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MADRID, BARCELONA AND TIPS FOR TRAVELLERS

In Part 3, Churches were once Mosques and Synagogues, Novelists pay homage to Spain’s bullfighters and castles, Tapas tantalizes and Flamenco fiery passions ignite.

Spain rolls out the welcome mat

Madrid was the last stop of our guided Odyssey Tour. For five of the 10 couples, our next stop was Barcelona, a three-day tour extension. Odyssey arranged our transportation to the airport from Madrid to Barcelona and had a local guide waiting to escort us to our final hotel. Transportation was also arranged to take us to the airport for our journey home.

Downtown Spain, where many buildings have sculptures decorating the skylines.

Where we stayed: Wellington Hotel, an old-world property near some of Spain’s luxury shopping. Many of the stores were brands popular in the United States, such as Tiffany or Benetton.

What we saw: Plaza Mayor, located in the heart of the city, and Palacio Real, a 2,800 room residence that was home to Bourbon kings from Charles III to Alfonso XIII. The palace today Read the rest of this entry »

OLIVE OIL, HEMINGWAY, FLAMENCO DANCE, AND TAPAS

In Part 2, Roman ruins, mountain-top castles, gypsy offerings, history rich from battles and architectural ingenuity

Parador de Ronda in the background while restaurants, hotels and homes sit precariously on the edge of the El Tajo Gorge

There are more than 300 million olive trees planted across Spain. Don’t tell Italy, but we were informed that much of Italy’s olive oils derive from Spanish olives. That was just a glimpse into the world’s largest producers of olive oil. On the road from Carmona to Ronda, our Odyssey Tour group stopped for a few hours at Basilippo Calidad Gourmet Olive Oil company in El Viso del Alcor, Seville, Spain for a hands-on experience of picking olives from the trees. Unfortunately, it turned out to be the only time we had Read the rest of this entry »

SPAIN FURTHER AWAKENS OUR SENSE OF HISTORY, FROM CASTLES TO ICONIC CHURCHES

In Part 1, our tour of Portugal took us on a trip through Lisbon, Monsarez and Évora. The journey continues into Spain.

Roman Amphitheatre in Mérida

Mérida was a much too-short visit to one of the most fascinating attractions of our tour thus far. At least for my husband Russ and me. We’ve never been to Rome, so have never been to the remnants of the Roman Colosseum; therefore, the exploration of the Roman Amphitheatre and the Roman Theatre in Mérida was like being on the set of “Gladiator,” without having to watch the blood, gore and thumbs-down kill signs hoisted by a rabid audience.

While at the UNESCO World Heritage archeological site with our Odyssey Tour group, schools of Read the rest of this entry »

Belem Tower, Lisbon, Portugal,

PART 1: PORTUGAL

We travelled back to 13th century Portugal and Spain without having to step foot in a time machine or imbibing in mind-altering drugs. The trip began simply enough with an overnight stay at the Corinthia Hotel Lisbon, the first stop in our two-week trip with Odysseys Unlimited’s tour of historic lodging and architecture.

The tour is billed as Paradores & Pousadas, which means luxury accommodations resurrected from ancient monasteries, castles or city halls by governments eager to restore iconic structures reflective of Read the rest of this entry »

IN THIS ISSUE: GROUP DISCOUNTS AT RESORTS ACROSS THE WORLD; ORLANDO PULSES WITH LOVE AND FOOD; SUMMER ACTIVITIES FOR THE FAMILY; CORPORATES GO SHOPPING!

HOT DEALS!

Paradisus Punta Cana Resort in the Dominican Republic

Book one of six Dominican Republic Meliá properties and receive 35% off and two free passes to Swim with the Dolphins. Pick one of these resorts: Paradisus Palma Real Golf & Spa Resort, The Reserve at Paradisus Palma Real, Paradisus Punta Cana Resort, The Reserve at Paradisus Punta Cana, Meliá Caribe Tropical All Inclusive Beach & Golf Resort, and The Level at Meliá Caribe Tropical.

Book a Meliá resort in one of these locations before September 17th and travel by October 31 to receive a 35% discount. Locations include nine hotels in Tenerife; 23 in Mallorca; nine in Malaga; four in Benidorm; six in Alicante; 4 in Menorca; two in Marbella; and two in Ibiza.

Book a stay at ME Miami in Biscayne Bay, Miami, FL by June 30 and stay before December 21 to Read the rest of this entry »

Hotel Unique in São Paulo, Brazil is offering a promotional rate for groups

HOT DEALS!

There’s strong evidence that Hotel Unique in São Paulo, Brazil is appropriately named. Where else have you a hotel that resembles a half watermelon sitting on a food stand? The 94-room property has green-weathered copper stretching across the façade works to contain the unusual shape of the building. Curved walls and expansive spaces allow for internationally-amassed statement pieces and contemporary art. The rooftop terrace includes a crimson infinity pool and bar. The location is in the upscale residential area of Jardins. There are 10 meeting rooms, one extra room with a lobby view, and it can accommodate up to 1,000 people for reception. Book an event for up to 50 people and get a secial rate which includes room hire, in-room service, A/V equipment, lunch and two coffee breaks.

res@designhotels.com

Last minute summer getaway plans for yourself or your group? Gaylord Hotels has an enticing offer, even if you can only book three to seven days in advance, as longs as the stays are by August 31. The deal varies by the hotel. Save up to 15% when you book Gaylord Opryland Resort in Nashville, TN at least a week in advance. Book either the Gaylord Palms Resort (Kissimmee, FL) or the Gaylord Texan Resort (Dallas/Ft Worth, TX) at least 14 days in advance and receive 15% off. You can earn 20% in savings by booking Gaylord National Resort in Washington DC just three days out. Make sure you provide the promotional code: ADP.

www.marriott.com

Book at least 15 rooms per night at Shula’s Hotel & Golf Club in Miami Lakes, FL by September 30 and receive a $109 room rate with a $60 per person complete meeting package including breakfast, lunch, AM & PM breaks. You’ll also receive a $100 Spa credit or Tee Times for four at Shula’s 18-hole Read the rest of this entry »

Glovax Gloves, a new glove on the global market designed to be lightweight, flexible for multipurpose usages.

I rarely review products, but this was sent to me for an unbiased review, and because it is an item I envision myself using, I agreed to check out Glovax Gloves, a brand new product just entered into the global marketplace.

First: what the gloves are purported to do. They are designed for usage indoors and out, from weeding the garden to playing sports where a tight grip would come in handy. They are promoted as being revolutionary because of the multiple ways in which they are useful.

They are to be flexible enough to grasp machinery or even kitchen tools. I cook and bake as well as work in my garden, so having gloves that are light weight and are also supposed to be water proof (the outside coating) would be valuable to me.

What could be better: I don’t know if the company offers a variety of sizes or even other colors, but my neon orange gloves, with a pebbled palm surface to maximize the grip, were a bit large for my hands. I easily had an extra inch of finger space, but the gloves do pull on easily. Although the gloves surfaces are coated and meant to be water proof, after I put the gloves through my gardening test, I rinsed them off with soap and water. The insides were damp, but the dirt slid off easily.

Wish they were longer on my arm, but working in the garden was easy with their lightweight flexibility to deadhead flowers or replant.

I also would love it if the gloves came in different lengths. I am allergic to more items than I could list. Working in the garden is always challenging. If certain plants touch my lower arms, I break out in a rash. In this test, right above my wrists, where the gloves ended, I indeed broke out. I purposely touched a thorny plant stem to see how easily the thorns might penetrate. They did, but not with the full force the thorns might have otherwise done.

What I really like: obviously the fact that the gloves are flexible and wash off easily. I was able to use a trowel, deadhead flowers, and snap off some dead leaves on my herbs, tasks I’ve had difficulty doing with some other gardening or utility gloves. These are light weight, so if it wasn’t for the pebbly rubbery texture, you might not otherwise feel them.

I did a quick test with using a cleaver and had no problem grasping the hilt.

The campaign to market the gloves just launched. Check them out for yourself.

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/glovax-a-revolutionary-adventure-glove/x/16458430#/

Karen Kuzsel is a writer-editor based in the Orlando area who specializes in the hospitality, entertainment, meetings & events industries. She is an active member of ILEA and MPI and is now serving on the 2016 – 2017 MPI Global Advisory Board for The Meeting Professional Magazine for the second consecutive year. She is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists. Karen writes about food & wine, spas, destinations, venues, meetings & events. A career journalist, she has owned magazines, written for newspapers, trade publications, radio and TV. As her alter-ego, Natasha, The Psychic Lady, she is a featured entertainer for corporate and social events. karenkuzsel@earthlink.net; www.ThePsychicLady.com; @karenkuzsel; @thepsychiclady.

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