Category Archives: Group Travel

Stockholm with Context Travel

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Hej hej! This is WIT Agent Wailana reporting in from Stockholm, Sweden!

Today I learned that Stockholm means “Isle of Logs,” very apropos if you consider how green the city is! I just moved here 3 weeks ago and have been exploring to my heart’s content. It certainly is a change from quiet and sleepy Reykjavik!

Context Travel

So last week, I went on a tour of the Sodermalm Neighborhood with Context Travel. We at Wittravel are longtime fans of Context Travel: small groups, personalized itineraries, expert guides—what’s not to love? Their docents are experts in their field, Ph.D.-level scholars of history, art and archaeology. Context Travel strive for unique approaches to already popular destinations—including Rome, New York and Shanghai—and always seek to offer a diverse selection to fit the traveler. We’ve booked our clients on numerous tours with them and always receive rave reviews. And now I can count myself among them as a firsthand fan!

And guess what—today, July 18, CT officially launch their Stockholm program! So if you’d like a unique perspective on this (or any other) beautiful city, offer, call your agent at Willamette Intl Travel at 503-224-0180 or email us at info@wittravel.com.

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Kiki, my lovely docent

Södermalm Tour

The Södermalm Neighborhood Tour was a 3-hour intensive walk through the historic and modern parts of Södermalm Island in downtown STO. My guide was Kiki, an archaeologist from Uppsala who used to live in Södermalm and enlightened us of the obscure history of this hilly place: working class struggles, artists, witches, writers, a 18th century fad of brick houses, geology, executioners… she also shared personal anecdotes from the time she lived there for a decade during the 1970s, demonstrating how the neighborhood had evolved over the decades and what kind of people and protests flooded the streets over time.

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Slussen area of Södermalm

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Romantic Stockholm? “Back against the wall, and your legs around my waist. I kiss you again…”

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The elegant Katarina Church

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Kiki even brought her little dog Chinghiz Khan who was very well-behaved and added a bit of character to the tour

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The dark side of Stockholm–a lot of women were hanged in this little square as witches

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Some of the oldest houses in Stockholm

 

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Södermalm is full of hills and incredible views

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Filed under Europe, Group Travel, News, Sweden

Sherpa Expeditions: Walking & Cycling Tours

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Are you an active, independent traveler who loves to explore new locales on your own or within a small group? Are you on the lookout for authentic adventures at your own pace, but don’t want the added stress of figuring out which road, which hotel is best?

How about trying a walking trip? We recommend Sherpa Expeditions, a UK-based operator who organizes walking and cycling tours through the United Kingdom and Europe. Sherpa offers guided and self-guided itineraries that take the traveler to local B&Bs and inns through the countryside.

Journey along the rugged Cornish Coastal Path of Cornwall. Venture out into the iconic Scottish Highlands, from Loch Lomond to Ben Nevis. Trace the footsteps of King Ludwig across Bavaria’s beautiful countryside and fairytale castles.

You may ask yourself, “Why embark on a self-guided tour? Can’t I just do it myself?” Here are just some of the benefits to a tour like Sherpa Expeditions:

  • The Trip Framework is already organized–place to stay, hidden gems, a step by step guide through the region–so you can just relax and enjoy yourself.
  • Each tour is complete with detailed route notes, accommodation, luggage transfers, scheduled transfers, contact info & emergency support, and some meals.
  • Sherpa has over 40 years of experience, knowledge and professionalism organizing trips from the introductory to the challenging.
  • Carefully selected accommodation that reflects the local charm, and excels in service, location, and quality.

And if you opt for a guided walk or cycling trip, join an experienced and qualified guide, and 4-14 other like-minded individuals on an unforgettable trek.

Looking for a bit more challenge? Ask us about our friends over at Art Tours by Amy and Mountain Hiking Holidays (family-owned based in Portland). The former leads carefully crafted “art feasts” all over the world — the latter, small group mountain treks from Japan, Patagonia, the Dolomites, and more. With only a handful operating each year, these sell out rather quickly–so give us a call to learn more.

Call our agents at 503-224-0180 or email info@wittravel.com to bring your walking and cycling holiday to life!

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Safari with General Tours

Discover the incredible wildlife and landscape of Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe with General Tours.

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Willamette International Travel teams up with GT to arrange an unforgettable trip for you and your friends and family to Africa!

Enjoy a wide range of activities, from game drives in open 4×4 vehicles, serene mokoro canoe rides, bush walks and night game drives! Guides will take you into the Okavango Delta, where you’ll have chances to see the sable antelope, spotted hyena, leopard, lion and wild dog.

Then take to the water and enjoy a Sunset Cruise on the Zambezi River. Explore the beautiful Victoria Falls and the famous Devil’s Cataract. Explore Hwange National Park, with over 3 million acres and densest concentrations of wildlife in Africa. Don’t miss the giraffe, wildebeest, reedbuck, impala and zebra.

9 days not enough? Extend your tour for a few extra days of bush walks and night safaris in Chobe National Park. Or choose from other 3-Day to 12-Day Africa itineraries to fit your schedule.

Our friends General Tours guarantee that there will be never more than 16 guests at one time on any tour. Call WIT to book your tour, extensions, airfare and hotels: 503-224-0180 or email info@wittravel.com. 

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PRICES START AT 5899 USD per person, based on double occupancy.

Save $800 or more per couple when you pay-in-full at time of booking by Dec 28.

Tour Prices Include:

  • Safari Excursions
  • Park Entry Fees
  • 19 meals
  • 8 nights at hotel and safari camps
  • All on-tour transportation
  • All 3 internal flights and air fees
  • Luggage handling, hotel taxes & service charges
  • Toll free emergency assistance

WIT Owner and Co-Founder Christina Cooper has traveled extensively in Africa, escorting groups all over the region. She has had a lifelong passion with the continent and would love to share her knowledge and expertise for your next safari trip!

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Filed under Africa, Group Travel, News

Women’s Travel Group: Morocco

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Join Women’s Travel Group for a Christmastime adventure in Morocco!

The well-established travel group SITA has partnered with Women’s Travel Group to provide this fantastic opportunity for a women-only trip to Morocco. Flying Solo? Pairing options may be available.

This trip is bookable through Willamette Intl Travel, call us at 503-224-0180 or email info@wittravel.com for more details. We can arrange pre-/post-trip travel as well. 8 Days not enough? Extend it with a few extra days in New York or Spain!

Here’s a quick schedule of what to expect:

Day 1: Mon Dec 23. Depart New York for a short flight to Casablanca.

Day 2: Tue Dec 24. Casablanca/Rabat. (L,D). Arrive in Casablanca, be greeted at the airport by an English speaking guide. Drive through to the capital of Rabat. After lunch, enjoy a city tour of Rabat visiting the Kasbah of Oudayas Hassan Tower, the Royal Palace, Chellah Necropolis, Mohammed V Mausoleum, and the city gates. Overnight at the Sofitel Jardins des Roses.

Day 3: Wed Dec 25 Rabat/Meknes/Fes. (B,L). After breakfast, head to Fes via Meknes and Volubilis. Tour the beautiful small town of Meknes and its historic ramparts, stables and the majestic Bab El Mansour gate. Proceed to the well-preserved Roan ruins of Volubilis nearby, from which the lions came for Roman Gladiator fights. Stop in Moulay Idriss, home to the tomb of the founder of Islam in Morocco. Overnight at the Sofitel Palais Jamai in Fes.

Day 4: Thu Dec 26 Fes. (B,D) After breakfast, the English speaking tour guide will take you on a tour of the medina, old city, founded in the 9th century and a World Heritage Site. Take a tour of the University Karaouine, one of the oldest in the world, founded in 859 by a woman. Also visit beautiful fountains, arts and crafts, and the famous tanneries and souks of Fez. That evening, enjoy a dinner with entertainment at the Palais Medina Restaurant.

Day 5: Fri Dec 27 Fes/Marrakech. (B,L). Depart for Marrakech via the Middle Atlas. You will drive through picturesque pine forest, gorgeous hillscapes, and Ifrane, a popular ski and summer resort. Overnight at the Kenzi Menara Palace in Marrakech.

Day 6: Sat Dec 28 Marrakech. (B,L,D). Your English speaking local guide will take you on a tour of historic monuments, including the Koutoubia Minaret, Saadian Tombs, Menara Gardens and the Palais Bahia. In the afternoon, you will be driven to a cooking class at Riad La Maison Arabe (priced separately).

Day 7: Sun Dec 29 Marrakech. (B,L,D). After breakfast, you will visit the beautiful Les Jardins Majorelle, a botanical garden designed by Jacques Majorelle in 1920s from plants imported from all over the world. Then you’ll explore the medina and the world-famous Jemaa El Fna and come face to face with acrobats, snake charmers, fortune tellers, singers, healers, poets and food stalls. Enjoy the evening at a delicious Moroccan restaurant with accompanying folklore show. There is also an optional excursion into the historic Portuguese harbor of Essaouira.

Day 8: Mon Dec 30 Marrakech. (B). Depart Marrakech for New York City.

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Filed under Africa, Group Travel, Morocco, News

The Silk Road with Art Tours with Amy Osaki

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Courtesy of Walking Softly Adventures

Welcome to the Silk Road! Our partner tour guide, Amy Osaki, and her incredible tour company Walking Softly Adventures, are excited to embark on their Silk Road Itinerary in 2013. These high quality trips take a deep, intimate look into a region’s cultural heritage and its art history.

The Silk Road is a web of routes from Asia to Europe, traversing over 4,000 miles. Trade started to flourish on this network over 2,200 years ago during the Han Dynasty in China. Named after the most popular of the road’s merchandises, Chinese silk, it was also the main conduit for all sorts of goods, religion, culture, ideas, and technologies.

The Chinese monk Xuanzang traveled the Silk Road in the 7th century during the Tang dynasty, and returned to China with a stupendous collection of Buddhist manuscripts from India. These are housed in the Big Wild Goose Pagoda (Dayan Ta) in Xi’an, China. Guests will visit this Pagoda on October 10 as part of the Adventuring on the Silk Road tour with Art Tours by Amy.

Marco Polo traveled from Venice on the Silk Road with his father and uncle in the mid 1200’s (13th century). He met Kublai Khan who requested that they bring him oil from Jerusalem. In 1271, Marco Polo and his father and uncle, traveled the Silk Road again, and delivered the oil to Kublai Khan. The Khan prohibited them from leaving. It was 24 years later when Marco Polo finally returned home to Venice! When they arrived in Venice, the city was at war with Genoa and Marco Polo was imprisoned. He recounted his story to a fellow prisoner who wrote it down; this document was published as the “Travels of Marco Polo”!

From the office of Amy Osaki: “On our trip, we begin in Xi’an and then travel north and west by plane, bus, and even camel if you wish. We explore the western-most end of the Great Wall of China, where it meets the Gobi desert at Jiayuguan. We ride camels on the sand dunes at Dunhuang, and tour the superb Mogao Caves with one of the richest collections of Buddhist cave art in the world. Then we explore the innovative underground irrigation system that brought water to Turpan, nurturing the oasis and its delicious grapes and raisins. Nearby the Bezeklik Caves are adorned with 1,500 year old paintings, and Jiaohe is a 2,200 year old Silk Road city. Urumqi’s provincial museum is an amazing repository of the art and culture of the Silk Road people, including 3,800 year old mummies. Finally, we see the soaring mountains, Tian Shan mountains north of Urumqi, and the Pamir mountains west of Kashgar. Our trip ends in Kashgar, the last major Chinese Silk Road city before the 25,000 foot peaks of the Pamir mountains which separate China from Kyrgyzstan.”

LINKS

Read about Walking Softly in our previous blog post.
Read more about the Adventuring on the Silk Road art tour online.
Enjoy a slideshow of Walking Softly’s images from the Silk Road.

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Amy Osaki

Space on this special trip is limited. Contact your Willamette agent at 800.821.0401 to be penciled in for the trip. Your $400 deposit will guarantee your reservation.

Amy Boyce Osaki leads only one or two art tours each year. This will likely be the last opportunity to travel on the Silk Road with Amy. It would be her pleasure to have you join this guaranteed departure!

Look for mention of Xinjiang and Central Asia in our newest Spring newsletter, out next week! Call us to order yours FREE today!

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Filed under Art & Architecture, Asia, Group Travel, Vendors