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Sandra Kohler's picture

Sandra's Alsace Part 3: World War History in the Countryside

on Mon, 03/14/2016 - 11:23
War memorial at La Linge, France

We headed for Le Linge. For me, this was probably the most intense experience of the trip. The densely tree-lined road to it takes hairpin turns, climbs up and up. When we got there the site of the battle was amazing. It’s so high up, the German trenches are so solidly built, with enormous rocks anchoring steel-plated gun ports. They’re impregnable. The French trenches, now mostly invisible, were just dug into the soil. How could the French have hoped to take this hillside? It looks so clearly impossible, doomed. 17,000 dead here – one of the bloodiest battles of WWI, forgotten. Now campanula, tiny blue bellflower, bloom between the rocks of the German trenches – they would have been blooming there from July to October, as the battle wore on.

Untours staff's picture

8 Tips for Painting the Tuscan Landscape

on Thu, 03/10/2016 - 09:36
The light in Tuscany has inspired painters and artists going back to the Renaissance. Indeed you will feel like you are moving through a painting most days, the landscape and setting are so lovely. We have hosted several painter groups in the area near Montalcino, on the Tuscany Untour. Our farmhouse apartments there provide a comfortable and scenic refuge for painters and artists. Some of our past trip leaders have made the following suggestions for how best to capture Tuscany while painting outdoors.
1.  Simplify the scene. Squint your eyes and focus on the total landscape.
Andrea Szyper's picture

Beara Peninsula: County Kerry's Undiscovered Gem

on Wed, 03/02/2016 - 12:02
Views from the Beara Peninsula, Ireland Untour
We are continuing our tour of Ireland's most beautiful peninsulas with a visit to the Beara, an easy drive from Kenmare, homebase to the Ireland Untour.
Less traveled than the other two peninsulas, the Beara Peninsula is a hidden paradise of quiet, winding roads through beautiful country dotted with small colorful villages and beaches. Half of the peninsula is in Cork, the other half in Kerry. Watch out for sharp turns and sheep! 
As it is not visited by tour buses and is less popular and touristed than the Ring of Kerry, we recommend this as a first outing to help you orient yourself to
RachelWortmann's picture

Vacation Apartment Hack: How to Feel at Home in Someone Else’s

on Tue, 02/23/2016 - 15:49

When opting to vacation in an apartment instead of a hotel there are many advantages. Firstly, it makes it easier to immerse in the culture if you’re not returning to a sea of other tourists every evening to a large, corporate-feeling hotel. Secondly, nothing can replace the warmth and welcoming environment an apartment can have over a single room with cups covered in plastic bags. Thirdly, you’ll probably get more space for your money since you’re renting a home over one room. Renting an apartment through Untours over a hotel is a no-brainer, but how to do make someone else’s home feel like your own? Especially if you’re staying in that apartment for a week or more, it is important to settle in and make it your own.

Sandra Kohler's picture

Sandra's Alsace Part 2: Historical and Intellectual Surprises in Village Churches

on Tue, 02/16/2016 - 12:37
Churchyard in Hunawihr, Alsace
This is the second post in a series by author and Untourist Sandra Kohler on her eye-opening travels on an Alsace Untour. Read her first post, about the vineyards and wines of Alsace, here.
So much of what we saw and I have written about could be described as “things we’d expected to find in Alsace.” We’d looked forward to a relaxed and low-key stay in beautiful picturesque countryside, to excellent food and wine. 
But perhaps what will stay with us longest from this trip is a sense of Alsace as being at the center of Europe and its history, both recent and not so recent. 
More on the
Untours staff's picture

Love For and In Florence

on Thu, 02/11/2016 - 10:45
Helen in Florence
Helen Graves has just joined our European team as the new Untours host in Florence, Italy. Here she writes about her enduring love for the city she's lived in for 30 years.
You could say I’ve done my fair share of travelling. I was born in India, grew up in Scotland, and moved to Sydney, Australia when I was still a teenager. In between times I worked as an au pair in Switzerland and traveled by bus and train over much of South East Asia.
I first visited Florence while on a trip around Europe and was utterly charmed.
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To Greece Again, an Untourist's Homecoming

on Tue, 02/02/2016 - 12:21
Looking down on the sea, Greece Untour
In 2013 Steve Somerville returned to Greece for his second Untour there. He has enjoyed many Untour destinations over the years. Here is his account of Greece the second time around, along with some of his photos from the trip.
Not long ago, my friend Lynne and I returned to Nafplio, Greece, for our second Greek Untour.  We stayed in the Poppy apartment on St. George's Square. We returned to Nafplio because we realized that we had much more to see even though we had spent two weeks there in 2009. We also wanted to revisit one site seen previously, Epidaurus, just 35 minutes away.  
Andrea Szyper's picture

Ireland's Iveragh Peninsula, Part 2: The Skellig Ring and Islands

on Thu, 01/28/2016 - 10:43
Views from the Ring of Kerry, on the Ireland Untour
This is our second post on the Iveragh Peninsula, better known as the Ring of Kerry. Read our first post here. Our series will continue, with features on the Dingle and Beara Peninsulas. Subscribe to our blog so you won’t miss a single post!
Again, this post is based on travel by car from Kenmare, homebase of the Ireland Untour.
Visit the Skellig Ring to venture off the beaten track. This scenic road winds through lovely towns and ruined abbeys and seaside villages. Better yet, the tour buses cannot reach it. Here are some highlights, though we encourage you to venture off on your own.
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Friends from around the world remember Hal Taussig

on Wed, 01/20/2016 - 14:01
Hal in the Untours office in the 90s

My wife and I met Hal on our first Untour to Switzerland. She went to an ATM in the Zurich train station to get some money when a man touched her on the shoulder and said "I think you are with me". She turned around and said, "It's the boss." With his warm smile and the twinkle he always had in his eyes he welcomed us to our Untour. And to add to the great serendipity of our trip we actually were staying in Sachseln at the Elizabeth and with Berit and Albert as our hosts. We were hooked on Untours and have taken three since then and recommended Untours to countless friends. We were so taken by Hal's warmth and caring for the world. We had seen him on the Today Show when he was given the acknowledgement of his philanthropy by Paul Newman. That is how my wife recognized him as the boss.

Andrea Szyper's picture

Remembering Hal Taussig (1924 - 2016)

on Tue, 01/12/2016 - 10:35
Hal Taussig on a Swiss Untour
Harold Taussig Sr. passed away on the afternoon of January 11, 2016 in his home. He was 91 years old.
Hal was an accomplished businessman, a fervent booster of Fair Trade, an activist for socially responsible business, and an early micro-enterprise investor. His Untours Foundation, created with the profits of his successful tour company, has lent over 7 million dollars to small startups and businesses around the world to create jobs and economic opportunities for those most in need.
Hal understood what it meant to build a business from the ground up.