Wanderlust Blog

Posts Tagged ‘adventure’

Here at Amazing Journeys, we’re lucky have the best jobs in the world—and we think our good fortune is worth sharing. So, when your next journey seems like a distant dream, take a few minutes to explore our WANDERLUST blog—it’s chock full of engaging tales and helpful tips from our travels around the world. Check out the most recent entry (at the top) or search by your preferred criteria. Consider it motivation for your next embarkation.

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Getting Excited to Hike the Inca Trail

Monday, March 31st, 2014

-by Stacey

peru inca trail tents

Okay, I’m going to be totally honest here. I’ve never been camping. Well that’s not entirely true – one time I camped out in a tent in our living room, and one time I camped in the woods behind my friend’s house in Maine. Do those count? Maybe. Okay, probably not.

So why not make my first time really camping absolutely stellar? That’s right, I will be camping for 3 nights on the Inca Trail in Peru during our 4-day trek to the top of Machu Picchu. This is a Bucket List trip. It’s one that not many people get to do in their lifetime, and I have the opportunity to escort our group of Young Adventurers on what’s sure to be a trip of a lifetime for them as well as for myself.

inca trail peru group

What am I most looking forward to for this group? This is a tricky trip to plan – obtaining Inca Trail permits, getting intra-Peruvian flights, coordinating porters and cooks to climb with us, making sure we have all of the right equipment – I love the fact that when we’ve coordinated all of the details, those on our trip can just sit back, relax, hike a lot, and enjoy the fruits of our labor. Since this is a small group with a maximum group size of 15, everyone is going to have this amazingly unique shared experience. From a bike tour around Lima to enjoying Pisco sours in Cuzco and camping on the Inca Trail, this is going to be an experience to remember forever.

peru main 5As if that wasn’t enough. I’m doing it again! But this time we’re going to take it a little easier. The day after I finish with the active group, I begin again! This time, we will be staying in hotels every night (phew!). This trip is going to have the same highlights but with a totally different feel. We will be staying at local hotel properties throughout Peru, filled with activities each day and enjoying the nightlife, and the highlight of the journey, seeing that amazing view when we hike to the top of the Inca Trail and set our eyes on Maccu Picchu for the first time.

I can’t wait to meet the local people, see their amazing textiles, taste the food (and drinks), get our hike on, and breath the fresh – albeit much thinner – air.

Peru, here we come!

You can find some great articles, pictures, and information on the following sites:
Click around here, there are a number of short personal insights and beautiful pictures.
An avid hiker takes on the 4-day hike. Here she gives her advice for what to bring with you
Click here for tips from an experienced Inca Trail hiker

Announcing 20′s and 30′s division of Amazing Journeys

Monday, January 13th, 2014

-by Erin

annFrom the highest points of Machu Picchu to the back roads of Vietnam, Amazing Journeys is pleased to announce that we are now offering trips specifically designed for travelers in their 20’s and 30’s. This new division gives those in their 20’s and 30’s the chance to participate in the fabulous travel that we have been offering to our clients for more than 20 years. Our new 20’s and 30’s division will offer our unparalleled expertise and customer service to the younger market while still providing incredible itineraries and vacations that Amazing Journeys is known for.

Two trips will be offered in 2014 specifically for the 20’s and 30’s age group, which will include more active and adventurous options.

Our first trip for the 20’s and 30’s group is an 8-day tour through Peru, including a 4-day trek along the famed Inca Trail, one of the world’s best-known hikes that will reward those willing to break a sweat. This adventure offers time in Lima, Cusco, the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu and will truly be the adventure of a lifetime. August 30 – September 7. Click here for more details on our trip to Peru.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALater in the year, we will be offering to those in their 20’s and 30’s, an 11-day tour through Vietnam. This trip will highlight the history, culture and beauty of Vietnam through activities such as biking the countryside and kayaking Halong Bay. December 6 – 16. Click here to be added to our interest list.

If you are in your 20’s and 30’s, we hope you’ll join us on one of these upcoming trips. And if you know of someone who would like to travel with us, please be sure to let them know about these trips we have created just for them!

Looking forward to a great year of travel!

 

 

Traveling isn’t for everyone

Friday, December 20th, 2013

-by Erin

Traveling is not easy. It can be time consuming, exhausting and challenging. There are time differences and jet-lag, long flights and early mornings, language barriers and currency calculations. Sometimes you may not understand the directions or know what you are eating but for those of us willing to put up with the unknown, there are huge rewards to be gained.

Imagine opening your window to the sounds of Barcelona or hiking to the top of a mountain in Canyonlands National Park in Utah or tasting rich stews in local markets of Morocco. Think of how excited your friends will be when you tell them that you have crossed not one, but two things off your bucket list. Envision that new piece of artwork hanging in your house that reminds you of your travels every time you walk in the door. Get excited about getting together with new friends that you have made to regale the time you went exploring and came back with the most incredible story to tell.

Travel can be all this, and more. Sure, it’s not for everyone, but if you are the kind of person who is willing to put yourself out there for an amazing experience, to sacrifice that extra hour of beauty sleep to wake up and see the sun rise over the mountains of Machu Picchu, then traveling is definitely for you! The world is your oyster and we can’t wait to explore it with you!

 

Just who is Amazing Journeys?

Tuesday, November 5th, 2013

-by Erin

What is it that makes Amazing Journeys truly amazing?

If you’ve traveled with us before, you already know the answer to this question. But if you’ve never been on a vacation with us, you might just be wondering what is it that makes Amazing Journeys so amazing?

At Amazing Journeys, we believe that traveling is about more than escaping your daily cares – it’s about enhancing your life by viewing it through an always-fresh, often-exotic new lens. Every year is different; each trip is unique. What remains consistent is our unfailing commitment to quality, our unparalleled expertise with the Jewish group travel experience and our genuine passion for discovering new destinations. With over 75 years of combined travel experience, we take the guesswork out of vacation planning, so that all you have to do is sit back, relax and enjoy the ride! Click here for introductions to the Amazing Journeys team.

New to AJ and want more information? Click here so we can answer some of your most commonly asked questions.

Throughout the years, we have sent over 10,000 passengers on their dream vacations! These trips have been incredible – but don’t just take our word for it – click here to see what some of our passengers have had to say.

We are always adding new trips to our upcoming line-up so check back to our trips page often so you don’t miss the opportunity to cross another location off your bucket list. We will be posting new trips soon including a cruise to Spain, Italy and France, a National Parks Adventure in the States, a land tour in Ireland, exploring Morocco and a long weekend getaway to Hawaii. Also on the horizon, a brand new division with trips exclusively for those in their 20s and 30s including adventure travel! Tell your friends, your family members and your co-workers that we may just have the perfect trip for them in 2014.

Join in on the fun and get to know our friends on Facebook. We always have something fun to share! Hope to travel with you soon!

Our first week in Southeast Asia

Sunday, December 30th, 2012

As we countdown to 2013, Amazing Journeys and 92 Jewish Singles from around the world have been exploring all that Southeast Asia has to offer.  We still have over a week to go on our cruise but check out some of the incredible sights we have already seen!

Hanukkah Shopping Guide: Travelers Edition

Friday, November 30th, 2012

With Hanukkah right around the corner, we are all racking our brains, trying to decide on that perfect gift for friends, family, or what to tell others we want… Amazing Journeys to the rescue! Here is our Top Ten Travel Gift Idea list! Buy for others or share the list to hint at what you want! Click on the pictures for more details or search the web for other similar options.

 

 
10. Lightweight fleece

It’s always a good idea to have an extra layer when you travel – you never know when the temperature might drop or the rain clouds may roll in. Throw a fleece in your suitcase and you will always be prepared for unexpected weather.

 

9. Neck wallet

When traveling in foreign countries, it’s smart to keep your money, credit cards and passport under your clothes and out of plain sight. This neck wallet is thin and won’t be bulky under your clothes, and allows you to carry everything with you without looking like a tourist.

 

8. Luggage scale

Avoid paying overage charges at the airport by making sure your suitcase is the right weight. You can even pack it so you know how many souvenirs you can bring back with you!

 

7. Electric adapter set

Plug in your appliances in any country you visit. Pick an adapter set that has many options so you will always be able to charge up those trusty electronics, no matter what part of the world you are in.

 

6. Longchamp purse

As worn by AJ staffers Malori, Erin and Stacey, it is a favorite travel accessory. Black is our “go-to” color, but it comes in many shades as well as sizes. We think the large shoulder tote is the perfect size. Although there are a lot of knock-off’s of these brands, we’ve tried many, so trust us when we say that the one made by Longchamp will hold up where the knock-offs have lasted anywhere from a day to a year.

 

5. Baggallini travel bag

Great for exploring, this bag can be used across your body, allowing for more security while still providing easy access to everything you need. These bags come in a bunch of fun colors so not only are you traveling safely, but stylishly too!

 

4. A good travel book

Whether you’re reading up on your next destination, learning about a new culture or just escaping from reality, its always great to travel with a book. And who knows? When you’re done with your book, you can always trade with a friend on your trip and read their new favorite, too!

 

3. Toiletry case

These cases allow you to be super organized. You will be sure to pack everything you need while making sure you don’t schlep those huge bottles of shampoo for a week long vacation. When you get home from your trip, just refill the used items and put the bag away until your next trip. It will be all packed up and ready to go, saving you hours of prep time for your next journey.

 

2. Global Entry pass

Global Entry is a program that allows pre-approved travelers the opportunity travel easier at the airport. Once you have been approved for Global Entry, you can use this for Pre-Check, a special quick security line in most major US airports, allowing you to breeze through while keeping your shoes and belt on, your liquids stored away and your laptop snuggly in your carry-on. How nice is that? There is an application process but we think it’s worth the work upfront, knowing how much time it will save at the airport. Available for US citizens only.

 

1. Packing cubes

This is the very favorite of our AJ staffers. If you’re looking for an easy way to pack and unpack while on tour, here is your answer! Throw all of your socks into one, your accessories in another and your shirts into the larger one. When its time to unpack in your stateroom or hotel room, you know where everything is and you’re done in 3 minutes. Simply unzip the cube, open the top, and lay right inside of the drawer. When it’s time to pack it up again, zip it all up and throw it in the suitcase. Only staying at the hotel for a day or two? Leave it all in the suitcase and reach right in to easily find what you are seeking!

 

Enjoy your holiday shopping, happy Hanukkah and hope to travel with you soon!

Feria

Wednesday, May 9th, 2012

In the spring in the city of Seville in southern Spain, a week-long celebration takes place that draws over one million people a year – the event is called “La Feria de Sevilla”. Over the years, Feria has become an internationally known celebration of flamenco, bullfighting and fun. Flamenco is an integral part of the tradition because Seville is considered to be the cultural epicenter of flamenco culture and music. 

During Feria, a temporary “tent city” is born and the make-shift “tents” (or as they are known in Spanish, “casetas”) divide the land into different dance halls and private areas that are filled each evening with dancing and life lasting from 9 in the evening until 6 or 7 in the morning.  Every tent is set up differently with a unique atmosphere and different customs. Visitors roam around the fairgrounds until they find an open tent with a good vibe to have a drink, watch performances and experience the atmosphere.

The women are known to dress in their most spectacular gowns, usually brightly colored flamenco dresses inspired by Gypsy fashion. The most common beverage drunk in during the Seville Fair is Spanish sherry wine, very famous in southern Spain. Often, to battle the heat of April in Seville, the sherry wine is mixed with 7-up or sprite to produce a drink known as “rebujito”.

In addition the the long nights of stomping, clapping and celebrating in the casetas, Feria also offers a wide range of other events during the day. Andalusian horse parades with decorated carriages are daily processions as they make their way through the city and fairground.  The equestrian events are usually accompanied by singing groups who serenade crowds with traditional Sevillian ballads and guitar music. Many of the parade participants are members of Seville’s upper class aristocracy and normally dawn exquisite traditional Andalusian outfits with wide-brimmed “bolero” hats and short-cropped jackets. Of course, not to be missed during Feria are the afternoon bullfights. The bullring in Seville is known as one of the most beautiful in Spain and is commonly known by the locals as “the cathedral”.

Our Amazing Journeys travelers had the opportunity to experience the thrill of Feria. They sipped on sherry, explored the casetas and danced until the wee hours of the morning soaking in every bit of the tradition as possible!

Top Ten list of things we learned while in India

Thursday, February 16th, 2012


It’s hard to believe that our India 1 group recently returned from their Journey to India, and our India 2 group begins their long journey home in just a few short hours. What an amazing journey we all had! From the beautiful palaces in Rajasthan, to one of the world’s most loved landmark, the Taj Mahal ….to the Kama Sutra temples of Khajuraho to some of us spotting a tiger in Rathambore….from seeing cows in the street, dancing at a wedding procession, and our visit to Varanasi and the River Ganges, where the heart of India beats and where it all came together for us…the cities we visited, the culture we embraced, the history we learned will not soon be forgotten. Our two groups of travelers experienced so much in just two short weeks.

Our Top Ten list of things we learned while in India:

10. Any country with 1.2 billion people can have its own way of doing things. Some things we’ll never understand, and that’s OK

9. Traffic in India is crazy! The lines on the roads in India are merely for decoration, and the “rules of the road” are simply suggestions. Honking one’s horn as one moves through traffic is expected.

8. Organized chaos is a way of life. To the outsider it may look wild, but that’s just how it is.

7. We’ll miss livestock wandering through city streets.

6. There is a lot of curry used in Indian cooking.

5. Sunrise is a beautiful time of the day. Things look so much clearer at sunrise. The world is at peace.

4. A wedding celebration lasts 5 – 7 days and includes a parade. Being one that loves a great party, I think this is a fantastic way to celebrate wedded bliss.

3. The Taj Mahal is everything it’s cracked up to be. One cannot appreciate its beauty in a photo. You have to see it to believe it.

2. Strong family ties and traditions that are centuries old make for a people who have a value system that is unwavering.

1. The people of India are some of the most hospitable in the world!

Enjoying our first week in India!

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

Well, its already been a week since our first group arrived in India and they have been having an amazing time!  Check out some of the pictures below or follow us on Facebook to see a lot more pictures of our adventures!

The Majesty of the Canadian Rockies

Monday, July 11th, 2011

I came to the Canadian Rockies with high expectations.  For over 30 years, I have wanted to travel here…ever since I saw my first brochure of the area, filled with photos of majestic snow-capped mountains towering over lakes with the bluest water you can imagine.  The Canadian Rockies as a destination was at the top of my “bucket list”.   Those who had traveled with me on Amazing Journeys always asked, “if you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be?”  My answer, for the past 30 years has been,  “the Canadian Rockies”.

This past week, 40 travelers and I ventured into Alberta, Canada, the Wild West.  We arrived in Calgary and headed north to Banff.  Our castle- like hotel was situated right in Banff National Park, on a hilltop overlooking a river and a waterfall, and sat below high granite mountains.  We were nestled in between natures beautiful landscape – just as those travel brochures had portrayed it, all those years ago.  We explored the area from horseback below and from a gondola high above.  It was beautiful from every angle.

We left Banff and headed west to the Columbia Icefiends Parkway where we discovered a glacier that we could walk on!  Our “glacier busses” put us right on top of an actual glacier, where we could walk around, and drink glacier water from a river that ran through the face of the glacier.  It was amazing!

We arrived in Jasper National Park and stayed at the historical Jasper Park Lodge.  It felt just like summer camp.  Our “cabins” were scattered all around a lake.  The lake was crystal clear, and some of us walked around the 2.5 mile circumference.  Standing at the pier, you could see all the way down to the bottom.  It was like glass, with a reflection of the mountains every where you looked.  Geese and ducks enjoyed the calm surroundings, as did we!  Some hiked, some went on a float trip down the river and some enjoyed a peaceful cruise to Spirit Island on Maligne Lake.  In the evening, we enjoyed a wildlife specialist who taught us about bears, moose and elk and brought us antlers to hold and replicas of actual bear feet that were so huge, we decided that we never want to be up close and personal with a grizzly!

Driving back across the Columbia Icefields Parkway, we stopped first at a lake with green water, then one with turquoise water.  Amazing and unbelievable.  I had always thought that the photos in the brochure must have been touched up and that they were a little over zealous in their coloration process.  These lakes are real and have so much color you can hardly imagine!

We arrived at Lake Louise and were overwhelmed at the Chateau Lake Louise Hotel which was constructed at the turn of the last century and is so palatial!  We dined at the Fairview Restaurant, where Prince William and Kate dined together just one night before.  The scene over the lake from the restaurant was magical.  We were looking out over a glacier, right in front of us.  Most of us took a two mile hike around the lake and were closer to the face of the glacier.  It was a scene out of a fairy tale and took our collective breath away.

Our last stop on the tour was Calgary, and we were treated to the famous Calgary Stampede, a once-a-year event where Calgary becomes a town filled with cowboys, rodeo and country music.  Upon our arrival at the Stampede Grounds, we were each given a cowboy hat and went to the rodeo!  Bucking broncos, bull riding, rope tying…we all got a good cowboy education.  We rode amusement rides, listened to music at the Nashville North Tent, and visited an Indian Village.  We saw baby pigs, giant Clydesdale horses and learned about agriculture.   That night we switched gears and went to Temple Tikva where we enjoyed Shabbat services with the local community.  It was a real treat to be invited to this warm and welcoming synagogue.  The next day we went back to the Stampede grounds where we saw Chuckwagon Races and the grand finale, the famous Grandstand Show.  This was one of the best shows anywhere, ever!  A combination of Circ du Soliel, the Muppets and Hollywood, combined with a horse or two, a marching band and a comedian.  And fireworks!

But the best show of all was the beauty of nature.  After waiting 30 years to see the wonders of the Canadian Rockies, high expectations and all, I was not disappointed.