Palermo is a city marked by past conquerors, each Baroque church and Norman-Romanesque facade a reminder of prosperous eras past. But while many of the Sicilian capital’s architectural landmarks could best be described as crumbling, amid the cracks are hints of progress: like a budding contemporary art scene and forward-thinking restaurants energizing rundown neighborhoods.
Now, during the holiday season, the rough-edged port city is at its liveliest, with festive lights brightening labyrinthine alleys, Christmas markets bringing cheer to even the most pugnacious Palermitani, and family-run restaurants serving traditional Sicilian feasts. And here the celebration extends well into the new year, continuing until Epiphany on Jan. 6.
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For many travelers, the constant change of scenery was preferable to the monotony of a lengthy boat passage.
After World War II, cheap flights replaced long-haul train journeys.
Many routes disappeared and the ones that remained were the domains of the hardy backpacker: uncomfortable, inconvenient and rough.
But in recent decades rail travel has come full circle and luxury trains have returned with a vengeance.
Never have there been so many contenders promising to pamper you through landscapes remote and exotic.
Venice Simplon-Orient-Express: London to Venice
Large groups only benefit the tour operator or travel agent who make more money. Of course there are rare instances where traveling in a large group is necessary but more often a small group is a far better value for your dollar.
The large group must travel in a large bus which limits the roads and areas the group can visit. Due to the group size larger hotels are required and their restaurants used for group meals. A lot of time is wasted waiting for group members to assemble for a days activity, loading the bus etc.
With a small group tour we often travel in a regular van, we can take back roads to out of the way places, eat at small local cafes, mingle with the people.
A smaller group can stay in quaint, family-run guest houses and local hotels. We can walk around town putting us in closer touch with the history and culture. Instead of being insulated on a bus you can experience and participate in the regions you are visiting.Smaller groups also have less impact on areas we visit Imagine in your own city if you traveled only by freeway and major highways how much of your beloved city would you miss?
For travel in Asia, South America or Africa there is no better way than with a small group and an experienced tour operator like Trip Connoisseurs.
Tips Before Traveling Internationally
If this is your first time traveling abroad, or maybe you just need a refresher here’s a list of 20 tips you should do or bring before your trip.
Security & Health
- Check-in with your doctor and insurance carrier.Double check and make sure that you have all of the proper vaccinations and that you have renewed all essential prescriptions. Also, ask you medical insurance provider if your policy applies overseas for emergencies. If it doesn’t, and you want to add extra coverage, consider supplemental insurance.
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