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Wines of the World: What to Sip in Croatia

May 15th, 2015 by amorton

 

Croatia is a food-lover’s paradise, a place where you can taste the countryside while trading stories with honey makers, fishermen, and olive farmers. But our 2015 National Geographic Traveler Tours of a Lifetime winner is also one of Europe’s most talked about emerging wine destinations, with more than 800 wineries and a history of viticulture that dates back for centuries.

Today, 64 indigenous grape varieties and a new system of wine appellation are introducing Croatian wine to the world, dividing the country into four regions, 12 sub-regions, and 66 appellations. And while it’s easy to see how even the most enthusiastic oenophile could struggle with the fine print, finding your next great bottle of Croatian wine isn’t as hard as you think.

Here, 10 facts to know before you sip:

  1. Croatia has two main wine regions: Continental (Kontinetalna) and Coastal (Primorska—which includes the islands), and more than 300 geographically defined sub regions.

    Croatia Vineyards

    (via flickr.com/(Mick Baker)rooster)

  2. White wine varietals such as Posip, Grk, Malvazija and Grasevina are the majority, accounting for 60 percent of Croatia’s production.

     White Wine Croatia

    (via flickr.com/Sarah Sampsel)

  3. There are more than 59,000 acres of wine-growing country in Croatia, and 17,000 registered growers.

    Croatian Vineyards

    (via flickr.com/Danilo Tic)

  4. Croatia has been a wine-drinking society since antiquity, when the ancient Greeks produced wine on the Dalmatian islands. Later, the Romans helped to organize wine making in the country and produced vintages for export throughout the empire. Artifacts from this period of rule include grape presses and amphoras (wine vases), discovered in sunken Roman galleys.

    Amphoras

    (via commons.wikimedia.org/ Przemysław Wierzbowski)

  5. Croatia is also home to the Slavonian oak forest, which produces wood used to make the oak aging casks preferred by many wine-producing countries in Europe.

    Croatian Forest

    (via flickr.com/Ronnia Macdonald)

  6. Locals often dilute their wine with either still or sparkling water, creating a drink called gemišt (white wine and sparkling) or bevanda (red wine and still).

    keep-calm-and-drink-gemist

    (via keepcalm-o-matic.co.uk/ SašaDraganić)

  7. One way to select Croatian wine is to use the quality denomination prominently featured on each label. Vrhunsko Vino indicates “Premium” quality; Kvalitetno Vino is “Quality”; and Stolno Vino for “Table” wine.

    Quality Wine Label

    (via flickr.com/David, Bergin, Emmett, and Elliott)

  8. Still not sure what to order? Ask your guide for his or her recommendations. If you’re dining on your own, the wait-staff at most local restaurants will also be happy to assist you with selecting a bottle based on your preferences.

    (via flickr.com/ Digikerwin)

    (via flickr.com/ Digikerwin)

  9. Croatia is also well known for their red wines; Plavac Mali from the Peljesac Peninsula is probably the most famous. California’s spicy Zinfandel is also a direct descendent of two Croatian grapes, Crljenak Kaštelanski and Tribidrag.

    Red Wine Grapes

    (via flickr.com/(matt))

  10. Day 1 of Boundless Journeys’ Croatia: Dalmatian Coast Hiking & Kayaking features a tasting at one of the country’s most well-known vintners, Tomic, where the pillared stone cellar is modeled after a Roman dining room, and constructed using materials and methods originally employed by Diocletian.

    Tomic Winery

    (via bastijana.hr)

The Top 10 Quotes That Inspire the Adventure Traveler

May 1st, 2015 by amorton

As travelers of the world, it’s heartening to share in the journey with others who enjoy the thrill of the unknown road as much as we do. And even if we’re on our own, it’s comforting to know we have the wise words of those who have gone before us to offer a sense of camaraderie, courage, and inspiration. Whether you post them on your bedroom wall or tuck them away in your passport holder, here are 10 quotes that inspire the adventure traveler in all of us.

The world is a book, and those who do not travel
read only one page.
– Saint Augustine

 

Ibn Battuta Quote

(via flickr.com/Latin America for Less)

 

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. – Mark Twain

 

Freya Stark Quote

(via flickr.com/Miguel Virkkunen Carvalho)

 

Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. – Helen Keller

 
Confucius Quote
 

Not all those who wander are lost. – J.R.R. Tolkien

 
Miriam Beard
 

Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

 
Marty Rubin Quote

Spend A Night in These 5 Historic European Hotels

April 23rd, 2015 by amorton

Spring is a great time to plan a hiking trip in Europe, and after long days on the trail, our carefully selected boutique hotels are the perfect place to rest your head. But what you may not know is that many of our favorite properties are also housing centuries’ worth of history. From famous writers’ hideaways to a medieval traveler’s hospital, here are five of our favorites.

1. Hotel Bella Tola, Saint-Luc, Switzerland

When & Where: France & Switzerland: Haute Route Hiking

Hotel Bella Tola in Switzerland

(via swiss-historic-hotels.ch)

Details: In 1859, mountain guide Pierre Pont started construction on the first Hotel Bella Tola in a great stone family house to the east of the village church of Saint-Luc. Today, this four-star Val d’Anniviers hotel still reflects the architectural charm of the Belle Époque, with 30 elegantly appointed guest rooms and a veranda restaurant specializing in regional gourmet dishes like perch à la meunière.

Insider Tip: You can’t beat the view from Bella Tola’s spa swimming pool—complete with floor-to-ceiling windows and a roaring fireplace—where you can sooth your hiker’s legs in the warm water, surrounded alpine vistas and the snow-capped Matterhorn beyond.

 

2. Gregans Castle Hotel, Ballyvaughan, Ireland

When & Where: Ireland: Walking Trails of the Emerald Isle

Gregans Castle Hotel in Ireland

(via irelands-blue-book.ie)

Details: This restored mid-18th century Georgian manor house has hosted famous writers including Seamus Heaney and J.R.R. Tolkien who, it’s said, was inspired by the surrounding Burren landscape when he wrote Lord of the Rings. The 21 individually decorated guestrooms feature handpicked furniture and original antiques, and look out on the mountains or Gregans’ carefully tended gardens.

Insider Tip: The hotel’s acclaimed restaurant won Food & Wine’s best chef and restaurant awards in 2014, thanks to chef David Hurley’s inspired menu highlighting local ingredients such as organic Burren lamb and game.

 

3. Relais Santa Anastasia, Castelbuono, Sicily, Italy

When & Where: Italy: Ancient Sicily Hiking

Relais Santa Anastasia in Sicily

(via hotels.com)

Details: In the hills above Cefalu, Sicly, just steps from Castelbuono, the Relais Santa Anastasia is tucked away between rows of vineyards, offering panoramic views that extend all the way to the Aeolian Islands. This carefully restored 12th century Benedictine abbey provides a tranquil oasis, with 29 warmly furnished guestrooms, a cozy fireplace, reading room, and a scenic outdoor pool.

Insider’s Tip: Stop by the nearby Winery Abbazia Santa Anastasia for a chance to taste some of the vineyard’s acclaimed biodynamic wines.

 

 

4. Parador de Santo Domingo de la Calzada, La Rioja, Spain

When & Where: Spain: Vintage Rioja Hiking

Parador Santo Domingo in Spain

(via newartgaze.com)

Details: Set in a former 12th-century hospital erected by St. Dominic to care for pilgrims traveling on the Camino de Santiago, this transporting hotel just steps from the cathedral is an architectural marvel, with Gothic arches, exposed stone pillars, and wood coffered ceilings. The 61 comfortable guestrooms are also decorated with period furnishings, including four-poster beds, and regional dishes and wine from the Rioja make up the menus at the property’s two gourmet restaurants.

Insider’s Tip: Legend has it that in the 11th century, a hermit named Domingo took up residence in the heart of the forest that surrounded the hotel, dedicating all his energy to making it easier for pilgrims traveling the Way of Saint James to traverse this difficult region.

 

5. The Lovat, Fort Angustus, Scotland

When & Where: Scotland: Highlands & Islands Hiking

The Lovat in Scotland

(via the lovat.com)

Details: The Lovat sits on the former site of the Kilwhimen Barracks, one of four forts built in 1718 to pacify the highlanders after the Jacobite uprisings. Part of the fort’s curtain wall still remains today, and the hotel has been used as a railway inn since 1869.  Located on Loch Ness in the heart of the highlands, the Lovat offers boat trips on the lake, an award-winning restaurant, and 28 contemporary guestrooms and studios.

Insider’s Tip: An eco-friendly property, the Lovat’s various energy-saving initiatives include a bio mass wood chip boiler, a carbon-offsetting program for planting trees, and guest discounts for walking, biking, or using public transportation to reach the hotel.

How to Assemble a First Aid Travel Kit for Your Next Adventure

April 2nd, 2015 by amorton
(via flickr.com/Chris Zielecki)

(via flickr.com/Chris Zielecki)

When traveling in remote or developing areas of the world, it’s never a bad idea to bring along your own first aid travel kit to ensure you’re prepared if the unexpected happens. There are a few basic types of travel medical kits, and each serves a variety of purposes: straightforward Basic First Aid for treating minor injuries, Health Kits to help with common travel-related illnesses, and more comprehensive commercial kits, such as an Adventure Medical Kit, for treating potentially serious injuries sustained during activities like mountaineering or river rafting.

What kind of kit you require depends in large part upon where you’re traveling and what you’ll be doing, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offer some great travel planning resources to help protect you while you’re on the road. We recommend visiting the CDC directly before trying to assemble or purchase your own kit, but here’s a quick rundown of each type to get you started.

Softsided-First-Aid-Kit

(via img.allw.mn)

Basic First-Aid Kits:

Basic first aid kits can be purchased at drug, outdoor, or sporting goods stores (or online) for as cheaply as $25. These contain items such as latex gloves, adhesive tape and bandages, gauze, and antiseptic; tweezers, scissors, and a thermometer; and over-the-counter treatments for minor irritations such as sunburn, bug bites, blisters, and dry eyes. It’s never a bad idea to pack a first aid kit when you travel—or leave the house, for that matter—and many come in soft-sided carrying cases that are easy to pack.

Don’t Forget: Keep tools like tweezers and scissors out of your carry-on luggage, otherwise they may be confiscated by the TSA.

 

(via flickr.com/hitthatswitch)

(via flickr.com/hitthatswitch)

Health Kits:

Health Kits, which can help to treat minor travel-related illnesses, vary from destination to destination. Antimalarial, anti-motion sickness, and medication to prevent or treat altitude sickness, for example, may not be necessary for all trips. Other treatments are more basic: things like acetaminophen and ibuprofen for pain and fevers; antidiarrheal, preventative antibiotics, antacids, and mild laxatives for treating an upset stomach; and medications for respiratory tract discomfort, such as cough suppressants, antihistamines, decongestant, and cough drops.

Don’t Forget: When packing medications, always remember to pack extra of any prescription and over-the-counter medications (baby aspirin, for example), that you take on a regular basis at home, along with things like EpiPens, inhalers, and extra diabetic needles and syringes, if applicable.

(via flickr.com/E´ole Wind)

(via flickr.com/E´ole Wind)

Adventure Medical Kits:

An adventure medical kit is just one variety of commercial medical kits, which can contain items as simple as basic first-aid care to those as complex as emergency life support. The Adventure Medical Kits Company sells several options geared toward hunting and fishing, hiking and backpacking, mountaineering, mountain biking, and more. In addition to basic first aid supplies, some of these offer hospital-quality tools, such as precision forceps, EMT shears, and splits to stabilize fractures and sprains.

Don’t Forget: Some companies will further customize an adventure travel kit to suit your travel and medical needs, such as specific treatments for diabetes and dental emergencies, or aquatic first aid. Once you purchase, be sure to review the contents of your kit to ensure it contains what you need before you travel.

Just in Time for St. Patrick’s Day: 5 Highlights of Ireland

March 17th, 2015 by Matt

Of course, there’s never a bad reason to visit the Emerald Isle, but if you’ve been dreaming of seeing this magical land in person, now’s a great time to make this promise to yourself: don’t let another St. Patrick’s Day go by without booking your ticket.

Of course, we know you’ll want to see the best of Ireland and its incomparable sites, and with that, we can help. Boundless Journeys’ Ireland: Walking Trails of the Emerald Isle itinerary is packed with scenic and culturally focused walks that bring you face to face with the best the island has to offer. Along the way, you’ll hear the surf crash along secluded beaches, observe ancient ruins and brightly colored wildflowers, and listen to the joyous, time-honored sound of a traditional Irish music session.

Here are five of our favorite places to visit in this magical land. Read the rest of this entry »

The Best Adventure Travel Books

March 3rd, 2015 by amorton

When you’re not making your own adventure travel memories, a great travel book is often the best way to bridge the gap. Immersive and beautifully written, these 10 books will whisk you away to far off places—all from the comfort of your own home.

Read the rest of this entry »

Get Ready for the Trails in 2015: Classes, Gear and More…

February 16th, 2015 by amorton

Heading out on the trails with us in 2015? Travel smarter with these new hiking classes, gear, and more:

REI Outdoor School classesGet Fit: REI Outdoor School Classes

There’s nothing pleasant about finding yourself less prepared for a hiking trip or trekking adventure than you hoped to be. Proper fitness training before you go is key, but finding a program that understands the unique stresses that hiking can put on your body can be a challenge, especially if, like many of our travelers, you don’t happen to have a mountain range in your backyard. The good news? You might not need one. Instead, just head to your nearest REI store. (http://www.rei.com/outdoorschool/outdoor-fitness-classes.html)

Starting this month, REI and the American Council on Exercise (ACE) have joined forces to offer specialized classes for mountain climbing, backpacking, and training for 5-10K runs in select REI store communities. The brand hopes to bring a deeper understanding of fitness to its current Outdoor School, preparing participants to achieve their various goals—whether they be navigating the Annapurnas or crossing the finish line at a local 5K.
Read the rest of this entry »

5 Top Destinations for Women Who Love Adventure

February 10th, 2015 by amorton

It’s never too late to make 2015 your year of adventure, and at Boundless Journeys, we offer plenty of opportunities for our female travelers to get out on the trails in remarkable places, see sights they’ve only dreamed of (and capture them on film!), and enjoy rich cultural encounters with local schools, artisan groups, and more.

Whether you’re traveling with a group of girlfriends or are a single traveler looking to make new friends and escape the ordinary, here are five destinations for women who love adventure.
Read the rest of this entry »

Our Favorite Adventure Travel Blogs

November 21st, 2014 by karen cleary

For those of us in the adventure travel world, there is nothing like getting on a plane and landing in a foreign land: somewhere new and unknown, ripe for exploration. It’s what we all live for at Boundless Journeys. But at the same time, each of us at the office has a life here in Vermont, sometimes keeping us grounded for longer than we’d intended.

When that happens, the next best thing is to take a short, virtual sabbatical to check in with the adventurers who inspire us, make us laugh, and make us think. From thoughtful travelers who explore where few others have been before, to writers specializing in capturing the magic and frustrations of living abroad – from the high profile to the obscure – these are just a few of the adventure travel blogs we love.
Read the rest of this entry »

How to Find the Right Adventure Travel Company

November 14th, 2014 by deborah tobey

Whether you want to trek the Himalayas, walk through the Italian countryside, or go white water rafting in Costa Rica, adventure travel is filled with once in a lifetime experiences. But finding a top adventure travel company that suits your budget, fitness level, expectations, and safety needs can feel overwhelming.
Adventure travelers trust their outfitters to provide a safe, secure experience while maintaining a feeling of stepping out on the edge. Outfitters are also trusted with payment, accommodations, and being able to help should anything go wrong.

Rafting along the Balsa River, in Costa Rica.

Rafting along the Balsa River, in Costa Rica.

In choosing an outfitter, the first step is to browse adventure travel options online and determine the destination or activity you’re seeking. Then pick up the phone and reach out to each of the companies you’re interested in. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. This is the best way to get a feel for the operator and the trip you are considering.
Read the rest of this entry »

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