Friday, January 31, 2014

Seven Downtown Disney® Resort Area Hotels In Central Florida Offering Enticing “Escape To The Sunshine Rates”

. . . Special Rates At The Seven Official Walt Disney World® Hotels
Provide A Great Way To Escape The Cold And
To Take In Events Such As
The Epcot® International Flower & Garden Festival

Looking for a cure for the winter blues? You should check out the special “Escape To The Sunshine Rates” that are being offered by the seven Downtown Disney® Resort Area Hotels in Central Florida. Available March 1-April 30, 2014, the special rates are a great way to escape the cold, experience such special events as the Epcot® International Flower & Garden Festival, Presented by HGTV, and to take in the wonders of the recently expanded New Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom® Park. In addition to their ideal location an easy walk to the shopping, dining and entertainment venues at the Downtown Disney® area, these seven Official Walt Disney World® Hotels also provide complimentary shuttle transportation every 30 minutes to all four Walt Disney World® theme parks, two water parks, and to Downtown Disney® Marketplace. As a bonus, guests at these hotels also receive the “2014 Downtown Disney Deals” booklet that features exclusive discounts and special offers from over 30 merchants for Downtown Disney® area dining, entertainment and shopping.

The Downtown Disney® Resort Area Hotels’ “Escape To The Sunshine Rates” are:
· B Resort – opening this Spring – rates from $129 per room, per night
· Best Western Lake Buena Vista Resort Hotel – rates from $99 per room, per night
· Buena Vista Palace Hotel & Spa – rates from $79 per room, per night
· DoubleTree Suites by Hilton – rates from $145 per suite, per night
· Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista – rates from $99 per room, per night
· Holiday Inn Lake Buena Vista Downtown – rates from $119 per room, per night
· Wyndham Lake Buena Vista Resort – rates from $109 per room, per night.

For more information on the “Escape To The Sunshine Rates,” or to make a reservation, visit , (or Rates are based on availability and some blackout dates may apply.

Taking advantage of the special rates also will enable you to enjoy such other benefits of staying at one of the seven Downtown Disney® Resort Area Hotels as:
· Disney tickets available to purchase at each hotel
· Advance tee times and discounts at all Walt Disney World® golf courses
· Disney Merchandise store located in each hotel
· The ability to book advance dining and dinner show reservations for all restaurants across the Walt Disney World® Resort.

Special events at the Walt Disney World® Resort include:
· Epcot® International Flower & Garden Festival, Presented by HGTV – March 5-May 18, 2014
· Flower Power Concert Series – March 5-May 18, 2014, at Epcot®.

New Fantasyland, which is the largest expansion in the history of Magic Kingdom® Park, offers more immersive enchantment and interactive experiences. It features two new themed areas:  Enchanted Forest and Storybook Circus. Enchanted Forest attractions and experiences include Under The Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid; Be Our Guest Restaurant; Enchanted Tales with Belle; Ariel’s Grotto; and Gaston’s Tavern. Storybook Circus attractions include:  The Barnstormer; Dumbo The Flying Elephant; Casey Jr Splash ‘N’ Soak Station; Pete’s Silly Sideshow; and Fantasyland Station. New Fantasyland will feature more additions through 2014, which will include Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, a new family coaster.

Among the many coupons featured in the “2014 Downtown Disney Deals” booklet are discounts at Rainforest Café, T-Rex, Wolfgang Puck Express, Steve Baker Caricatures, Lego Imagination Center, Planet Hollywood Downtown Disney®, House of Blues® Restaurant, La NoubaTM by Cirque du Soleil®, Cap’n Jack’s Restaurant, Bongo’s Cuban Café®, and Ghirardelli Ice Cream & Chocolate Shop.

“The weather is just beautiful, and the special events at the Walt Disney World® Resort are outstanding, which makes it a wonderful time to visit,” said Steve Garner, chairperson of the Downtown Disney Resort Area Hotels’ marketing committee.

Downtown Disney® Resort Area Hotels ( is a consortium of seven Official Walt Disney World® Resort hotels that includes:  B Resort, opening in Spring 2014 with 394 newly renovated guest rooms and suites, a renovated pool, and a full-service spa; the 18-story Best Western Lake Buena Vista Resort Hotel, surrounded by 12 acres of lush tropical landscaping, and offering 325 spacious rooms and suites; the newly renovated and sophisticated Buena Vista Palace Hotel & Spa, featuring 1,014 guest rooms and suites, a 10,000-square-foot spa, and seven restaurants and lounges; the luxurious and spacious 229-suiteDoubletree Suites by Hilton, the only all-suite resort hotel in the Downtown Disney® Resort Area; the deluxe 814-room, full-service Hilton Orlando Resort, featuring seven on-site restaurants and lounges and the new Hilton Fitness by Life Fitness® Center; the Holiday Inn Lake Buena Vista Downtown, the only Holiday Inn located in the Walt Disney World® Resort Area and featuring elegant rooms with modern Florida décor;  and Wyndham Lake Buena Vista Resort, featuring 626 guest rooms (with refrigerators), and the Oasis Aquatic Playground with two pools and interactive water features.

With nearly 30 food and beverage outlets and restaurants, more than 3,600 rooms and scores of amenities, the Downtown Disney® Resort Area Hotels offer a rate, space and menu to please every guest. Located in the heart of the Downtown Disney® area, these properties are within walking distance of some of the area's best shopping, dining and entertainment.

For reservations, or more information, visit 

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Travelore Tips: 5 Recommended Free Things To Do In Milan

Contributed by Colleen Barry, AP.

This Jan. 16, 2014 photo shows visitors dodging birds in the piazza outside of Duomo cathedral in Milan, Italy. The ornate white facade of Milan's Duomo cathedral is the single most recognized symbol of the Lombard capital, taking centuries to complete. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)
 Milan is Italy's finance and fashion capital, with hundreds of billions of euros invested on the Italian Stock Exchange and tens of billions more spent yearly in the city's luxury boutiques. While Florence attracts art-lovers, Venice the romantic and Rome the faithful, most travelers to Milan come to broker deals and indulge in the latest Italian fashion trends. Nonetheless, there is plenty to see for those whose pockets are not so deep - be it by style choice, or not.

Think Milan, think fashion. It's invitation-only to the four annual Milan Fashion Week runway previews, where designers offer their vision on next season's looks - often adding audacious embellishments not really intended for the showroom.

A peek through the windows of the city's numerous brand-name stores and boutiques gives a more street-ready view of the collections. Milan's most famous shopping street is via Montenapoleone, a one-half kilometer (third of a mile) display of pure luxury apparel, jewelry, shoes, bags - and even knives and Venetian glass. While Prada may command €11,500 ($15,700) for a blue fur coat and €220 ($300) for knit garters resembling 1980s tube socks to complete the look, it doesn't cost anything to dream.

The globe's major luxury brands are all clustered within close proximity on the streets that surround Montenapoleone and the nearby Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, a shopping mall that dates to the 19th century, where a McDonald's recently lost its lease to Prada menswear. While window-shopping, don't forget to people-watch. Milan's instinctively snappy dressers inspired the ready-to-wear collections that took flight in the late 1970s and 1980s, and Milanesi remain among the most fashionable of the fashion-aware Italians.

The ornate white facade of Milan's Duomo cathedral is the city's single most-recognized symbol. The Gothic-inspired Duomo took nearly six centuries to complete, incorporating a cornucopia of styles by its completion in 1965, and is among the largest cathedrals in Europe. The Duomo is also the seat of the archbishop of Milan, Italy's largest and most influential diocese that gave the world two popes during the 20th century.

Take in the imposing facade with its Gothic spires from the piazza outside, dodging tourists, shoppers and pigeons alike, and snap a photo of the exterior. The Duomo is undergoing extensive renovations, and to raise funds, officials have inaugurated an adopt-a-spire program that includes a 2-euro fee to take pictures inside of the vaulted ceiling, naves and pillars. There's also a fee to access the spectacular view of fairytale-inspiring pinnacles and spires from the Duomo's roof. But restaurant and bar terraces offer a free peek from surrounding grand buildings - called palazzo - including the Rinascente department store.

Visitors to Italy feast on Renaissance and Baroque treasures, but there are increasing efforts to promote contemporary art - including the HangarBicocca, founded and funded by the Pirelli tire company. The capacious former industrial complex in Milan's Bicocca district on the city's northern edge has been transformed into the largest private contemporary art space in Europe. German artist Anselm Kiefer made a site-specific installation, "The Seven Heavenly Palaces," for the 2004 inauguration. The imposing corrugated towers rise from sandy islands, taking inspiration from the palaces described in an ancient Hebrew treatise while representing the ruins of Europe after World War II. Rotating exhibits inhabit the adjoining space. The HangarBicocca also is meant to be a cultural center, offering activities for children and adults.

A visitor emerging from the Garibaldi train station may, in a moment of disorientation provoked by the glare of glass and steel, confuse the towering skyline ahead with the heart of post-unification Berlin. The new skyscrapers at Piazza Gae Aulenti, named for the late architect and designer, have little bearing on Milan's neoclassical architecture. It's no surprise that many visitors draw quick comparisons with Berlin's Potsdamer Platz, which similarly aggregates living, office and commercial space. The ever-conservative Milanesi were wary when construction began but now seem to have embraced the new district. Families flock to the raised, pedestrian piazza on weekends, a safe place for kids to dash about. A coffee shop and bookstore with free Wi-Fi is crowded even on rainy weekday mornings. The Unicredit Tower, the shiny new headquarters of Italy's largest bank, has claimed the title of Milan's tallest building at 218 meters (715 feet), topped by a single twirling steel spire that echoes the spires of the now-dwarfed Duomo in the distance.

Landlocked Milan had to dig a navigable system of canals to ease commerce and construction throughout the centuries. Today the canals are the center of Milan's nightlife - lined with restaurants and cafes - but there is plenty to see by day. An antiques market featuring more than 350 sellers unpacks on the banks of the Naviglio Grande every last Sunday of the month except in July. The Vicolo privato del Lavandai - literally the launderers alley - is where, until the 1950s, women would come and wash clothes using wooden washboards on the banks of the Naviglio Grande. And the Ponte di Pietra, or stone bridge, was originally made out of wood, rebuilt in cast iron by the Austrians in the 1900s and eventually cast in concrete, the current version. Once, wealthy residents collected tithings for a crossing. Today it is free.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Travelore Tips: An Insiders Guide To The Secret Parts Of Paris

paris cafe
derekskey via creative commons

See and do

Eglise St-Etienne-du-Mont
This is one of my favourite Paris churches, both for its architecture, which is an endearing mix of renaissance and gothic, and as an insight into Paris' history: it is home to the shrine of Saint Geneviève, patron saint of Paris, who saved the city from invasion by Attila the Hun in 451. Inside is a magnificent 16th-century stone rood screen, possibly designed by François 1er's architect Philippe Delorme, and a massive baroque pulpit. The ornate neo-gothic shrine, transferred here when the adjoining abbey church of St Geneviève was demolished in 1807, is surrounded by ex-voto plaques. Combine this visit with the Panthéon on the same square.
Fondation Le Corbusier
The modernist houses and studios of the 16th arrondissement were one of my great discoveries when I first moved here. They are a reminder that for all its historic heritage, Paris is also one of the birthplaces of modern architecture. Corbusier designed these two adjoining villas in 1923-25. Here you find all of his five principles of architecture (stilts, reinforced concrete, roof terraces, strip windows, ingenious built-in furniture), with a fascinating play of volumes and a use of colour that goes far beyond the white box cliché. The foundation also runs Corbusier's apartment-studio at 24 rue Nungesser et Coli, open on Saturdays.
Jardin des Serres d'Auteuil
Also known as "the municipal gardener", these elaborate, late 19th-century greenhouses were built to cultivate plants for municipal parks. The ensemble is grouped around a magnificent central tropical greenhouse, filled with steamy palms, an aviary and pools of Japanese carp. Other greenhouses are devoted to orchids, azaleas, succulents and ferns, while the formal gardens contain many rare trees. Get there before the site is decimated: there are plans to demolish some of the greenhouses to allow room for more tennis courts for Roland Garros next door.
Parc des Buttes-Chaumont
Of all the parks created in the 1860s by Baron Haussmann and his engineer Jean-Charles Alphand, this is the one that I find the most Romantic with a capital R, with its lake and fake crags, bridges, waterfall, giant cedars and unlikely palm trees. There's even a cave, with fake stalactites. Pony rides and playgrounds make it great for kids. The rolling lawns are pleasant for sunbathing or a picnic, although you can also eat at the trendy bar/restaurant/nightspot Rosa Bonheur. Climb up to the Temple de la Sybille, modelled on the temple at Tivoli, for a superb view over Paris.
Musée Marmottan-Claude Monet
This Second Empire villa is one of Paris’s secret gems, with its wonderful array of Empire furniture and the world’s largest collection of works by Claude Monet, most of them donated by the artist’s family. Among the paintings are Monet’s Impression, Soleil Levant, which gave its name to impressionism. I adore Monet's vibrantly coloured late canvases of his water garden at Giverny, as well as Berthe Morisot's affectionate paintings of children. Other impressionist painters on display include Pissarro, Renoir, Manet, Degas and Caillebotte. Don't miss the Sèvres porcelain geographical clock, either, which shows when it is midday around the world.
Musée Bourdelle
This little-known museum built around Antoine Bourdelle's studio and apartment gives an insight into Montparnasse in its artistic heyday. While not a major sculptor, Bourdelle is an interesting in art history, as he was an assistant of Rodin and teacher of Giacometti. He specialised in monumental sculptures, including the frieze for the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées and an equestrian monument to Argentine general Alvear. Another gallery shows how he endlessly reworked the head of Beethoven in different moods. At the rear, a row of studios includes those of Bourdelle and Eugène Carrière, left in atmospherically dusty state. Montparnasse is still littered with artists' studios – look out for the big north-facing windows.
La Conciergerie
While hundreds queue for the Sainte-Chapelle a few doors up, far fewer visit the Conciergerie, yet both were part of the medieval palace of the Capetian kings. With its two impressive vaulted halls, it is one of France's finest secular gothic structures but for me it is also the sight that best evokes the French Revolution. After the monarchy moved to the Louvre, the Conciergerie became a prison and hundreds passed by here on their way to the guillotine. Refurbished prison cells show how conditions varied according to status from communal cells with straw on the floor to furnished individual cells for the privileged. The cell where Marie-Antoinette was imprisoned is now a chapel.


Tucked just behind the Promenade Plantée viaduct walk in the historic furniture makers' district of the Faubourg St-Antoine, the friendly, cooperative-run L'Encrier has been one of Paris's best-kept, budget secrets for 20 years. An essentially local crowd and a few in-the-know visitors squeeze in around its simple wooden tables, drawn by the remarkable-value menus and attractive beamed setting. The kitchen, visible behind the white counter, sends out trustworthy, no-nonsense French cuisine with southwestern touches, such as pear with roquefort, duck confit and goose magret, and virtually everyone ends with the excellent chocolate profiteroles.
Located in the heart of Paris's Little Japan, Michi is a tiny, canteen-like hole in the wall, indicated only by a fish and the word sushi on the facade. It was recommended by a Japanese friend, for some of the best, authentic, and least expensive, sushi and sashimi along rue Sainte-Anne. If you're lucky, bag one of the half-a-dozen places along the counter where you can watch the chef at work, otherwise you'll be squashed into the tiny cellar. There are good-value formules, but go à la carte if you want rarer offerings such as sea urchin and eel.
58 bis rue Sainte-Anne, 75002
Reopened after a lengthy restoration of the 17th-century building, this is one of my favourite bistros. I like it for its reliable cuisine, relaxed chatty atmosphere and eclectic Left Bank clientele. Sylvain Danière was part of La Régalade clan in the days of Yves Camdeborde, and he keeps up the credo of revisited regional cuisine, produced from a tiny kitchen spied through a wooden dresser at the rear. Fresh fish delivered daily from Brittany and seasonal game in autumn are particularly good, and there are also plenty of fans for the delicious chocolately desserts.
Bistrot du Peintre
This listed, art nouveau café-bistro has a gorgeous 1902 décor of sinuous woodwork and tiled, allegorical figures of spring and summer. It is much loved by a laidback Bastille crowd for its satisfying, inexpensive cuisine. The choice goes from utterly trad snails or oeuf meurette ((egg poached in red wine), steak tartare and some southwestern French touches – my daughter's a fan of the confit de canard – to inventive salads and creative tomato Tatin with red pepper sorbet, so there's sure to be something to suit different tastes. All-day service is very useful when you’re on holiday. Try to be seated on the more atmospheric ground floor rather than upstairs.


Marché Place Monge
Paris has over 80 outdoor food markets but this is my favourite, especially on Sunday when it's a busy local rendezvous. Several stalls where you can buy direct from producers remind that the Ile de France and nearby Picardy are still market gardening regions. Specialists sell organic (biologique) salads and vegetables, apples and potatoes, and there are also excellent cheese stalls, fresh fish from Boulogne and Dieppe, and a few other options – DVDs, saucepans and Turkish jeweller Mr Saygi. There's all you need for a picnic in the nearby Jardin des Arènes (the ruins of Paris's Roman arena), including roast chickens, Lebanese snacks and a charcuterie stall that does steaming choucroute.
Marché Aligre
Aligre is actually three markets in one. The outdoor fruit and veg market, famed for the lowest prices in Paris, is an experience all of its own for its crowded, noisy atmosphere and the cries and banter of rival stallholders. Produce, including exotic hot peppers and mounds of coriander, often gets cheaper as the morning progresses, and the crowds are almost suffocating on Sunday. The covered Marché Beauvau is a more upmarket affair with good butchers, a wine stall and Italian deli. There's also a small and very shabby flea market on the square, mainly a source of second-hand books, household china and piles of old clothes.
E. Dehillerin
The legendary kitchen emporium has been supplying professional chefs and keen amateur cooks for nearly two centuries, a relic of the days when cooks came to buy their supplies at the nearby Les Halles wholesale market. Inside, wooden shelves are stacked high with every imaginable pan and utensil, spatulas and ladles, obscure paring knives, moulds and truffle graters, and items come in every size, whether you are cooking for one or for five hundred. Experienced staff can lead you to exactly what you want.


Le Comptoir Général
Le Comptoir Général bills itself as a "ghetto museum", a not-for-profit exhibition space, bookshop, bric-a-brac store and bar, all of whose takings go back to the entreprise's charity concerns. The bar, Le Rade, is arguably the centre of attention. The "shabby chic" furniture is accompanied by African curiosities, school chairs and stuffed animals. The signature cocktail, the "Secousse," is a secret recipe containing bissap, an infusion of hibiscus flower. Check the calendar of events on the website or ring in advance: though the bar is generally open to the public, it is often hired out for private events. It's also worth coming in the week, as queues at the bar at weekends can be horrendous. Although drink prices are low, a donation is required on entry.
These recommendations, and hundreds more, can be found in the free Telegraph Travel Guides app

Contributed by Natasha Edwards,
The Telegraph.

Read more:

Sunday, January 26, 2014

World's Most Luxurious Private Island Retreats

Contributed by Anisha Shah
Private islands have long been a stamp of the filthy rich—just ask Richard Branson or Shakira about their own island oases. Now, well-heeled travelers can also seek out their own slice of private island paradise, temporary (and expensive) it may be. Would-be castaways are even finding deals that make ultra-exclusive havens more accessible than ever before. So what are the perks of private island vacations? Here, we dissect four very special heavenly hideaways.


The choice island of the British royal family, Mustique is best known for its '70s playboy hedonism, when barons and princesses threw headline-hitting scandalous parties. Cotton House, the sole full-service hotel on the isle, boasts plenty of awards alongside its impressive guest book brimming with celebrity signatures. Opulent mansions of the rich and famous, like those of Mick Jagger and David Bowie, speckle the remote hills. Private golf buggies enable the few privileged guests to explore nine bewitching beaches, where you'd be hard-pressed to see another soul.
The Resort: The 17 spacious pool suites span 13 lush acres. Plentiful activities keep the adventurous occupied with trails for hiking, diving, and boating charters (at an extra cost).
The Cost: From $1,100 per couple, per night.


Private speedboats or seaplanes drop guests onto this islet of white sand, anchored amidst the translucent turquoise waters of theMaldives. Stylish trend-setting resort Hufaven Fushi boasts the world's first underwater spa alongside plush high-tech villas. Its dazzling array of celebrity frequenters (George Clooney, Kate Moss, Tom Cruise) only enhance the flawless recipe.
The Resort: The 44 sumptuous, fully loaded bungalows come with private infinity pools that fuse seamlessly with the sea. Relax in an outdoor saltwater flotation pool jutting out to sea, or set out snorkeling with the resident marine biologist. Chefs can prepare preferences off-menu to accompany the Maldives' most extensively stocked wine collection.
The Cost: From $2,225 per couple, per night.


The decisive barefoot luxury private island experience, Medjumbe inMozambique embodies absolute disconnection, starting with no phone signal (hardly surprising, on this remote swath of sand off the rugged Southeast African coastline). One of the last remaining bastions of untouched virgin beauty, a long narrow strip of sand splices into the gemstone ocean here, lapped by sea on both sides, while humpback whales swim just feet away. Beachfront chalets line one side of the island, while the other is windswept and rugged, for indulging in castaway fantasies.
The Resort: The 13 thatched beach chalets come with plunge pools and hammocks. Still waters are ideal for paddleboarding or sunset Hobie Cat rides to the reef.
The Cost: From $590 per person, per night.


Dubbed the "world's most expensive private island," the media hype forNorth Island reached frenzied proportions when the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge honeymooned here, followed by the Beckhams and Jolie-Pitts. Luxuriate in unashamedly high-tech, ultra-luxury, oversize villas in this Seychelles eco-sanctuary for endangered wildlife, featuring free-roaming giant tortoises.
The Resort: The 11 ultra-luxurious villas are each set on a vast expanse of beach. Boasting a no-menu concept, resort chefs meet guests to design meals to enjoy anytime and anywhere (i.e., private picnic lunches set up by personal butlers).
The Cost: From an eye-popping $4,829 per person, per night.
Writer Anisha Shah's quest for the best in luxury travel includes emerging destinations. Africa is close to her heart, as her father regaled her with tales of his childhood there. Combined with her Indian and Asian heritage and adoration of European grandeur, she's constantly darting across continents in search of the next big scoop.
Photo credits: Courtesy of Anisha Shah

Friday, January 24, 2014

O.A.R.S. Introduces New-for-2014 Lodge-Based Grand Canyon Hiking Adventure

Widely recognized for their signature river trips on the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon, O.A.R.S. announces a new-for-2014Grand Canyon Hiking trip that includes a hike from the South Rim to Phantom Ranch on the Colorado River and back. The trip starts at $1,399 per person for four days of guided hiking and three nights of comfortable lodging.

Expert guides will share their knowledge of the area’s natural and human history making the journey as much about learning as it is about logging a few miles in the greatest canyon in the world. On some select departures, Dr. Andre Potochnik, who holds a Ph.D. in geology and has led O.A.R.S. river trips in the Grand Canyon for more than 40 years, will be the featured guide. 2014 departures include: April 10, 25*; May 1*, 12; Sept. 10, 15*, 22; and Oct. 6, 11*, 29 (those guided by Potochnik marked with an asterisk).


“Every year there’s a pent-up demand for our rafting trips through the Grand Canyon. We’re all but sold out for 2014 and we’re already filling up rapidly for 2015. By developing an intensive hiking experience escorted by some of the best guides in the canyon, we can accommodate active travelers this summer who want to experience the Grand Canyon on foot and hassle-free and in a short 4-day itinerary,” notes Steve Markle, O.A.R.S. ( spokesperson.

The per person rate from $1,399 (based on double occupancy, single supplement $200) includes round-trip van transportation from Flagstaff, AZ; experienced hiking guide(s); most meals; overnight at Phantom Ranch; two nights of lodging at the South Rim; and round-trip transport of a duffel by mule between the South Rim and Phantom Ranch.

This epic hiking adventure brings guests into one of the deepest parts of the Grand Canyon with an overnight stay at historic Phantom Ranch. The adventure begins in Walnut Canyon, en route to the South Rim, with a close-up view of 25 unique cliff dwellings. Hiking in Wupatki National Monument features multi-story ruins of red sandstone blocks and mortar.  After gazing into the canyon’s depths from the Desert View Watchtower, a night at the South Rim is the perfect spot to rest before an invigorating hike into the canyon the following day. The South Kaibab Trail, a seven-mile hike into the canyon, reveals panoramic vistas that overwhelm the senses as guests take in the canyon’s grandeur.  Guests here keep an eye out for bighorn sheep and the California condor before arriving at Phantom Ranch by midday. The Bright Angel Trail offers a nine-mile hike out of the canyon, followed by a short stroll along the Rim Trail to Hermit’s Rest before returning to Flagstaff on the final day of this hiking adventure.

“I enjoy opening people’s minds to ‘deep time’ as revealed in the rock layers. The Great Unconformity especially makes people feel real small, like not all that important, yet somehow enduring, which is both exhilarating and relieving. Sometimes we think to be more important than we are,” muses Potochnik.

Potochnik started his guiding career with O.A.R.S./Grand Canyon Dories in 1973 and has mastered the art of rowing the delicate dories through one of the most challenging rivers in the West. He’s become a role model and a teacher of the river and in 2001 earned his Ph.D. in Geology focusing on investigations on the origin and evolution of the Colorado River and related rivers along the southern margin of the Colorado Plateau.   Read an interview with Dr. Potochnik at:

Other O.A.R.S. hiking trips include adventures in Yosemite National Park, Crater Lake National Park and on Idaho’s Middle Fork of the Salmon River plus a lodge-to-lodge Machu Picchu adventure in Peru.

For more information, availability, reservations and a copy of the 2014 O.A.R.S. Adventures catalog call 209-736-4677 or 800-346-6277, email, or visit: The 2013 O.A.R.S. catalog recently received the Gold Medal in the9th Annual Davey Awards for overall design presented by The International Academy of Visual Arts.

About O.A.R.S.
Some 500,000 guests later, O.A.R.S. has been providing whitewater rafting vacations since 1969. Over the decades the company has set the standard in first-class rafting, sea kayaking and multi-sport adventure, with destinations and unparalleled experiences on over 35 rivers and coastlines around the world. O.A.R.S. caters to active travelers of all ages and abilities with more than 75 unique itineraries, including one-day and weekend escapes. In 2013, for the seventh consecutive year, Condé Nast Traveler recognized Mindy Gleason, O.A.R.S. Reservation Manager and International Adventure Travel Consultant, as Condé Nast Traveler’s standalone Top Travel Specialist in the River Rafting category. In 2013 Outside, America’s leading multimedia active-lifestyle brand, named O.A.R.S. one of the top two outfitters in the world in its annual Active Travel Awards recognition program.  

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Travelore Tips: Top 10 Tastes Of Australia Outside Australia

Contributed by Kara Segedin 
Despite (or maybe because of) their location Down Under, Australians are some of the world’s most intrepid travelers. As they make their way across the globe, many have taken a little slice of Oz with them.
In honor of Australia Day, the Cheapflights team has selected 10 of the best places around the world where you can experience a taste of Australia.
What exactly do we mean by a taste of Australia? We’re talking about fresh food, native ingredients, international influences, fusion cooking, meat pies cooked with the flakiest pastry and coffee brewed to perfection – not a cork hat, didgeridoo or shrimp on the barbie in sight.
Okay, there may be a few shrimp…

KO Catering & PiesBoston, Mass., United States

Classic Aussie Pie. Photo by KO Catering & Pies
Classic Aussie Pie. Photo by KO Catering & Pies
East Boston store. Photo by KO Catering & Pies
East Boston store. Photo by KO Catering & Pies
Since 2010, the team at KO Catering & Pies has been serving up Australian cuisine to the people of Boston in the form of sandwiches, salads, burgers, sausage rolls and, of course, pies.
Along with the classic mince and mince and cheese pies, KO also creates several unique flavor combinations, including curried vegetable and Irish beef stew, and offers a tasty selection of Southern Hemisphere treats such as lamingtons, Anzac biscuits and pavlova.
With stores in South and East Boston you’re never too far away from a pie fix. While you‘re there, ex-pats (and taste aficionados) should remember to stock up on all the pantry essentials – Tim Tams, Milo and Vegemite.

KaffeineLondon, England

Coffee perfection. Photo by Kaffeine
Coffee perfection. Photo by Kaffeine
Cheesy-Mite (Cheese and Vegemite) scrolls. Photo by Kaffeine
Cheesy-Mite (Cheese and Vegemite) scrolls. Photo by Kaffeine
Banana Bread. Photo by Kaffeine
Banana Bread. Photo by Kaffeine
Lammingtons. Photo by Kaffeine
Lamingtons. Photo by Kaffeine
Kaffeine, London. Photo by Kaffeine
Kaffeine, London. Photo by Kaffeine
Many in the know will agree the best coffee in London is often brewed at the hands of Antipodean baristas, and the team at Kaffeine brews some of the best.
Australia has a highly evolved coffee culture that borders on obsession and is more developed than the scene enjoyed by their cousins in America and Britain.
Small independent coffee houses are favored over large international chains and (with a little help from the kiwis) they created the pinnacle of coffee perfection – the flat white.
Despite being only two minutes from the shopping chaos of Oxford Circus, the vibe at Kaffeine is distinctly laid-back Australian. You’ll most likely be there for the coffee, but the menu is definitely worth a look too. It  changes regularly to make the most of what produce is in season with Australian favorites popping up all over the place.
If sampling the fare isn’t enough, you could always sign up for one of Kaffeine’s popular coffee courses where you can learn to create your own latte art.

Uluru Bistro, Armagh, Northern Ireland

Photos of Uluru Bistro, Armagh
Uluru Bistro courtesy of TripAdvisor
Named after the famous natural wonder, Uluru Bistro produces good clean food with an Australian twist.
Run by Sydney ex-pats Dean and Sara Coppard, the menu features Aussie-style meals (even a bit of kangaroo) and an extensive range of Australian wine and beers.
The only Australian restaurant in Northern Ireland, Uluru was recently named Armagh’s Restaurant of the Year.

Crossfield’s Australian PubVienna, Austria

Burgers. Photo by Crossfield’s Australian Pub
Burgers. Photo by Crossfield’s Australian Pub
Breakfast at Crossfield’s Australian Pub. Photo by Crossfield’s Australian Pub
Breakfast at Crossfield’s Australian Pub. Photo by Crossfield’s Australian Pub
Photos of Crossfield's Australian Pub, Vienna
This photo of Crossfield’s Australian Pub is courtesy of TripAdvisor
A noteworthy Aussie Pub in the heart of Vienna? Despite the slightly Ockerdécor, this isn’t one of the tacky themed bars like the so-called Irish Pubs that pop up all over the world.
Stop by for a big breakfast or a simple plate of Vegemite on toast, burgers, barbecued meats (including kangaroo and croc), seafood and pub snacks.
Oh, and they’re hosting their very own Australia Day party this year.

Reef N’ BeefCopenhagen, Denmark

Crocodile Wonton. Photo courtesy of TripAdvisor
Crocodile Wonton. Photo courtesy of TripAdvisor
Surf n Turf. Photo courtesy of TripAdvisor
Surf n Turf. Photo courtesy of TripAdvisor
For more than 20 years, Reef N’ Beef has been bringing Australian fusion cuisine to the people of Copenhagen.
Combining more traditional fare with unusual flavors from the rainforest and outback, Reef N’ Beef creates a fine dining experience in the form of tender Australian steaks, fresh seafood and crocodile and kangaroo prepared in a wonderfully unique fashion. Poached crocodile wonton with Tasmanian saffron, kaffir lime leaves emulsion and grated combava anyone?
As a supporter of the Australian Wildlife Conservancy, Reef N’ Beef gifted Danish Princess Isabella her own piece of Australian-preserved wilderness as a christening gift (her mother, Princess Mary, is Australian).

Peaked Pies, Whistler, British Columbia, Canada

Chocolate lamington. Photo by Peaked Pies
Chocolate lamington. Photo by Peaked Pies
A 'topped' pie. Photo by Peaked Pies
A “topped” pie. Photo by Peaked Pies
Classic Pie. Photo by Peaked Pies
Classic Pie. Photo by Peaked Pies
Vanilla Slice. Photo by Peaked Pies
Vanilla Slice. Photo by Peaked Pies
Though they’re usually enjoyed in a warmer climate, a steaming hot meat pie certainly makes the perfect accompaniment to a chilly Whistler winter, especially if you’ve just come off the slopes.
Founded by Kerri and Alex, an Aussie pie-lover and Canadian baker, Peaked Pies has brought classic Aussie pie flavors like mince and steak along with variety of specialty flavors to the Whistler Main Street.
For a little something extra you can add a peak to your pie in the form of mashed potatoes, mushy peas and gravy.
In keeping with its Aussie roots, Peaked is hosting its very own pie eating contest for Australia Day.

Federal CaféBarcelona, Spain

Photo by Federal Café
Photo by Federal Café
Photo by Federal Café
Photo by Federal Café
Photo by Federal Café
Photo by Federal Café
Every weekend hungry souls all over Australia wander down the road and jump into cars to visit their favorite cafe or hunt down new finds in search of the perfect brunch.
The tradition of weekend – especially Sunday – brunch fits perfectly with Australia’s chilled-out style and coffee culture, and this leisurely morning meal would seem the perfect addition to Spain’s laid-back lifestyle.
Bringing brunch to Barcelona, where breakfast is usually little more than a coffee and a few sweet somethings, is the team at Federal Café — named after a small town halfway between Possum Creek and Goonengerry in Northern New South Wales.
Depending on how you’re feeling that morning, wash everything down with a flat white or a Bloody Mary.

Antipodean Café, Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur

Photo by Antipodean Café
Photo by Antipodean Café
Photo by Antipodean Café
Photo by Antipodean Café
Photo by Antipodean Café
Photo by Antipodean Café
Sticking to brunch, but shifting continents, Antipodean Café in Bangsar works hard to produce an antipodean style café food menu.
BLTs, sourdough sandwiches and a display case stuffed full of freshly baked cakes, cookies, pies and banana bread – everything you’d expect to find in an Australian café.
Short listed for Best for Coffee in the Time Out KL Food Awards over the past three years, the café’s popularity means it’s usually packed on weekends, but even if you have to line up, it’s well worth the wait.

The Espy, Edinburgh, Scotland

This photo of The Espy is courtesy of TripAdvisor
This photo of The Espy is courtesy of TripAdvisor
This photo of The Espy is courtesy of TripAdvisor
This photo of The Espy is courtesy of TripAdvisor
Photo by The Espy
Photo by The Espy
The Scottish sands of Portobello might look a little different than the Aussie beachside, but The Espy’s view along Edinburgh’s seafront is no less impressive.
The menu changes daily but always features the fresh, clean style of cooking familiar to diners from Down Under. You can even pick up a classic Chicken Parma at its sister venue 52 Canoes.
Join the crew at Espy for a combination Australia Day/Burns Night celebration on  Jan. 25 with meat raffles, an iron man run, pub quiz, live music and a space hopper race.

Melbourne CanteenBerlin, Germany

Photo by Melbourne Canteen
Photo by Melbourne Canteen
Photo by Melbourne Canteen
Bloody Mary. Photo by Melbourne Canteen
Bloody Mary. Photo by Melbourne Canteen
Corn Fritters. Photo by Melbourne Canteen
Corn Fritters. Photo by Melbourne Canteen
The Melbourne Canteen brings a taste of Victoria’s well known foodie capital to Berlin.
The two cities already share a vibrant arts and culture scene so the Melbourne dining style should fit right in.
From breakfast to after-dinner cocktails, share a pizza or a selection of fusion tapas with drinks. Try the corn fritters with bacon and avocado, Vegemite on toast, cheese and parma croquettes, sausage rolls and the egg and bacon Aussie pizza.
Along with a collection of great coffees, their Bloody Mary is said to be one of Berlin’s best.
(Main image: KO Catering & Pies)