Category Archive: RT

5 Tuscan Towns for a Perfect Day Trip

It’s been awhile since we’ve traveled to Italy and it’s time to start making plans for a return visit. Our travel preference is to travel with friends and rent a home in Italy to use as a home base. Having a home base lets us set up a combination of days at leisure to relax and soak up the Italian way of life along with busy days of day trips seeing the countryside. There are many things that we love about Italy, especially the hill towns in Tuscany. Here are a few of our favorites, perfect as a home base, day trip, or weekend getaway. Castiglione d’Orcia Where it is: In the Siena province in Tuscany. Population around 3,000. What to do: Visit the Castle of Tentennano and the Santi Stefano and Degna to see art. Relax in the baths. […]

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100 Free (and Almost Free) Things to Do in Washington, DC

With all the attention on Washington D.C. during the presidential election cycle, it’s easy to think that the city is all about bickering between the various branches of government. In one of the United States’ most visited cities, there are plenty of attractions and things to do that are budget friendly – free or almost free – whether you politically lean left of right. This list should provide you enough ideas no matter what time of year you’re visiting. If you’re looking for something family friendly: Marvel at the National Zoo’s conservation efforts firsthand along the Asia Trail. Pay a visit to giant pandas Mei Xiang and Tian Tian, as well as their offspring, Bao Bao and Bei Bei (the youngest cub). Be sure to take a peek at their tiny neighbors, the red pandas, too. Stare up at the […]

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UNESCO Site: Visiting Malbork Castle, Poland

A visit to Malbork Castle Museum will feature both the historical and artistic aspects. There are also some archaeological activities and research, always looking for ways to add depth to the layers of history of the Teutonic Order and the Castle. The Order of Brothers of the German House of Saint Mary in Jerusalem, usually referred to as the Teutonic Order, is a Catholic religious order dating back to the 12th century. Although it was originally founded as a German military brotherhood, it’s purpose has changed over the years and since 1929 it has been strictly a religious order, although it harkens back to those early years with the conference of honorary knighthoods. Today the Catholic branch of the Order has about 1,000 members, and while originally no women were permitted, members today include a couple of hundred nuns. The Castle of […]

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7 Places to Sip Wine in France

When I think about traveling in France, food and wine are at the top of my list of things to enjoy. From simple peasant fare to exquisite fine dining, my mouth waters thinking about the choices. It’s been awhile since I visited France for longer than making a connection at the airport, but I still have fond memories of delightful combinations of food and wine. You can enjoy this experience with minimal effort. Arm yourself with some basic wine information, hone in on a destination or two, maybe even limit your “research” to one or two types of grapes. For your consideration, I suggest seven places to sip wine while you’re in France: Toast a special occasion with champagne in Champagne. Champagne is not just a delicious sparkling wine, it’s a legal term that can only be used for wine made with […]

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A Dozen Gardens From Around the World

The days are getting longer, and with flowers blooming in the yard along with a few peeks of the sun in the sky, it’s a great time to be in Seattle. Spring is finally here! Since the flowers in my garden are not terribly impressive yet – things will be in full color in another few weeks – I turned to some of my blogger friends to get a take on some of their favorite gardens around the world. I selected a dozen of them, one for each month of the year, and hope you can work a visit into one of them during your next vacation. 1.Springtime tulips at Araluen Botanic Park, Western Australia Western Australia conjures up images of red desert, barren gorges and rugged wilderness, but half an hour’s drive from Perth we found Araluen Botanic Park. […]

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Travel for Library Lovers

If you’re a lover of books and literature, you probably already visit libraries when you travel. Whether it’s stopping off to do a little research or get an internet connection at a local library, or to visit a historically or culturally significant site, sleuthing out a library in advance of your travels is worth your time. And if you’re going to be in one destination or an extended period of time, you may be able to get a temporary library card giving you access to books and services for the time you’re there. For a book lover, that’s a big travel bonus. (If you’re looking for reading ideas, you can find some of my recommendations here.) I asked a few traveling friends to share some of their favorite ideas about libraries. The Long Room, Dublin: when Jedi knowledge meets monastic […]

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Wine, Wineries and Vineyards On California’s Central Coast

California is the nation’s largest wine producer and California’s Central Coast offers some of the best wine and most breathtaking scenery in the state. Many wineries are small, family-owned operations so travelers have the opportunity to meet with the actual winemaker or proprietor to learn about the history and culture of this area. From Ventura up to Monterey, the cities of California’s Central Coast are home to tasting rooms and artisanal wineries while the valleys are home to picturesque vineyards and wine estates. As always with travel on California’s Central Coast, the best way to explore is a California road trip along the Pacific Coast Highway. Ventura Region Commonly known as the gateway to California’s wine region, Ventura County boasts its own world-class wine experience with numerous boutique wineries crafted from California’s best grapes. The best way to experience these […]

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Tips for Planning Your Universal Orlando Vacation

I thought I was a pro when it came to visiting Universal Orlando. After all, I’d been to Halloween Horror Night last year and had been to Universal Hollywood just a few months ago. But with the ever-evolving attractions, hotels and restaurants, and now a waterpark, it sometimes feels like I’m at a brand new destination every time I go. That means my strategies and tips for visiting Universal Orlando Resort are evolving, too. Here are my tips for maximizing the fun, while minimizing vacation stress, when planning your Universal Orlando vacation. Select Your Dates to Visit Universal Orlando I’m a big fan of shoulder and off-season travel as it often means fewer people and better prices. Mid-September through October is probably my favorite time to visit – the weather is warm but not stifling and the crowds are manageable. If you’re […]

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You’ll Never Want to Leave: Onboard the Viking Sky, Into the Midnight Sun Itinerary

We sailed off on the Viking Sky, leaving Bergen, Norway, for a 15-day Into the Midnight Sun itinerary that took us to the tip-top of Norway, then headed down to Scotland and England. It was Tony’s first trip above the Arctic Circle, and with the exception of Bergen, it was our first visit to all the locations on the itinerary. We enjoyed our time on the Viking Sky and never wanted to leave! We think you would love it, too. This is part of a series of monthly themed features talking about places we’ve stayed and never wanted to leave. This post may contain affiliate links, sponsored travel, sponsored content, or paid product placement. We’ve hand-picked these destinations and products because we like them and we think you will, too. Getting There We flew into Bergen the morning of our […]

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23 Spectacular Places to Watch Sunrise

After traveling in Norway on our Into the Midnight Sun cruise itinerary, I’ve grown an appreciation for sunrise. We spent the better part of a week where the time between sunset and sunrise was only about an hour, so it was easy to watch the sun come up. But what about when watching a sunrise is a little more difficult? Here are some creative places around the world where watching the sunrise can be a romantic, inspiring, and enjoyable experience. Pawleys Island, South Carolina – The beach houses and historic inns on Pawleys Island offer a feeling of home while still providing a nod to generations of island tradition. Arrogantly shabby properties provide both character and comfort, and the natural beauty and peaceful atmosphere of the island are a great combination to watch the sun come up. Gettysburg, Pennsylvania – […]

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