Inspired by Patriots’ Day, the 115th Boston Marathon, and the Red Sox finally coming around, here are five Boston highlights:
Wherever you go in Boston you are walking in the footsteps of history. It seems it’s always the oldest or first of something. Consider this list a starting point for visitors.
Other favorites of mine include, Fenway Park, the Bell-in-hand Tavern (America’s oldest continually operated tavern) and Boston Common.
For Collette Vacations offers contact R and B International Travel.
Aegean Odyssey really was in the right place on Sunday when we were the first cruise ship to visit the re-opened Akrotiri Thera site on Santorini. Regarded by many as the ‘Pompeii of Greece’ the site was destroyed by a volcanic eruption nearly 4,000 years ago and was closed to tourists after a safety incident in 2005.
Many of our guests were unaware that the site was being re-opened and as the first cruise ship into the island, we were assured of a warm welcome and most importantly few other visitors.
Commenting on his first visit to site, Dr Matthew Nicholls, one of our guest lecturers onboard said, “The winding road up from the port takes you over the rocky spine of Santorini and you can imagine what life would have been like on the island before the volcanic eruption which covered the town and its inhabitants. The archaeological site has been completely rebuilt and covered with a new steel roof and is now fully open to visitors.
“We were lucky to have been accompanied by one of Voyages to Antiquity’s tour guides which helped us uncover the wonders of the site. You really need a guide to get the most out of the visit as many of the signs and info boards have yet to be completed. This made our whole experience so much richer and enjoyable.”
“One of the best parts of a Voyages to Antiquity visit is you don’t have to fight through hordes of visitors. We had the site to ourselves and were able to see so much. This really is a ‘must see’ for anyone interested in Greek history. The whole site dates back 850 years before Homer and is truly unique. We were privileged to have seen the re-opened site in its newly refreshed style and I hope to be back in the coming years to discover more.”
By: Avalon Waterways
As it winds through castle-dotted hillsides, dramatic rocky gorges and picturesque Old World villages, the Rhine River is the essence of romance. Born as an untamed river in the Swiss Alps, the Rhine takes the scenic route to the North Sea, illuminating some of Europe’s most fascinating sights and customs. Historically and culturally, the Rhine has been a crucial source of sustenance, pride and inspiration. Fortresses and castles along the Rhine’s embankments highlight the value ancient empires placed on these waters. While ancient times saw the Rhine as a dividing force, today the cities along its shores are an intriguing blend of cultures. Vineyards along the Rhine produce world-renowned vintages and riverside cafés and restaurants celebrate the region by pairing local wines with delectably fresh fare. With scenic splendor and enriching surprises around every bend, the waters of the Rhine set the stage for the very finest moments to be had in Europe.
15th century Attractions. 21st century amenities. Contact R and B International Travel and come experience the comfort of an Avalon Waterways Rhine river cruise.
For the first time in the 18-year history of Silversea Cruises, three of our ultra-luxury ships — Silver Cloud, Silver Wind, and Silver Spirit — called in the same port on the same day. The historic convergence of the three ships took place in beautiful Corfu, a Greek island renowned for its lush green hills and pure white beaches.
Surrounded by the sparkling turquoise waters of the Ionian Sea, Silver Cloud, Silver Wind and Silver Spirit greeted each other by sounding their whistles as they sailed into this charming and sophisticated port.
Corfu (or Kérkyra in Greek) is the second largest of the Ionian islands, and a land rich in history and myth. It was likely the last stop for Homer’s Odysseus on his fabled journey back to his homeland of Ithaca. For Silversea, Corfu will always carry special significance as the port that hosted an important milestone in our company’s own unfolding story.
By: Europe Express
Point to point tickets or passes? Are reservations mandatory? Where and when are seat assignments required? First class or second class?
Europe’s extensive rail system makes getting around easy and quick but picking the right ticket options and knowing the rules can be challenging. Here are 5 things to consider when navigating the world of European rail.
For other tips on navigating Europe’s 121,205 miles of track Contact R and B International Travel
A cruise to the Caribbean gives you the chance to partake in many fun and diverse shore excursions. Whether you want something action-packed or laidback, you can find your ideal activities ashore. Consider these:
Many Caribbean islands have zip lining parks. While in port in St. Martin/St. Maarten, visit Loterie Farm at Pic Paradis, where you’ll find not only zip lining but also an obstacle course high up above the trees.
If you’re on one of the islands that has a rainforest, consider hiking. Lush
and green, St. Lucia is a prime Caribbean port for this activity. See the
island’s exotic flora and fauna, and learn about the rainforest’s history and
ecology — and its effects on the island — from your guide.
You may be visiting an island, but the Caribbean still has some lively and
exciting cities to visit. A city tour through San Juan, Puerto Rico, is ideal
due to the many historic places located right in the city center. An expert
guide can share the stories of the sites and help you see as much as possible
before having to board your ship again.
Eastern Caribbean Cruise Guide
With local crafts and high-end duty-free stores, shopping ’til you drop in the
Caribbean is easy to do. In St. Thomas, an island especially known for its
duty-free shopping, partake in an excursion that takes you to some of the best
shopping spots on the island.
Nearly all Caribbean ports of call offer snorkeling — after all, these
locations are tough to beat. The Antilla Shipwreck in Aruba is a favorite spot,
as it’s shallow enough for snorkelers (not just scuba divers) to get a good
look at the wreck.
Six best places to snorkel/dive in Cozumel
Waterfalls and swimming holes
You don’t need to just swim in the sea while visiting the Caribbean. In
Jamaica, visit Dunn’s River Falls (see video here) and swim in the water at its
base. In Aruba, visit the Natural Pool, which is formed in the middle of large
rocks in a scenic location by the island’s coastline.
Play with sea life
If you’re an animal lover, the Caribbean is going to make you love them even
more, with the opportunity to see dolphins, monkeys, lizards and ride horses
along the beach. At Stingray City in Grand Cayman, you can swim with hundreds of stingrays who make their home in the bay and are used to human touch.
Western Caribbean Cruise Guide
Zigzag down a river while in the Caribbean on an exhilarating white-water
rafting shore excursion in the Caribbean. A popular place to do this is in
Jamaica down the Rio Bueno River, which takes you through fast rapids and
A distillery or brewery tour is a tasty way to get in touch with the local side
of an island. In the Dominican Republic, try some sips of its famous rum while
visiting a local distillery.
Southern Caribbean Cruise Guide
The Caribbean isn’t just beaches and tropical adventures; you can also view the remains of buildings left over from ancient civilizations. Many Caribbean
cruises make stops along the eastern coast of Mexico near Cancun. While there, visit the ruins of Tulum to see remnants of the way ancient Mayan civilizations lived.
Can’t decide which activity you most want to do? Don’t worry — most Caribbean cruises visit multiple islands, meaning you can enjoy a different type of excursion in each port. For adventurous and diverse activities onboard as well, check out family-friendly cruise lines such as Norwegian Cruise Line, Carnival Cruises, MSC Cruises, Disney Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean International.
Are you among the many been-there, done-that travellers yearning to explore some of the world’s more exotic destinations? Then you need look no further than the enchanting African continent to satisfy your quest.
From the awe-inspiring drama of the world’s oldest desert to the humbling beauty of the Big Five, journeys to Africa speak to your soul. It’s a place where you can track zebra and gazelle across expansive plains, dine in the Namib Desert under towering dunes and brilliant stars, or visit verdant vineyards at the Cape where history lives alongside nature’s most dramatic landscapes.
Plan your amazing discovery with Silversea and R and B International Travel .
Travelers to West Ireland find it an easy area to drive and cover, with so much of its beauty and attractiveness right outside the windshield in the countryside. From the rugged western coastline to green stone-walled pastures the vistas are certainly a big part of
the journey. But you can also sleep in ancient castles or spend the night in luxury modern spa hotels. You can visit ancient ruins and stone cairns of unknown origin. Whatever your mode of travel, West Ireland will put some magic into your visit to the Emerald Isle.The West Coast region includes some part of the following counties: Sligo, Leitrim, Galway, Mayo, Donegal, Southwest Offaly, Tipperary North, West Cork, Cork City, Kerry, Clare and Limerick.
Are you ready to plan your West Coast of Ireland Getaway? Contact R and B International Travel to get started.
Goethe once observed that Tuscany “looks like Italy should.” Fortunately, little has changed in the two centuries since the German poet was himself a tourist in Tuscany. The Tyrrhenian port of Livorno was founded in the 15th century. It is the gateway to Italy’s Tuscan region and to many spectacular sights; including the extraordinary Leaning Tower of Pisa, the charming medieval village of Lucca, the lovely hill town of San Gimignano and the timeless city of Florence.
No place is as imbued with such grace, dignity, serenity and history as is Florence. This city’s wealth of architectural and artistic treasures includes works by Raphael, da Vinci, Botticelli and Michelangelo. Truly Florence, cradle of the Italian Renaissance, is one of the world’s most enticing cities.
Contact R and B International Travel and start planning your vacation.
I stop my bike and dust flies in front of me.
Where is this place?
I’m on a dirt road leading to Wat Sok Pa Luang, a temple on the outskirts of Vientiane, the capital city of Laos. Having caught an early flight from Bangkok this morning, a massage and herbal sauna, recommended by my guide book, sounds ideal. Now I just need to find the place.
I look in my guidebook, scratch my head and look up. I see a red wooden sign nailed to the tree next to me with, “Traditional Laos herbal steam sauna and massage!!!” and an arrow painted on it.
Going through a bit of jungle, my skin becomes even stickier in the Southeast Asian heat, I finally reach a wooden house with a veranda, but it looks like someone’s private home.
This can’t be it.
“You want massage,” a woman yells down to me.
I crinkle my forehead and nod yes.
After walking up stairs to the second level, I sit down and am handed a bin for my things and a stack of folded clothes to put on. Always on edge about being scammed in this region, I’m not completely sure about leaving all my possessions with people I don’t know in the middle of the jungle, but I go with it. A woman directs me to enter what looks like a closet made of petrified wood. As I do the steam hits me. It’s the herbal sauna I was reading about.
While in there I’m joined by a monk, but we don’t speak to each other. After leaving I’m given tea from a shiny tin pot then directed to one of the flat beds for a massage. I imagine it can’t be much different than a Thai massage, but as the man hits points in my body in ways I never knew possible, I do feel like it’s a completely new experience.
Trying out spa techniques and services while traveling is about much more than just relaxing.
“It will open your eyes to the different traditions that go in hand with that specific region,” says April Bingham, director of the award-winning Aria Spa at Vail Cascade in Vail, Colorado. “They get to using items and techniques, some you might not find in the United States.”
One of the things you’ll notice when traveling the world is that there is never a spa too far away and that massages tend to change, sometimes drastically, from place to place. Whether it be a soft touch and relaxing hour in Sweden or sweating profusely and having your body twisted in Turkey, no massage is alike and each offers a different historical and cultural experience. Here are 8 different massages to try around the world:
Contrary to what you might think, the Swedish massage did not originate in Sweden. In fact, it wasn’t even created by a Swede. According to an article in Massage Magazine, written by magazine founder Robert Noah Calvert, Dutch practitioner Johan Georg Mezger (1838-1909) is credited with adopting the French names for basic strokes that were systemized in the massage we know today as Swedish or classic.
This technique was somehow confused with Peter Ling’s, Swedish Movement System, in the 19th century, giving the massage the actual wrong name. It’s only really referred to as a Swedish massage in the USA though. Across Europe and in the rest of the world it’s just a classic massage.
The Swedish or classic massage is defined by being a massage of frictions, a mixture of stroking, kneading, striking and rubbing. It’s recommended for athletes or those who exercise often as they’re known to have a buildup of lactic acid and the massage can loosen that to allow fresh blood to run through.
Where to try it
This is one massage that is offered all over the world, but since the technique was created by a Dutch man and named in French, give it a try in the Netherlands and/or France. Remember to ask for a classic massage there.
Jacqueline Avis, spa manager at The Oyster Box in South Africa, says while her spa offers this massage and it’s growing in popularity across the region, you have to go to the tribes of East Africa to trace its roots.
“The Rungu stick is a wooden throwing club or baton, bearing special symbolism and significance in East African Tribal Cultures,” says Avis. “In Masaai culture the Rungu is an important symbol of warrior status to the young males. The Masaai are from Southern Kenya & Northern Tanzania area.”
Avis says that the key to this massage is using a Rungu stick to help penetrate deeper into the muscle for a more intense experience.
“The shaft of the stick is used for effleurages and circular movement on larger areas and the larger knob is used on bigger, muscles and the small knob is used to get into smaller spaces like the scapula,” she says. “If you like a deep tissue massage then this massage is great to relieve tension.”
She added that this massage improves blood circulation and sensory nerve perception as well as increases lymphatic drainage and give people a deep sense of relaxation.
Where to try it
This technique is becoming very common in spas, like The Oyster Box, around South Africa and also popping up in spas in Europe.
Shiatsu may be known as Japanese today, but its origins are elsewhere. According to the Shiatsu Society, “Massage, along with acupuncture and herbalism, was for centuries an integral part of traditional Chinese medicine, which was introduced to Japan by a Buddhist monk in the 6th century.” The Japanese went on to use these ideas in their own style and in 1919 practitioner Tamai Tempaku organized the practice into a regiment technique and it was eventually recognized by the Japanese Government in 1964.
Shiatsu means “finger pressure” in Japanese and applying pressure to certain parts of the body is extremely important in this massage, but there are many variations of Shiatsu to fit a particular person and practitioner. Shiatsu also includes some alternative techniques like acupuncture and cupping. The aim of this technique is to create balance in the body.
Where to try it
Why Japan, of course! Japan Shiatsu College has been approved by the country’s Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare. They offer courses as well as a treatment center. Not to mention that this massage is available in spas all over the country and the rest of the world.
You’ll find several variations of this indigenous technique all over the world, but its roots are less known about than other massages on this list says Mary Nelson of Tucson, Arizona, creator of LaStone Massage, the original hot and cold stone massage.
“With the stone work, it was sort of a secret with all indigenous people,” she says. “Not just Native Americans and they would sometimes use temperature.”
She write about hot stones being used in therapies throughout history and that this sort of energy work can be traced back 700 years to the Hopi Nation, there reservation is located in Arizona. With the help of her spirit guides she conceived the practice of hot and cold stone work for LaStone massage in 1993.
While some places only offer hot stone massages, Nelson says the focus of LaStone is applying different temperatures to the body for affect.
“The whole goal is about using temperature to get the body to chemically respond,” she says. “It’s all about alternating temperature to make the appropriate changes for the cleansing process.”
She says that this technique can be added to other massages and that applying hot or cold temperatures to the body is going to make the experience that much more powerful and that it’s going to stay with you, sometimes even three days later, as opposed to ending as soon as the masseuse stops.
She wants to make it clear that not all stone massages are alike and that she highly recommends going with a certified LaStone therapists as they are trained to know what temperatures to apply, which is the whole point.
“LaStone Therapy is going to work with all parts of the system,” she says. “There are dances that go on with vibrations in the body and it affects you chemically, emotionally and spiritually.”
Where to try it
You can find a listing of LaStone practitioners on Nelson’s website. Since it can be traced to Native Americans in the Southwest, we recommend trying it on your visit to the region.
Baths in Europe and Asia have existed for centuries. However, the Ottomans in Turkey were particularly interested in building baths in the then capital city of Constantinople when it was named in 1453. Ottoman architect Mimar Sinan, designed several important bath structures around the city, which is now Istanbul, during this time. Some are still in operation today, like Cemberlitas Hamami, giving spa-goers a truly unique chance to take part in an old world activity, in the same place it’s been happening for centuries.
Visiting a Hammam in Turkey is about much more than just receiving a massage. There is an entire process to your visit. According to Cemberlitas Hamami’s website, steps leading up to a massage include, changing into a pestemal or traditional cotton body wrap, heating up the body in their camekan, which is a sauna with a heated marble platform at the center and having your body scrubbed down and washed by an attendant. Then you receive a massage, which they offer variations of, but depending on where you go and who your masseuse is, can include people walking on your back and twisting or pulling at your body, so be prepared or ask ahead.
Where to try it
Cemberlitas Hamami has been in operation since it was built by Mimar Sinan in 1584, so it’s quite the experience to visit here. That said, there are several Hammams to choose from in Istanbul, so read up on which one sounds right for you.
Thai massages, often referred to as yoga massages, have been taught from generation to generation orally, leaving little documented about the massage’s history. In an article for Massage Magazine, Anthony James, a natural medicine doctor, credits Jivaka, contemporary of the Buddha and personal physician to Bimbisara, who served as king of North India from 543-491 BC, with creating the foundation for the modern day Thai massage, which explains its links to yoga.
A Thai massage requires a bit of movement from both the masseuse and receiver. It will include deep tissue kneading and rubbing, but the masseuse will move your body parts in certain ways and apply pressure to give people a deep stretch. You’ll hear quite a lot of cracking in your bones if the masseuse is doing things right.
Where to try it
It’s pretty hard to go anywhere in Thailand without being solicited about a massage and they’re so cheap in the country, you can afford to say yes every time. Wat Pho in Bangkok, which houses the famous reclining Buddha, is a world-renowned massage school. Students there offer their services to the public, so it’s a nice place to stop during a day of touring in the sticky city. Plus, it’s more of a spiritual experience receiving this massage in a temple as opposed to a random parlor.
Continuing with Indian influence, this massage spawns from a 5,000 year system of healing in the country. According to an introductory article to the practice by Scott Blossom, a traditional Chinese medical practitioner, for Yoga Journal, Ayurveda or “knowledge of life” is “a system of healing that examines physical constitution, emotional nature, and spiritual outlook in the context of the universe”. Massage in several variations is a part of this system.
For the head massage, practitioners use certain oils as they knead and stoke all over a person’s head, going through their hair, but focusing on hitting their temples. They’ll also work on your shoulders, hands and more in this massage. Narenda Metha, author of “Indian Head Massage: Discover the Power of Touch”, notes in Yoga Journal that this massage supports the nervous system by alleviating stress, allowing the body to release and repair other areas.
Where to try it
Since India’s cities can be very busy and you’ll want to completely unwind with this spa service, maybe look into visiting a yoga retreat or meditation center while in India. Places like Ayurveda Yoga Villa in Kerala offer spa services.
Now for the massage that started this piece. It’s hard to find direct information about a Laos massage, but you can trace is similarly to the Thai massage, linking to Jivaka in India. Though the origins are similar, the technique and ritual is slightly different and you may find that you prefer one to another.
A Laos massage is conducted as pressure is applied to certain points of the body in a repetitive flow. You’ll notice a bit of foot reflexology in there and it’s somewhat softer than a Thai massage, but still you’ll feel cracking in certain points of the body. One common addition to this massage in Laos is the herbal steam room as mentioned at the start.
Where to try it
If you want a truly unique massage experience where you go off the beaten path in less than a 30-minute bike ride from Vientiane, head to Wat Sok Pa Luang. The massage house at this religious area will be in the forests. Look for signs.
– Bobbi Lee Hitchon
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