Cooking School in Tuscany:  Oh YES, we did!   

Le Centinelle, located close to Greve in the Chianti region of Tuscany.

Some people dream of it, and I must confess, the thought (along with some level of curiosity) had crossed my mind in the past. But in all honesty, it wasn’t high on my ‘must do’ bucket list. However, now that I can cross it off as been there/done that, I’m willing to admit it was definitely one of the high points of our most recent trip to Italy!

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I’m Singin’ About a Singapore Sling!

sign of the Long Bar at the Raffles Hotel in Singapore

Do you remember what your first adult beverage was? I do. Kind of. Pretty sure it was – after a little experimentation with the most popular wine during my college wine drinking days, aka Annie Green Springs [?!] – a Singapore Sling.

Why, you ask? Not sure except that maybe, perhaps it was popular at the time? OR, maybe/perhaps it sounded cool, like it might even be able to transport me half way around the world to that far off land called Singapore? Yeah, that’s what I’m going with.

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When the Phone Rings…

Do you answer?  I know that sounds crazy, but it seems like answering an actual phone call has almost become a lost art these days.  With so many people relying only on texting, chatting, IM and voice mail to get their messages across, that leaves so few of us left that really do enjoy a conversation.  And yes, I […]

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Are You Overbooked?

I know I am, and I’m guessing you are, too.

But let’s suppose for a minute that we’re a hotel or restaurant that is filled to capacity.  Then the term ‘overbooked’ is a good thing, right?

Well, maybe not always.  At least that’s one chain of thought as presented in a book I’ve just finished reading titled, appropriately, “Overbooked – the Exploding Business of Travel and Tourism.”  Written by Elizabeth Becker, a former NY Times correspondent as well as a Senior Foreign Editor at NPR, the book puts forth a different vision of the industry that many – approximately one of every ten people around the world,  myself included – call home in terms of the job market.

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Planes and Boats and Trains . . .

          . . .and taxis, bikes, shuttles busses, and limos, too.  This is the end of the never-ending cruise story series!  But, before I get to the wrap up, I do want to thank everyone who has been reading these blog posts and taking the journey with us.  For sure it was a memorable and fun trip, […]

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Day 15 – Venice, Italy                  

            Thursday, June 27:   VENEZIA!             “If you read a lot, nothing is as great as you’ve imagined.                          Venice is — Venice is better.”   [Fran Lebowitz] I totally agree.  And judging by the passenger comments we overheard from all those who were gathered on the upper deck as our ship cruised into port this […]

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Day 14- Dubrovnik, Croatia      

 Wednesday, June 26 Croatia is where again?“I’m sorry; could you repeat what you just said?”  For a minute, I thought I heard husband say he wanted to go mountain biking in Croatia but he must have said ‘I want to go mountain hiking’ in Croatia.  Yes, surely that’s what he said.  A nice leisurely stroll […]

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Day #9 – When In Rome. . .         

This picture of the Vatican was NOT taken on this trip because, well, remember when I told you we are sight-skippers? Yes we are, and yes, we did.  Friday, June 21:  Civitavecchia/Rome Big decision for us today, and the contemplation actually had begun several days earlier.  You see on a cruise, one has to make […]

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Day #8 – Tuscany       

  Thursday, June 20 –  Lovely Lucca! Have you ever pictured yourself enjoying a leisurely afternoon in Tuscany, perhaps shopping and sipping wine?  Well, did that vision ever include you riding a bicycle?  Up until today, I must confess, mine did not, but all of a sudden here we were getting sized up for our […]

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16 Stories – All Aboard!             

Day 6 – Tuesday, June 18 – Regent Cruise Lines, Seven Seas Mariner               What’s not to love about starting the day with an endless breakfast buffet in a gorgeous European hotel venue and meeting interesting new acquaintances as you size them up for ‘worthiness’ as potential travel companions prior to boarding your Mediterranean […]

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16 Stories – Paris and Monte Carlo             

DAY 5 – Monday, June 17   Are we there yet??             Waking up on our final morning in Paris to the sounds of a heavy rainstorm including loud, rolling booms of thunder, I couldn’t help but think of my favorite French word that I would finally get to use today.              “Ou est mon […]

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Chinese Travel Trends

I recently wrote about Cuba being a hot destination topic, but now it’s time to recognize the emerging importance of China to not only travel but also just about everything on this planet including the recent downward spiral of the numbers coming from Wall Street.  And while I’m not attempting to solve the world financial crises here in the Hive (we have to leave something for politicians to do, right?), I do want to talk about the entrance of numerous Chinese travelers and investors into our own little corner of the planet right here in Central Florida.

And for those of you that think we are besieged by visitors from Brazil and the UK you are technically correct.  Numbers from Visit Orlando show that’s where the majority of foreign visitors to Central FL come from to the tune of 770,000 and 759,000 respectively in 2013 alone (last available statistics). But want to know who’s expected to be coming in record numbers in the future? HINT:  the answer is in this blog’s title.

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Paris – Where All Roads Lead to Baseball      

DAYS 3 & 4 – June 15/16 – PARIS from the continuing story of  How I spent My Summer Vacation of 2013 Day three actually began in London where we – and our rolling luggage – walked across the street from our fabulous hotel into St. Pancras International Train Station (www.stpancras.com) which appeared to be […]

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Have You Ever Been First?

I’m not talking about those lucky days when there’s no wait in the line at EPCOT for Soarin’ (once, on a dreary Thursday evening in September of 2013 when most of Florida was in a hurricane watch. . .) or on the teensy-weensy outside chance that the Starbucks drive-though is a zip (again once, in the pouring down rain in the middle of a weekday afternoon. . .).  Nope, those aren’t the firsts I’m referring to.  I’m talking about something really big and very important.

The employment line.

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Curious About Cuba? Part Two of two

Welcome to Cuba!

In my last post on Cuba, I introduced you to an industry professional that has already logged plenty of travel miles in her Cuban business endeavors, and Renee Radabaugh of Cultural Explorations Cuba has managed to confirm what the rest of us have only just begun to suspect – that there’s no sign of this being a passing fad in the travel and tourism market.  With multiple daily non-stop flights from both Miami and Orlando, and additional ones being constantly added from other locations around the United States, it’s becoming more convenient to get there and that’s the first measure of a good trip.  But don’t buy your ticket just yet, because we still have a bit of a learning curve before we can grab our passports and pack our bags.

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Do You SunRail?

Have you been on board yet? Yes, I’m talking to YOU out there. With an average daily passenger count of around 3700, that leaves roughly 2.1 million [+-] of you that don’t ride SunRail. Yet. And, before June 23rd, I was one of you, but now I’ve crossed over and am happy to report what a great experience it was.

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Looking for Interesting Work in the Field of Hospitality?

If so, there’s plenty to choose from, especially here in Orlando.  And in particular if you’re one of the many, many people who actually put this sentence on your resume or job application:  “I’m such a PEOPLE person, I know I’ll be perfect for this job!  People just LOVE me!”  Well go ahead, gag all you want, but some people, and you know who you are, really do put this on their job application.  But good news for all you people-lovers, because guess what?  Seriously, what kind of jobs are out there that don’t require some form of interaction with actual live human beings at some point?  (Okay, I do recognize that there are a lot of virtual workers in the world now; but still, even those jobs must require just a tad of  playing-nice-with-people-when-necessary, right?)

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Woof-woof! Is That a Dog I Hear In the Room Next Door?

Well, if you’re staying at any number of local hotels, it very well could be. You see, Orlando has definitely embraced the newest members of the traveling world, that being the pampered pet community. Yes, hotels have gone to the dogs. And cats. And while I hesitate to think of what other types of animals people travel with these days. . .for now, let’s just concentrate on the ‘normal’ ones and leave the exotic and creepy pets where they should stay which is in the wild, or at the very least a zoo. I mean, at home with their owners. Yeah, that’s what I meant.

So, let’s suppose you have a beloved dog or cat and can’t leave home without this pet. And let’s also assume you travel in style so, of course, Fido/Princess/Lassie/Boo would expect nothing less for his or her vacation either, right? Where to go? No seriously, where should you go, specifically here in Orlando? Believe it or not, we have plenty of choices. Some that may even surprise you.

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Pig on a Plane?

Here in Orlando, it would appear that we have a corner on the weird and wacky market known as tacky tourists.

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Winter Came Early for Me This Year

Terry Matthews-Lombardo

And the above picture is proof positive!  In case you can’t tell by the huge smile on my face, that was A-OK with me even though I had to travel about three hours in air time to find the fluffy white stuff.  You see I live in sunny Florida so any chance I can get […]

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