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Ventures Cruise Report: Rhine Getaway on Viking

on Tue, 11/14/2017 - 12:53
Dee on a Viking cruise with Untours Ventures
Who: Dee McConnell, Director of Untours Ventures
What: Viking’s Rhine Getaway
Where: The Rhine (Basel to Amsterdam)
When: October, 2017
How: Sailing the Rhine
 
 
What were your favorite stops on the trip and why?
 
Strasbourg (below) was a true gem and quite charming with its small canals and colorful flowers. The Cathedral was gorgeous too.
 
 
Heidelberg’s castle (below) was fun to explore and had amazing views from its observation terrace. If you have time to explore, skip the main shopping street and wander the smaller back alleyways. There was a sweet surprise around every bend.
 
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Bellinzona, A Swiss City With Italian Flair

on Tue, 11/07/2017 - 11:29
Swiss apartment stays in Ticino
Ticino is a region of Switzerland that surprises and delights travelers, as those who have taken our Swiss Ticino Untour will tell you. And the town of Bellinzona is the surprise of Ticino! 
 
At the crossroads of the valleys leading to Italy from the Alps, Bellinzona is a natural sentinel and crossroads of trade that was coveted by the north and the south. It is the capital of Ticino, and the canton’s richest historical town, with no fewer than three castles, at least one palace, several noteworthy churches, and relatively few tourists.


One of Switzerland’s great castles, Castelgrande,
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Meet Hundertwasser's Whimsical Vienna

on Mon, 10/30/2017 - 11:36
There are so many reasons to love the arts and architecture in Vienna! The city has had a reputation for interesting architecture since the completion of the Ring in 1865. 
 
The Hundertwasser House is a great place to start! Innovative Austrian artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser has enraged and delighted an equal number of Viennese with the city-subsidized construction of a low-income apartment complex on the corner of Löwengasse and Kegelgasse. 
 
His building (photographed above) was completed in 1985. It was designed to bring city dwellers closer to nature.
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Home Cooking from Tuscany: A Recipe for Gnocchi with 4 Cheese Sauce

on Wed, 10/25/2017 - 10:00
Cooking classes in Tuscany

Tuscany is a wonderland for those who live to eat and believe in vino veritas. So the Tuscany Wine and Food Untour was a natural. Here Donella, Serenella and their family, who will lead one of the events, share one of their favorite recipes. It’s a a hearty and satisfying dinner for a cool, dark winter night: Gnocchi ai Quattro Formaggi.

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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?
Andrea Szyper's picture

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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