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Vickie's London: 9 Tips (and 14 websites) to Help You Make the Most of London

on Wed, 10/18/2017 - 10:33
London tips, apps, and websites for travel

We have been traveling with Untours for 26 years. Hard to believe it has been that long! Our most recent Untour was two weeks in London and one in Scotland. If you are interested, I maintained a daily blog with photos for our friends at web.wordpress.com. Researching and preparing for a trip is part of the anticipatory fun for me. There were some things I did before leaving that I found to be invaluable during our trip and wanted to share them with fellow Untourists.

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Toasting Vienna: A Guide to Austrian Wines

on Mon, 10/09/2017 - 17:00
A guide to Austrian wines
Though it is not well known for its viticulture, Austria produces excellent white wines and increasing good red ones. Vienna itself is a wine-growing region, surrounded by vineyards which supply the Heurige (see below) in the city and the outskirts with young local wines. 
 
The most popular and wine in Austria is fruity, food-friendly Grüner Veltliner. Others options include superb dry Rieslings, especially from the Wachau region, and rich Weißburgunder (Pinot Blanc) from Burgenland. 
 
Austrian reds tend to be soft and lush; robust reds come from the Blaufränkisch grape from the Burgenland
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Eating in Secret Paris: Sweets, Cooking class, Take-out and More

on Mon, 10/02/2017 - 11:59
Insiders guide to eating in Paris
Paris is a city for foodies, a true epicurean paradise. While its restaurant scene is storied and extremely well known and documented, we have our own lesser known favorites.
 
Here are some of our favorite ways to eat
 
• Pack a picnic and head out to the Jardin de couvent pour habitant laïc, a garden open to the public and maintained by the Soeurs de la Charité: 33 rue de Babylone; Métro: Sèvres-Babylone or Saint François Xavier 
 
• Not excited about cooking your own dinner, but reluctant to spend too many euros on a restaurant meal?
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The Paradox of Glasgow: Sacred & Contemporary

on Mon, 09/25/2017 - 12:49
Glasgow on the Scotland Untour
There is so much to see and do in Scotland, we need two Untours to contain and cover it all!
 
For a healthy jolt of urban life, shake off the castle cobwebs and head to Glasgow in Central Scotland. With its busy modern center, office buildings and traffic, it is a perfect foil to lovely, archaic Edinburgh. 
 
Glasgow is unapologetically contemporary, a city bustling with commerce and art and student life. Accept this, and you will warm to Glasgow quickly and let it round out your experience of Scotland. 
 
Of course you can choose your path when you arrive at the rail station.
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London Beyond the Majestic and Stately

on Tue, 09/19/2017 - 12:50
London like a local

Well, with one exception, I would say that the wild parakeets of London carry their own majesty. But aside from meeting these marvelous birds, my London adventure this summer with my husband to visit our daughter, was anything but the London I’ve known in the past.

Although we did see the more traditional musical Matilda, we attended an interactive theater to experience Alice Underground. Down the rabbit hole, attending the tea party, holding hands in a crack-the-whip fashion up and down stairs, this theater experience was indeed active and interactive. It’s doubtful this show would even be legal in the US with all the frights and tripping opportunities, but what fun!

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A Marvel & Maze: Untourists' Venice Report on the Regatta, Churches and Other Marvels

on Wed, 09/13/2017 - 10:32
The regatta in Venice, Italy on an Untours apartment stay

The Toepfers just returned from the Venice Untour and shared these thoughts and images.

Venice is a miracle marvel:

A unique city with its magical and spectacular scenery that claims a priceless art and historical heritage was a true miracle of creative genius. It is an engineering marvel built on mud, sand, and slime in a difficult and inhospitable landscape.
 
This engineering marvel is due not only to the skill and intelligence of the builders but also to the nature of the place itself.

Venice is a mysterious maze:

There are so many narrow streets (calle), alleys and pathways in this maze
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Jerry's Provence: The Textures of Southern France

on Tue, 09/05/2017 - 13:06
Provence Untour apartment stays

Jerry and Deena Koffler have traveled with Untours almost 20 times, and to many different destinations, on both Untours trips and Ventures.

You may have already checked out their photos of Holland and the Amalfi Coast here on the blog. If you have, you already know that Jerry is a fantastic photographer, and that he and Deena have an eye for the local foods, markets, architecture, and streetscapes of the towns and villages they visit as travelers.

Provence was no exception! On their recent Provence Untour, they enjoyed exploring the charming villages, lively markets, and lovely waterways on

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A Human Way to Do Business

on Tue, 08/29/2017 - 13:22
Untours hosted apartment vacations
I don’t know much about whisky. 
 
At a tasting at a tiny Speyside distillery in the north of Scotland, I was glad I didn’t have to report on lingering sherry notes or hints of burnt licorice. The smoky peat flavors were about all my unsophisticated palate could detect. Though the tour did leave me with impressions of another kind.
 
Unlike their corporate competitors, this family-owned business does not use modern technology to achieve the exact same flavor barrel after barrel. They defer to their expert distillers, rather than silicon chips, to make the decisions.
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Jerry's Italy: The Lovely and Delicious Amalfi Coast

on Tue, 08/22/2017 - 15:39
Amalfi Coast on and Untour

Jerry and Deena Koffler have traveled with Untours at least 18 times, taking more than one trip in some years. Whether they find themselves Untouring in Italy or cruising on an Untours Venture, the Kofflers always have a good time and eat well. As they love good food and scenery, it is no surprise they fell in love with the Amalfi Coast. Here Jerry has captures some of their favorite sights, impressions, and tastes of the Amalfi Coast and Naples. The Kofflers have traveled to Italy many times, but Amalfi stood out. Check out Jerry's gorgeous and evocative images!

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Elizabeth in Switzerland: Two Weeks Without Luggage

on Tue, 08/15/2017 - 12:28
Swiss Untours vacations in Switerland

Ten years ago, our beloved Hal Taussig, my boss at the time, sent me on a Swiss Untour as part of my job. Quite a perk! Hal wanted me to experience his travel company in action, so I could prepare the board of the Untours Foundation to one day inherit the business.

The adventure began with Hans supplying me with dress size flannel shirts and size 12 high top sneakers. Hans accurately determined that the sneakers would stay on my feet, if laced tightly enough. And so our many Alpine hikes took place with me in what felt like clown shoes. With Hans leading the way and me in my big shoes, I felt we were Frick and Frack laughing as we went.

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