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!

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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.

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.

Impressions of an Adriatic Adventure

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Nicole Markley aboard Sea Cloud II

Staff member Nicole Markley recently completed her first assignment as an Arrangements Abroad Tour Director. Cruising from Venice to Valletta aboard Sea Cloud II, she traveled with seasoned Tour Directors Clive Porter and Claudia Cumbo. Nicole says she was particularly impressed by travelers’ dedication to experiencing new places and learning about the art, history, and culture of the destinations. “Whether guests were on a walking tour in Lecce on a rainy day or aboard the ship, they hung on every word of our expert lecturers and local guides.” A manager in the Operations Department, Nicole is currently helping develop our 2016 Adriatic cruise.

Adriatic Odyssey Aboard Sea Cloud II
A Journey Into Antiquity
October 14 to 23, 2016
With Met curator Stephan Wolohojian and horticulturist Patrick Bowe
Please click to view brochure

Better than Candy or Flowers

St. Valentine was Italian, and La Dolce Vita is forever linked to romance. Give a gift that will not be forgotten—a delectable journey to one of the world’s most romantic destinations. Take someone you love on one of these upcoming trips to Italy, France, and beyond.

Dinard Villas Brittany
Dramatic Brittany

June 11 to 20, 2015

Brittany, the most traditional province in France, offers many delights. Explore spectacular landscapes, 18th-century cities, and majestic fortresses. From Rennes to the seaside resort of La Baule and on to the old capital of Nantes, discover great art and architecture.

Powis CastleCathedrals, Castles & Gardens: England & Wales

July 12 to 23, 2015

Enjoy curatorial tours of grand castles, important art collections, and stunning gardens at their peak. In the Welsh capital of Cardiff, go behind the scenes at Senedd, the seat of government, and explore the National Museum after hours. Visit charming Portmeirion and admire the gardens in Derbyshire. Discover Liverpool’s diverse architecture and Albert Dock.

SorrentoKingdom of the Two Sicilies

September 28, 2015 to October 9, 2015

Visit Palermo, with its glittering Byzantine mosaics; Naples, with its restored museums and monuments; and ancient Herculaneum. Continue to Sorrento on the Amalfi Coast, following in the footsteps of the 18th-century travelers for whom there was no more beautiful place in the world.

Sea Cloud II side viewAdriatic Odyssey: Venice to Valletta Aboard Sea Cloud II

October 14, 2015 to October 23, 2015

Enjoy a canal cruise in Venice before embarking Sea Cloud II. There’s a reason some couples choose to have their weddings or honeymoons on this intimate ship! Call at Ravenna, with its stunning mosaics, and from Ancona visit Urbino and the Ducal Palace. Cross the Adriatic to Dubrovnik and the walled city of Kotor. Discover the Italian gems of Baroque Lecce and Syracuse, including a visit to a private Sicilian palazzo.

Please call our office at 1-800-221-1944 for details and availability.

 

 

 

 

Congrats to our Adventures Abroad photo contest winners!

After much deliberation,  Academic Arrangements Abroad‘s panel of experts has selected the winners of this year’s photo contest, titled Adventures Abroad.

Chinese New Year in Rome

Chinese New Year in Rome 1st Place Winner — by Lisa Shalom

The first prize— $1,000 credit on one of our 2014/2015 cruises—goes to Lisa Shalom for her photograph “Chinese New Year in Rome,” taken in the Eternal City during this vibrant celebration. ” I love the gorgeous color and composition, and the stop action of the woman’s jeweled headpiece across her face while she was moving,” says panelist Cathy Farber, Vice President of Marketing & Communications.

Burano boats

Adrift in Burano 2nd Place Winner — by Casey Cochran

 Casey Cochran’s shot of boats in Venice took second prize: a $500 credit on any of our 2014/2015 cruises. “The rich color palate and composition are what first drew me in,” says guest judge Daniel Kukla, who was recently selected for the Arctic Circle Residency, a sailing expedition in the High Arctic in October 2014. Kukla adds: “But what kept me looking was the reflection in the water, which shows the shows the buildings and sky and provides a unique view of this unique place.”

Tasmania

Tasmania, Australia 3rd Place Winner — by Haley Hunter

The third prize, a micro luggage scale (handy for avoiding overweight bag fees), goes to Haley Hunter for her image of a Tasmanian landscape. “This photo shows one of the most remote and stunning places in the world,” says Farber. “We hope travelers will join us to discover other less-visited destinations, like Colombia, Central Asia, and Kashmir.”

Acro yoga in Puerto Rico

Acro yoga in Puerto Rico by Danielle Robidoux

Finally, this year’s People’s Choice award goes to Danielle Robidoux for her shot of Acro yoga, which blends yoga and acrobatics, on a beach in Puerto Rico. She also received a micro luggage scale.

Academic Arrangements Abroad sponsored this photo contest to raise awareness of its adventure travel programs–a newer offering for a company that has long been known for its culturally-focused tours. On these more active trips, travelers can enjoy one-of-a-kind experiences like discovering ancient temples in Sri Lanka, exploring Roman ruins in fascinating Tunisia, or hiking along the Camino de Santiago in Spain.

7 Amazing Hotels for Nature Lovers

It’s Earth Week! In celebration of the occasion, consider planning a getaway to one of these great hotels for nature lovers.

 

Harmony Hotel surfersThe Harmony Hotel, Playa Guiones, Nosara, Costa Rica  

Situated on a pristine surf break in quiet Playa Guiones, the Harmony Hotel describes itself as “the perfect place to get in touch with your natural rhythm.” At this sustainable property, guests can mingle with howler monkeys and hummingbirds. The front desk can arrange tours such as a sea turtle excursion or horseback riding on the beach.

Manatee and ManThe Plantation on Crystal River, Crystal River, Florida

Florida’s Crystal River is a winter refuge for endangered manatees.  The on-site dive shop at this eco-friendly resort offers snorkeling excursions into the area’s two major manatee hubs, Kings Spring and Three Sisters Springs. “Swim with the manatees” packages start at $112 per person per night. Click here to watch a video on the experience of swimming with the manatees.

Belmond Hotel das CateratasBelmond Hotel das Cataratas, Iguassu Falls, Brazil 

The only hotel located within Brazil’s Iguassu National Park, Belmond Hotel das Cataratas is just a short stroll from stunning Iguassu Falls. The luxury hotel offers a variety of activities including guided walking excursions, rafting, and helicopter rides.

Hiking South Tyrol Copyright Alto Adige Marketing Alessandro TrovatiHiking Hotel Europa, Siusi/Seis, South Tyrol, Italy

Surrounded by the Sciliar/Schlern-Catinaccio/Rosengarten nature park, this hotel is located in the old town center of Siusi/Seis. The hotel provides hiking enthusiasts with equipment such as maps and hiking poles. It offers guided hikes during the summer and guided snow shoe excursions during the winter.

Three Camel Lodge, Gobi Desert, Mongolia 

The award-winning Three Camel Lodge is built in the heart of the Gobi according to environmentally and culturally sustainable development guidelines. Guests sleep in deluxe gers (circular tents) that offer an authentic taste of Mongolian culture. The Dino House, built in the architectural style of a traditional Mongolian temple, has games and a small library. In the evenings, travelers can enjoy music and dance performances.

The Canopy Treehouses, Queensland, Australia 

This eco-friendly resort located in Australia’s Cairns Highlands region is set in 100 acres of rainforest that is strictly for the use of the hotel’s guests. Guests can stay in one of six tree houses or the Rainforest Unit attached to the main building.

Giraffee at the front door Giraffe ManorGiraffe Manor, Nairobi, Kenya

Located in a historic building that dates back to the 1930s, Giraffe Manor describes itself as “the only hotel in the world where you can eat breakfast with giraffe.” The luxurious property is home to a herd of Rothschild giraffes, which often visit the Manor in the mornings and evenings to greet guests.

6 Top Travel Tips for Library Lovers

Rome rooftopsIt’s National Library week! Held from April 13 to 19, 2014, this national observance sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA) highlights the value of libraries, librarians and library workers.

Do you love books and libraries as much as we do? Here are Academic Arrangements Abroad‘s top travel tips for library aficionados.

Visit a Library at the Airport

Stuck at the Philadelphia International Airport? You’re in luck. The Free Library of Philadelphia recently opened a reading room between terminals D and E where travelers can download books.  Airports outside of the United States also offer spots dedicated to reading. In Holland, Schiphol’s Airport Library, aimed at passengers on intercontinental flights, boasts a multimedia collection that focuses primarily on Dutch culture. Tallinn’s airport also has a library where passengers can borrow a book during a layover.

Join an Organized Tour that Focuses on Libraries

CasanatenseOften, group tours have specific themes, and some of these journeys focus on libraries. Consider joining art historian Frank Dabell and Kenneth Soehner, Chief Librarian from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, this May for “Library and Museum Treasures in Florence & Rome.” Travelers on this extraordinary program will discover dazzling art and rare literary collections.

Stop at the Local Library During Your Vacation

In addition to stopping at the obvious tourist spots, consider visiting a library in your travel destination. Also, look into whether there are free events such as lecturers or readings at the library. “This past winter, I visited Boston with my husband and toddler,” says Ingrid Ahlgren, a writer for Academic Arrangements Abroad. “I was delighted to discover that the branch of the public library near our hotel had a free story hour for children on one of the days we were in town. My daughter loved it!”

Strahov LibraryTour a Historic Library

Many historically significant libraries offer free tours to travelers. For example, the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., has an hour-long walking tour of the historic Thomas Jefferson Building, which highlighting the library’s art, architecture, work, and history.  The New York Public Library offers tours at specific library locations.  Similarly, the Boston Public Library has daily art and architecture tours. Outside of the United States, it is also possible to visit great libraries. Wonderful ones include the Reading Room at the British Museum in London and the Strahov Library in Prague. At Trinity College in Dublin, visitors can see the Old Library and the Book of Kells Exhibition.

Library of CelsusExplore an Ancient Library

If you love visiting modern libraries, chances are you’ll also enjoy seeing ancient ones. Notable examples include the Library of Celsus, an ancient building in Ephesus, Turkey, which was constructed to store 12,000 scrolls, and the Villa of the Papyri in Herculaneum, Italy. Although the Royal Library of Alexandria in Egypt was destroyed, today the Bibliotheca Alexandrina aims to “recapture the spirit of the original ancient Library of Alexandria.” For a longer list of ancient libraries, check out this article.

Help a Library Abroad

A report by UNESCO asks if there is something travelers can do to help the libraries they visit in Caribbean islands. “Tourists could donate to the library the books they finish reading at that location (instead of leaving them at the hotel),” the publication’s author suggests. “Tourists could also complete questionnaires offered by the library as a means to collect information on visitors, their questions, suggestions, and feedback. At the very least, tourists could leave the island with a deeper, more genuine sense of the present vivacity of the island, its people and resources.”

 

Don’t Forget to Enter the Adventures Abroad Photo Contest

Camel and Pyramid, Giza, EgyptWe’ve already received a number of submissions for our Adventures Abroad photo contest. Images entered so far include everything from riding camels in Egypt to practicing yoga on a sunny beach in Puerto Rico. There are also stunning shots of Peru, Antarctica, London, Italy, India, Jordan, and other destinations.

If you have a great travel photograph, there’s still time to enter it in the contest. The first-place winner, as selected by our panel of expert judges, will receive $1,000 off any 2014 or 2015 Academic Arrangements Abroad cruise. Second prize is $500 off a 2014 or 2015 Arrangements Abroad cruise, and third prize is a micro luggage scale (handy for avoiding overweight baggage fees).

India dyesYou can also vote on the submitted images, which are featured in a gallery that can be accessed through the photo contest tab. The most popular image will receive a People’s Choice Award and a special prize.

To enter or vote, please go to our Facebook page and click on the Adventures Abroad Photo Contest icon below our name. It will take you to a new page where you can enter the contest or vote on selected entries (or both!).

Be sure to submit your entry before May 1, 2014.

Meet Tour Director Kate Klorer

Kate Klorer with tour busKate Klorer started working for Academic Arrangements Abroad as a Tour Coordinator in December 2005. Soon afterwards, she became one of the firm’s Tour Directors. When Kate is home in New York between trips, she also works as a guide at The Frick Collection.

She will be leading more trips in 2014, so look for her on several programs to Europe, Cuba, and the Middle East.

What is your hometown? Redlands, California. It is especially beautiful in March and April, when the orange groves bloom and the scent of orange blossoms fills the air.

Kate in SienaCity you most recommend to friends? Most of my recommendations have to do with places I’ve had memorable experiences with art or food! I recently visited Siena, Italy, for the first time, mainly to see in person the great altarpiece by Duccio, and I was completely enchanted by this medieval town. Rome and Florence are absolute must-sees, but Siena offers a different, quieter experience… perfect for wandering with gelato on a sunny afternoon, admiring the beautiful Tuscan hills!

There are so many other great cities. Stockholm, Vilnius, Vienna, Havana, and of course the three I have called home: New York, London, and Los Angeles.

Sight you would drop everything to see I would love to see the Northern Lights at some point in my life!

Last tour you were on for Arrangements Abroad “The Performing & Visual Arts of Cuba: An Insider’s View”

Kate in UAESpecial skills  Not quite a special skill, but when I’m in a new place, I enjoy stepping into the local grocery store or farmer’s market. It is one of the best ways to get a feel for local life.  I also really enjoy meeting people from different backgrounds and life experiences. And I know a lot about art history, particularly 14th– to 19th-century European painting.

Your most visited websites  Google , Facebook, The New York Times, Kayak and United.com

photo-4Something about you that surprises people  As a graduate student in London, I worked at the Travel Bookshop in Notting Hill on weekends!  (Yes, the bookshop from the Hugh Grant movie…)

Three things you can’t travel without  A light suitcase, a pashmina to keep warm on the plane, and a camera.

Number of trips traveled on  I have visited 48 countries.  Some of my best travel experiences have been on Arrangements Abroad programs. Inquisitive and enthusiastic groups, opportunities to learn from experts, getting to know our local guides in different countries…all make for such enriching experiences when learning about a new place!