• Go while you’re still young and good looking!

    5/11/2011 8:26:25 PM Link 0 comments | Add comment

    Adventure, Travel



    That has been my advice to those who share their travel dreams with me. This month marks my 56th birthday and though some might say I am neither young or good looking, I know that inside, that 20 year old who ventured abroad on his first trip to Europe armed only with his innocence is alive and well. During that Summer of ‘ 72 I hitch hiked all over Western Europe living out of a sleeping bag with my world in a back pack and a budget of $5. a day.

    “ I wa wa wa wa wander..”

    The need to wander is perhaps as much a part of the hierarchy of human needs as food, clothing, shelter etc. The Germans even invented a word for it, wanderlust. If you accept that human beings have been around for at least 100,000 years and that civilization only goes back about 5,000 years, then we have spent at least 95% of out existence as wanderers. “ They call me the wanderer, yeah I’m a wanderer …”

    People eventually settled into towns and anyone who was still out wandering about was labeled a Barbarian. That’s because the ancient Greeks thought that anyone who didn’t speak Greek sounded like he was going Bah Bah Bah. Years later the Beach Boys wrote a song called “ Ba Ba Ba , Ba barian “ Not wanting to be ostracized, pretty soon everyone settled into towns with the end result that the majority of people lived and died within 20 miles of the place they were born. This was because in the words of George Bush, it was Hard Work ! The very root of the word travel is from the French word travail which means hard work. Back then you had two choices of transportation, on foot or on horseback, neither one of them comfortable unless you were too dumb to know the difference.

    “ Leaving on a jet plane …”

    Ask most people what the most significant advances are of the last century and most will mention computers, telecommunications or medicine but seldom will you hear transportation. I am in awe everytime I get on a Jumbo jet and fly around the world in a few short hours to destinations that used to take months. And still people moan louder than a dying calf in a snowstorm about the rigors of flying. Others will pay the equivalent of a months salary just to travel on the same plane in a little extra comfort. On my first trip to Europe in 1972 my ticket cost about $400. The amazing thing is that you can still fly to Europe for about $400. or what I spend on a good weekend at home.

    Travel is the one investment that will always appreciate, never go down and will enrich your life till the end of your days. Mark Twain said, “ Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the things that you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails.

    "Explore. Dream. Discover. “

  • Readers Choice Award

    5/11/2011 8:23:39 PM Link 0 comments | Add comment

    Travel Books

    Adventure Vacations has won the Reader's Choice Award for Best Travel Agency in La Jolla ! Many thanks to all our friends who sent in their letters of support.
    With the stock market in the tank and a lot of gloom and doom on the news about the economy, many people are putting their travel plans on hold. This is a mistake. The economy is always in a state of contracting and expanding, a constant breathing in and breathing out and in a few years we'll all be wondering what all the fuss was about. The only real wealth is your time and your health. In a few years the money you spent on your dream trip will not have made a bit of difference in your life but your memories of your travels will add joy to your life for the rest of your days. I spoke to a past client yesterday who had put off his travel plans and now regretfully told me he waited too late. A French proverb says " Make your dreams eat your life before life eats your dreams !" Good advice.

  • Armchair Travelers

    5/11/2011 8:21:51 PM Link 0 comments | Add comment

    Travel Books

    I'm a big believer in reading about my intended destination. Not only for valuable tips and information but also to enhance the whole experience. I'm a nut on history, art, literature, wine, architecture and language. In addition to guidebooks I enjoy travel narratives about the country . We all know what " Under the Tuscan Sun " did for Tuscany and what " A Year in Provence" did for Provence. There is a whole genre of books dedicated to ex patriates moving to a foreign country like Italy or France and buying and restoring an old farm house. It's a dream that resonates in many of us even when we live in places like California. I know because I have a small library on the subject right down to how to buy a house in Italy and France. Funny thing is that Peter Mayle and Frances Mayes both had to move because so many tourists were showing up at their door !

    One of my favorite authors , not quite as famous as Frances Mayes but a far better writer is Ferenc Mate. He is a true Renaissance man having been born in Hungary raised in Canada and the US and for the last 20 years a native of Tuscany. He has 2 excellent books on living the Tuscan dream, " The Hills of Tuscany " in which he relates the story of how he came to live there and his latest, " A Vinyard in Tuscany " in which he fulfills a life long dream of starting his own vinyard and restoring an 800 year old monastery. In addition to being a world class wine maker, he is also an expert on sail boats and his next book will be set in Tahiti. Check him out.

  • Burgundy

    5/11/2011 8:17:18 PM Link 0 comments | Add comment

    Burgundy France

    Just back from a fabulous week in Burgundy, a name I'd only previously known as a color and a wine. An ancient land about an hour's train ride South East of Paris, Burgundy's rich heritage dates back to Roman times as a trading center on the old Roman road and later as the famous wine producing region with vinyards dating back over a thousand years. Another product that the region is famous for is the world famous Dijon Mustard. Burgundy abounds with Gastronomic delights as in addition to some of the world's great wines, there are a number of Michelin 3 star restaurants. My first 2 nights were in the charming river-side town of Joigny where I stayed at La Cote St. Jaques, home of world famous 3 star Michelin Chef Jean-Michel Lorain. Dinner was a 4 hour tour de elegance including a visit to the wine cellars where some of the bottles were the price of a new car ! I asked my waiter in my rusty French for the wine cork for a souvenir and he brought me back the wine labels from the bottles we had shared which he had soaked off the bottle, mounted on velum paper and encased in plastic which he presented to me after dinner. The next day we toured the fabulous Fontenay Abbey founded back in the 10 th century where hundreds of monks had toiled throught the century inventing the first water wheel powered machinery which in turn gave birth to the Industrial revolution. From there we visited the town of Saulieu , a Roman trading town and home of another 3 star chef, Bernard Loiseau. Lunch was a masterpiece of taste and presentation hosted by the chef's wife. Sadly we learned that the Chef had a taken his own life a couple of years back when he heard a rumor that he might lose one of his Michelin stars. The rumor proved to be false but the damage was done.
    One of the most facinating sight in Burgundy is Guedelon where a group of dedicated Renaissance Faire refugees are building an authentic 14 th century castle with 14 th century technology. All hand built, no machines and they expect it will take them 25 years. They are now in their 12th year and it looks fantastic ! On the way to Dijon we stopped at Vezelay, a quaint medieval town classed as a UNESCO world heritage site with a beautiful Basilica which served as the launch point for King Richard's Crusade.
    Just 30 miles South of Dijon is the wine capital of Burgundy, the town of Beaune. This medieval treasure is just filled with ancient ramparts, castles and the famous Hospice. We spent a splendid afternoon touring the vinyards by bike and learned much about this industry which has served the region for over a thousand years. It always amazes me that this land which has seen people tramping over it for so many years and yet has remained so beautiful and unspoiled.
    Dijon, the capitol of Burgundy has a well preserved medieval center of town with Ducal Palaces, 9 th century crypts, cathedrals, art museums and all the cultural attractions of a much larger city.The beauty of Burgundy lies in it's unspoiled elegance, unequalled gastronomy and quiet pace of life that has endured down through the milenium. A place not to be missed.





Online Agency Travel Websites