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Doug Cooke

A very old iron chain, bolted into the black granite of Rio de Janeiro’s highest peak, Pico da Tijuca serves as a hand rail. It was laid across this last pitch for the king of Belgium, an avid rock climber, in anticipation of his visit back in the late 1800s. Steps were also hand-chiseled into the steep slope for the king’s convenience, but he disregarded both and galloped up the sheer rock to the summit like a goat.

This summer, there will be even more to see, do and experience in Helsinki. Helsinki’s year as World Design Capital means lots of new kinds of summer events and venues. In addition, the 200th anniversary of Helsinki as capital of Finland will provide unforgettable experiences for visitors.

The Design Pavilion in the courtyard between the Design Museum and the Museum of Finnish Architecture serves as the heart of the theme year and will host many events until mid-September. Another new venue is the Chapel of Silence in Kamppi. The chapel serves as both a quiet place for meditation, and a fine example of Finnish wooden architecture. 

Between June and August, the Market Square in turn will be the site of the Finnish Design Market. 

Sandals Resorts recently launched their new WeddingMoons program at a gala event in Grand Central Station, NYC. On hand to emcee the event was reknowned bridal expert Randy Fenoli, star of TLC’s Say Yes To The Dress and Randy to the Rescue.

Long before Sandals Royal Bahamian was even a twinkle in Sandals Founder/COO Gordon “Butch” Stewarts eye, it was the site of a fairy tale romance between the former King of England, Edward VIII and his American born bride Wallis Simpson.  So great was the scandal of their romance that King Edward was forced to abdicate his throne and was sent by Winston Churchill to be the Governor of the Bahamas. It was on the site of current day Sandals Royal Bahamian Resort that the lovestruck royal couple hosted many an opulent party at the Balmoral Club, now Sandals’ Crystal dining room, still bearing the art deco, supper club design of those past years. 

By Halloween, New Englanders are swimming in dry and brittle leaves. They collect and make patchwork rugs on driveways and cover the street’s shoulders. While kids walking along the sidewalks revel in kicking and crunching the crispy tree remnants, homeowners and landscapers lament the acres and acres of leaves that trees shed before winter hibernation. 

If your clients are seeking an active vacation in a sunny climate, Belize should be at the top of your list of recommendations. With its Caribbean coastal beach communities offering quick access to the world’s second longest barrier reef, and its rainforest interior filled with ancient Mayan ruins, plus a plethora of adventure activities, water sport lovers, adventure seekers and history buffs will all find what they are looking for.

The word “Carnival” brings to mind festive floats, elaborate costumes and raucous celebrating. It is celebrated in many places such as Rio de Janiero, and of course Mardi Gras in New Orleans, but, for cold climate lovers there is a major annual celebration in Canada at the Quebec Winter Festival. It is the largest winter festival in the world, and attendance over the seventeen days numbers near one million. Carnival is usually celebrated just before the week of Lent, and for 2013, the celebration in Quebec kicks off on February 1st, and runs through February 17th. 

 

With multiple award winning hotels and over 500 miles of Adriatic coastline, who doesn’t want to go to Croatia?  This historic country in Eastern Europe is now commanding the attention it deserves, and travelers are taking notice.  The country boasts a unique location along the eastern coast of the Adriatic Sea and including over one thousand islands, and borders five other Eastern European countries - assets which when combined, offer a multitude of must-see destinations and must-do adventures. Recently, twitter users ranked Croatia among the most beautiful countries in the world. 

 

Zagreb, the capital city of Croatia, is also its largest city. Travelers who visit Croatia but bypass Zagreb on their way to the cities along the Adriatic coast are missing out on some of Croatia’s most inviting and interesting historical locations, as well as a wealth of art and cultural experiences. 

When assisting clients in choosing the perfect spot for a honeymoon, do not overlook the limitless possibilities found on the islands of the South Pacific. With year-round temperatures ranging from 75-89 degrees, and a seemingly endless supply of romance in a tropical paradise, this may be just the place. The names of several destinations may be familiar due to their exposure on television as locales where Survivor contestants have competed, exposing viewers to the unspoiled exotic scenery, flora and fauna and endless beaches. Once your honeymooning clients have decided that yes, they do want to go to the South Pacific to begin their married life together, the hardest decision will then be in deciding exactly where to go. 

 
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