Touring Castles from Home

Take a great getaway to fairytale castles in faraway places without ever leaving your armchair. Now that summer is here, many of us wonder when we will be able to travel abroad again. Vacationing on sunny Caribbean isles, taking that long-awaited Mediterranean cruise, being pampered in spa resorts, or immersing in European and Asian cultures – all of it seems so distant now as we continue to endure the worldwide pandemic with its travel restrictions. However, we can satisfy our wanderlust by traveling while at home, albeit virtually. How about an escape to some of the world’s most fascinating castles? There’s nothing quite like viewing architectural grandeur and exquisite artisanship that has captured our imaginations, as we have seen in movie sets like Harry Potter and Star Wars and television series like Downton Abbey and the aptly named Versailles. Or, perhaps it is some battle-scarred Medieval stone fortress that has withstood sieges and the test of time. We can easily visualize knights in shining armor on their trusty steeds crossing a drawbridge and heading off to battle while ladies in

Luxury Alaska Adventure

Alaska’s Wild Frontiers: Ker & Downey’s luxury Alaska adventure is an exclusive journey exploring Alaska’s treasures – local art, wildlife conservation areas, and plentiful nature.  North America’s “last frontier,” Alaska is a wild land of epic proportions. It is a place where grizzlies gather at the salmon-filled rivers. Moose often stop downtown traffic. Glaciers and their deep valley imprints seem to appear around every bend. In other words, outdoor adventure here is never more than a stone’s throw (or private helicopter ride) away.  Alaska Adventure: Wild Frontiers is Ker & Downey’s exclusive luxury Alaska adventure. It is an in-depth study of some of Alaska’s finest treasures, from local artists and wildlife conservation areas to luxury lodges and wilderness, untouched and unbelievable. Anchorage Ker & Downey’s luxury Alaska adventure kicks off in Anchorage at the city’s most renowned hotel, Hotel Captain Cook. The hotel offers a flawless first taste of Alaska with its historic prestige and Old–World explorer atmosphere. This pairs beautifully with its towering panoramic views of the surrounding Chugach Mountains and Cook Inlet. Start off by spending time with two of Alaska’ leading wildlife artists, Jon and Jona Van Zyle. Afterward, leave on a private flight-seeing transfer to the historic Iditarod Trail. You will pause on the

The Strahov Library: A Czech Republic Gem

Visit a national treasure, one of the most valuable and best-preserved historical libraries in the world. I’ve always enjoyed traveling and long ago became the person my companions have relied upon to put together an itinerary that will be second to none. One of the necessities is to find and work with the best experts and guides. They will magically transform any vacation into a memory for the ages. I tend to rely on Wendy Perrin, Conde Nast, Travel & Leisure, or Rick Steves in my search for those at the top of their game. Pick the Right Guide For instance, in Russia, we were accompanied by two excellent guides arranged by Exeter International, Gennady in Moscow, and Anya in St. Petersburg, who were absolutely perfect! It would not have been possible to duplicate our experience with a group tour. Moreover, if you travel with three others, the expense of hiring the best guides is no more than the cost of traveling on a high-end group tour; in fact, it’s probably less. And, now you get to go when you

Travel Books to Feed Your Wanderlust

Stuck at home? Here is our recommendation of the best travel books to feed your wanderlust until you can take your next adventure. From harrowing journeys to tales of whimsy, these selections are bursting at the seams with inspiration for a future trip. The Geography of Bliss: One Grump’s Search for the Happiest Places in the World  by Eric Weiner The title alone makes us want to dig into this book that has been described as part travel memoir, part humor, and part twisted self-help guide. Travel across the world with Eric Weiner as he attempts to answer where happiness lies. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway With The Sun Also Rises, Hemingway became the voice of the Lost Generation. Drawing from his life in Paris and his annual trip to Spain to watch the running of the bulls and the bullfights, this novel about life post-World War I is one of Hemingway’s greatest works. Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne Take a spin around the globe in this Jules Verne story about Phileas Fogg’s bet

Travel Safety Tips for those with Wanderlust!

When wanderlust visits, it’s time to travel! The world is huge and awaits you with millions or beautiful sights and destinations. Traveling is one of the most satisfying endeavors we can look forward to. With more and more people roaming the world in the age of globalization, it is more important than ever to practice safety. Below, find some of the top tips to make your trip as enjoyable and unforgettable as it can be. Research your destination Perhaps the most important tip of all, it is important to know as much as you can about your destination before arriving. There are millions of online traveler reviews. Additionally, if possible, consult with locals for the best information in real time. Someone who lives there can let you know location specific issues you should know about. Another fantastic resource is the State Department’s website for country updates and enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). Know who to call Make sure you are aware of whom to call in an emergency. Get the contact information for the nearest embassy or

Italian Days: Amazing Food & Wine

Fine food adventures await you in little gems across Italy. When you think of Italy, what comes to mind?  There are many answers to this question, ranging from Julius Caesar to Nero to the Coliseum to Vatican City, and we still haven’t left the magical city of Rome. We could go south to Naples and Pompeii and Sicily, or north to Pisa, Florence, and Venice.  We may think about Lamborghinis and Ferraris, or the stunning Amalfi Coast.  And way up north, we can visit Milan or Lake Como. There’s just so much to explore. Food, Glorious Food Italy has always been about one highlight after another.  But, when I think of Italy, the first thing that pops into my mind is FOOD! And there’s a little secret that isn’t so secret any more, not since earning 1,590 5-star reviews out of the 1,613 that have been posted on Trip Advisor since debuting several years ago, a stunning 98.5%! A couple years ago, I made plans to visit a variety of cities in Italy, including Bologna, which would be a base for our

The Islands of the Mediterranean

Ker & Downey’s Journey to the Islands of the Mediterranean is the perfect way to experience the beauty of island-hopping. Over the course of 12 nights, uncover the cultural treasures and natural wonders of three of the Mediterranean’s most enigmatic islands: Sardinia, Sicily, and Malta. Suggested journey at a glance: 13 days/12 nights in Sardinia, Sicily, and Malta This suggestion is just one of many ways to see the Islands of the Mediterranean on your own customized Ker & Downey itinerary. Our designers are at their best when crafting a journey unique to you; contact us to get started planning, and read on to see one example of what’s possible. Sardinia Your exploration of the Islands of the Mediterranean begins first in Sardinia, the second largest island in the Mediterranean and a haven with some of the most beautiful turquoise waters in the world. You will have every opportunity to explore these waters from your sun-soaked and celebrity-studded hideaway at Cala di Volpe. Your four days on the island are highlighted by a private sailing expedition through the secluded paradises of

Antarctica: An Unforgettable Journey

Satisfy your wanderlust with an ultra-luxury cruise to an otherworldly destination where icebergs churn, mountains tower, and glaciers reign. It was like a dream. A couple of years ago, I received a phone call offering my wife and me a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to visit Antarctica at a vastly discounted rate, provided we could travel 30 days later.  Fortunately, my wife and I had the flexibility to say “yes,” and we did.  Wow, to this day, we remain thrilled by the experience! Embarking on a Great Adventure In a matter of weeks, we were on a plane traveling to one of our favorite cities, Buenos Aires, Argentina home of some of the world’s best steaks and pizza (yes, pizza). It’s also where we were mugged a few years ago, but that’s a story for another day. Following our one-day stopover in Buenos Aires, we traveled to Ushuaia, the southernmost city on Earth, also known as “The End of the World.”  I was somewhat familiar with Ushuaia for two reasons — Leonardo DiCaprio had filmed The Revenant there several years ago. And in a

Ker & Downey: Perfect Pairing: Chile & Argentina

Ker & Downey’s Luxury Chile & Argentina journey strikes a unique balance between the finest luxuries and most stunning landscapes these two countries have to offer. From the lakes and deserts of Chile to the vineyards and tango halls of Argentina, this inspirational itinerary is only a taste of what this region of South America has to offer. Suggested journey at a glance: 14 days/13 nights in Pucon, Atacama, Santiago, Mendoza, and Buenos Aires There are many ways to experience luxury travel to Chile & Argentina. Our designers are at their best when crafting a journey unique to you; contact us to get started planning, and read on to see one example of what’s possible on a handcrafted trip. Pucon Luxury travel to Chile & Argentina begins first with a helicopter ride to the waters of Chile’s Lakes District. One part working hacienda and one part Relais & Chateaux hotel, and Beyond Vira Vira acts as an idyllic retreat in the shadow of Volcano Villarica. Over three days, you’ll kick off your journey with a myriad of bespoke adventures through this

Europe’s Christmas Markets Destination Winter Wonderland

There’s nothing quite like ushering in the holiday season than going on a multi-stop European yuletide adventure. Travel in Wintertime In December 2019, my wife and I spent nine nights in Romania and Poland. We looked forward to enjoying seasonal festivities, munching on holiday specialties, and strolling in streets filled with happy holiday-goers, all in an old world setting steeped in traditions and history. Ok, ok. I know some of you must be thinking my wife and I are out of our minds. Traveling from the sunny confines of South Florida to the sub-freezing landscape of Eastern Europe does seem ludicrous. Believe me; you would not be the first person to ask why on Earth did we decide to travel to Eastern Europe in the heart of the winter? Well, I always wanted to visit the Christmas markets, and if you share this interest, that means you need to travel in December.  And, in spite of the frigid weather, we had a great time visiting the fabulous cities of Bucharest, Warsaw, and Krakow.  We had such a good time that we