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Doug Cooke

Sunday, 17 March 2013 14:05

Rio de Janeiro - The View From Above

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.

Saturday, 16 March 2013 06:54

ASTA IDE 2013 Comes to Dubai

Having recently returned from a trip to Dubai, I would advise any of our readers who are considering attending the upcoming ASTA IDE in Dubai from April 4-7 to do so. It is a fascinating country, unlike anywhere I have ever traveled before. As one of my fellow journalists put it, it is the land of superlatives. It has the world’s tallest building, the world’s tallest hotel, the world’s only 7 star hotel, the world’s largest man-made islands, the world’s longest remotely operated monorail, the world’s largest malls and now will host the world’s largest international gathering of U.S. Travel Agents. Over 600 travel agents are expected to attend this year’s IDE.

 

 

Thursday, 14 March 2013 12:57

Helsinki’s World Design Capital Summer

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. 

Thursday, 14 March 2013 12:32

The Best Leaf Peeping is in New England

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.

Thursday, 14 March 2013 10:58

Quebec's Famous Winter Carnival

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. 

 
Thursday, 14 March 2013 10:53

Breathtaking Croatian Cities

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. 

 
Thursday, 14 March 2013 09:55

Zagreb: Croatia’s Culture Capital

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. 

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