Flower Power

Netherlands_Keukenhof_planting

What could be lovelier than an April picnic amid fields of tulips? Last fall, the landscapers at Keukenhof Gardens in the Netherlands planted seven million bulbs for visitors to enjoy this spring (photo, above). They also arranged about a hundred thousand crocuses, tulips, and muscari into a mosaic showing a 17th-century sailing ship docked alongside gabled canal houses, representing the Dutch Golden Age (see below). If you stay on for the Amsterdam postlude on our “Dutch & Flemish Landscapes” cruise, you’ll visit Keukenhof for a picnic lunch, during which you’ll be able to admire this floral representation of Dutch cultural history.

Dutch & Flemish Landscapes
The Netherlands & Belgium
Aboard M.S. AmaPrima
April 10 to 18, 2016
(Amsterdam postlude April 18 to 20)
With Harvard professor Thomas Kelly,
Yale professor Gene M. Moore, and Metropolitan Museum of Art curator
Freyda Spira

Please click to view brochure

Netherlands_Keukenhof_mosaic

 

More Chances to Travel in 2016

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The Metropolitan Museum of Art recently added two trips to its 2016 Travel with the Met lineup: On Hidden Treasures of Northern Italy, art historian Frank Dabell takes travelers off the beaten path to lesser-visited, historically rich towns in Lombardy and Piedmont this September. In October, you can join distinguished scholar and author Olivier Bernier to discover the Houses of the English Aristocracy–an itinerary that generated so much interest we added a second departure.

Britannia Rules!

Deckhands+Meet+Reunion+Onboard+Royal+Yacht+FFhTz6kbUY8l

The Royal Yacht Britannia, formerly the property of Queen Elizabeth II, has been named Scotland’s best visitor attraction for the tenth consecutive year by VisitScotland, the Scottish national tourism board. Five million people from around the world have visited the Britannia in Edinburgh since she opened to the public in 1998. If you haven’t seen this beautiful ship—on which Charles and Diana spent their 1981 honeymoon—consider joining our Celtic Isles cruise in July.

Castles & Collections of the Celtic Isles
July 22 to August 2, 2016
With Met curator Beth Carver Wees,
Yale professor Gordon Turnbull,
Harvard professor Catherine McKenna
and landscape designer Patrick Bowe
Please click to view brochure

JOAN MIRÓ’S DIAMOND JUBILEE

Spain_Mallorca_Miro_studio_by_THOR

This year marks the 60th anniversary of the 1956 opening of Joan Miró’s studio in Palma de Mallorca, Spain. The studio was central to the Spanish painter’s evolution as an artist and where he worked from age 66 until just two years before his death in 1983 at age 90. This eclectic space has been preserved exactly as Miró left it, and you can view it up close this spring on our upcoming Mediterranean cruise.

Jewels of the Western Mediterranean
May 11 to 20, 2016
With art historian Frank Dabell
and gardening author Patrick Bowe
Please click to view brochure

Romantic Royal Dining

State Dining Room at Hillsborough Castle. Photo by Aaron McCracken/Harrisons, courtesy Historic Royal Palaces

State Dining Room at Hillsborough Castle. Photo by Aaron McCracken/Harrisons, courtesy Historic Royal Palaces

Admire the exquisite interiors of Hillsborough Castle, the official residence of members of the British Royal Family in Northern Ireland, and dine under the glittering chandelier in the State Dining Room. Guests on this extraordinary trip will also lunch at Castle Leslie, where Paul McCartney was married in 2002, and enjoy dinner at romantic Crom Castle.

Houses & Gardens of Northern Ireland
April 30 to May 9, 2016
With author and horticulturist Patrick Bowe
Please click to view brochure

What the Best of the Travel Press Says: Inhotim Contemporary Art Complex, Brazil

Inhotim by Cesar Cardoso

Inhotim by Cesar Cardoso

One of the highlights on our 2015 “Art & Architecture of Brazil” program is a visit to Inhotim Contemporary Art Complex, which was conceived in the mid-1980s by businessman Bernardo de Mello Paz. Located about a two-hour drive southwest of Belo Horizonte, Inhotim (pronounced In-yo-cheem) has an impressive collection of works by artists from around the world. The late landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx, a friend of Paz’s, designed the gardens.

The art complex has been covered by the prestigious publications including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Financial Times. Here’s what they have to say about Inhotim:

“What Paz and his team of curators have created here must rank among the most ambitious and original contemporary art museums ever conceived. There is no single, monolithic building designed by a famous architect of the kind favoured by most institutions across the world. Instead there are 22 galleries scattered in the vast, immaculately manicured landscape, which are connected via stone paths meandering through lush vegetation.”

        — Cristina Ruiz, The Financial Times, Nov. 29, 2013

“Although it is often referred to as an ‘outdoor museum,’ the term is not even close to defining Inhotim’s ambitious repertoire. It’s also a botanical garden, spiritual retreat, scientific research station, cultural center and a futuristic Brazilian answer to the bucolic artistic follies of 18th-century Europe.”

       — Tony Perrottet, Wall Street Journal, August 20, 2013

“Art historians and curators often come away marveling at the sheer scale and chaotic vision that Mr. Paz has created at Inhotim.”

       –Simon Romero, The New York Times, March 9, 2012

Inhotim path by Cesar Cardoso

Path at Inhotim by Cesar Cardoso

If you want to visit Inhotim without leaving home, check out this project through the Google Cultural Institute, which lets you take a virtual tour. However, we suggest joining Academic Arrangements Abroad and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2015 to experience Inhotim as well as the art and architecture of São Paulo, Ouro Preto, and Rio.

9 Reasons to Sign Up for Arrangements Abroad’s English Gardens Trip this May

HighclereSpring is a little late this year, but what better way to shake off the winter blues than by planning an exclusive tour of iconic English gardens when they’re in full bloom? From May 17 to 25, Arrangements Abroad will take a small group of lucky travelers to London and the Cotswolds for privileged visits to the world-famous Chelsea Flower Show and the gardens of western England. Here are nine reasons you should join:

1) English roses.
Roses have been a symbol of England for centuries (ever hear of the War of the Roses?), and no English garden is complete without them. A special highlight of this trip is the chance to attend the Chelsea Flower Show in London on Members’ Day, when hundreds of roses will be in fragrant bloom.

Flowers at Chelsea Flower Show2) Your own personal gardener-guide.
Bill LeFevre, the study leader for this program, is the director of the Sarah P. Duke Gardens, a 55-acre oasis on the campus of Duke University in North Carolina. Who better to lead you “down the primrose path” through the flowering British countryside?

Front of Highgrove House3) Tea and champagne at Prince Charles’ country home.
Visit several Cotswold mansions with exquisite gardens—most notably Highgrove House, the home of HRH the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall. One of the Prince’s royal gardeners will lead you on an exclusive tour of Highgrove’s organic gardens, after which you’ll be served afternoon tea and a glass of Highgrove champagne.

Tale of Peter Rabbit4) Peter Rabbit.
At the Chelsea Flower Show, you can see a display evoking the Beatrix Potter story, complete with radish patch, watering can and Mr. McGregor’s greenhouse.

5) The Hobbit. J.R.R. Tolkien, Oxford professor and author of the fantasy classic, lived next door to the Mercure Oxford Eastgate, where he ate every day—and where you’ll stay during a two-day stay in the famed university town. Maybe it was a hotel meal that inspired him to write the story’s iconic first line, “In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.”

Blenheim6) The (mostly) true story of Winston Churchill’s birth.
You’ll spend a morning visiting Blenheim Palace, where Churchill was born in 1874, allegedly unexpectedly after his mother went into labor two months early. Unless, as some sources whisper, that story was concocted to conceal the fact that Churchill’s mother was pregnant when she married his father—if that really was his father.

Hotel limos7) Downton Abbey: In London, stay at St. James’ Court, a Taj Hotel, where you can rent the famous white Rolls Royce that appears on Downton Abbey.

Garden Gnome8) Say “No!” to gnomes.
Last year, the Chelsea Flower Show got a lot of flak for dropping the ban on garden gnomes, which have a long history in English gardens. But have no fear, kitsch-haters—this year, the ban is back!

9) Witchcraft. In London, explore the 17th-century Chelsea Physic Garden, with its important collection of medicinal plants. Many of these—henbane, mandrake, jimsonweed, opium poppy—are hallucinogenic, and were said to be used by witches to make “flying ointments” that supposedly enabled travel via broomstick. Click here to watch a video of the garden of medicinal plants taking shape.

About Us:

Academic Arrangements Abroad, a leader in cultural travel since 1977, designs and operates travel programs for sponsoring institutions that include the nation’s top museums and alumni associations.

For more information on the English gardens trip, please contact Sara Kosyk, (212) 514-8921 or sara@arrangementsabroad.com

 

Top Tips for Magical Colombia

Colonial House in Cartagena A current Colombia tourism campaign exclaims, “Colombia is magical realism,” a reference to the famous author Gabriel García Márquez. Born in Aracataca, García Márquez won the Nobel Prize in 1982 “for his novels and short stories, in which the fantastic and the realistic are combined in a richly composed world of imagination, reflecting a continent’s life and conflicts.”

We’re not sure how the Colombian writer would feel about the tourism board’s tagline, but we agree that Colombia is fantastic. The South American country is home Cartagena, known for charming Spanish colonial architecture and excellent beaches; Bogota, with its top museums and great restaurants; and Medellín, noted for its gorgeous mountains and flowers.

Here are some travel tips for the capital of Bogotá, high in the Andes Mountains; historic Cartagena; and beyond.

BOGOTA:

La Candelaria BogotaStroll through Bogotá’s Oldest Neighborhood: La Candelaria is the oldest neighborhood in Colombia’s capital. Highlights of this historic part of the city include Plaza de Bolívar, La Catedral Primada, and Casa de Nariño, the home and workplace of the President.

Great Museums: Colombia’s capital is home to some remarkable museums. The Museo del Oro, the Gold Museum, which is home to over 34,000 pre-Hispanic gold pieces, the largest collection in the world. The fascinating Museo Botero includes 123 works of art by Colombian figurative artist and sculptor Fernando Botero. Other great picks for art lovers include the Museo Nacional and the Museo de Arte Moderno.

Terrific Places to Try Traditional Colombian Food: Colombia is making a culinary comeback, and options in this cosmopolitan city include French, Italian, and Japanese food. For authentic Colombian cuisine, check out Club Colombia, which is located in an old hacienda, or Casa Santa Clara, in a beautiful house that has amazing views of Bogota.

CARTAGENA:

Historic Center CartagenaSee the City’s Historic Center: Situated on the northern coast of Colombia, Cartagena is famous for its vibrant Old Town. The historic walled city, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is home to many fortresses that were built to expel the pirates. Of particular interest are San Pedro Claver Church, the Cathedral, and the Inquisition Museum.

Comfortable Hotel in the Walled City: The Hotel Charleston Santa Teresa has two wings: one that dates back to the 17th century and another that was built at the beginning of the 20th century. According to the hotel’s website, accommodations have “traditional elements of Cartagena,” but rooms also feature modern conveniences such as cable television.

Convent with a View: Be sure visit to 17th-century La Popa Convent. Located on a hill at the city’s highest point, the convent offers spectacular views over Cartagena and the harbor. The convent’s chapel has a lovely image of La Virgen de la Candelaria, the patroness of the city, and there’s also a flower-filled patio.

MEDELLIN:

Luxurious Hotel in the “City of Eternal Spring”: Stay at Hotel Park 10 in the upscale Poblado neighborhood. This boutique hotel has comfortable rooms, an attentive staff, two restaurants (La Terraza, which serves gourmet breakfast, and Restaurant Bar Lussac), and a spa and gym.

Top Spot for Garden Lovers: Explore the Botanical Garden, with its many tropical and desert plants. Marvel at the wooden architectural structure called the Orquideorama, which weaves its way through the garden’s heart and features important collections of orchids.

Great Museum You’ve Probably Never Heard of Before: Visit the Museo de Antioquia, housing an extensive collection of works by Medellín native Fernando Botero.

Want to discover Colombia’s magic? Explore the colonial city of Cartagena and the capital of Bogotá during our December 2014 program “The Jewels of Colombia & Panama.” For additional details, please visit our website or call us at 800-221-1944.

For additional information about traveling to Colombia, visit the official travel guide from the government of Colombia.

Simon Bolivar Statue in Bogota

You’re Invited to Tea at Prince Charles’ House

Highgrove HouseGood news! We have just confirmed that travelers on our Chelsea Flower Show & Gardens of Western England program will enjoy a private Champagne Tea tour of Highgrove Gardens, at the home of HRH the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall. This is a rare opportunity that very few are able to experience.

Front of Highgrove HouseAfter an exclusive, two-hour tour of the gardens by one of Prince Charles’ royal gardeners, guests will be served afternoon tea—made from locally grown, organic ingredients—and a glass of Highgrove champagne. They will also receive a commemorative gift box that contains a special guidebook, tour information, and their invitation vouchers.

It’s not too late to reserve a place on this exceptional program!

Chelsea Flower Show & Gardens of Western England
May 17 to 25, 2014

A leading horticulturist guides us “down the primrose path” on this privileged tour of English gardens and manor homes. In London, admire the azaleas at the Royal Botanic Gardens and attend the Chelsea Flower Show on Members’ Day. Visit Highgrove House, family home of Prince Charles and Camilla, for an exclusive Champagne Tea tour and meeting with a royal gardener. Conclude at 18th-century Blenheim Palace, featuring 2,000 acres of gardens designed by Capability Brown.

BlenheimFor more details contact Sara Kosyk at (212) 514-8921 or sara@arrangementsabroad.com

Academic Arrangements Abroad, together with leading cultural and educational institutions, is proud to offer a number of exceptional trips.

Call us at (800) 221-1944 or email trips@arrangementsabroad.com.

We look forward to having you travel with us.

Glorious Gardens

At Academic Arrangements Abroad one of our favorite trips each winter is “Gardens of the Caribbean.” During this coming year’s sojourn aboard the sailing yacht Sea Cloud II, travelers – accompanied by horticulturist Patrick Bowe –visit some of the islands’ top gardens. Tortola’s J.R. O’Neal Botanic garden includes an array of indigenous and exotic tropical plants. On Sint Eustatius, garden buffs will have the opportunity to join an excursion to the Miriam C. Schmidt Botanical Garden, a haven for the island’s rich biodiversity. And on Nevis, they will discover the five-acre botanic garden.

Caribbean flowers

On other programs with Academic Arrangements Abroad, travelers also stroll through spectacular outdoor spaces. These include Holland’s magnificent Keukenhof Gardens, where over a million flowering bulbs provide a vast carpet of color. In Korea, visitors to Changdeokgung Palace will explore the grounds including Biwon, the palace’s secret garden.  A journey through North India includes visits to Humayun’s Tomb, a prototype of Indian garden tombs, and the famed Lodi Gardens in Delhi.

We asked staff members to share recommendations for gardens around the globe. Here are their suggestions.

Ute Keyes, Manager, Operations and Development, says one of her favorite gardens is in Schwetzingen Palace in Germany, which she visited frequently when she was a student in Heidelberg.  Surrounding the palace are both a symmetrically designed French baroque garden and an English landscape garden.Tulips in Holland

“It’s not too big and not too small—just the right size for strolling on a Sunday afternoon,” says Ute, who adds that the best time to see Schwetzingen is in May, June and July, when everything is in bloom.

Director of Operations Erin Sorensen favors the Scilly gardens in Tresco in the United Kingdom. “They are beautiful and surprising, as they feature tropical plants in England and are somewhat remote (people take boats or helicopters to reach them),” she says. “The unique weather patterns in that area create the right climate for those plants.”

Patrick Bowe

Tour director Eleni Papachristou feels any springtime garden program with Patrick Bowe is memorable.  Eleni explains, “He gets so excited about each and every blossom, and his passion is contagious.”

What are some of your favorite gardens?