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Magellan's Blog: Hear from the Travel Experts

  • Amor in the Andes: Peru is a Historical Valentine's Retreat

    Photo Courtesy Ron Stern Photo Courtesy Ron Stern

    Featured Post by Magellan's Travel Contributor & Travel Photojournalist, Ron Stern a.k.a. The Global Gumshoe.

    A prized possession of the Spanish colonies, Lima was the wealthiest city in the Americas for three centuries, and is unmistakably a historical Valentine's retreat. Its historic downtown was given Unesco World Heritage status in 1991. I spent a pleasant afternoon in the city center, sampling local foods, admiring the various styles of colonial and baroque architecture and popping into churches to view some of the local religious history.  I certainly found amor in the Andes.

    Lima’s many accolades include its title as the undisputed culinary capital of the Americas. Peruvians embrace their multicultural past by incorporating foods from the various groups that have migrated here – the Spanish, South African, Italian, and Chinese.

    Topping the list of most loved favorites would be ceviche, a blend of fresh raw fish, lemon or lime juice, onions, and spices. Next would be Lomo Saltado, prepared with marinated sirloin, onions and spices in a tasty sauce and served with rice or fried potatoes. Continue reading

  • Tips for Women Traveling Alone

    Photo Courtesy Ron Stern Photo Courtesy Ron Stern

    Traveling solo can be wonderfully life-altering. The rewards include doing exactly what you want without consulting anyone else, traveling at your own pace, taking time for inner reflection, and carving out memories that come from experiencing the adventures on your bucket list. But solitary journeys can also be dangerous and unsettling, especially for women traveling alone. If that sounds like a throwback to your mother’s admonishments when you were a teenager, it still holds true today. Crime happens when you least expect it and often when you're in unfamiliar surroundings.

    Here are some valuable tips for women traveling alone that will help make the experience as safe as it is enjoyable. Continue reading

  • How to Fight Jet Lag and Win

    World Time ZonesDo you know what humans have in common with fungi? We both operate on 24-hour, or circadian, rhythms. While this is of little concern to a portabella, it can really mess up a human who travels across more than a couple of time zones. Left unaddressed, jet lag can take your body and mind several days to adjust to a different time zone, wreaking havoc on your vacation plans. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to fight jet lag and win.

    Start a few days ahead of your trip by nudging your schedule forward or slowing it down to sync up with your destination’s time zone. If you’re heading east, get up and go to bed earlier than usual. Reverse the sequence when flying west. Just a couple hours’ of readjustment can make a big difference. If it’s morning at your destination, a few hours’ shut-eye on the plane will be a big help. You might look into booking an overnight flight, especially if you’re heading east, such as from the U.S. to Europe. Continue reading

  • Traverse City, Michigan: A Secret Foodie Destination for a Valentine's Retreat

    Photo Courtesy of Ron Stern Photo Courtesy of Ron Stern

    Featured Post by Magellan's Travel Contributor & Travel Photojournalist, Ron Stern a.k.a. The Global Gumshoe.

    Located on Grand Traverse Bay, a long deep inlet of Lake Michigan, Traverse City’s once hidden eclectic mix of eateries is now out in the open. Part of the exposure came from well-known culinary publications like Bon Appetit, who listed Traverse City as one of America’s Top 5 Foodie towns and, who gave it similar top billing among 200 American cities.

    Photo Courtesy Ron Stern Photo Courtesy Ron Stern

    My wife and I arrived in the late afternoon and took a stroll downtown on Front Street. Our first stop was the Grand Traverse Pie Company, where we sampled their number one seller, the sumptuous Cherry Crumb Pie made with Northern Michigan Montmorency tart cherries. Ours came hot from the oven and had the perfect blend of tartness and crunch. There are 27 varieties of pies as well as hearty soups and entrees like Shepherd’s Pie. Continue reading

  • Preparing for Sochi: What to Pack for the 2014 Winter Olympics

    SochiIt’s almost time to pack for your trip to Sochi for the 2014 Winter Olympics. But how much do you really know about the city that claims to be the longest in Europe – spreading for 90 miles between the Black Sea and the Caucasus Mountains.

    Sochi is located in Krasnodar Krai, one of 89 “federal subjects”, which are similar to U.S. states. The third most-populous subject in Russia with just over 5 million residents, its capital and largest city is Krasnodar, and Sochi is one of only two Black Sea ports remaining in Russia after the breakup of the Soviet Union.

    As a result of its long and varied history, the area around Sochi is spotted with ancient ruins, medieval churches, and neoclassical Soviet architecture.  Settlement of the area dates back to Roman times, but due to its isolation from the population centers of Europe and the Middle East, it was never firmly under anyone’s control other than local tribal leaders. It was part of the Georgian Kingdom until the mid-1800s, but as far back as the 11th Century Sochi was invaded, sacked, and nominally controlled by nomadic rulers such as the Khazars and the Mongol Empire. It wasn’t until the end of the Ottoman Empire that Sochi became part of Russia. Continue reading

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