Museum of Visual Culture, Hong Kong

Hong Kong welcomes its museum focusing on 20th-21st century art, design and architecture late 2020. The museum will be the centrepiece of the cultural district, West Kowloon. It will include three theatres, a roof terrace, library, multiple restaurants and 17,000 square feet of exhibition space.

3. Momentary Museum, Arkansas

It’s all about American Art in this latest exhibition space in Bentonville, Arkansas. The Momentary will open on February 22, as a contemporary art space satellite to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. The space is in an abandoned cheese factory, and there are plans to host art, festivals, and culinary events.

2. Legoland New York

New York is finally getting its very own Legoland, the third in the US. It intends to open in Goshen on July 4. The park will be 150 acres, with seven lands and 50 rides and attractions.

1. Game of Thrones Studio Tour, Northern Ireland

While the show may have wrapped up in 2019, Game of Thrones is coming back with a new HBO Studio Tour. The new visitor attraction in Banbridge will give fans the chance to relive the hit series! The exhibits will include actual costumes, imagery, fully-dressed sets and original props from all over the Game of Thrones universe.

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WIT Agent in Japan: Katrina Visits Tokyo

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We hope you’ve been having a wonderful holiday season, what ever you may celebrate! As the New Year dawns, today, we’re taking a quick peek into Japan. WIT Travel Agent Katrina recently flew to Tokyo to experience it firsthand. Read on to learn about this fascinating and innovative city: 

Have You Met Tokyo?

On the 20th floor of my an American chain hotel I witnessed Tokyo overtake Mt. Fuji. By day, the mountain and I made intimate eye contact across the vast ocean made of buildings. The waves of the rooftops flowed between the mountain and me.

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Then, as the sun sets, the city seems to expand, and Mt Fuji shrinks away as if bidding goodnight. Leaving me with the gift of seeing Tokyo’s true form in the depth of darkness. An aura of light pollution wraps the city like skin, displaying the contours of her body. Tokyo is alive.

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Her work ethic is world renowned. The Japanese are known for their diligence in working until the job is done. Regardless of sleep or health, they show their commitment by logging hours.

There’s even a term, karoshi, translated literally as “death from overwork.” They sleep where and when they can; on park benches, on trains, even on display furniture in shopping malls. Innovation is her brain, and innovation never sleeps.

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Her heartbeat is created by the steady and reliable stops of the metro. Her inhabitants pump through train doors steadily. Even with a population of 14 million Tokyo is one of the safest places to travel. Public transportation is immaculately clean and timely. Children are free to go amongst their days unattended without fear of kidnapping or violence because the crowds around them will always keep an eye out.

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People are the blood of Tokyo. The streets and subway lines mimic veins and arteries. Together they keep the city alive. Their kindness heals, their discipline perseveres, and their history regulates their spirit. Anytime day or night, you’ll see crowds mimicking the coordination of cells. They move together and through each other completing their duties and daily tasks. Unaware of their contributions of a seemingly shared consciousness.

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Her breath is the incense sending messages to the Gods. Thousands of shrines and temples decorate the boomings metropolis. Some will demand your attention, while others blend into the surroundings whispering to you as you pass. Learning the differences between them helped me understand the contrast in their voices.

Shinto Temples

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Shintoism claims the shrines. A signature construction of two beams laying across two columns alert you to its presence. Shinto is the primitive polytheistic belief of worshiping Nature. Open landscapes unspoiled by buildings and sidewalks is your sanctuary. No ceilings to block your prayers from the Gods. No scripture to follow, just a pure bond between yourself and the environment around you.

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Buddhist temples provide a quiet space to clear your mind. Inside, you can feel the energy wrap around you, filling you with peace. Buddha is often attributed to being the sole God in Buddhism, but in truth, he is an inspiration of how anyone can achieve Nirvana. In fact, the word “Buddha” actually means “enlightened.”

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The spaces between the shrines and temples life goes on in its typical fast paced fashion. You can see it inside the neighborhoods. There’s a delicate balance between steadfast innovation of the future, and preservation of the past. Like limbs of her body, each has a function, unique by itself but vital for the survival as a whole.

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Alleyways lined with small buildings full of tiny rooms which were once used, then discarded, during WWII are now the location for freelance Bartenders. Each space has a capacity to fit 10-15 people. An intimate gathering to enjoy the bartender’s signature drinks. Turning a once sorrow filled area into unique thriving maze for nightlife escape.

A million miles a minute

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Takeshita-dori in Harajuku is where the cool kids hang out. (Until it becomes “too popular” which makes it uncool and they find somewhere else to hang). It’s littered shops selling inventive sugary treats, clothing stores, and animal cafes.

Shinjuku has the world’s busiest railway stations, transporting over two million people per day. Its surrounded by skyscrapers with windows that double as digital displays. High end fashion with eye catching architecture, red light districts, and rooftop bars. Even the neighborhoods have neighborhoods.

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Tokyo opens your eyes to what’s possible. She makes you laugh and fills you with joy. She will run you ragged but delight you with grace. You can feel her strength and wonder at her magnificents. She will change your ill formed beliefs of what’s possible, morphing your doubt into inspiration.

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She’ll throw you into her chaos, make you second guess your abilities. But she’ll also take you by the hand and guide you, opening your eyes to knowledge and encouraging your curiosity. She lives and breathes, gracefully balancing chaos, order, and beauty. She’s a force to be reckoned with. Have you met her?

Ready to explore Tokyo? Book an appointment with one of our travel agents today, call 503-224-0180 or email inquiry@wittravel.com. 

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Hike the Camino de Santiago with The Wayfarers

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Always dreamed of walking the Camino de Santiago but never had the time or resources?

Not even sure where to begin to hike the world’s most famous pilgrimage route?

Never fear! Introducing two departures – one in Spring, one in Fall 2020.

Welcome to The Wayfarers

The Wayfarers is an exceptional company for walking vacations. They combine active holidays with a thoughtful mix of ancient sights and towns. Follow your expert guide on an adventure that packs weeks of wandering on your own in a single bite-sized, week-long trip.

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Follow ancient roads marked by graceful scallop shells – the symbol of St. James – through medieval villages, chapels, sanctuaries, sweeping valleys and soaring cathedrals

Highlights of a Week on the Road

  • Begin in Burgos, the burial place of El Cid
  • Visit the Cruz de Hierro towering above thousands of pilgrims’ stones
  • Discover the unspoiled village of O’Cebreiro with its oval stone huts
  • Rejoice in Santiago’s Praza do Obradoiro.

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A Wayfarer Experience

The Wayfarers stay in historic palacios, manor houses and pilgrims’ pousada (“pilgrim pensions”). In Santiago itself, reward yourselves to a night in the oldest hotel (and one of the most luxurious) in the world! The Parador de Santiago was originally a Royal Hospital and dates back to 1499. 

The history of the Camino de Santiago goes back to the beginning of the 9th century, with the discovery of the tomb of St. James in the Iberian Peninsula. Since this discovery, Santiago de Compostella has become a pilgrimage site across the entire European continent.

Just the Facts, Sir

7 nights from $4,495 per person

Double occupancy

Departures in 2020: May 2-9, Oct 10-17

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What’s Included

  • Full-time services of two staff – a Walk Leader and Walk Manager
  • A backup vehicle for resting walkers and moving luggage
  • Comprehensive Travel Information Package and Reading List
  • Diverse itineraries with an emphasis on history, geography, culture, peoples, flora and fauna
  • Demonstrations, wine tasting, admissions to museums and historic sites
  • All ground transfers (ferries, cable cars, trains, etc.)
  • Maps and unique souvenirs to commemorate your trip
  • First-class accommodations with cultural and historical interest
  • All meals – with choices – (Special dietary requirements? No problem!)
  • Wine with dinner
  • On-trail snacks and refreshments
  • All gratuities at hotels and restaurants

Call to discuss adventure holidays and walking trips with our travel consultants. Call 503-224-0180 or email inquiry@wittravel.com.

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