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Azores sao miguel lagoa Sete cidades If you are unfamiliar with The Azores and you Google it, one of the most symbolic images you will see of these beautiful, volcanic islands will likely be a photograph of Lagoa das Sete Cidades on the Island of Sao Miguel. This “postcard” photograph of the twin lagoons represents just a fraction of the spectacular views you experience exploring The Azores.

 Lagoa das Sete Cidades is the largest fresh-water lake in the Azores and is situated in the volcanic craters that form the Island of Sao Miguel. It is made up of two lagoons (the Green Lagoon and the Blue Lagoon) that form beautiful scenery of great natural beauty, classified as Protected Landscape.

Azores Faial Capelinho pano

I remember asking this very question when I was first asked if I wanted to go to The Azores. I soon discovered that The Azores are one of the two autonomous regions of Portugal. This archipelago is composed of nine volcanic islands located in the North Atlantic Ocean about 1,360 km west of continental Portugal, about 1,507 km from the African coast, and about 1,925 km southeast of Newfoundland, Canada.

The nine islands that make up The Azores are divided into three groups: the eastern (Sao Miguel and Santa Maria islands), the central (Terceira, Graciosa, Sao Jorge, Pico and Faial islands), and the western (Flores and Corvo islands). The Azores, along with the archipelagos of Madeira, Canary Islands and Cape Verde, constitute the biogeographic region of Macaronesia, a name which means "fortunate islands" for those who live there and visit them.

Greece RhodesTake a step back in time as you walk through one of the seven gates in the medieval walls surrounding the Old Town Rhodes, Greece.

Old Town Rhodes is one of the best-preserved, medieval towns in Europe, which was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988.

The Town of Rhodes was formed in 408 BC and prospered for three centuries during its Golden Age. The town prospered with sea trade and skilled shipbuilders until Roman times. The Colossus of Rhodes, one of the original Seven Wonders of the Ancient World was built by the Lindian sculptor Chares between 304 and 293 BC. After twelve years, it was completed in 282 BC. The statue representing their sun god Helios stood at the harbour entrance.

ElephantFosteringIf you've known me for a while, you may remember I fostered a baby elephant, Dupoto, from The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Kenya. Here's the blog I wrote about that amazing experience.

Well now there is very good news: ‘my’ Dupoto (at 4 years old)

23SEP16 Sheldrick350pxThis past weekend I enjoyed the fulfillment of a dream. In my past visits to Kenya I had never visited the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. This is an elephant orphanage begun by Dame Daphne Sheldrick in 1977 in memory of her husband David who even today stands out as one of Africa’s most famous and proficient pioneer and natural park wardens of all time.

I knew about it and while I was setting this tour up about a year ago I spent some time looking into the organization. I was so taken by the rescue program and the care given to juvenile and infant orphaned elephants that I made a point to take on the minimum fostering commitment of a 2 year-old orphan named Dupoto.

This ties up only $50.00 USD a year and has given me thousands in satisfaction to do just a little toward the conservation of these majestic animals.

TheFurryDanceHelston in Cornwall is a quiet town, pretty, lots of interesting local shops and a couple of great bakeries.

However, the quiet, quaint town changes during one day of the year - on the first Saturday in May when the Furry Dance takes place. The Furry Dance is a celebration of the passing of Winter and the arrival of Spring. You'll have heard the tune - the Floral Dance (Paul Robeson had a great recording) - it's one of those tunes that gets stuck in your head and won't leave.

Debbie

Yes, it’s a niche travel market...a market that continues to gain momentum! More and more women are coming together, going on tour to see and experience beautiful worldwide locations. According to the Boston Globe, women make up 54% of affluent travellers – that number is up 42% from 2010 statistics.

One of the pioneers of women’s specialty tours is Debbie Lloyd. Debbie has a long and fulfilling career in the travel business. Her passion and first love is people and travel. So how natural is it that she was one of the first in her industry to offer tours specifically for women. This year, Debbie celebrates 15 years offering women-only group tours. In 2002, she created a division of her travel company and called it Canadian Woman Traveller. Then two years ago re-branded that division to Today’s Woman Traveller. 

At Today’s Woman Traveller, we’re often asked ‘what’s the difference between a converter and an adapter’. It’s a great question and well worth an explanation!

adaptersTravel Adapters
Travel adapters or plug adapters do not convert electricity. They ‘adapt’ by allowing a dual-voltage item to be plugged into the wall outlet of another country. For instance, the 2 or 3 prong North American plug needs an adapter to fit into a two prong European electrical outlet.

Elephant on road300pxBeing on Safari is a little surreal. It is the ultimate field trip.

All safaris begin with a briefing at your start point typically in Nairobi. You meet your drivers who will be with you throughout the safari. The drivers go over the daily procedures and get to know passengers. The passengers can also go over any concerns and unanswered questions.

The vehicles are then loaded and off you go to your first lodge or camp. Each vehicle accommodates up to 7 passengers plus their luggage.

You can arrange your safari to visit as few or as many game reserves as time and money allow.
Each location features it’s own environment and sometimes specific species. The Grevy Zebra and the Reticulated Giraffe for example are only found in Samburu, north of Mount Kenya. Lake Nakuru in Kenya and Ngorongoro Crater are home to the brilliant pink flamingoes.

Deb with Boys500pxAny idea of the size of Africa? – We all know it’s big.  A quick check with Wikipedia let’s us know that the continent covers 30.3 million sq. kms (11.7 million sq. miles).  To put that into perspective it is larger than the combination of: China, the continental United States, all of Western Europe, Argentina, India, the British Isles and 3 Scandinavian countries.

Within that size are 53 independent countries.

A great part of Africa is covered by desert.  Africa is home to 3 deserts which together make up more than a quarter of the continent’s area.  The Sahara, covering much of Africa north of the equator, is the largest desert in the world.  The Namib in Namibia has been around for at least 80 million years, making it the oldest desert.  The Kalahari in southern Africa is relatively well vegetated thanks to occasional rainfall.

So much for Africa 101 – it is a project that could keep anyone occupied for a very long time.

As travellers who want to discover and learn for themselves, Africa has many specific countries and regions and is well worth making the journey.

flowers on grey houseThe English Lakes area is an absolutely beautiful region. My first tour of the area happened soon after an artist friend of mine contacted me to let me know that she had just seen the movie "Miss Potter" illustrating the life of Beatrix Potter in England's Lake District. She quite glibly asked if I would build a painting tour for her to lead in this lovely corner of England. She didn't realize that I was thinking of looking into this very region to build a walking tour for Today’s Woman Traveller.

Crystal Endeavor Rendering Polar300pxFollowing closely on the heels of Regent Seven Seas lux cruise ship announcement, now Crystal is expanding with a new luxury mega-yacht in its fleet. AND, they are also jumping into another growing trend – polar travel.

Yes, it’s exciting news for travel! There are so many high end options and so many new locations. All this rivalry makes for wonderful amenities, competing pricing and endless variety for travellers. What a great time to hop on a cruise and go in-style to places you’ve never been before.

italy cinqueTerre view three ladies‘Travelling on my own makes me very nervous - I’ve never done it before.”

Oh, if I had a dollar for every woman who has told me that, I’d be a rich woman.

And I understand! If you are widowed or single, it’s unsettling to have to get your flights booked, sort through insurance options, choose comfortable, safe and reasonably priced hotels, arrange local transportation and arrange your transfers to/from the airport. Then once you are there and enjoying yourself, you experience the feeling of wishing you could share your experiences with someone else. Yes, it IS scary and can be lonely too!

I have been travelling for a living for over 38 years and I know what it’s like to travel alone and I know what it's like to have a travel companion. Sometimes it makes a world of difference to the enjoyment of a travel experience...

eiffel at night300pxAhh, Paris, the City of Light! Few other cities have inspired as Paris has! It is one of the most iconic places in the world, where people return over and over again to take in its fascinating art, culture, and history. Difficult as it is to try to create a definitive "Top Ten" list for Paris, the tour leaders at Today’s Woman Traveller have put together our own list of 10 great things we adore about Paris.

Christmas street que city300pxAs a single woman whose friends are her family, I have to admit to a sense of relief that all of the Christmas comings and goings are finally over. It’s great that most of my friends have now returned to their regular routine – which means that we can call each other up or get together on the spur of the moment again. I do love many aspects of the Christmas season, but those of us without children or close relatives nearby miss the special sense of connection and cheer that our friends bring us during other seasons of the year.

Well, no more Christmas Blues for me! ....

Regent seven seas logo250pxWith so much competition in the cruise industry, cruise lines are continually offering bigger ships, better ships, cruises with more perks, cruises with more inclusions – all often at lower price points. At Today’s Woman Traveller, we’re always eager to find out about the new offerings and the latest cruise news.

And one recent travel story that caught our attention was an announcement by one of our favourite cruise lines - Regent Seven Seas Cruises. Regent Seven Seas is unique in the cruise industry. As well as offering extraordinary luxury cruises to over 250 worldwide ports, they also provide more inclusions than any other line:


SkyTeam logo300pxFor those of us in North America, it may be a lesser known airline alliance than Star Alliance, but the 20 airline members of SkyTeam are a formidable bunch. They fly 16,323 flights a day to 1,052 destinations in 177 countries. They cover most every area of the world and are the largest air alliance in Greater China. SkyTeam’s airlines are some of the most respected and best ranked you’ll find.

SkyTeam's airline members include Aeroflot, Aerolineas Argentinas, AeroMexico, Air Europa, Air France, Alitalia, China Airlines, China Eastern, China Southern, Czech Airlines, Delta, Garuda Indonesia, Kenya Airways, KLM, Korean Air, Middle Eastern Airlines, Saudia, Tarom, Vietnam Airlines and Xiamen Airlines.

Why is SkyTeam so interesting?

share a view300pxYou’ve worked through the travel options, you’ve signed up for your trip-of-a-lifetime with a tour group and you’ve decided to travel solo with this small group. To help save money, you’ll be sharing a room with another traveller.

By sharing twin accommodation, you’ll save costs but that’s not the only advantage. Over the years we’ve seen many women gain a new friend and even a long-time 'travel companion’. Like any shared experience, compromise is essential to the success of the roommate experience.

Here are a few top tips we’ve learned for successfully sharing a room while on tour.

together in pienza it300pxI have been travelling for a living for over 35 years and I know what it’s like to travel alone and I know what it's like to have a travel companion. Sometimes it makes a world of difference to the enjoyment of a travel experience.

Although we are fortunate to have many repeaters on our tours, all our tours have new ladies signing on for the first time. In a typical group size of 8 to 14 ladies, 3 will be repeaters and the rest will be first timers with us. As virtually all the women who travel with us for the first time come as individuals this presents a nice level playing field as to the ratio of new travellers with us and repeaters.

Our tours offer two rates: ‘Sharing twin accommodation’ and ‘Single accommodation’.

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