The Mart for January 2019

On a trip to the Patagonia region of Chile and Argentina, Jan. 19-Feb. 2, 2016, my husband, Leo, and I visited Chile’s Torres del Paine National Park. The scenery is almost indescribable — lakes, mountains, fields with trees, tall grass, almost-desert conditions and waterfalls. Within the park, the Explora Lodge ( overlooks Lake Pehoe, through which the Paine River runs. The hotel offers small-group hiking and horseback riding programs catering to every expertise level. After lunch on our first day, Leo and I (then 81 and 71) decided to do the “easy” 4-kilometer hike. ‘After all,’ I said to myself, ‘I walk almost 2½ miles every day at home and do various aerobics classes and ride my bike!’ We picked up walking sticks out of the hotel’s bin and started up the boardwalk-type stairs behind the hotel. We hadn’t gone three minutes when Leo realized he could not continue. I waved good-bye to him as our group headed “into the woods” and up the “hill” for what would be a 2½-hour walk. I felt terrible that I was holding everyone up, but our guide, Jackie, couldn’t have been nicer. Up, up we went through the tall grasses, with incredible scenery all around. Jackie pointed out various birds as well as an armadillo. On another day, the 6-kilometer Nordenskjöld walk was much easier, though it was extremely windy, especially near the waterfall. That afternoon, I hiked around the back of the hotel to take a picture of the nearby falls, not realizing that if I had turned right after exiting the hotel, I wouldn’t have had to walk all around and go down and then up, up, up steps! — ANN CYR, Delray Beach, FL


EXPLORE ST. PETERSBURG, RUSSIA with a small, local, family-owned company — art, history and everyday life with an experienced guide with excellent recommendations from American clients. DANCING BEAR TOURS, Tipanov str. 34/3-26, 196233 St. Petersburg, Russia;, 518-619

AMAZON & ANDES EXPLORATIONS: Educational adventures of discovery since 1992!  Rainforest safaris, jungle lodges and treetop canopy walkway! Amazon riverboat cruises! Cuzco and Machu Picchu! EXPLORATIONS INC., 27655 Kent Rd., Bonita Springs, FL 34135; 800/446-9660, 1118-319

EXPERT-LED CULTURAL TOURS: Archaeological tours, food tours & family tours. Croatia, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Turkey & the UK. Specialising in escorted gulet cruises & charters. PETER SOMMER TRAVELS, 102 Monnow St., Monmouth NP253EQ, UK; 855/443-3027 (toll-free); 318-419

ST. PETERSBURG WITH TZAR TRAVEL — private & small group tours, shore excursions by Natalya German-Tsarkova. Explore St. Petersburg with my personally-vetted expert guides. TZAR TRAVEL, Engels pr. 43-12, St. Petersburg 194017, Russia;, 1-319

PANTANAL: Jaguars, Birds & much more! Contact Frank for more info. TUNDRA RIVER ADVENTURES, 4168 Wyman Way, Roseville, CA 95747; 541/441-2016,, 119

TWO-WEEK WILDLIFE SAFARI IN KENYA DURING MIGRATION — Aug. 31-Sept. 15, 2019. Luxury tent camps in Samburu, Elementeita and the Mara with full board and twice-daily game drives; custom-built Toyota Land Cruisers with driver/guides (4 passengers max/vehicle); + extras like Sheldrake Elephant Orphanage, Karen Blixen Museum and more. Can be done alone or with Victoria Falls/Botswana Extension. “Catch The Wind Tours,” DRIFTER SISTER LLC, PO Box 60042, Boulder City, NV 89006; 702/294-4365, 1-319

10-DAY VICTORIA FALLS/BOTSWANA ADVENTURE w/CAPE TOWN EXTENSION — Aug 21-31, 2019. Victoria Falls: Helicopter flight over the Falls & sunset cruise, luxury lodge overlooking waterhole. Botswana: Six nights in Okavango Delta all-inclusive luxury lodges, with twice daily game drives + sundowners. Can be done alone or with Kenya Wildlife Safari. Aug 17-21, Cape Town extension: Table Mountain, Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, helicopter flight, penguin colony, Cape of Good Hope and more. “Catch The Wind Tours,” DRIFTER SISTER LLC, PO Box 60042, Boulder City, NV 89006; 702/294-4365, 1-319

TO ITALY WITH LOVE TOURS. Specializing in small groups. Two-week trip to enchanting Sperlonga. Day trips to lovely quaint villages, gardens, castles, islands, local markets, Rome, Pompeii, Amalfi & more. 10 years’ experience with repeat customers. “A Trip of a Lifetime,” personalized and customized to your individual needs. Great culinary experiences. All-inclusive, apprx $5,000 with air! JUNE MORROCCO, 233 Morewood Lane, Grants Pass, OR 97526; 971/706-9328, 119

MUNICH, BAVARIA, AUSTRIA, NORTHERN ITALY Professional guide available for Munich city walks, driver-guided tours hourly, daily or weekly by private limousine/minibus services in Munich and Bavaria (Kingscastles, etc.). Discover also the mountains on narrow winding roads through Austria, Switzerland and northern Italy, away from the tourist crowds. For skiers: working out and guiding of your private ski vacation in the Alps, essentially cheaper than in US/Canada. ERNST GARTNER, Eisvogelweg 35, 81827 München, Germany; +49 176 23 898 956, 418-419

BHUTAN, CAMBODIA, CHINA, LAOS, MYANMAR, VIETNAM, THAILAND – Bangkok- & Hanoi-based Swiss owner Myriam & her travel experts (ITN: Jun ’03, p.52; May ’06, p.36; Jan ’13, p.24; May ’14, p.48; May ’17, p.20) offer the ultimate experience to now more exotic destinations. Her personalized service, own handcrafted itineraries, her devotion to travel with class & in style will make your journey unforgettable. Right now Bhutan & Laos are her clients’ top travel picks. Check out her 2018 very special deals: 6 days, $1325. 38c, 209 Alley, Doi Can str, Ba Dinh, Hanoi, Vietnam;;; 119

DON’T JUST TASTE WINES, EXPERIENCE THEM! Join Wine Lovers Tours in 2019 for great all-inclusive wine vacations to Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Croatia & Georgia. VIP winery visits, gourmet meals, truly memorable experiences. Try us; you’ll love our award-winning style. Request free brochure today and receive a FREE Italian cookbook plus save $250! Over 30 years’ experience. WINE LOVERS TOURS, 1211 Quinnipiac Ave, New Haven, CT 06513; 800/256-0141, 918-319

AUSTRALIA & NEW ZEALAND ~ UNIQUE & UNUSUAL — planning customized vacations to Australia & New Zealand for 30+ years for independent travelers and small groups – nature, history, self-drive, adventure, wine and food, Aboriginal and Maori culture and more! We work closely with you to design the trip of your dreams, from moderate to very upscale! Having lived “down under,” we know the South Pacific and islands well. Please call or email with phone number and best time to call. SPRINGBOARD VACATIONS, 2001 Artesia Blvd., #102, Redondo Beach, CA 90278; 858/550-9622 (PST), 858/550-9696, (CST 2059428-40) 418-419

BARGING IN CHAMPAGNE, FRANCE on hotel barge Merganser. Experience tranquil scenery, vineyards, village boulangeries, regional attractions & magnificent cathedrals. Six-night cruises inclusive en-suite cabins, first-class food, wines and visits. No single supplement. Brochure & DVD from UKWH, Ltd., 31 Wellington St., Hertford SG14 3AN, UK; phone +44 1992 550616,, 1118-319

TWO WEEKS RURAL FRANCE, IN RENOVATED 12th CENTURY CASTLE W/PARIS EXTENSION — Sept. 21-Oct. 5, 2019. Small Group. Affordable. Chateau stay, transportation in luxury vans, breakfast & evening snacks, 10 lunches & one catered dinner provided. Rural, wine country setting. Daily excursions to Narbonne, Montpellier, Coullioure, Albi, Carcassonne & more. Extension, Sept. 17-20. “Catch The Wind Tours,” DRIFTER SISTER LLC, PO Box 60042, Boulder City, NV 89006; 702/294-4365, 1-319

TODAY’S WOMAN TRAVELLER —small group tours to beautiful places: Italy, Costa Rica, India, Morocco, Africa, Vietnam, Galapagos, Ecuador, Portugal, Thailand, England, Paris. Share experiences, make travel friends. BBB Accredited, Guaranteed Share Rates, Early Booking Bonuses. Exchange discount for US$ on all Cdn$-priced tours. 1049 Sydenham Rd, Kingston, ON, K7M 3L8, Canada; 888/830-5324,, www.todays (TICO# 50022628) 1118-219

TWO WEEKS IN TUSCAN VILLA W/CINQUE TERRE EXTENSION: June 1-15, 2019. Small group. In depth. Affordable. Villas, rental cars and gas, breakfast and evening snacks, and some meals provided. Daily excursions to well known hill towns such as Cortona, Siena, Florence, San Gimignano, Volterra, Arezzo and hidden gems like La Verna, Stia, Colle Val d’Elsa and more. Extension May 27-June 1. “Catch The Wind Tours,” DRIFTER SISTER LLC, PO Box 60042, Boulder City, NV 89006; 702/294-4365, 1-419

EXPERT LOCAL CUBA GUIDE + INDIVIDUAL & SMALL GROUP INDEPENDENT IN CUBA FOR ITN READERS. I work as the preferred Cuba guide with ITN Far Horizon Editor Randy Keck when he leads People to People groups to Cuba. Work directly with a Cuban in Havana for the best value guide, and general- and special-interest travel planning services with a focus on getting behind the scenes to truly experience local life on the island. Contact MARTHA IBIS, 119

THE CZECH REPUBLIC, POLAND & HUNGARY May 8-22, 2019; small group (maximum 16). 13 nights in elegant, small hotels: Prague (3), Cesky-Krumlov (2), Brno (1), Kraków (2), Eger (2) and Budapest (3). Expert guides, wineries, gourmet dinners, cooking class. OLDE IPSWICH TOURS, 8 Herrick Dr, Ipswich, MA 01938; 978/356-5163,, 119

PIEDMONT & THE ITALIAN ALPS — June 13-25, 2019; small group (maximum 16). 11 nights deluxe accommodations: La Morra (Langhe wine region) (3); Turin (3); Courmayeur, Alps (3) and Lake Orta (2). Gourmet dinners, cooking class, wine tastings, truffle hunt, cheese tasting, much more. OLDE IPSWICH TOURS, 8 Herrick Dr, Ipswich, MA 01938; 978/356-5163,, 119

GREECE & THE GREEK ISLANDS — May 23-June 8, 2019; small group (maximum 16). 15 nights in deluxe accommodations: Athens (2), Delphi (2), Kalabaka (near Meteora) (2), Thessaloniki (2), Agios Nicholaos, Crete (3), Santorini (2), Mykonos (2). Perfect mix of history, culture, gourmet dining, beauty, local color. OLDE IPSWICH TOURS, 8 Herrick Dr, Ipswich, MA 01938; 978/356-5163,, 119 

CROATIA & SLOVENIA — May 13-26, 2019; small group (maximum 16). 12 nights in elegant, small hotels: Dubrovnik (2), Split (2), Plitvice National Park (1), Zagreb (2), Bled (2), Ljubljana (3). Gourmet dinners, winery visits, cooking class. OLDE IPSWICH TOURS, 8 Herrick Dr, Ipswich, MA 01938; 978/356-5163,, 119

TWO WEEKS — CROATIA SMALL SHIP CRUISE IN COMBINATION WITH MONTENEGRO LAND TOUR — May 10-25, 2019. Montenegro: 7 nights in Budva & Perast, with daily excursions. Croatia: 7-day small-ship island-hopping cruise off Dalmatian Coast. “Catch The Wind Tours,” DRIFTER SISTER LLC, PO Box 60042, Boulder City, NV 89006; 702/294-4365, 1-319



Places to Stay

PARIS: BEAUTIFUL 1-BR/STUDIO APARTMENT OFF CHAMPS-ELYSEES – Sleeps 2/5. Safest area, near Presidential Palace. Large, beautifully appointed, equipped for comfortable stay. Typical Parisian building, air conditioning, parquet floors, antiques, rugs, marble fireplace, designer fabrics, phone, Internet, printer, CNN, queen bed+. Double+. Kitchen, bath, washer. From $200/night. MARIE LEFEBVRE, 4 Weymouth Ct., Newport Beach, CA 92660; 949/433-5110;; 1118-319




Travel Gear

TREKR® SELF-CLEANING TRAVEL WASHCLOTH! Rinses clean, dries fast and stays odor free. Our dishcloths are even more amazing. LUNATEC®, 7929 Silverton Ave., 610, San Diego, CA 92126; 858/653-0401, 119

LUNATEC’S® AQUABOT® turns water bottles into misters and high-pressure sprayers. Cool you and your pets, clean gear and hydrate. LUNATEC®, 7929 Silverton Ave., 610, San Diego, CA 92126; www.lunatec 119

WALKABOUT TRAVEL GEAR, 22nd anniversary. Specializing in supplying the independent traveler. The most complete adapter selection online. PO Box 1008, Neotsu, OR 97364; www.walkabouttravel 918-119





“PLANET EARTH’S LEGACY: UNESCO World Heritage Sites” by David J. Patten. Includes articles on 50 UNESCO sites, UNESCO’s Heritage program, UNESCO and the USA, ecotourism and the future. 55 color photographs; 308 pp. Available on 918-919

“WANDERLUST: TRAVEL OFF THE TOURIST TRACK” by David J. Patten. 36 exotic sites; 2 appendices on travel photography, full color illustrations. Available on 118-119

A TRAVEL LOVER’S ADVENTURE, Left at Hiva Oa is the captivating tale of an around-the-world sailing adventure gone drastically awry. 5-star reviews, Amazon. 1218-119