We Will Show you the World…

 Thank you for visiting our blog: a great place to search for deals and get ideas!                 While we  specialize  in  small ships cruises, river and Barge cruises, upscale Vacations, and Tours,  we service our clients’ every need.  Our core business is all about repeat clients and  referrals.   Most clients start their vacation search on the internet and we think that’s a good thing.  The web is a great source of information.  When it’s time to plan your trip, however, then leave it to the Professionals.   One call and we’ll do it all …

 

 

G Adventures Top 5: Vegetarian Hotspots

By: G Adventures
With a voracious appetite for vegetables, there are more than a few long-time vegetarians at G Adventures. If vegetables could talk, you’d hear them screaming when they trek into town.

Here are some memorable vegetarian stops we’ve had the pleasure to enjoy during wandering travels around the world.

#1 Chiang Mai, Thailand — While travelling through Thailand the most common vegetarian dishes are usually variations on veggie pad Thai or veggie Thai curry. While both are great dishes, don’t you wonder what the vegetarian Thai eats? In Chiang Mai we found a place that serves up the true North Thailand vegetarian experience. Mangsawirat Kangreuanjam is a small place within the city walls that serves up 20 to 30 different authentic thai dishes daily. Opening early in the morning this is a fantastic place for breakfast. All your choices are right in front of you and you can load your plate for less than two bucks.

#2 Rajasthan, India — (winner of our Best Vegetarian Country award) – India has got to be the best place in the world for a vegetarian meal. The variety in choices of dishes from north to south is mind boggling. One place that stands out however, is the Dream Heaven Guest House in Udaipur, Rajasthan. The meal of choice was a thali dinner consisting of 6 spectacular dishes served with rice, roti and papad. The open air roof top patio has a fantastic view over the lake, the old city and the floating palace. We enjoyed a Kingfisher beer as the sun went down and then enjoyed our meal in the cool evening air.

#3 Cuzco, Peru — Unlike India, South America can be a tough place to find a really good variety of vegetarian food. After a month touring around Peru we found ourselves a little tired of rice, beans and eggs and craving fresh vegetables. While in Cuzco we tried a place called Granja Heidi that had a Mediterranean theme. We had a delicious fresh green salad and penne pasta. Although the dishes were not peruvian, we did enjoy the meal with a Cusqueña beer.

#4 Chamonix, France — Okay, here is one of our favourite lunches. While in the Alps in early June we packed up a lunch consisting of fresh baguette, brie, olives, avocado and a great bottle of red wine and headed out for a hike through the mountains. After an amazing morning hiking through the forests, up the mountain and across alpine meadows we found a stunning view of the surrounding snow caps. There we sat in silence and enjoyed one of the best lunches we have ever had. Don’t forget the corkscrew.

#5 New Brunswick, Canada — No matter where you are you can usually find a vegetarian dish on the menu. But when you stumble upon a vegetarian restaurant in the most unexpected place it is a fantastic score and means you have more than one choice. While travelling through New Brunswick, Canada, we were fortunate, and surprised, to find a vegetarian restaurant just down the street from our bed and breakfast in a residential area of Moncton. The staff at Café Calactus restaurant were very friendly and they served us up some fantastic veg dishes at very reasonable prices.

Ditch the meat and contact R and B International Travel to visit one of these vegetarian hotspots!

Staying Healthy: Cooking, Dancing & Gardening

By: Collette Vacations

Dance the Night Away

Do the Hula in Hawaii…stomp out the rhythm of folkloric dancing in Mexico (and wear a bright colorful skirt just for fun)…tango the night away in Buenos Aires, Argentina…move to the music at a salsa dance lesson at San Antonio’s Institute de Mexico…experience the song, dance and guitar of the flamenco, the national dance of Spain.

Cooking your way to a healthier you

  • Cook with olive oil.
  • Cut down meat portions, and increase portions of grains and legumes proportionately.
  • Eat more fish.
  • Eat more leafy green vegetables and salads.
  • Sit down for meals whenever possible, rather than eating on the run.
  • Choose whole grain breads and pastas instead of refined products.

Gardening – Reap what you Sow

What is more gratifying than arranging a lovely bouquet of cut flowers from your own garden or savoring the delicious flavors of colorful vegetables that you tended from seeds and picked fresh that day? Many Americans list gardening as a way to unwind and relax. Squatting, stooping and bending in the home garden are good for circulation and “playing” in dirt lowers stress levels and promotes a sense of well-being.

Contact R and B International Travel and discover how fun staying healthy can be.

France Uncovered

By: Gregory Hall and Collette Vacations

There is a reason France is the most visited country in the world. See for yourself why… you won’t be disappointed.

Paris. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but a visit to Paris will leave you speechless. The city of lights and love, she is also the capital of the country largely considered to be the philosophical cradle of the Enlightenment. Paris is not only to be savored in the springtime, but summer, fall and winter as well. A quick ride in a Parisian cab or on the Métro will bring you to the Louvre, Notre Dame, Montmartre, Sacré Cœur, the Seine River’s famous left bank, the Hôtel des Invalides where Napoleon is entombed, the Galleries Lafayette or Printemps (or other famous Parisian shops) … the list goes on and on.

The dining: cafés, brasseries, and restaurants offer everything from basic fare to exquisite gastronomy – in the fancier restaurants, it would seem the chef moonlights as a poet, adding to the charm of the experience.

Normandy. Famous for its cider, Calvados brandy, and cheese, to most North Americans, it is better known for the pivotal moment in history that saw the Allied forces break through Hitler’s Atlantic Wall to open the Western Front in WWII. My first visit to Normandy started at the American Cemetery at Omaha Beach. I remember watching the early morning fog rise revealing perfectly arranged Carrara marble headstones shone like white beacons over the beaches the men they commemorate had helped liberate. I later learned why those grave markers are so white: one of the cemetery’s French custodians takes the time to paint all 9,387 of them each year. The whole area around the landing beaches is a living memorial to those valiant soldiers.

The Loire Valley. Cradle of the French monarchy for centuries, this part of France is where the magnificent chateaux of France can be visited. Chenonceau, once seized by King Henry II, was given to his mistress, Diane de Poitiers. After his death, Henry’s wife, Catherine de Medici, had Diane expelled and maneuvered a way to finally call Chenonceau her own. Astonished visitors marvel at the gardens, and this summer party house of royals and nobles, built over the river Cher. Not to be outdone, the chateau in Amboise is also a sight to see, with its secret underground passage. Built by Francis I, the passage connects Amboise to the Clos Lucé, the last home of Leonardo Da Vinci, who had been invited by the king to France and notably brought with him a painting of a certain smiling lady that now resides in the Louvre.

Provence. The inspiration of artists like Cézanne and Picasso. Many artists and actors have frequented Provence, renowned for the way its striking sunlight bathes its perched villages in a warm glow, the fragrant fields of lavender that blush a purple radiance in mid-summer, the olive groves and their related oil and tapenade, and the easy-going nature of its residents, many of whom gather to play long, relaxing games of pétanque under the shade of plane trees. The Mistral wind blows here, necessitating that many of its church towers be built with open wrought-iron campanile, as well as the planting of cypress hedgerows to protect crops and vineyards.

The French Riviera. This breathtaking area opens up France’s Côte d’Azur, where the rich and famous have been coming since the late 19th century for its Mediterranean climate, movie and music festivals, and Europe’s oldest principality in Monaco. Stone dolmens recall this area’s Paleolithic history, and its flower fields are the raison d’être for famous perfumeries like Fragonard in Grasse. Rénoir, Matisse, Chagall, Van Gogh, and Picasso all lived here, along with royalty from around Europe, and who can forget the fairytale marriage of Grace Kelly to Prince Rainer III.

Contact R and B International Travel and discover France Uncovered.

Gregory Hall, one of our seasoned Tour Managers, a citizen of France, who speaks fluent English, French and German, grew up in West Berlin, Germany, and now lives in Michigan. He spends much of his time guiding tours through Europe – and wants to take you on a virtual tour of some of his favorite parts of France!

Traveling Well to Austria

In Austria, history, breathtaking scenery and outstanding cultural offerings comprise the charming atmosphere that keeps travelers coming back. Austria resounds with music, art, architecture and history. This pristine Alpine country boasts cities like Vienna, Innsbruck and Salzburg, where travelers are welcomed with open arms into everything Austria is known for.

In Vienna, six centuries of Habsburg rule resonate. The city on the “Blue Danube” is graced with famous landmarks like the Imperial Palace and Schoenbrunn Palace, and monumental St. Stephen’s Cathedral. Located high in the Alps is Innsbruck, a colonnaded medieval town, famous for its Golden Roof. The bright Hofburg and the Hofkirche create lasting impressions as well. The Sound of Music was filmed in Salzburg and its environs, contributing to its international renown. Majestic alpine scenery, with steeples and palaces are also parts of the backdrop, which creates a beautiful wonderland for all who visit.

Exploring the Alpine Countries

13 days
Vienna • Danube Cruise • Salzburg
Mozart Dinner Concert • Munich • Oberammergau
Innsbruck • Bavarian Castles • Black Forest • Bern
Chateau de Chillon • Zermatt • Lucerne

Discover Switzerland, Austria & Bavaria

10 days
Bern • Chateau de Chillon • Montreux • Gstaad
GoldenPass Panoramic Train • Lucerne • Interlaken
Bernese Oberland Woodcarving Museum • Grindelwald
Innsbruck • Austrian Alps • Bavaria • Oberammergau
Salzburg • Mirabell Gardens

Did You Know?

  • Did you know that the car “Porsche” was invented by an Austrian called Ferry Porsche in Austria in 1947 in Gmuend and Zell am See?
  • Did you know that the energy drink Red Bull is an Austrian product? The Red Bull inventor and owner Dietrich Mateschitz also bought the NY Metro Stars soccer team in 2006 and renamed them Red Bull New York.
  • Did you know that the seven children in the film “Sound of Music” – which is a true story of the Austrian family, the von Trapps – had different names than the real von Trapp children? The real von Trapps were Martina, Johanna, Hedwig, Werner, Maria, Agathe, and Rupert. The movie children were called Liesl (played by Charmian Carr), Friedrich (played by Nicholas Hammond), Louisa (played by Heather Menzies), Brigitta (played by Angela Cartwright), Kurt (played by Duane Chase), Marta (played by Debbie Turner), and Gretl (played by Kym Karath).
  • The ancient province of Carinthia, Austria – known for beautiful lakes, mountains and winter sports – was the site of the first organic farming system in the world. In 1927, a new generation of Austrian farmers saw the benefits of organic farming in creating a better, healthier lifestyle. Today Austria has the highest percentage of organically farmed land in Europe.
  • Did you know that one of the most well-known Christmas carols originated in Austria? On December 24, 1818, the organ at the Chapel of Oberndorf near Salzburg was out of commission and a substitute was needed. The priest Joseph Mohr and the schoolteacher Franz Xaver performed, for the first time ever, one of their own songs – “Silent Night.”

Contact R and B International Travel and travel well in Austria.

60 Second Geography – Tuscany

 

Visitors to Tuscany for many reasons. Many come in search of fine art, others to explore the extraordinary countryside. Gourmets and wine buffs descend on Tuscany to enjoy the simple yet wonderful cuisine and wine. Walkers enjoy the mountain paths, cyclists the rolling hills, summer vacationers the sea coast and islands. Students come to learn the beautiful Italian language and culture.

There is a lot to see and do in Tuscany, the difficulty is really where to start. Certainly most should start with Florence, and continue on to Siena and Pisa (a tourist trap, but one worth the hassle). The cities of Arezzo, Cortona, San Gimignano and Lucca are all a very worthwhile use of your travel time. One of the beauties of the region is that it is dynamic and ever changing which begs one to return again and again.

  • See the Masters in Florence museums. The Uffizi Gallery is a world famous art museum. Here you can feast your eyes on hundreds of paintings by Renaissance masters. Artists include Giotto, Botticelli, Raphael, Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci. Then head over to the Accademia where you’ll find Michelangelo’s statue of David – one of the most famous sculptures in the world.
  • Go wine tasting in Chianti. Just about everyone has heard of Chianti wine, and now you can taste the red wine for yourself from the local vineyards in the region. Even if you’re not so keen on wine, it’s a gorgeous area to explore
  • Stroll around Siena. Siena is a well known town dating from medieval times. One of its most popular piazzas is the Piazza del Campo where you can sit down, relax, and enjoy a glass of wine or cup of coffee and indulge in people watching. If you feel energetic, you can climb to the top of the bell tower for breathtaking views of the surrounding area.
  • Visit Lucca. Lucca is a Tuscan town dating from 180BC. Founded by the Romans, there’s a 1900 year old amphitheater to explore and a sixteenth century brick wall that encloses the city center. If you are looking to work up a sweat, you can walk along the 2.5 mile long brick wall.
  • Take a Tuscan cooking class. If you’d like to know how to make authentic Tuscan dishes, then why not take a cooking class in Tuscany? There are quite a few different cooking schools in the region that offer anything from one day courses to intense week long courses.
  • Count the tower houses at San Gimignano. This town is 1,000 years old and is perched on a hill. Only 14 tower houses are left standing today which were a sign of wealth in ancient times. San Gimignano features churches and museums, as well as the Fortress of Montestaffoli.
  • Visit the Leaning Tower of Pisa. The town of Pisa is approximately 50 miles from Florence and is easily reached by train. In recent years the tower has been under renovations to shore up the lean. It is a bit of a tourist mecca, but still worth the trip.
  • Explore the Maremma region. The Maremma region is located in south-western Tuscany. This region boasts hills, mountains and the ocean. You can indulge in pleasures such as eating simple Italian food and tasting the wines of this region. Or if you feel like taking a dip, the thermal baths of Saturnia have the cure for what ails you.
  • Take an art class. Be inspired by the same landscapes as the Italian masters. Not only can you take a class in painting, but lessons in pottery, sculpture, drawing, ceramics and mosaics are also offered at the various art schools in the region.
  • Explore Cortona. If you’ve read Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes, then you may be familiar with Cortona. The Etruscans first lived here centuries ago and today it’s a town that offers visitors a feast of history and art.

Ready for the food, art and wine of Tuscany? Contact R and B International Travel and get started planning your trip.

60 Second Geography – France

The largest country in Western Europe, France looms large in the mind of the traveler as well. It’s coastline takes in three seas and its interior hosts rich pastoral vineyards and the most sophisticated of urban centers. The Alps and Pyrenees for natural geographic barriers for the nation historically. French is one of the most widely spoken languages, heavily influencing the English language and culture. The French take their holiday time seriously, with more than 25 days of paid vacation time each year.
  • France’s large size and geographic diversity means that its climate is extremely varied from region to region. From the long summers and abundant sunshine of the Mediterranean coast to the temperate regions of the interior and the Atlantic to the cold winter playgrounds of the Alps, the climate in France makes for plenty of recreational opportunities year-round.
  • In both a historic context and in modern times, the impact of French culture is hard to over-state. Architecture in the middle ages was heavily influenced by French styles and early French literature gave rise to the ideals of courtly love and chivalry. Today, Paris holds sway over haute couture and haute cuisine.
  • A holiday in France can range from city visits to special interest travel in the wine country, river cruises, culinary tours and spa tourism. Tourism from North America in the World War II generation maintains a keen interest in Normandy and the sites of great battles from that war.
  • France maintains its ranking as one of the most popular destinations for inbound tourism. The completion of the Channel Tunnel enhanced the ease with with travelers could move from the United Kingdom to the continent and made Paris a hub for traveler transport for Western Europe.
  • The great museums of Paris remain some of the most popular attractions for visitors. Institutions like the Louvre and the Musée d’Orsay host extraordinary collections of paintings, sculptures and antiquities.
  • The Côte d’Azur cities and beaches are popular with European and Canadian tourists, and increasingly so with a resurgence of travelers from the United States. Terrace cafés, quaint streets and blue oceans attract visitors looking for the essence of the French Mediterranean life and culture.
  • The wine country of France remains one of the most popular culinary and wine vacation theme locations in the world. Hosted tours and self-drive itineraries alike are available to travelers wishing to sample the fine wines, food, scenery and the grand chateaux of the wine regions.

Are you ready to getaway to France? Contact R and B International Travel and get started.

60 Second Geography – Spain

Worldwide, Spain ranks as the number two tourism destination. In the early 1950’s German, French and British tourists discovered the inexpensive and lovely beaches of Spain. The rest of Europe soon followed, along with Americans. Many opt for self-drive vacations, facilitated by excellent road infrastructure. The rail system is also well developed, though concentrated on Madrid. Independent travelers also take advantage of the paradores, government owned accommodations often situated in converted monasteries or castles.

  • Spain is the second largest country of Western Europe, with only France being larger.
  • The high plateau known as the Meseta is the predominant landform of the Iberian Peninsula, separated from the coast by the mountain ranges, or sierras.
  • The vast land mass and the mountains on the interior created great cultural diversity over the centuries with regional languages such as Galician, Basque and Catalan along side the more standard Castilian Spanish.
  • The great Pyrenees mountains in the north separate and, historically, isolated Spain from the rest of Europe.
  • Only a narrow waterway separates Spain from Northern Africa and at one time all of Spain was dominated by Islamic culture.
  • The long domination by Islam and the Moorish culture came to an end in 1492 and caused a deep resurgence of and devotion to Roman Catholicism.
  • The great Catalonian city of Barcelona is home to avant-garde artists and fashion designers. The 1992 Summer Olympics were there are brought the city great reviews.
  • The Valencia region is one of Spain’s most important agricultural areas.
  • It is in the Andalucia region where the Moorish influence can be most readily observed in the picturesque architecture of the villages.
  • The 1992 World Expo was held in Seville. Holy Week processions here are particularly well attended and travelers from all over Spain and Europe descend on the city.
  • The Costa del Sol is that region extending from Gibraltar to Adra and is the focal point for much of the European package tourism. Protected by the Sierra Nevada mountain ranges this area receives generous and warm sunshine nearly year-round.

Are you ready to discover Egypt? Contact R and B International Travel and get started.

 

Be Inspired by the Rhine River with Avalon Waterways

As it winds through castle-dotted hillsides, dramatic rocky gorges and picturesque Old World villages, the Rhine River 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.