In this together, dare to Dream

90429287_2982952245074996_5709580655440953344_nIn this together, these three words have never meant so much.  Truly we are all connected.  As much as I love to travel and my desire to explore other countries, and cultures drives me. Our priority right now is life.   I hope you are all staying home with the loved ones under your roof, communicating with your family and friends through the miracle of technology and coming to terms with what is really important in our lives, our loved ones, our health and mankind.  Many lives will be lost, and much grief will reach worldwide, but please do not give up.   There will be a time of celebration that will follow.

There are some of you that are alone, please don’t feel lonely, reach out to someone. I am here for you call me, text me, lets video chat, always know there is someone out there to talk to.

Once this threat is over and a new normal emerges, we will understand how much we need actual human contact.  How good a hug from a friend or family can feel.  How much a handshake can change the world and appreciate that neighbor next door that checked in on you and made you feel necessary.  Hopefully are faith will increase, our children will see how we are all connected even though we may miles away. We will understand how important essential personnel are, like doctors, nurses, teachers, truck drivers, grocery workers and occupations that we have taken for granted.  It’s crisis like these that if we let it will bring out the best in us.

My heart goes out to all those that have had their incomes stopped, the many people in the service industry, the life blood of the cities, small towns and villages of the world.  As someone in the service industry I understand, and all I can say is I have faith and trust in a God that he will help us through this to better days.

Please remember our lives may be put on hold but our dreams have not.  Dream of better days, of sitting around a table with friends and family to share a meal or raise a glass, of attending faith services where we can pray together, for our children to once again gather at playgrounds and in class and of traveling safely to the many beautiful destinations of world that God gave us to explore.

We are in this together, We will get through this together and I am here for you now as a friend as someone to talk to and when have exited the darkness, as someone that can help you see the world and help you get rid of the cabin fever we are all experiencing.

Until them stay safe, stay healthy, stay strong and trust in God.

The End to our Italian experience. Part 6

 

We awoke to the hustle and bustle in the Piazza below our window.  I opened the shutters and watched as the vendors set up for the day, the sidewalks were being swept and the restaurants were preparing their patios.  As I reminisced about the last 9 days, I felt an overwhelming sense of peace and sadness.  I didn’t want this experience to come to and end.  We walked across the piazza for breakfast with a few others from out group, after which we met our guide and walked to the Colosseum.  As we walked through town a little slower today as we all didn’t want it to end.  We entered he Colosseum walls and you could just feel the history that happened here.  Our guide was great and gave us so much information, as we left the Colosseum we ventured to the Form and strolled around the grounds.  This was a morning filled with culture, history, and stories of the past.

After the tour ended Bert and I left the group and began to wander, we went to Spanish steps, walked by the “wedding cake building”, the Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II, and slowly lingered through the city.  I felt a little deja vu as some of the neighborhoods brought back feelings of when I walked these streets in 1977.

We met up with the rest of the group and made our way to Trevi Fountain.  My heart skipped a beat as we approached this magnificent fountain.  I stood there felt tears fall down my cheeks.  I really didn’t want this feeling to end. We of course took many pictures and selfies and couldn’t leave without throwing our coins in the fountain with a wish to return to amazing county. A few of us decided to dine together for our last night.  We walked to the Campo de Fiore and sat at an outdoor café. We shared memories over wonderful food and Prosecco, 9 days earlier we were strangers and now we were friends for life. 

All Roads lead to Rome Part 5

As we leave our amazing little hotel in Cortona, we can’t help but feel melancholy as we know that our Italy adventure only has a few more days.  We board the bus and head to Rome with a wonderful stop in Orvieto.  This jewel of a town gives you hospitality in a medieval setting. It’s  Duomo (church) in the center is just beautiful, we are also given a tour of the Underground a series of cave from the Etruscan era.  It was very interesting to see such intricate cave system under this amazing city. These miles of caves were used for refrigeration, wine and water wells.  After our tour, we stopped and had a bite to eat and do some shopping, the ceramics here were lovely. I stopped in a little shop and after purchasing some gifts, the little old man smiles leaned over grabbed my face and kissed my cheek.  I felt like family.  We wandered through the maze of streets up and down the hills and enjoyed some gelato.  Then we boarded the bus for Rome.

The hillside of Italy is simply stunning we arrived in the hustling streets of Rome and were taken to our hotel.  A location that couldn’t be beat. I opened our window and look directly at the Pantheon. You could look down onto the Piazza. I watched the people wander, the vendor open their carts and the life in Rome go by.  As the sun set, Bert and I wandered the street and ended up in Piazza Navona, we enjoyed a light dinner outside, while listening to a cellist.  We drank prosecco and watched the people enjoy life in Italy.  We strolled back, stopped and had a pastry before we headed back to the hotel. Tomorrow we visit the Vatican.

We awake to the sounds of the City, we walk across the Piazza for breakfast before we make our way with our group to the Vatican.  We are dropped off in front of Vatican City and meet our incredible tour guide.  She guided us through Saint Peters Basilica, the Vatican museum where we got to see the awesome Pieta. The opulence of it all is overwhelming.  To understand the history, the decisions and magnificence of the treasures within these walls is remarkable, but the most exciting moment of our trip was about to happen, and we didn’t even know it.  We were led into the Sistine Chapel; everyone is quiet as they gaze at the simply exquisite ceiling painted by Michelangelo.  As we stand in the quiet surrounded by many people a priest comes out onto the Alter, he greets us all in his broken English and explains that he will be on the side of the alter for any blessings that someone may want.  I look around and no one has moved.  I look at Bert and we move towards the Alter.  A policeman invites us up on the alter and the priest greets us.  He spoke with us for a few minutes, gave us a marriage blessing and blessed our children and grandchildren.  It was so surreal, as I turn around and walk off the alter, tears are flowing down my face.  The people in our group ask us how we arranged that, and I said I didn’t.  The priest just invited us up. Once everyone realized what was happening the live formed. It was such a wonderful moment it will be etched into my heart forever.

We left the Chapel and our tour ended, Bert and I decided to walk back to the hotel and as we excited Vatican City, we saw the Castle of Angels.  We decided to go through this castle and we both agreed this is a not to be missed site. It was so interesting and is was were it is said Michael the Archangel appeared as a sign to the end of the Plague in 590, this along with many other stories of angel siting lead to it name. It was used by many Popes as a fortress.  The artifacts within these walls are definitely worth seeing.  We left the castle and walked across the bridge of angles on our way back to the hotel.  We stopped in a piazza and ate a great pizza and had some wine.  We returned to the hotel to get ready for our farewell dinner.

We met the group and walked through the Jewish quarter and over a bridge to a small Island, Tiberina, where we entered the private apartment of Chef Fabio Bongianni, he runs a cooking school and has a restaurant called That’s Amore near Trevi Fountain.  As I walked through the door of this fabulous apartment, I felt warmth and hospitality everywhere.  We were met by a wonderful lady named Monica, she poured us Prosecco and introduced us to Chef Paolo, trained by Chef Bongianni, he was the one making this magnificent meal.  We enjoyed the evening and had a nice surprise when Chef Bongianni made an appearance.  The evening was superb and is another extra special event offered by our host with Story Land and Sea.  We returned to our hotel with slight sadness as tomorrow is our last day in Italy.  

Bella Italy: Part 3 Classic Florence

Imagine you awake and your bags have already been picked up, you wander down and have your last breakfast in Venice, although you are sad that you are leaving this amazing city you know that you are going to experience another Italian classic, the city of Florence.  We board a train for a short ride to the Tuscan town of Florence.  We get step off the train and you can immediately feel the difference, the laid-back quiet town of Venice is gone and you hear traffic and horns honk and feel the hustle and bustle of the city. There is a short walk to our hotel. Garibaldi Blu, in Santa Maria Novella piazza.  Where there are musician playing in the square.  We are greeted warmly by the hotel staff.  The hotel was wonderful, you walk into the lobby where Palm trees stand and, in the back, a small little bar with an amazing bartender.   We are shown to our room where our luggage is brought to us.  I never realized that extra step of portage makes everything so easy.  It is definitely the way to travel in Europe.  We meet the group for a short leisurely tour of the area and of course an Aperitivo.  Bert and I chose not to dine with the group and enjoyed the evening, strolling through the city, we walked to a nearby restaurant and had a lovely dinner.  Then visited with the bartender while he introduced us to some valuable wine information.

The next morning, we awoke had a great breakfast and joined the group for a day sightseeing. We met our local guide and followed him through the streets of Florence.  We visited the magnificent architecture of the Duomo and learned much about the formidable Medici family.  We also went into the Galleria Dell Accademia, to see the breathtaking “David”.  It was so amazing, pictures could not do it justice.  We visited a couple different Piazzas where you really experience the heart of Florence. The leather works there was incredible, you can see the pride in each by the craftmanship and heart put into it.

After the morning of touring a few of us went to the Uffizi gallery.  The numerous paintings and collection of ancient statuary was so impressive.  We spent 3 hours in the amazing building and still didn’t see everything.  You really need an entire day to experience every room in this very large building.  I would also suggest that you purchase your tickets in advance to avoid the long lines.

After leaving the Uffizi we strolled into the Piazza, sat at an outdoor café and had a wonderful pizza and wine, as we reminisced about what we were blessed to see, take in the atmosphere and enjoy the sights and sounds of Florence.

The evening was magical as we met back up with the group and walked over the Ponte Vecchio, again the sights, sounds and smells of Florence were everywhere.  People were singing, shopping and of course taking numerous selfies. We were headed to Piazzale Michelangelo, where we overlooked the entire city, we enjoy a cocktail some appetizers and a musician playing while the sun went down over this spectacular town.  I am sure this is not a regular stop for most tourists, but this hidden gem made visiting this town even more memorable.  As we walked back to town we left the group to find a little restaurant and a friend had suggested just over the bridge, but away from the tourists, Ristorante Santa Felicita, was a local spot with good food, great wine and you could tell by the friendliness of the staff a neighborhood favorite.  After dinner we leisurely walked back to the hotel as we anticipated another great day in Tuscany tomorrow.

Bella Italy, Part 2 of our Venice adventure, Gems of Venice, Gelato, and Gondola’s

We awaken with excitement of what today may bring, I open our window and as I look out to see water taxis going by, I hear the sounds of the city, I take in a deep breath and remind myself how blessed I am to be in this amazing city and tell myself to appreciate every site and sound. We join the group for a traditional breakfast.  Croissants, fresh bread, sweet rolls, eggs, prosciutto, cheese fresh fruit and yogurt, as well as strong coffee, this is the kind of breakfast the will greet us every morning for the next 8 days.  We meet our guide and will get to experience the Gem’s of Venice, The Basilica San Marco, the Doge’s Palace, the Bridge of Sighs and the Prisons of Venice. There have been many days of flooding over the past few weeks as we get to the Piazza San Marco it is dry, but you can see that they are expecting more water as the raised walk ways are beginning to be put up.  We enter the Basilica also known as St Mark’s Basilica.  To think that this church was supposed to be only for the Doge family is unbelievable. The artwork, mosaic and architecture are a thing of beauty. We moved through the Doge Palace, in amazement as it was so grandiose.  The bridge of Sighs and the prison gave us such a solemn feeling thinking of how many people last act was to walk across this bridge and that this would be the last time they would see the magical site of Venice, before they entered their imprisonment. By the time we exited the Piazza was flooded the many people were now walking on the walkways although there were the young at heart that kicked off their shoes and walked through the water, as you could see they were thoroughly enjoying the experience of this land called Venice.  We then we boarded a water taxi that took us across the canal to the island of Murano, to visit the Murano Glass factory. We were treated to a sample of how these precious items are made. The craftsmanship is perfection. We got a tour of the showroom where we were able to see these works of art up close. We returned on the water taxi, where we were on our own until we met for the Gondola ride.  A few of us found a quaint little restaurant and had lunch outside enjoying a wonderful glass of wine and gnocchi that were little pillows of heaven, as well as good company. After lunch we found a gelato shop that was amazing. It was Bert’s first taste of gelato in Italy, although I told him how wonderful it was 30 years earlier he never realized how good it could be.  You just don’t understand the difference in the taste of gelato in Italy, until you actually experience it. Bert and I used some of this free time to wander in and out of the stores, and just soak in the atmosphere. We rejoined the group for a traditional gondola ride. It was exactly what I imagined. The music that drifted around us, the friendly gondolier that chatted with us. We floated out into the grand canal to see the sunset, it was an experience that I will never forget.  We had an Aperitivo with the group and then walked to the Rialto bridge. The view was enchanting, we left the group for a wonderful walk and an amazing dinner for two. We found a great little restaurant write on the Grand Canal, we sat outside and made friends with a wonderful waiter.  I stepped out of my box and tried a cuttlefish pasta paired with a couple bottles of Moscato dinner was perfect.  We strolled back to the hotel to get ready to experience Florence tomorrow.

Luxury destinations, unique experiences and what to watch for in 2019

We are one week into 2019 and it was nice to look back at our trip to Israel over the holiday season. I hope you enjoyed reading about our holy land adventure, this destination is unique and one I would definitely put on a bucket list. It offers something for everyone and is an affordable luxury destination that provides a wonderful experience for all ages.

As I look back on 2018 it was a year filled with travel to new luxury destinations and new adventures that I look forward to sharing with you in 2019, from zip-lining in Belize and riding ATVs in Cozumel, to experiencing traditional Bavarian food in Germany and getting to know the land of my ancestors in Italy.  I look forward to sharing these incredible adventures with you over the next few months as well as bringing you some luxury travel tips and showing you a few hidden gems.

I use the word luxury as I describe many of my adventures because that is what I am proud to be able to provide to my clients. In 2018 I became a Certified Luxury Travel Specialist, which means I learned how to bring Luxury travel experiences that fulfill your dreams to each of my clients. But when I ask people what luxury travel means to them, I never get the same answer. It can be as simple as upgrading your seat on an airplane to economy premium or staying in a 5-star resort for the 1st time.  To some it means personalized service and private transfers, while to others it may means a small group tour with unique experiences.   It can be first-class seat on a high-speed train to a new destination in Europe or getting a balcony cabin on their first cruise. One thing that reigns true is everyone wants a unique experience that allows them to create remarkable memories that will last a lifetime.  It doesn’t mean you need to spend millions of dollars, (although that would be nice), it does mean that everyone wants good value for their money.  Value doesn’t mean it going to be the cheapest option, it means that they want to get something unique, to feel like they are treated like a VIP and come back being able to say WOW what an amazing trip.  Luxury isn’t only for the rich and famous it can be attainable by everyone.  Setting a goal, planning and letting me use my tools and expertise will ensure that you to can have that luxury experience you have always desired.

In my upcoming blogs I will show you some unique destinations, luxury experiences, and tours that are all available to you.  So keep dreaming, set your goals high and have faith that you will reach your travel dreams and let me and my team at GLK DREAM TRAVEL help you see the world.

Catching up to 2019, Israel, Caribbean, Germany, Italy and Windsor.

Last December we were returning from another adventure and learned many wonderful options for our clients. We visited Israel a historical and amazing land and country.  Everyone sees this amazing land with very different eyes and since we were there with other agents from all over the world. Different ages, genders and religions, we were able to see it through many different eyes.

Since then we were blessed to visit, the Caribbean aboard a wonderful Royal Caribbean ship. We also were able to visit Munich Germany as well as some wonderful Bavarian villages, to end that trip we travel by train to Italy and spent 10 days visiting the land of my ancestors and had a short stop in Windsor England.

2018 was a wonderful year and as I catch up on my blogging please watch for articles to come describing each of these destinations, new resorts and wonderful excursions that will give you some in site to traveling in these areas and hopefully will give you the desire to travel yourself.