Author Archives: Paul - GetAway Travel Service

Time Flies Like an Arrow; Fruit Flies Like a Banana

Time flies.  2016 is coming to a close and 2017 is literally peeking its head around the corner.

Often we close out the year talking about many of the awesome journeys we went on – but let’s switch it up just a bit and talk about you, because you are awesome too.

You had a great year and created many new and wonderful memories.  Here’s some amazing places you went and cool things you did.

dreams-cancun-5-5-2008-5-22-35-pm-2896x1944You got married!  Yes you did!  You and many of your fabulous friends and family members went on a vacation to a warm beach destination in Mexico or the Caribbean and you – you said “I do” to that special someone.  Everyone had such a great time.  It was an amazing vacation – hot, sunny and relaxing with delicious food and ice-cold drinks.  There were so many fun times at the pool, beach, dinner and of course at the bar (you are from Wisconsin of course). And now you have that special someone to spend the rest of your life with.  You of course, will never forget 2016.

49-cruising-the-rhine-river-chrismas-market-cruise-037You also fulfilled a lifelong dream and travelled through parts of Europe.  First you made your way by floating along the great rivers.  You loved cruising along the Danube, Rhine, Moselle, Main, Seine, Rhône, Saône, Po and Dordogne  watching small towns and castles slowly come into view and then ever so slowly fade away.  You visited the iconic gothic Cologne Cathedral and afterwards enjoyed a few Kölsch beers with their delicate lacey foam heads.  You attended an enchanting concert in Vienna, the city where Mozart composed many of his best known concertos and symphonies.  Centuries ago Vienna was the Imperial seat of the Holy Roman Empire and later of the Austro-Hungarian empire, while today it is ranked as one of the most liveable cities in the world – and you were there and loved it.  You sipped all sorts of amazing wines at vineyards in Switzerland, Germany, Austria, France and Italy.  Your favorite was that 1-beaune-france-7-26-2013-9-37-55-ambright and tasty rosé  that you had at a charming street café – one which you had no plans to go to, but just stumbled upon while wandering around a quaint little town which still retained many of its medieval walls.  You already forget the name of the wine and of the café, but you’ll never forget just how enjoyable and magical that day was.

Rail travel through Europe remained a popular and convenient way for you to travel.  Easily and efficiently you were able to move from town to town.  When you got to Florence Italy, some of the most amazing art work in the world was there just waiting for you.  It is so hard to believe; it rome-italy-vatican-10-15-2015-4-07-54-amtook over 2 years to make and has been standing for over 500 years.  At 17 feet tall  Michelangelo’s David is a wonderful sight to behold.  After David, Michelangelo was invited back to Rome where he spent four years painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.  Words could not describe how you felt when you saw it – over 5000 square feet of painting containing over 300 figures.  You still feel just a bit guilty taking a picture of it as that was one of the few places in the Vatican where photos were forbidden.  One place you did take a lot of pictures (that was not forbidden) was at the worlds largest museum – the Louvre in Paris.  You marveled at the Mona Lisa – wondering why exactly is she so famous, but resigned yourself to the fact with so many people crowded in front of her, that she must be very special indeed.likuliku-lagoon-resort-fiji-2-1-2011-1-50-22-pm

You weren’t done yet though.  Artwork and history is very nice, but sometimes you just need a beach.  Well you found many of them.  You found beaches in Fiji, Mexico, Jamaica, Hawaii, Florida, Dominican Republic, Grand Cayman, Bahamas, Turks & Caicos, Costa Rica, Belize, Aruba, St Lucia, St Thomas and Barbados.  You loved the beach.  In fact if you close your eyes you can still feel the sun beating down on you, hear the sound of the waves and feel the breeze through your hair.  Stress was gone, gone, gone.

p1080019Our friend the Mouse, welcomed you to his Magic Kingdom in Orlando.  You took the grandkids there and my oh my did they love it.   But it wasn’t just Disney – you also went to see Harry Potter and attended the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry at Universal studios. You know the kids almost never remember exactly what comes in a gift wrapped box just a few months later – but they will always remember the time they went on vacation with Grandma and Grandpa.  Those memories will definitely last forever.

You also enjoyed dinner under the stars in the middle of the ocean.  Which ocean?  It does not matter – you felt like you were the only people on the planet and everyone was there to make sure you had a good time.  Your hotel and restaurant floated along to what felt like wherever you wanted to go, but in reality you did not have to make the decisions – it was all being done for you….it was kind of like being on vacation!  Yes vacation.  You loved your vacation time in 2016 and would not trade it for the world.  You came home and told all your friends about what a great time you had.  And when they asked who helped you plan – you told them about us.  That’s why we love you.  You are smart enough to use our agency, and you are warm and generous enough to tell everyone you know what a great treasure we are for travelers.

Here’s to 2016!  Cheers!

Here’s to all the amazing places you’ll go in 2017!  Cheers!

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Do you know who MONA is?

This BLOG post originally appeared 11/12/11 on our old site with the title “what the heck is MONA”.  MONA is still a great place to visit so we thought we would re-post.  Hopefully we will get to Tasmania again some day soon!

Just a short flight from Melbourne takes you to the island of Tasmania known for the Tasmanian Devil and convicts.

On our first night in the Australian state of Tasmania we stayed at the lovely, modern and somewhat funky Mona Pavillion. Here there are 8 stand alone villa units with either one or two bedrooms as well as a presidential suite facing the River Derwent. From the outside they look somewhat like a space ship.

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From the inside they are right out of a James Bond movie. Each unit is named after Australian artists or architects. We stayed in Walter.

DSC_0393Walter from the outside

DSC_0376Living space in Walter

Each villa faces the harbor providing wonderful views throughout the day. And how could you not have a wonderful view, 3 of the walls are windows. Now i’m not saying they have windows….i’m saying they ARE windows. Full windows with shades that are operated by remote controls on the walls. How cool is that!

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These modernly appointed villas have everything your heart desires including a stocked wine bar, chilling each bottle to its exact prefect drinking temperature! The fridge is stocked with local beers, juices, soft drinks and milk.

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DSC_0392Yes, we had to pull them out to take a photo!

Our unit was a two bedroom, each with it’s own bathroom. And speaking of bathroom! Yeah this is my kind of set up! Oversized Jacuzzi tub with TV on the wall and a remote that if dropped into the water neither electrocutes you and still works!

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The beds, extremely comfortable….you’ll just have to take my word on that and in the morning wake to the wonderful sounds of nature chirping outside. Our bedrooms were tastefully decorated, some had a bit more of the shock factor going on.

DSC_0382Bedroom #1 in Walter

DSC_0435Bedroom #2 in Walter

DSC_0422One of the bedroom’s in the Roy (the largest pavilion)

Each unit is priced differently based upon it’s size but run between $390 – $990 per night based upon 2-4 guests. Plus tax of course. There are full cooking and laundry facilities in each unit.

DSC_0379Kitchen

These pavilions have everything a traveler could want.  As a matter of fact on a placard in the villas it says “we can arrange almost anything legal, just ask”. I’d call that customer service!

So what the heck is MONA?

Well it stands for Museum of Old and New Art. Mona is located just a short 10 minutes outside Hobart, Tasmania and is home to a somewhat shocking if not weird museum, a vineyard, cellar door and wine bar, a brewery, a restaurant, the Pavilion’s and of course a shop.

DSC_0396 Main building

DSC_0447The restaurant

DSC_0448The cellar door

At the cellar door you get a 1 hr. tasting and the admission fee is refunded if you purchase. Wine tours are available for $15.

DSC_0451Of course we tasted…and purchased!

DSC_0475The wine bar and brewery

On Friday and Saturday evenings you can get a 1 hr. beer tour and tasting for $15. They make 4 types of beer and all have no preservatives and are not pasteurized. You got to love the catchy “Moo Beer” name! Wine and beer master classes can be arranged upon request.

DSC_0478Believe it or not, we did not try them all!

As for the museum, lets just say it might not be for everyone as many exhibits are downright shocking and for some would be repulsive.

DSC_0483Museum entry

As the statement goes, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” this pretty much sums the gallery up. The owner, David Walsh aka Glenn Walsh. Tourists not from Tasmania pay $20 for admission, those under 18 are free. Some of the exhibits are sexually explicit, others personally confronting thus the gallery may not be for children.

DSC_0493Plaster molds of a woman’s privates

DSC_0494The white room

DSC_0497The woodpecker (sorry just trying to give you a feel for the museum)

DSC_0517The human digestive system recreated, this woman is actually feeding the machine lunch at 1130am (sandwich, salad, fruit and a drink).  At 200pm it has a bowel movement! We did not hang around for that!!

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Coolest thing in the museum, mummy on the left, xray tomography of it on the right!

So, that is MONA.  Who wants to go?  It really is quite a cool place, definitely 2 or 3 nights are needed.

New Group GetAway Just Added – but you must act soon

Have you ever taken a European river cruise?  Have you ever cruised with Uniworld Boutique River Cruises?

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Our customers love to cruise on Uniworld.  In fact it has one of the highest rates for repeat trips amongst all the suppliers we use.

 

You may very well ask why that is.  Well for starters, the standards of accommodations, food and service are extremely high.  The ships have very tasteful interiors and yes they are all different, with each being as unique as your voyage.   Typical cruise lengths are 8 – 15 days and everything is included, making for carefree and truly effortless travel.   Included are: scheduled airport transfers, all dining on board, unlimited beverages (including many premium spirits), personalized shore excursions, fitness center, Wi-Fi, on-board entertainment and all gratuities.

kinderdijk-windmillsOK – is this a commercial?  Yes it pretty much is and here is why.  We currently have some very special amazing prices on select Uniworld Cruises including our group cruise in April 2017 from Amsterdam to Antwerp.  This “Tulips and Windmills” cruise is scheduled to coincide perfectly with a visit to the famous Keukenhof gardens which has over 7 million bulbs in bloom each spring.  Additionally we will visit the windmills of Kinderdijk, the picture perfect villages of Veere, Hoorn and Enkhuizen, and the cities of Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Bruges and Antwerp.  So much to see and so much to do but you need to act fast.  Why?  Because our amazing special pricing only lasts until October 11.  Give us a call at 262.538.2140 to reserve your spot with our group.

For additional details on the ship and the trip you may also want to visit our web page.

 

 

Europe GetAways in 2017

We have 2 exciting European Group GetAways scheduled for 2017.  They may both be cruises, but they are completely different!


1-Wine_grapes07First up is the Wines of Western Europe which includes Bordeaux (France), Basque (Spain) and Portugal.  Our group will be sailing aboard the luxurious Azamara Journey.  Azamara Club Cruises is at the crossroads of where luxury and destination immersive cruising meet.  This ship only holds 694 passengers and has a wonderful mix of amenities.  She’s a perfect-sized vessel: small enough that it’s never too far from one place to another, yet large enough to provide variety on long itineraries. On our trip we will experience late evening and overnight port stays.  The Journey was completely refurbished in 2016 –  it received new spa suites in the fully renovated Sanctum spa with updated decor in marble, light wood and a cream palate. Every suite and stateroom has new beds with the same decor scheme, and the restaurants also received a modern upgrade.

Our 12 Night GetAway begins in Southampton England on September 4 and ends in Lisbon Portugal on September 16.  Along the way you will experience the worlds foremost wine region in Bordeaux, spend a day at the Guggenheim museum in Bilbao, wash Tapas down with Rioja wine, and sip port in the Douro Valley – and so much more.  You can find more details at our website.  We hope you can join us.


salzburg2Our second European Group GetAway for 2017 is in December.  Why December?  Christmas MarketsCome with us and celebrate the season as we cruise along the Danube aboard the Uniworld SS Maria Theresa.  We last visited Christmas markets in 2014 and everyone had such a great time that we knew we’d definitely do it again.

If you’re tired of commercialism taking over the holidays, you will be very pleased with the traditions and romance of real Christmas markets where the gifts are not mass-produced but craftwork of real quality.   Our group will begin in Budapest and sail along the Danube while visiting Hungary, Slovakia, Austria and Germany.  Every stop along the way will feature special Christmas Market excursions.  You can find more details on the itinerary at our website.

Every Uniworld ship is as unique as it’s itinerary and the SS Maria Theresa is no exception.  It’s opulent 18th century décor is a floating homage to one of the Habsburg empires most beloved ruler.  The food, drink and service on Uniworld are absolutely outstanding – and everything is included!  Call now as there are limited time promotions where even the air is included!

  As always, we can be reached at 262.538.2140 or send us an email: paul@getaway.travel or sue@getaway.travel


 

Problems? Not for you.

Six months ago you booked a special family vacation at an all-inclusive resort in the Caribbean.  You love to travel and fully understand what a special time this will be – so much so, that you enlisted other family members to go with on the trip.  Mom and Dad, Brothers, sisters – everyone was excited.

Did you know that 3 days before you departed on your much-anticipated family vacation, the resort determined they were oversold.  Did you know your name was added to a list of people who were moving to one of their sister properties an additional hour drive away from the airport.

Did you also know that they were only moving some of your family?  Some of you would stay at the original property and others would stay at the sister property.

Did you know this?

Of course you didn’t know.   You use a travel agent.  In fact, you have a great travel agent that works diligently on your behalf.  An agent that solves problems before you ever even know about them.  GetAway Travel LLC – solving problems that their clients didn’t even know they had since 1999.

Getaway awesome

Professional Service & Awards

At GetAway Travel, we pride ourselves on great professional service to our customers.  Travel industry surveys continue to relate that travelers that work with travel agents have more fulfilling vacations than those that do not.  We certainly believe it is true, and obviously so do our clients.  Our clients expect to be treated like friends and family.  They are confident in our abilities.  They do not expect to be “sold” on travel as we already know they want an amazing vacation, what they want is our opinions, our help and our support.  One of the ways we support them is by maintaining professional agency affiliations. The affiliation that we are always most excited about is with MAST Travel Network – and unless you are in the industry, you likely have never heard of them.  We’ve been MAST members for many years now, and in fact Sue currently is serving a term on the board of directors.   MAST helps keep us up to date on the travel industry and products, but more importantly puts us face to face with suppliers.

This week was the 12th annual MAST awards night and GetAway Travel came home with 2 awards which bring us great pride.  The first award is for “Best Travel Show”, for our “Afternoon in Italy” event last February.  The second award is the “Directors Achievement Award”, recognizing one of MAST’s smaller agencies for outstanding sales and support with highest percentage increases from one year to the next.  This was a new category and we are truly blessed with being the first agency to ever receive this award.

You should expect great things from your travel agency, and we hope that for you that the travel agency you rely on first and foremost for amazing vacations is us.

Looking Forward – 2016 Year in Travel

European vacations continue to hold great value. The US Dollar remains at historic low levels vs. the Euro. This is good news for travelers to Europe as you definitely get more bang for your buck.  Our best advice for Europe is to plan ahead – this is not a destination that typically rewards the last-minute traveler.   The best way to start planning your European vacation is to schedule a consultation with Sue.

Uniworld River Baroness Honfleur France 3-26-2009 4-32-41 AMRiver Cruising continues to grow and for very good reasons. Our clients absolutely love to take River Cruises. All it takes is to try it once and you will rave about it forever. Be aware however that not all river cruise companies are equal. You can research endlessly on your own, or you can call us to discuss. Our goal is to find out about what you want to do, how adventurous you are, what you like and what you don’t like. What are your travel dreams?  Our recommendations are simply based on you and your needs, that’s it.

iberostar-rose-hall-beach-poolAll Inclusive vacations will remain hot, hot, hot. The industry continues to upgrade old properties and build new ones. There are All-Inclusives for all tastes and budgets. Well we know you want a warm weather, beach destination, but are you looking for a romantic escape or a family/multi-generational getaway? Do you want basic dining choices or a more gourmet experience?   How does a canopy covered bed and open air shower sound? Or a private plunge pool within mere steps of your suite? The choices go on and on.  We can help narrow it down to something you will love.

According to the experts, air ticket prices are down but add-on fees are up.  The simple fact, is you need air tickets to get to many vacation destinations. They are the transportation, not the vacation.

Cheap will remain, well….cheap. While the dictionary defines cheap as inexpensive, it also defines it as something of poor quality or shoddy. Continue to be cautious about anything advertised as cheap, supercheap, ultracheap, etc. A fantastically cheap vacation is not a good value if it is actually craptastic (this is our official industry word for cheap vacations!). Everyone wants good value and that’s where we help – get the best value for your money that actually gets the vacation experience you are looking for. Will it be cheap? We certainly hope not.

The best things in travel continue to come to those who plan ahead. For example, how about planning 2017? You may not be ready yet, but we are. We have 2 special group options worth considering.

Join us in January 2017 for our GetAway on the Getaway.   We will do all the following:  go down the highest water slides at sea, attend award-winning Broadway shows, experience Iron Chef dining, walk the plank and be endlessly entertained and pampered.   Book now and choose between Free unlimited drinks, Free Specialty Dining, Free Shore Excursions or Free WiFi.

In September 2017 we will be hosting a very special Wines of Western Europe group on the Azamara Journey.  Beginning in England, we will sail to France, Spain and Portugal.  Azamara specializes in unique itineraries that include overnight stays in many ports.  Our group will be in Bordeaux, one of the world’s foremost wine regions for 3 days.  But that is not the only World Heritage region we will visit – see our web page for all the details.

Waterfalls & Wine 2015

Our 2015 Waterfalls & Wine tour in the great Pacific Northwest was a tremendous success.

Heading out from Seattle, we went to see our first waterfall.  Snoqualmie Falls did not disappoint with an amazing double rainbow – this was truly a sign of all the good times to come.

Snoqualmie Falls - double rainbow

Snoqualmie Falls – double rainbow

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a great start to the tour

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Even at the falls, there is an opportunity to taste wine.

Our next stop was in Yakima at Gilbert Cellars – Hackett Ranch.  The hospitality was warm and welcoming, the wines were tasty and the scenery was outstanding.

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Happy folks in the lavender

Gilbert Cellars

The ladies are mesmerized

After a delicious catered lunch at the Hackett Ranch, we departed for Walla Walla, the town so nice they named it twice.  The group checked in a the historic Marcus Whitman Hotel.  This was our home for 2 nights while we explored the nearby wineries.

Day 2 began at L’Ecole – where the wine was very nice, but I think everyone agreed that our second stop of the day at Northstar was truly a hit.

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Wine tasting and lunch on the patio at Northstar

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After lunch we head to the vines to hear about Washington wines

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and then on to the wine blending class where everyone made their own red wine blend from 4 different barrels of Merlot, 1 Cabernet Sauvignon and 1 petite verdot

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the blend is starting to take shape

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the group shows off their personally crafted wines

After eating lunch and crafting our own red wine blends there was still another winery stop to make.  At Long Shadows we experienced a custom tasting and tour that included barrel sampling.

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keep it coming!

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the sadness and shock of seeing an empty fermentation tank

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Keep your wine thief handy, we’re having a barrel tasting

On day 3 everyone packed up for our journey to the waterfalls along the Columbia River Valley…but of course we stopped at a winery along the way.  Columbia Crest in Horse Heaven Hills.

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Our server at Columbia Crest for the reserve tasting was charming, engaging and a true delight. Look at all the happy faces

After a brewpub lunch stop we travelled along the Columbia River Gorge, with brief stops at 5 waterfalls.

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Amazing view of the Columbia River

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Evening of day 3 found us just outside of the Willamette valley.  For dinner we took over our hotel lobby, ordered pizzas and everyone brought a bottle of wine to share.  Day 4 began in the picturesque Dundee Hills.  Our first stop was Archery Summit.

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Our tour of Archery Summit had frequent stops to taste wine.

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Pretty bottles all in a row

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Just one of many vineyard views in Dundee Hills

The group loved Archery Summit and did not want to leave…except it was time for lunch.  So off we went to our tasting, tour and catered meal on the patio at Domaine Serene.

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side by side comparisons

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our tour at Domaine Serene begins

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After Domaine Serene, we had a special musical interlude

and then on to our next stop – Durant Vineyards

 

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the dancing continues

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outstanding views from Durant vineyards

Our final wine tasting in Willamette Valley was at Soter Vineyards

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artsy photo of Soter glass

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the gang continues to have fun

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is it time to dance again?

36-waterfallsandwine-035 At Soter even old friendships were made new again!

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A sincere thank you to everyone that joined us on the 2015 Waterfalls & Wine tour.  We look forward to our next journey together.

A Great Way to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

You may or may not be Irish, but you certainly know it’s a day to put on something green, have a shot of Jameson’s or a pint of Guinness and dance a little jig.  Perhaps you’ll even attach a shamrock to your lapel and go hunting for leprechauns.

March 17 is the traditional death date of Saint Patrick, the foremost patron saint of Ireland.  Patrick was born around AD 385 in Britain, which was part of the Roman Empire at that time.  When he was about 16, Patrick was captured by Irish pirates and taken from his home and forced into slavery in Ireland.  He lived there for about 6 years before escaping and returning to his family.    His time spent in captivity was critical to his spiritual development, eventually leading him to convert to Christianity and becoming a priest.

According to tradition, Patrick later returned to Ireland to convert the pagan Irish to Christianity.  He spent many years evangelizing and tradition holds that he died on March 17 and was buried in Downpatrick, a medium-sized town south of Belfast in Northern Ireland.

So now you may ask, how do all the traditions come in to play?

Shamrocks typically have 3 leaves (4 leaves actually being rather uncommon).   According to legend, Saint Patrick used the 3 leaves to explain the Holy Trinity to Irish pagans.

Wearing green likely had no significance whatsoever during Patrick’s time.  The color was widely adopted in the 17th century when a green harp flag hoisted by the Irish Catholic Federation.  In the 18th century green became associated with Irish nationalism by groups that led the rebellion against British rule.

And finally the drinking.  It is related to the fact that St Patrick’s day falls during the season of Lent – and the churches in Ireland, not wanting so spoil the holiday, remove Lenten restrictions on eating and drinking for the day.   Jameson’s whiskey and Guinness beer are excellent stories  to tell, but let’s save that for another day.  How does sometime in September sound?

Why not join our group on the Irish Legends Tour in September 2015?

Come and make new friends as you tour the Emerald Isle

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6 Reasons you should join us on February 21 for an Afternoon in Italy

  1. The grape juice you have at home is not called Chianti Classico.
  2. It took Michelangelo 4 years to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, your home improvement project can wait at least 1 more weekend.
  3. Wisconsin Dells vacations, no longer seem as romantic as they once were.
  4. You want to find out if Azamara is a town in Sicily.
  5. You love tasting wine, but you love free wine tastings even more.
  6. Your best friend is your travel agent.  If not, we can fix this.

Wine Festival, Impruneta, Chianti Tuscany, ItalyCome for the wine, stay for the fun.

We will be at Vina Mundi wine bar in Genesee Depot, Wisconsin.  S42 W31428 State Hwy 83.

2-4 pm

Saturday February 21

So we know if the Chianti Bottle in the photo is big enough for everyone that attends – please RSVP via email sue@getaway.travel or call 262-538-2140

Veni, Vidi, Vino  (I came, I saw, I wined)

We look forward to seeing you there!

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