A LEGEND ON LAKE COMO, AND AN OPPORTUNITY TO INDULGE IN THE DOLCE VITA LIFESTYLE.

After spending 3 days in Lake Como, situated in the foothills of the Italian Alps, I quickly learned why JFK said “It is the most beautiful lake of the world.”

Forming an upside-down Y, Lake Como is an hour’s drive north of Milan.

I had the privilege to stay at the elegant Villa D’Este in Cernobbio, designated one of the best hotels in the world by Travel & Leisure, Condé Nast Traveler and Forbes Traveler.

It is truly challenging to describe how beautiful this resort is.  Upon checking in at the Cardinal Building, I was told I would be staying in the Queen’s Pavilion, both together offering a total 152 rooms and suites.

The villa was originally built in 1568 as the summer residence for Cardinal Tolomeo Gallio and was the playground of an Empress, an English Queen and aristocrats. In 1873, it was transformed into a luxury hotel and all rooms were individually decorated and furnished with antiques, silk brocade drapes, oil paintings and Como silk furnishings.

 

While being escorted to my room, I quickly became in awe of my surroundings.  To the left, 25 acres of luxuriously landscaped gardens complete with 16th-century mosaic monuments with the lower part of the gardens from the Renaissance period. To the right, the lakeside terrace and unique floating swimming pool facing the picturesque mountains.

My room overlooking the lake was classic elegance.  No two rooms in either building are alike in size or décor and are furnished with every comfort.

This hotel is the definition of sophistication; no wonder why the romances of Frank Sinatra and Ava Gardner, The Duke and Duchess of Windsor, and Rita Hayworth and Orson Welles began here.

This hotel is more than just a villa, it is a destination.  Upon reaching your room, you might not want to leave.  However, there are an abundance of water sports to choose from as well as the Sporting Club.  Located in the Cardinal Building this club is connected by a secret passageway offering a fitness center, sauna, squash court and much more.  Outdoors, there are hiking trails, a tennis center and trademark floating pool to choose from.  One can also enjoy playing a round of golf at the beautiful Golf Club Villa Deste, considered to be one of the most challenging par 69’s in Europe.

 

 

Have a Bellini lakeside as the sun sets before moving to the Veranda for world-class dining.

I am still dreaming of my early morning wake up calls.   Doorbell rings, and the waiter rolls in a gorgeous white linen table bearing silver pot of coffee and fresh flowers, as I glance at the morning newspaper, the windows open, in a room with the ultimate view.

For more information on weddings and honeymoons at Villa D’Este please contact Nancy Barkley, Honeymoons and Get-A-Ways.  215-793-4808.
All images courtesy of Villa D’Este.

 

 

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EXCEPTIONAL, EXCLUSIVE, AND TRANQUILITY WRAPPED IN BLUE. – ANQUILLA, BWI.

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Something Borrowed, Something Blue?  Your luxury destination wedding can be wrapped in blue, gorgeous Caribbean blue.

I love Anguilla, a secret gem in the Caribbean. This British Caribbean Island is only 35 square miles in size but offers 33 of the most beautiful beaches in the world. All of these picture perfect beaches are public, unspoiled and uncrowded.  The white sand is like walking on powder and the tranquil waters vary in their different shades of vibrant blue.  It is no wonder why Travel Channel ranks Anguilla’s beaches among the best around the world.  These beaches are wonderful options for a destination wedding as Anguilla’s dramatic sunsets will provide the most impeccable backdrop and flawless photographs.

This eastern Caribbean island is ideal for couples looking for a high style, low- key  wedding, desiring privacy and exclusivity.  While Anguilla is a chic luxury destination that is frequented by celebrities, pretentious it is not.  Luxury villas and resorts, culinary paradise, live music scene, are a few of the reasons A-listers visit here and hide in plain sight.

Arrive Anguilla via a 20 minute Ferry ride from Margot, St. Martin, where Ferries operate daily.  Ferries are also available directly from the St. Martin airport.  Flying is an option into Anguilla, however there are no direct flights as this charming Caribbean Island airport runway is not long enough to accommodate larger aircrafts.  Most connections are via San Juan, St. Martin, St. Thomas, helicopter, or private jet.  Of course you can charter your own yacht or (byob) bring your own boat.

Your wedding in Anguilla will be captivating and one that guests will be talking about for years to come.

Villa or Resort?

The Zemi Beach House Resort & Spa,  is located on one of the world’s most beautiful beaches?  Shoal Bay.

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The Zemi Thai House Spa is exceptional, boasting the only Hamman on the island housed in a 300 year old Thai House.  This luxurious retreat offers private spa suites, yoga, and a meditation garden along with ancient rituals to heal you.  Spa day here is a must for your guests.

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After a day of pampering and relaxation, return to your exquisite Caribbean Style ocean view room with soft woods and premium European linens.  If 24 hour room service is not your desire, you can dine casually at 20 Knots, or formally at Stone enjoying seasonal cuisine and freshly caught seafood.

There are many activities your guests can partake in before the big day.  Rum tasting at the luxurious rum bar, stand up paddle boarding, snorkeling, tennis, or kayaking is worth the experience.

The Zemi Beach Resort is for the couple wanting to marry on one of the most beautiful, intimate beaches in the world.  You can choose from an elegant poolside reception or formal dining, overlooking the ocean, in 20Knots before dancing the night away.

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If modern ultra-luxury villa is more your style, I present The Beach House to you.  The Beach House sits on 1.5 acres of unspoiled beach, Meads Bay.

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Serviced with a full complement of staff, including private chefs, butler services, personal concierge, housekeeping and more, The Beach House offers the best of the good life. With its combination of world-class accommodation, breathtaking location, and impeccable bespoke service, all who stay at The Beach House agree that it has earned its reputation for being the Caribbean’s finest private luxury beach villa. For the beach lover, this is paradise found.

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The Beach House offers luxurious Caribbean living and every imaginable amenity. Indoor and outdoor rain showers, 12-seat cinema room, tennis courts, and extra master suite apartment, fully equipped gym, bar, lounge, library, and   infinity pool and office.

The Beach Houses stunning architecture was designed for indoor/outdoor living offering spectacular views of the ocean and sunsets.  This is the perfect venue for the distinctive wedding where a bride can make a splendid entrance arriving by boat.

Anguilla exudes delightful old charm. The unspoiled beaches and pristine waters of this dream island make it a hot-spot for celebrities and those seeking an ultra-chic, wedding.

To plan your dream honeymoon, destination wedding, or romantic getaway to Anquilla, contact Nancy Barkley at Honeymoons and Get-A-Ways

Photo Credits:  Zemi Beach House and The Beach House.

MAGICAL PLACES TO VISIT IN PRAGUE.

 

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Prague is one of the most beautiful, enchanting, and romantic cities in Central Europe.  This capital city of Czech Republic seems straight out of a children’s storybook, like the setting of a fairy tale.  Legend has it that the turrets and spires of  Tyn Church Towers in Old Town gave Walt Disney the inspiration for the Sleeping Beauty Castle. It is one of the wonderful magical places in the Europe.

This is the perfect place to simply stroll and explore. You may stumble across a hidden alley, courtyard, or a lovely garden tucked away behind an apartment block.  Even locals get lost wandering the cobblestone streets discovering this architectural jewel.

You should begin your enchanted walking adventure at the Powder Tower, the first point of the Coronation or Royal Route, and follow in the steps of Czech kings.  This will lead you on a historical path which medieval Bohemian monarchs paraded on their way to being crowned in St. Vitus Cathedral.

This will put you at Prague Castle, which takes center stage in Czech history. It sits majestically on a hill high above Prague. Rising above the castle is the 600-year-old St. Vitus Cathedral.

Arch your back and you will see the beautiful spires on top of the cathedral. It is the largest and most important church in the Czech Republic. The cathedral is one of the best examples of Gothic architecture where saints, kings, and emperors of Bohemia are buried.  The coronations of kings were held here until 1836.

Duck your head to visit the nearby houses of Golden Lane, originally the laneway of goldsmiths that served Prague Castle, dating back to the 15th century. It is one of the finest collections of traditional medieval buildings.

Climb the 287 steps of the South Tower for breathtaking views.

Here, you will also see Zikmund, the largest bell in the country, weighing in at approximately 15 tons.  Six bell ringers are required to swing the bell into motion, 4 to swing and 2 to manipulate the clapper.

Presidential guards secure the main entrances to the castle.  They are members of a special army division and services directly to the president.  The exchanging of the guards occurs every hour, with a ceremonious changing at noon that features a parade and music.  They also walk the grounds of the Castle looking over the security of visitors and reluctantly giving directions to lost travelers.

The iconic Charles Bridge, that crosses the Vltava River, is a destination in its own right. Construction started in 1357 under King Charles IV and finished in 1402.  This land connection made Prague significant as the trade route between Eastern and Western Europe. Crossing this bridge with 16th arches and 30 baroque statues, you will be treated to very talented street musicians, souvenir shopping, custom portraits drawn by local artists and Instagram-worthy photo opportunities.

Prague’s Old Town, dating back to 1328, is a plaza surrounded by former palaces.  Here you can wander in any direction and discover picturesque buildings, winding alleyways as well as galleries showcasing Prague’s Modern Artists.

The Medieval Astronomical Clock, dating to 1410, is the 3rd oldest astronomical clock in the world.  Sometime in 1490, a calendar dial was added and the entire structure was decorated with Gothic sculptures. The figures at the top and bottom had significant meaning in medieval times, while the skeleton pulling the bell cord is Death and the fourth represents lust and earthly possessions.

Join the crowds from around the world lining up on the hour to watch the procession of the Twelve Apostles appear from a small trap door.

After experiencing first hand, it’s easy to see why travelers say Prague is one of the most magical and beautiful historical cities in the world.

For more information contact Nancy @ Honeymoons and Get-A-Ways 

Header image courtesy Nancy Barkley.  All other images courtesy The Official Tourist Website for Prague.

SOPHISTICATION AND LUXURY GEM IN THE CARIBBEAN

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Paradisus Palma Real  is where you want to get away if you desire the crystal blue sea, pristine white sandy beaches, stylish accommodations and exceptional dining.

This luxury all-inclusive resort is located on one of the most legendary beaches in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, the remarkable Bavaro Beach.

First impressions are everything, and this resort does not disappoint.  It is love at first sight upon arrival where you are met with a jaw dropping dramatic lobby offering stunning views of the Caribbean.

This exclusive paradise offers extravagant options and experiences for everyone, the possibilities are truly endless.  You will be treated like Royalty while staying in the adult only Royal Service, the personification of elegance offering discreet butler service during your entire stay.  You can roll out of your bed and onto the beach Bali bed reserved and waiting for you.  While you are sipping cocktails you can contemplate which fine dining restaurant you want reservations for that evening.  Private check in/check out, regal amenities, and pillow, yes pillow menus are a glimpse into your pampering.

Families can also experience this VIP treatment in Family Concierge. Children can wear their child size robes and slippers while enjoying such amenities as a Play Station before starting the multitude of children’s activities available to them.  Or you may want to stay in “The Reserve” a hotel within a hotel offering residential concierge suites.

Paradisus Palma Real is where you go to be gastronomically content.   Gourmet restaurants offer contemporary world class cuisine including Passion, by Martin Berasateui, winner of 8 Michelin stars, and well know Spanish chef.

Guests are provided endless options to relax and reduce stress. Yhi Spa specializes in Asian treatments and is a sanctuary of positive energy.  Therapists hailing from the Philippines and Indonesia specialize in treatments based on the arts of Thai Chi and Muay Thai.

Those who choose to stay active can choose from beach volleyball, tennis kayak and numerous water sports.  The Yhi Moves Fitness Center offers state of the art equipment as well as an on-site personal trainer.  However runners might want to strap on their running shoes, relish the natural backdrop of the Caribbean, and run on the miles of white sandy beaches.

Golfers will delight in the unlimited green fees included at the World Class 27 hole champion golf course designed by Jose Pepe Gancedo.

For those desiring different activities, the resort offers life enriching experiences which include sushi making, wine tasting, painting and salsa classes and more.

You will rediscover the romance of travel at this romantic haven.  This is the perfect destination to say I do or celebrate each other.

Honeymooners and anniversary couples celebrate romance “Under the Star” private dinner, rose petals bed and bath couples massages creating memories to last a lifetime.

Brides and Grooms who choose to have their wedding at this paradise are assured a postcard perfect ceremony and can choose from many glamorous locations.

This is where you want to go if you want a dreamlike location, superior service, extraordinary food, luxurious accommodations and countless activities. So what are you waiting for?  Contact Nancy Barkley at Honeymoons and Get-A-Ways to plan your once in a lifetime memory.

All pictures courtesy of Paradisus Palma Real.

Yachting about Italy and Croatia!

Lying back in a wooden rowboat together and entering the magical Blue Grotto in Capri Italy.

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Romantic sunset gondola ride on the Grand Canal in Venice, Italy.

 

Wine pairing at a family run winery in Sicily.

 

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Exploring Montenegro with its twisting byways, Byzantine architecture, and pitched mountains plummeting straight into the Adriatic Sea.

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Walking the medieval walls that surround Dubrovnik and then exploring what lies within the white old city.

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Visiting Split Croatia with its bustling harbor lined with cafes and Diocletians’ Palace in the center of town.

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Strolling through the streets of Rovinj, Croatia where hints of Italy are everywhere, in the signs, in the language, in the cuisine, thanks to having spent more than 500 years under Venetian rule. Romantic, quaint, and captivating, it’s Istria’s most beloved town.

 

Trip of a lifetime, you bet!  Memories that will last forever, indeed!  Can you experience this?  Absolutely, call Honeymoons and Get-A-Ways today!  215-793-4808

www.honeymoonsandgetaways.com

 

Love, Italian Style!

  1. Learn from the celebrities. Many engaged couples want to emulate the lavish celebrity weddings held overseas in some of the world’s most romantic locales. These types of celebrations are not necessarily out-of-reach of the average couple—ask local tourism boards or suppliers to recommend wedding and reception venues. You might be surprised what’s available.

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  1. Italy reigns. No surprise, Italy continues to be at the top of the list of wedding locales, with its culture, stunning landscapes and rich history—not to mention the excellent cuisine and wines. Venues range from luxury villas to medieval castles, renaissance palaces to ancient monasteries. One of the most desired locations is Chianti, in the Tuscany region, known for its stunning rolling countryside, vineyards, medieval villages and Renaissance churches.
  2. Take over an entire property. More couples are choosing to buy out an intimate venue for a weekend for the exclusive use of the wedding party and guests. During a buyout, all hotel amenities (including restaurants, lounges, spa, etc.) are open only to the wedding party and guests, assuring an exceptional, unique, unforgettable and private celebration.

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  1. Eloping is still an option. Perhaps surprisingly, more brides and grooms are choosing to run away secretly to get married. But make no mistake, this is no hurried affair, it is a sophisticated event — just one without invitations and guest lists. Today’s elegant elopements often include elaborate photo shoots in gorgeous locations and stunning wedding gowns.
  2. Fuse cultures and religions. The trend toward interfaith or multi-cultural weddings shows no signs of slowing down. You can help your clients combine and personalize the ceremony with different traditions, foods, dance, music and attire. They can recite vows in multiple languages, before officiants of differing religions. Such joint ceremonies can honor both religious and ethnic traditions.

Nancy Barkley/Honeymoons and Get-A-Ways/215-793-4808

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Your perfect destination is calling you. Half Moon Bay, Jamaica!

Visualize yourself getting married in the jewel of the Caribbean, where royalty and dignitaries choose to stay, truly one of the most legendary destinations, Half Moon Bay, Jamaica.  Having just returned from this magnificent resort, I can confirm that getting married at Half Moon Bay will be a dream come true.

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Half Moon Bay offers brides and grooms breathtaking backdrops to choose from.  Oleander Terrace offers the music of the Sea and prime beachfront location.   Sunrise Beach, a spectacular half mile curve of beach sheltered

by the offshore reef offers a quintessential toes-in-the-sand ceremony experience, especially at dusk when the constantly shifting hues of the sky and sea add a memorable backdrop. Or perhaps the elegant Sugar Mill Restaurant overlooking Half Moon’s beautiful golf course.

Your guests will be treated luxuriously in 5 star accommodations on private estate of 400 acres all fronted by two miles of private beach.  The hardest choice they will have to make is what fine dining restaurant to choose from and will they either enjoy the 18 hole championship golf course, Equestrian Centre, thirteen tennis courts, and a variety of water sports including a private Dolphin Lagoon or spend the day at the spa?

Words do not do justice on how beautiful Half Moon Bay is, so you will need to experience it for yourself and I promise you will have the perfect destination wedding.

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Nancy Barkley/Honeymoons and Get-A-Ways/215-793-4808

All photos courtesy of Half Moons Bay

Nevis, the new, hottest destination for couples seeking elegance and romance!


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Why Nevis?

Nevis offers near perfect weather, luxurious indoor and outdoor space and stunning ocean views.   Couples can choose from picturesque churches, historic plantations, soft, sandy beaches or beautiful tropical gardens.  Nevis is truly one of the world’s premier Caribbean wedding destinations.

Who Nevis?

Nevis is for the couple looking for privacy and exclusivity. Nevis is a unique, elegant, romantic location for a destination wedding, honeymoon or Anniversary trip.  If it is Romance Related, that is who it is for.

When Nevis?  

Perfect time Nevis , December to early April.

What Nevis?

Top Romantic Activities on Nevis

  • Sunset Cruise

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  • Nevis Peak Hike
  • Botanical Gardens on Nevis

  • Private dining in the Mill at Montpelier Plantation & Beach

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  • Private picnic at Lovers Beach
  • Funky Monkey off-Road Adventure in a 4×4 wheeler, with picnic
  • Exploring Nevis out by bike

Where Nevis?

Top places to get married on Nevis

  • The 18th lawn of the Four Seasons Golf Course- A tropical setting just beyond the 18th hole between the green and the sea

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  • Botanical Garden of Nevis- the natural beauty of the one-of-a-kind Garden will make your dream wedding come true
  • Avenue of the Palms at Nisbet Plantation – This iconic venue among an avenue of coconut palms with a backdrop of the ocean.

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  • Thomas Anglican Church
  • Cottle Church- Ruins of an Anglican Church built in 1824 by John Thomas Cottle

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  • Various stunning beaches on Nevis

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  • Nelson Wedding Site – British Admiral Horatio Nelson married Fanny Nisbet on this site in 1787.

Your wedding day is one of the best days of your life, choose Nevis ……unspoiled, unpretentious, and unforgettable.

Nancy Barkley/Lifestyle Specialist Honeymoons and Destination Weddings/ Certified Nevis Romance Specialist

Honeymoons and Get-A-Ways / 877-793-4908

 

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My Jordan Journey!

My Jordan Journey.



For those of you who are ready to explore a destination unlike any other in the world, I welcome you to Jordan.  I have been home just 2 weeks and still cannot stop telling people about this extraordinary country that exceeded every one of my expectations during my visit.

Jordan is a country located on the east bank of the River Jordan. Almost half of Jordan is covered by the Arabian Desert. It is a country covering an area of 35,637 square miles, comparable to the size of Indiana.    Jordan offers a diverse terrain and landscape  usually found only in larger countries.

Our host, the Jordan Tourism Board, met us at the airport.  While they were processing our Visas, we easily checked in with friends and families at home thanks to the WIFI at the Amman airport.  Once outside, we  were escorted to our lavish tour bus, equipped comfortable seating, WIFI,  and TV channels at our fingertips.

On our first full day we visited Jerash, located about 45 kilometers from Amman, and considered to be one of the largest and most well-preserved sites of Roman architecture in the world outside Italy.

Their state of preservation is absolutely remarkable.

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Wine making in Jordan?  Yes indeed!  And that is where we went that evening,  In Amman, the place to go is The Winemaker, a boutique wine tasting venue  that carries the international award-winning St. George wines.  The winemaker himself is Oscar Zumot, who pioneered the modern era of winemaking in Jordan.   Our wonderful evening of wine tasting was paired with a delicious Jordanian dinner.

Next day we headed south to the Eastern Banks of The River Jordan, known as Bethany-Beyond –the -Jordan.   The baptism of Jesus, by John the Baptist, most likely took place on the Jordanian side of the Jordan River.   Pope Francis visited Bethany-beyond-the-Jordan in May 24, 2014 .  “The place where we are meeting commemorates Jesus’ baptism,” the pope told an assembly at the Church of the Baptism of Jesus (of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem). “Coming here to the Jordan to be baptized by John, Jesus showed his humility and his participation in our human condition.”

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We then drove a short distance to Mt. Nebo.   After 40 years leading the Israelites in the desert, Moses stood on the summit of Mount Nebo and viewed the Promised Land of Canaan — after having been told by God “you shall not cross over there”.

We were very fortunate to have a clear day, and saw the panoramic view seen by Moses  : The Dead Sea, the Jordan River valley, Jericho, Bethlehem and the distant hills of Jerusalem.

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We then continued south to the “Lost City” of Petra.  Literally carved straight into  red, white, pink, and sandstone cliff faces, the prehistoric Jordanian city of Petra was “lost” to the Western world for hundreds of years.

Located amongst rugged desert canyons and mountains in what is now the southwestern corner of Jordan , Petra was once a flourishing trading center and the capital of the Nabataean empire between 400 B.C. and A.D. 106.

The city sat empty and in near ruin for centuries. Not until the early 1800s did a European traveler disguise himself in Bedouin costume and penetrate the mysterious locale.

In 1985, the Petra Archaeological Park was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site, and in 2007 it was named one of the new seven wonders of the world.

Words can not describe this amazing “rose red city” , so I hope my pictures help.

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The following day we went to Wadi Rum, a protected area covering 720 square kilometers of dramatic desert wilderness in the south of Jordan.   Our scheduled 2 hour jeep tour was cut a little short because of upcoming sand storm, but so much fun none the less as we waited for it to pass in tent.  While inside we were served delicious tea and explained and demonstrated the different scarf garments by extremely hospitable Bedouins.   After a traditional Jordanian lunch, camel ride time, where Lawrence of Arabia once frequented.

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Wadi Rum attracts more and more adventure seekers, offering some of the finest rock climbing in the world and is a spectacular place for desert trekking and safaris (camels, horses and vehicles)

Last day, getting down and dirty in the Dead Sea.

  • Dead Sea is neither dead nor a sea. It’s actually a lake sandwiched between Israel and Jordan.
  • The Dead Sea’s salinity averages between 33.7 to 35 per cent — nearly ten times higher than the norm, making it one of the saltiest bodies of water in the world.
  • The lowest point on dry land, located 423 metres below sea level.
  • The sea’s main source of water comes from the Jordan River and receives very little rainfall.
  • The water’s saltiness makes it denser than the human body allowing everyone to float no matter what your body type.
  • It’s said that the salty waters and mineral-mud work wonders for people with skin conditions or sore joints.
  • Aristotle, the Queen of Sheba, King Solomon and Cleopatra were all familiar with the healing properties of Dead Sea water and mud. King Herod & King David both used the Dead Sea as a spa and retreat 

After I floated in the Dead Sea for 15 minutes it was time to test the famous Dead Sea mud.  The staff at the Mövenpick Dead Sea Resort & Resort caked on layers of the thick mud and told me to wait 20 minutes before rinsing off and the offering me plush towels.

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I was sad to leave, and I would  love to go back as there are many things to still explore.  Who would like to join me?

Nancy Barkley   Honeymoons and Get-A-Ways   877-793-4808

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Greece Honeymoon

There is a reason Greece tops Lonely Planet 2014 Best of Europe Top 10 List.  This country, which resembles a huge post card, is one of the most romantic places in the world to honeymoon.

I would like to share a glimpse of my recent trip to Athens this past May.

Athens, a contemporary city, combines the present and the past in a unique way. Modern restaurants with famous chefs, lovely nightlife and various cultural events run every day and still the Athenian past is obvious in every corner.  The history of the Acropolis of Athens is long, when democracy, science, philosophy and art flourished leading to its creation. The Acropolis and the Parthenon in particular, is the most characteristic monument of the ancient Greek civilization.

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Santorini is one of the most sought after destinations in the world, and I had the opportunity to experience 5 star hotel accommodations while staying at Mystique.    Mystique is a stylish property built on Oia’s most famous cliffs offering amazing views of the Aegean Caldera.

The rooms, which are built in a cave offer seclusion, tranquility and spectacular bathrooms that directly look out to the sea affording jaw dropping views.  If you do choose to connect to the world and not hibernate, the complimentary WI-FI works great.

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The Asian Spa at the Resort offers both unique and memorable spa services that can be experienced in their spa, or in  your room.

 

The Santorini Wine Adventure allows you to discover the most distinct wineries and traditional cellars in Santorini through a unique wine tasting journey.   During the 4 hour tour of the Santorini country side you will visit the most distinct wineries on the islands where winemaking dates back more than 4, 0000 years.  The volcanic land gives special features to the wines. And you will experience an adventure of flavors winding through traditional villages and dramatic landscapes with hillsides covered in vines.

I hiked the 12 km from Oia to Fira, along the brow of the Caldera and met a lot of friendly travelers from all over the world making the same hike.

 

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There is no better way to discover the volcano, hot springs of Thirissia island then by way of catamaran.  We explored the craters of one of the most important volcanoes in the whole world and Thirissia island while the chefs on the catamaran prepared us a gourmet lunch.

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I spent an extremely educational afternoon at Akrotiri ,  one of the most important prehistoric settlements of the Aegean. The first habitation at the site dates from the Late Neolithic times (at least the 4th millennium B.C.). The large extent of the settlement (ca. 20 hectares), the elaborate drainage system, the sophisticated multi-storied buildings with the magnificent wall-paintings, furniture and vessels, show its great development and prosperity.

 

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I then departed for Mykonos, a 3 ½ hour journey by speedboat and was transferred to The Rochari Hotel,  located in a very convenient location just a few minutes’ walk to the town center and the old port of Mykonos. My terrace offered a stunning view of Mykonos and the Aegean Sea.

Mykonos is  famous for its giant whitewashed windmills and chapels scattered along the countryside, divine sandy beaches, unique Cycladic architectural style, wild, cosmopolitan nightlife, endless entertainment opportunities, yummy local delicacies and countless gastronomic restaurants

 

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Mykonos is also an island jetsetters frequent for the unbelievable upscale shopping and nonstop partying .

 

However, when you do wish to relax, visit Psarou beach which is guarded by locals and VIP visitors where crazy partying is frowned upon! It is actually an attractive -not too small, not too big- beach with clear waters, umbrellas and sun beds and a place for boats and private yachts to anchor. Psarou beach has a restaurant, a traditional taverns, a cafe-bar, and even a sushi bar for the most demanding! For those who are more active, Mykonos offers a variety of water sports. From snorkeling to water ski and from tubes rides to parachute each one of you can find something interesting!

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Greece was truly one of my most fulfilling and memorable travel experiences ever!