Travel with The Met . . . and Arrangements Abroad!

GrandCanal

Venice, Grand Canal

This week, we had a big request from our flagship client, The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Web copy and images for 9 upcoming Travel with the Met programs to Venice (pictured above), Berlin, Iran, Cuba (2 programs by land, 1 by sea), Portugal & Spain, Burma & Indonesia, and Morocco.

Thanks to a coordinated effort between our Operations, Sales, and Communications teams, we managed to meet The Met’s tight deadline. Now that it’s done and we can relax a bit, we thought a photo-driven blog post might be nice for a Friday afternoon. Here are some places we’ll be taking travelers in 2017 on the aforementioned trips:

Bagan temples

Bagan pagodas

Bagan, Burma (Myanmar) is known as “the city of a thousand pagodas.” But those are just the ones that are left–there used to be thousands more!

13254165644_ee4cc9a8b2_k

Fishermen in Cienfuegos. Photo by Alistair Kitchen.

We’ve been taking groups to Cuba by land since 1999, and now we’re offering a unique cruise of the country’s less-developed southern coast, from Cienfuegos to Santiago. Think rugged mountains, pristine beaches, picture-perfect colonial architecture … and all the pleasures of an intimate luxury yacht. For more on this exciting program, click here.

Merida_Spain_by_Juan Antonio F. Segal

Merida, Spain. Photo by Juan Antonio F. Segal.

Maybe you’ve been to Portugal or Spain, but have you ever been to Alentejo (pronounced “A-len-TAY-zho”)? Or Extremadura (“Es-tray-ma-DOO-ra”)? These off-the-beaten-path regions of Portugal and Spain, which border each other, offer cultural influences from Celtic to Roman to Moorish to French. Mérida, former capital of the Roman province of Lusitania, is just one of five UNESCO World Heritage Sites visited on this program.

Vakil mosque, Shiraz, Iran

Vakil mosque, Shiraz, Iran

Like Cuba, Iran is a favorite destination for Met travelers, but next year we’re doing something new: “Undiscovered Iran,” led by The Met’s head curator for the Department of Islamic Art. The program begins in northeastern Iran at Mashad, the country’s holiest city, and goes to Nishan (to see the tomb of Omar “A loaf of bread, a jug of wine, and thou” Khayyam), Kashan, Tehran, Isfahan, Shiraz, Pasargadae, and Persepolis.

For more information about any of these trips, contact us at trips@arrangementsabroad.com or 800-221-1944. Have a great Memorial Day weekend!

Meet Our Talented Team: Frank Dabell

Frank_Dabell

The son of a French mother and British father, Frank is a distinguished scholar of Italian art who lives in Rome, where he teaches art history for Philadelphia’s Temple University program. His expertise in the Italian Renaissance will greatly enhance our Jewels of the Western Mediterranean cruise, sailing May 11. In September, Frank will take landlubbers off the beaten path to lesser-visited, historically rich towns in Lombardy and Piedmont.

Meet Our Talented Team: Patrick Bowe

Paddy_Bowe_Celtic_Isles

One of our most popular lecturers, Patrick “Paddy” Bowe is a Dublin-based landscape designer and architectural historian whose dry Irish wit and approachable manner have endeared him to hundreds of travelers over the years. Hear his riveting talks on local flora (he makes even weeds interesting!) on our Jewels of the Western Mediterranean, Adriatic Odyssey, and Castles & Collections of the Celtic Isles cruises.

 

 

Eight Reasons to Visit Iran in 2016

411_trip_6

Discover the ancient wonders and modern complexities of Iran, home to 7,000 years of civilization, when you experience “Iconic Iran: A Journey Through Persia,” from October 20 to November 5, 2016. This trip of a lifetime features the landmarks of Tehran, Shiraz, and Isfahan (which Condé Nast Traveler describes as “a beautiful city of ancient mosques with elaborate mosaics”), as well as Persepolis and several less-visited destinations.

Here are just a few reasons to explore Iran with Academic Arrangements Abroad this fall:

1.) Nine UNESCO World Heritage Sites
Iran has an impressive list of 19 World Heritage Sites. On this program, visit nine of them, including the Golestan Palace Complex in Tehran and Isfahan’s spectacular Friday Mosque and Imam Square. At Pasargadae and Persepolis, explore the vast ruins of the palaces of the great kings Cyrus and Darius, and venture to the lesser-known sites at Bisotun, Choga Zanbil, and Shustar.

Met curator Christopher Lightfoot

Met curator Christopher Lightfoot

2.) Lecturer Christopher Lightfoot
Travel through millennia with this curator in the Department of Greek and Roman Art at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. A scholar of ancient history, Dr. Lightfoot has an in-depth knowledge of the Achaemenid, Parthian, and Sassanian periods in Iran.

3.) The museums of Tehran
Admire dazzling collections at the National Museum, the newly reopened Islamic Era Museum, and the spectacular Jewels Museum.

tour guide Bahman Zenhari

Tour guide Bahman Zenhari

4.) A superb guide
Our experienced guide, Bahman Zenhari, has been leading tours for Arrangements Abroad since 2010. He and his colleagues work hard to make sure travelers experience the country to its fullest, whether this means sharing their knowledge of Iran’s history or buying local delicacies for you to try.

Persian treats, photo by Sara Kosyk

Persian treats, photo by Sara Kosyk

5.) Amazing Persian cuisine
Iran’s cuisine features fluffy bread baked in clay ovens, fabulous ice cream, and rice dishes decorated with a rainbow of spices, fruits, and nuts. Our meals are often in local restaurants, in order to sample traditional dishes, which vary regionally.

Sunny Tehran

Tehran skyline

6.) Beautiful and diverse landscapes
Pass through scenic landscapes including dramatic snow-capped mountains, striking desert regions, and lush valleys. Admire the colorful gardens at city parks and palaces.

7.) Shopping in historic bazaars
Stroll through Shiraz’s colorful Vakil Bazaar, where almost 200 merchants sell spices, clothing, carpets, and more. In Isfahan, visit the vast Qeisarieh Bazaar, with time to browse the hundreds of shops displaying arts, antiques, and handicrafts.

Download Brochure
NOTE ABOUT IRANIAN VISAS:
Because applying for an Iranian visa is a lengthy process, we ask that all reservations for this October program be confirmed no later than June 15, 2016.

To find out more about this extraordinary journey or to reserve a place, please call Abigail Graszl at 212-514-8921, extension 38, or 800-221-1944, or email her at abigail@arrangementsabroad.com.
Academic Arrangements Abroad, together with leading cultural and educational institutions, is proud to offer a diverse portfolio of exceptional trips.
http://www.arrangementsabroad.com/

La Vie en Rose

VillaD'Ephrussi_CathyFarber

Image by Cathy Farber

Experience the French Riviera during a two-night stay in the heart of Nice, just a short walk from the famous flower market. During a free evening, you may wish to enjoy dinner at one of the delightful restaurants along the Old Port. Then embark AmaDagio for a scenic seven-night cruise to Lyon, France’s gourmet food capital. Highlights on this voyage include a wine tasting in Châteauneuf-du-Pape; a tour of Avignon’s impressive Papal Palace; and a private concert in the Orangerie at 17th-century Château de Cormatin.

The Romantic Rhône
Arles to Lyon Aboard AmaDagio
September 20 to 30, 2016
With art historian Olivier Bernier, opera expert Arthur Kaplan, and Yale professor Anna Zayaruznaya

Please click to view brochure

The King & The Duchess

Elvis.fw

This month’s $2 million Sotheby’s auction of the personal belongings of Deborah Cavendish, Dowager Duchess of Devonshire, yielded some interesting information about the late grande dame of Chatsworth House, which we visit on a before-hours tour during our Houses of the English Aristocracy trip this October. Several of the lots contained Elvis Presley memorabilia, including a telephone that rings to the tune of “Jailhouse Rock” and an autographed photo of the King himself. Picturing the Duchess as an Elvis fan might seem surprising, if you didn’t know she was one of the eccentric, creative Mitford sisters.
 

Houses of the English Aristocracy
Northern England & Wales
October 3 to 12, 2016
With art historian Olivier Bernier

Meet Hannah Teskey: From Intern to Sales Whiz

1554422_10152209545528060_564131475_n

Hannah in Antarctica

Hannah Teskey, Arrangements Abroad’s newest staff member, joined the firm last summer as an intern and quickly proved indispensable, earning herself a promotion to Sales Associate after only six months.  We sat down with Hannah recently to find out more about her.

Where are you from originally?
That’s a tricky question. I was born in Denver and lived there for a bit, but then I grew up and lived most of my life in Portland, Oregon.
What do you enjoy most about being at Arrangements Abroad?
Working with like-minded individuals who all share the same passion for travel!
 
Which city do you most often recommend that your friends visit? 
Buenos Aires, Argentina – hands down. I spent a semester abroad there while I was studying art history and Spanish at Occidental College in Los Angeles.
 
What city would you drop everything to see? 
I would love to go to Prague.
1383940_10151973626333060_2105169537_n

Hannah in Jujuy, Argentina

Do you have any special skills? 

I’m fluent in Spanish, as I grew up speaking it, and I played varsity lacrosse in college. But I don’t know if those are “special skills” per se.
 
Which websites do you visit the most? 
Facebook, The New York Times Crossword, ESPN.
 
What is something about you that surprises people?
My sports fandom is incredibly scattered and not at all relevant to my locale. I root for the Boston Red Sox, Chicago Blackhawks, Seattle Seahawks, and the Denver Broncos. And anyone who beats the Yankees.
 
Who would play you in a movie? 
I’d love to say Amy Schumer, but that’s giving myself way too much credit!
 
Name three things you can’t travel without. 
A good book, melatonin for the long flights, and a big scarf or shawl to keep warm.
 
What is your life’s goal?
To visit Australia. It’s the only continent I haven’t been to.
Anything else you’d like to add? 
Yes. I have an unhealthy affinity for cats.

 

 

6 Unusual Attractions in Amsterdam

Amsterdam_-_KattenKabinet_-_0340

The Cat Cabinet Museum, copyright Jorge Royan, via Wikimedia Commons

Move over, Rijksmuseum. Step aside, Barney’s Coffeeshop. These 6 unusual attractions will give you an insider’s look at Amsterdam most tourists never dreamed of.

1.  The Cat Cabinet Museum

If you have a fondness for felines, pussyfoot on over to this cathouse, created in honor of John Pierpont Morgan (the founder’s pet, not to be confused with the American fat cat). The Katten Kabinet, as it’s known in Dutch, is full of posters, sculptures, drawings, and paintings of adorable furballs.

2.  The Museum of Bags and Purses

bag&purse_museum_by_Burt_Knottenbeld.jpg

Photo by Bert Knottenbeld.

Housed in a historic canal house, this collection of more than 5,000 items dates back to the 16th century and includes purses that once belonged to Madonna and Margaret Thatcher. (Fun fact: The oldest purse on display was worn by a man.)

 

3.  Micropia

Adult_tardigrade

By Goldstein lab – tardigrades 

Just next door to Amsterdam’s acclaimed Artis Royal Zoo, this museum is dedicated to the two-thirds of all life that is invisible — microorganisms too small to be seen with the naked eye. It’s teeming with fascinating information about these surprisingly beautiful creatures (our favorite is the cuddly-creepy tardigrade, or “water bear” — the only animal that can survive in outer space).

 

4. The John & Yoko Suite

John_Yoko_bed_in

By Nationaal Archief, Den Haag, Rijksfotoarchief: Fotocollectie Algemeen Nederlands Fotopersbureau (ANEFO), 1945-1989

In 1969, John Lennon and Yoko Ono staged a week-long “bed-in” at the Amsterdam Hilton in protest of the Vietnam War. Today, Suite 702, where the couple stayed, contains photos, a guitar, song lyrics, and other memorabilia approved by Yoko herself. It can be reserved for about $2,000 per night.

5.  The Museum Vrolik

Named for its founders, a team of father-and-son anatomy professors, this display of preserved skeletons, body parts, fetuses, and other oddities assembled in the 19th century is not for the fainthearted.

6. Dutch Funeral Museum (website in Dutch only)

Far more palatable is this interesting small museum on the grounds of a turn-of-the-century municipal cemetery. The room with seven coffins illuminates the funerary traditions of the Netherlands’ diverse religions and cultures: Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, Chinese, Creole, and Hindu; other exhibitions explore how we remember our dead and our emotions toward the final stage of life.

By the way, there are still a few cabins left on our Dutch & Flemish Landscapes cruise. It includes an afternoon at leisure in the Dutch capital, during which you may want to visit some of these quirky places.

If you liked this post, you might also like our post about unusual food museums around the world.  Wait ’til after lunch to read it, though!

Academic Arrangements Abroad, together with leading cultural and educational institutions, is proud to offer a diverse portfolio of exceptional trips. For additional information, call us at (800) 221-1944 or email trips@arrangementsabroad.com.

Next Book Club Selection

PalaceWalkCover

Our next book club selection is Palace Walk, the first novel in Nobel Prize-winner Naguib Mahfouz’s “Cairo Trilogy”!  We will probably discuss it in late April/early May.  That may sound like a long way off, but don’t hesitate to get started on the book!  Below is a brief description.

This extraordinary novel provides a close look into Cairo society at the end of World War I. Mahfouz’s vehicle for this examination is the family of al-Sayyid Ahmad, a middle-class merchant who runs his family strictly according to the Qur’an and directs his own behavior according to his desires. Consequently, while his wife and two daughters remain cloistered at home, and his three sons live in fear of his harsh will, al-Sayyid Ahmad nightly explores the pleasures of Cairo. Written by the first Arabic writer to win the Nobel Prize, Palace Walk begins Mahfouz’s highly acclaimed “Cairo Trilogy,” which follows Egypt’s development from 1917 to nationalism and Nasser in the 1950s.