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St. Petersburg-4

2017 is nearly over and with another crazy year nearly behind us, I’m grateful to have been able to travel to some mighty bucket-list worthy destinations this year, including a lot of gorgeous scenic beauty along the way.

Railtours Ireland/Cliffs of Moher
[Cliffs of Moher, Ireland]

1. A Day Out with Railtours Ireland

As this was our first trip to Ireland, we had to be selective in order to fit in a good amount of touring into one week. With the majority of our time spent enjoying Dublin’s highlights, we made it a point to embark on a day out to see a bit more of the Emerald Isle.

Railtours Ireland offers tours from one to 11 days. Their one-day train tour takes in the Cliffs of Moher, Bunratty Castle, Burren and Galway. I know this sounds like a lot to fit into one day (it’s a long one, too) but at least we didn’t have to get behind the wheel, particularly a bonus after a lovely Guinness-enhanced pub lunch in Doolin. If you’re out this way, touring Ireland by rail affords beautiful views and a relaxed pace.

SUGGESTED READING

Railtours Ireland Highlights: Cliffs of Moher, Bunratty Castle, The Burren
Our Dublin, Ireland Mini Guide
Conrad Dublin Offers a Luxury Stay in the Heart of the City

AirVentures Hawaii-13
[Beautiful Kauai from high above]

2. Soaring Above Kauai, Hawaii’s Incredible Landscape

If you think Kauai is gorgeous on land, just wait until you get above ground! We enjoyed a 65-minute circular tour of the Garden Island with AirVentures Hawaii, whose cozy six-seater Airvans give every passenger a window seat to awesome views all around.

You’ll be up and admiring the coastline, craggy mountains, volcanic craters and waterfalls within minutes of takeoff. I can’t get over how gorgeous this place is and yes, we were lucky to get up in the air on a clear day, but even with slight cloud cover when passing above Waimea Canyon, our trip was A+ all around. The pilots are helpful in helping you get the best shots as they circle above to give everyone a clear shot of the gorgeousness that is Hawaii’s oldest and greenest island.

SUGGESTED READING

Soaring High Above Kauai With Airventures Hawaii
Star Na Pali BBQ Snorkel With Capt. Andy’s

Festival d’Été/view from photo pit
[Festival d’Ete, 50th edition, Quebec]

3. Festival d’Ete Turns 50 and celebrates with The Who, Metallica, Muse, Gorillaz, Backstreet Boys and Pink

With 50 years of thrilling Quebec music and culture lovers, Festival d’Ete is one helluva party. This year, the lineup included Metallica, The Who, Gorillaz, Muse, Pink and Backstreet Boys.

Every year, the festival grows; time spent wandering the streets outside the venues shows how friendly and inclusive this world-class festival truly is. 11 days of music? I’m ready to head back next year, just waiting to hear what bands will make their way here to indulge their fans.

SUGGESTED READING

Quebec City’s Festival d’Été Turns 50 With Stellar Global Lineup
Hotel Le Germain Quebec Offers Luxury Sleeps in Heart of Lower City
A Culinary Journey Through Quebec City
Historic Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac Receives Major Upgrade in Time for 125th Anniversary

St. Petersburg-1
[Inside The Hermitage, St. Petersburg]

4. Russia Highlights Aboard a Viking River Cruise

2017 afforded me the chance to explore Russia along the Volga River with Viking Cruises.

I am hooked. Cruises are a wonderful way to unpack your suitcase once, put it under the bed and simply enjoy. River views brought me face-to-face with colourful onion-domed churches, birch trees and cityscapes. From St. Petersburg to Moscow, we had a variety of excursions (many included in the price), activities on board and friends to make. I hope to revisit Viking’s stellar service aboard an ocean cruise in the new year.

SUGGESTED READING

Cruise Notes: Waterways of the Czars
Czars, Spiraled Dome and Vodka: Exploring Russia With Viking Cruises
Russian Folk Arts Spotlight: Matryoshka Dolls
Sampling Russian Vodka on the Viking Truvor

Pantai Inn, La Jolla
[La Jolla’s Balinese-inspired Pantai Inn]

5. Pantai Inn, La Jolla

Admittedly, as a luxury travel writer, I am spoiled with luxury hotel stays, however this little gem in La Jolla just melted my heart. Pantai Inn is Balinese-themed and right along the coastline, making for an ideal base while exploring San Diego and La Jolla village.

The rooms are equipped with spacious kitchens, dining rooms, comfortable beds and unique showers in the bathrooms. In the morning, a full breakfast awaits inside the hotel’s two-level dining area. There’s a sweet little patio and outdoor fire pit that add to the cozy ambiance. La Jolla’s Pantai Inn is located at 1003 Coast Boulevard.

La Jolla’s Pantai Inn Offers a Luxurious Balinese-Inspired Retreat by the Sea
Bliss Redefined: The Neroli Experience at the Spa at Estancia La Jolla
La Jolla + San Diego: Sights, Sleeps & Sunshine
Our Laguna Beach, California Getaway Guide

I wish you all festive holiday season and a 2018 filled with wishes-come-true travel!

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