SLOT 1 / SPAIN

BASQUE COUNTRY BLISS

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San Sebastian’s magic lies in its Basque soul–a vibrant cultural tapestry woven from centuries-old traditions and fiercely independent. The Basque Country boasts a rich cultural heritage, a language spoken nowhere else on earth, and a deep connection to its rugged coastline. This spirit infuses everything, from the colorful fishing villages clinging to cliffs to the world-renowned cuisine.

SPAIN

SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH RON & MARY JAMES

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Sometimes a simple walk in Madrid turns into a magical memory. Yesterday was one of those. Our plan was to stroll in nearby El Retiro Park and grab a bite on the way back. What we experienced was an almost five-mile-long sensory-rich adventure and an unexpected Sunday feast. It didn’t hurt that it was a beautiful day with brilliant blue skies framed by dramatic fluffy clouds.

FOOD TOURS

EATING DUBLIN: FAB FOOD TRAILS

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For our first stop on Fab Food Trails Dublin, Eveleen Coyle, our friendly tour guide and founder of the 10-year-old company, gathered us in from the day’s showers in a favorite coffee shop, just steps from bustling Grafton Street. “I began doing this mainly because I knew Irish produce wasn’t getting the recognition it deserves,” she explained over warming cappuccinos. “I was very aware that our reputation abroad for food was not great.”

CHEFS AND RESTAURATEURS

IRISH CUISINE ROCKS

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Innovative food pros are putting Ireland on the map as a culinary destination by drawing deeply on its homegrown bounty. In Michelin-starred restaurants, B&B dining rooms, rollicking pubs and cozy tea shops, Ireland today proudly dines off the abundant land and surrounding sea. 

RON & MARYS EDITOR'S NOTES

THE BOOKING GAME

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A multitude of apps, internet sites, and tools make it easy to book and we generally use a combination of them when doing our research and making reservations. Over the decades of booking our travels, we have made plenty of mistakes but with each error; we become a little wiser and a little more cautious as we do our booking due diligence.
Here are some lessons we’ve learned.

RON & MARYS EDITOR'S NOTES

Cruise Fever

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The Return to Cruising Survey coincides with the nearly first anniversary of the suspension of cruising in the United States. One year ago, we were in Oman aboard the Azamara Journey, preparing to fly home after mounting COVID fears truncated our exotic voyage. That was our last voyage to date and the ship’s as well. It’s now docked with two sister ships in Glasgow, Scotland. Little did we know when we walked down the Journey’s gangway that cruising would come to a standstill. 

RON & MARYS EDITOR'S NOTES

Uncharted Waters

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Perhaps the biggest unknown is the duration and strength of the current surge. Will the dramatic rise in infections and deaths in the United States lead other countries to again close their doors to American visitors? Will people continue dying needlessly because brainwashed and ill-informed citizens refuse to be vaccinated or wear a mask? Will the politicians who have recklessly resisted calls for mask mandates, testing, and vaccinations finally wake up and join in taking the much-needed steps to secure citizens around the world from this scourge?

Feature

DEVOURING MADRID

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A great food tour is a far cry from just eating and drinking. Food is intertwined with history and culture, so you won’t know Madrid, or any other destination, without knowing its food. Our guides were insiders who had a passion not only for food and drink but also for the history and lore of the place they call home. At each stop, they shared stories a casual diner would miss if wandering on their own. Like the nondescript door where nuns answer a bell and sell homemade cookies. Or the tapas bar Hemingway frequented. Or the reason squid sandwiches are a Madrid favorite.
The following are some highlights of our most excellent Devour Tours in Madrid.

Wine Dine & Travel Magazine

SOUTH AFRICAN WINE COUNTRY

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More than 300 wineries thrive here in the moderate Mediterranean climate cooled by breezes from the Atlantic and Indian oceans, but they aren’t lined up, Napa Valley-like, on the main roads, preserving an appealing farm-country vibe.
Our arrival in February coincided with harvest – and some of the area’s warmest weather. From our first base, the charming Plumwood Inn, we would explore Franschhoek and neighboring Stellenbosch, historic small towns considered by many to be South Africa’s wine and culinary capitals.

FOOD & WINE / WINE TIME

WINE TIME WITH TOM GABLE

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It’s easy to write about the most expensive wines from around the world – the first-growth wines from Bordeaux, Grand Crus from Burgundy, Grand Reservas from Spain, Super Tuscans from Italy, and cult wines from California, to name a few. The bigger challenge is to find the little gems from smaller producers, discounted wines from the giants looking to clear inventory, or limited editions not selling through the traditional retail channels and find excellent values that titillate the taste buds and are easy on the wallet.

Feature / SLOT 2

The Grand Tetons

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Grand Teton National Park is more accessible than Yellowstone, and even a little warmer, but winter shuts down many of the park’s roads. Temperatures hovered around 10 to 20 degrees Fahrenheit under a brilliant blue sky during our three-day stay, maybe breaking into the low 20s on one afternoon. That is perfect ski weather, but we weren’t there to ski. We were there to take in the Grand Tetons and see wildlife.

Feature / SLOT 1 / SLOT 2

DUBROVNIK’S GAME OF THRONES

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Often called the “Pearl of the Adriatic,” Dubrovnik instantly transports you to a different era. Known to millions as King’s Landing from the popular TV series “Game of Thrones,” this Croatian city crowned with distinctive red-tiled roofs is a lively living museum. Each step within the historic walls of Old Town brings you in touch with the city’s rich history and cultural heritage.