Theresa’s Travels

By Theresa Olivetto

Puerto Rico

 

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Visiting Puerto Rico was a great experience.  We got off of the cruise ship and walked.  And walked and walked.  We were hoping to find a beach to spend the day at.  We found a beach pretty quickly and at that point started walking the beach when we could, or walking through town when we had to.  

We ended up stopping 3.2 miles from where we started.  We found a hotel with a bar and pool on the beach.  As we walked up the steps, there was a security guard there, standing on the steps.  We assumed he may stop us but he did not so we went to the bar and ordered a drink.  We sat there for a while and watched the waves.  Words cannot describe how beautiful the beach and waves are in Puerto Rico.  We ordered another drink and then headed to the pool, again, no one caring that we were there.  We took a swim and then headed back toward our cruise ship.  It was very exciting to see how the people lived in Puerto Rico.  We took the streets back as opposed to the beach.  We stopped at a restaurant and had a $2.00 beer and then continued our journey.

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A while later we stopped at a tiny little bar with a pool table.  There were a few children there, one playing pool, probably 15 or so.  We sat down and ordered a beer and began talking to this man that told us he had cancer.  We talked to him for quite a while, he told us so many great stories about his life and growing up there.  He later told us that the bar was for locals and not tourists but he was very glad that we had stopped there.  He bought us a drink and we in turn bought him one.  Funny how ignorance is bliss, we didn’t know we didn’t “belong” and loved socializing with everyone.  

As it started to get dark, we headed back to the ship for dinner and to call it a day.  It was a spontaneous, wonderful day that I will never forget.  

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St. Thomas

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So when we visited St Thomas, we decided to get off the ship and just play it by ear, nothing planned.  I was hoping to rent a scooter and sure enough that is what we did.  It was only $65.00 for the day, which to me was very reasonable.  

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It took a lot of getting used to as you drive on the opposite side of the street and there are a lot of mountains and hills and very sharp turns.  We laughed a lot as we had several close calls but being adventurous and spontaneous, we just went with it.

We stumbled upon a park, paid $10.00 to go in and walked the beach.  It was awesome.  Very few people there, a pavilion and several picnic tables, wooded.  We walked for a long way, as far as the beach would take us.  

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We got back on the scooter and rode around for a while and saw a sign that said public beach access.  We took a very steep road down to the area and once we got there, the only sign we saw was a Ritz Carlton.  We parked the scooter in public parking and walked toward the resort.  We walked up to the bar and I ordered a bloody mary and a beer.  Paid $22.00 for the two.  That’s not me but it was a time and a place.  We went to the beach and sat on a couple of lounge chairs with padded cushions.  I joked they were more comfortable than the mattress on my bed.   

It was beyond amazing to take this all in.  The wait staff came over several times and asked if we wanted anything.  I was surprised that we were there without question.  We took a swim and then headed out.  We had to know if over the mountain was the “public beach access” so we walked over hill and saw THE REST of the Ritz Carlton.  It was beyond beautiful.  They actually had a pump with several different sunblocks that you could use.

We left the resort and headed on our way.  We came upon a resort that the guy that rented us the scooter said to go to.  Secret Harbor Beach Resort .  We sat at the bar and ordered some lunch.  It was very good.  We couldn’t help but notice the swim platform in the lagoon and agreed immediately we would swim out to it before we left.  We asked the bartender if you had to stay at the resort in order to enjoy all of this and she said no, anyone is welcome as the beaches are not owned by anyone. Maybe that is why nobody questioned us at the Ritz Carlton??

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We ate our lunch and then swam out to the swim platform.  It was something I will probably never do again as where do you find that scenario??

We got back on the scooter after our swim and headed up the mountains as we wanted to see the view.  We got pretty high, maybe not the highest mountain, but pretty high.  We saw a couple of goats that were just running around the mountain.

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After we went up, we decided to head back, get closer to the ship as we were running out of time.  

Once back to the port we had a beer, decompressed and headed back to the ship.

Island number three of our cruise.  Explored, adventure, risk, crazy and fun would describe the day.  Another day I will never forget.

Turks and Caicos Grand Turk

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Today I visited Grand Turk for the first time.  We wanted to see the island but really didn’t want to take a guided tour so I quickly found a plan b, which was to rent a golf cart.  It was $80.00 for the day, which I thought was very reasonable.  What better way to see the sights on our own terms.  The island is so many things.  It is beautiful, surrounded by turquoise waters.There were many homes, looked like million dollar homes, that were half done and partially boarded up, distressed.  When we returned the golf cart I asked the man that rented it to us what had happened and he said that when the economy crashed, many people that were building those homes lost their jobs and the banks pulled out of the projects.  It was very sad.

We did a lot of off road exploring on the golf cart as many of the roads are dirt roads.  We visited beautiful beach after beautiful beach.  I wondered why someone didn’t pick up the garbage on the beaches but since they were off the beaten path, maybe no one cared.  The beaches were still breathtaking, you just needed to look past it.  There were several beaches that it was only us, which was very nice.  While there I was relaxed and at peace.  

We came upon a very interesting project.  There were several cottages and an in ground pool on the ocean in a very pretty forest.  It looked like it was going to be a very expensive resort.  Evidently the project was never finished, all but destroyed and distressed.  I wondered if it was from a storm or the economy.  It had so much potential.    

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We visited the salt ponds and made our way to the Grand Turk Lighthouse.

My favorite thing about the island and our adventure were the donkeys and horses that roamed the island, free, content, well fed.  It made me very happy to see these animals happy.  The way it should be.  

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After our golf cart ride we made sure we had enough time to spend a good part of the afternoon at the resort area.  

The resort area was magnificent.  The sand so white and the water so blue.  We did some snorkeling and saw quite a few fish.  There were plenty of chairs and umbrellas at the beach so we were very comfortable.  The island natives were friendly and accommodating.  There were plenty of rentals there from scooters, to four wheelers to dune buggies, snorkeling equipment and more to fit everyone’s needs.

We did some shopping and bought a couple of bottles of rum at the duty free store.  We had a drink at Margaritaville before we headed back to the cruise ship.

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Grand Turk was a perfect combination of adventure, exploring and relaxing.  I would highly recommend the island to anyone.

 


Theresa Olivetto is an Outside Sales Agent for Roseborough Travel Agency. If you’d like to ask her more about her travels and experiences, please feel free to contact her.

Explorer Spotlight: Donna Green

By Explorer: Donna Green

Christmas Market River Cruise

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What is your favorite part of your most recent trip?

Wow! That is a hard question. I loved Prague, Nuremberg, and so many places, but I would love to return to Salzburg. It was so cold and very icy when you got away from the shopping areas, so we were unable to visit what I wanted to explore. There is so much to see in Salzburg, starting with the salt mines, the fortress, the filming location of The Sound of Music and Mirabell Gardens, and then you have many side tours from there through the Bavarian Alps.

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Now that is a reason to return to this area, but to answer the question “my favorite part?” would be Regensburg. We walked everywhere, both on a guided tour and then by ourselves. It is easy to get around there; the people are friendly and helpful, and there is a lot of history to discover. The Christmas Market in Regensburg was the nicest and most interesting with lots of arts and crafts.

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What sites did you see while traveling?

The most interesting site for me was visiting the Courthouse and Room 600 where the Nuremburg Trials were held. Besides the history you learn in Room 600, one floor up is a museum with numerous photographs and information on the trials as to who was found guilty and who was acquitted. In this area we also found photographs and some information on the Japanese Trials. In Nuremburg, our tour took us to Hitler’s base of operations and that was amazing to hear and see what had transpired there.

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Any interesting facts or history you learned?

We learned that the children in school are taught of the atrocities during Hitler’s regime and how that can never happen again. We saw a memorial to the Jews in Regensburg and some school children were there on a field trip.

What company did you travel/ cruise with?

Through Roseborough Travel we booked with AMA Waterways for the December 2016 Christmas Market River Cruise. We look forward to another river cruise with AMA. They are phenomenal!

How did you find that company handled your vacation/ tours/ hotels?

Roseborough Travel in Deland, Florida, the best agency you can use.

Anything you did not like?

We did not like the COLD, especially the FREEZING cold in Budapest! Yes, we knew it would be cold in December in Europe, but this was the WORST! However, I would like to return to Hungary one day in their spring or summer and really enjoy all they have to offer.

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Where is the next place you want to explore?

ICELAND, and I’ll be going there in February 2017.

Explorer Spotlight: Antarctica on Azamara Club Cruises

explorer-spotlightExplorer Spotlight: Antarctica on Azamara Club Cruises

 

dianeheadBy: Diane Congdon- an adventurous and well traveled client of Roseborough Travel Agency.

 

The most absolute-over-the-top trip I have ever taken was a cruise to Antarctica in 2008 on the Azamara Journey.  At about 700 passengers, it was the smallest, most luxurious ship and the longest trip I had taken.

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Why Antarctica?  As a long-time Floridian, I am always looking for cooler weather and mountains for my trips.  The scenery was so breathtakingly spectacular that it is not describable in words.  I spent three days standing on the deck from dawn to dusk in rain, snow, sleet, hail and sunshine looking at icebergs more than a mile long and much taller than the ship (and remember only 1/10 of the berg actually shows above the water), beautiful mists, whales and bazillions of penguins and other birds, only coming in to get dry gloves and socks and a hot drink.  We went where the ice captains knew there were things to see with no set itinerary; if we saw something, the ship stopped and we looked.

The real bonus was the Chilean fjords.  Because the ship was so small, we hugged the coast line of Chile from Valparaiso down to the tip of South America.  The fjords rivaled, and may have exceeded, the beauties of the Alaska and Norway coasts.  The other real bonus was the people; the Chileans, Uruguayans and Argentinians were so welcoming and so proud of their lands.  I took a horseback ride to the end of the Americas; drank great Chilean wines; had Uruguayan barbecue at a ranch; bought a hand-woven wool shawl from the woman who carded the wool, wove the yarn and made the shawl (using sign language, finger waving and smiles to make the purchase).

 

And, yes, Roseborough planned this trip for me.

 

This trip is still at the top of my list to do again.  Along with a safari-laden trip to South Africa.

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South Africa for Children & Jungle Book

South Africa for Children, the Jungle Book, and Mommy who loves wine- how it all “Works”

By Amanda Vallone

So I just got done watching Jungle Book with my Two and a half year old baby girl Aurora the Explorer… (mommy side note, OMG I cannot believe she is almost  3 eeeeek) Anyway, Similar to my Tarzan movie experience I started jumping and getting all excited about going to Africa, specifically South Africa, Botswana, and Zimbabwe on our September  22–October 2, 2017 departure next year with Salute Africa.

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The animals get me every time. By no means am I am  person to own a farm or ton of animals, though from these blogs you may think I am a total wildlife psycho. But something about traveling to a destination and seeing the wild roam free is literally tear-jerking to me. Yup… I used tear-jerking as a adjective because I am crying I am so excited. That’s Me!

I don’t know… I grew up with “different” types of pets when I was young. My dad had snakes, iguanas, turtles, mice (to feed to the snakes) and toads when I was young. I remember driving home (Dunkrik, New York) from Florida in a Pontiac Grand Am one year with a massive iguana separating my sister and I in the back seat (saved lots of fights).

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(Embarrassing photo alert! Who does this to their kids hair? MOM! This is me and my younger sister Jess who I lovingly call Buttmunch… literally. Hence, the fighting in the grand am story)

I digress, the wildlife does something to my soul… and I realize my daughter Aurora has the same type of soul- the kid LOVES animals. As we were watching Jungle Book she was rawring with the tigers and panthers, howling with the wolf pack, and trumpeting with the elephants it literally makes my heart smile 🙂

So I am going to South Africa in   2017 on this AMAZING Adventure which includes two full days on Safari PLUS other animal encounters…  (Penguins and Seals off Cape Town). When planning this adventure I knew I had to bring my kid. She will LOVE this trip. Plus she doesn’t get the nickname Aurora the Explorer because she never takes a trip… nope, this child has more frequent flyer miles than most adults do and she is a GOOD traveler. Seriously, as my clients and trip-goers who have traveled with us… they tell me all the time they would have never known she was on the trip with us.

 

Anyway, the whole point of my writing this blog was to tell you this trip is CHILD FRIENDLY! It is a huge deal. No, by no means is it a Disney theme park that your kid will be entertained 24/7… you have to have a good traveler to begin with because it is a long flight and then lots of travel and on the game drive the kid MUST stay in their seat and quiet for hours (many children cannot do this and it is okay, but for those who can they will get to see the best wildlife). Mom and Dad, if you have a child who you “think” can go on this trip but you are worried about the game drive part I just mentioned with hours of quiet time… NO PROBLEM!!! We will set you up, in advance a private game drive that your family can enjoy but then come back when the kids get antsy… you know what this means? No dirty looks from other passengers in your jeep, plus the game drive experience for your family… best of Both Worlds!2015-03-09 21.41.20

In closing, I if you cannot tell am extremely excited about traveling to South Africa with you! Or telling you all about it when I get home, either way, I am going.

I have already started talking to Aurora the Explorer about visiting South Africa as well as started my personal “tasting” experience on African Wines… yummmmmmmm

Want more information? Click here or give me a call at Roseborough Travel Agency 386-734-7245

 

National Parks Celebrate 100 years #NPS100

National Parks Celebrate 100 years #NPS100

By Amanda Vallone

Happy birthday to you.. happy Birthday to you… Happy birthday NPS… Happy birthday to you.

So my birthday was just on Tuesday. I’ve heard the birthday song almost more times than I can bare.  I love celebrating, don’t get me wrong- But hate being serenaded. And believe me, no one in their right mind would have wanted to hear me sing that birthday song.

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So today is the national park services 100 year birthday. That’s pretty spectacular. One true milestone I think we all can agree upon. Yellowstone national park was the first of the national parks within the system and possibly the world. Known for its wildlife and many geothermal features, especially for Old Faithful Geyser-one of the most popular features in the park, Yellowstone is a favorite park to many.

(Some of Amanda’s pics from her previous National Parks article)

Jean recently went on a Mayflower tour to the National Parks and this was her experience “Old Faithful- Our Yellowstone naturalist guide was like a walking guidebook and showed us all sorts of great information about Yellowstone that I didn’t know. Most important, he coordinated with our Mayflower tour manager to be sure we got to see Old Faithful go off after grabbing a bite to eat at the visitor’s center. The smell of Sulphur all around, we saw a little bubbling as we stood at a viewing platform all around. Then, all of a sudden- whoosh! The geyser shot up and it sounded like a heavy rain falling.”

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Continental Divide- this was a really cool spot where we had breakfast with a view of the Grand Tetons in the background. We had hot coffee, juice, flapjacks, French Toast, sausage and bacon which were delicious- but it was the view that made it spectacular!

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Devil’s Tower- according to Native American legend, the rock rose up to save seven little girls from a larger bear. It’s home to more than 20 Native American tribes and we’ve seen it in Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Pretty awesome to be standing right in front of it!

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Custer State Park- up close with all sorts of beautiful creatures

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Float trip- our view of the Grand Tetons from the raft on the river was totally free of any cars or buildings blocking them. Our raft guide kept us safe on our soft adventure, while giving all sorts of insight about the birds, wildlife, history and stories of the area. And we even got to see a bald eagle! They say smelling the fresh pine is actually a stress relief…and I agree!

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Mt Rushmore- so pretty with the sun shining, but we also got to see a ceremony at night- what a patriotic way to experience this monument.Validation that it is great to be seeing such cool things right in the states!

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– Picture of the mountains- Pretty much sums up the natural beauty of this trip…this is going up on the wall!

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As the great John Muir said “The mountains are calling, and I must go!”

If you are interested in joining a tour like Jean or Amanda took check out this link It is our group going June 2017 to Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, and Mt. Rushmore…

Or give us a call at 386-734-7245 at Roseborough Travel and we will be happy to help you with planning your National Parks tour.

 

A Magical Disney Experience

A Magical Disney Experience

By Amanda Vallone

To see Disney through a two and three year olds eyes is truly magical!

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This weekend I brought my daughter Aurora (not named after the princess, rather the Aurora Borealis- see Alaska) to visit her Gigi and her cousins in Orlando.

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Sure Disney is only a hop, skip, and a jump from our office and home in DeLand, Florida… but we decided to get a hotel at Disney so we could make the most of the family experience and our time. Rather than driving to and fro on I-4 we crammed 6 of us in the family suite at the Art of Animation Resort on Disney Property.

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Art of Animation is the budget level accommodation on Disney property that is also the newest hotel on property. It is themed after the animators pallet. There are sketches everywhere and paintings. When you walk into the resort there are cast members who will teach your children how to draw famed characters like Nemo, one of the stars of the resort.

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Art of Animation is themed after Nemo, Little Mermaid, Lion King, and Cars. They have family style rooms and whole buildings and pools themed after each movie. We stayed in a Nemo Family suite. When you walked into our building ( building 4) you walked right under the seagulls known  to go “mine mine mine” well guess what? The said “mine mine mine” every 15 minutes. It wasn’t annoying, you could only hear it if you were right near them (and we had the first room in the hotel door entry- I promise they were not annoying).

The resort had one large Nemo/ mermaid under the sea style pool and one more small quiet “cozy cone” Cars themed pool.

Our family style suite was what I would consider to be related to a Holiday Inn style accommodation. It was a budget friendly accommodation. Not many frills or thrills.. Entry level. But totally Disney themed and did the trick!

Two totally cool things- We had 2 full baths in our room.

And 3 double beds or larger. So we were able to accommodate George and I plus Aurora in the Master bedroom (with a pack and play provided by the resort for Aurora).art of animation george

My sister in law, Stephanie stayed in the full size murphy bed in the  dining room, and my in laws, George & Joanne stayed in the family room on the pull-out couch.

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There was even a mini kitchenette

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Additional things at the resort were: Full food court, bar, fun bicycle experience around the lake (watch my youtube video here), and a huge Disney Store on property.

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For more information on Disney Vacation Packages including Disney Cruises Give us a call 386-734-7245 or visit our site. Click here

South Africa and Tarzan

By Amanda Vallone

It is Friday night… What does that mean? Movie night! So the Legend of Tarzan it is. Tiffany Clay has been going on about how great the new Tarzan movie is so George and I figured we would have to check it out. On a side note- I was a total True Blood fan, so the main actor in Tarzan,   Alexander Skarsgård, totally sold it for me before I ever saw the trailer.

So, what the heck does this blog post have to do about travel? Well, a lot! My normal day is just about as inconsistent as… let’s just say it is very inconsistent. Not because I cannot stay on task (though, I bet you are wondering if I can, after reading these first few sentences), but rather, what I do at Roseborough is wear a great many hats. One moment I will be blogging, the next moment I will be video posting, then there is flyers, facebook, newspapers, presentations, e-newsletters, group trips, website work… the list goes on. So, what was I doing today? Today I just so happened to be working on our 2017 South African Adventure.

I am so excited about this trip to South Africa including Botswana & Zimbabwe. As I was putting final details on the written portion of the flyer, and doing some additional research, my brain started reeling. Next year I will be going to my absolute numeral UNO destination on my live it list in the entire world. Eeeeeeeeeek!!!! Seriously, my heart is doing a little happy dance right now and I am literally giddy. Sure it is 11:30pm and I just had a cup of espresso (don’t ask me why). But the excitement is totally about Africa and not the caffeine!

So what will we be doing on this adventure you ask? Well let me tell you. We begin by flying into Cape Town which is a totally cool port city on the Southwest coast of South Africa. Cape Town is the second most populous urban area in South Africa and home to highlights including:

  • Table Mountain
  • Robben Island
  • V&A Waterfront
  • Camps Bay
  • Boulders Beach
  • Kirstenbosch Gardens
  • Wine Regions

I myself, am totally stoked about Table Mountain as well as Robben Island the former penal colony where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned. Did you know the prison tours are actually now run my former political prisoners like Mr. Mandela whom have firsthand knowledge and experiences of the nearly 500 year system that Robben Island was built on. Our tour is actually going to end at his cell. I am not sure words can describe this. The only thing I can even relate this experience to (not having actually experienced Robben Island yet) is Alcatraz. When I went to San Francisco I was not overly excited about going to Alcatraz, rather it was a portion of a day tour to Muir Woods and Sausalito in which we chose the Alcatraz extension because my hubby George wanted to go. Well the tour was spoken in the words of the prisoners and the prison guards. It was spectacular! So I am only assuming that Robben Island would and should live up to that same odd historical prison experience I am somehow overly “excited” for. And if it for any reason does not live up to my dreams (which I highly doubt), we will be going to the winelands of South Africa for lunch and then a tour and tasting. Uh… SCORE!

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(Photo Credit: Poonam Jayarajan)

Yup, total wino and coffee addict am I… I think I may begin taste testing all of the South African Wines I can get my hands on to “prepare” for this trip. Its for educational value, isn’t it? Who wants to join me?

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Anyway South Africa has amazing vineyards that are as if you stepped into the south of France- Dreams DO come TRUE!

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Ok ok, so where are all the animals? Well get this, I bet I will shock you with what animals we will see first.

Penguins! Yup, you read that right! We are going to see a colony of Penguins in Africa (my favorite)

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Next odd one up….

Seals!

 Elephant seal colony (mirounga angustirostris), California, 2007

OK, now for the Big Five- as we venture on to Chobe National Park this is where we will partake in not only game drives in those jeeps that you think of when people picture traveling through Africa. But we will also take a River Safari Ride. Remember, the animals come to the water to drink and cool down. So the river ride will give us the opportunity to see many bird species as well as animal drinking. My Salute Africa travel rep Bruce had a pack of Elephants cross in the water right in front of him (about 10 feet away). His wife got some great footage on her iPad. And they saw a bunch of hippopotamus up close and personal on this same river ride.

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So what are the Big Five? What does that term mean? The Big Five was a term coined back in the early 1900’s because it meant it was the most difficult and dangerous animals to kill/ hunt on foot. These animals include: the African lion, African elephant, Cape buffalo, African leopard, and the rhinoceros. Today tour operators use this term to talk about the animals that would bring presidents and dignitaries to South Africa in years past. Now the only difference is, on our hunt we will be shooting them with our cameras and iPads.

After spending 2 nights in the Chobe National Park Lodge with game drives, boat rides, and hiking opportunities I am sure we will get our chance to see a ton of wildlife J

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And if all of that was not enough… we are going to see the AMAZING Victoria Falls. This magnificent wonder took over 500,000 years for nature to carve out and it is spectacular!

So how does that all relate to Tarzan? Watch the movie… the scenery alone will make you want to go to South Africa. Just about every 20 minutes I said “I cannot wait to go to Africa” from the animals to the beautiful landscape, the culture to the cuisine I literally cannot wait. My heart yearns to travel to South Africa, Zimbabwe, & Botswana on this trip. I am going next September and as soon as I have more details and a flyer posted I will definitely include it. In the meantime, I am going to have an event that will answer some questions about the trip. Join us Thursday, September 8th for our Let’s Talk Travel Series. It is themed Multi-generational Travel- but we are going to talk about this adventure because it is planned as a family friendly departure. That’s Right, Aurora the Explorer is coming along!

Let’s go to Africa!

Whirlwind of World Travelers

By Amanda Vallone

 

WOW WOW WOW! Some of you who read our blog know more about us than others. I am one of the owners of Roseborough Travel Agency and our marketing director. I get the unique opportunity to work in the travel industry and actually get to travel multiple times a year with groups of people worldwide. These clients are rightfully dubbed our #RoseboroughExplorers. Let me tell you, some of the people I have traveled with have had the most interesting, unique, and awe-inspiring experiences- they are true adventurers & explorers.

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I have business partners, work wives- Cathy Blanchette & Tiffany Clay. Cathy and Tiffany are much more to me than just women I went into business with. They have been there for me in good times and bad. They are family. We are all one family at Roseborough. We work together, laugh together, cry together, fight with each other, and passionately strive for the same goals together (most of the time).

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Though we all have our own individual family, each of us are a member of one another’s family as well. We also live by the code that our clients and Roseborough Explorer’s are family to us. If you ever get the opportunity to go on a group departure with us you will soon realize what I mean by this.

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Example: Three years ago, my husband George and I were going through a medical procedure called IVF in order to start our family. While I was on a group trip through Alaska and the Yukon our Roseborough Explorers noticed every morning I would be up and out of the hotel or off the ship super early and at a medical facility. Then one of them walked in on George giving me an injection of my medicine in my back that I needed to take every day at 7pm – and we happened to be in the middle of a Tundra Wilderness Tour deep in the Denali National Park.

The group automatically became very concerned and started asking many questions. With so many people dealing with horrible conditions and diseases I think they were worried I was sick. So we had to tell them what was going on.

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While in Skagway, AK my nurse called me. One of those early morning doctors visits came back to the Orlando based clinic finally. My bloodwork was good. No, it was GREAT! I was pregnant. My trip to Alaska in 2013 my then unborn child instantly gained 21 #RoseboroughExplorer Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, and Cousins- WE  ARE FAMILY!

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Jump ahead- My daughter Aurora (named after the Aurora Borealis  of Alaska) just turned two in April. We celebrated her birth with a party at home and do you know, I had so many of my Explorers reach out to me and wish my lil peanut a happy birthday and recall the day they found out we were having her? It is so touching to me to know she is so loved.

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So on we go… having a two year old at home is always a tad chaotic and add in a daddy who travels for work and myself who does events. But I wouldn’t trade it for the world!

So where in the world are our explorers going next? Well… Hawaii is our next stop! I cannot wait to cruise the Hawaiian Islands… We are under 60 days away– yippiee!

The next one I am super excited about is  our Iceland trip to see the Aurora Borealis aka Northern Lights in February– which we only have 4 seats left on.

And then onto Africa…

Our Explorers are going everywhere in the world. They are going to Europe for River Cruises, Israel for Holy Land Tours, and out West for the National Parks. It has been a whirlwind of travel experiences… kind of like this blog I suppose. I know I am be-bopping around all sorts of topics here. I guess in the end my point of the article is. Travel the world. Make memories. Experience life NOW while you can. Enjoy the whirlwind of emotions and experiences – TRAVEL! YOLO!

 

 

A day in the life of a travel professional

Beep beep beep beep… My cell phone buzzes and I roll over to turn it off not realizing it is only 5 short hours since I returned home from my 15.5 hour flight home from China last night. By the time I collected bags from the group, realized 2 of our bags were delayed in New York City Customs and had to have them delivered to our clients the following day, called the pre-arranged coach to pick us up at the airport, and bring us home… my family was already asleep by the time I walked into the door at 3:00am.2015-03-09 18.04.39

I guess I shouldn’t be too upset, my new time zone (a slight difference from my internal clock of 4pm Shanghai time that my body had become accustom to) was a typical sleeping hour.

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As I roll over and out of the bed to grab my first cup of coffee to begin to wake up, I check my e-mail slightly bleary eyed. OMG, seriously… 3,476 new e-mails? How could this be possible? Someone was watching my e-mail while I was gone for any client requests, issues, or other communication… (Normal trips I am able to get into my e-mail a bit more, but China still has so many restrictions on e-mail, social media, and other websites it was difficult to see everything-still, I cannot believe there was this many).  My daughter cries out and my husband wakes up, its time to make the doughnuts… wait that is a different life.

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I am going delirious on only one cup o’ joe. As hubby brews me another (gotta love those single cup brewers) I play with my daughter and begin to get ready, I will get back to the bazillion e-mails in a bit.

After my morning routine I make my way into the office (late, I always show up a little later the day after a group trip returns). There, piles on my desk, files, marketing campaigns, and a computer full of e-mails… await my return like greedy time warps, but first it’s time for the group trip wrap up chat. Every time one of us comes home from a trip we have a whole tear down of the trip to talk about the good, bad, and the ugly to see how we could do it better, the things we learned, and the adventures we accomplished. At the top of the list for me was: EVERYONE MUST visit China! And I am not one of those people who believes that everyone fits into this small little box that is neat and tidy and everyone should go visit the same place for the same reason. But seriously, China blew my expectations out of the water. Seeing the pits of the terracotta warriors literally made me tear up- yes I cried at statues. Judge me if you want to! I touched, walked, and even climbed the Great Wall of China 🙂

I saw the Panda, Chinas natural wonder, ate Peking duck- and liked it… wait, LOVED it!  And took a Yantzee River Cruise through the beautiful three gorges- seriously awe inspiring. One of my favorite places I went to along that cruise was a unique hike called bamboo forest- it was a 5 hour nature hike that was breathtaking. Airports in China were an “Experience” to get through to say the least. One of our clients had an issue with customs, her last name is Clay and because there is not an L in Chinese names the tour operator (not the agents- not Roseborough) wrote Cay for her last name. Well Chinese, customs did not like that her passport did not match her last name. Of course- this is a huge reason why we always double check names and the legal form of ID. So that was a huge ordeal. Did she make it? Of course she did… It took our tour guide speaking to the customs officials, me speaking with the

But all in all the trip was a life changing trip for everyone. Everyone left the trip planning their next adventure- we are thinking a trip to Italy, a trip to Iceland, or a River Cruise through Vietnam and Cambodia.

After giving the run down and conversing a bit about the whole trip and what I missed in the office while I was away I sit down at my desk and settle into my daily activities.

Ring Ring Ring “Thanks for Calling Roseborough Travel what adventure can I help you plan today?” Cruises to the Bahamas, Mediterranean Cruises, Tours to Iceland, River Cruise for Tulip Time, ChristmasMarkets River Cruise, a Tourist Visa to India, and a group to an all-inclusive resort.

The day flies by and the phone rings on, it is a glorious sound; you know why it is a glorious sound? It means we have happy people who like to plan adventures with us. People who are a part of our family of explorers. Explorers who want everything from a hotel for one night for a business trip to a car rental to a world cruise. Nothing is too big or too small of a job for us to take on. The buzz of the office is contagious. I hear Cathy adding on a player from the local Soccer team to the flight manifest that was submitted weeks ago as a “final copy” because a player was injured a week before the big game. Cathy is working her magic as she always does. The travel gods are happy with us today- on days that they are shining down on us we know they are women J  ok, maybe they are really handsome men… who are we to judge? I think Cathy’s travel god is a Gaelic one named Liam, and Tiffany’s is one of sand and sea.

And Tiffany is working with one of her corporate clients right now who is traveling home from Brazil. She gets e-mails in the middle of the night with flight changes when his business changes plans and she has to re-arrange his whole schedule, flights, airlines, car rentals, and everything before he lands in his next city. She knows the hotels, car types and companies, and preferred traveler numbers he likes and you would think he was her best friend or a family member, but in all honestly, they have never even met face to face. He is just one of the Roseborough Explorer Family and she has been his Corporate travel agent for years. She WOWed him with her back bending customer service when she fixed an unfixable mistake he made by booking his own ticket through Orbitz and he has never gone back to dealing with his own bookings since.

 

 

 

50 Shades of GREEN

cathys cliffs

50 Shades of Green

by Cathy Blanchette

 

So many Irish left Ireland due to the famines, lack of work, and over 300 years of tiriany.  The British took away their livelihood, their lands, their religion and their language.  BUT the relations between Northern Ireland and the Republic are improving.  

 

 I’m Irish on my mothers side – I’ve visited Ireland twice and will go again and again. I’ve been to Dublin and what a city – from the pubs to St Patrick’s Cathedral.  Dublin is so rich in history – you could spend a month there.  I headed towards the west coast of Ireland.  I was amazed at the colors.  It’s fifty shades of GREEN !!!  You’ve got to see it to believe it.  You are really expecting to see John Wayne dragging Maureen O’Hara across the fields (The Quiet Man is one of my most favorite movies ever).  The Cliffs of Moher were stunning in their raw beauty – Just breathtaking.  We saw castles and churches galore.  We toured the beautiful formal flower gardens of Kylemore Abbey and visited the rustic sheep farm called Rathburn Farms – they showed us how the dogs herd the sheep, the farmer even sheared one while we were there.  My mother also got to feed one of the lambs.  

maureen
The farm has a thatched roof and served us the tastiest scones I ever had.  I also totally found a “boy friend” for my golden retriever Bitsy – the neighbors have a “cream” golden retriever named Thor (yes there are diffences between the retrievers) who likes to come over to the farm and meet with the tourists – he strolls right into the cottage and wants a snack (just like mine does).  When I found out my friend Kathy (who went to Ireland after me) was going to be touring the farm – I told her to look for Thor!!!
thor
I went to Blarney Castle for the second time and did go to the top, however I did not kiss the Blarney Stone (I’ve been told I already have the gift of gab).  I toured Waterford and saw how the crystal is worked.  I also got to do a cruise on the River Shannon (again those fifty shades of green) and had a lovely lunch and TEA.  We  stayed in the towns of Killarney and also Kilkenny and I cannot remember which one of them won Irelands “Tidiest Town Award” both were such cute towns.  I found the people of Ireland friendly always ready for a chat – it is truly the land of a 1000 Welcomes.  I just fell in love with this wonderful country – I felt like I was home – so why not go home?  
waterford
 

May the road rise to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face.
And rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the hollow of His hand.

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