After spending a week hiking in the mountains, 12 of us spent 2 nights in Venice! And after spending a week hiking in the mountains, 12 of us spent 2 nights in Venice! I was giddily anticipating this, because I had read that the tourist load was at 30% of “normal”, and of course we ALL read about how clean everything was after 18 months without tourists. The only other time I’ve been to Venice was in 1990, during a multi-month vagabonding through Europe. I was taking trains f
The Dolo-Mighty16 and our amazing guide, Karl Mather. I’ll probably cry, while I write this post, because I miss everyone SO fricking much. We all arrived with our respective spouses and/or friends, and from the first day, we knew the specialness of this group. By the end of our second day together, we were best friends. By the end of the week, we were forever-friends. All 16 of us, plus Karl! I knew I’d have fun with this new job, but I had no idea my heart would get so deep
Earlier, I wanted my posts to show you how the magnificence of the Dolomites transcends comprehension. I wanted to show you WHY the 16 of us signed up for this trip. Now, I’ll introduce you to our incredible 4* Hotel Adler in Villabassa, and the magnificent food we enjoyed all week … If our 8-hour hiking days were like scraping our knees, this four-star Tyrolean gem was like our mama sweeping us into her soothing and protective arms, kissing our tears away. Seriously—ANYONE c
Earlier this week, I found Heaven.
Yesterday, I met God.
Today, the Grim Reaper winked at me. We traversed one of the many Via Ferratas today (“iron path”)—2 of us chose NOT to do this from the start and walked an alternative route to our meeting place; 3 more of us (including me), left the “trail” when an exit presented itself 3/4 of the way through; the rest of the group bravely plodded on! For the rest of the day, I tried to figure out why my panic came up during THIS trav
I tried explaining today’s experience to a friend, and all I could come up with was this … I was in heaven on our previous hike, but today, I met god. Tonight at dinner, every single one of us talked about our fatigue for the very first time all week. This isn’t the kind of fatigue from just physical exertion—this is the kind that comes from emotional overload. We spent about 7 hours today in a perpetual state of awe. PERPETUAL. Around every corner, there was more awe. At one
My thought as we were descending today was, “If I don’t see another beautiful thing, if it just rains for the rest of the week, I’m ok.” What we experienced today SATURATED me with awe; words can’t describe what we saw, and photos look fake. Photo 2: The ruins of the bakery where Apfelstrudel was first created. View looking into Austria.
3: View of the “Three Chimneys” from our lunch spot.
4-9: Our lunch spot today, being on the summit, had 360° views of mountain peaks that s
Day 3 … Each day, the hikes ramp up a bit in intensity and scope. Today, we were on the trail for 8 hours, round-trip, reaching an elevation around 6500’. The beginning was very steep, wet (very foggy this morning), and gravel-ly—and many of us became concerned about making it through the rest of the hike. (Photos 1, 2) But after a bit, the steepness leveled off, the skies cleared, and for the duration of the day, it was 90% lovely, and 10% head-down-don’t-talk-to-me-I-can’t-
Day 2—This was our first day of hiking/walking, and our destination was Lago di Braies.
1. We walked through countryside
2. We walked through villages
3. Our first pit stop had swings:)
4. We walked through trees
(I guess I didn’t take photos of the steep parts of our hike, because I was just focusing on trying to breathe! 😆)
5. The Dolo-Mighty 16 at Lago di Braies!
6-7. Beer and Aperol Spritzes are a regular thing now.
8. This friend group of 25-30 years, from ME and CT, re
I’ll let the photos do the talking! Day 1–en route to and arrival in Italy …
1. Masked up in Logan airport, ready to board our first international flight in TWO years!
2. Breakfast during our layover in Munich.
3. Flying over the Dolomites!
4. Driving from Venice to our mountain hotel in Villabassa—about a 3-hr drive.
5. Our first dinner together as a group. I couldn’t have lucked out more—fun, social and inclusive individuals make for a ✨spectacular✨ group experience! Home B
About 2 months ago, my friend Carol, sent out a text to a few of us, asking if we’d like to go on a guided sunset ocean kayak cruise with her. For someone in a *normal* situation, that’s a very simple question to answer—yes or no. But this is what went through my head: I’m in the throes of packing, sorting and culling ALL of my worldly belongings; we have to store all our stuff for at least a year ($$$), and we’re downsizing our house by half and our property by 2/3s—so we’re
A few of you have asked why I do what I do–what makes me, as a travel advisor, different? Here’s the short version;) Both my parents immigrated to the United States and taught me by example to not only embrace “new” and “different”, but to seek it out, in order to truly own my experiences. This actually became my way of life: Between the ages of 0-18, I lived in 14 different places. I spent every summer of my childhood living with family (whom I continue to visit frequently)
Small group travel, hosted by Ilse! Carpathian Mountains If you love winter and traveling off the beaten path, then this trip is your dream come true! Transylvania – the name alone conjures up images of craggy mountains, gothic castles, horse drawn carts and forests filled with hibernating bears. The reality is not that far off. Crisp winters add an extra dimension to this small corner of Europe, as snow blankets the pastures, farmsteads and woodlands. Spend a week exploring
Where Can Americans Travel Right Now?: Current list with links to each country’s rules and protocols. By Mackenzie Roche for US News and World Report Hawaii Dropping Testing and Quarantine For Vaccinated Travelers: “Great news for travelers to Hawaii! Governor David Ige of Hawaii just announced that effective July 8, the state will eliminate its pre-travel testing/quarantine requirement for domestic travelers to Hawaii who have been fully vaccinated in the United States.” Joh
(If you haven’t read My Vietnam Experience Parts 1 and 2, please start there!) This post offers random snapshots of our brief time in Hai Phong, Vietnam … In the open-air eateries, these were the tables and chairs. At street vendors, they put these right out onto the sidewalks, causing you to have to walk around them–which meant stepping into the busy street. A couple of snaps of the food market; Ava in front of the Hai Phong Opera House; plein air shaving service. The Vietna
(If you haven’t read My Vietnam Experience Part 1, please start there!) The most fabulous experience I had in Vietnam was this … Ava needed a haircut. Badly. As we were walking back to the hotel, she spotted an upstairs salon that looked nice and said, “Let’s get me a haircut!” “Here? In Vietnam?” “Why not?” Why not, indeed. We saw the shoes at the bottom of the stairs, so we left ours there too, on the side of a very busy sidewalk, and walked up into the salon. After 15 minu
I took this photo at sunset on Ha Long Bay–no filter, no post-processing! When I visited my daughter, Ava, while she was studying in Bangkok (fall of 2019), we took a weekend to visit Ha Long Bay in Vietnam. Ha Long Bay has intrigued me for as long as I can remember, and I NEVER thought I would actually get there—or even have the chance to go. So as soon as I had booked my trip to Thailand, I booked our trip to Vietnam–since I was going to be in Southeast Asia, I HAD to make
Small group travel, hosted by Ilse! Immerse yourself in Vietnam’s mesmerizing culture and momentous history on a journey from the emerald mountains of the north to the sun-drenched beaches of the south. Discover a plethora of UNESCO World Heritage sites, including the imperial city of Hue and mystical Ha Long Bay. Glimpse rural life on a hike through idyllic Mai Chau Valley; enjoy a cyclo ride through the heart of bustling Hanoi; and descend into the famed Cu Chi tunnels, whe
Small group travel, hosted by Ilse! View Itinerary SNOWSHOEING IN TRANSYLVANIA! If you love winter and traveling off the beaten path, then this trip is your dream come true! Transylvania – the name alone conjures up images of craggy mountains, gothic castles, horse drawn carts and forests filled with hibernating bears. The reality is not that far off. Crisp winters add an extra dimension to this small corner of Europe, as snow blankets the pastures, farmsteads and woodlands.
Small group travel, hosted by Ilse! SNOWSHOEING IN TRANSYLVANIA! If you love winter and traveling off the beaten path, then this trip is your dream come true! Transylvania – the name alone conjures up images of craggy mountains, gothic castles, horse drawn carts and forests filled with hibernating bears. The reality is not that far off. Crisp winters add an extra dimension to this small corner of Europe, as snow blankets the pastures, farmsteads and woodlands. Spend a week ex
UK Administers First COVID-19 Vaccinations: “British regulators approved the Pfizer shot Dec. 2, and the country has received 800,000 doses, enough to vaccinate 400,000 people. The first shots are going to people over 80 who are either hospitalized or already have outpatient appointments scheduled, along with nursing home workers and vaccination staff. Others must wait, and health officials have said that those who are most at risk from the virus will be vaccinated in the ear