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Road Trip! European Edition

Road trips and European vacations are pretty much the two best kinds of vacations out there. So why not combine the two?!

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Everyone loves a good road trip. There’s just something about getting the hell out of town and hitting the open road that makes you feel alive. But it can also be a fun and entertaining element of a European vacation! Here are some of the best road trip options in all of Europe.

GERMAN ALPINE ROAD, GERMANY

If you’ve ever been a fan of The Sound of Music, then this is the European road trip for you! The incredible combination of snow-peaked mountains and lush greenery will have you shaking your head in amazement every mile along the way. Some of the highlights include King Ludwig’s castle, Lake Constance, and Benediktbeuern Abbey.

RING ROAD, ICELAND

Thanks to its breathtaking views and delightfully cold weather, Iceland is quickly becoming one of the hottest vacation destinations in all of Europe. And if you want to get a road trip in while you’re there, Ring Road is the place to go. This whole trip can be done in just about 12-14 hours but has plenty of amazing volcanoes, icebergs, and hot springs along the way.

ITALIAN LAKES AND THE DOLOMITES, ITALY

What else can you say about Italy at this point? It’s just an incredible country that everyone needs to experience at least once. And what better way to do it that with a countryside road trip! This one is best enjoyed when given ample time, even as much as a full week. There are countless perfect lakes and quaint as they come villages along the drive. Just be sure to do it in the summer, and the area starts to see snow in the fall.

RING OF KERRY, IRELAND

Similar to Iceland, Ireland is a very popular vacation destination these days thanks to its incredible views and bundle-up-worthy weather. Sure, there are great Irish cities like Dublin, but if you really want to experience Ireland you should hit the Ring of Kerry in the southern part of the country. It’s only about 180 miles long, but you’ll see enough waterfalls, mountains, and castles to make you feel like you really did Ireland right.

AIX-EN-PROVENCE TO CASTELLANE, FRANCE

It’s no surprise that France is a beautiful and vacation-worthy country. But the drive from Aix-en-Provence to Castellane is rarely talked about as a must-see… and it should be. The incredible fields of lavender alone make it beyond worth it, but then once you’ve made it to the unbelievable beauty of Verdon Gorge you’ll be happy with your choice. Just be prepared, some of the mountain passes include some very narrow and winding roads!

NORTH COAST 500, SCOTLAND

This route is named as such because it covers a whopping 516 miles. But nearly every one of them is worth it if you want to have a great road trip experience during your trip to Scotland. You’ll catch plenty of lochs, mountains, rolling glens, and, of course, a few castles. There are even some amazing whiskey distilleries along the way. But you stop in one of those be sure you’re just grabbing some whiskey for later when you’re not driving.

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Destinations

Traveling Across All 7 Continents in a Wheelchair

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For many, traveling across all 7 continents is an ultimate goal. For Cory Lee who is also a traveler, however, it’s his most fervent wish. So, he found a way to reach his dream destinations.

A Traveler with Skeletal Muscle Atrophy

Lee has been using a wheelchair ever since he was 4 years old. Diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy, a genetic disease that causes weakness and skeletal muscle atrophy, Lee was raised by his single mother who was a teacher. He says that he developed his love for traveling because of the numerous road trips they did together across the US.

Visiting Antarctica before Covid Travel Restrictions

Right before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Lee and his mother were able to visit the last continent on his list, Antarctica.

In his interview with “Good Morning America,” Lee shares that the trip “was surreal. There were icebergs, mountains of ice, penguins. It was everything you would imagine and more. I was moved to tears.”

Advice on Travel Essentials

When asked about how he got to execute those trips despite being in a wheelchair, Lee shares that traveling in a wheelchair requires systematic and extensive planning. He adds that his recent Antarctica trip was already booked 2 years prior. He said that each trip needed in-depth research of what various tour companies had to offer including the possible destinations he and his mother could go to and the transportation required to those places.

To help other travelers who may want to visit those destinations, Lee began writing a travel blog, “Curb Free by Cory Lee,” enlisting all the travel essentials based on his travel experiences.

He shares that, out of the 37 nations he visited, Morocco and Antarctica are his best choices. Lee mentions that he did not really have “high expectations of Morocco but the alleyways of Marrakesh, the snake charmers, it blew me away.”

Traveling on a Wheelchair

Lee insists that traveling while using a wheelchair is entirely possible. Doing in-depth research helps people discover the multitudinous conveniences that travel companies have to offer. To further encourage younger travelers to start their own dream destinations list, Lee launches his new children’s book entitled “Let’s Explore with Cor Cor.”

The book narrates the story of a young boy who travels the world using his power wheelchair. Lee asserts that children must not only learn about the different travel destinations but also about those who may be entirely different from them.

Lee’s book was released on 26 July which coincided with the 30th anniversary of the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) which was successfully passed after he was born.

Limitless Possibilities

In closing, Lee shares that “traveling to all seven continents wasn’t something I was sure was going to be possible, but if you stay determined and keep a positive attitude, the opportunities are limitless.” Indeed, having a disability does not prevent anyone from reaching their goals. Travel restrictions are not solely based on the present quarantine measures practiced all around the world. They can include personal issues that may prevent easy mobility, as well. Nonetheless, Lee serves as a credible inspiration for everyone as he points out that nothing can really stop us if we persevere and continue to reach for our dreams—and our desired destinations.

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Destinations

2017’s Newest Travel Trends Revealed

How exciting, a new year and 12 whole months of travel possibilities, I’m ready for the new travel trends. Where are we going to go and what the heck are we going to don once we get there?   We can say goodbye to eco-tourism as…

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How exciting, a new year and 12 whole months of travel possibilities, I’m ready for the new travel trends. Where are we going to go and what the heck are we going to don once we get there?   We can say goodbye to eco-tourism as the hottest trend on the travel block, 2017 has some interesting stuff in store for us.

 pantelleria

European Islands

It’s nice that the exotic, far-flung islands had their pinnacle in 2016, because those well-known hot spots are now over with. They aren’t over and done, they just aren’t the hottest spots anymore. If you want to go to Turks and Caicos, I won’t stop you, but you won’t be considered elite anymore. If you want that true baller experience in 2017, you will have to go to one of the small, unknown European islands, like Pantelleria or Naxos. Naxos is a Greek island, not Santorini or Mykonos, so its lesser known. Check it out if you are interested in divine local cuisine and a fresh take on island life. 

Meanwhile, also in the Mediterranean Sea, Pantelleria is in Italy, between Sicily and Tunisia. Made famous by Giorgio Armani who has a home there, this unknown island is going to be real hot this year. These future hot spots are favorable because of their anonymity and prestige.

 

bellmont farms 

Food Resorts

The clear-cut winner for travel trends this year is Food Resorts focusing on farm-to-table and ocean-to-plate menus. These resorts are hiring the best chefs, sourcing from the most local and fresh producers and satiating all their guests’ wildest cuisine dreams. This trend is following food trends all over the globe, where diners want the freshest and healthiest foods prepared by world-class chefs.

Check out Kittitian Hills in St. Kitts, for some top notch locally sourced cuisine. They have their own organic gardens, livestock and even use goats to cut their grass, talk about grass roots.

Another real winner at food resorts is Bellevue Hotel in Croatia, where the entire flat roof has been turned into a usable garden.

 sailing

I’m on a Boat

The comedy group Lonely Island said it best, “I’m on a boat, Bitch!” Everyone wants to go sailing or party on a yacht, but until now that kind of lifestyle has been unaffordable. Thanks to an adventure-travel company, Intrepid Travel, being on a boat is everyone’s business. They are offering affordable sailing adventures to amazing destinations for a fraction of the former price.   Live like the one percent with their weeklong sailing tours, through remote destinations like the Zanzibar archipelago.   Snorkel in exotic locals, sip champagne on yachts and ball out like Lebron James on your budget.  These trends are getting exciting and making me want to travel now.

 

finemerch 

Resorts simplified

Resorts are stripping down to the bare essentials and focusing more on relaxation and pampering instead of opulence and luxury. Gone are the clunky cluttered hotel rooms and instead rooms are adorned with just a huge comfortable bed. Expect restaurants to simplify their menus and only offer eth freshest and most delectable items. These new luxury standards should catch on and help with the enormous waste that these resorts create.

 

glacier 

Polar Excursions

People are tiring of the same old beach resort or mountain cabin; instead travelers in this New Year are opting for more extreme locals. Welcome the new polar adventures, where vacationers will face the harsher climates for a more rewarding excursion. Glaciers are a huge destination in 2017, as people realize that with global warming, many of these destinations won’t be around for long. Get those snow mobiles warmed up and make sure you have warm clothing, because 2017 just got interesting. Cruises are now setting course for the Arctic Circle, as adventurers want that polar ice cap experience.  Polar travel will include penguins, polar bears and the exquisite Northern Lights.

 

2017 is starting off with a bang, so set your travel destinations and make travel happen.

 

 

 

Photos courtesy of bellemontfarms, wikiwand, intrepidTravel, finemerch, MontanaVacationBlog, starchop

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Destinations

Lesser Known Wine Regions that you Must Visit

Everyone knows that Napa Valley or Burgundy France are wine traveler’s destinations of choice, but there are plenty of other fantastic regions.   A true wine connoisseur will tell you that the soil and environment are just as important as the type of grape used to…

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Everyone knows that Napa Valley or Burgundy France are wine traveler’s destinations of choice, but there are plenty of other fantastic regions.   A true wine connoisseur will tell you that the soil and environment are just as important as the type of grape used to make wine. The world has embraced wine making and excellent booze is now being produced all over the map. Let’s explore and see where these hidden wine gems are located and what makes them so special.

Wine producers are spreading their wings and growing some superior grapes in some unexpected places.

npr 

Kakheti, Georgia

I’m not talking about Georgia in America; I’m talking about the one that straddles Europe and Asia. This former Soviet country has excelled in producing some really interesting and delicious varieties of grapes. Wine production is nothing new to this region as archeologists have found winemaking equipment dating as far back as 6,000 BC.

One unique thing that wine makers in Georgia do is they ferment their wine in clay jars instead of the standard wooden or steel barrels. The clay gives Georgian wine a distinct sweet taste and earthy after tones.

 

Douro Valley, Portugal

Known as the birthplace of port wine, the Northernmost region in Portugal is a wine lover’s heaven. With panoramic views of the rolling hills and beautiful vineyards, wine has been produced in this region for over 2,000 years.   The golden colored hills and the divine port produced here will make this a favorite among port snobs from around the globe.

 chilled magazine

Finger Lakes Region, New York

White wines flourish in this Northern New York region, specifically Rieslings. The expansive landscape is dotted with waterfalls, 11 glacial lakes and one great lake, giving the region miles and miles of beautiful coastlines. With well over a 100 wineries, the Finger Lakes region is the largest wine-producing region East of California in the USA.

 tenerife

Tenerife, Canary Islands

Grown in rich nutrient volcanic soil, Tenerife produces exquisite reds and whites. The largest of the Canary Islands, Tenerife features grape varieties that were completely wiped out of the European mainland in a mid-1800s epidemic. The rare varieties create distinct flavor profiles and memorable aftertastes. The island views and abundant sea life compliments the island’s white wine collections.

 

Healdsburg, California

Avoid the rush that happens in Napa and head just an hour North to Healdsburg wine region. Producing similar quality wines, Healdsburg is Napa’s red headed stepchild. Born out of the need t have more wine tasting locations, Healdsburg boasts over 200 wineries and multiple award winning varieties. California has some of the best weather and soil combinations in the world, so it’s no surprise that he wine here is fantastic.

 pinterest

Door County, Wisconsin

If you are a fan of fruit wines, Door County should be your next stop. Located in the Midwest, Door County has eight wineries and is famous for their tart cherry wine. Specializing in fruit wines, Door County has plenty of grape varieties as well, so a little something for everyone.

 

Franschhoek, South Africa

Nestled just 45 short minutes from Cape Town, Franschhoek was originally known as Elephant’s Corner for the huge elephant population that roamed here. Now known for their impressive wine, the area is the best in South Africa and possibly all of Africa. Enjoy a hop-on hop-off style tour that stops at every winery and you can get a real taste of the region.

 

Enjoy these of the beaten path wine regions and taste some of their specialties, to see what all the hype is about.

 

 

Photos courtesy of Schug, NPR, chilled, New York Times, pinterest

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