Fall is definitely in the air. The crisp breeze, the scent of fresh apple cider, and of course the brilliant reds, yellows golds and browns that remind us of days gone by. Normally we associate the changing colors of fall with New England, but there are many other places around the world where you can experience the colors of the season.
Edinburgh, Scotland. If ever there’s a place that could give New England a run for it’s money for fall foliage, it’s Edinburgh, Scotland. Make sure that you get to Edinburgh Castle to survey the bright colors below. Or climb up the majestic Arthur’s Seat or Calton Hill for a panoramic view of the city. If you don’t want to take the hike, the Royal Botanic Garden is a great place to see Scotland in all its fall glory.
Douro Valley, Portugal. Douro Valley in Portugal will give you a different perspective on the changing colors of fall. As one of Portugal’s main wine regions, instead of trees the hillsides are covered in terraced vineyards that are brilliantly colored. Douro Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is the world’s oldest wine region, so while you’re there, take a tour (or two) of some of the wineries and sample some of the delicious wines.
Bavarian Alps, Germany. Of course, fall in Germany is always associated with Oktoberfest, but don’t miss the spectacular autumn views of the surrounding countryside. In fact, the fall may be the best season to visit the Bavarian Alps. Take advantage of the cooler weather to hike Berchtesgaden and Lake Tegernsee to see the epic scenery. Or visit Neuschwanstein Castle in all its fall glory.
Kyoto, Japan. Even though Japan is known for its cherry blossoms in the spring, the fall foliage in Kyoto may be more spectacular. Visit one of the many temples or Kyoto Botanical Gardens and drink in the crimson colors of the season. One of the best views may even be from the Togetsukyo Bridge, where you’ll see the hillsides filled with fall foliage.
Nova Scotia, Canada. Drive down Highway 2 in Nova Scotia for the gorgeous fall scenery, including serene river views, quaint farmhouses and vivid red blueberry fields along with the usual colorful foliage. Spend some time in Kejimkujik National Park exploring the area on foot or by canoe. Enjoy the numerous fall festivals throughout the season, including pumpkin carving, harvest festivals and more.
Shenandoah National Park, Virginia. Even in the United States, there are other places to see the beautiful colors of fall. Shenandoah National Park is one of them. Take a ride down the 105-mile long Skyline Drive to get your fill of bright orange, red and yellow leaves. Or head over to the eastern side of the park and drive along Blue Ridge Parkway which climbs several thousand feet up to Cherokee National Forest. Either way, you’ll be glad you did.
Upstate New York. Visit the Adirondacks not only to see the fall colors but also experience the bounty of fall festivals in the area. Or drive to the Catskills to the famous “Five State Lookout” in East Windham where you can see the fall leaves in New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Connecticut simultaneously. If you’re up for a hike, trek to the summit of Mount Utsayantha in the Catskills for a 360-degree view.
Upper Peninsula Michigan. Known for its coastlines, the Upper Peninsula is just as beautiful in the fall. Drive cross the Mackinac Bridge and along the Keweenaw Peninsula towards Copper Harbor, where the views are spectacular.
These are just a few of the many place that you can go and see the vivid foliage we associate with autumn. Give Luxury Destinations Concierge a call at (805) 236-4437 to start planning your next vacation.
Hawaii has always been one of the top vacation destinations, and the good news is that Hawaii will be lifting its quarantine restrictions soon. That means it’s time to think about your next vacation to the Hawaiian Islands.
There are 137 islands that make up the state of Hawaii, there are 4 that people remember the most: Kauai, Oahu, Maui, and the island of Hawaii. Here are the top things to do on each of these islands:
Kauai. Kauai is the fourth largest island, and truly earns it’s nickname of the “Garden Island”. Picturesque views, lush valleys, tropical rainforests and more form the backdrop for any trip to this island. There’s plenty to see here, including:
Oahu. Oahu, home of Hawaii’s capital Honolulu and most of its diverse population, is the third largest island. There is plenty to see and do on Oahu - here are just a few:
Maui. Maui is the second largest island in Hawaii and is nicknamed “The Valley Isle”. It has been voted the “Best Island in the US” by Conde Nast Traveler for readers for the last 20 years – and it’s no wonder. There is so much to do on Maui that it’s hard to narrow it down. Here’s what stands out:
The Island of Hawaii. Also known as the “Big Island”, the island of Hawaii is the largest island in Hawaii. In fact, it’s almost twice as big as all the other islands combined. Here are just a few things that you will want to see and do while on the Big Island:
Are you ready to start planning your trip to Hawaii? Give Luxury Destinations Concierge a call at (805) 236-4437. We’ll help you make the most of your island getaway.
Raising a glass in a toast is an ancient tradition for celebrations around the world. Those traditions vary from country to country. Here are some of the most common toasts and their traditions from around the world:
With Oktoberfest just around the corner, it seems appropriate to start in Germany. Obviously, Germans value a good drink, and it’s important to do it right. To properly toast in Germany, it’s crucial to make eye contact during the toast – otherwise you insult your fellow drinkers. It goes back to the middle ages when you never knew who your enemy was. If they poisoned your drink, they would keep an eye on the rim of the glass to make sure that none of your drink found its way into your glass. If, on the other hand, they met your gaze, that established camaraderie and trust between the parties. When drinking beer, the common toast is Prost, which simply means “cheers”. If you are drinking wine, Zum Wohl, which loosely translated means “to your health”. And don’t drink before everyone has a glass in hand.
Japan’s drinking and toasting traditions are very formal. The toast of Kampai, or “bottoms up” is always first given by the most senior member of the family or business. Other things to keep in mind when drinking in Japan: your glass should be lower than those senior to you in position; never pour your own drink – always let someone else pour for you (and then return the favor); and if you are drinking sake, sip, don’t gulp. Also, if you are finished drinking, don’t pour drinks for anyone else – they’ll feel obligated to fill your glass again, and it’s bad manners not to drink again.
Russia: Za Zdorovie
In Russia, the typical toast is za zdorovie, which wishes good health to your hosts. The response to this is usually nu, poneslis (Here we go again). The weird thing about drinking in Russia is that shot glasses (for Vodka) should never be placed on the table. Instead, when you have finished your drink and the bottle is empty, place them under the table. The reason: After the Battle of Paris in 1814 during the Napoleonic Wars, Russian Cossacks noticed that the number of drinks people were charged for was calculated by the number of bottles left on the table in local restaurants. Supposedly they cleverly placed the bottles under the table to avoid the charges.
Hungary’s toast of Egészségére simply means “to your health”. Just as in Germany and other European countries, make sure that you make eye contact with those around you. However, whatever you do, don’t clink glasses together when drinking beer. Apparently, back in 1849 at the end of the revolt against the Hapsburgs, 13 Hungarians were hanged by Austrian soldiers who drank beer and clinked glasses. From that time on, Hungarians swore not to clink glasses for 150 years – and even though we’re well past that, the tradition continues.
Serefinize! Is the toast of the day in Turkey. The usual drink is raki, also known as Lion’s Milk, and is a combination of grapes and aniseed. When toasting, make sure that you clink the bottom of your glass – clinking the top implies that you are better than the others. If there is someone you want to remember, lightly tap your glass on the table. And, if you don’t like raki, order some anyway and pretend. Some may be offended if you drink something else.
France: À Votre Santé
Even though we associate great wine with France, the fact is that the French are polite and very restrained when it comes to drinking. The usual toast is À Votre Santé or simply Santé, which means “to your health”. Don’t fill your glass more than halfway – it’s considered vulgar to do otherwise. Instead, pour a little at a time (and often). And don’t cross arms with anyone when clinking glasses.
Raise a glass of beer in Iceland and say Skál! This toast can have two meanings. The first, and a little less believable, is “skull” relates to Vikings who would use the skulls of people they killed to toast and drink mead. The more reasonable translation is “bowl”, from an ancient Nordic tradition where people would drink from an empty bowl as a way of honoring someone no longer with them. And, by the way, beer has only been legal since 1989. There was a 74-year prohibition of beer due to alcoholism. Other alcoholic drinks were initially banned in 1915 as well, but eventually lifted on everything but beer in 1935. Icelanders now celebrate Beer Day every March 1st.
One of the pleasures of traveling is being able to enjoy the tastes and traditions of different cultures. As you can see, toasting with the locals can be rewarding – as long as you follow the local traditions. Are you ready to experience the drinks and foods of the world? Let Luxury Destinations Concierge help plan your next trip. Give us a call at (805) 236-4437.
South America is one of the most diverse and fascinating continents in the world. Unless you’ve traveled throughout South America, there’s probably a lot you don’t know about the countries, peoples and cuisines of the area. Here are some unique facts about South America to pique your interest:
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