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Elegant Journeys

Issue 9 • Summer 2014 Call Frontiers 1-800-245-1950 • +44 (0)845 299 6212 in the UK • •




By Mollie Fitzgerald


he vibration of an incoming text, the beep of a missed call, the myriad of personalized ring tones, Siri’s melodious voice delivering directions in your car, the operation of your home security system from your iPad, the mechanical ding of an upcoming Outlook appointment. We are living in the Digital Age, and all of us are bombarded 24/7 by stimuli generated from a bevy of devices that we collect like lint. Add to that the relentless demands of social media, electronic marketing campaigns, webinars, Skype meetings, Dropbox and FaceTime, and it’s no wonder we feel like desensitized robots conditioned to tweet, text and Instagram — new verbs that did not exist a few years ago. I heard the term “digital detox” recently, and it resonated with me. I’m as addicted as anyone. I travel now with almost a full piece of luggage dedicated to technology accoutrements like my power strip and oodles of chargers and cords. But sometimes we need to disconnect in order to reconnect. That means getting off the grid to recharge our spirits, nourish our souls and stimulate our brains naturally and not electronically. We can choose to unplug at any time, but


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Contents few of us have the discipline to do it without going someplace that forces us or inspires us to. For some, it is communing with nature, for others it may be a physical challenge like climbing a mountain or learning to sail, dive, or roll perfect sheets of pasta. Some of us crave enrichment or even an element of meditation or spirituality. Whether it takes five hours, five days or five weeks, we all need the occasional break where everything with an on / off switch is OFF! I was recently on a long flight without Wi-Fi or a power source in my seat. How behind the times, I thought. My good intentions of working on a project went by the wayside, and instead I pondered why Iceland is really quite green and Greenland is covered in white ice. I read pages in a real book and stitched a piece of needlepoint. I allowed my mind to wander to those places where I could shutter the technology temporarily and live and breathe. Here are those top ten getaway spots, in no special order: Shakti Leti 360 in the foothills of the Himalayas. Hike to this four-room haven with floor-to-ceiling glass walls that afford views onto the majesty of the youngest and highest mountains in the world. Myanmar. It’s all about politics. Myanmar’s government does not allow “western” cell phone interface and Internet is sketchy at best (thank God). Discover this burgeoning and fascinating destination before it’s spoiled and “opened up.” Canyon Ranch. Destination spas in Miami Beach, Arizona and the Berkshires. Sign the “no cell phone policy” at check in. Antarctica. The last great frontier; our largest continent and the most mysterious. Commune with penguins

and fur seals and shed life’s heavy burdens as icebergs calve into pristine waters. Galapagos. Straddling the Equator, these magical isles are sure to enchant. Spend your “FaceTime” up close and personal with marine iguanas, blue footed boobies and sally lightfoot crabs.

Digital Detox............................................... 2 Where We’ve Been Lately....................... 4 What’s Caught Our Attention Lately.... 8 A Perfect Day in Dubrovnik..................14 Hawaii Hotel Roundup...........................18 Hong Kong: What’s New......................20 Crystal on the Med.................................24

Maligne Lake, Jasper, Alberta Canada. This stunning glacial lake with its Spirit Island will enrapture you. Cell phones don’t work, and you don’t need them. Retrace the footsteps of Mary Schaffer, who in 1889 needed her own detox from the demands of Philadelphia society and did the early navigations of this remote spot.

Egypt on the Rise....................................26

The Kimberly Region of Australia. The rugged contours of the landscape and azure waters of its coast whisk the traveler away from it all.

Barging the Canals of Europe..............46

Salta, Argentina. This untouched province in the northwest of the country is known for its endless scenic drives, high elevation vineyards, salt pans and Incan culture. Ideal for those with a sense of adventure. The Okavango Delta, Botswana. This delicious source of water provides life to countless species of flora, fauna and wildlife. Camp on its shores and marvel at nature’s window.

Lindblad Expeditions..............................28 Heli Skiing..................................................29 At Home at the End of the World........32 Three Fascinating Days in Israel..........34 Incredible India: An Invitation...............36 Making a Difference in Myanmar.......38 Simply Splendid Switzerland.................42 What Floats Your Boat?.........................48 Frontiers Celebrates 45 Years!............51 Ireland: Introducing Two Stunning New Properties......................52 Blue Doors of the Cotswolds...............54 Iceland: If You Don’t Like the Weather, Wait 10 Minutes....................56 Real Adventure in the Fjords of Norway..................................................58 Delightful Wine and Delicious Cuisine Down Under..............................60 Silversea Inspection................................63 A Runner’s View of Sydney..................64

Bhutan. A magical kingdom in the clouds where gross national happiness is a way of life. No billboards, only one traffic light in the country and prayer flags fluttering over deep canyons.

A Visit to Kangaroo Island and Southern Ocean Lodge.........................66

Let the experts at Frontiers help you find the ideal destination for your digital detox. Remember, it might begin to happen at 35,000 feet! Like me, you may not even realize how badly you need it. When you find it, relinquish your devices, release your mind, relax, rejuvenate and relish every minute. The grid will await your return. n

Frontiers recently appointed as a Preferred Partner by Four Seasons.....75

Introducing Heather Semple................68 Uganda......................................................69 Untamed Tanzania..................................72

True Premium...........................................76 Frontiers Tributes: William Michael Fitzgerald.................79 Meredith McNaugher........................79 Award Winning Service.........................80

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Where We’ve Been Lately Frontiers’ unparalleled destination knowledge truly sets us apart from our industry peers. We invest tens of thousands of miles in our staff each year looking at new destinations, revisiting old favorites, staying current on hotels and restaurants, and massaging personal contacts, all with your next trip in mind. We share your passion for travel! No one is better positioned than we are to answer the question in the affirmative when you next call and ask, “Have you been there?” n India re-visited — Darjeeling, Kashmir, Amritsar, Ananda in the Himalayas and Mumbai. n China — a thorough review of Hong Kong and Shanghai hotels, Lijiang, Guilin and Hangzhou. n Myanmar — Yangon, Inle Lake, Mandalay and unforgettable Bagan (we liked it so much, we went back with a Frontiers group in November 2013!). n Three staff trips to Maroma, our hands-down favorite on Mexico’s Riviera Maya. n We sailed the Greek Isles from Mykonos to Navplion and Athens while being pampered aboard the Crystal Serenity. n A long weekend exploring snorkeling holes and local lolos (Creole barbecue shacks) on the French side of St. Martin at the first Radisson Blu property in the Caribbean.

n Three staff trips to Istanbul to revisit some of our favorite hotels including Four Seasons Sultanahmet, Four Seasons Bosphorus, Ciragan Palace and the Pera Palace. And we checked out two new ones — Shangri La Bosphorus and the Georges Hotel. n We enjoyed a romantic view of the lights of San Marco Square and Venice while having dinner at Cips Club at the Hotel Cipriani. n South Africa with stops at Molori Safari Lodge; La Residence; Birkenhead House; The 12 Apostles Hotel; and The Saxon Boutique Hotel, Villas and Spa. n A circumnavigation of Iceland. n Zambia — for a closer look at the world’s largest living land mammal, the African elephant. n Gorilla trekking in the Congo with Wilderness Safaris — one of the first to see the Western Lowland Gorillas.

Hank Ingram skiing the high alpine in the Selkirk sub-range


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n Tanzania revisited — Mahale Mountains National Park, Katavi National Park, Ruaha National Park, the Selous Game Reserve and Singita Grumeti Reserves. n Two staff trips to Italy, including the Amalfi coast and four days in Rome to revisit the iconic sights and to inspect all of the top hotel options. n Three staff trips to the Canadian Rockies for heli-skiing and hiking. Spectacular scenery, and we’re smitten! n Santa Barbara, California for the much-touted opening of Belmond El Encanto. n Charleston and Kiawah Island, South Carolina — a perfect weekend getaway. n Two staff trips to Peru, including the official opening of Palacio Nazarenas in Cusco. Continued •••

Cindy Smith enjoying a view from the Rooftop A’YA Lounge at the Four Seasons Sultanhamet, Istanbul

Jorie Butler Kent and Mollie at A&K 100 Club Meeting

Cassandra Ufner at the Jokulsarlon Glacier in Iceland

Kelly Olson enjoys a day with Bedouins in Wadi Rum in the desert of Jordan

Eileen Datt after enjoying her Elephant Back Safari in Victoria Falls

Kathy Schulz with her Walking Safari Guide in the Selous Game Reserve

Lynda McDonough visiting Stirling Castle in Scotland

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Jill Jergel exploring the Adriatic Sea on Regent cruise, Dubrovnik

Mollie at the Four Seasons Golden Triangle Tented Camp, Chaing Rai, Thailand

Lynda at the picturesque town of Kitzbuhel near the Austrian Alps

Mike & Kristene Fitzgerald enjoying a local Merlot at The Farm at Cape Kidnappers in Hawkes Bay, NZ


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Mollie & Susie at Athabasca Falls, Alberta

Jill at Hotel de Mougins on the Riviera with Bernard Apthrop

Cindy sailing past St. Mark’s Square, Venice aboard the Crystal Serenity

Elaine Wissolik, excited to reach the base of the Torres del Paine towers in Patagonia, Chile

n Three team members took two extensive trips to New Zealand — from the Bay of Islands on the North Island to Fiordland National Park on the South Island. Wineries, hiking, biking, fly fishing, golf on two of the “World’s Top 100” courses all complemented with world-class accommodations and cuisine. n Top travel trade shows including Virtuoso Travel Week in Las Vegas, PURE in Marrakech, INDABA in Durban, ILTM in Cannes and A&K 100 Club in Chicago. n A winter weekend in Madrid to inspect iconic hotels, including Hotel Ritz by Belmond and Villa Magna. We discovered some charming boutique properties like the Las Lettras and Ophelia. n Switzerland with an invitation-only group of Virtuoso agents, hosted by the Swiss Tourist Office. The trip included visits to the Glacier Express, an exquisite world-class spa and many of the country’s most breathtaking regions.

n Three staff trips to France to attend barge “shows” (one on the historic Canal du Midi and one on the Canal de Bourgogne in Burgundy) for a look at refurbishments and to spend time with owners; visits to our “Frontiers-Friendly” hotels in Paris and Normandy; and meetings with many of our preferred guides and historians. n Scotland — we inspected beautiful country manor hotels along with famed city properties. The Upper Class service on Virgin Atlantic Airways was exquisite. n Austria — for a visit to the hallowed opera halls, beautiful lake villages and charming wine gardens. We also enjoyed the Sound of Music Tour and relished the incredible landscapes and movie spots.

n Two staff members on Frontiers’ hosted “Tanzania Utmost Safari” through Tarangire National Park, Lake Manyara National Park, Ngorongoro Crater, Olduvai Gorge, Serengeti National Park and Zanzibar. n Jordan — camel trekking, snorkeling in the Red Sea, a trip to the top of Mt. Nebo, local wine sampling, traditional food cooking with local chefs and Bedouins and indulging in hot springs and Dead Sea spa treatments. n Budapest for sites such as the Fisherman’s Bastion, Hero’s Square and the Presidential Palace. We stayed at the fabulous Four Seasons Hotel in a prime location on the Danube River n Amazing hike to the base of the Torres del Paine towers in Chile at explora Patagonia.

Linda Rumburg at the overlook in Taormina, Sicily

Mollie with the Swiss Guard at the Vatican City

The Frontiers team at Virtuoso Travel Week

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Lobster and Martini Bar at Ravello’s Palazzo Avino The Lobster & Martini Bar opens at 6 p.m. Enjoy the freshest local lobster paired with refreshing Champagne or Prosecco amidst a backdrop of the awe-inspiring Mediterranean Sea. Alternatively, enjoy a choice of 65 different Martinis uniquely crafted by the hotel’s in-house Martini mixologist! Martinis range from traditional to exotic using ingredients such as seasonal fruits and herbs. The combination of watching the sunset while enjoying a digestive biscuit and viewing the sky, mountains and sea is heavenly! n

What’s Caught Ou “Breakfast and a Blow Dry” at Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong By prior appointment, guests can now visit The Mandarin Salon at 7:30 a.m. for a special ‘Breakfast and Blow-Dry’ package that will allow them to relax with an “Illy”-brewed coffee and a freshly baked croissant from The Mandarin Cake Shop, along with the latest newspapers, whilst internationally trained stylists turn ‘bed-hair’ to ‘head-turning hair’ with a wash, head-massage and blow-dry. Prices start from HKD500 (approx. US$65) n


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The Fairmont Copley Plaza’s “Canine Ambassador,” Catie Copley The next time you’re in Boston and missing Fido back at home, the Fairmont Copley Plaza offers its Canine Ambassador program. This unique amenity provides the warm and friendly services of Catie Copley, an eightyear old black Labrador retriever originally trained as a guide dog. Catie accompanies guests on walks and runs throughout the city, greets guests, visits during meeting breaks upon request and is a community liaison with participation in several neighborhood and charitable events. Catie Copley is stationed near the St. James entrance where she relaxes between walks in her cozy dog nest. The concierge maintains an appointment book where guest can schedule walks or runs with her. When guests take Catie for a walk around the city, they receive a walk pack that includes a booklet highlighting Catie’s favorite Boston walks, as well as the commands that she knows and a biscuit for a walk well done! n

ur Attention Lately It’s All About Fun in a Mini The Peninsula New York’s Two Bespoke Mini Cooper S Clubman Vehicles Offer Suite Guests A Unique City Experience It’s all about fun in a MINI at The Peninsula New York, where guests residing in a suite are offered complimentary use of two bespoke MINI Cooper S Clubman cars for up to three hours per day during their stay. Perfectly sized for zipping around Manhattan, yet luxurious in their customized appointments, the chauffeured vehicles may be used for shopping trips or sightseeing excursions in the city. The Peninsula New York is ideally located on Fifth Avenue and 55th Street, in the heart of New York City’s most prestigious shopping, cultural and business neighborhood, in Mid-town Manhattan. The Peninsula Hotels has a long history of providing stylish rides for their guests, including the Hong Kong property’s legendary fleet of 14 RollsRoyce Phantoms and four 1934 Rolls-Royce Phantom IIs, all finished in signature Peninsula Green. Peninsula most recently collaborated with BMW, the parent of the Rolls-Royce and MINI brands, to create a custom-made bespoke MINI Cooper S Clubman, with the personalization process of these compact, yet dynamic, vehicles taking over two years to perfect. Features include a custom-illuminated Peninsula logo on door entry sills, leather finishing and the signature Peninsula Green color that adorns every vehicle in the brand’s transport fleet. Each car is also specially fitted with a tailor-made rooftop box, a mini-fridge and an iPad or iPhone to add to guests’ comfort and convenience. n

Continued •••

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Personalized Whiskey Locker at Loch Lomond’s Cameron House Hotel According to “Travel Pulse,” as far back as ancient Greece, poets imagined the blood of the gods as a divine liquid they called ichor. In Scotland it was called whiskey, but to everyone else it was simply Scotch (and when we do call it whiskey, we add an e for reasons that only amuse the Scottish). Scotland celebrated “Whiskey Month,” in May 2014 with a number of festivals and tastings. Our top pick is the Virtuoso property on Loch Lomond whose Whiskey Ambassador guides guests through more than 270 whiskies, including 17 limited editions and one made especially for Cameron House. Guests can even purchase a “whiskey locker” at Cameron House, customized with their name. A key to the locker will await guests at check-in so they can enjoy their preferred whiskey as they settle in to their accommodations. n

What’s Caught Our Champagne and a Saber: A St. Regis Ritual The impressive St. Regis portfolio, comprising 47 diverse properties from Bal Harbour to Bali to Bora Bora, share one important daily ritual: a ceremonial champagne sabering. This tradition was begun in 1914 by John Jacob Astor when he founded the flagship St Regis New York to celebrate the transition from the day into the night. Guests are treated to this daily spectacle, opening a bottle “a la Napoleon,” slicing the top of the bottle off with a saber. The art of “sabrage” has an illustrious history that dates back more than 200 years. The practice is most commonly associated with Napoleon Bonaparte; he and his troops famously opened Champagne with their sabers. As the soldiers were mounted on horseback, with a hand on the reins, they found it difficult to unwrap and uncork the bottle. Instead, they would use their sabers to remove the foil, the wire basket around the cork and the cork itself, all at the same time. The general is quoted as saying, “Champagne: in victory, one deserves it; in defeat, one needs it.” The tradition has continued as Champagne connoisseurs still enjoy the bubbly beverage with the flourish of a saber rather than the tedium of a napkin. When a bottle of Champagne is chilled to just the right temperature, a saber can be used to remove all the wrappings at once, while spilling very little of the precious contents. Cheers! n


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“Shell-phones” at the Coppola properties in Belize A perfect place for a digital detox, visit Francis Ford Coppola’s Blancaneaux Lodge, located in a 100,000 acre forest reserve, and the Turtle Inn on the sea at Placencia, and escape from TV’s and telephones. For guests’ convenience, however, there is a “shell-phone” which is a polished conch shell cleverly concealing an intercom system to the front desk! n

ur Attention Lately Trakdot – The end of Lost Luggage I recently field-tested a new device called “Trakdot” on a trip to Mexico which is about the size of a chocolate brownie. You stick one into each piece of checked luggage (it’s a bit firmer than a brownie!) and it miraculously tracks the location of each bag on it’s intended journey.  Operating on AA-batteries, you turn it on and it is programmed to automatically send you both a text and an email confirming the location of the bag.  I was a little dubious, but also curious, as countless trips have been ruined by lost bags, and it’s so helpful if you can at least figure out where the bag is.  Somehow, Trakdot’s “artificial intelligence” shuts off its transmit-and-receive capability and enters “airplane mode” by employing solid-state accelerometer technologies that sense the sustained acceleration of an airplane during taxi and/or the approximate first third of takeoff roll. Trakdot™ is in airplane mode or “sleep mode” well before the aircraft is airborne, so it’s all FCC approved.  The bottom line is that IT WORKS!! The minute I landed in Cancun, I got a confirming text – both bags were in Quintana Roo, Mexico! n Continued •••

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Sushi SORA’s Sake Sommelier Kaoru Izuha, Manager of Mandarin Oriental, Tokyo’s sushi restaurant Sushi SORA, won this year’s prestigious sake sommelier category of the Third Kikisake-shi World Championship. Ms. Izuha claimed the honor out of 25,000 certified sake sommelier competitors. The Kikisake-shi World Championship, sponsored by the Sake Service Institute, selects the world’s best sake sommeliers. Contestants are evaluated on their ability to introduce the taste and enjoyment of sake in a correct and easy-to-understand manner. The competition involves tests on comprehensive knowledge and skills. It requires detailed knowledge of sake tasting skills and the ability to be insightful regarding custom needs. Kaoru gained a basic knowledge of wine from her parents. She studied and obtained a sake sommelier certification while working at her first hotel position in a Japanese restaurant, which required an extensive knowledge of Japanese beverages to be able to

What’s Caught Our Attention Lately make recommendations to customers. To broaden her knowledge of beverages, she learned all she could about wine and became a certified wine sommelier as well. After familiarizing herself with both sake and wine, she gained an appreciation for the very wide range in variety of both drinks. She concludes sake cannot be simply expressed by terms such as ‘dry’ or ‘dolce’, but rather every sip is a unique union between sake, cuisine and environment that creates a culinary experience. Kaoru is the Manager at Sushi SORA at Mandarin Oriental, Tokyo, which is an Edo-mae (traditional Tokyo style) sushi restaurant. “Many customers choose sake by brand,” she says, “but in the same way as people select wine to go with different dishes, I recommend that they select sake according to the sushi items they order. That way you can fully enjoy the finest features of both


the sake and the sushi. For example, for the coming season, I would suggest a mellow sake with a rich aroma to complement marbled bluefin tuna, or a dry and crispier sake with a refreshing aroma for winter yellowtail or halfbeak. At Sushi SORA, we make recommendations for delightful encounters that will perfectly match customers’ tastes.” Sushi SORA is located on the 38th floor of Mandarin Oriental, Tokyo, providing an outstanding view of the world’s tallest Ⓡ broadcasting tower, Tokyo Skytree , and the breathtaking Tokyo skyline. The eight-seat sushi counter is made from high-quality Japanese cypress wood that is more than 350 years old. Yuji Imaizumi, the chef, serves selected seasonal ingredients of the highest quality for discerning diners. Great sushi starts with great rice, and 70% of the taste is said to depend on the quality of shari (vinegared rice). That is why Chef Imaizumi is so particular about the rice he uses for this restaurant’s Edo-mae sushi. His prime choice is Myoko Koshihikari from Niigata Prefecture, which is produced using pure mineral water from Mount Myoko in an environment of wide temperature variations. Chef says the best rice for the Edo-mae sushi comes from the harvest two years earlier, and the key is to steam it to the point where it is firm but not hard. Each grain of rice is important for creating a quality taste, and to make the vinegared rice for nigirizushi (hand-formed sushi) the chef uses his own original blend of akasu (red vinegar) and kasuzu (vinegar made from sake lees). Richly flavored without the use of sugar, the vinegared rice is slightly reddened and provides just enough hint of sourness to complement the sweetness of the rice and the taste of the fish. n

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Villa Dubrovnik


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A Perfect Day in


“Those who wish to see heaven on earth should come to Dubrovnik…” Bernard Shaw


he alluring Adriatic coastline of Croatia is spectacular – each bend in the road reveals yet another azure bay and charming village, and yet Dubrovnik must surely be the queen of all Adriatic cities. I had seen a lot of pictures and read many descriptions, but nothing prepared me for the compact, raw beauty of the city itself. One’s first glimpse is from above – the highway from the airport hugs the curvature of the mountain and suddenly there she lies before you. We were mesmerized by the view of the city ramparts from the balcony of our Room No. 416 at the Villa Dubrovnik. We could look straight onto the city and its many moods as the light changed. Just yesterday afternoon, we saw the sun go down, and a few hours later the skyline relit by lightning. This ultra–chic, contemporarystyled boutique property is home for the next two nights (which I can tell already is not enough). All of the young, smiling faces who work here are smartly clad in white linen pants and navy linen jackets and very helpful and friendly. The spring raindrops did nothing, however, to dampen our spirits as we set off at 8:45 a.m. with our A&K guide, Dijana, to explore this UNESCO World Heritage City. The city itself is surrounded by a 1,904 meter long wall, accessed by several sets of steep

By Mollie Fitzgerald

stairways and a fortress in each corner. We walked clear around the wall, braving wind and pesky rain showers (and by the way for any neophytes, there is a definite “right direction” one should take when circling the wall!), taking in breathtaking views of the sea, daily life in the city below and a birds-eye view into private gardens and homes. Originally founded in the 7th century as a refuge for inhabitants of the Roman city of Epidaurum who were fleeing barbarians, Dubrovnik flourished through the ages due to its political candor, its exceptional geographic position, its artistic contributions, and its long-lasting maritime tradition. Today, less than 1000 people reside within the historic city walls, including our driver, Lucca, who had many stories to share. We learned about St. Blaise, the patron saint of Dubrovnik, and strolled the city promenade, Stradun, lined with cafes. We visited the 14th century Dominican church & monastery, the Sponza Palace with its fabulous furniture collection, and the Franciscan Monastery. Dijana held our attention rapt with anecdotes and stories, and she was quite deft at dodging the large tour groups (mostly cruises) that descend upon the city during the high season. We visited the third oldest pharmacy in the world (second after Jerusalem and Padua), which is still open for business. For about $10, I bought a hydrating face cream, made on the premises from all natural ingredients, which I suspect I will become addicted to! One thing Continued •••

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that impressed me most is that all homes in Dubrovnik in the 14th century had running water, and the sewers built back then are still in use! Western Europe had a long way to catch up! The best ice cream is at Dolce Vita. We also stopped for a glass of wine with the handsome chef, Goran, at his restaurant called “Wanda,” to which we would return for dinner…more on that later! It is hard to believe that less than 20 years ago, the residents of Dubrovnik were under siege. Even though much has been repaired, everywhere there are reminders of damage from bombs, grenades, etc., and the memories are still very real in the peoples’ minds. Each morning, just outside the Pucic Palace Hotel (one of the few good hotels within the city walls) there is a green market selling fresh produce (the cherries & strawberries were in season and looking mouth-watering!), flowers and local handicrafts. At high noon, the market vanishes, and the hotel puts up umbrella tables for an al fresco lunch. I poked my head into this 19-room boutique hotel to check it out, and they had only one room to show me – an executive suite and apparently their top accommodation. It was on the small side and very eclectically decorated, but good to see for those wanting to be in the thick of things. Their terraced dining area open only for dinner looked inviting. The operate a complimentary shuttle service every hour by van to the entrance of the walled city, and on nice days, by boat (sadly, I was not able to experience the boat during our short stay – it looked absolutely fantastic – something straight out of Great Gatsby). We returned to Villa Dubrovnik for a tasty lunch of fried scallops and an avocado & shrimp salad. This afternoon, I walked over to two other well-known hotel properties, Villa Argentina (rooms in the Villa Ursula are the only ones I recommend) and the Excelsior (both coincidently under the same ownership). It made for an interesting comparison, and also at different price points, but I am happy to confirm that the 56-room Villa Dubrovnik is, for sure, the best address in town. We soaked up some sun in the late afternoon hours and booked a table at Wanda.


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Dubrovnik at night is so different from the daytime – all of the tour buses are gone and it takes on a very special atmosphere. For example, walking to dinner, we encountered a church choir singing in the main square. I could have stayed there all night, but the promise of food and drink lured me up the steps towards Wanda. It was bit too chilly to eat outside, so we opted for a table in their cozy interior (maximum 12 tables in the whole place). I felt guilty (but not that guilty) veering away from the Croatian wines in favor of a Chilean Sauvignon Blanc that was the featured wine of the evening – it was as if Goran read our minds! It was crispy and delicious, and we enjoyed this with our first course of chicken & duck dumplings with a truffle oil sauce, followed by an avocado & tomato salad with pine nuts and fettuccine with fresh peas and porcini mushrooms. It’s a local kind of place, which we enjoyed immensely, and Goran, who had lived in the States for several years, joined us at the table for a drink after dinner…Truly a perfect day! n Note: Our cover photo of an un-named chapel was shot in Dubrovnik and took second prize in the annual Virtuoso Photo Contest.

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Four Seasons, Maui

Hawaii Hotel Roundup

Linda hiking at Waimea Canyon in Kauai

By Linda Rumburg

I recently made my third trip to Hawaii in September. Now I have visited the islands of Oahu, Kauai, Maui and the Big Island. Here’s a recap of some of the hotels I visited.


hile in Honolulu, I stopped at The Modern Hotel in Waikiki, a Virtuoso property and home of the Morimoto Waikiki restaurant run by Celebrity Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto. It’s been a great success, and I was sorry to visit in the morning, when it was closed. The Modern is located near the Ala Wai yacht harbor close to Waikiki Beach and does not have direct access to the beach, although it is a very short walk away. It is the closest luxury hotel to the airport (about a 15-minute drive). The Modern, as the name implies, is a very contemporary hotel with 353 rooms and suites offering views of the city, marina or ocean. The Study lobby bar is tucked behind a large revolving bookshelf (as in an entire wall!) that opens at 6:00pm. There are two swimming pools. and the Sunset Pool, surrounded by 100 tons of sand and located on the rooftop, is for adults only.

If you don’t care for the hustle and bustle of Waikiki, the JW Marriott Ihilani Resort and Spa at Ko Olina on the western shore of Oahu, is a great alternative. We were here for a family wedding and stayed in a Deluxe Ocean View Room. The marble bathroom was absolutely huge, with three vanities, separate tub, shower and water closet. The room also included a small fridge and coffeemaker. Our lanai overlooked one of four beautiful coves, the ocean, and the pool. There are several golf courses in the area — they hosted a PGA tournament a few days after we departed. This is a great resort for a multi-generational group (like ours). There is a rental car facility right at the hotel where you can rent cars by the day. A Starbucks was in the lobby, with comfy furniture all around to congregate. All staff we encountered were excellent, especially the pool wait staff – they couldn’t do enough for us. The Marriott is located right next door to the Disney Aulani. If you are bringing children to Hawaii, this is the place to stay. They offer


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a variety of accommodation from a standard room to a 3-bedroom villa. They have a fantastic water park, as expected - my favorite area was Rainbow Reef, a snorkeling experience in a separate pool with hundreds of native fish, especially great for beginners and children. After 5 days, we flew to Maui, which is much more laid back than Waikiki. I visited the Four Seasons Resort at Wailea, a Virtuoso property located on 15 oceanfront acres on Wailea Beach that boasts a spectacular two-mile beach walk along the ocean. There are 380 luxury rooms and suites. They offer a great Children’s Program during the day for kids ages 5-12 years old, plus a fabulous game room that parents will enjoy as much as the kids do! The pools were beautiful, especially the Serenity Pool with its infinity edge and spectacular view of the mountains and ocean. There are six luxury cabanas, 150 square feet, with flat screen HD TV, that are available for daily rental. The Four Seasons Wailea has recently been voted the #3 resort in Hawaii by Condé Nast Traveler magazine’s Readers Choice Awards. The Fairmont Kea Lani, another Virtuoso property, is next to the Four Seasons, and they share the same two mile beach walk. The Fairmont is Maui’s only all-suites and villas property. It sits on 22 acres of lush tropical landscape. I saw their 1800 sq ft,

2-bedroom, 2-level, 2-bath suite, complete with its own kitchen, private courtyard, barbecue grill and plunge pool, located a one minute walk from the beach. This suite would be great for families with children over 10 years old. I would be leery of having smaller children there because of its close proximity to the plunge pool and beach (although other deluxe rooms or suites would be fine for younger children). Both the Fairmont and Four Seasons offer free outrigger canoe rides throughout the day, which are loads of fun! The Fairmont Kea Lani was recently voted the #8 resort in Hawaii by Condé Nast Traveler magazine’s Readers Choice Awards. For advice on Hawaii, contact Linda Rumburg, who has recently completed her Hawaii Destination Specialist course. n

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Hong Kong: Wha ALTHOUGH NOT THE LARGEST CITY IN ASIA, HONG KONG IS ONE OF THE MOST DENSELY POPULATED, with more than seven million inhabitants crammed into just 440 square miles. It is called a “vertical city,” not so much because of the lushly forested backdrop of mountains, but because of all the skyscrapers that soar to ever more dizzying heights. With one of the busiest ports in the world and its tax-free status, this city is a haven for international trade. It is a center for the banking industry, and its strategic location, sitting at China’s doorstep, has not gone unnoticed.


ut Hong Kong is also a city of contrasts. On the one hand, you can still stroll the back alleys for traditional Chinese herbs and oddities like dried gecko or bits of deer tail to brew soups that will supposedly cure everything from respiratory issues to arthritis; on the other hand, it has 62 Michelin-starred restaurants (the same as New York) and enough designer boutiques to make Paris or London seem positively down-market. For lovers of a good hotel and legendary Asian hospitality, Hong Kong will not disappoint. Every major player is here — properties like The Peninsula, Mandarin Oriental, Four Seasons, Ritz Carlton and many more — each offering an urban sanctuary and trying to one-up the competition with the size of its spa, the fame of its chefs or the drama of its views.


We arrived late in the evening, as one often does coming from the United States. I highly recommend the Elite Services arrival experience. You are met planeside as you exit the aircraft and whisked down the endless corridors in a buggy. The rep stays with you, assists with bags and turns you over to your driver in the arrivals hall. We met Angela, our A&K guide for the next few days, and succumbed to the cocoon-like comforts of the Peninsula’s famous Rolls Royce transfer service. They maintain a fleet of 14 specially built “rollers” (with extra-large trunks to accommodate luggage), all in British racing green exteriors and butterscotch colored kid-glove interiors, rumored to cost more than $1 million each due to the 200 percent-plus import taxes. I kicked off my shoes, snuggled my road-weary

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feet into the plush carpet and debriefed with Angela about the days to come during the 40-minute drive. The Peninsula is located on the Kowloon side, offering the quintessential sweeping views overlooking Hong Kong Island. The lobby has a colonial feel, with sumptuous urns of flowers that were nothing short of spectacular and coincidently contained all of my favorites: pale pink hydrangeas, roses, lilies and cascading phalaenopsis orchids. We were shown to room 1909, a grand deluxe harbor view room with floorto-ceiling windows in the tower part of the hotel. It is in one of the most sought after room categories here (just 42 of them in the whole hotel); the check-in was completed in the room.  To say that the room is “high-tech” would be an understatement. Everything is

to be fitted for some suits for her summer banking industry internship. Hong Kong has long been famous for its skilled tailors, excellent value, and, if needed, speedy turn around. In search of all three qualities, we arrived at the highly recommended “Pete’s Tailoring,” which occupied an unassuming third floor showroom around the corner from our hotel. Fabrics were selected, measurements taken and an appointment made for a fitting in two days’ time, all for a fraction of what it would cost to buy something similar on a ready-to-wear basis at Nordstrom’s back home. 

at’s New? By Mollie Fitzgerald

managed from an iPad (there are three in the room!): the lights, the temperature, the curtains, the fan, in-room dining, calling your valet, etc. Push a button on the desk and voila, a multi-current power strip pops up; on the dressing table, presto, push another button, and a lighted makeup mirror emerges. It was one of the most intuitively and thoughtfully designed rooms I’ve ever occupied — I’m positive a woman was involved.

We then went to Hong Kong Island by way of one of the three highly efficient underground tunnel systems that go under the harbor. We began at the Man Mo Temple, a Taoist structure popular with worshippers and tourists alike. “Man” is the god of civil servants and literature and “Mo” is the god of martial arts and war. The air was thick with smoke from red candles (for luck) and incense sticks. Overhead were wicker contraptions that looked like bird cages to “catch” the wishes of the pilgrims. We wandered through the Chinese herbal market with its delicacies and natural remedies. Dried oysters, dried scallops

and sea-cucumbers were among the treasures from the sea. Of course the highly coveted “birds nests” (which I learned all about when I was in Borneo — saliva being the operative ingredient) were fetching a handsome price. Deer “horns” are crushed into a powder and supposedly have the same effects as Viagra! Running between the raindrops, we ascended Victoria Peak, which rises 1,800 feet above the city. It is reached by a century-old tram, originally built as a means of transport for the aristocrats who lived atop the hill to get to their offices below. Today, it is mainly used by tourists to take in the view, but there are also a number of hiking trails and restaurants that are popular with locals. To my surprise, there is an outpost of Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum up there, too. We lunched with my dear friend, Patrick Macleod, managing director of Abercrombie & Kent Hong Kong. He joined us at Café Gray, a trendy restaurant in the uber-contemporary 117-room hotel called Upper House. The design hotel offers studio-style rooms in three sizes: 753 square feet, 861 square feet Continued •••

There is an espresso coffee machine, cables for streaming from your laptop to the TV, and my favorite feature, a drawer that contained a dozen different types of phone chargers, all neat and tidy and connected to a hidden power source. So the iPhone and Blackberry were plugged in; our laptops, cameras and iPads were happily charging on the desk; and we placed our shoes in the “valet box” for polishing. Our first night’s sleep came easily. Dark thunderclouds loomed overhead, and the neon night-time lights were subdued in the morning light. The plan was to meet with a tailor for my daughter

Deluxe Harbour Bridge View Room at the Ritz-Carlton in Hong Kong

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Ferry is still operating around the clock, but most people drive or take the subway. The Intercontinental, formerly the Regent, is a stone’s throw away from the Peninsula and arguably commands the best views as it is literally above the water. The Peninsula, though, sits back from the water’s edge, and the lower floor rooms in the main building overlook the Hong Kong Museum of Art, which includes an eggshaped planetarium and a new wing that looks like a giant ski jump or an oversized skateboard park. Abby and Mollie with A&K Hong Kong’s Gerald Hatherly and Patrick MacLeod

you’d really have to know about to find. There’s no showy storefront; it’s tucked away in an office building. Of all the jewels in the world, pearls are my weakness, and I wanted to feast my eyes on the South Sea Pearls for which Hong Kong is so famous. We tried on lots of them, including some impressively large ones that would have been worthy of Wilma Flintstone and Barbara Bush. “Delicacies” at the market.

and 1,938 square feet. Hard wood floors, extensive use of natural light and neutral colors are the signature style, and most uniquely, every room and bathroom is on a corner that brings in tons of light. I also loved the wine fridge in every room. The building’s design was very Frank Lloyd-Wright-ish in terms of the built-in furniture. It could also have been something that Aman-founder Adrian Zeccha dreamed up. While it lacks a spa, it is a very appealing option, and I am sure it would be a comfortable abode. Upper House is owned by the Swire Group, who also own the sister property Opposite House in Beijing; hotels in the United Kingdom; the airline Cathay Pacific; and a ton of other business interests. Stay tuned, they are opening a new hotel called Temple House in Chengdu. Saving the best for last, the afternoon concluded with a visit to Rio Pearls, which


Over the worst of the jet lag, I summoned all my stamina for a day of site inspections of the top Hong Kong hotels we use regularly — so important for advising clients. In some cities, (Copenhagen, St. Petersburg, Rio de Janeiro, Cairo) it is easy to pick the “right hotel” as there are usually only one or two obvious choices. But in a city like Hong Kong, there is a vast array of options at the five-star level — all excellent but with slightly different personalities. It is my job to match the personality of my client with that of the hotel. A big decision in Hong Kong is location. Specifically, which side of the harbor you want to be on. Generally, a leisure client prefers to be on the Kowloon side with its premium views and access to shopping, while a client visiting Hong Kong for business generally prefers to stay on the Hong Kong Island side; however, with the ever increasing cost of real estate, some firms are moving to the Kowloon side. I felt indifferent because of the ease with which you can move from side to side. The Star

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The “Intercon,” as it is called locally, has 503 rooms, 69 percent of which have harbor views, and it has a killer lobby with floor-to-ceiling glass and full sweeping views of the harbor, as does its Club lounge, which is available to guest who book through Frontiers. I especially liked room 318, which is an “Executive Suite,” but I would classify it more as a large junior suite because it is one big open space (750 square feet), with 14-foot ceilings, and fab views from the floor to ceiling windows. Three of the four in-house restaurants are Michelin-starred and the chefs include Nobu and Alain Ducasse. A dizzying 50-second elevator ride from the entry level ninth floor takes you to the lobby of the Ritz Carlton on the 103rd floor of the International Commerce Center (ICC), which happens to be the fourth tallest building in the world, and thus it’s no surprise that the Ritz Carlton is the highest hotel in the world. Located on the far end of the Kowloon side, this purpose-built building has some attractive features: there is a train station within the building with a direct rail link to the new airport; a mega-mall attached with all of the top international brands and surprisingly many foreign banks like Deutche Bank, UBS, Credit Suisse and Royal Bank of Scotland have their Hong Kong presence here. The hotel has 312 rooms with the entry level room starting at a generous 540 square feet. The Ritz Carlton does offer that rare bird, a room with two double beds, which

Grand Deluxe Harbour View Room at The Peninsula in Hong Kong

is so popular with families. I love that its nightclub is called “Ozone” and its Chinese restaurant has two Michelin stars. Be careful though, as I found the room categories misleading — “harbor view” does not necessarily refer to the classic harbor view. The category you want to request, (assuming the view is important and not too scary to contemplate) is the “harbor island” designation. Although a bit confusing, Mandarin Oriental has two hotels here, both on Hong Kong Island. There is the original 500-plus room Mandarin Oriental and the 110-room boutique property called the Landmark Mandarin Oriental. I visited the smaller one first, and really liked the feel of it. Its only drawback is that it really doesn’t have any kind of view, but if that is not important, this is an attractive option. It has a 25,000-square-foot spa, unusual for a hotel of this size and a full-on pilates studio with instruction available. It also has one of the largest indoor pools in the city and a small organic café adjacent for “spa cuisine.” Its French restaurant, Amber, has two Michelin stars. My favorite room was 1303 (which they call L-600 at 600 square feet), which has an unusual but neat layout with the bathroom occupying the corner, so there’s tons of light. All rooms have a cool surround sound TV / stereo system. The 319-room Four Seasons has generous-sized bathrooms even in the entry level category. I liked room 921,

which was a Four Seasons Executive Suite, 1808 square feet with a powder room and unobstructed harbor views from the curved living room windows and. The lilac colored, silk-covered walls were a welcome relief from the sea of beige rooms I’d seen elsewhere. They have two restaurants with three Michelin stars (are you starting to comprehend how heady the competition is here?), and in my book they tie with the Intercon for the best lobby. As a connoisseur of hotels, I quite enjoyed the day. We took a pleasant 45-minute sunset cruise (an Aqualuna) in the harbor

on a traditional sailing ship from the region, called a “junk,” which departed across the street from the “Pen.” Dinner tonight was a special treat hosted by Patrick at the China Club, which is situated in the former headquarters of the Bank of China. It is the members-only brainchild of entrepreneur David Tang (practically Hong Kong royalty and founder of the successful retail chain Shanghai Tang), and showcases some of his spectacular art collection. It has a real old-world feeling to it — I felt like I was in a 1920s Shanghai speakeasy. Frontiers can arrange for you to experience this as a guest. n

Man Mo Temple

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Balcony Suite

Crystal on the Med


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By Cindy Smith

Sailing the Grand Canal past St Mark’s Square

Acropolis in Athens as seen from the GB Roof Garden at the Hotel Grande Bretagne

Miso Black Cod at the Silk Road Restaurant


pon arrival, a car and driver were waiting patiently to whisk us off to tour some of my favorite Istanbul hotels. Traffic can be horrendous in the Bosphorus area, so your hotel choice should be based on location for what you want to see and accomplish. This time we stayed in the Four Seasons Sultanahmet, housed in a century-old Turkish prison. Located in the old part of the city, it is just a five-minute walk to explore the antiquities and major iconic sites. Later we boarded the Crystal Serenity (one of two ships in the Crystal fleet), our home for the next 12 nights. Our Deluxe Stateroom with Veranda (#10094) at 269 square feet was compact and quite comfortable, although I would recommend the Penthouse or Penthouse Suite (403 to 538 square feet) for a more spacious living area, vanity, separate tub and shower and butler service. The ship is 820 feet long and takes 1,070 guests; we never felt crowded. After settling in, I knew it would be an unforgettable adventure.  The onboard dining choices were many and varied. On our first night, we were able to secure a reservation at Silk Road, a Nobu restaurant, where the Asian specialties were fantastic, the service superb, and the gastro experience ranked in our top three restaurants of all time. We were thrilled to dine there for four nights. I’m fairly sure we tried everything on the menu, and nothing disappointed. My favorite dish was the black cod with miso — buttery, succulent fish with sweet miso — perfection. A close second was the Nobu bento box with miso soup. Both are Nobu’s signature dishes and can be found in any of his 22 restaurants. On Crystal, the specialty restaurants (Silk Road, the Sushi Bar and Prego) are included in the package. The majority of travelers select their cruise based on the itinerary and ports of call, but sometimes the ship itself is the chief attraction. It certainly was for us. We wandered through the Mediterranean and Aegean Seas visiting interesting and historical sites that brought their own flavor to this idyllic cruise experience. After our onshore gallivanting, we settled back into our beautiful ship where the attentive staff catered to our needs and made us feel absolutely at home. 

Nobu and Chef with offerings from Silk Road

There was a wonderful variety of entertainment options onboard, though one show was particularly memorable. We signed up early and were fortunate to secure two tickets to the “Magic At Sea” performance. The intimacy of the 40-minute show (ten guests total), just three feet from the magician’s hands, was astounding. Each illusion built on the last, and each was more amazing than the last. The grand finale left us all speechless. The magician and the cruise director (a skilled magician himself) put on an abbreviated nighttime version in the main lounge. We truly enjoyed our cruise on Crystal, and I would be happy to discuss our experience to see if it may be a perfect fit for you. n

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Egypt on the Rise


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he allure of Egypt has captured our imagination for centuries and although it’s been “off the radar” for the last few years, we are convinced that this fascinating country is reemerging as a safe, reliable travel destination. We’ve kept a close eye on the political events, and we’ve been in touch with well-connected people on the ground there. Furthermore, we’ve talked with suppliers and intrepid travelers who have ventured to Egypt during these turbulent times — they unanimously report a spirit of optimism and stability. Joyce Larkin, a senior member of our team and veteran Egypt traveler, will visit there this September. We’ll be following her trip with great interest and trust that you will, too. Be sure to look for her updates on our blog this fall. Recent reports confirm that it’s far less crowded and offers some of the best travel values available in the world today. n


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or 50 years Lindblad Expeditions has pioneered extraordinary travel experiences around the globe. National Geographic has been exploring the planet for over 125 years. Together as alliance partners since 2004, Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic can now explore virtually anywhere—with expeditions touching all 7 continents and the world’s oceans, and a fleet of 10 ships, equipped with onboard tools for exploration, teams of expert naturalists, plus exclusive undersea and photography programs. Today’s curious, intelligent travelers can experience extraordinary encounters with beauty and wildness in the world’s most remarkable geographies with Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic. S. AMERICA | EUROPE & MEDITERRANEAN | N. AMERICA | S.E. ASIA & PACIFIC | AFRICA & INDIAN OCEAN | POLAR REGIONS


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Heli Skiing in Alberta

By Hank Ingram


remember the day I fell in love with snow skiing. It was in December 1978 when my three sisters and I piled into our family Oldsmobile for a Christmas ski trip. I was 12. As soon as we stepped into the local ski shop to get outfitted with brand new snow skis, boots and clothes, my three sisters wandered around looking at headbands and sweaters with mild disinterest and laughed about the “unflattering” cut of ski attire. They giggled and proclaimed that skiing in their Levi’s would suit them just fine. My mindset was entirely different. I crossed the threshold, intoxicated by the smell of hot ski wax and the sounds of files gliding over fresh steel edges. Trying on the gear — Head skis, Salomon boots, Marker bindings and North Face jackets — ignited my desire to know more. At that moment, I knew my addiction to skiing would carry on for the rest of my life and would shape my future.

“Here’s to more fresh powder tomorrow”

CMH’s Bobbie Burns Lodge

The following years and my skiing career advanced with the speed of a giant slalom. We took numerous trips to destination ski resorts, including Seven Springs, Stowe and Jackson Hole. My passion grew. In 1984, my father asked me over dinner if I was interested in attending a “ski-in / ski-out” boarding school in Switzerland to learn French and to Continued •••

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Adamants Lodge offers “small group” heli-skiing to maximize vertical

A Bell 407 traverses ancient mountain glacial ice

further hone my skills. He never received a verbal answer because I dropped my fork and ran upstairs to pack. I discovered the punishment for getting tossed out of class was two or more hours of daily skiing. Oddly enough, I never learned French. In 1989, I moved to the base of Bald Mountain in fabled Sun Valley, Idaho, with a lofty goal of spending 100 days a year on the mountain. Missing nary a powder day and learning to carve as gracefully as a figure skater, I was certain I had reached my skiing pinnacle. Missed classes, angry bosses, empty bank accounts due to ski passes and top-of-the-line gear and toe-tapping parents aside, I was on top of the world. And then I heard the deep whumping of rotor blades, a feeling that makes my knees weak and my heart vibrate. I realized everything up until then was merely preparation, just a means to an end, a taste. My true winter calling became clear. I was born to heli-ski, and so are you!

Frontiers would like to introduce you to Canadian Mountain Holidays Heli-Skiing. On April 14, 2014, at age 46, I packed for my first Canadian Mountain Holidays heli-ski trip to meet Joe Flannery, the president of the company. We hit it off over the phone, and I was invited as a Frontiers representative to join him and a handful of friends at the Adamants Lodge in the Selkirk sub-range of the Columbia Mountains — one of 11 destinations this operator offers. Canadian Mountain Holidays, or CMH for short, is the world’s leading heli-skiing operator and has been offering travelers some of the best skiing and snowboarding worldwide for nearly 50 years. The company was founded in 1965 by the late Hans Gmoser, an Austrian immigrant with a love of the mountains and a dream to bring heli-skiing to a wider audience. Known for its customer service, attention to detail and top experts in the field, CMH was a natural companion for Frontiers. We scour the world for operations that meet the stringent criteria that


our travelers have come to expect. CMH hit the mark. Now, let’s define a few terms and answer a few questions, shall we?

What is Heli-Skiing? By definition, heli-skiing is snow skiing facilitated by taking a helicopter to the top of remote mountains, landing in a pristine alpine setting and proceeding down untracked, nearly effervescent, Champagne powder. We all hear tales of skiers trying to plan a trip to a western resort around a “good time for powder.” While they cross their fingers and hope that Mother Nature cooperates, she rarely does. Just this year, I hit my first powder day in Snowbird, Utah, after a three-year dry run. As I waited for the ski patrol to open the bowl, I looked along the ridge at my 400 new best friends waiting to jump in and thought, “Wow, I’ll get one fresh run if I’m lucky.” Guarantee your fresh turns and avoid the lift lines. Zip up to vast fields of untracked powder snow and experience the euphoria of laying fresh “S” turns across a downy smooth glade, perfecting your technique at each and every opportunity. Then, at day’s end, after massive amounts of uninterrupted vertical, return to an intimate lodge of like-minded folks with ear to ear grins and reminisce about an epic experience only a mountain and a helicopter can provide.

Who is a Heli-Skier? You. New generation heli-skiing is not only about the experienced powder skier, it is also about introducing newcomers to the sport. CMH’s Powder Skiing 101 departures, part of the Powder U Series, are custom-designed to educate guests about powder using top-of-the-line equipment. Multiple guides per group instruct, film and review your runs daily to hone your skills. Arrive a novice and leave a confident powder skier — that is CMH’s goal for you. Other departures of the “U” include Masters Weeks, gals-only and “steep shots and pillow drops” to name a few.

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Heli-skiing is also perfect for families with varying skill levels. On my recent adventure there was a European team of fathers and sons. The first generation was there for the high alpine and relaxed fresh tracks, the second for pillow drops, chutes and tight trees. All returned home each evening with permanent smiles, eagerly anticipating the next day. I know my teenage daughter will be on one of my next departures, likely her first foray west of the Mississippi. We both cannot wait.

What Heli-Skiing Is Not When I mentioned I was going heli-skiing, those in the know smiled, clapped me on the back, expressed their envy and promised to join on future adventures. Those not familiar with the sport immediately expressed concern and asked if I was “good enough” to jump from a helicopter into a steep mountain chute and brush the slope with my uphill shoulder due to the intensity of the angle. That is not heli-skiing, that is “extreme skiing,” and while certainly accessible to those willing and able, it is not the daily norm in the high alpine.

CMH Staff — Tenured and Environmentally Proven The CMH guide staff of just more than 100 members represents more than 1,400 combined years of mountain guiding experience. Do the math; no other group can match that. In addition, all CMH guides have completed the eight-year certification process through the International Federation of Mountain Guides and / or the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides. I have traveled the world with Frontiers for more than 15 years, and speaking from personal experience, I have never met a more professional and cohesive group of guides and staff as those who welcomed me at CMH.

While sitting in a hot tub with a view, Joe Flannery described his goal for the accommodations at CMH. “They are nice — really nice — but not so nice that folks lounge in their room and don’t come out to the social areas to make new friends,” he said, and that is a spot-on description. I have a passion for skiing and hope that it has permeated your subconscious through this article. I know that many of you share my excitement each year as the snow begins to fly and the peaks change from gray-green to a pristine white. n

Hank Ingram will be hosting a group, January 14-19, 2015 with CMH at its premier Bobbie Burns Lodge and we invite you to share a helicopter with him and cut some fresh tracks together!

Well-appointed rooms and fresh food options keeps skiers rested and on their toes

Floating down the slopes is not the only euphoric thrill to be had at CMH. Getting up there is definitely half the fun. Upon arrival CMH pilots offer each guest a helicopter safety clinic. During the class, skiers learn that the Bell 212 (offered at most lodges) and Bell 407 (offered at smaller venues) helicopters are some of the most rugged and time-tested machines in the world, developed by the Canadian military to be top performers in the Arctic. Each CMH pilot possesses at least 5,000 hours of flying time and specialized mountain flight training.

Comfortable Accommodations from Standard to Luxury With 11 venues, there is an option for everyone — from casual accommodations for a group of pals to opulent lodges for exclusive parties. That said, it is what is uniform at every venue that brings skiers back to CMH year in and year out: cheerful outgoing lodge staff that remember your name after the first evening, hearty and healthy meals prepared by 44 hand-picked chefs, fresh fruits and vegetables complementing each meal, wholesome and energizing mountain lunches and a guide staff that becomes like family in just a matter of days. CallCall Frontiers Frontiers 1-800-245-1950 1-800-245-1950 • +44 • +44 (0)845 (0)845 299 299 6212 6212 in inthe theUK UK• • •


At Home at the End of By Sarah Guest


y mother grew up in the Midwest, and she didn’t see mountains or the sea until her first year of college. She went to Seattle to visit a friend, and the moment she saw Mount Rainier, she decided to move there. She applied to a college in Seattle that very week. Even now, many years and moves later, a picture of Mt. Rainier hangs above her bed. Do you remember the wonder of seeing mountains for the first time? They have a grandeur that pulls at us. We are utterly dwarfed and yet perfectly at home. Even for a seasoned traveler, Chile’s mountains of fire and ice bring back that wonder. Standing before the peaks of Torres del Paine in Patagonia or along a crest of the Valley of the Moons of the Atacama Desert, you feel you are seeing mountains for the first time. When you go to Patagonia, you are literally traveling to the end of the Earth, just a cruise away from Antarctica. Frontiers’ own Elaine Wissolik recently journeyed there, to explora Patagonia in the heart of Torres del Paine National Park. The nearest airport is in Punta Arenas, a beautiful, windswept port town with rope railings along


the walkways — in case you need to hold on just to keep your feet. From Punta Arenas it is a five-hour drive to explora, the only lodge within the park itself aside from the backpacking hostels on the W-Trek. Having made such a worthy effort to reach this place, one feels a great sense of arrival, but in truth you have just begun. “It isn’t a destination, it’s a journey,” Elaine tells me. At explora, every aspect of your stay is crafted to immerse you in the setting. The lodge’s award-winning architecture is luxurious and minimalist, with a vista from every window. The cuisine is refreshing and protein-rich, portioned to energize you for your adventures and not to bog you down. From the moment you arrive, there are no more motors. The lodge’s beautiful herd of horses were bred and raised for these mountains on the estate of explora’s founder, Pedro Ibáñez. And the gauchos who take you riding are a part of Chile’s living history. Whether you want to explore on horseback or on foot, your adventure is tailored to you. Rather than having set times for group excursions, when you arrive the guides ask what you want to do. Like-minded guests may find themselves journeying together, but if you are the only one who wants to go for a gallop on a crisp morning, it will just be you and your guide.

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the World

Elaine Wissolik with husband Damien at explora Atacama

Elaine made the trek to the towers for which Torres del Paine is named. Three great fins of salmon-colored stone break from the ridge. You can only see them by hiking to them. She also hiked to the Grey Glacier, an ice field slowly breaking off into the lake. And from the wonder of the ice and snowy shouldered peaks, her adventure continued to a land of fiery red hills. Her next destination was explora Atacama, a far more accessible location at just an hour’s drive from the Calama airport, but no less otherworldly. The Atacama Desert is the driest non-polar desert in the world, and it is easy to see how the Valleys of the Moon come by their name. The landscape is so unique, it can seem alien. Even the skies seem closer here in the thin, clear air, and explora has the largest privately owned telescope in the country on site. It is out in the garden, surrounded by lounge chairs where you can lie on your back and stargaze. Most nights, you can see galaxies with the naked eye. When the moon is full, the stars are harder to see, but the lodge offers moonlight rides into the desert mountains. Within biking, hiking and horseback riding distance of the lodge is a volcano, an oasis, salt flats and dunes where wild vicunas, similar to llamas, roam. Elaine made the bicycle trek to the salt flats

with a bathing suit on underneath her biking clothes because the flats fill with water, a mirror to the sky, and you can go swimming in them if you dare the cold. The lodge provided warm terry-cloth robes for the bikers to step into after their swim, and a picnic snack of skewered fruit and brownies with juice, soft drinks and cold beer. This is typical of the service you can expect on all the excursions. Every trek at explora Patagonia and Atacama is worth making. By the time the sinking sun paints the mountains, the guests are ready to fall into their beds. The feeling is not one of exhaustion, but of peace. “Just to feel . . . totally content,” Elaine says, describing the experience. “The guides, the meals, the clean air, being in nature . . . everything.” She gestures, trying to sum up something unnamable. “The day I left, there were tears in my eyes. I wasn’t the only one.” John Muir wrote, “Tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out going to the mountains is going home; that wilderness is a necessity.” Here at Frontiers, we certainly agree. n

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View from Mount of Olives

Old Jaffa

Garden of Gethsemane

Three Fascinating Days in

Israel By Cindy Smith


here are many reasons why someone may choose a particular cruise. It could be loyalty to a cruise line (in my case, Silversea) or a certain ship, a window of opportunity for travel or the unique ports of call you will see along the way. All of these reasons seemed to coalesce, giving me the chance to spend three days in Israel. This is a country that has a special meaning for almost everyone; it is the source of spiritual roots and ethical values for much of the civilized world. With all of the turmoil in that corner of the world, I was hesitant to put myself in an uncomfortable or dangerous situation. How wrong I was! Whatever direction Israel turns, there are others who want to cause it harm. This is a country that wants peace, but they live every day wondering what will happen next. Armed guards are the norm, not the exception. And yet, I never once felt unsafe. Our first stop in Israel was the port of Haifa. Haifa is built on the slopes of Mt. Carmel and is the world center for the Baha’i faith. The most striking landmark of the port city is the Baha’i Shrine and Gardens. From Haifa, there is access to Acre (the Crusader’s Capitol), Nazareth and the Sea of Galilee. Jerusalem, our next port of call, was an hour drive from the port of Ashdod. Because of the distance between sites and the traffic


problems, Silversea offers a mid-voyage land adventure for two or three nights, starting in Haifa with overnights in Jerusalem. Jerusalem stands in the eyes of all those who revere it as the holy city — Christians, Jews and Muslims. I only had one day to explore and soon realized it would take at least two days in Jerusalem and another few days to explore the surrounding area. The most memorable moment of my day in Jerusalem was standing on the Mount of Olives getting an overview of the 4,000 years of history spread out below. After orienting ourselves, we visited the Garden of Gethsemane and the Church of All Nations before heading to the Old City. We walked to the Jaffe Gate, wandered through the Armenian and the Jewish Quarters to the Western Wall (the Wailing Wall), through a small section of the Muslim Quarter and on to the Christian Quarter. We walked part of the Via Dolorosa (Stations V through XII) and ended at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. We had lunch and a tour at the new Mamilla Hotel, a very modern hotel situated right near the Jaffa Gate of the Old City. After lunch, we walked over to see the renovated rooms at the King David Jerusalem Hotel, a legendary hotel built in the 1920’s. The view of the walls, minarets and domes of the Old City from here is incomparable and makes it our top choice in the city. This is the

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King David Hotel Terrace

hotel used by Silversea in the mid-voyage land adventure. We then drove through New Jerusalem past the Knesset to the Israel Museum. The museum houses the Herod the Great exhibit; the Shrine of the Book which is the home of the Dead Sea Scrolls; and the Second Temple, a model of Herod’s magnificent temple. My last day in Israel started with a walking tour of the ancient city of Jaffa. Jaffa has been transformed into an art and entertainment center and is home to the Ilana Goor Museum. Old Jaffa is known for its association with biblical stories of Solomon, Jonah and St. Peter. In 1909, Tel Aviv was founded as a garden suburb of Jaffa. Tel Aviv was the first “all-Jewish” city of modern times. We visited the historic Independence Hall where Ben-Gurion declared Israel an independent state on May 14, 1948, which ended the British Mandate. Our last stop was Caesarea Antiquities National Park. Caesarea Maritimi was built by Herod the Great in approximately 25 BC. Caesarea has been ruled by the Romans, the Byzantines and finally the Ottomans. With more time, I would have enjoyed exploring Nazareth and the Sea of Galilee, down the Jordan River to the Dead Sea, then to Masada and the remarkable remains of Herod’s winter palace. Excavations and partial restorations of palaces have made this one of Israel’s most historical sites.

A distant view of Tel Aviv from Jaffa

Israel is all about history and sightseeing. For the more active, we can arrange a variety of outdoor activities — hiking (dry canyon or water hikes), biking, horseback riding, rappelling, caving / spelunking and for the truly adventurous, a full day outdoor army training camp program. If Israel has been on your “bucket list,” let me help you plan the perfect tour of this fascinating country. n

Rooftop Restaurant at Mamilla Hotel

King David Hotel Presidential Suite

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The Golden Temple at Amritsar

An Invitation from Mollie...

The Caves at Ajanta


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Join Frontiers Co-Owner, Mollie Fitzgerald, for “Incredible India: Re-Visited” February 4-24, 2015


any of you know that India has become a passion for me, and even after many trips there, I am eager to return and look forward to sharing my enthusiasm with you.

India has long captured the imagination of American travelers, with its 4,000-year-old history; impressive forts; opulent palaces that bear testimony to the Mughal Empire; the juxtaposition of Hindu, Muslim and Buddhist faiths; centuries-old temples and tombs; exquisite crafts; fiery cuisine; and a dizzying array of languages, cultures and beliefs. It has been described as chaotic and frenetic but equally as a place of great spirituality, ingenuity, tranquility and sublime beauty. Here the past collides with the present, with cutting-edge advances in technology and medicine and trendy urban sophistication contrasted with arranged marriages, rickshaws and saris every color of the rainbow, all of which are alive and well today. Yoga, curries and Bollywood films have infiltrated our western culture, and while many of us dream of visiting India, few of us actually do, given how intimidating it may seem. I have crafted an itinerary to provide the quintessential tour of northern India, with many special touches and private entrée venues, tailored by what I have learned in my own travels and arranged with the help of personal friends and contacts. It is designed for both the first time traveler to India as well as for the veteran, with a few off-the-beaten-path places rarely visited by tourists. Starting in Mumbai, and ending in Delhi, highlights include: • the Golden Temple at Amritsar, a pilgrimage site for those of the Sikh faith • the World Sufi Festival in Jodhpur, certain to be a spectacle • Varanasi on the Ganges River • Agra • Jaipur • Udaipur Our itinerary will showcase some of India’s most famous hotels, including the Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai; Nadesar Palace, the former British Residency in Varanasi; Rambagh Palace, the former residence of the Maharaja of Jaipur; the chic new Raas in Jodhpur with an amazing view of the fort; and the stunning Oberoi “vilas” properties in Agra and Udaipur. Join me to explore the rich tapestry and exotic splendor that is India! n

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Making a Difference in


s part of our trip to Myanmar in November 2013, Frontiers sponsored the mid-day meal for Ka Laya Monastery, one of Yangon’s largest. Not only did we pay for the food, but our group served it to the 1500-plus residents. We arrived early so we could observe the monks going about their daily routines, and chatted with an 18-year-old novice who was anxious to practice his English. Ninety percent of Myanmar’s population follows Theravada Buddhism, which holds that everyone is an individual on his own. Theravada Buddhists adhere more to the Buddha’s original thinking than other sects. Another form of Buddhism, Mahayana, as practiced in Tibet, China, and Japan, professes that an individual’s life is linked to others, thus affecting the world. In Burma, it is expected that all males spend some part of their lives as a monk. It’s a rite of passage that could last a few days, several months or even years, depending upon the circumstances. The youngest in residence at Ka Laya was just 5 1/2 years old. A day in the monastery begins with a pre-dawn wake up call, alms and prayers, then a light breakfast followed by lessons. At 10:30 a.m. sharp, the monks lined up for the “buffet” we provided. This is the main meal every day, and food intake is strictly forbidden after noon — only water is permitted until the next day. If the meal is not sponsored, the monks wander into the neighborhood, barefoot, and solicit donations from local residents. So our visit was a big deal to them and not an everyday occurrence. They’d made a banner with “Frontiers” on it that warmed my heart.



Just like breakfast at our hotel, there were food stations, but probably due to the institutional scale of what we were doing, none of them appeared quite as appealing to my jaded palate. Station 1 was a cauldron of steamed rice the size of a chest freezer, followed by a beef and potato curry manned by Jimmy and Tia. Nancy was on the cauliflower station, Jan on the “mystery green soup,” and I was on the dried fish with chili flakes, an odiferous concoction that I presumed was a condiment of some sort. Ron and Helen dished up samosas that actually looked tasty. Starting with the youngest, the monks filed past us, stopping ever so briefly for us to dump a portion of our respective ingredients into their single pots. Most of them were solemn-faced, although we managed to crack smiles from a few of the novices. Nancy commented that it is “sort of like trick-or-treat!” They are not allowed to pick and choose what they want, nor can they skip a station. Projecting my taste buds onto theirs, I just assumed that the monks, especially the young ones, would HATE the dried fish, so at first I tried to dump my offering off to the side of their pots so they wouldn’t have to eat it or have it touch the rest of their food, but I later learned that for most of them, the dried fish is their favorite! It took more than an hour to serve everyone, and after the monks came a long line of nuns. The main thing differentiating them was the pink color of their robes, as both males and females shave their heads when they enter the monastery. It was a very satisfying visit.

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Editor’s note: There were so many highlights — our twilight visit to the Shwedagon with hardly anyone else there; volunteering at the monastery and serving 1,500 monks and nuns their sole meal of the day; motoring around the reedy channels of Inle Lake; our sunset cruise at U Bein Bridge; and arguably my favorite, the hot air balloon flight over Bagan’s stupas. We departed this “Golden Land,” as Marco Polo referred to it in the 13th century, and re-acquainted ourselves with our smart phones and email, happy to have had the glimpse into Myanmar before some of the inevitable changes take place as it catches up to the 21st century. My takeaways were the genuine warmth of the Burmese people we met; their pride in their homeland; the vast amount of natural resources with which Myanmar is blessed; and its distinct culture, so different to that of its neighbors, India and China.


As observed by the 19th-century colonial, Sir George Scott, “It is their natural kindness and consideration for the feelings of others which makes the Burmese such general favorites with all who come across them.” I could not agree more. Everyone I met was kind, inquisitive, smiling, and our guide, Soe, so impressed me with genuine passion for his country — its history, people and beliefs. As Burma opens its doors to the West, I hope very much that these qualities are not diluted or lost.

Random thoughts about Burma:

• An element of stamina is required for a trip to Burma. It is an active and at times adventurous place. Early starts to the day are often required to take advantage of cooler temperatures, and it’s when most of the flights operate. Besides, cool stuff happens early in the morning here!

By Mollie Fitzgerald

• Be prepared to take shoes (and socks) off a lot on a trip to Burma. This is done before entering any temple, monastery or sacred place. This means easy on / easy off shoes are preferable over lace ups. • Dress modestly. It is not appropriate to wear shorts (i.e. anything above the knee), sleeveless or strappy shirts. One of my favorite signs said “no spaghetti blouses!” • The currency is called kyat (pronounced “jot”) and exchanges at about 90 to $1. But dollars are widely accepted so long as they are crisp, clean, new bills — not as easy to obtain as you might think — many of my bills were rejected due to a tiny tear or small mark on them. Also, it is important to note that credit cards are (with very few exceptions) NOT ACCEPTED. • People are kind and very willing, but “T.I.B.” (“This is Burma,” words first coined by Rudyard Kipling in 1898) must be remembered with some patience. Small requests may take some time and though English is spoken, it may not be comprehended. • Electricity — the 3-prong English plug is used primarily. • It is hot and sultry. Bring clothes that are breathable and easily laundered en route. You will want to change several times a day. • Bring insect repellant. There are mosquitoes everywhere, especially around sunset.

• It is not a place suited for any type of disability, nor can serious food allergies be accommodated. • Cuisine — Although Burmese food has definitely been influenced by its neighbors (India, China and Thailand) and fresh ingredients seem abundant, it is somehow less memorable. One exception to this, however, is something I discovered on offer at breakfast that fast became a favorite: Burmese chicken coconut soup called “mohinga.” It is simmered with caramelized onions and plenty of turmeric and paprika. Poured over a bed of noodles, and garnished with hard-boiled egg, lime, chili peppers and cilantro, it’s just as soothing, but far more exciting, than your mom’s chicken noodle soup at home. • Be prepared to be “stupa-fied” — Buddhism is the bedrock of Burmese culture and permeates every aspect of daily life. • National dress — both men and women wear the “longyi,” a circular piece of fabric that is wrapped sarong style around the hips. Of course, the “tuck and twist” methodology is different male vs. female! For more information about Myanmar, check out Mollie Fitzgerald’s blog from her 2012 and 2013 visits there: www. Contact Mollie to plan a customized trip, and if you like, visit the monastery to make a difference! n

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Simply Splendid


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Zermatt – home of the Matterhorn

Switzerland By Jill Jergel


ou’re probably like my husband when someone mentions Switzerland—visions of the Matterhorn, a Toblerone chocolate bar, Shirley Temple as Heidi and a hunk of Gruyere cheese dance in your mind. In fact, happy cows nestled in Alpine meadows producing the main ingredient for copious amounts of cheese and chocolate is a very real and classic scene in this tiny landlocked country. As travel personality Rick Steves wrote for Smithsonian magazine: “We meet a massive cow loitering atop a fairytale ridge, I can’t help but wonder where he keeps his camera.” Yet according to their respective Tourist Offices in NYC, 4.5 million Americans visited Italy last year, 3.1 million Americans visited France last year, and only 690,000 Americans went to Switzerland. Why? Perhaps the combination of the globally notorious Swiss neutrality, avoidance of the Euro and famously secure banking system combine to create the impression that Switzerland is a stodgy, mundane country. Or, as we suspect, the traveling population simply overlooks Switzerland in lieu of the ever-popular, cocktailparty-conversation destinations of Provence or Tuscany. In reality, this is an incredibly scenic Alpine jewel of a “keystone” nation conveniently nestled in the belly-button of Europe, with a population only roughly the size of New York City. Boasting a wealth of medieval towns & villages, a vast network of panoramic rail & hiking routes and accommodation options ranging from ultra-deluxe to charmingly atmospheric, few countries in Europe pack as much wallop into a travel experience as Switzerland does, and these low-visitor statistics indicate that the sheer wealth of exceptional touring experiences available to the traveler in this impeccably clean and easy-tonavigate country simply go unnoticed. Continued •••

Jill enjoys a Swiss Pinot Gris

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The red carriages of the impressive Swiss Rail Network

So let’s evaluate just a few of them: Switzerland boasts an impressive 60,000 kilometer web of well-maintained and well-marked hiking trails, which encompass sensational views and are conveniently categorized by the season. (A walk that you would enjoy in the summer, for example, would probably not be possible in the winter or spring). Switzerland’s hiking trail network is considered one of most varied and, over all, best signposted in the world. All you really need is good hiking boots, appropriate clothing and a snack to set off on hikes that take 2-5 hours, all rated in varying degrees of difficulty — and there are several easy ones! Most walks begin with a panoramic boat, train or cable car ride to access the trail. A classic in the “easy” category begins with a train ride from Interlaken up to Lauterbrunnen, the gateway to one of the most spectacular valleys in Switzerland. If you are a dedicated walker, the very best way to savor God’s handiwork in Switzerland is to secure one of our wonderful private guides to hike with you, plan picnics and design an enhanced route based on your


own comfort level. Depending on your base, your walk can include waterfalls, centuries-old castles, medieval towns, suspension bridges, chalets, glaciers or vineyards, which brings us to one of the “32 most enjoyable hikes” identified by the Swiss Tourist Office – the Lavaux vineyards. Soaring above Lake Geneva, the neatly terraced Lavaux vineyards (protected by UNESCO since 2007) produce such limited quantity and delicious quality wine that the Swiss just keep it in the country for themselves (. . . and a little for their visitors too!). A pocket-sized region, slightly under 2000 acres, it stretches from Lausanne to Montreux. Lavaux received a positively glowing review in 2013 from the influential Robert Parker Wine Advocate! Frontiers highly recommends a full day here in one of the most beautiful wine-growing regions in the world, where many uber-charming medieval villages are scattered, each with their own selection of family-produced wines available to taste in a number of caveaux. What’s fun is to take the train from the lakeside to

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one of the towns up in the terraces – like Chexbres – and then walk down through this incredibly gorgeous landscape toward medieval St. Saphorin, probably the most appealing village you’ll find in Lavaux. (Of course, while marvelling at this picturesque promenade, you simply must stop at a few wine cellars or traditional pubs to sample the local libation!) A jumble of winegrowers’ houses from the 16th to 19th centuries, atmospheric St. Saphorin is also the location one of the most appealing and historic restaurants in the area –the centuries old Auberge de l’Onde. In fact, the abundance of medieval cities, towns and villages in Switzerland is another great reason for choosing it as your next European destination. Many of the old towns are well known classics – like inviting Lucerne with its medieval covered bridge and fortifications still standing. Less well known is picturesque St. Ursanne, located on the banks of the river Doubs, which is virtually unchanged since the 16th century, consisting of medieval burgher houses, an impressive collegiate church built dating from the

14th century and ruins of the former Bishops of Basel’s castle, which is perched on a nearby hill to provide a perfect Kodak-moment. Another jewel, located in the southern Italian “Ticino” region of the country, is Bellinzona, whose medieval fortifications and magnificent Old Town are highlights of this gateway to the Alps. Dating from the first century AD when the Romans built a castle here, Bellinzona leaps into ultramodern times as the location of the Gotthard Sud Visitor Center, part of the exciting new Alp Transit railway tunnel. This large-scale project, currently in progress, is essentially constructing a fast and efficient railway link through the Alps. Due to open in December 2016, at 35 miles long, it will be the world’s longest rail tunnel. Leave it to the Swiss – they really excel at trains. This brings us to the last, but definitely not least (and probably one of the biggest after skiing) “tourist draws” for the country, an opportunity to experience their ingenious, impressively reliable network of trains which will take travelers precisely where they want to go, normally via the most panoramic avenue possible. A wide range of Swiss rail passes can be used on the entire system, conveniently called the Swiss Travel System, and this incorpo-

rates passage on trains, boats and various mountain railways throughout the country. The Swiss have car-carrying trains, a Chocolate Train, the Glacier-Express train, plus half a dozen superstar-quality Panoramic trains that transport the traveler in divine comfort past glaciers, forests, streams & waterfalls to a different corner of the country. The beautiful Golden Pass Line encompasses two languages, three regions, six lakes and one rail track from Montreux on Lake Geneva to Lucerne on Lake Lucerne. The William Tell Express travels by historic paddlewheel steamer on Lake Lucerne to join a Gotthard Railway coach which carries you to beautiful Locarno on the Swiss side of Lake Maggiore. Some Swiss towns and villages are only accessible by train! Famous Zermatt, home of the Matterhorn is still a pedestrian-only classic, but Saas-Fe, Wengen and Murren are other great examples of Alpine car-free zones. There’s even an ultra-luxe hotel perched waaay above Zermatt that has its very own little train wiggling lucky guests through a for-

est from the Gornergrat cogwheel station to the breathtaking Hotel Riffelalp’s perch - in full view of the Matterhorn. Accommodations throughout Switzerland provide a wide range of options, from traditional chalet-style facilities to impressive lakeside palaces, from a centuries-old hotel on the main square in the Old Town to the exquisite-yet-therapeutic cocoon of one of the country’s Spa resorts like the Grand Hotel Quellenhof. Frontiers is poised to recommend a custom-designed itinerary for you in Switzerland. Plan to find your own “cow with a view” and put the Alps of Switzerland back on your Bucket List! n

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Barging the Canals of Europe

Common area onboard the ultra-luxe 8-passenger Prosperité

By Jill Jergel

Why Book With Frontiers?


014 marks our 31st year of selling European Canal barges, and we are the most qualified company representing deluxe barges in Europe. We have no ownership in or fee-based bias toward any barge, as some brokers do, who want you to book only “their” barges. Our recommendations are one hundred percent objective and based solely on your expressed interests and preferences. The Frontiers selection of quality barges represents a superb cross section of routes, levels of luxury and budgets.

Suite onboard Prosperité


Additionally, Frontiers is a full-service international travel company with a 45-year track record and offices on both sides of the Atlantic. Our staff has cruised on most all of the European Rivers and completed in-depth training to discern the differences between the wide variety of river cruise companies and boats available. We are poised to assist you with all aspects of your itinerary planning, including an experienced Airline Department (who are frequently able to offer special savings, particularly in Premium Economy and Business Class). We draw from a network of personal contacts for exceptional guides to accompany you on customized sightseeing arrangements, either pre- or postcruise. In Normandy your guide would be a military historian, a garden expert would take you around Holland’s famous gardens, and a theater scholar would take you backstage for an insider’s look at the London theater scene. n

• Call Frontiers 1-800-245-1950 • +44 (0)845 299 6212 in the UK •

Call Frontiers 1-800-245-1950 • +44 (0)845 299 6212 in the UK • •


What Floats Your Understanding the differences between Europe’s River Cruises and Canal Barge Cruises


AM! Did you hear that explosion? It was the global cruise industry rocket launching to the top of travel sales over the past five years. While World, Mediterranean and Caribbean cruises have always had a strong following, the cruise phenomenon of our time is the incredible popularity of the 110-190 passenger River Cruises which ply the historic freeways of the European continent. The Danube, the Rhine, the Rhone – past the soaring spires of Old World Capitals, with palaces, abbeys and castles perched on the hilltops, and smaller, river’s edge towns, some that have hardly changed in hundreds of years.

Bathroom on Uniworld’s new S.S. Catherine

It’s the ultimate European experience – unpacking just once and then gliding past some of mankind’s most splendid architectural achievements. The Melk Abbey in Austria, the medieval walled “former Vatican” town of Avignon or the string of enchanting vineyard villages of the Moselle River - one more delightful than the next and each with a castle looming from above. It’s no wonder that many of the motorcoach tour companies from the 70’s and 80’s now own and operate many river cruises. And at the other end of the yardstick, providing an equally authentic (and some would argue a more discerning experience), the canal barges have been hosting travelers for over 30 years on Europe’s most attractive inland waterways. Cruising no more than 75 miles in a six night cruise (vs. 500 miles on a typical seven night Rhine cruise),


• Call CallFrontiers Frontiers1-800-245-1950 1-800-245-1950• +44 • +44(0)845 (0)845299 299 6212 6212 in in thethe UKUK • •


By Jill Jergel

I like to compare a week on a canal barge to a week on a “Floating Villa” – or having your own gliding house party. Spend your days exploring a corner of French, Irish, Scottish, German, Dutch or Belgian countryside, learning the local history, tasting the regional treats and being enlightened to classic European culture. There are a variety of daily excursions that travelers of all ages can enjoy; a great trip for families of several generations traveling together.

Which Cruise is a Better Fit for You? Frontiers recommends and enjoys both the larger (110-190 passenger) river cruise holidays (with a few choice caveats) as well as our own selection of smaller (4-12 passenger) boutique canal barges. Let’s compare the experience. RIVER CRUISE • Travels on one of Europe’s large, wide waterways, and covers a greater distance - frequently cruising at night. • Visits often include historical urban centers, such as Vienna, Budapest, Lyon, Amsterdam or Strasbourg. • Experience is shared with a larger number of fellow passengers but not too large! • The English-speaking crew comes primarily from Eastern Europe. • Cabins on the newer boats boast sliding glass doors (French balconies) to get fresh air and some vessels even have conservatory-like enclosed balconies. • Our preferred river cruise lines are adopting an all-inclusive product so guests won’t be charged additionally for excursions, alcoholic beverages or even gratuities.

Continued •••

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• The same lines recognize a more active traveler, offering alternative activities while touring, like cycling, hiking or cooking classes featuring traditional recipes. • Contrary to days past, there are now some extremely luxe accommodation options available for those who prefer “life’s little luxuries.” Newer boats, larger cabins, enhanced dining -- ask us! CANAL BARGE • Cruises along narrow sleepy waterways where stops can easily be made for independent cycling and walking explorations, in addition to the daily excursions included each day. • Canal barges are generally designed with two through six cabins, accommodating as little as four or up to twelve guests. To exclusively charter one of these barges is ABSOLUTELY IDEAL for family holidays, a girlfriend getaway, or couples traveling together. This is a “Floating House Party” and specific interests and preferences, such as shopping in the market with the chef, cycling a bit more than others and antiquing every day, can usually be accommodated with ease. • The English-speaking crew originates primarily from the UK. • Within the Canal Barge Cruise are two options: Hotel Barges and Charter Barges. As the name indicates, on a Hotel Barge, individual cabins can be booked and you share the experience with other travelers who are normally like-minded travelers from Australia, NZ, or North America. Dining is usually at one large table, and most Hotel Barges can also be chartered by larger parties. n


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When Mike and Susie Fitzgerald opened the doors of Frontiers in July 1969, they had no idea their simple mission to provide sound advice to the traveling sportsman would morph into a thriving business that has become an international standard of excellence in the travel industry. It is with justifiable pride that in July 2014, we celebrate their 45-year achievement.


hile the heart and soul of the company remains dedicated to field sports, the fastest growing segment of the business is undoubtedly the awardwinning Elegant Journeys division. Off-the-beaten-path luxury has become our specialty, and our talents shine in customizing international travel arrangements for individuals, small groups and families. We travel the world and have developed an extensive global network of well-connected personal contacts and suppliers in order to execute impeccable tailor-made itineraries with insider

Susie & Mike departing on their European honeymoon

Frontiers Celebrates 45 Years! access and private entrée opportunities. Our staff is uniquely able to compare various options within the context of your preferences, objectives, budget and past experiences. We share your passion for travel. Many of you have traveled with us throughout this time span, and we’re now arranging travel for your children and grandchildren. Several of our staff have been with us since the very early days, and we enjoy a continuity of long-standing supplier relationships. The second generation of Fitzgeralds is firmly entrenched in the company and recognized as leaders within the Frontiers headquarters 2014 industry. With 45 years of experience, Frontiers has become synonymous with high-quality travel and value for the cost. Entrust your special holiday to us and discover why so many people travel “The Frontiers Way.” n Where it all began in 1969

Susie & Mike fishing in Alaska c.1990

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Introducing Two Stunning New Properties

By Kristene Fitzgerald

Ballyfin Demesne Ireland’s “New” Hotel has Established World-Class Credibility in less than Three Years! “The Hot List – One of the Best New Hotels!”... Condé Nast Traveler “Best of the Best”… Robb Report “Travel Hot 100”… Harper’s Bazaar “Reader’s Choice International Top 20 Hideaways”… The Hideaway Report “100 Best Hotels & Resorts”… International Traveler “Hot Locale”… Destination Weddings & Honeymoons


hile new to the hotel scene in Ireland, Ballyfin Estate is steeped in history, back to when it was built in the 1820’s. It has long been admired as a most lavish mansion in Ireland and more recently a much loved school. After many years of restoration, Ballyfin reopened its doors in May, 2011. It has quickly emerged to be one of the finest hotels in the country and has received incredible accolades. With only fifteen staterooms, Ballyfin is like staying in a private home — perfect


for those who wish to enjoy a few days of absolute peace while experiencing the noble tradition of Irish hospitality. The guest staterooms and two larger suites are all individually and sensitively decorated with important Irish art and antiques from around the world. One of our favorite rooms is the Lady Caroline Coote Room with its graceful rococo stucco work ceiling, blue wallpaper and empire period furnishings. The Guest Services and Culinary Teams have an

unwavering commitment to excellence! Ballyfin in County Laois is ideally located – almost equidistant from the Dublin and Shannon Airports in the heart of the Irish countryside. There are plenty of outdoor pursuits on the property including falconry, archery, fishing, tennis, hiking, cycling and croquet. Several of Ireland’s top tourist attractions are easily accessible, including great golf. Our top Irish trout fishing guide is only one hour away! n

Great Golf Courses just a Short Flight Away… For every golf holiday, the greatest issue is always how to play as many of these great courses as possible. To truly appreciate the breathtaking nature of the Irish coastline and scenery, and to maximize your itinerary, helicopter charters are the best and only option. In addition to the great parkland courses available from Ballyfin and Straffan House, Ireland’s great seaside links courses are all easily accessible via helicopter based on the convenient central location of both hotel properties. Golfing guests can play Waterville on the Southern Coast one day and jump up to Royal Portrush or Royal County Down in Northern Ireland the next day. Whether for golf, flight-seeing or airport transfers, our Irish tour operator works with the best helicopter companies and the most experienced pilots.

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Straffan House A Private Sanctuary of Luxury within the K Club


here is a place in Ireland that offers small exclusive groups the ultimate in privacy -- beyond five star luxuries. A place where nothing is too much trouble and where you can feel completely at home, yet still enjoy the very best of classic Irish hospitality complemented with a world-class golf resort. For private intact groups up to 20, this private retreat is one of the very best in Europe! The Kildare Hotel and Country Club, affectionately known as The K Club, has opened the palatial Straffan House for exclusive use. Built and owned by The K Club’s founder, Sir Michael Smurfit, the 34,000-sq-ft Straffan House was inspired by the original French Chateau-style structure of the same name built in 1832 that now houses the adjacent K Club Hotel.

Spread over three stories, Straffan House abounds in sumptuousness and lavish amenities. The property is just 30-40 minutes from the Dublin Airport and Dublin City Center. Straffan House is nestled on 550 acres on the grounds of The K Club Hotel offering guests a true town and country experience set on the banks of the River Liffey near the quaint village of Straffan. Straffan House offers guests the very best in opulent accommodation and boasts the following unique extras exclusive to private parties: • 10 deluxe bedrooms – all en suite

• Guestroom Technology featuring direct dial telephone; satellite TV; wireless Internet access; DVD/CD players; slippers; plush bathrobes; and luxurious bath and body products. • Private swimming pool, spa, gym and games room • River walks and cycles • Use of The K Spa • Two Arnold Palmer championship golf courses with unlimited use • Fishing on a private stretch of the River Liffey n

• Dedicated concierge service with Manager and Private Chef • Movie Room fashioned in cinema theatre style

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Blue Doors Lynda McDonough enjoying the charming town of Filkins


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By Lynda McDonough

The Blue Doors of the English Countryside: Exploring the Cotswolds “This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England” William Shakespeare


hakespeare must have been referring to the region of the British Isles known affectionately as The Cotswolds. The very name means “shelters and rolling hills.” The Cotswolds offer travelers an opportunity to enjoy welcoming country house hotels and picturesque towns where time seems to stand still.

is Buckland Manor in the town of Broadway. Walk their 10 acres of beautiful gardens and countryside, bike to the local village of Buckland, relax with a good novel in the drawing room or enjoy a nice afternoon tea — whatever you choose, the experience will be quintessentially English.

Less than two hours from London, this area offers a wide range of activities. Visit Blenheim Palace, the stately home of Sir Winston Churchill, with its sumptuous interiors, extensive parkland and impressive gardens. Stroll the small village streets and immerse yourself in the history, heritage and peculiarity of the “blue doors” you’ll find everywhere. Nearby are the “must see” ancient ruins of Stonehenge which are now a World Heritage Site. Marvel at how these giant stones could have been erected using primitive tools 5,000 years ago. What was the purpose? The mystery remains unsolved, but with the opening of the new Visitor’s Center, you can delve into some of the theories.

Another such welcoming house hotel is the Barnsley House, located in the charming town of Cirencester. One is immediately drawn to the fragrance of the freshly cut flowers throughout, as well as the beautiful wood beams and open fires. Barnsley House is an excellent point from which to explore the charming town of Bath, and the most famous of gardens, Prince Charles’ Highgrove Estate. Because of Frontiers’ relationships, we can arrange special access to these gardens as well as other private venues.

Quintessential Cotswold towns such as Stow-on-the-Wold or Upper Slaughter are best explored on foot, bicycle or horseback. Other interesting towns in the area include Birdlip, Broadway, Chipping Norton, Lower Slaughter, Temple Gaiting and Oddington. Most of these villages feature charming honeycolored limestone buildings (with blue doors), and adorable specialty stores with names like Rikki Tikki, Christmas Box and Table Manners.

Historic preservation committees dictate that only a few colors are allowed for exterior buildings in the Cotswold towns so as to unify the look and feel of the area, maintaining the heritage of these idyllic villages. But then there are all those bright blue doors — a bit of Cotswold flair. Frontiers’ has extensive knowledge of this area, and we would welcome the opportunity to create the perfect “English Countryside Experience” for you! n

There are a plethora of restaurants, pubs and the popular new hybrid “gastro-pubs.” One of my favorites was the intimate Five Alls Pub, set in the picturesque village of Filkins between Burford and Lechlade-on-Thames. I started with a grapefruit and cucumber cocktail and then had their lobster for a starter. Next I indulged in roast teriyaki carver duck breast with a warm mango cucumber salsa — delicious. A visit to the charming town of Burford, with its bakery shop called Huffkins, followed. Huffkins has a secret recipe fruitcake with Cointreau-soaked cranberries, vine fruits and glacé cherries that is to die for. Architectural charm reigns supreme here. The Regency Promenade at Chetlenham, the Church of St. James, the beautiful Jacobean gatehouse at Chipping Campden and the town hall at Woodstock are just a few of the buildings that are well worth a visit. There’s no shortage of photo-worthy country landscapes, many of which are graced with thatched cottages and attractive terraced homes that line the road at Burton-on-the-Hill. One of the best things about the Cotswolds is the diversity of luxury and value in the accommodations, many of which have been nicely renovated and have updated bathrooms. One such country house hotel with a history dating back to the 13th century

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Iceland: I

celand — an island located just south of the Arctic Circle, mid-way between New York and Moscow, measuring only 190 miles from north to south and 312 miles from east to west. It is a land that can be easily circumnavigated in a small window of time. Because of location and the relationship to Arctic and temperate seas, and between cold air masses of the Arctic and warm air masses of lower latitudes, the climate in Iceland can change quickly, and at times, you can experience four seasons in one day. At any given time, the day can turn from full sun and 75 degrees to 30 with snowflakes, perfect for any “layering enthusiasts,” but dreadful if you want to pack light! With two colleagues from the Frontiers UK Office in tow and one trusty car, we completed a self-drive of the country in 10 days this past July. Though much of our time was spent visiting fly fishing lodges we know well and investigating new options, I quickly learned that Iceland is a paradise not only for anglers, but for naturalists, geologists and photographers alike. It was just a short jump across the pond from New York JFK to Keflavik (the international airport), customs was a simple process, and the drive into Reykjavik took under an hour.  I kept thinking it would be an excellent option for a long weekend, though you could easily extend that to a two week escape.  Reykjavik, the capital city, is the perfect place to begin and end your journey. There are many fine restaurants with innovative and renowned chefs who make Iceland their home; dining is a real treat with superb options at Sushi Samba, Rub23, Tapas Bar and the Borg Restaurant, located in the Borg Hotel, led by Icelandic chef Volundur Volundarson who is known for his creativity and passion to create memorable seafood entrées. With a total Icelandic population of roughly 300,000, 250,000 of them live within the city limits of pedestrian-friendly Reykjavik. Our hotel was within walking distance of Nordic shops, fine dining, gastro pubs and quaint coffee shops. We saw the Hotel 101, Hotel Borg, Radisson Blu 1919, and Hotel Holt – all are fine options for a city stay.


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If You Don’t Like the Weather, Wait 10 Minutes by Cassandra Ufner

From Reykjavik, we explored one of Iceland’s most coveted destinations, the Golden Circle which includes Thingvellir rift, known for spectacular lava formations and one of the only places you can see tectonic plates drift apart. It is also the founding place of the oldest democratic parliament in the world. This area also features Strokkur, an erupting hot spring geyser that spouted water 90 feet in the air and Gullfoss, which is one of the world’s largest waterfalls. If you wish to extend your stay beyond the Golden Circle, options abound. Here are a few I would suggest: Jokulsarlon, a famous ice lagoon known for its appearance in the James Bond film, Die another Day. Svartifoss one of the most renowned waterfalls in Iceland. Hofn, a fishing town in the southeastern corner of the country, famous for fresh Icelandic lobster tails (and they were fabulous!). Breidalsa Lodge — situated on a fabled salmon river and highly suitable for leisure travelers, great location for R&R, hiking, horseback riding or to try your hand at fly fishing. I stayed in room 8 and had the best night’s rest of my 10-day trip! Island of Papey — in the east for bird watching, especially puffin and Arctic tern. Namafjall Hverir — a bubbling sulphur mud pot in the northeast. Godafoss — a symbolically important waterfall in Iceland that is connected with the introduction of Christianity in Iceland. Akureyri and Snaefellsnes Peninsula in the north to experience hot springs, nature watching and dynamic waterfalls. The Blue Lagoon is just outside Reykjavik, and is the perfect stopover on the way to the airport. Enjoy a dip in the natural geothermal spa surrounded by lava fields and sandy beaches. I was impressed throughout our travel there with the dramatic landscapes coupled with the quickly changing weather patterns. When the sun emerged again, the scenic vistas were spectacular and memorable against the vivid snow-capped glaciers and mountains. n

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Real Adventure in I

arrived in Bergen, Norway with mixed feelings. I’m from the sub-tropics and spent most of my life enjoying daily dips in the ocean, so Norway was not at the top of my list of places to travel. I came here primed for some adventure, but the first thing I noticed was the quiet beauty of this harbor town and the friendliness of the people. I set off to discover if this was a place of beauty or adventure. The Hanseatic Wharf was a colorful jumble of shops. The irregular levels of these wooden buildings showed this side of the harbor to be slowly sinking. The gateway to the fjords, Bergen has a rich cultural scene and plenty of child-friendly activities. City center is a pedestrian plaza. Nearly everything here can be easily accessed on foot. Ole Bull’s villa and Edvard Grieg’s home, Troldhaugen, are a short ride outside the city. Troldhaugen is on a lovely wooded property with a life-size statue of Grieg in the garden. Did you know that he was only about 5 feet tall? I took a cable car to the top of one of the mountains surrounding Bergen, and later, a funicular to the top of another. The scenic rides show off the beautifully wooded mountainsides, and we saw plenty of hikers along the way. The lights of the town twinkled around the harbor as I enjoyed a lovely dinner with friends. The next day, I boarded the train for the “Norway in a Nutshell” trip. Beautiful scenery passed by the windows, and soon I arrived in Myrdal, changed trains and boarded the scenic Flåm Railway


(Flåmsbana), one of the world’s steepest railway lines on normal gauge tracks. The train stopped at Kjosfossen Waterfall. The 93 meter fall provides hydro-electric power for the Flåm Railway. Disembarking at Berekvam Station, I enjoyed a bike ride on the famous Rallarvegen Road. The National Tourist Route, with many scenic overlooks is another option. The next activity was kayaking in the fjord at Flåm. The Njord guide told us about ships that sank here in the deep fjord, and gave a fascinating history lesson. Spectacular scenery surrounded us as we slipped through the clear, calm, cold water. I learned about glaciers at Breheimsenteret (Glacier Center), Jostedal National Park, situated right next to a glacier arm of the Jostedalsbreen Glacier. I was fitted with equipment – crampons, ice ax, harness – for my hike on the glacier. A line of climbers, tiny in the distance, made their way down the icy face as we began our ascent. The surface was slippery, as expected, and we stepped hard to push the spikes into the surface. Ice-axes became walking sticks to help steady us in our line of ducklings. I spent a delightfully relaxing night at the Walaker Hotel in Solvern. They welcome each guest like a family member! The Fjord Cruise from Kaupanger through the Sognefjord included the World Heritage Area Nærøyfjord, the narrowest fjord in the world. Majestic mountains heave skyward from the water as it falls dramatically down to the fjord. Beautiful views

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Kelly takes on class 4 rapids in the sparkling clear Voss waters.

the Fjords of Norway were everywhere --this is Norway! Dolphins and seals and even a whale surfaced alongside our boat. The annual Viking Festival is held each summer at Gudvangen Fjordtell, where you may stay in a sod-topped, Viking-themed room. Each summer, the Extreme Sports Championships are held at Voss which is known for extreme sports, and particularly for downhill kayaking. Participants come from around the world for Ekstremportveko, the biggest music and extreme sports festival of its kind. So, I simply had to try some whitewater kayaking. Voss Rafting Center offered a range of activities for most age and ability levels. I teamed up with a friend for a roller coaster ride between rapidsand-rocks, and deep pools of ever-so-clear water, where you could actually see the fish swimming below. Some folks just don’t like getting wet but still want a little adventure. At Voss Vind you can experience a “free fall.” I suited up, was given instructions and had three jumps. Some folks caught on quickly, others were just plain fun to watch, and everyone had a great time. The instructors then gave us a show with fun tricks – a great activity for almost anyone! I lunched at a small café next to a beautiful old church built in 1277, with seven-foot-thick walls, stained glass, and fascinating grave markers in the garden. Some of the region’s top restaurants, known for their creative use of local produce, are found in Stavanger, my next stop. Old

By Kelly Driscoll Olson

wooden houses and charming shopping streets form the heart of this cosmopolitan city; a great starting point for day trips and spectacular hikes. My first stop was at the charming little familyfriendly Norwegian Canning Museum. After a great hands-on tour, guests competed to see how fast each person could pack little rubber sardines into tins. The Norwegian Petroleum Museum also offers family-friendly, hands-on learning with great interactive exhibits and beautifully done displays. I took another ferry ride to another must-see location. Pulpit Rock (Preikestolen) formation that overlooks Lysefjord is one of the most visited and most photographed sites in Norway. Large rocks were strewn in a sort-of-a-path with sharp, granite edges poking upward. A couple of boardwalks cross grass-covered bogs. Part of the path was a waterfall and part tightly hugged the side of the cliff near the top. I made it to the summit – shrouded in clouds. It was stunning and well worth the climb. When the sun came through the clouds, I celebrated with a cup of hot blueberry soup and a majestic view of the fjord far below. I stood awestruck by the sheer beauty of the mountains, fjords, towns, forests, and rivers and realized that within this beauty, I have experienced exhilarating adventures, enjoyed wonderful food, mild weather, and the warm hospitality of the people who call this place home. Is Norway more about beauty or adventure? Or is it something else? I think I’ll have to go back and find out. n

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Clearview Owner, Tim Turvey with Kristene Fitzgerald

Delightful Wine & Delicious Three great New Zealand wineries that are “must” stops for lunch!


he wine production in New Zealand is tiny on the world stage, but stands out nonetheless. If you took all of the wineries in the country and put them together, they would only be the sixth largest in the United States. Having said this, though, New Zealand winemakers have a passion and desire to be an international contender and are ardently committed, just as those in Napa must have been many years ago. Most of the country’s more than 500 winemakers are boutique, small scale operations producing low volumes of niche varietals. New Zealand has 10 major wine-producing areas. The grape varieties, soil structure and mini-climates in these regions are varied, producing a broad spectrum of wines. Marlborough and Hawke’s Bay are New Zealand’s two premium wine-growing regions. A number of the wineries have quaint cafés and bistros that are only open for lunch and offer an ideal combination of elegant tastings and exquisite cuisine. Read on for our three great suggestions for our clients. Allan Scott Family Winemakers was one of the first wineries in Marlborough (South Island), and its Twelve Trees Restaurant features a seasonal menu with fresh, local cuisine prepared by Head Chef Matt Gibson. We enjoyed a wild boar terrine with pear chutney and a special Asian chicken salad matched with appropriate wines from the Prestige Collection — a great Wallops Chardonnay and a smooth Hounds Pinot Noir.


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Hans Herzog wine steward


Down Under by Mike Fitzgerald

Also in Marlborough, we visited Hans Herzog Winery, which has received a “Best of Award of Excellence” from Wine Spectator magazine. The restaurant here is best known for a wonderful degustation menu that is three or five courses. We chose from the Bistro Menu and were served a few small plates that were delicious — each matched with excellent wines. Our favorite was the poached ”Beacon Grove:” organic, free range egg with wilted spinach and portobello mushroom on Agria-Parmesan puree with a 2011 Chardonnay. The restaurant also has an amazing Mediterranean garden with views of the vineyard. Hawke’s Bay on the North Island is best known for its Chardonnay and Merlot grapes. Syrah is also coming along nicely. We loved Clearview Estate Winery, a small boutique winery and café owned and operated by Tim Turvey. When Tim purchased the property more than 30 years ago, his intention was a self-sustaining farm for his family. After assisting a local farmer with cultivating a few vines, he committed himself to making his lovely seaside property a winery, and today it is one of the most acclaimed in New Zealand. Tim, a self-proclaimed former hippie, worked hard building his brand. We had a private tour of the winery and tasted several of his wines right from the barrels just prior to bottling. His lovely cafe was a great place for lunch, and the wine continued to flow, with Tim matching wines for us with each course. We loved the corn-fed free range chicken risotto with roast pumpkin, grilled leeks and Manchego cheese matched with a Reserve Chardonnay 2012.

Tim and Mike at lunch

Let us make your reservation! n

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GALAPAGOS ECO-ADVENTURES an experience like no other A remote archipelago. Rarely visited islands. A luxurious new species of adventure cruising. Introducing Silversea Expeditions in the Galapagos. Explore destinations inaccessible to most and encounter wildlife found nowhere else on earth. Activities include guided nature hikes, Zodiac cruises, snorkelling and plenty of fantastic photo opportunities. Silversea’s certified Galapagos experts are eager to engage guests with the unique and abundant nature of this remarkable region.

RARE AND REFINED. ONBOARD AND ASHORE. • 7-day year-round voyages are beginning September 2013

• Complimentary Shore Excursions led by the Expedition Team

• Intimate, 100-guest expedition ship

• Fine dining in open-seating restaurants

• Onboard Expedition Team of certified naturalists trained by the Galapagos National Park Service 

• Complimentary wines and spirits served throughout the ship

• Onboard gratuities included • All ocean-view suites, 48% with private balconies • In-suite bar and refrigerator stocked to guest’s preference • Complimentary 24-hour room service

• Casual/informal attire — no formal nights

SOUTHEAST ASIA The great adventure lies east of Indonesia, home to some of the most intrepid destinations on the planet, to the rainforests of Borneo and isolated villages of Sulawesi and Western Papua.

MICRONESIA, MELANESIA, POLYNESIA The Pacific islands of Oceania are among the most idyllic on Earth. Isolated by a vast expanse of ocean, these exquisite archipelagos boast lush rainforests and rare, endemic wildlife.

NEW ZEALAND SUB-ANTARCTIC For nature lovers, these islands are recognised as one of the world’s greatest biodiversity hotspots, and we are privileged to be among the few allowed to land in these protected reserves.

AUSTRALIA – KIMBERLEY For adventure of a truly epic spirit, the Kimberley has few equals. Largely inaccessible and protected by its very remoteness, this region offers jaw-dropping landscapes etched with ancient human history.

EAST ASIA & RUSSIAN FAR EAST One of the planet’s least explored destinations — Kamchatka is a geothermal wonderland. The nutrient-rich waters of the Bering Sea support vast populations of birds, whales and other marine life.


• Call Frontiers 1-800-245-1950 • +44 (0)845 299 6212 in the UK •

NEW SHIP. NEW DESTINATIONS. • Intimate, 128-guest expedition ship • All ocean-view suites with butler service • Complimentary Shore Excursions led by the expert expedition team • Fine dining in open-seating restaurant • Onboard gratuities included • Complimentary champagne, wines and spirits served throughout the ship • Casual/informal attire — no formal nights • In-suite bar and refrigerator stocked to guest’s preference • Complimentary room service LEARN MORE AT SILVERSEA.COM/DISCOVERER

Casual Outdoor Dining Options onboard the Silver Spirit

Beth with Silversea’s Regional Sales Director, Maggie Moran-Holyn

Silversea Inspection


n late March, I had the opportunity to check out two Fort Lauderdale hotel properties and Silversea Cruises’ beautiful ship, Silver Spirit. Silversea Cruises is a longtime Frontiers favorite, so I was excited to jump onboard.

Situated between Fort Lauderdale and Miami on the pristine white sand beaches of Sunny Isles is Acqualina Resort & Spa. This enchanting Mediterranean-style villa has an atmosphere that embodies luxury. The five-star hotel features 97 luxury rooms, three oceanfront dining areas, including the acclaimed Il Mulino New York restaurant, and three oceanfront swimming pools. The hotel has recently named a new chef, Dewey Losasso. He has been a driving force on the South Florida culinary scene, having once served as Donatella Versace’s personal chef, where he created magnificent meals for the fashion icon’s famed parties. I enjoyed a delicious lunch of blackened sea bass and grilled eggplant with the hotel’s director of sales, Audrey Gonzalez. The Acqualina Resort & Spa is an excellent choice as a pre- or post-cruise hotel if you are sailing from the Fort Everglades Port. It would also make a wonderful stand-alone beach holiday. Virtuoso amenities include an upgrade on arrival (subject to availability), daily buffet breakfast for two, late check-out, a $100 food and beverage credit, complimentary spa access to the thermal heat areas and a $40 spa treatment credit. Another property worth considering for your trip to the Fort Lauderdale area is the Riverside Hotel. This hotel is located

By Beth Kurcina

in the heart of downtown Fort Lauderdale on the trendy Las Olas Boulevard, which features sub-tropical breezeways and courtyards alive with sidewalk cafes, lively nightclubs, chic boutiques, art galleries and world-class restaurants. In addition, hotel guests can enjoy the outdoor pool and sundeck with a view of the yachts cruising along the New River. The Riverside Hotel features three restaurants. I had a fabulous dinner at the Wild Sea Oyster Bar and Grille, where I savored lobster bisque and a signature dish of pan-seared grouper with heirloom tomatoes and mangoes. My next morning was spent at Silversea Cruises’ headquarters to observe their passenger-focused operations and to tour their classic fleet’s largest ship, the Silver Spirit. The interior style is inspired by the golden age of cruising, with art deco design elements lending a sophisticated 1930s ambience to this luxury liner. Built in 2009, Silver Spirit holds 540 guests, has a crew of 376 and offers eleven suite categories. It includes six dining venues, an expansive spa, resort-style pool, four whirlpools and the largest suites in the Silversea fleet. Maggie Moran-Holyn, Silversea’s Midwestern Area Sales Director, treated me to a delectable lunch of grilled red snapper and filet mignon with polenta in the ship’s La Terrazza restaurant. After our meal, we toured the luxurious suites, which all feature butler service. n

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A Runner’s View of


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Sydney By Judy Greene


am an early morning runner. Over the years, I have had the opportunity to travel extensively and, as an early riser, I’ve seen how some of the world’s most interesting cities greet the sunrise. Most recently, I laced up my running shoes and said “Good morning” to beautiful Sydney, Australia. I was there for a three-day event, but since meetings did not commence until 9am, I took advantage of the early hours to watch the city awaken. As my hotel was two blocks from Sydney Harbour, I chose to head there first. It had been a few years since my last visit and, as the sun rose on over the Circular Quay (the hub of Sydney Harbour), everything sparkled. It is hard to miss the beautiful Opera House, rising like a giant clam shell from the water and looking better than ever. It had been bathed since my last visit and it sparkled in the early morning hues. Sydneysiders (as the locals call themselves) were streaming off the ferries that brought them to town from the suburbs to begin the work day. As shop proprietors rolled up the blinds, the first stop for many was one of the colorful harbourside cafes, for that all important wake-up coffee. I ran past several of the ever-present buskers (the colorful street entertainers), out to stake claim to their space. A very young woman played a soulful tune on a clarinet. No one paid attention, but later that morning I dropped a contribution in her case while on the way to my meeting. Adjacent to the harbour is “The Rocks,” the area settled by the earliest arrivals to these foreign shores. A few remnants of their architecture remain, and every effort has been made to

preserve the historical look, but the focus here is on quaint restaurants and local shops selling souvenirs. This is a mustsee neighborhood for visitors seeking gifts and photos. The smell of coffee and just-baked goodies was too tantalizing, so I hustled away. I began each day in Sydney with an exhilarating run through the city, but how I spent the rest of my daylight hours was also special and informative. I was there at the invitation of the Luxperience, a Sydney-based travel organization that focuses on the “best of the best” accommodations and tours throughout Australia and New Zealand. My schedule was chock full — three days of appointments with hoteliers, lodge owners and tour operators. I came away with a portfolio that overflowed with information about exciting properties and tour venues throughout the South Pacific. Following the conclusion of Luxperience, I spent two nights at beautiful Southern Ocean Lodge on Kangaroo Island. I cannot wait to introduce this and other special properties (Saffire in Tasmania, Cape Lodge in Western Australia and the Kimberley Coastal Camp in northwestern Australia) to our Australia- bound clients. n

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A Visit to Kangaroo Island and Southern Ocean Lodge

By Judy Greene


here is no better place to become acquainted with some of Australia’s extraordinary wildlife than Kangaroo Island. Situated just south of Adelaide, a short flight will introduce one of Australia’s true gems. It is here that so many of the country’s amazing wildlife species reside. Over the course of my many visits to the island, I have been hosted by warm, friendly residents in various Bed and Breakfasts that dot the island. This trip offered the opportunity to stay on the island’s first ultra-luxury accommodation, Southern Ocean Lodge. Perched well back from the cliff’s edge on the island’s southwest coast, Southern Ocean Lodge showcases a breathtaking, panoramic view of the Southern Ocean. The location is within easy reach of the wildlife and attractions that bring visitors to this part of South Australia. The rooms are spacious and light, each presenting


ocean views. The main lodge has floor-toceiling windows to reveal the sweeping ocean scenery. This is the place to gather for pre-dinner drinks and conversation. Guests dine royally on a menu that makes it almost impossible to decide which delicious entree to enjoy on a given evening. Generally, two wildlife tours are offered by the lodge each day. While I was there, we observed kangaroos, koalas and fur seals. We explored the Remarkable Rocks, huge sandstone structures on a peninsula that juts out to the ocean. These rocks are an impressive sight, having been carved by sand, sea and wind over eons. My favorite moment of this trip happened on our last day. I got up early, put on my running shoes and headed to the beach road. When the road turned to sand and the air became salty, I knew

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the Southern Ocean was steps away. It was a beautiful morning with calm surf and not a soul in sight. As I ran along the beach I came to a tidal lagoon that was inhabited by a family of ducks. Mom and dad were anxiously keeping watch on their four kids, who were intent on some duckling mischief! It didn’t bother them for a minute that there was large intruder in their midst! What a treat to see. The perfect end to my special Kangaroo Island and Southern Ocean Lodge visit. n

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Introducing Heather Semple Tour Escort Extraordinaire, Specializing in Italy


or your next sojourn to Italy, whether with a group of couples, a 3-generation family or just a handful of like-minded friends, why not consider taking along your own private guide who is widely traveled, has a degree in art history, speaks fluent Italian and has a genuine love for Italy (and watch out, it’s contagious). Imagine the thread of continuity this could add to your trip, connecting the dots, comparing and contrasting sights you saw and food you tasted. As a world traveler, it’s no coincidence that Heather’s middle name is “Hollyday.” She has successfully escorted trips for such prestigious groups as Butterfield & Robinson, The Smithsonian Institute and various alumni organizations like Harvard, Yale, Williams and Penn. But what she likes best is the one-on-one interaction that can only transpire in a small group atmosphere, and she considers family travel to be her specialty. Heather’s day job is as a curator for a private art collection in Pittsburgh, and she also has a thriving fine art appraisal and consulting business on the side, but these afford her the flexibility to travel to Italy as often as possible. She knows this destination like the back of her hand, including many off-the-beaten-path kinds of places that enhance the whole experience. We’ve known her for over 20 years as a client and friend of Frontiers. In addition to the layers of enrichment she could add to your exploration of Italy, whether it’s your first or 21st trip there, she’s also exceptionally good company! Contact Frontiers for Heather’s availability and rates. n


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Baby mountain gorilla in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest


By Eileen Datt

UGANDA ISN’T JUST A SAFARI ADD-ON. It’s a country with welcoming people and amazing natural wonders, and it boasts seven of the 18 ecological zones of Africa. Apart from being home to half the world’s surviving mountain gorillas, Uganda is also blessed with fascinating bird species, waterfalls, hot springs, forests and national parks.


inston Churchill visited Uganda in 1908 and wrote, “For magnificence, for variety of form and color, for profusion of brilliant life — bird, insect, reptile, beast — for vast scale — Uganda is truly ‘the Pearl of Africa.’” If you think that the typical African countryside doesn’t have rolling emerald hills, snowcapped mountains, misty forests, deep, crystal clear lakes and lush tropical rain forests, then you haven’t been to Uganda. Even though it’s a small country, it offers all of this and more: white water rafting, gorilla trekking, game viewing and some of the best hiking in Africa.

I had the pleasure of visiting Uganda as part of my fifth trip to Africa and must confess that it is one of my favorite countries. After a two-hour Cessna 172 flight from Kampala to the Kihihi airstrip, I was greeted by my travel companions and dear friends David and Karen Sugden from Africa House Safaris and Andrew Kijooma from Taste Africa. We immediately headed to the Ishasha sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park to search for the famous tree-climbing lions. These male lions sport black manes, a feature only seen here. We didn’t have to drive too far before we came across a male lion who led us to a fantastic sighting

of several lions dangling from the tree branches. Breathtaking. Queen Elizabeth National Park occupies about 764 square miles extending from Lake George in the northeast to Lake Edward in the southwest, and includes the Kazinga Channel that connects the two lakes. The park is also famous for its volcanic features with volcanic cones and deep craters, many of which have crater lakes. The national park includes the Maramagambo Forest and borders Kigezi Game Reserve, Kyambura Game Reserve, Kibale National Park and the Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Continued •••

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Infamous tree climbing lions in Queen Elizabeth National Park

After spending an hour or so observing and taking pictures, we continued south to Bwindi, where we checked into Mahogany Springs Lodge, our home for the next two days. Mahogany Springs is set back on the pristine waters of the Munyaga River, facing the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. The lodge has eight double suites, each with large ensuite bathrooms and a private terrace offering panoramic views. The next morning had an early wakeup call in preparation for an unforgettable experience. We transferred to the park headquarters for a pre-trek briefing before heading into the forest to look for mountain gorillas. The time taken to search for these humble creatures is unpredictable; it can be anywhere from three hours to an entire day. The trek itself, climbing up and down through steep forest, can be tiring, but the thrill of coming face-to-face with these giant primates, and spending an hour with them as they go about their daily lives, more than makes up for the time and effort taken to find them. Approximately 810 mountain gorillas remain on earth, and about half of these are found in Bwindi, with the remaining


split between Rwanda and the Congo. While it is a tragedy that this species is so endangered, responsible tourism contributes to their protection (the global number was as low as 700 in 2006). It is an encouraging thought that the very act of going to visit these majestic animals is helping to address their plight.

of my children when they were young — I was amazed at how humanlike the gorillas really are.

Uganda has 10 gorilla groups or families with nine available for trekking and one dedicated to research. The recently added research group called Kyaguriro is located in Ruhija. As it turned out, we were the first tourists to be able to visit this group. Our trek only took an hour as we followed our ranger through incredibly dense vegetation.

The next day, we continued to the northern sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park, arriving at Kyambura Game Lodge in time to check in before lunch. That evening, we embarked on a twohour boat cruise on the Kazinga Channel that joins lakes Edward and George. There is a variety of wildlife here, including hippos, buffalo, elephants, Nile crocodiles, waterbuck and many bird species. After the cruise, we had the opportunity to take an evening game drive in the Kasenyi plains. Fabulous.

The forests here teems with life. In fact, it is so rich in biodiversity that it is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its ecological importance. With a colorful and diverse display of monkeys, birds, butterflies and reptiles, Bwindi is a wildlife lover’s paradise. The gorillas were, inevitably, the stars of this leg on our Ugandan adventure. To stand as close as we did to these incredibly powerful yet gentle creatures was a pleasure and privilege. As I watched two babies taunting each other, I had to chuckle, because it reminded me

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The hour we were allowed to observe seemed like only minutes, but it was probably the wildest experience of any on my trips to Africa.

The next morning we transferred to Kibale National Park and enjoyed the scenic views of the Ruwenzori Mountains, Africa’s longest mountain range, standing at 5,110 meters above sea level. After a briefing at the Kanyanchu Park Headquarters, we embarked on our guided chimpanzee trek. This area has both lowland and the last significant sustaining expanse of pre-

montane forest in Eastern Africa. The park forms a continuous forest with Queen Elizabeth National Park to create a 111mile wildlife corridor. It is an important eco-tourism and safari destination, popular for its population of habituated chimpanzees. In addition to the chimps, this lush tropical rainforest provides a habitat for a variety of other primates including the black colobus and the red-tailed mangabey. It’s also a dream location for bird lovers, with more than 300 species of birds, from barbets and warblers to parrots and sunbirds in a delightful array of sizes and colors. Uganda has three chimp communities: Kibale (which has the largest number of habituated chimps), Murchison Falls National Park and Kyambura Gorge in Queen Elizabeth Park. The trek took a few hours, but I was unable to get as close to the chimps as I did the gorillas, because they mostly stayed up high in the trees feeding. I enjoyed myself, though, as I followed several chimps on foot hoping to get that one great photo before they darted up a tree.

the Congo. Along the way, we stopped to have a picnic before continuing to Murchison Falls National Park, where we checked in at the Nile Safari Lodge.

2,049-square-mile Murchison Falls Conservation Area. The park is bisected by the Victoria Nile from east to west for a distance of about 71 miles.

The Nile Safari Lodge is nestled among the rich papyrus forest on the southern bank of the river. In the evening, we took a boat cruise on the Victoria Nile upstream all the way to the bottom of Murchison Falls. The launch there offers an opportunity to view wildlife that includes buffalo, hippos, large Nile crocodiles, elephants and a wonderful array of water birds. At the base of the falls, I opted to get off the boat for a 35-minute hike to the top. The calm Nile forces itself through a narrow 23-foot wide gorge to fall 150 feet in a thunderous roar of white water.

In Murchison, you’ll find four of the “big five” — buffalos, elephants, lions and leopards are most often seen in the northern part (above the Nile). Due to excessive hunting and poaching, rhinos became extinct in 1983 but were reintroduced into Uganda in 2005 by Rhino Fund Uganda. White rhinos are now being bred in the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, which is located 43 miles south of the park.

On the last day, I had the morning to grab one last game drive to catch up with the predators and early risers. Murchison Falls National Park is Uganda’s largest national park at approximately 1,480 square miles. Together with the adjacent Bugungu Wildlife Reserve and the Karuma Wildlife Reserve, the park is part of the

After sharing a fresh pineapple with my guide Augastine along the Nile, I was transferred to the Pakuba Airstrip for a one-hour Cessna 210 flight back to Kampala. Uganda is a captivating country with a great deal to offer, and sooner or later the mainstream masses will “discover” its delights. Make sure you get there before everyone else does. n

As we arrived at Kyaninga Lodge that evening, the sun was going down, and there were only a few minutes left to take in the spectacular, stunning view of Lake Kyaninga and the Mountains of the Moon from the lodge deck. It took six years and more than a thousand hand-carved logs to build Kyaninga Lodge. A raised wooden walkway leads to the eight comfortable guest cottages. Each cottage has an indoor sitting area and a private deck with views of the lake and mountains. This property ranks as one of my favorites. After a 5 a.m. wake up call the next day, we set off with our packed lunches and drove north via the Eastern Escarpments of the western arm of the Great East African Rift Valley. It was a long drive, but we enjoyed the rural area dotted with traditional African homesteads and the amazing views of Lake Albert and the Blue Mountains across the border in

Eileen with a ‘friendly’ hippo along the banks of the Nile River

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Sunset in Katavi National Park

Untamed Tanzania By Kathy Schulz

Luxury safari vehicle in Singita Grumeti Reserve


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The intimate 1920’s style Sabora Tented Camp

Abundant Birdlife – African Fish Eagle

One of 1,000 chimpanzees living in the Mahale Mountains

Greystoke Mahale on the shores of Lake Tanganyika

MOST PEOPLE CONSIDER AFRICA A ONE-TIME DESTINATION, but the truth is, once you get there, the beauty of the landscapes, the people, and the wildlife gets in your blood and calls you back time and again! So you think you’ve been to Tanzania . . . Have you ever viewed the drama of the Great Migration in the Grumeti Reserves? Trekked chimps in Mahale National Park? Rubbed shoulders with big game in Katavi National Park and Ruaha National Park? How about a cruise on the Rufiji River in the Selous Game Reserve photographing thousands of hippos and Nile crocodile? Tanzania has so much to offer outside of the typical safari circuit. I recently enjoyed a “by invitation only” Nomad Tanzania Educational Tour, designed to showcase the lesser known (and arguably best) areas of this remarkable country. The focus was on the uniqueness of Nomad Tanzania’s camps, some of the most iconic in East Africa, as well as the diversity of experiences throughout. We flew 2,400 statute miles traveling to a different game reserve or national park each day, and covered the major parks in the North, West and Southern Tanzania in a relatively short time period. The best months to visit Tanzania are June - February with March - May constituting the rainy season. With a mosaic of vast grasslands, lush rainforests, flowing river basins, majestic mountain ranges and swampy mangroves, Tanzania boasts some of the most splendid wilderness in the world. One of my favorite experiences was traveling to the Mahale Mountains, which rise just beyond the beaches of Lake Tanganyika, home to the world’s largest known population of chimpanzees, with 1,000 plus individuals inhabiting the national park. This unique location is inaccessible by road; the only way in is by boat or aircraft. From our beachside camp, Greystoke Mahale, we ventured up the forested slopes to observe and commune with chimp families as they groomed, wrestled and foraged across the leafy floor. The forest itself is special, with eight

other species of primates, shyer forest mammals, birds, butterflies, giant vines and waterfalls. Treks are in the early morning, and the length depends on where the chimps are located — sometimes close to the camp or high in the mountains. The actual visit with the chimps is limited to one magical hour, similar to gorilla trekking in Uganda, Rwanda or the Congo. Greystoke Mahale provides relaxed and comfortable bandas set in the shade of fig trees, where you can lounge in the afternoon, take a gentle forest hike, swim or snorkel in the gin clear waters, kayak along the lakeshore, or fish for one of 250 species of cichlid. Candlelit dinners and drinks in the setting sun left me with the feeling of being a castaway on a distant private island. A safari through Tanzania’s southern circuit will immerse you in stunning landscapes and a profusion of wildlife while leaving the throngs of other tourists to explore the more famous game parks up north. Roam the Selous Game Reserve, the largest game reserve in all of Africa and the second largest in the world. Try a walking safari accompanied by your personal armed ranger, and experience the wild up-close in Katavi National Park or Ruaha National Park. The few intrepid souls who visit these isolated parks are promised unforgettable insight of what Africa might have been like 100 years ago. Search for the big cats and migratory herds that populate their vast golden plains, dotted with Baobab trees and picturesque settings, unchanged by the passage of time. Accommodations range from authentic undercanvas tents to luxury lodges with all of the comforts of home. While this itinerary may be best suited for the return African traveler, call Frontiers Africa Department to create an ‘off the beaten path’ safari just for you – whether it’s your first or twenty first safari! n

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Four Seasons George V, Paris

Four Seasons Bosphorus

Four Seasons Budapest

Frontiers recently appointed by Four Seasons as a Preferred Partner


rontiers International Travel is proud to announce our recent appointment as a Four Seasons Preferred Partner, an exclusive, invitation-only network of high-end travel consultants from around the world. Because of our new enhanced relationship, as a Frontiers client, you will receive value-added benefits at all Four Seasons hotels and resorts worldwide, such as: • VIP treatment. • Daily full American breakfast for two people per bedroom, served through In-Room Dining or in the hotel restaurant (including buffets). • Extra value-added amenity, such as: Spa, golf, or food and beverage credit of $100. Upgrade of one category, based on availability at time of check-in (excluding signature suites and villas). • Complimentary high-speed Internet access • Priority wait-list clearance. Four Seasons has long been a favorite brand at Frontiers for our discriminating clientele. In a span of just 50 years, Four Seasons has grown from a single hotel in Toronto to a much admired global brand, now more than 92 properties in 38 countries (with several new projects in the pipeline)! Although each property is individually owned and reflects a “sense of place,” you can always be assured of authentic, elegant surroundings and personalized service, which are the cornerstones of the unrivaled depth of reliability, trust and connection Four Seasons has with their guests. Put our new Preferred Partner status to work for you -- give the Elegant Journeys team a call at Frontiers and find out some of our favorite Four Seasons hotels, and it will be our pleasure to assist with any upcoming reservations you may require. n

Four Seasons Buenos Aires

Four Seasons Hangzhou at West Lake

Four Seasons Florence

Four Seasons Golden Lion, St. Petersburg

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Premium Economy, Cathay Pacific

Premium By Joyce Larkin


An Affordable Upgrade to Space & Comfort Premium Economy, Air New Zealand


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Premium Economy, British Airways

NOTHING TAKES THE FUN OUT OF FLYING LIKE BEING STUCK IN ECONOMY CLASS, especially on a lengthy international flight. Seats seem to get narrower every day, legroom is virtually non-existent, and whatever tiny bit of personal space you may have quickly disappears the moment the passenger in front of you reclines their seat. But if your travel budget just won’t accommodate the ever-increasing cost of a business or first class ticket there is nothing to do but suffer in the back of the plane, correct?


ot anymore! A fourth class of service known as Premium Economy now offers a real alternative to the discomfort of standard coach seats without the high ticket prices of business or first class. And we’re referring to true premium economy, not the pseudo-premium classes offered by US carriers. These products have names that include words like “plus” and “comfort” but in reality are the same exact seats in the same exact cabin as standard economy but with a few extra inches of space between the seat rows and a few more degrees of already limited recline. Granted, the surcharges for these seats are less than the cost of a real premium economy class airfare, but you can be assured that there is nothing very “premium” about the experience! True premium economy amenities include wider seats with leg rests and generous recline, 6 – 8 inches of extra legroom, private cabins, priority check-in desks, additional baggage allowances, dedicated restrooms and frequent flyer mileage bonuses.

led some passengers to mistake the Spaceseat section for the business class cabin. “Outer Space” seats are staggered for privacy and easier aisle access and “Inner Space” seats are perfect for couples who prefer to face each other. The armrests in the center section can join together to create a dining table for two and then drop down to provide extra space to curl up and sleep. Seats slide forward within their own shell to offer recline without allowing the seat in front to infringe on the personal space of the passenger behind. And to add a touch of whimsy to an already novel seat design, Air New Zealand has eliminated the standard footrests on the Spaceseats in favor of a glittery purple beanbag ottoman nicknamed Otto! Upgraded meal service, audio/video on demand entertainment on a 10+ inch personal screen, and access to the premium check in counters complete the Spaceseat experience.

Here is the inside story on some of our favorite premium economy products:

BRITISH AIRWAYS With their recent incorporation of OpenSkies, British Airways now offers two distinct premium economy products. World Traveller Plus is featured on all mainline long-haul aircraft, and Prem Plus is available on all flights between the USA and Paris/Orly operated by OpenSkies. World Traveller Plus offers seating in a 2 – 4 – 2 configuration in a quiet private cabin.

AIR NEW ZEALAND The stylish Spaceseat* takes top honors for most innovative premium economy seat design. These pod-style seats are clad in white leather (to reflect the colors of the onboard mood lighting!) and arranged in a 2 – 2 – 2 configuration that has

*featured on Boeing 777-300 aircraft only as of press time

Continued •••

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Premium Economy, Virgin Atlantic

Traditional reclining seats provide an extra seven inches of legroom along with one extra inch of seat width and additional recline. Prem Plus offers an intimate cabin with only 28 seats in a 2 – 2 configuration. The generous seat width, extensive legroom and deep recline make Prem Plus more like “business lite” than premium economy, and in fact this seat product was previously marketed as Biz Seat when OpenSkies operated as an all business class carrier. Both World Traveller Plus and Prem Plus offer upgraded personal entertainment systems, in-seat power ports, enhanced food and beverage offerings and double the free baggage allowance of standard economy class.

VIRGIN ATLANTIC Virgin Atlantic offered the first upgraded economy seat product in the transatlantic market with the debut of Mid Class in 1992. Originally intended simply as special seating offered to flyers paying a full, unrestricted economy class airfare, Mid Class soon evolved into a distinct fourth class called Premium Economy that still exists to this day. In order to stay ahead of the competition, Virgin has recently updated their Premium Economy product and now offers industry-leading 21 inch wide ergonomically designed seats clad in purple leather featuring additional recline, adjustable footrests and headrests and laptop power ports. Welcome champagne upon boarding, state of the art on-demand entertainment systems, premium dining service, dedicated check in and priority boarding add the finishing touches to Virgin’s Premium Economy experience. AIR FRANCE Frontiers’ in-house France expert has always said that “the French are different,“ and Air France has proven her point with Premium Voyageur. While other carriers were outfitting their premium economy cabins with seats that were basically larger versions of standard economy seats, Air France instead became the first European carrier to debut fixed-shell seating for their fourth class. They started with a product already in


use by several Asian carriers but redesigned it for maximum comfort. An innovative seat cushion called a Flexback allows for an impressive 123 degrees of recline in Premium Voyageur and a column in the center of each pair of seats contains all of the electronics for the in-flight entertainment, freeing up leg space under the seat. Adjustable leg rests and headrests, extra-large tables for working or dining, laptop power ports, business class pillows, blankets and amenity kits and priority check in, boarding and baggage services round out the premium experience on Air France.

CATHAY PACIFIC With double-digit flight times the norm and business class airfares rarely dipping below the $5000.00 mark, premium economy offerings are popular and plentiful in the Asian airline market. Cathay Pacific recently overhauled their premium economy cabin and opted for the simplicity of comfort and space over high-tech seat design. The new seats are 19.5 inches wide with eight inches of recline and six inches of additional legroom. Bulkhead seats feature attached leg rests and video screens tucked away in the armrests and the remaining seats provide three-position foot rests and personal seat back video screens. All seats feature additional padding and lumbar supports, adjustable headrests, bi-fold dining tables and individual cocktail tables and in seat AC power outlets and USB charger ports. Upgraded meal and entertainment services, business class-sized pillows and blankets, personal amenity kits, a dedicated flight attendant and priority check in and boarding complete the service that Cathay’s CEO describes as “more premium than economy.” Premium economy is a trend that continues to grow within the airline industry. Air Canada and LOT Polish Airlines introduced new seat products this year, and Lufthansa is slated to be the next major international carrier to roll out a premium economy option in the winter of 2014. We’re keeping an eye on the South American, Middle Eastern and African carriers and hoping to see new premium offerings there in the near future. If your travel budget won’t quite cover business or first, and you just can’t bear the thought of standard economy, especially on long haul routes, our team of air travel specialists at Frontiers will help you find a true premium option that puts the fun back into your flying experience! n

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Frontiers Memorial:

William Michael Fitzgerald 1938-20138-2013


e lost a great man, our co-founder and chairman, Mike Fitzgerald, Sr., who died peacefully at age 74 on April 7th following a stroke two weeks earlier.

A dentist by training, Mike married his high school sweetheart, Susie, and they celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary just last year. Together they followed a dream – which some thought a folly – and founded Frontiers ,which has shaped the sporting travel industry we know today.  A new standard was set. Mike helped pioneer some of today’s finest sporting venues, and we take special pride in following in his footsteps and honoring his legacy.  He was an icon in the outdoors travel business, very highly regarded and well-liked by all that met him. Mike was both a gentleman and a gentle man. He was a consummate sportsman. Mike will be remembered best for his active mind, his gentle nature, his inimitable sense of humor and his passion for Duke Basketball, the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Frontiers Memorial:

Meredith McNaugher 1961-2013


eredith McNaugher. Just 52-years old, her career in travel spanned three decades, the past nine years as a key front line travel advisor on our Elegant Journeys team. She loved interacting with the pandas in Chengdu and equally appreciated Barcelona’s Gaudi architecture and Christmas markets along the Danube. Although she specialized in China, Spain and other parts of Western Europe, she could “talk travel” about almost anyplace with confidence. Meredith was a devoted mother to her daughter, Jess, and her three grandchildren were the apples of her eye. Meredith was generous to a fault, and she genuinely cared about others more than herself. What will we miss most? The smile on her face, the smile in her voice, and the smile we know she carried in her heart.

Call CallFrontiers Frontiers1-800-245-1950 1-800-245-1950• •+44 +44(0)845 (0)845299 2996212 6212ininthe theUK UK•• •


Award-Winning Service Your Team of International Travel Professionals Stands Ready to Assist

Amy Farley (News Editor) and Jay Meyer (Publisher) of Travel + Leisure Magazine with Mollie Fitzgerald

Wendy Perrin speaking at the 2014 Condé Nast Traveler magazine’s 14th annual Top Travel Specialist Summer in Charleston, SC.

In addition to our tailor-made itineraries, contact our experienced agents to book: • International large and small ship cruises (including the hugely popular European river cruises) • Safaris (we have a dedicated team of four Africa specialists) • Luxury Small Group Journeys (like A&K, Tauck, Backroads and many others with whom we have preferred relationships) • Private Jet trips • Beach Holidays • Villa Rentals • Yacht Charters Frontiers was honored once again to have two agents included in Condé Nast Traveler magazine’s 14th annual list of top travel specialists in their August 2013 issue. According to former Consumer News Director, Wendy Perrin, these “private travel designers represent the best combination of expertise, access and value.” All have been road-tested by Condé Nast Traveler readers. Two members of our team were recognized as part of this elite list: • Jill Jergel – for specialty in Barging • Mollie Fitzgerald - for specialty in Fly Fishing Similarly, we were equally delighted to be included in Travel + Leisure’s annual A-List: The 161 Top Travel Agents in their October 2013 issue. To quote their editors: “In the hands of an expert, a simple vacation can become a life-changing journey, a breathtaking adventure, an education unmatched in any classroom, a soul-restoring retreat.” Mollie Fitzgerald was recognized for her specialty in adventure travel.

United States Office

600 Warrendale Rd., Gibsonia, PA 15044 Toll-free 1-800-245-1950 Phone 724-935-1577 Fax 724-935-5388 Email Website

European Office

Kennet Cottage, Kempsford Gloucestershire, GL7 4EQ, England Tel +44 (0)845 299 6212 Fax +44 (0)1285 700 322 Email Website

Copyright © 2014. Frontiers International Travel. All rights reserved. Photo Credits: Abercrombie & Kent, Belmond, Palazzo Avino, Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong, The Fairmont Copley Plaza, The Peninsula New York, Loch Lomond Cameron House Hotel, St. Regis, Blancaneaux Lodge, Mandarin Oriental Tokyo, Four Seasons Resort & Spa, The Upper Hotel, Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong, The Peninsula Hong Kong, Crystal Cruises, Lindblad Expeditions, explora, King David Hotel, Mamilla Hotel, Switzerland Tourism Board, Uniworld, Tauck, Silversea, Kangaroo Island Lodge, Southern Ocean Lodge, Australia Tourism Board, Virgin Atlantic, Cathay Pacific, Air New Zealand, Frontiers Staff





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2014 Elegant Journeys Latitudes  
2014 Elegant Journeys Latitudes