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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

Ker & Downey: Support Australia Now and in the Future

When a crisis like Australia’s bushfires dominates the news, much-loved travel destinations can quickly be labeled no-goes. In recent years we’ve seen it happen after unrest in Egypt, natural disasters in Nepal, and fires in the Amazon, even when safe travel is possible. There are things you can do (and yes, even places you can visit right now) to support Australia and their recovery from the ongoing wildfires. We invite you to join us in helping our friends “down under”—they’re going to need us, and you. What to do now Ker & Downey is proud to support the NSW Rural Fire Service and their ongoing efforts to control the bushfires. Through April 15, 2020, we will match every new Ker & Downey booking with a $100 donation to the NSW Rural Fire Service. Regardless of where in the world you choose to travel, Ker & Downey will support Australia on your behalf with this gift. Join us and make a secure donation on their website Where to go now While the threat of wildfire is lowest in these areas, it’s

La Pitchoune: “Toujours Bon Appétit!”

If you have an appetite for life, you’ll love a stay at Julia Child’s summer home in France. A House Built on Friendship Nestled in the idyllic landscape of Provence, France, the quaint village of Plascassier holds a gem of a place, La Pitchoune. The modest stucco cottage was built in the early 1960s by Julia Child and her husband, Paul. It was constructed on the property known as Bramafam belonging to her culinary friend, Simca Beck, and husband, Jean Fischbacher. The deal was sealed with a handshake and an understanding that the red tile-roofed cottage would be turned over to the Fischbachers after they were done staying there. La Pitchoune means “the Little One” and Child often used her shortened nickname for it, La Peetch. Summers were spent at La Pitchoune as a serene getaway amidst olive trees and lavender bushes for nearly 30 years. The Childs loved to entertain, often hosting the most influential culinary chefs such as James Beard, M.F.K. Fisher, and Richard Olney. In later years, Paul’s health was failing and her long-time friend Simca had

Start 2020 With a Botswana or Tanzania African Safari

What better way to begin the new year than on safari? Consider a journey to Botswana or Tanzania to experience the best safari in January or February. Both safari hot-spots are crowd-free and wild as can be.Pair Kanana and Dinaka New for safari-goers in 2020, Kanana and Dinaka will stay open year-round giving travelers more opportunities to get their fill of outdoor adventure. These two camps pair perfectly, with varied experiences in two of Botswana’s very different environments: the Okavango Delta and Central Kalahari. If The Lion King has you inspired to see a safari for yourself, Botswana is a great place to start. Kanana and Dinaka are among the safari properties that contribute to Bana Ba Letsatsi, a project based in Maun focused on supporting at-risk youths through education and meeting their social needs. When you travel with Ker & Downey to these camps, and on our Botswana Family Safari suggested itinerary, you are directly impacting the lives of these children and ensuring their positive future. Contact our experts to learn more about giving back in Botswana, and to

Take A Bite Out Of New Orleans

10 MUST-TRY RESTAURANTS (& WHAT TO ORDER) New Orleans has serious soul. Its rich heritage and distinct culture are discernable with all five senses. There’s music everywhere! And not just classic New Orleans jazz. Ten-piece brass bands congregate on street corners, and talented, solo rappers spit beats (the city gave us Lil Wayne, after all). I can’t imagine a quiet New Orleans. There’s a celebration for everything, and the city goes all out. New Orleans remains alive 24 hours a day, partially because the nightlife rolls straight into the morning. Beads aren’t just prominent around Mardi Gras: If you look up, you’ll likely find a few strapped in the trees and balconies year-round. La Nouvelle, as it once was called, is dressed in history; the diverse architecture reflects the city’s unique past. Its earliest roots were with the French (1718), overlain by the Spanish and personalized by residents from the Caribbean Isles. By the time Americans took over in 1803, each culture had left its distinctive mark. You’ll notice brightly painted Creole cottages in the French Quarter, and the most

Visit Europe in 2020 – Our Top Picks

With 44 countries in Europe, travelers have plenty of choices. You want mountains? Check. Chic beaches that meet sparkling seas? Check. Delicious food? Check. Vast varieties of culture and history? Check. Since there’s so much to see, we are helping you visit Europe in 2020 with confidence. Keep reading to narrow in on where to go in Europe 2020. Greenland Iceland’s much bigger neighbor is having a moment in the well-deserved spotlight. Go in search of polar bears and the vivid Northern Lights as you circumnavigate the large island. Discover old settlements dating back more than 4,500 years as you hike through the UNESCO-listed Sermermiut Valley. Glide through the ice fjords by kayak or take flight above the Isua Glacier, spotting whales down below. And when your weary feet need a break, settle in for an Arctic sauna experience or chit chat with locals over coffee and cakes in their home. Albania Long left under the radar and in the shadows of Greece, many travelers are surprised to learn of Albania’s equally beautiful beaches. But what makes Albania different is

“Glamping” Safaris in Africa

The allure of wild African safaris beckon visitors to experience unforgettable adventures and unique personal experiences. Having grown up in Africa, I consider myself extremely fortunate to have spent many a night on safari, and my fondest memories in life are those derived from being immersed in such a pristine natural environment. As a result, I often yearn to be back driving across the endless plains of the Serengeti, dotted with wildebeest and zebra on their annual migration in search of greener pastures. I also have rich memories of gliding silently across the crystal clear waters of Botswana’s Okavango Delta in a mokoro (dugout canoe) through papyrus fringed channels listening to the nearby grunt of a hippo and the unmistakable cry of an African Fish Eagle. Experiencing Nature’s Wonderland The word “safari” is derived from the Swahili language and roughly translates to “a journey.” Traditionally this would have involved a small tent pitched deep in the wilds with little or no infrastructure surrounding it. Today many safaris are offered with a distinct air of sophistication, and often with super luxurious

Journey to 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

A Gift for Two: Ker & Downey’s Romantic Getaways

Whether planning for an upcoming honeymoon or treating someone you love to a memorable gift, let these romantic getaways serve as your inspiration. Our favorite amorous getaways from around the world feature private experiences and amenities with lovers in mind. Is your heart racing yet?  Foodie Love | Dar Ahlam, Morocco If the way to your heart is your stomach, head to the Skoura Oasis to get your fill. Incredible private dining awaits in secret spaces on the manicured grounds, and on a drive into the Atlas Mountains for an indulgent evening under the stars. The Creative Heart | Ellerman House, South Africa Pair fine wines and fine art at the celebrated Ellerman House consistently ranked as one of the top hotels in the world by top travel publications like Travel + Leisure and Conde Nast Traveler. With the recent addition of a custom-crafted wine cellar guests can now sample 7,500 vintages in an inspiring, intimate environment. For the Love of Nature | Hotel Paracas, Peru Peru’s southern coast is alive with history and outdoor encounters. Soar over the mysterious Nazca

Castle Hotels: Experience Grandiose Getaways

Bursting with opulence and enchantment, castle hotels are the perfect sanctuaries for the luxury traveler. During many of my trips overseas, I often structured our itinerary around visiting some of the world’s finest castles, including Neuschwanstein in Bavaria, Germany, Dracula’s Castle in Transylvania, Romania, and Mont Saint-Michel near Normandy, France. However, I never took advantage of the opportunity to spend a night in one of these magnificent places. Have you ever dreamed of staying overnight in a real-life castle?  Did you know that this “bucket list” item is even a possibility?  Well, believe it or not, it is, and there are quite a few choices.  In this article, we will highlight some of the classics around the world. ASHFORD CASTLE – CONG, IRELAND Ashford Castle, originally built in 1228 on a 350-acre estate, is an incredible five-star resort that allows you to fantasize about medieval times.  It had been owned by the Guinness family since 1852, expanded to more than 26,000 acres, and was donated to the Irish government in 1915. In 1939, it was turned into a hotel and has