Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Colombia featured in New York Times Travel section again !

Two of my very favorite destinations, Bogota, Colombia, and the Alentejo region of Portugal were featured in the New York Times special glossy travel magazine on 5/23/2010.
Firstly Bogota. It's the second time in the past 2 months that Colombia has been featured and I take it as further evidence that this once unthought of destination is quickly moving onto the traveller's hot list. Bogota's a fascinating city, and once there, you're likely to forget all the stories you once heard about Colombia, and revel in the passion and energy of the people. I loved the introduction to the piece. The author's first night in Bogota is rocked by the shocking news that the biggest event in town is a ...Coldplay concert ! How can this wild, untameable city be so mainstream ? Seriously, go to Colombia - you will not regret it.

Likewise the Alentejo in Portugal has often been overlooked, lagging behind Lisbon, Porto and the Algarve as top tourist destinations. The Alentejo is dry and very hot, and often very empty, BUT it has great beauty and charm as well. You could be driving along and seemingly in the middle of nowhere, when suddenly on a hilltop you'll spot a picture perfect white walled town with a medieval castle to boot. I would ALWAYS include this area for a few days and not only the tourist hub Evora, but the countryside as well.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

2 great travel related blogs to watch

Of course there are literally hundreds of travelblogs one could follow, and it all gets a little overwhelming. I try sift out the best or most interesting or at least the ones with the best photos ! When I start thinking about a destination to visit, I usually look at a lot of photos first as i tend to get excited by what I see.
Two really good sites are
They are very different resources. Melanie's Travelling Kid is a site dispensing huge amounts of terrific, valuable travel information for anyone, like us, travelling with kids. It's a great resource, and very interesting too.
LeBest focuses on everything Paris. It's a beautiful site with fabulous photos, light and color, and if you weren't sure about visiting Paris, you will be after checking out this site !

Monday, May 10, 2010

Cartagena, Colombia featured in Travel & Leisure Magazine

Just a week after being featured in the New York Times, Cartagena, Colombia has now been featured in Travel & Leisure magazine.Again, after a glowing report, it's hard to ignore this fascinating, resurgent city, a must see destination in my ipinion. Go there now - you'll be very pleasantly surprised !

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Quivertree Blog 5/4/2010
New Zealand, already one of our favorite family destinations, hosts the Rugby World Cup (RWC2011) in September and October 2011. So if you're a sporty type, a fabulous destination just got even better (of course if you're not interested in the rugby, the best time to visit New Zealand would be a few weeks after the tournament has ended).
New Zealand is a wonderful family destination, no matter what the ages of your children. Blessed with spectacular natural beauty and full of adventure activities, Quivertree is offering Rugby World Cup packages of 10 days to three weeks, combining some of New Zealand's most loved highlights with rugby weekends for the quarter finals, semi finals and final in Auckland. Because New Zealand is relatively compact with an exceptional transport infrastructure, it will be possible to see a lot of the country even while enjoying the country. And for those who don't want to go to the rugby, that leaves more time for a fantastic family trip to one of the world's great destinations !
For more on the Rugby World Cup 2011, go to the official tournament website at

Volcan Totumo, Colombia
Without doubt, one of the most bizarre and memorable travel experiences one can ever have is Volcan Totumo, a mud volcano about 45 minutes outside of Cartagena, Colombia. Nothing can prepare you for this. It really has to be personally experienced. First you climb up about 40 steps, wearing only your bathing suit and carrying nothing. Then you are helped into a mudbath by one of the 'stewards' - while another steward takes photos for you with your camera. You are placed horizontally in the pool - some say it is 1 1/2 miles deep - nobody seems to know - but you cannot sink, even if you try. The temperature is perfect, and while you are lying down, someone else gives you a full body massage. Now and then, the bath starts bubbling which just adds to the overall weirdness and entertainment. After about 45 minutes, you are instructed to get out, and run down the steps and into the lagoon a few meters away. There, a group of women wash you, even removing your bathing suit underwater, before you get out and return to Cartagena. For some photos see my blog at
It's really an incredible experience, not remotely strenuous and perfect for families and you'll be talking about it for a long time afterwards !
Cartagena, Colombia featured in the New York Times Travel section !
On Sunday May 2, 2010, Cartagena was the leading feature destination in the New York Times Travel section. Read the story at
I think it's completely natural for the NYT to feature Cartagena - it is a 'must see' city, a real gem, and probably the best example of a Spanish colonial city. Add the atmosphere of daily Colombian life and you have an incredible destination, one you'll never forget !