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Andrea Szyper's blog

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Top 11 Things to Do in Swiss Ticino

on Tue, 10/28/2014 - 09:00
Hiking in Ticino on a Swiss Untour

Switzerland is where Untours started, 40 years ago! Ticino rounds out our offerings there perfectly, adding southern flair with its Italian food and language. Its lakeside towns are filled with brightly colored houses, narrow picturesque lanes, and inviting trattorie. The Swiss love this region for its sun and lakeside scenery, and some retire here. On the shore of Lake Maggiore, our Locarno-based Ticino Untour takes in the best of the Italian Lakes with all the order, sublime scenery, perfect train service, and superlative hiking options you would expect from a Swiss vacation.

So here it is… Our top 11 things to do in Ticino. (Sorry! Too many options to stop at 10.)

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UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Germany

on Mon, 10/20/2014 - 10:47
The Middle Rhine Valley, home of the German Rhine Untour

At last count, Germany had 39 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, putting it in the top 5 globally. The list includes castles and river valleys, Roman ruins and archaeological sites with fossils that date back 36 million years or more. Many of these treasures are within easy reach of our German Castle and German Rhine Untours. Read more about the regions' best castles, views, and historic towns. And learn about the site of our Rhine Untour, itself a UNESCO site!

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Cruise Q&A with Dee

on Thu, 09/18/2014 - 15:24
Dee McConnell and her new Untours hat, Cruise Coordinator

Dee McConnell just celebrated her 20th anniversary with Untours, and over those decades, she has worn many hats here. She is our air and rail specialist, and she is an indispensable part of our Swiss and Dutch Team. More recently, she has stepped up to help with our cruise offerings in the Untours Marketplace. Here, Dee discusses her newest hat, Cruise Coordinator.

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Above Tuscany: Fly over Le Chiuse farm with us!

on Thu, 08/21/2014 - 14:32
Le Chiuse farm from above, Tuscany Untour

Le Chiuse is one of my favorite spots in all of Europe, not just Tuscany. I love the setting and scenery, love the character and age of the stone buildings, love the family who owns and nurtures it. I've watched Le Chiuse wines win recognition over those years. I've watched the entire family embrace our guests all this time, inviting them into the cantina to sample Brunello-to-be from their casks and hosting them for pizza from the brick oven. I have my own very happy personal memories of stays at Le Chiuse farm. So maybe it is those private experiences and fond recollections of lazy Le Chiuse evenings by the pool with family and friends, late summer sun, and grapes heavy on the vine that fuel this peculiar sensation, like homesickness. I cannot watch this video with tearing up.

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Monday Memories: Travels with Grandma (Disney World to Cocktails)

on Mon, 03/24/2014 - 09:27
Vacation with Grandma, Monday Memories

Unfussy, patient, and easily wowed, my grandma was a perfect travel companion, even into her 90s. Our trip to Disney World in the 80s was one of countless family vacations that wouldn't have been the same without her.

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The 2013 Brunello Harvest - A Four-Star Vintage

on Thu, 03/13/2014 - 10:26
Brunello grape harvest, Le Chiuse Farm, Tuscany Untour

Benvenuto Brunello just wrapped up in Montalcino. This year the 2009 Brunello and 2008 Brunello Riserva wines were premiered. The 2013 vintage was awarded 4 stars, but you'll need to wait until 2018 to drink it as Brunello. In the meantime, enjoy these sunny photos from the wine harvest at Le Chiuse, an award-winning wine producer, and one of our most popular host sites on the Tuscany Untour.

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Vintage Cars on the Castle Untour

on Thu, 03/06/2014 - 10:23
On the Castle Untour, classic cars at the Schloss Sommersdorf

Baron Manfred von Crailsheim is the owner of Schloss Sommersdorf, the centerpiece of our Castle Untour. The Baron opens his family’s 14th century castle to our guests every year, placing them in the heart of Bavaria and giving them a truly unique entry point into Germany’s living history. Aside from sharing wine and history, he is happy to show you his impressive antique car collection. He may even give you a brief joyride!

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ABCs of Istanbul

on Thu, 02/06/2014 - 00:00
Minarets, Istanbul Untour

Sandra Kohler and Walt Hagenbuch were captivated by Istanbul. Sandra has a poet's eye for detail, and her experience found an outlet in this thoughtfully drafted vocabulary list. Walt's photographs round out their experience.

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Slow food? Slow travel? Slow Italy? I'll take Umbria!

on Fri, 01/31/2014 - 00:00
Castelluccio, an easy day trip on the Umbria Untour

Umbria offers a more laid back, off-road experience of Italy. It is a hotbed of slow food. Its bucolic farm settings make it a perfect choice for slow travel relaxation. With its warm people and beautiful local joys, it is slow Italy as its best.

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Keep Your Shoes On: TSA Expands the PreCheck Program

on Fri, 09/20/2013 - 12:21
Security wait times will shorten as TSA PreCheck expands, Untourists can soon apply

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) recently announced plans to expand its PreCheck program.This initiative is designed to pre-screen low risk travelers who fly frequently and streamline their security process at the airport. Passengers who qualify are directed through an express lane and are allowed to remain in their shoes and light jackets through the screening process. As the program expands, it may shorten lines for everyone.