The Canary Islands is an archipelago of Spanish islands that geographically sit closer to the African continent – just 60 miles off the Moroccan coast. Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, La Palma, La Gomera, El Hierro, and La Graciosa are all inhabited and open to tourists. Volcanic landscapes, incredible beaches, and year-round warm weather make the Canary Islands a popular winter sun destination.
Wine production in the Canary Islands
The volcanic terrain and subtropical climate also make the Canary Islands one of the world’s most interesting wine destinations. Wine has been produced on the archipelago since the 15th century. In fact, Shakespeare’s play Twelfth Night refers to the wine as a “cup of canary”.
Technically, the northeasterly Lanzarote experiences a desert climate and receives minimal rain.
The island underwent a six-year sequence of volcanic eruptions from 1730. This destroyed the crop-producing plains and coated around a third of the island with lava and ash debris. Known as picón, this rubble fared much better in the growing of wine grapes and fruit trees in contrast to the crops. Many Lanzarote winemakers started to plant their vines in deep pits burrowed into the picón known as hoyos. Seeing as the island is particularly dry, the Atlantic trade winds bring moisture to the vineyards.
There are five native grapes on the island with most wineries and vineyards located in Geria, Masdache, and Tinajo.
Today, we'll be exploring a captivating Rhine River itinerary that will have you falling in love with the enchanting world of medieval castles, quaint villages, and spectacular natural beauty. Join me as we chart our way through Breisach and the Black Forest in Germany, soaking in their rich history, fascinating culture, and delectable food and wine!
Breisach, Germany - Gateway to the Black Forest and Beyond
Nestled on the banks of the Rhine, the picturesque town of Breisach serves as the perfect gateway to the enchanting Black Forest and the stunning region of Alsace. Enjoy magnificent views of the Rhine from the remarkable St. Stephen's Cathedral perched high above the town, or travel back in time at the nearby Neuf-Brisach, an astonishing 17th-century fortified town enlisted as a UNESCO World Heritage Site!
You'll find a treasure trove of folklore, unspoiled landscapes, and vibrant traditions here. Lose yourself in the mesmerizing dense woodlands and be captivated by the region's hidden gems, starting with Triberg – the land of cuckoo clocks and the stunning Triberg Waterfalls!
Zanzibar (or, Unguja) is an Indian Ocean archipelago off the coast of Tanzania. While the larger island of Madagascar and the beaches of Kenya and South Africa remain ever-popular with international tourists, this semi-autonomous island state flies below the radar. Only 22 miles from Dar es Salaam, Zanzibar is the perfect destination to connect with East African culture while you reflect on your mainland safari experience.
Stone Town (Mji Mkongwe)
The natural starting point for your Zanzibar stay, Stone Town is the oldest part of Zanzibar City. As an example of a traditional Swahili trading town, this myriad of alleyways and bazaars constitutes a lesser-known UNESCO World Heritage Site. Plucking elements from Swahili, Indian, Arab, and European architecture, the buildings are fashioned from coralline ragstone and mangrove timber before being lime-washed. Spend a night at the Emerson on Hurumzi or at least make a reservation for the Emerson Zanzibar Tea Ceremony where three types of spiced tea is accompanied by savory appetizers and Zanzibari sweets.
Jozani Forest (Jozani Chwaka Bay National Park)
This dense complex of jungle and wetlands is home to the rare red colobus monkey, a species endemic to Unguja. Nature trails weave you through the greenery where you can also expect to spit dancing butterflies. It’s hoped that some Zanzibar leopards might still dwell in the forest although it’s possible that they have been driven to extinction. Tourists are welcome to explore Jozani Forest independently or with the support of a wildlife guide.
London is one of Europe's most captivating cities. Founded by the Romans, the English capital has survived fires, plagues, and wars to blossom into a powerhouse for the arts, upscale global cuisine, and unique experiences. When the temperatures plummet, the holidays bring light, festivities, and copious mulled wine to the city streets. Illuminations, caroling, and ice skating – wrap up warm and experience London in winter.
In the heart of London’s theater district, Covent Garden is a year-round hub for dining, shopping, and culture. The winter holidays arrive in the piazza and old Apple Market in late November when the square is festooned with lights and a densely decorated Christmas tree. Despite the chill, the stylish restaurants of Covent Garden never shy away from providing an al fresco dining experience on their heated patios. The surrounding luxury hotels are primed for winter-inspired traditional afternoon tea starring mince pies.
Festive Window Installations
Department stores in London vie for the number one position of most enchanting window displays during the holidays. Harrods – the world's principal luxury department store – is emblematic of winter in London. Last year’s theme saw the iconic Knightsbridge facade transformed into a giant gingerbread house courtesy of Dior. Selfridges on Oxford Street, Liberty London near Carnaby Street, and the entire avenue of Regent Street are equally worthy of a window shop (or spot of gift-buying). This retail center is richly decorated with street lights as well.
Extraordinary trips for exceptional travelers, where the details make all the difference