People tend to take vacations and visit the wine areas of the world in summer & fall. We decided to tour the Tuscan countryside during the Christmas and New Years holiday season.  Our goal, besides gathering comments and opinions on the recent harvest, was to experience the holiday focus in Italy.  If you never considered a winter trip to Tuscany, you miss the chance of a much more up-close and truly personal visit. A winter trip versus a summer one offers several trade-offs.  On the plus side, the off-season has no crowds so driving the countryside is great.  In fact its possible to stop almost anywhere to capture that special photographic moment.  Local people are much more approachable and have time to chat, giving you the opportunity to really learn about local culture and customs.  Even waiters, cooks, and property owners seem more friendly and willing to spend extra time with you.  And that amazing villa you’ve dreamed of renting is truly affordable.

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Written on December 31st, 2014 , General, Lodging, Travel Tips

Is the term “Ugly American” still relevant?  Are you one?  Why do you travel anyway?

I often wonder why people travel to Europe, and expect to be greeted in English and never try to understand or assimilate into the local culture.  If your goal is to simply see sites, visit museums, and take tons of pictures, maybe traveling the great old USA would be better.  When I go to another country my main reason is to see how other folks live, eat, work, and play.  Their culture is what interests me, and how it’s different from ours.
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Written on November 21st, 2014 , Anicdotes, General, Travel Tips

I may be a bigger car junkie than I am a travel junkie.  And Formula1 car racing is a real passion.  So what better trip than 2 weeks in the Italian and French rivieras?  And a weekend in Monte Carlo, Monaco for the annual car race extravaganza.
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Written on July 6th, 2010 , General, Sightseeing

A Newbie’s Adventure:

My addiction to travel began in 1993.  Never a fan of “packaged” tours, I decided to tag along with my wife on a wintertime business trip…to Germany and France.  And plan my own travel connections. I’m also not a fan of winter, so this was a potentially difficult trip for me.  Especially as a novice traveler.
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Written on July 21st, 2009 , Anicdotes, Food&Drink, General, Lodging, Sightseeing

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