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Pearl Clark, Untourist of the Week

on Mon, 02/25/2013 - 12:19
Tuscany, Umbria, Untours, Untourist of the Week
Tell us a little bit about your most recent Untour.: My last one was to Umbria and loved it.
Why did you choose to go there?: I had done Tuscany twice near Buonconvento at Poggio alla Rosa farmhouse. We had explored much of the region and Umbria was a new experience
What is your favorite Untours memory?: Sitting outside in Tuscany, having a glas of wine, looking across the Tuscan Hills, listening to the tinkle if the sheep bells aacross the way. Beautiful...peaceful.
How is taking an Untour different from other ways of traveling?: The freedom do make your own choices of adventure, grocery
mtaussig's picture

Under the Tuscan Sun; the book and the movie

on Wed, 02/20/2013 - 12:42
under the tuscan sun
Under the Tuscan Sun is  well-known as a book and a movie.  In our recent poll, readers rated Under the Tuscan Sun, the movie, as one they'd like to hear more about.  Since Wednesdays will be our book and movie review day on the blog,today, we thought we'd review both, Under the Tuscan Sun, the book and the movie.  Here are our observations:

About the Book:

1.  The book is NOTHING like the movie.  You could very easily hate one and love the other.  Except for the fact that love of Italy is the central theme, the plot and characters of the movie and book are nearly unrecognizable.

mtaussig's picture

Bruce and Marlene Bauman, Untourists of the Week

on Tue, 02/19/2013 - 10:00
Untours, Untourists

Bruce and Marlene have been travelling with us since 1996: Swiss Heartland six times, Swiss Oberland four times, Tuscany, the Rhine and Provence last year. They are booked to go back to Swiss Heartland and Oberland this year!

When the Baumanns go to Switzerland this year they've chosen the Chalet Selg, in Swiss Oberland, and the perennial favorite, Künzler 2, in Swiss Heartland. Last year in Provence when they travelled with their dear friends, the Nielsens (pictured above) they were in the Bruneau in L'Isle-sur-Sorgue.

AndiC's picture

My Tuscany

on Thu, 01/17/2013 - 11:12
Untours staffer Andi Cancelliere gets a great shot of the rolling hills of Torrenieri, Tuscany, Italy

I was so excited to return to Tuscany. It had been two years since my last visit and this time I was staying on an Untours farm (La Canonica) that I’d never had the opportunity to call home. I started the day early, getting a taxi out to the Rome airport to pick up my car. That in and of itself was fun. It all went smoothly, don’t get me wrong, but the cars were parked so tightly at the Avis garage at the airport that I had to climb in from the passenger’s side, shimmy over the center console and then get settled in the driver’s seat in order to back out and get going. Hahaha! At least I’m pretty limber.

AndiC's picture

Finalmente in Italia!

on Thu, 01/10/2013 - 10:18
Untours Italy staffer Andi Cancelliere in front of Rome's Trevi Fountain

Touching down at 7:45 am in Rome meant that I had a full day to work and explore despite the exhaustion of having gotten up at 2 am local time. And work and explore I did for the whole two and a half weeks I had in Italy. My mantra “I’ll sleep when I get back to Philadelphia” is what kept me going. I wanted to be able to get as much work done as possible, but also have some time to explore my destination, catch up with old friends, visit with family and just have some good, old-fashioned fun.

mtaussig's picture

Untourists of the Week: Pat and Jack Cruser

on Wed, 12/12/2012 - 09:44
Untourists, Untours,

How is taking an Untour different from other ways of traveling?

"Practically speaking, taking an Untour means no group travel warnings like “Have your bags in the hall by 0530,” “Breakfast is served from 0630 to 0815,” “Be on the bus by 0745,” and it means no searching for an apartment on line, no harried transport from the airport or train station, and no nervousness from being in a foreign country with or without the language. And it means knowing that should the need arise, the local Untours representative is at hand for any emergency: health problems, accident, locked doors, or stolen passport—only one of which afflicted us, but which we saw involve other Untourists.

An Untour means being free to have late coffee, to stay in comfortable surroundings if the weather is nasty, to shop in markets as the locals do for food without bar codes and, more importantly, to immerse oneself in the local culture as much as any foreigner can. Untourists’ local encounters are not limited to tour guides or tourist hustlers, but provide the chance to meet local residents in their everyday surroundings--in their bistros, museums, galleries, or concerts."

Andrea Szyper's picture

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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Untourist of the Week: Wendell & Celia Rogers

on Mon, 09/24/2012 - 12:36
Amalfi, Umbria, Untours, Untourist of the Week

I have a theory that the Untour way of travel changes how you see things.  Pulled out of your routine and placed into a setting of beauty, with some friendly, knowledgeable people to set you out on the right foot, many of us find that this way of travel  is not just a good trip.  It engenders another way of seeing. 

Nothing makes us happier that knowing that, when we send people on Untours, they are often able to look at the place they visit through more appreciative eyes.

Andrea Szyper's picture

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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Vickie Kelber, Renaissance Woman

on Mon, 09/17/2012 - 11:42
Amalfi, Untours, Untourist of the Week

How is taking an Untour different from other ways of traveling?

"Fifteen years ago, I was so impressed with Untours that I wrote a letter to the New York Times travel editor and it was published. The things I liked enough to write about then have not changed; they’ve only gotten better."