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  • An Alpine Swiss Adventure: Escape to Lucerne, Switzerland for a Valentine's Retreat

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

    Photo Courtesy Ron Stern Photo Courtesy Ron Stern

    Andre Dumas called Lucerne, located in the geographical center of Switzerland, a pearl in the middle of the world’s most beautiful oyster. The town is nestled between the Alps and the Swiss Plateau right alongside the dark blue waters of Lake Lucerne. Local residents are quite proud of their lake that is enjoyed all year long and shared by paddle steamers, sailboats and water enthusiasts.

    Photo Courtesy Ron Stern Photo Courtesy Ron Stern

    Lucerne is also the home of the #1 attraction in the country, the Swiss Museum of Transport. From its dramatic entrance featuring hundreds of wheels to its many modes of transportation exhibits, it’s not hard to see why this attraction has such a huge appeal. Continue reading

  • 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

  • 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

  • Dubai Ups the Ante for Cruises in 2014

    In an effort to build tourism in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the port of Dubai has announced the opening of a new expanded cruise terminal.

    A longtime favorite destination for shoppers from Asia and Europe, the Emirates will see nearly 100 cruise packages at the port of Dubai. All major cruise lines now or soon will have Dubai as a port of call. Itineraries spread east to India, Southeast Asia, Japan, China, and Australia. British operator Cunard Lines has departures from Southampton that traverse the Mediterranean and the Suez Canal with stops at Lisbon and Rome, and includes excursions along the canal to explore Egyptian antiquities at legendary sites such as Luxor and Karnak. There are even extended cruises from the U.S. and South America that call on several ports as they sail half way around the world.

    Sports tourism is growing in Dubai with major international golf, tennis, and horse racing events on the calendar.  Cultural sightseeing on the Arabian Peninsula is growing, but shopping is still king. Known for its market districts, called souks in Arabic, Dubai has modern malls and a large duty-free shopping area in the Dubai International Airport. The entire emirate transforms into a massive shopping mall and event center each year in January during the Dubai Shopping Festival. Continue reading

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