Scenic River Cruise Review: Dutch Sites & Belgian Delights

The Rhine is one of the largest rivers in Europe, connecting six countries from its source in Switzerland to the North Sea. It was the main trading hub for many of the towns and cities that connected to it, creating thriving, wealthy economies along the river. As a result, communities along the Rhine are often an example of stunning architecture and historical landmarks. A river cruise on the Rhine is a relaxing way to explore historical sites, taking in the sights in a slow-paced relaxing way. That was why we chose the Dutch Sites and Belgian Delights itinerary on Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours. Our particular sailing had an extra day at Floriade, the once-every-decade eco-horticulture expo. That’s not on the schedule for future sailings. The itinerary is now called Windmills, Tulips, and Belgian Delights, but still shows off some […]

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Guide to Jordanian Wine

You may be thinking to yourself, surely there’s some confusion here – Jordanian wine? That can’t be true! Well, this is one hundred percent true – there are, in fact, wineries in Jordan. And they are actively producing wine today. Jordan is famously known for Petra, the ancient archaeological site located in the southwestern region of the country. Near Petra, more than 80 ancient wine presses were found believed to date to Nabatean times. In this post, you will learn more about Jordanian wine, its history, as well as the wineries in Jordan currently producing wine. So pour yourself a glass of vino, kick back, and immerse yourself in our complete guide to Jordanian Wine. The History of Jordanian Wine It is believed that this Arab nation, nestled between Israel, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Syria, has been producing wines since […]

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Your Guide to Pecorino Cheese: Tuscany’s Best Kept Culinary Secret

If there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that Italy is a food-lovers dream. Italian food is often associated with al fresco dining, sitting on a balcony overlooking the rolling hills of Tuscany, and digging into a delightful pasta dish accompanied by a glass of wine. We did plenty of that during our recent two-week stay in Tuscany, where conversation with friends is as much a part of Italian cuisine as the food and wine. One of the tasty treats that we enjoyed during our time in Tuscany was pecorino cheese. We were fortunate to be staying just about half a mile from a local pecorino cheese factory, where it was easy to pick up some delicious aged pecorinos for a fraction of what they’d cost here at home. Plus we could take a look at those hard-working […]

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US Travel Association Daily Getaways

My travel ethos is value luxury, which I define as luxury for real people rather than celebrity luxury. I don’t have houses all over the world, private jets, nor people who take care of all of life’s details. I do it all myself. Still, I love luxuries when I travel and my choices reflect what’s important to me that fit my budget. And while I receive many lovely travel invitations as a travel writer, travel still is a healthy line item in our household budget. I’m always on the lookout for great deals, special promotions, and loyalty programs that help me get maximum value for my travel spend. The annual U.S. Travel Association’s Daily Getaways promotion, which launches on July 18 and runs for two weeks, features a variety of special offers that fit my definition of value luxury.  The […]

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Best Aperol Spritz: A Complete Guide to the Classic Italian Cocktail (with Recipe)

The history of the renowned Aperol spritz cocktail can be traced back to the mid-1950s, although the hero ingredient was developed some thirty years prior. In this article, you will learn about the history of this refreshing delight, the role it plays in Italian culture, and its ever-increasing popularity around the world. I’ve also got a classic Aperol spritz recipe so you can make it at home, along with a few specialty variations that can be used to change up the classic cocktail and as well as options to make other spritz cocktails. If you’ve never experimented with making Aperol spritz or other forms of spritz cocktails, you will be more than equipped to do so after navigating through this article.  History of Aperol In 1919, two Italian brothers, Luigi and Silvio Barbieri, were on a quest to create a […]

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Sustainable Alaska Seafood on Holland America Alaska Cruises

We love cruising and believe that there’s a cruise for everyone. While we have our personal preferences, we also make different choices based on what we’re looking for. We also feel we have an obligation to broaden perspectives beyond our favorites in order to provide you with sufficient information to make the best choice. We want you to discover a cruise line and itinerary that makes you love it as much as we do, so we make our recommendations very carefully. Readers who ask me about cruising to Alaska always get this recommendation – a Holland America Alaska cruise. They’ve earned their chops – they’ve been sailing to Alaska and the Yukon for nearly 75 years. A recent initiative between Holland America, the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, and Culinary Council member (and Seattle chef) Ethan Stowell, puts sustainably sourced Alaska […]

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10 Essentials for Summer Travel

No doubt about it – we are traveling in a post-pandemic world differently than we did before. Some of the changes are small. We’ve needed to replace items, update a few things, and plan for multiple contingencies because things just aren’t going according to plan. The first trip of this year, I did such a poor job of packing, that I had stop by a Target store to buy all sorts of things I missed. It’s gotten better. We’ve made the conscious choice (and budget decision) to fly business class on long-haul international flights. While it’s certainly more comfortable, and I love a comfortable pod and lie-flat seat, there are other practical reasons for the decision. If something is going to go wrong, business class passengers have a priority for checked bags, rebooking in the event of a cancellation or […]

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101 Movies Set in Italy You’ll Love (or Hate)

Even if you can’t travel to Italy right now, you can get your Italian culture fix with these 101 movies set in Italy. This list represents films set in Italy, not necessarily filmed in Italy – we all know that set designers can make a studio backlot look like the meandering streets of Venice or a Tuscany hill town. While most of these movies are in English, no Italy movie list can ignore the many fine sub-titled Italian movies, so I’ve included some of those. I’ve tried to include the memorable, historical, and romantic movies set in Italy, while acknowledging there are a few that are, perhaps, better forgotten. And if you’re planning a first trip to Italy, this is a great list of movies to watch before you go. Any list is subjective. If your favorite movie set in […]

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Alaska Inside Passage Cruise: Onboard Holland America’s Koningsdam

Alaska is one of the most diverse landscapes in the United States. It has expansive mountain ranges, broad diversity of wildlife and marine life, a long-standing cultural heritage, and some of the best seafood around. It is also one of the most remote and elusive states. For many travelers wanting to visit all 50 states, Alaska is the last one to get checked off. Accessing Alaska is not easy, it’s not drivable much of the year from the contiguous US, and some areas have limited access by air. All of this goes into making Alaska a fascinating destination to visit and why an Alaska inside passage cruise is a popular way to see the last frontier. We embarked on a 7-day Inside Passage Alaska cruise with Holland America cruise line on their Koningsdam ship. While I’ve visited Alaska hundreds of […]

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Celebrate World Whiskey Day

Take some grain, corn, rye or wheat will do, perhaps malted barley. Ferment in a still. Age in a wooden cask, oak works well, for various years. Then put into bottles. Voila – you have whisky. Or whiskey, if you prefer. As a general rule, it is spelled “whiskey”—with an e—in the United States and Ireland, and “whisky”—without an e—in Scotland, Japan, and Canada. An easy way to remember it is if the country has an “e” in it, so does whisk(e)y. A simple basic process is at the root of all whiskey making, from the rotgut in the backyard still to the smoothest Irish whiskey. However, the process of refining the smooth taste has evolved over generations and has often been passed from one master blender to another. Whiskey has become strictly regulated, with very specifically defined classes and types based […]

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