Adventure to the White Continent – Michelle Bemis

I had always dreamed of ice and penguins and this dream finally came true!  I recently went on an incredible adventure to Antarctica with Zegrahm Expeditions. In Ushuaia, Argentina, the city that is “at the end of the Earth”, you can see the snow capped mountains beyond the town and the shipyard where boats are waiting to carry travelers to visit Antarctica.  This city has grown immensely in the last several decades.  In the 1960s it was very small and the claim to fame was a large prison.  Now there are 65,000 citizens and it is growing.  We stayed at a beautiful hotel overlooking the natural wonders of the harbor, the mountains beyond, and the town.  You can even watch everything from an infinity pool set on the edge of the mountain.
Immediately you see other blue jackets that are supplied by Zegrahm and you can identify your fellow passengers.  There is a day before the real itinerary begins so you wonder what you will do.  Then you introduce yourself to the other blue jackets and it as if you have known each other forever.  This is one of the wonders of expedition travel–you are exploring with people of like minds.  We decided that we should hike to the Martial Glacier and explore Ushuaia to enjoy the king crab that is a specialty here.  Surprise–the hike was anything but easy but so worthwhile.  The king crab was great but the grilled Black Hake, which is a local fish, was divine.
There is no question why Antarctica is called the White Continent.  All you can see is ice.  The icebergs are beautiful and as you look at the towering cliffs, you wonder how anyone could have thought to explore.  Although everything is white, there are bright blue highlights.  Then there are the animals that make everything come alive.  We took our zodiac into the middle of 5 humpback whales as they played and even went under the zodiac.  Then the Orca whales decided to play with the ship–if your arms had been long enough you could have reached out and touched one.  We also found our first colony of penguins–they are as cute as I thought and smell just as bad.
It is hard to comprehend the amount of ice that is in Antarctica.  How have people and animals survived here?  At one stop we see where the seals make their home on ice flows.  It would appear that they are relaxing as we do on a beach.  We also see how large the ice structures can be and each tells a story of it’s life over hundreds if not thousands of years.  Each structure is magical and it’s beauty extends under as well as over the water.
Antarctica is a place that leaves you with more questions than answers as you make a visit and learn as much as you can. The only solution is to come again as no trip is ever the same but each trip leaves you in true wonder of all that is here.

Scotland Highlights – Jessica Griscavage

We arrived Glasgow after an easy flight on Iceland Air. Connecting in Iceland is simple as the airport is small and very manageable.

Upon arriving, we made our way to the Hotel Du Vin, an extremely charming hotel that is made up of 5 old town homes. Every room is unique, warm and friendly with each named after a winery. The Hotel is in the West End of Glasgow which I would compare to the Georgetown area of DC with trendy shops, pubs and restaurants.  You have to make sure you have a drink at the Oran Mor, formerly Kelvinside Parish Church. I have to say it’s the first time I have been in a bar that was formerly a church.

The Glasgow Botanic Gardens are perfect for garden lovers. The gardens were created in 1817 and are home of a large variety of plant collections. Glasgow is definitely a city to see and the perfect way to start a Scotland adventure.

 

Next we were off to Loch Lomond!  A 40 minute drive from Glasgow, we settled into the Cameron House. There are loads of activities – biking, golf, boating, clay shooting, and much more to keep you busy. The hotel has fabulous facilities complete with a large gym and pool with a waterslide (my son Joey was a fan).

Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National park cover 720 square miles. It’s popular destination for locals and has a wide variety of natural attractions from lochs to rivers.
We took an hour drive into Stirling which which is a small university town. The Stirling Castle is the major highlight and is one of the biggest and most impressive castles in Scotland.  You must enjoy a local beer at the Settle Inn which is the oldest pub in Stirling.

One & Only Bahamas… Back in Time – Jessica Griscavage

I was recently fortunate enough to revisit an old favorite, the One&Only Ocean Club in the Bahamas. It had been a number of years since my last trip to this beautiful resort and I was instantly reminded of why I love it.

The brochure cannot describe it any better: “The secret escape of the world’s elite, this island resort exemplifies tropical colonial elegance, reflecting the refined qualities of an elegant estate. The terraced steps of the Versailles Gardens with 12th-century Augustinian cloisters, lead down to the finest beach in the Bahamas, Ocean-view dining and all manner of water play.”

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When you walk into the lobby you are talking a step back in time. The resort is simple yet elegant with traditional Bahamian décor and hospitality at its best. You can venture to Atlantis for the day with their complimentary shuttle and enjoy all of the activities Atlantis has to offer; but at the end of the day, you are able to return to a tranquil paradise.

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This resort is perfect for both couples and families. They offer one adults-only pool and a second pool that allows children with a gradual entry, perfect for little swimmers.  There is also a complimentary KidsOnly Club that welcomes younger guests, ages 4-12.

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If you are looking for a quick and relaxing getaway, think of the One&Only Ocean Club. 

As a proud member of Virtuoso, McCabe World Travel offers the following amenities to our clients at this resort:
-Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
-Daily full breakfast, for up to two in room guests
-Early check-in/late check-out subject to availability
-$100 USD Resort or Hotel credit, to be utilized during stay

Read more about Jessica’s travels here!