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Andrea Szyper's blog

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Best of Istanbul: What to See and Where to Refuel

on Fri, 08/09/2013 - 20:09
Steve and Karen Savel at Chora Church in Istanbul, Istanbul Untour

Long-time Untourists Steve and Karen Savel recently returned from our new Istanbul Untour. This week they share a long list of their favorite sights in Istanbul. In addition to these must-see mosques, palaces, neighborhoods and museums, they give us their recommendations for good and inexpensive restaurants in the heart of the city.

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Istanbul Untour Q & A with Steve Savel

on Thu, 08/01/2013 - 16:51
Istanbul Untour clients Steve and Karen Savel outside the Blue Mosque

Long-time Untourists Steve and Karen Savel recently returned from our new Istanbul Untour. This marked their 21st Untour! How did Istanbul compare? Read what Steve had to say about their exciting time in a city they adore.

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An Art Happening in Murlo, Tuscany

on Thu, 07/25/2013 - 10:43
Subject and portrait

Glen McClure, loyal Untourist and brilliant photographer, recently mounted an exhibit of his portraits at the Etruscan Museum in Murlo, Tuscany. "The Italians are beautiful," he says. "So open, engaging and friendly." Untours guests and local residents joined Glen to view the works and celebrate the exhibit at its opening.

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January in Amalfi, scouting apartments in a deluge

on Thu, 05/02/2013 - 14:21
Bright Sea, Amalfi

Why would anyone go to the Amalfi Coast in the depths of winter? I asked myself this question as we arrived in a mid-January deluge, our driver zipping along switchbacks to crest the mountain in Agerola. Rivers of water poured into the roadway, and soon after, the hail started. Water poured off staircases like waterfalls and lights flickered in the houses around us.

Yes, the weather may be dodgy, many restaurants on holiday and even some major sites closed. But winter is a great time to visit and inspect empty apartments. In fact, it is the only time we can get in to inspect apartments, when the tourists are gone and these popular accommodations sit vacant. It is a fantastic time to find new apartments for you!

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Buenos Aires Q&A with Dodge Amaral

on Tue, 12/18/2012 - 14:57
Untours staffer Dodge Amaral shares his insights and tips on a Buenos Aires vacation

Back in August, Dodge Amaral, Director of the Buenos Aires Untour, made a trip to Argentina to contract new apartments and connect with our local staff person, Graciela Nealon. At the time, the seasons were the reverse of now. “Though being there in early August meant relatively cool temperatures, it was honestly a lovely respite from the hot and humid Philadelphia summer.” Here Dodge answers some questions about his trip and about Buenos Aires, a city he loves.

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A Brief History of Tango

on Fri, 12/14/2012 - 07:31
This shot of tango dancers in the streets helps Untours staffer Andrea Szyper explain the history of tango

It is hard to think of tango without conjuring images of Buenos Aires, the dance’s birthplace. Indeed the culture of the dance and the national identity are intertwined like, well, like dance partners in a smoldering embrace. Though danced around the globe, the development of tango weaves in and out of 150 years of history and economics, and of the history of Buenos Aires.

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Everything I Need to Know About Travel I Learned From My Toddler

on Fri, 11/09/2012 - 15:56
A good bag, sippy cups and other essentials for an Untour
A good bag, water bottle, wipes and snacks are essentials for travel.

OK, so he is a big boy preschooler now. But my son was a toddler when I took him and his daddy to Italy with me for a work trip. And in getting ready for the journey, I felt my travel systems were in peak form. I laughed when I realized I was packing my carry on as I would a diaper bag, and that mothering skills helped me anticipate all sorts of possible problems or needs. That said, here’s a little mommy wisdom I hope you can use:

The right bag is key. Look for one with many compartments so you can find things easily and

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Italy, myth and reality

on Wed, 09/26/2012 - 11:36
Untourist and photographer Glenn McClure took this photo of a man while on an Italian Untour

Italy is so alive in American media. We are a culture obsessed with the Italians, whether in the reality of in-depth cooking and travel shows or the stereotypes of wildly gesticulating movie characters, sexy sirens, mafia dons or Italian mamas insisting we "mangia, mangia!" The name Tuscany is used to brand everything from furniture to processed foods to housing subdivisions. Where does the myth end and the reality begin?

While I dare not speak for the Italians, I would like to take a moment to further examine some of our flawed and romantic notions of Italy and Italians...

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So You Thought Italians Only Drank Wine: Italian Microbrews

on Wed, 09/19/2012 - 12:04
Who goes to Italy to drink beer? Those in the know.

Italians have long enjoyed beer with their pizza, but refined and complex micro brews have replaced the old Peroni. Indeed birra artiginale (Italian craft beer) is putting Italy on the world brewing map.

Unlike their northern European counterparts, Italian brewers are not bound by an old world beer making tradition. So they can borrow the best from the Germans or Belgians but add their own unconventional twist or look to America for inspiration.

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Caffé rules: Feel at home in the Italian coffee bar

on Wed, 09/12/2012 - 09:28
How to feel at home in an Italian coffee bar, by the Untours blog

Italian coffee rules. We don't need to tell you that. We've gotten much more sophisticated as a coffee-drinking people ourselves. Surely most of us know our cappuccino from our macchiato well before we set foot on a plane. (We may have even gotten a twenty ounce latte at the drive-thru coffee shop on the way to the airport!) But in Italy, there are some important differences to note. As with all rules, the Italians love to make exceptions. But here are some guidelines to aid in the quality of your Italian coffee bar experience.