Consider a trip to the land of the midnight sun, NORWAY.
How about hoping a plane to Norway? Well, it's not exactly a hop. You'll probably have a stopover or two getting there. Norway has definitely been on 'the list' of places to visit these last few years. People talk about it's incredible scenery and the beautiful fjords, viking museums and the Northern Lights. You can go in winter for the Northern Lights and in the summer if you want to stay up all night! Tromsø is considered to be one of the best places in Norway to see the northern lights. Tromsø is about 200 miles North of the Arctic Circle.
Another way to see Norway is on a Hurtigruten cruise. As a world leader in expedition travel for more than 125 years, Hurtigruten is an expert in navigating Norway's majestic fjords. I must say in travel, we usually don't hear about special offers before they happen, but this year Hurtigruten is having a Black Friday sale of up to 50% off on selected sailings with booking dates of November 27 – December 4, 2019. All expeditions are subject to availability at the time of booking. Other restrictions may apply. Watch this short video and enjoy a peek at the Hurtigruten way of travel.
If you enjoyed this blog, please share it with a friend you think will also enjoy it! If this video intrigues you, and you want to find out more, contact me!
Hello and welcome to the to the ‘Vacations Inspired – From a Traveler’s Perspective’ series. I’m sharing with you what I hope to be the first of many stories of my client’s travels. Another way for you to hear what my client’s say and to be inspired for your future travels.
Neil and Mary have traveled over the years to many of the places you and I dream about going to. This next adventure kept coming on and off their list. How it came to be was that a friend invited them (#traveltip - invite a friend) to come along with them, and the Galapagos Islands was back on. So, they emailed me to book their cruise. And as long as they were going that far, and knowing that Mary wasn’t too fond of flying, I suggested they just continue on down to Machu Picchu while they were half way there.
Mary has been a bird-watcher for over 10 years, so the Galapagos held some allure for them. Between the two of them, they are always on the look out with their binoculars and camera for another “life bird”. A "life bird" is a bird species that a birder has identified and seen in the wild for the very first time in his or her life. Some birders have a specific list, like a bucket list, or it can be any bird that a birder sees for the first time.
Machu Picchu was in the back of their mind because one of their daughters had gone there a few years before and highly recommended it. So off they went.
They sailed the Galapagos Islands with National Geographic & Lindblad Expeditions. Neil says, “If you want to go beyond your normal vacation, do more than return to the same destination or resort or escape from that typical cruise, tackle an expedition to the Galápagos Islands with an extension to Machu Picchu. The expedition provided opportunities to see wildlife up close from a kayak, paddleboard, zodiac, glass-bottom boat or while snorkeling, or simply walking on the beaches or on trails gazing at the Galápagos giant tortoises up-close.”
Expedition cruises have a team of experts on-board perfectly fit for the curious traveler; expert naturalists in all fields, even certified photo-instructor naturalists.
Memories - Galapagos
“Seeing the endemic wildlife of the Galápagos islands including the Galápagos giant Tortoise, Waved albatross, Frigate birds, Darwin’s finches and Marine iguanas and in addition, colorful footed birds as the Red-footed booby and the Blue-footed booby and also the only penguin to live north of the equator is a once in a lifetime treat. Never once did our ship dock at a pier as our standard mode of transportation on and off the islands was a rubber boat called a Zodiac. Whether going a shore was a dry landing or a wet landing the Zodiac was carefully guided by a skilled driver.”
And onto Peru
When Neil and Mary finished their Galapagos cruise, they boarded a plane from Guayaquil, Ecuador to Lima and then to Cusco, Peru where they were met by a private guide for their trip to their hotel in the Sacred Valley, which included sight-seeing along the way. After a day of relaxing at their hotel and adjusting to the altitude, the next morning their private guide picked them up bright and early for their trip to Machu Picchu by car, train, bus & hiking.
“The tour of Machu Picchu was fantastic. Flying into Peru to tour Machu Picchu finds you in Cuzco and above 11,000 feet. Cuzco was very colorful with Andean women in traditional clothing and llamas seen on the street. Don’t miss the marketplace with everything from souvenirs to food can be found there.”
How many life birds did you see?
“In Galapagos, 22 plus the great blue heron was a different subspecies, and a flamingo in its natural environment, not in the zoo, so that would technically bring the total to 24. Plus, on the rest of the trip (in Peru), I saw 8 more life birds. So, all together, I saw 32 life birds. Wow! I hadn’t counted them all up before.”
Thoughts on Using a Travel Advisor?
“Day tours, private transfers, hotel arrangements by Julie took the worry and trouble out of seeing the beautiful landscape, local people and finding the train and then the bus to see the ancient buildings of Machu Picchu.”
With a camera full (over 2,000 photos) of memories, Neil and Mary were ready to be home with time to rest for whatever travels come next. And I’m happy to help them with their travel planning. Do either of these two trips sound like just what you're looking for?
If you’re interested in a trip to the Galapagos, Machu Picchu or any other amazing place on this beautiful planet, please reach out to me. It’s my pleasure to help Vacations Inspired travelers experience authentic journeys where relationships deepen and cherished memories begin.
E A R T H D A Y.
Celebrate our big beautiful world by taking care of it. Here are 10 ways travelers ( you ) can help.
1. Turn out the lights in your hotel room. When you leave the room, turn out the lights. 💡 You do it at home. It’s a good idea to do it at your hotel room, too.
2. Try to use your towels more than one time before having housekeeping pick them up.
3. Recycle. If your hotel doesn’t have a recycling program, leave a comment suggesting one.
4. Bring your own shampoo. All those little plastic bottles of shampoo add up.
5. Use alternative transportation at your destination. Walk, 🚴♀️bike or use public transportation. Or if you’re traveling to a place you would normally drive to, see how you might use public transportation to get there.
6. Take a nonstop flight. ✈️ The most amount of fuel is used in takeoff and landings. Taking off and landing once not only helps the planet, but there’s less chance of your luggage getting lost. #twoforone
7. Stay in an ecolodge. If you’ve read this far in this post, I’ll let you in on a secret! Watch my social media pages for some cool ecolodges this week that you can enjoy on your journey. Let me know you love to be in on a secret by commenting on this post! 🙋🏼♀️
8. Be smart about sunscreen. Use reef safe sunscreen. ☀️
9. Likewise, dump the DEET insect repellents. DEET can be harmful to you and our planet.
10. Here’s an oldie but goodie, and still needs to be reiterated. Don’t buy bottled water. 💦 Bring your own water bottle when traveling. Airports have filling stations for your water bottle available after security screening.
Do you have a favorite #saveourplanet tip?
I was talking to my friend and rep from UnCruise this past week. What a wonderful way to see the world with really small ship cruising. UnCruise has ships ranging in size from 22 – 90 passengers. With their headquarters located in Seattle, Washington, the Northwest is their home and it shows in how they want us to experience the world and in their Northwest range of itineraries from Canada, Alaska, the San Juan Islands and even the Columbia and Snake Rivers. The idea of sailing the San Juan's has always intrigued me. I’ve definitely got this one on my spreadsheet of places to go. (yup, I’ve got a spreadsheet, no mere list for me.)
UnCruise also sails to Alaska, Hawaii, the Sea of Cortez, Costa Rica and Panama, and the Galapagos. It's a great itinerary for trips with friends, multi-generational families or even clients or employees traveling together. It would be fun to charter a whole ship, don't you think?!
Where would you like to UnCruise?
If you have questions about Vacations Inspired or are interested in a trip for yourself or with a group, please get in touch.
VISIT THE LAND OF FIRE AND ICE
If you're going to be cold, you might as well have some adventure! Let's head out for 4 nights/5 days in Iceland, the land of Fire and Ice.
Day 1. Arrive Iceland.
Your tour starts at Keflavik International Airport. From there you will drive through the harsh landscape and head for the Blue Lagoon. The lagoon is a unique geothermal spa situated in the youngest lava field in west Iceland. Take in the Blue Lagoon's spectacular surroundings or bathe in the milky blue-green water. For a unique experience indulge yourself with an outdoor massage or one of the spa treatments available there. Food and drink can be purchased at a restaurant, cafe and a bar. Before you leave, be sure and stop by the Blue Lagoon shop, showcasing Blue Lagoon skincare products made with geothermal seawater.
After this stopover, you will be delivered to your hotel in Reykjavik, which will be your home base for 4 nights. You might choose this 3-4* hotel surrounded by fantastic views of the sea, glaciers and city of Reykjavik, just a ten-minute walk from the city centre with its wonderful shops, restaurants and museums. Snuggle into your cozy room, stylishly decorated with vibrant colours, Icelandic artwork and Scandinavian designs. Each room provides a luxury bath amenities, coffee and tea, and free Wi-Fi.
After you check into your hotel and freshen up, then head out for a mysterious trip on this dark winter night. Any time from the onset of autumn darkness until the light nights of spring one can witness nature's most spectacular display; the Northern Lights. Far from the glow of the city lights, hunt for the exclusive Aurora Borealis, known as the Northern Lights. You may be lucky enough to see the Northern Lights swirling in a wild and carefree dance across the sky in dramatic shapes, colors, patterns and sizes. The Northern Lights are visible from September through April on clear night.
Day 3 - This morning enjoy a leisurely Icelandic breakfast at your hotel or at one of the nearby restaurants. What's on the breakfast menu?.. meats, hardboiled eggs, cheeses, breads, jellies, BUTTER, even paté… . Or try Iceland's own thick, creamy yogurt, skyr, with a bit of honey and granola. Then you're off on a Reykjavik Quad Bike Tour. Elevate your experience of Reykjavik’s natural splendor on an-hour quad bike tour of the Icelandic countryside. After pickup from your Reykjavik hotel, travel through the scenic surroundings and climb aboard a powerful 4x4 vehicle to begin your 60-minute quad bike adventure. Drive to the stunning Hafravatn Lake; ascend the side of the impressive Mount Hafrafell; and marvel at incredible views of nearby towns like Mosfellsbær, stopping at a traditional Icelandic farmstead on your way back to your hotel.
In the afternoon experience the city of Reykjavik with a Hop on Hop off 24 hour tour. You might choose to get off at the Maritime Museum where you'll explore the world of Icelandic fisheries and Coastal Culture. Or Hallgrims Church, designed by the late Guðjón Samuel in 1937, who was inspired by the fascinating shapes and forms created when lava cools into basalt rock. Step inside to see the magnificent pipe organ nearly 50 feet tall with 5275 pipes! Or experience a fish pedicure with the Garra Rufa Fish at Fishspa Iceland. Of course, there's always shopping to do and if you're there on a weekend, you can stop in at the Kolaportid fleamarket - the biggest fleamarket in Iceland.
This evening, explore the Reykjavik nightlife. Reykjavik is a town for foodies. Get your reservations in early for Fiskmarkadurinn - The Fish Market, one of Reykjavik's most expensive and sought after dining venues where delicacies such as puffin and whale are served. Be sure to start with the freshest and most beautiful sashimi. Then later join up with a small group for a Local Pub Crawl in downtown Reykjavik where you can try the wonders of what Reykjavik has to offer on a night out! Make new friends, create lasting memories and party like a Viking.
Day 4 Wonder what's beneath Iceland's lava landscapes? Head off this afternoon for a caving trip under a lava field in Iceland's Blue Mountains. Put on your caving gear, and explore the Leidanrendi cave, an ancient lave "tube"tunnel, with an expert guide. Absorb and explore the fascinating lava formations as you learn how they formed from different eruptions through the centuries. Great for adventure seekers and geologists! Not for people that are claustrophobic or afraid of the dark. Are you?
Day 5 - Your last morning in Iceland savor your coffee and breakfast and maybe experience your hotel onsite gym, spa and health center offering lava massages, sauna, and a seawater Jacuzzi before your transfer arrives to take you to the airport for your flight home.
I'm excited to see the Northern Lights and experience this beautiful land. What is the most exciting part about this trip to you?
If you'd like to go to Iceland this year, contact me now, to get started on your personalized getaway.
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