Lovers of all things lavender will be in heaven at the exceptional Musee de la Lavande in Luberon, Lavender Museum Coustellet, near Gordes, Provence. It’s the labor of love of Le Chateau de Bois, which has the largest growing estate of fine lavender designated PDO (mark of quality, Protected Designation of Origin) in the world. We’re talking everything from a museum with antique copper tills showing the process of extracting the oils from the flowers and a VIP tasting room with all things lavender, to a sensory painting workshop and very large shop. Plus, you can learn about how to ensure you have the real lavender rather than a prolific hybrid called lavandin which is more commonly used.
Those of you who have been reading this blog for awhile know my travel coverage has focused on less well traveled destinations — Ethiopia, Iran, Crete and others, and surprising discoveries in each. On a recent trip we went to the “new” Provence, or as the Wall Street Journal described, “Not Your Father’s Provence”. The attractions that have appealed to some of history’s greatest painters, from Cezanne to Van Gogh, still shine, but it’s becoming a new place thanks to global modern day billionaires in the tradition of the Medicis. Here are images and facts that surprise from visits to Aix-en-Provence, the Luberon and Arles. Enjoy!
If you haven’t been to Tampa in over a few years, I suggest you put it on your Staycation calendar. It’s a happening place. We’re talking foodie quality eating, craft beers (the craft beer capital of Florida), major performing arts center (the largest one in the Southeast US), visual arts, and unique festivals. That’s in addition to all of the family attractions you’ve probably heard of – from Busch Gardens Tampa Bay and the Florida Aquarium to ZooTampa, and the New York Yankees training exercises. Plus, prices including hotel rates are a lot less than in Miami, even in peak season. Here are things to do, Part 1. Part 2 will be where to stay and eat.
Where is the authentic Cuban sandwich from? Ever hear of the International Cuban Sandwich Festival in Tampa in March? How about a Cuban sandwich in South Korea? What’s my favorite one? Even if you’re don’t like the Miami mainstay, I think you’ll find this interesting and, after all, it’s part of our local culture.
Before writing about surprises one finds traveling in Iran, I figure most of you are probably thinking, why travel there in the first place? That’s the question many of my friends asked. Iran was the epicenter of one the the greatest civilizations in history — the Persian Empire, which stretched from Europe’s Balkan Peninsula—in parts of what is present day Bulgaria, Romania, and Ukraine—to the Indus River Valley in northwest India and south to Egypt. It was a global hub of culture, religion, science, art and technology for more than 200 years before it fell to the invading armies of Alexander the Great. And then there’s a reason to go for those interested in present GeoPolitics in the Middle East, but more on that a little later.
Nothing prepared me for Brightline, the train that travels between Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. And I’ve been on my share of trains from Singapore and India to Europe and of course the USA. It was an important part of a perfect day trip from Miami (or from Fort Lauderdale) to Palm Beach that included a fascinating new discovery, an exhibit by famed photographer Edward Steichen, gourmet lunch in an elegant outdoor courtyard, a beautiful “winter” day, great friends, and all with comfort, convenience, and totally hassle free.
Feeling like you want to start 2019 on a healthy note, get in shape physically, spiritually and mentally, and in great style? Here’s a terrific opportunity, and readers get a 25% discount off of the all inclusive rates (so everything costs less)! The scoop: From January 24 – 26, the posh 5 star Grand Velas Los Cabos on Mexico’s West Coast will host its 2019 Wellnessing Getaway with industry leaders, healthy cooking and nutrition workshops, tools for practical meditation, yoga and fitness classes, and much more. Want to combine it with indulgence? There are five gourmet restaurants on site including one headed up by a two star Michelin chef, uber luxe suites, private butler service and premium liquors and fine wines (plus a tequila and mezcal bar) . All that is included too.
If Greece isn’t in your travel future, I suggest you earmark a place for it now. Here are Greek, Athens travel and Crete travel surprises, revelations and curious observations I thought you’d enjoy reading about (even if you’ve been there before), with images of course that tell even more of the story. If, after this, you’re dreaming about Greece, check out the blogpost on Wednesday about a special one night only “Taste of the Aegean”.
Want to get in shape for “the season”, one on one with the country’s top pros? The “Beyond All-Inclusive, Beyond All Compare” Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit will host its annual Wellness Getaway from September 5th to 9th. Better yet, I’m offering readers a friends and family discount of 25% off of published rates! You fly into Puerto Vallarta International Airport, just 25 minutes from the resort. On tap are complimentary sessions led by industry leaders, a Medicine Reading Ceremony from “fashion’s favorite healer”, Spa Atelier self-discovery workshops, juice therapy, different kinds of Yoga, cooking classes, and other mindful wellness activities.Live in luxury, enjoy foodie worthy cuisine at four gourmet restaurants, top service, beachfront location, and impressive spa. Can’t make these dates, watch for a wellness getaway in Cabo San Lucas later this year.