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Teresa Fritschi, Last Minute Travel and LMT Club Guest Blogger
Read more of Teresa’s posts on her blog at: http://teresafritschi.wordpress.com
I recently received an email from my friend Ken at Last Minute Travel and LMT Club – “Would you like to be our #TravelTweetChat guest for this week, the topic is travel and romance…” to which I replied, “Yes, I’d love to!”
11 months of meeting (all kinds of) men through OKCupid, years of thinking (and writing) about ‘happy endings’ as well as the promise of new beginnings, passion, intimacy, tenderness, romance, words to convey longing, reuniting, and love, exploring the world (largely alone) – maybe he wasn’t so far off with his subsequent words of “We need an expert on love and travel, that’s you!”
So to help you plan your Valentine’s Day travels, it’s time to roll up my sleeves!
Chansonnier de Jean de Montchenu, made in France, c.1475. This is an example of a cordiform (heart-shaped) manuscript. It contains 44 love songs by composers such as Dufay, Ockeghem, Binchois, and Busnois.
The romantic love (rather than relationships for political expedience or strategic alliance) as most of Western society understands it can be directly traced to the courtly love of 12th century France. The troubadours and their lyrical love poetry sung to the accompaniment of a lyre or lute, in nearly every instance this courtly love was directed toward a presumed married, virtuous and unattainable woman (an aristocrat surely and written of as a goddess on earth). The words were always of her being pined for by a younger man. If he was sufficiently eloquent (and physically compelling) she might deign to take him as her lover – a grand passion, erotic love, in French called fin’amour (discreetly conducted, even if everyone knew) and, you should know, it was always HER CHOICE to call him to court or to her bedroom. So let our journey of love begin in France – but fast forward to Paris in the 20th Century and the scandalous affair that would be publicly condemned by the Vatican, result in two marriages but also two divorces of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton.
I have loved every experience I have have ever had in Paris – every single drop of the joie de vivre, the taste of Bellini’s and (multiple bottles of) Veuve Clicquot in Harry’s (American) Bar as well as the the Bar at the Hôtel Lancaster, where Liz and Dick would take over two of the eight floors of the hotel when they were in town, the exquisitely appreciative men whose words tried to seduce me into their arms whilst I simply climbed the stairs of Sacré-Cœur, the forgiving effect which my décolletage ensconced in a black lace bra made by Lise-Charmel peeking out from a Chanel jacket had while breathlessly repeating “Je me regrette, Je M’excuse, Je vous prie de bien vouloir m’excuser” in arriving to Palais Garnier et de l’Opéra bastille , alors!, late. I have never stayed at the exquisite Shangri-La Paris mais oui, j’ai eu le coup a foudre!
The journey of love doesn’t require grandiosity – I know, I know, it’s lovely but romance can mean just as much when traveling in a late model van. Skating on the Fond Pond in Boston Common? Followed by a dinner of lobster fra diavolo at The Daily Catch in the North End and cannoli at Caffe Paradiso is perfect in a settled-into-our-relationship-let’s-just-be-kind-of-way. And if you aren’t “in love” or not in a romantic relationship
is there a better city in America for sharing with a best friend of either sex? I think not! I mean, Ray Kinsella and Terence Mann sitting in Fenway Park? Are you really going to tell me that their ‘bro-mance’ didn’t make you want to plan your own road trip to Kenmore Square to find your own Field of Dreams?
I am falling utterly, ridiculously, in love with the people and country of Croatia. Like two of the other countries of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire I have visited (Austria and Hungary) this horseshoe shaped country is a compelling mix of people who truly appreciate living, who are, as the French would say, bien dans sa peau (comfortable in one’s own skin), an epicurean and oenophile dreamscape made real – found in Istria (adjoins Italy’s Province of Trieste) where Roman emperors regarded the wines amongst the best their empire had to offer, running south and east along the clear beautiful waters of the Adriatic with its 1,000-plus islands of the Dalmatian Coast and onto the music festivals and lifestyles of the rich and famous of Dubrovnik in high season and back to Zagreb – the land and the descendants of Bronze Age inhabitants are proving worthy of my heart. If you can handle the F-bombs of Anthony Bourdain, see his reaction to the food, the wine and his experience from a year ago which aired in March 2013 and I hope you will take up my challenge to see world class musicians Luka Sulic and Stjepan Hauser as 2Cellos (oh gawd, you have to hear them play!) - just a sampling, to whet your wanderlust.
Helene Berman straw hat
There is, of course, a short, definitive list of romantic things that should accompany you as journey toward love (even if you decide to stay-cation) - Neuhaus chocolates, J & E Atkinson I Coloniali hand cream, (as previously mentioned) Veuve Clicquot, a gorgeous straw hat (protection from peering eyes and the sun, a little mysterious and a bit of serious attitude to carry off), a white dress – not a wedding gown – that manages to convey ‘woman’ at the same time it is visually soft, massages, manicures and pedicures for two to make hand holding, kissing, spooning and love-making more tactically voluptuous (and yes, guys you can do
this without getting all metro-sexual), a bouquet of unusual flowers (oh, plueze not roses) such as mixed bunch featuring white peonies and stock; if you are reading this in NYC try my girlfriend Hannah Ling’s Gardenia Organic or if in Stockholm try Jemima’ Nylund’s Norr Mälarstrand Blommor (order REALLY early).
In closing, whether your version of love is Muse or Il Divo, Ni vous sans moi, ni moi sans vous,(Neither you without me, neither I without you) – Happy Valentine’s Day wishes no matter where you travel with your sweetheart!
Want to be a guest blogger? Email us on ken.herron [at] touricoholidays.com!
Finding the best hotel price is on so many travelers’ minds these days.
According to the Tourico Holidays and Last Minute Travel Club Global Travel Trends Report, price (39%) is the most important decision factor when booking a hotel, followed by promotions (18%) and location (18%).
The report also found that 57% of people book their hotels based on a price-related factor, and 75% have a hotel budget of $150 or less per night.
Are you one of these budget-conscious travelers? Knowing where and how to look online can greatly improve the odds of finding the best hotel rates available. Follow the below tips to find the best hotel bargains:
1. Be Flexible with Travel Dates
Hotel rates can vary based on time of year, day of the week and vacancy. If your calendar permits a bit of flexibility, try looking for hotels during slower, less popular seasons. Keep in mind that weekdays like Mondays and Tuesdays tend to be available more often at cheaper rates than Fridays or Saturdays. Note: This is not a hard-and-fast rule, but it seems to be the trend with most hotels.
2. Book by Price, Not Brand
The hotel brand no longer seems to matter to travelers. Only 4% cited it as the most important decision factor when booking a hotel.
If you are like the 75% of respondents who said price, promotions and location are the three most important deciding factors to booking, then you may want to consider shopping for an opaque hotel deal. While you won’t know what specific hotel you are staying in until it’s booked and paid for, you will get a lower price, and can compare locations and star-ratings.
3. Sign Up for Club Memberships
Travel club memberships, such as Last Minute Travel’s LMT Club, can save you a considerable amount of money. Most club memberships offer exclusive hotel rates and a discounted percentage off the original cost.
Just be cautious of travel clubs that are not attached to a reputable travel company. Do your homework, and research all club membership offers before signing up.
(Want to give it a try? Use the promo code TRAVELTRENDS for a free year’s membership to LMT Club (a $49 value), and start saving! Register here.)
4. Consider Package Deals
Even if you originally did not consider pairing a hotel with a flight or a rental car, some package deals offer better discounts than what you would get by booking them separately. Shop around and keep a calculated tab of what each option would cost.
Once you’ve compiled information from a few different package deals, compare and contrast. You may just find that you can save some money and not compromise quality.
To read the full Global Travel Trends Report that provides insights from more than 2,600 survey respondents on preferred vacation types, booking preferences, hotel selection criteria and more, click here.
Since Thanksgiving and the end-of-year holiday season are here, we decided to send our traveling turkey, Turk (yes, just like Turk from the TV series "Scrubs"!) to check out hotels in some of the most popular destinations around the world to find the best holiday deals. Since Turk LOVES to eat, he also wanted an expense budget that would cover his sampling of the hotels’ special holiday menus. As we didn’t want Turk to get his feathers ruffled, we went ahead and approved his trip, as long as he prepared a trip report to share what he learned.
Turk started his "research" trip right here in suburban Orlando. His first destination was the luxurious Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress. The Hyatt is located next to the Orlando’s Lake Buena Vista theme parks. After unpacking his bag, Turk immediately went to test out his swing at the hotel’s Jack Nicklaus golf courses. Four hours later, and very much exhausted, Turk decided to treat himself to a spa treatment, which he then followed with an afternoon nap in his spacious suite overlooking gardens, waterfalls, and Lake Buena Vista. One of the perks of being a Last Minute Travel official hotel deal hunter, is that you get to sample hotels’ holiday menus well before the holidays! Turk’s restaurant of choice, one of several that operate at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress was Cascades American Bistro, which offers classics infused with new flavors. His favorite dish was the Grilled N.Y. Strip Steak, served with parmesan-glazed ricotta gnocchi; cilantro, thyme, and pine nut pesto; and Yukon Gold mashed potatoes with sweet peppers. For desert, Turk packed away the S’more Brownie Sundae topped with vanilla and chocolate ice cream, hand-made marshmallows, and graham cracker cookie sticks. After this turkeylicious meal, Turk crashed to rest up for his next city. A quick morning coffee, and Turk flew off to his next destination - Las Vegas!
Viva Las Vegas!
After arriving in Las Vegas, Turk headed to the next hotel deal on his list, the Venetian Resort-Hotel-Casino. Turk checked into his luxury suite, and took off to hit the casinos! Lady Luck was not with Turk tonight, despite trying all of the game tables, poker rooms, roulette wheels, and slot machines. Since Turk always keeps enough money aside for food, Turk set off for the best food the Venetian has to offer. The setting for his post-gaming dinner was AquaKnox, a newly opened seafood restaurant. For his main dish, Turk picked George’s Bank Scallops - black truffle creamed corn with apple wood smoked bacon polenta with a side of jumbo asparagus (Turk does love his corn!). After the night’s events, once again Turk retired to his comfy bed.
London for Thanksgiving?! Why not! Turk boarded the plane for his direct flight to Heathrow. Turk’s London hotel of choice is the Rosewood London. Even outside the U.S., Turk loves comfort and luxurious accommodations, so he booked himself the Premier Suite. After an extensive city tour that included some of London’s main attractions, including: Big Ben, London Dungeon, , the Houses of Parliament, and Westminster Abbey, Turk was hungry as a horse after a race at Ascot. So it was time to check out the Rosewood London’s dinner menu. Turk’s decided on the Holborn Dining room, and after finishing a massive steak and an entire Shepherd’s Pie, Turk concluded that the British food is quite tasty! It was now time for Turk to head back to Orlando, and submit his travel deals report.
Back in the States
After a discussion about winning gaming strategies in Las Vegas, Turk finally finished his travel report. After reviewing the report with his superiors, Turk was dumbstruck to learn that he had saved 55% on his hotels by simply booking his hotels on Last Minute Travel Club. And yes, Turk has already booked his next trip back to Las Vegas! Book YOUR next trip on Last Minute Travel Club and save big. Turk’s even giving away a free year’s membership to the Club when you register on http://lmtclub.com with the promo code TURKEYSENTME.
The vacation rental trend is soaring in popularity in North America and beyond. The benefits are obvious as to why seasoned travelers are trying out this spacious, private, money saving option. Consider it nice change of pace for the typical road-weary, hotel veteran looking for a cost-effective accommodation alternative or a family looking to break free from the hotel room norm.
Setting aside the automatic status upgrade you receive from merely mentioning that you’re staying in a villa, condo, townhome or cabin for a week, vacation homes give you the freedom to make a more memorable and cozy experience for family and friends traveling with you (and making those jealous who aren’t with you). These rentals are not only designated by the multiple rooms they have, but the cost per person is comparable to that of a typical hotel stay. More rooms means more space and thus one comfortable, complaint-free family. Imagine staying in a place with the comforts of home, without doing the cleaning of home – now that’s vacation paradise! More than that, these rentals are ideal for group vacations and just as simple to book.
What seals the deal for most travelers is the worry free online booking, the instant confirmation and the fact that all the properties we offer are professionally managed by the top property management companies in the market. This means that you get the same sense of security when you book your vacation as you do when booking a hotel and you know that there is someone always ready to assist, from check-in to departure to handle any special needs you may have.
With the greater privacy that staying in a single property brings, you can feel right at home with amenities such as private pools, full kitchens and entertainment centers to use as you please. You also have more control over the dining options for your group. Rather than being confined to room service choices or having to spend a fortune at a nearby touristy restaurant, you can opt to utilize the kitchen for snack storage and cooking or you can order in to save a trip. Of course, the option to go out for dinner is always there!
For a hassle-free, relaxing vacation you won’t soon forget, give our vacation homes a try. Because no two rentals are exactly the same, staying in a vacation home is always a completely unique experience!
Found a vacation home deal you fancy? Use coupon code ‘VH25′ and get $25 discount!*
*With purchases of $500 or more.
Are you thinking of taking a trip to Europe this summer? Need some extra info to help you reach a decision? If some of your possible destinations are Ireland or Spain, you would definitely want to read our articles about Seville & Belfast. In these articles you will get all the information you need - From fun activities & shopping centers to affordable hotels and restaurants.
Looking for a new way to explore one of Europe’s most beloved cities? Why not discover the City of Lights by retracing the steps of literary greats who called Paris home? Paris’s literary history is so rich it rivals the city’s creamiest brie. But of course, you don’t have to sacrifice that, either. Here’s a list of must-see sights in this glorious city, as well as some options for literary exploration.
If you have an in-flight movie option on your way across the pond, you might consider watching Woody Allen’s film, Midnight in Paris. Loaded with references to America’s “Lost Generation” of expatriate writers and artists of the 1920s, it will whet your palate for the sights to come. F. Scott Fitzgerald, his wife Zelda, and his most admired friend, Ernest Hemingway, are all alluded to in the film, along with Pablo Picasso, T.S. Eliot, Gertrude Stein, Henri Matisse, Jack Kerouac, James Joyce, and more. Of course, you can also dive deeper into French culture by exploring some of France’s own literary greats, such as HonorE de Balzac, Victor Hugo, and Alexandre Dumas.
Literary Homes, Haunts, and Resting Spots
If you are interested in making the pilgrimage to some of these Paris homes, try a walking tour, or stop in for a visit at one of these museums.
Authors’ Former Homes
- F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald:
· 14 rue de Tilsitt, 8th arrondisement, right bank, near the Arc de Triomphe
· 58 rue Vaurigard, 6th arrondisement, on the corner of the Luxembourg gardens
- Edith Wharton:
· 58 rue de Varenne, 7th arrondisement, across the street from Hotel Matignon
(Prime Minister’s residence)
- Salon at 27 rue de Fleurus:
· near Luxembourg Gardens’ western side
· Gertrude Stein and life partner Alice B. Toklas’s salon, frequented by artists and writers alike
- Pere Lachaise Cemetary:
· take an atmospheric walk and pay homage to Proust, Balzac, Oscar Wilde, Apollinaire, Moliere, and more
· location: 16 rue du Repos, 75020 Paris
· hours: 8:30am – 12:30pm, 2pm – 5pm daily
- Montparnasse Cemetary:
· pay tribute to Samuel Beckett, Simone de Beauvior, Jean-Paul Sartre, Charles Baudelaire, Marguerite Duras, Guy de Maupassant, and more in one of Paris’s favorite literary neighborhoods
· location: 3 Boulevard Edgar Quinet, 75014 Paris
· worth a visit for the architecture alone, you can also stop by the tombs of Voltaire, Rousseau, Emile Zola, Alexandre Dumas, Victor Hugo, and more
· location: Place du PanthEon, 75005 Paris
· website: http://www.pantheonParis.com/
- Maison de Victor Hugo
· address: 6, place des Vosges Hôtel de Rohan-GuEmEnEe, 75004 Paris
· website: www.musee-hugo.Paris.fr
· tel: 01 42 72 10 16
· hours: Tuesday through Sunday, 10am to 6pm
- Maison de Balzac: the home of HonorE de Balzac
· address: 47, rue Raynouard, 75016 Paris
· website: http://www.Paris.fr/pratique/musees-expos/maison-de-balzac/p6837 (in French)
· tel: +33 1 55 74 41 80
· hours: Tuesday through Sunday, 10am to 6pm
- Chateau de Monte Cristo: writer Alexandre Dumas’ country home outside the city
· address: Château de Monte-Cristo, 78560 le Port-Marly
· website: http://www.chateau-monte-cristo.com/en/index.html
· tel: +33 1 39 16 49 49
· hours: April 1st – November 1st: Tues – Fri 10am – 12:30pm, 2pm – 6pm; Sat/public holidays: 10am – 6pm; November 2nd – March 31st: Sundays only, 2pm – 5pm
- MusEe Carnavalet: covers the history of Paris, with great exhibits on Voltaire and Rousseau
· address: 23, rue de SEvingE, 75003 Paris
· website: http://www.carnavalet.Paris.fr/en/homepage
· tel: +33 01 44 59 58 58
· hours: 10am – 6pm Tuesday through Sunday
The Quintessential “Writer in Paris” Experience: CafE Life
If you are interested in viewing the world through these writers’ eyes, debating grand ideas with your own companions, or just nibbling on a croissant and sipping a cafE au lait, you might try one of the following places:
- The Polidor (Cremerie-Restaurant Polidor)
· go for: the history, tried and true Parisian food
· location: 41 rue Monsieur Le Prince, 75006 Paris, open 12 – 2:30pm, 7pm – 12:30am daily except Sundays
· famous guests: Paul Valery, Jack Kerouac, James Joyce, Ernest Hemingway, Paul Verlaine, Arthur Rimbaud, Victor Hugo
· website: http://www.polidor.com/index.html
· go for: an expensive meal and Art Deco furnishings
· location: 3, rue Royale, 75008 Paris
· famous guests: Marcel Proust, Brigitte Bardot, Jean Cocteau
· website: http://www.maxims-de-Paris.com/p2us.htm
· tel: +33 (0)1 42 65 27 94
- CafE Les Deux Magots
· go for: the literary history and a cafE au lait
· location: 6 Place Saint-Germain des PrEs, 75006 Paris
· famous guests: Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvior, Albert Camus, StEphane MallarmE, Paul Verlaine, Arthur Rimbaud
· tel: +33 1 45 48 55 25
· website: http://www.lesdeuxmagots.fr/en/ambiances.php#/ambiances.php
- CafE de Flore
· go for: Art Deco interior, the history, and some delicious hot chocolate
· location: 172 Boulevard Saint-Germain, 75006 Paris
· famous guests: Ernest Hemingway, Truman Capote, and many more
· tel: +33 1 45 48 55 26
· website: http://www.cafedeflore.fr/accueil/
With so much vibrant history in this city, one great way to explore is to take a tour led by an experienced guide who can weave the threads of history together. Try Paris Walks’ Hemingway’s Paris tour (12 Euro/person) or for a slightly broader sweep, Localer’s Paris Literature tour (39 Euro/person), which includes a visit to Sylvia Beach’s famous English language bookstore, Shakespeare & Company.
And Don’t Miss….
While you visit the City of Lights, take advantage of these great deals and must-sees.
We would like to recommend a couple of nice and affordable hotels to stay in while you’re visiting Paris:
Angie Picardo is a writer at NerdWallet, a financial literacy site where you can find advice on marriage finances.
Our nation’s soldiers are celebrated heroes, with stories that reach the hearts and minds of the young and old.
Whether you’re a veteran yourself who fought alongside those lost, or a student learning about these wars and battles from the pages of a textbook, memorials help provide additional insight into our country’s history.
With Memorial Day around the corner, we give you three memorials worth visiting to reflect and remember.
1. Korean War Veterans Memorial
Upon arriving, soldiers dressed in stainless steel greet you, set in stances that suggest they’re on their way to something important. Moving through the bushes, they stand alongside walls sandblasted with commemorative images and a shallow Remembrance Pool for reflection.
Constructed in Washington, D.C., and dedicated in 1995, the Korean War Veterans Memorial honors all those who served in the Korean War. This battle between North and South Korea took place from June 1950 to July 1953.
2. U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial
Bronze soldiers gather to raise a flagpole in this memorial monument honoring all United States Marine Corps personnel who have lost their lives in duty since 1775.
The U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial has sat on a pedestal outside the Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, since its 1954 dedication. The pedestal base is engraved with the following phrase: “Uncommon valor was a common virtue.”
3. Gettysburg National Military Park
The Battle of Gettysburg was a significant turning point in the Civil War, as it was the first major defeat suffered by the Confederacy. The battle is remembered at Gettysburg National Military Park, where visitors can tour the battlefield (now speckled with monuments and cannons) and visit the spot where Abraham Lincoln delivered his famous Gettysburg Address.
Composed of 5,989 acres of land, the park also provides ample opportunities to hike, bike, horseback ride and more. Visit the official website of the Gettysburg National Military Park for more things to see and do on your trip to the battlefield.
Historic Travel Quick Tip
As you visit these memorials, try to take away one fun fact about the event, person or people the memorial represents—expand your knowledge of our nation’s history!
Share your historic travel experiences in the comments below.
Edinburgh is one of Europe’s most beautiful cities, draped across a series of rocky hills overlooking the sea. It’s a town intimately entwined with its landscape, with buildings and monuments perched atop crags and overshadowed by cliffs - in the words of Robert Louis Stevenson, ‘a dream in masonry and living rock’. From the Old Town’s picturesque jumble of medieval tenements piled high along the Royal Mile, its turreted skyline strung between the black, bull-nosed Castle Rock and the russet palisade of Salisbury Crags, to the New Town’s neat grid of neoclassical respectability, all columns and capitals, porticoes and pediments, the city offers a constantly changing perspective. And it’s all small enough to explore easily on foot.
One of our favorite hotels in Edinburgh is the Tune Hotel Haymarket, which is directly across the road from the entrance to Haymarket Rail Station and centrally located to all the main attractions in the city. Tune Hotel Haymarket is just a mere 15 minutes’ walk to Edinburgh Castle and Princes Street which is the main shopping street in Edinburgh. Other attractions include Edinburgh International Conference Centre (only 7 minutes’ walk away), Murrayfield Stadium and Edinburgh Zoo is just a short 8 minutes’ drive away.