Category Archives: World Travels

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Practical advice for visiting Iceland

Reykjavik from the bell tower of Hallgrimskirkja Church with the statue of Leif Eiriksson below
Reykjavik from the bell tower of Hallgrimskirkja Church with the statue of Leif Eiriksson below

My daughter, Ashley and I visited Iceland at the end of February this year. We absolutely loved the beauty of this diverse country and the friendliness of the people. It was a wonderful couple of weeks spending quality time together, experiencing new adventures and meeting some amazing new friends.

I’ve been wanting to share some of our experiences here as well as some practical advice. There are two places that we have been recently that everyone seem to us ask about. Cuba and Iceland.

I’ve been so busy with work and other travels that I’ve kept putting it off writing these posts. Being asked three times in a 24 hour period. Then hearing that Rick Steves was planning on publishing a guide book on Iceland this fall and his star researcher, Cameron Hewitt need travelers advice, pushed me to finally get these posts done! After all, the Rick Steves guide books have been extremely helpful all these years in planning trips to Europe. It is my chance to finally give back.

First things first
The flights to Iceland are cheap, but the costs while you are there are not. Don’t let that discourage you from going though. Iceland is an amazing country.

I wanted to experience the Northern Lights, so I chose to go during the winter months. I booked our trip for the end of February and beginning of March thinking that it wouldn’t be as cold as say December or January. The joke was on me though. We arrived in a frigid snow storm that ended up being the largest snowfall in the last 60 years in Reykjavik! Lesson learned. You can’t predict the weather! Oh… And take plenty of layers of warm clothing and snow boots. Layering is the key no matter what time of year you decide to go.

We took the bus into Reykjavik to our hotel. I booked online. The bus is the cheapest option for traveling to/from the airport, the Blue Lagoon and the airport. The only difficult part is the bus always goes to the terminal in Reykjavik before you grab a van to/from your hotel. I booked a private transfer back to the airport through our hotel because I was afraid that we may end up being late and I didn’t want to risk missing the hourly bus to the airport. The extra cost was worth peace of mind to me.

Our visit to The Blue Lagoon and our GoEcco 3 Day Ice Caving & Northern Lights tour both deserve posts of their own. Both well worth doing.

The Hotel that I highly recommend:



We actually stayed in two hotels in Reykjavik. On our first three nights we stayed at the Raddison Blu Saga. It was a large hotel outside the city center.

Our home away from home at Kvosin Downtown Hotel
Our home away from home at Kvosin Downtown Hotel

On our return from our three day GoEcco ice caving tour, we stayed at the nicest ‪boutique hotel in a great central downtown location near restaurants, tourist sites and shopping. They have lovely, modern decorated rooms with a small kitchen and a nice espresso machine. Reasonably priced. Free wifi. I highly recommend them. ‬

Kvosin Downtown Hotel

Kirkjutorg 4

Reykjavik

IS-101. IS

‪+3545714460‬

Kvosin Hotel

‪Ways to save money on eating in Iceland:

‪Icelandic water from the tap is some of the best in the world. Bring along a stainless steel bottle and fill it up from the tap at your hotel. Icelanders think it’s silly when tourists buy bottled water. Ask for tap water in restaurants too. ‬

‪Be aware that an inexpensive meal in Iceland means spending $22-35 US. Iceland is definitely expensive, but there are a few ways that you can save a little money and not go hungry.‬
‪Take snack foods with you. We packed peanut butter and crackers, protein and breakfast bars, nuts and other filling goodies to eat rather than paying for a full three meals a day. This enabled us to spend more time taking in the sights and more cash for souvenir shopping.‬

‪Look for a hotel or apartment with a kitchen or a microwave and coffee maker. We picked up packaged frozen dinners and ‘cup of soup’ from a grocery store for a couple of meals. Bonus is a good option. Their grocery stores are still more expensive than what we are accustomed to in the USA, but still way cheaper than restaurants. I brought along instant coffee, tea bags and creamer too. ‬

‪The Icelandic hot dogs are tasty and a good value. They are available at about every gas station around Iceland. You will find them in beef or lamb. Try the lamb. Very good.‬

‪Restaurant recommendations:‬

‪We tried several restaurants that were recommended by locals which were moderately priced. These were our favorites.‬
Reykjavik:

Dinner at Saeta Svinid Gastropub
Dinner at Saeta Svinid Gastropub


 

Saeta Svinid Gastropub

Hafnarstræti 1-3 / 101 Reykjavík

Sími: 555 2900

http://saetasvinid.is/en

‪Open 11:30-23:30‬
‪Their menu is filled with Icelandic specialities like puffin, minke whale, and horse. Though we did not venture to try any of the fore mentioned dishes, we did try the lamb, the salmon and their really good burger. ‬

Inside Uno Restaurant
Inside Uno Restaurant


Uno

‪Hafnarstraeti 3‬

‪Reykjavik 101, Iceland‬

Uno
‪We enjoyed this cozy restaurant on one of our first evenings in Reykjavik. Nicely appointed interior with many choices of reasonably priced food. They also have an outside seating area to enjoy your meal on a sunny day. ‬

Nice treats to warm up with at ‪Salka Valka - Fish & More
Nice treats to warm up with at ‪Salka Valka – Fish & More

‪Salka Valka – Fish & More

‪Skolavordustigur 23,‬

‪Reykjavik 101, Iceland ‬
‪Cozy little fish shop on busy Skolavordustigur street just down from ‬

‪Hallgrimskirkja. Nice place to take a rest and warm up with a little lunch or dessert and coffee. Very friendly staff.‬

Fresh ground coffee at ‪Reykjavik Roasters
Fresh ground coffee at ‪Reykjavik Roasters


Reykjavik Roasters

‪Karastigur 1 (corner of Frakkastigur)‬

‪Reykjavik 101, Iceland ‬

‪Cute little coffee shop with coffee to enjoy there or to take away. They also sell pastries. Grab a fresh roasted cup of coffee and grab a window seat or take a cup with you and walk across the way to Braud & Company for pastry and head to Harpa Concert Hall like we did to enjoy a unique setting for breakfast. (Many thanks to Jonathan and Tomas for that great idea!)‬

Fresh made bread and pastries at colorful ‪Braud & Company
Fresh made bread and pastries at colorful ‪Braud & Company


‪Braud & Company‬

‪16 Frakkastigur‬

‪Reykjavik 101, Iceland ‬

‪Wide selection of made from scratch pastries and breads that you are only able to take away. A great bakery that you can smell from blocks away early every morning. You are able to watch the bakers while standing in line waiting your turn. Highly recommend the croissants and cinnamon rolls. ‬

‪ ‬

Lots of shopping and coffee shops on the street just in front of‪ Hallgrimskirkja Church
Lots of shopping and coffee shops on the street just in front of‪ Hallgrimskirkja Church


Souvenir shopping in Reykjavik:‬
‪Head to Laugavegur and Skolavordustigur streets for a wide selection of shops to pop into. You can find all types of souvenirs to take home. Be sure to compare prices as we found that there can be a very wide difference from one shop to the next on vertically the same items. ‬
‪I fell in love with all the handmade woolen accessories. I purchased socks for everyone on my gift list. They are so warm and cozy!! ‬

A special souvenir to remember Iceland in your home everyday
A special souvenir to remember Iceland in your home everyday

‪My daughter loved all the hides. She ended up purchasing two as souvenirs to decorate her home. She purchased a sheep hide at a darling shop at 22 Skolavordustigur street (one building down from Fish & More Restaurant) just down from Hallgrimskirkja Church on the right side. They had a nice selection at a good price. This shop had a wide assortment of reasonably priced souvenirs of all kinds. Worth a visit.

She also purchased a reindeer hide at The Blue Lagoon gift shop. They had a really nice selection of hides at a good price as well.‬

‪Handknitting Association of Iceland

‪Skolavordustigur 19‬

‪Reykjavik 101, Iceland ‬
‪A cooperative of women who knit many types of clothing and accessories from Icelandic wool. Huge selection of items! Sweaters,hats, socks, mittens, scarves, You can even purchase wool to take home to make your own items. I highly recommend purchasing the socks if you are visiting Iceland in the winter. They will keep your feet warmer than any sock you can purchase in the USA. Believe me, you will need that warmth! The cooperative’s handmade items were my choice for souvenirs for myself and my family.‬

‪Places to visit in Reykjavik:

‪Hallgrimskirkja Church
‪Hallgrimskirkja Church


 

‪Hallgrimskirkja Church

‪Hallgrimstorg 1‬

‪101 Reykjavik, Iceland ‬

Hallgrimskirkja
‪Be sure to head into the gift shop in the hall to the left as you enter the church to purchase the elevator tickets to go up to the top of the church. You will be rewarded with outstanding 360 degree views of Reykjavik, the harbor and the mountains across the way. ‬
‪Enjoy the modern church interior as well.‬

‪Statue of Leif Eiriksson‬

‪Sits at the front entrance to Hallgrimskirkja Church‬

Looking out through the windows of Harpa Concert Hall
Looking out through the windows of Harpa Concert Hall

‪Harpa Concert Hall‬

Austurbakka 2, 101 Reykjavík

Sími: 528 5000

Harpa
‪Beautiful glass and steel building on the waterfront in Reykjavik. You can go inside and explore for free. Nice place for a picking in the seating areas on the upper floors. Great view of the mountains and harbor. ‬

‪Check their website for events. I wish we would have had time to take in a show called “How to Become Icelandic in 60 Minutes.” Our friends that went said it was really funny and, better yet, our GoEcco guide said it was funny and very true. We will do this for sure on our next trip. ‬

How to Become Icelandic in 60 Minutes

Fun shoe skating on frozen ‪Lake Thornin
Fun shoe skating on frozen ‪Lake Thornin


‪Lake Thornin

‪Picturesque little lake in the Reykjavik city center that is nice to stroll around and watch the swans, ducks and other water fouls. It iced over during our visit which made it more fun as we skated around in our snow boots. ‬

The Blue Lagoon
The Blue Lagoon


The Blue Lagoon

‪Outside of Reykjavik but it’s only a 45 minute bus ride away.
Having been to Iceland, next trip I would do it a little differently. I would take the bus to the Blue Lagoon from the airport instead of heading directly to Reykjavik. I’d stay at the Blue Lagoon’s hotel/resort my first night and enjoy more time there. If you decide to go to the Blue Lagoon, be sure to book everything online long in advance! I’ll write a separate post on just the Blue Lagoon and some of its amenities.

Love at first sight! The Aurora In Iceland!
Love at first sight! The Aurora In Iceland!


Experiencing the Northern Lights:

‪Pick a time of year when the nights are very dark. Usually that means from October through March for the best chance to see the lights. Try not to go during a full moon. This took me a lot of time researching for the best time for my daughter and I to go to Iceland. Seeing the Aurora was my top reason to go, so it was extremely important to me. ‬

‪The longer that you stay in Iceland, the better chance you have seeing the lights. Keep in mind that the weather is extremely unpredictable. We arrived at the end of the winter season to the largest snowfall in Reykjavik from the last 80 years. Totally unexpected. Even though the aurora was active the first three nights we visited, we couldn’t see them because of cloud cover. ‬

‪I had booked a super Jeep excursion with ‬Arctic Adventures for our second evening. Literally, every other company cancelled their northern lights tours due to cloud cover, but Arctic Adventures did not. It was an extremely frigid, disappointing evening. They did take us outside of town, but there was too much cloud cover and no lights. Unfortunately, it was a waist of a lot of money too. Almost $400 for the two of us. I understand other companies are willing to reschedule or refund if things don’t go as planned. I thought I had done my research as to the best company to use. This is a warning to others.

‪The aurora forecast website to watch:

Aurora Forcast

‪Follow this account on Twitter:

‪Aurora Forecast @AuroraIceland for both the Aurora forecast and cloud cover. ‬

‪Photographing the Northern Lights:

‪There are a few things you will need if you are planning on trying to photograph the lights. First, you’ll need a good DSLR camera. I had read a couple of articles about apps for your iPhone that were capable of photographing the Aurora. I downloaded two of the apps that looked promising. The first evening that we saw the lights, I pulled out my iPhone and gave them both a try. Some people may be happy with the results, but it just wasn’t good in my opinion.‬
‪There are plenty of photography websites and books out there that explain how to set your specific DSLR camera. I’ll leave that to the people who do that type of photography all the time. They are the experts and it is quite a detailed process. I would suggest that if you have a couple of free hours in Reykjavik, to head to the small museum by the harbor, Aurora Reykjavik and ask the sweet people there if they wouldn’t mind setting your camera for you. Be sure to take the time to look at all their beautiful displays while you are there. Some wonderful examples of photography of the Aurora and you may begin to understand the Aurora better. Well worth the entrance price. You are also able to book Northern Lights tours on their website. They have several to choose from. ‬

‪Aurora Reykjavik: The Northern Lights Center
‪Aurora Reykjavik: The Northern Lights Center


Aurora Reykjavik: The Northern Lights Center

‪Grandagarður 2, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland‬

Aurora Reykjavik

‪Open 7 days a week 9 AM – 9 PM‬
‪Be sure to bring along extra batteries for your camera and other devices. A battery pack is also good to have. Batteries drain their power quickly in the cold. ‬

Things I’d love to do on our next visit to Iceland:‬




I really want to do this photography tour:‬

‪I’ve been following Icelandic photographer ‬Iurie Belegurschi for several years now on social media. His photographs are what inspired me to go to Iceland. Being a photographer, I wanted to experience the crystal ice cave and Northern Lights myself.

Iceland Winter Photo Tour
‪I still really want to do this tour. Though the tour we took was really wonderful and I highly recommend it to everyone, this tour is geared for photography. I would have had to go alone as my daughter isn’t interested in photography. Maybe one day. Still on my travel wish list. ‬

Staying in a clear bubble dome in the middle of nowhere:‬

‪I think staying in a bubble would be a dreamy experience! That is if I could ever go to sleep with all those stars and the Northern Lights! ‬
Bubble
‪I did look at staying in a bubble before our trip. I just couldn’t figure out how to get there without renting a vehicle. We Texans have no idea how to drive on snow or ice, so that was totally out of the question. ‬

Viva la Cuba!

Viva the people. The cars. The culture. The food. The cigars. The rum.

Have you dreamed about going to Cuba before the island changes forever?

This video is compiled from photos I shot on the incredible trip we took to Cuba this March. Hopefully it will inspire you to experience this unique place that everyone says is stuck in time.

I’m ready to go back!! 

And we are!!! Our next trip will be on Southwest Airlines first flight from Ft Lauderdale to Havana this December!! So looking forward to a whole new experience in Cuba around the holidays!!

Would you like to go to Cuba in 2017? We may try to get a group together to go back. Contact me at val110358@aol.com for more info. Meanwhile, enjoy our last trip… 

Visiting Singapore 

Friends we met on the road


One of my very favorite things that I love about traveling is making new friends. We have been blessed to meet some wonderful people whom we stay in touch with.

We met Samuel and Rita on a group tour ‘following the steps of Paul’ through Turkey and Greece a few years ago. We totally clicked on our trip, sharing the gospel and just worshiping Jesus along the way. We stayed in touch after our journey ended.

Rita and Samuel came to Waco for a visit while they were in the United States a couple of years ago. We took them to The Texas Ranger Museum, walked along the Brazos River banks, over the Suspension Bridge and to a Wade Bowen country music concert. We had a lot of fun showing them our city and our restaurant in nearby McGregor.

Well, this year we made a point to go to Singapore to visit them for a few days after our trip to Thailand. We were just too close to them to not drop by and catch up on their lives and I just wanted to hug my friend, Rita’s neck!

They showed us a little of Singapore 

We began with a proper Singapore tea. 

Coconut jam and butter on toast! Something very new to us and very tasty! Try it at Toast Box. According to their website, they have several locations.

We walked around the downtown area that is filled with street art! Even the buildings were amazing!

After dinner, we headed to their colorful Chinatown 


The next morning, we visited the Singapore Zoo. The highlight for me was seeing both the panda and red panda.

Visit Singapore Zoo for more info on their four very different parks and even a breakfast that I would have loved to have time to do.

The Peranakan Museum

The museum focuses on the rich heritage of the Singapore people.

For more information about their many lovely exhibits, visit their website: Peranakan Museum Singapore

Singapore Botanic Gardens

We spent a beautiful afternoon walking in the botanic gardens full of tropical plants. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site. There is a very special garden devoted to all types of orchids. A real must see!  For more information: Singapore Botanic Gardens

Samuel and Rita treated us to so much wonderful food! 

We visited restraunts in a mall, outdoor market and in a revolving tower! We tried foods that we have never tried before and everything was so delicious!

 Thank you, our friends, for showing us your beautiful Singapore! We loved it and seeing you again was very special!

Have you ever met people on a trip and promised to stay in touch? Have you? Be sure to share your stories with us! 

Sea Turtles Along the Cancun Beaches in Mexico

  

Sea Turtles in Cancun 

When we were in Cancun recently, I got up really early {EEEK!} on our first morning there to watch the sunrise over the ocean. But alas, there were way too many dark clouds completely covering the sky. ⛅️ bummer!
Experiencing a beautiful sunrise over the ocean may have been a total bust, but it was still an amazing morning!! God is good like that! Sometimes we have an idea of what we want or expect, but he has a different plan in mind. That was this morning for me.

Tracking turtles



As I walked along the beach, I started noticing tracks in the beach coming from the sea. I quickly realized that they were from sea turtles coming up to lay their eggs!!! As I walked along, I began counting and there had been five mamas that had laid their eggs just in front of our resort during the night.

Sea turtle tracks leading to the beach where a female laid her eggs, then returned to the ocean. Photo copyright Valerie Duty Citrano
Sea turtle tracks leading to the beach where a female laid her eggs, then returned to the ocean.
As many times that we have been to our shared condo in Cancun, I had never noticed this before. Just how was that possible? I photographed the holes and tracks with my iPhone. You can see the intention from their tails dragging in the sand and where their flippers had moved along both sides. Follow the tracks and they lead you to the massive holes where the eggs were laid. As you follow their path then you can see where they went back into the ocean.

The green turtles that made these tracks are endangered and can weigh 500 – 1000 pounds! They are huge! Our resort has a team that collect the eggs and move them to a corral that is secure where the eggs hatch and then they are released at dusk into the ocean so that they have a better chance of survival. Amazingly, these turtles tend to go back to the place they hatched to lay their eggs! Is that crazy or what?

A female sea turtle laying her eggs on a Cancun beach. Photo copyright Valerie Duty Citrano www.PieLadyLife.com
A female sea turtle laying her eggs on a Cancun beach.
Our turtle adventures continued literally every day that we were in Cancun. A couple of evenings I went down to the beach in the middle of the night to try to see if I could actually spot a mama turtle laying her eggs. What a surprise when I actually saw not one, but two mamas on the beach one evening! It was amazing watching the process!

Hatchlings



I’d never seen turtles hatching before either and had that chance by accident as well. Crazy thing… Twice during our week’s stay! One afternoon we were taking a stroll in the sand and a gentleman showed us a pile of eggs laying on top of a mound of seaweed. There had been a bad storm the night before and the thought was that the mama was disoriented.

Sea turtle eggs found on the beach in Cancun. Photo copyright Valerie Duty Citrano
Sea turtle eggs found on the beach in Cancun.
A guard was called over and as he was collecting the eggs, we noticed a hatchling that had gotten caught up in the seaweed as well. There was a lot of seaweed this year. I don’t know how any of the babies hatching could make it through all of it. It was like a huge barrier.

Thats me holding a newly hatched sea turtle found on the beach in Cancun! what a wonderful experience! Photo copyright Valerie Duty Citrano
Thats me holding a newly hatched sea turtle found on the beach in Cancun! what a wonderful experience!
If your taking a walk along the white sand beach, be sure to watch where you are stepping!! I found hatchlings that didn’t make it out to sea on a couple of mornings too. Five babies one morning were sure to be breakfast for some very interested birds if I had not spotted them and taken them to a guard. Poor things. They were safe though and were released that evening.

Hatchling turtle releases along the Cancun beach



We participated in a baby turtle release at our resort one evening. We did this last year too. I’ve learned that most Cancun resorts participate in the turtle conservation program by collecting eggs, protecting them in corrals and then releasing the hatchlings into the ocean.

A safe corral for the sea turtle eggs collected along the white sand beach in Cancun Mexico at the Royal Sands Resort. Photo copyright www.PieLadyLife.com
A safe corral for the sea turtle eggs collected along the white sand beach in Cancun Mexico at the Royal Sands Resort.
Many resorts allow their guests to witness and participate in the release. No flash photos or bright lights are allowed during the release as the light will disorient the hatchlings where they may not make it out far enough into the sea. Instead they may end up back on the beach where they may become a bird’s dinner. Geez! No one wants that to happen!

If you’d like to participate in a release, just ask at your resort or hotels front desk. If your walking along the beach at 8:00 in the evening and you happen to run across a bunch of people lined up along the water line, you can just about bet that there will be a release going on. Just fall into line and join in the fun! But no flash, please!

Best time for turtles



Seven of the eight species of endangered sea turtles nest along the beaches in Mexico. Four of the species nest on the Cancun beaches. They are loggerhead, leatherback, white (green) and hawksbill.

A female turtle laying her eggs in the middle of the night on the beach in Cancun.. Photo by Valerie Duty Citrano www.PieLadyLife.com
A female turtle laying her eggs in the middle of the night on the beach in Cancun.
The female turtles come ashore to nest between May and October to lay their eggs in the white sands along the Cancun shoreline. It’s a wonderful thing to watch, just be sure to stand back and don’t mess with any female. If she feels that it isn’t safe to lay her eggs, she will return to the ocean rather than nest.

Once the eggs hatch, the baby sea turtles are set to be released from July thru October.

Our regular week at our condo at Royal Resorts is the beginning of September. Perfect time of the year for both eggs to be laid and hatchlings to be born. I intend to learn more about sea turtles before we return next year. Hopefully, our grandchildren will be able to go with us too! I’m sure any child would love to see all the baby turtles!

Newly hatched sea turtle heading to the ocean on the beach in Cancun , Mexico Photo copyright Valerie Duty Citrano www.PieLadtLife.com
Newly hatched sea turtle heading to the ocean on the beach in Cancun , Mexico

Lessons learned from the turtles



God has a plan for every living being He placed on this Earth. When I see and learn more about his creatures, it brings me closer to Him. Think about nature all around you. How can anyone not believe in Him? He has a plan for your life too! Just like the turtles 🌴🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢🐢

The eggs we watched the mama lay are in this mound of sand. they were moved to a corral, counted and marked. Photo by Valerie Duty Citrano www.PieLadyLife.com
The eggs we watched the mama lay are in this mound of sand. they were moved to a corral, counted and marked.
Many thanks to the most patient young man whom I met on the beach who stayed with me overnight so that I could watch the two female sea turtles lay their eggs. His name is Junior and is a guard at a neighboring resort. He was also responsible for collecting and counting her eggs, moving them to a safe corral and marking the new nest. Hoping these eggs hatch and make their way to the ocean safely! Maybe we will see them on the beach again one day!

Have you experienced Sea Turtles laying their eggs or a hatchling release? Tell us about it! 

Join us in Northern Italy & the Riviera for food, wine and fun! 

Food, wine, beautiful sights and even a pasta making class!!

The Cinque Terre in Northern Italy is an optional excursion while we are in the Riveria
The Cinque Terre in Northern Italy is an optional excursion while we are in the Riviera!
We ♥️ Italy so much that we decided to take a small group back with us on a private tour to visit some places we’ve never been, along with visiting some of our old friends! Turin, Italian Riviera, Bologna, Verona, Venice and much, much more with a few side trips on our own!!! May 15-27, 2016.

Join us on the trip extension in Venice!! it's a magical romantic place like none other!
Join us on the trip extension in Venice!
Remember, on our tour, you will be traveling with a couple that works in the food industry and a professional photographer to boot! I’ll gladly help you take better travel photos and even take some for you!

A $300 deposit per person is all it takes to reserve your space to go with us on this amazing trip! Pay as you wish with balance due by 3-6-2016. It’s like travel Lay-a-way! Booking for our tour closes on soon! 

Full itinerary details & to sign up are on our tour website:

Coffee Shop Travel Club Italy 2016

There will be few surprises for you along the way too!

Q&A’s about our group trip to Italy

 

Q: How will we be getting around Italy?

A: The tour company will provide us a luxury bus with a guide and bus driver that will be with us throughout the tour. There will be boat rides along the Italian Rivera and in Venice. We will be walking around the city centers and other places. Definitely bring those walking shoes!

Q: I’m thinking about going, but don’t have a travel buddy. Can I go alone?

A: You betcha! We have several ladies coming with us without a spouse. It’s probably safest to travel this way to explore to world solo. You can pay a little extra and have your own room (as space permits) or be paired with another lady to share a hotel room. Ask me about sharing! We have someone looking to share now! Solo gentlemen also welcome!

Q: What about booking our flights?

A: The easiest way is to book your flights along with the guided tour. The tour company can get better rates because of the sheer volume of business they do with the airlines. Online, you just type in the airport near you such as DFW for those here in Waco. The price will come up and will be added to your total. It’s around $1400 per person. If you want to use miles or book your own flights, that’s perfectly fine! You can still arrange for a transfer from the airport in Milan to our hotel in Turin with the tour company. Just call them at their 800 number. Transfers inside Italy are included when you book your airfare with the tour company.

Q: I’d like to take advantage of our airfare and go to Europe early or stay later. Can that be done?

A: Sure thing!! Donald and I are both staying longer. All you have to do is call the tour company and let them know when you’d like to arrive or leave. Those of you that are staying with us, just need to let me know and I can tell the tour company.

Q: How do I join your group tour?

A: There are several ways to book. Which ever one you are most comfortable with is the best.

1. Online at http://coffeeshoptravel.grouptoursite.com

2. Call Go Ahead Tours at 1-800-206-9871 and give them our group tour number 68796229

3. Ask me for a tour Réservation form to book and send a check in the mail.

Q: How do I pay?

A: It’s easy! It only takes a $300 per person deposit to hold your space. You can pay whenever and how much you wish as long as it’s paid in full by March 6, 2016. You can pay with a credit card online or over the phone or mail a check.

Q: What do I need to do to travel to Italy?

A: You just need a passport to travel to Italy. Make sure you have at least 6 months left on yours at the time we leave. If you don’t have a passport, you can visit your post office and pick up a form or download a passport form from the State Department website. You’ll need a certified copy of your birth certificate and 2 passport photos that can be taken at the post office or Walgreens for a fee (around $10). Don’t try taking the photos yourself or using a snap shot. There are specific requirements which are best left to a professional. Fill out the forms, bring along your photos and birth certificate and pay the fee.

If you are in Waco, the post office on Hwy 6 is the place you need to go to submit your application. They will answer all your questions and take care of you. Be sure to call for the passport hours and schedule an appointment. You should really get this done as soon as you decide to go. it may take 6-8 weeks to get them. For more information, visit the U.S. State Dept Passports web page. Information about renewing a passport is also on the site.

Q: Which excursions are you going on? Can I book them later?

A: Donald and I will be going along on both the optional excursions and on the extension to Venice. You can book the excursions later but I’d just go ahead and book now and save the $10 per excursion for booking early. They are things you’ll want to see and do. I strongly encourage everyone to take advantage of going to Venice! The price they charge for the hotel, travel, stops from Verona to Venice and the guided tour while there is less that I usually pay for one nights stay in a hotel there! Seriously, it’s an amazing place that you need to go to!

Q: I don’t live in Waco or even Texas. Can I still go with your group?

A: Anyone can join our little group! You certainly do not have to live in Waco or Texas or even live in the US. We make friends quickly and those interested in joining us are welcome! We have met and made friends with people from all over the world while traveling! It’s an amazing experience traveling with people that enjoy traveling, meeting new people and seeing and experiencing places that become forever memories. You can fly out of any airport and we will all meet up in Turin, Italy to begin our tour! When booking, just input your nearest international airport and the price will come up. If you call, just tell the operator your nearest airport. Super easy!

Q: Is trip insurance available?

A: Yes, insurance is available! Just call Go Ahead and have it added to your trip. There’s a bonus if added within 14 days of booking too. Here is the info and choices of coverage:

Educational First/Go Ahead Tours Travel Insurance

If you love to travel a lot, like we do, I’ve found an insurance company that actually covers your travel annually rather than by each individual trip. I found it while booking a flight with Delta Airlines for another trip. I’m excited about it as the cost is just under one thousand dollars for both of us for every trip taken during the year. More about that after I look into it more or check out Delta’s website.

Q: Are you going to~~~ insert your favorite destination?

A: We will be taking groups to several places in the years to come! You are welcome to come along on any and all that we go on!

June 2017 we will be going back to Italy to a part we have never experienced but always wanted to go. Puglia has been on my short list for years and this tour also includes a great part of Southern Italy. It’s amazing how different every region of Italy is! We will visit Naples, Sorrento and the Trulli Valley! One excursion I’m really looking forward to is visiting the beautiful Island of Capri! This is just a taste of what we will see on this trip! Here is a link to our 2017 Southern Italy trip:

http://valeriecitrano.grouptoursite.com/

We would like to go back to Israel and walk in the steps of Jesus. If you haven’t experienced this yet, it is a must! Truly life changing! This is a 10 day tour that visits Tel Aviv, Haifa, Lake Tiberias, Mount of Beatitudes, Capernaum, Gallilee, Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Mount Zion, Masada, the Dead Sea and through Jericho. Who would like to go with us? Thinking September or October of 2016. We will extend our stay and visit Jordan for four additional nights this trip too.

What about France? France is always a good idea! Paris, Normandy and the Loire Valley are definitely something we will do! Maybe right after the Puglia and Southern Italy trip? We can combine two trips and save on airfare! Who’s in?

Have a question not answered here? Just ask! 
Coffee Shop Travel Club Italy 2016

Food, wine and friends enjoying Italy! Join us May 15-27, 2016! Reserve your spot now!
Food, wine and friends enjoying Italy! Join us May 15-27, 2016! Reserve your spot now!

Join us in Italy May 15-27, 2016! Only a few spaces left on this amazing small group food and wine tour! Visit www.PieLadyLife.com for details! We would love to have you come along!
Join us in Italy May 15-27, 2016! Only a few spaces left on this amazing small group food and wine tour!