Seniors Are Heading North

Ålesund and Sunnmore are getting more and more visitor attention with many senior tourists taking in the Art Nouveau style architecture of Alesund, its surrounding fjords and the high peaks of the Sunnmøre Alps.  Some refer to Alesund as an Art Nouveau destination.

The architecture makes it different from any other city in all of Norway… and enjoy that Norwegian accent. The Jugend style buildings has many ornaments, and are mostly in very good and authentic condition. This one is in the typical Jugend architecture.

Lonely Planet pinpoints the location for us along with a great introduction to the city. It’s the largest city in the area with about 40,000 cool inhabitants. Wikitravel fills in the blanks for a nice itinerary all ready for your arrival. Darn ads (skip it in 5 seconds), but this is a nice YouTube presentation.

Here’s a great view of the shoreline as a cruise ship pulls away to go on to its next Norway destination. Did you see that neat roof with soil on top? Ålesund is a popular port stop for cruises and should you chooses to make this your choice, here’s is some advice for passengers.

TripAdvisor and Virtual Tourist Beat Us There

TripAdvisor highlights 39 different attractions that senior visitors will want to check out. Number One was the Atlanterhavsparken, Great North Atlantic Aquarium. Virtual Tourist has a nice travel guide to use including nightlife, shopping, local customs, restaurants, things to do and more.

So, if you are not well acquainted with Norway, here are some facts about the country that will help senior visitors feel more comfortable. Note the coast of arms that symbolizes the importance of fishing for the city. Consider dining at the Fjellstua that is the city’s oldest dining place (100 yrs. old in 2003). And the Sjøbua, a fresh seafood restaurant, looks inviting from its location in an old wharf-side warehouse in the heart of beautiful Alesund.

And be ready for this…The Geirangerfjord in a 360 degree view.  WOW! This one is totally awesome. The Geirangerfjord is unique and exceptionally beautiful – which is why this fjord landscape is included on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. Norway has lots of offer senior visitors. It’s one beautiful country!

A Bucket List Possibility?

Ålesund may lack the pulse that larger cities often have, but then city pulse might not be the prime reason senior travelers choose a destination. Few destinations can be better suited to offer senior visitors a varied experience.  Do enjoy exploring Ålesund.  jeb


Senior Tourist Attractions in Mexico

Mexico is one of the world’s most popular vacation destinations with over 20 million foreign visitors a year. Famous for its tequila, the Aztecs and the Mayas, Salma Hayek, Day of the Dead, drug wars, Lucha libre, Corona beer and the beach resorts on the Pacific and Caribbean side, Mexico can offer something for every senior traveler.

The warm sunshine of Cancun, Isla Mujeres and Cozumel continually invites seniors to come and enjoy and are among the many attractions that Mexico has to offer. The Yucatan Peninsula is home to a large grouping of Mayan archeological sites; major ones include Chichen Itza, Coba, Edzna, Kabah, Tulum and Uxmal. Many areas of the peninsula are blanketed by a thick jungle, and in the southeast, tropical rain forests merge into the borders with Belize and Guatemala.

If You Have Been to Mexico, Seniors…

The number one rated attraction is Teotihuacán. It is memorable for me because I have climbed to the top of the pyramid twice.  What a view from up there and the region is filled with history of the Aztecs.  Archeologists are still discovering hidden gems around the area.

In the 2nd century BC a new civilization arose in the valley of Mexico. This civilization built the flourishing metropolis of Teotihuacán and it’s pyramids. The Pyramid of the Sun was built around 100 AD and is the largest pyramid in all of Mexico. The construction of the smaller Pyramid of the Moon started a century later and was finished in 450 AD. Seven centuries after the demise of the Teotihuacán empire the pyramids were honored and utilized by the Aztecs and became a place of pilgrimage.

Chitzen Itza

Chichen Itza is the largest of the Mayan cities in the Yucatan Peninsula and one of Mexico’s most visited senior tourist destinations. The most famous landmark of Chichen Itza is the temple-pyramid of El Castillo. Each face of the pyramid has a stairway with 91 steps, which together with the shared step at the top, add up to 365. Other highlights of Chichen Itza include the Great Ballcourt and El Caracol, a circular temple which served as an astronomical observatory.


Tulum, situated on the east coast of the Yucatán Peninsula, once served as the major port of the Mayan city of Coba. Tulum was built around 1200 AD when the Mayan civilization was already in decline. My wife and I loved walking around the grounds.

Touropia lists their top 10 tourist destinations in Mexico and each draws thousands if not millions of tourists to the land of the Maya and Aztecs.  Senior travelers will not run out of amazing sites to visit and things to see and do in Mexico.  And all that great Mexican food…

I love Mexico and Mexicans. Always have and always will.  jeb

Filed under : Adventure Travel, Mexico


Seniors Search Out a Second Albany

Senior travelers, when you hear about the city of Albany, what do you think of?  New York, right?  I did too until I received a very nice travel brochure from Albany, Oregon.  It’s a pretty neat little city with just over 50,000 happy people.

Perhaps you have heard of the Willamette Valley? Albany is located in this fertile valley along with 700 historic homes and four historic buildings.  That’s reason enough for senior historians to check out Albany and the valley.

The town’s visitors association has a great website with lots information including the events of the week. Senior visitors will not be hurting for things to see and do. There are some great hotels and B&Bs just waiting for you to check out.

Take in a few of the tours offered including wine tour packages. Do you know anything about ductile zirconium? I didn’t either until I read this interesting information. Albany is famous for the process.

A Guidebook For Senior Visitors

Here’s a copy of the 24-page visitor’s guide that I have in my hand right now and it’s one of those interactive types that you can page through online. It’s a great guide book to Albany, including an historic mainstreet, old historic homes and covered bridges nearby. Read up on the self-guided tours through several of the historic districts.

The Monteith House-Museum dating from 1849 is a must see. The Monteith Historic District is on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. Check out the Nosh Tour via Albany’s Historic Trolley and take in a few of the eight historic covered bridges that are all located within a short distance of the Albany area. Linn County seems to overflow with history.

Welcome to Downtown Albany

There seems to be something happening downtown all year round. It’s an area teeming with great shopping and dining and crowd drawing events. Albany is proud of its Historic Carousel and Museum put together with community volunteers. Look at all the things for seniors to see and do. It’s a nice site.

Put Albany on your bucket list now and plan to swing by soon. Albany, Oregon is one of those places where my wife and I would love to visit and I think you will too.  jeb


Way up North…

Yes, Sitka, Alaska is way up north. In Sitka you will find the natural splendor of the city  along with its diverse history and cultural heritage making the town a great place for seniors to visit and explore. Some of Sitka’s key attractions are listed here and there are more on the Sitka Convention & Visitors Bureau web site.

With a population around 9,000, Sitka is the fourth-largest city by population in Alaska. Sitka is said to be the most beautiful of southeast Alaska cities. Nestled on the west side of Baranof Island, it is flanked on the east by majestic snow-capped mountains, and on the west by the Pacific Ocean. The climate is mild, and they get more than a fair share of “liquid sunshine”.

WebCams are always neat and the one for Sitka is no exception. Scenic beauty abounds and the locals find Sitka a great place to call home.  I have heard that folks who move to Alaska just don’t want to leave.  A vacation to Sitka would be one great reason to want to stay there even longer. YouTube takes seniors on a visit to a church built by Russians.

Accommodations flourish and there are many fishing and wildlife tours for seniors to consider. Check out Sitka for it’s Four Seasons. Sitka has its share of historical sites and the local Historical Museum will treat you to exhibits, photos, artifacts and archives.

Things For Seniors To Do in Sitka

The listing of things to Do is long and adventuresome and seniors will find plenty to do from hiking trails, taking in a National Historical Park to visiting a neat aquarium. Although first inhabited by Native Tlingit Indians, Sitka is recognized as the heart of the Russian influence in the Inside Passage.

The Russians Are Coming

No, the Russians were here. They arrived by 1741 and in 1804 attacked a Tlingit fort. After creating a city and staying for more than a century, the Russians sold Alaska to the United States in 1867. The official transfer ceremony was held in Sitka. Russians established Southeast Alaska’s first non-indigenous settlement in 1799, and the town flourished on fur.  Today Sitka’s Russian history is interesting and well preserved. Take a short tour of Downtown Sitka.

Sitka is a common stop on cruise routes and a regular stop along the Alaska Marine Highway System. Alaska Airlines also operates flights from Seattle and other Pacific Coast and southwestern cities to Sitka. The best way to see Sitka’s sights is on foot. Frommers will  help you not only get there but keep you well occupied once you arrive. Should be a great adventuresome trip, seniors.

Enjoy and listen to Johnny Horton sing North to Alaska.  jeb


Seniors Discover Several Classic Travel Publications

There have to be hundreds of travel magazines and publications.  Which ones should we subscribe to? This question applies to many of us senior citizen travelers. I would like to recommend that senior travelers consider perusing each of these below to enhance your journeys. They are not in any order or preference, just a listing of some that I have found to be useful.

National Geographic Traveler is an excellent one for starters. I have subscribed to this publication for years and love it. It celebrates journeys that are about place, experience, culture, authenticity, and great photography. And of course coming from National Geographic it just has top notch, right?
Travel and Leisure (known as T&L) focuses on leisure travel and features resorts, restaurants, cuisine, and entertainment. It also often includes World’s Best Awards in many categories. Then there are reader surveys  rating destinations and a listing of highly rated travel providers.
Conde Nast Traveller rates right at the top for me and offers practical guides to over 250 of the world’s best holiday destinations with detailed information on each. Touch the GUIDES button and hone in on specific areas of the globe.

For Senior Women Travelers

Journey Woman is an online travel resource just for women. This is the only magazine I know of that focuses on women and travel. You can browse travel ads, enjoy the 500 Best Travel Tips section and read Hear Travel Tales.
My Destination is a local guide in travel destinations all around the world, covering current events and things to do, along with all the information a senior traveler could need. Its homepage lets you hone in on specific areas of the world and highlights travel articles and blogs that you’ll find helpful. I liked their “Biggest Baddest Bucket List“section.
Outpost Magazine is a bi-monthly magazine providing archived resource information on destinations and creating a community of travelers. The homepage site is highly colorful, with many links.
Literary Traveler is a new resource for me that provides informative articles featuring writers and the places that they have traveled with many colorful photos.

On A Junket features stories from travelers on adventures and misadventures, travel tips and guides. I loved the photo of the Israeli soldier with a bird sitting on his foot. Neat shot huh? You’ll find travel stories written by enthusiastic travel writers, each of whom has taken a slice of their journey to share with readers.
Inside Flyer
Dedicated solely to you frequent travelers and here you’ll discover their many free award programs. Each month, Inside Flyer provides readers a closer look at the latest news from the frequent traveler. They pose a question to readers that asks: “How would you use 5 million miles/points?” Most (71.5%), like me, chose Travel around the world.  Some (10.1%) were nice and transferred points to family and friends. A few (6.1%) remarked that they would charter an entire plane and take a whole bunch of folks with them and fly everywhere.

This makes for great dreaming and planning material, enjoy!   jeb


Advice For Senior Hikers

Most serious senior hikers are experienced and are well equipped. Nevertheless, accidents can happen. You may not have the EMT experience or that of an MD, but you do need to take certain things into consideration on a long hike. One reads about “trouble on the path” whether is it serious or simply having come  into contact with a prickly pear or a nasty bug. Every year, scores of unprepared hikers, lured by initially easy downhill hiking, experience severe illness, injury, or death from hiking. Take the Boy Scout Motto seriously, Be Prepared.

In unconventional settings some training is advisable for seniors on all levels of hiking experience. Wilderness Medical Associates International has great advice to share.  It’ll be worth reading over their information for being a first-responder. WMAI is dedicated to the development of remote and practical medicine around the globe and annually trains over 8,000 medically and non-medically trained students around the world.

Outpost Magazine

If you are an experienced hiker you may already know of Outpost Magazine.  They ran an article on getting trained in wilderness first aid. Serious senior hikers may be interested in taking one of their courses in order to help others as well as yourself on the trail. You may be in pretty good shape.  That’s good, but do not rely on physical strength alone, hiking smart will take you much farther.

One can always learn from those who are more experienced.  These few links provide some excellent general advice regarding camping and backpacking. So maybe you just might be considering taking on the Appalachian Trail.  Before you do, consider reading “the Thru-Hiker’s Handbook” by Bob McCaw or the A.T. Guide by David Miller. A good check list is always in order including everything from a map, a compass or even a GPS. And be sure that your cell-phone is full charged as well.

Attention Senior Novice Hikers

Group hiking is fun. If everyone in the hiking group is a beginner, then it’s best to choose a route that matches your abilities. But how do you go about finding the best route? Well, it requires a little research, including enquiries at different tourist offices and time invested in studying tour descriptions either in books or on the Internet.

If you have any limitations owing to health problems, you must take this into account. Don’t embark on a hike without first having carried out appropriate training and make sure you plan the trip carefully. Take some good eats along that satisfy. Most would not even think about this one, but carry a photo ID and of course plenty of water. Lastly, Hiking Dude is there to help with hints and tips to make your senior hike a totally enjoyable and successful one.  Have fun on the trail folks.  jeb


Senior Traveler Choices

Senior travelers have so many choices today that it may become difficult to make a decision where you want to go and with which company.  Google provides a plethora of choices when you input “Travel Abroad” or “Travel Companies”. I came up with 201,000,000 links for the first and 904,000,000 on the second.  It will take seniors a while to surf through those.

So I’ve decided to look into just one that made news lately and to check into a site called TravelStore.  Their motto reads: “We’ve been where you want to go”.  Sounds good. They can pretty well fix you up with every aspect of traveling. First they bring up Our Advantage followed by Travel ExpertsDestinationsCruisesInterestsHotels and lastly Travel Resources.

TravelStore been around since 1975 and notes that…”TravelStore has been committed to bringing our clients the best in value and quality travel arrangements. We’re an employee-owned company anchored by our values, integrity and dedication to customer service. Our award-winning company consistently ranks as one of the best agencies in the country according to Travel Weekly and is a top member of the prestigious Signature Travel Network, a worldwide partnership allowing us to bring our customers unmatched benefits”.

Locations and Contact Information for Senior Travelers

TravelStore has several locations throughout California. They invite you to make an appointment with one of their vacation planners to create your next trip. You are invited to tell them about the travel experience you’re looking for. Senior citizens can complete this form and one of their travel experts will get back to you to help you plan your vacation.

TravelStore Journals

This link contains blogs of folks, including senior travelers who have traveled with the Travel Store and you may find it interesting to read some of them. I collect places to fill my “bucket list” and one of them is to circumnavigate the globe while visiting the world’s most iconic sights.  Travel Store can help  accomplish this by private jet, a luxury cruise or a completely custom-arranged journey.  I may just go for it.

Happy Sunday afternoon reading, dreaming, surfing and perhaps planning...jeb


Seniors, Take a Good Look at This Opportunity

Semester at Sea (SAS) out of the University of Virginia takes 600 students from around the world each semester.  Most people don’t know that they also take about 30 senior citizens.  You can attend classes, use the library and the internet with the students and enjoy the faculty lounge with the “grown-ups”.

This rewarding and stimulating way to travel allows you spend 5 days or so in each port and the lectures leading up to each port are geared to make the most of your stay. In port, senior students can travel independently, on ship sponsored tours or stay on the ship each night, doing day trips. Of course instructors are also on board and you can mix and mingle with them as well.

Spend Your Summer Sailing

Seniors, this may just be a real opportunity for you to stay young, join the University of Virginia SAS group and go sailing for an entire semester.  You have already missed the first boat that left on January 09 and returns April 25. The next one will leave on June 17 and returns August 22.

The 66-day voyage now spans 9 countries and 12 ports across the Mediterranean, North Africa and 3 overland ports: Italy (Livorno/Civitivecchia); France/Spain (Marseille/Barcelona), and Spain/Portugal (Cadiz/Lisbon), enabling senior participants to spend as many as 6 days exploring a country or region. How does that sound to you? Note that SAS is proud to be sponsored by the University of Virginia, one of the nation’s most prestigious institutions of higher education.

A Senior Learning Adventure

Educational travel lies at the heart of the SAS experience. Utilizing more than 50 years of expertise in the field of international educational travel, SAS provides a host of explorations in the more than 40 destinations visited each year. Field programs, drawing on shipboard curriculum, include UNESCO World Heritage Sites, service learning visits, home stays, national park excursions, architectural walking tours, eco hikes, and on-the-ground investigations that are hard to replicate on other programs.

More Info Please and Maybe Just Hire Me

Which ship? It’s called the MVExplorer. You’ll find students from as many as 280 different colleges and universities on board. Maybe you would like to be an employee for that semester and if so, check out this employment site. You just may enjoy the experience so much that you will become an alumnus and want to join another semester as many have done.

So read up (43 pages) on the travel blog experience of others called News from the Helm and enjoy your planning.  Wikipedia fills in lots of blanks on SAS and you will not want to skip this link. Facebook adds valuable additional information.

Sounds like a bucket-list experience to me. I think my wife may jump on this one.  jeb

Phone: 800.854.0195 | Fax: 434.243.4076
PO Box 400885 Charlottesville, VA 22904-4885


Seniors Enjoy One of America’s Treasures

If you are a senior history buff and have not yet been to Williamsburg, VA, you are missing one of America’s great treasures. America’s Historic Triangle, Williamsburg, Yorktown and Jamestown, is a vast historic area with scores of original buildings, hundreds of homes, shops, and public buildings all reconstructed – most on their original foundations.

Rare animal breeds, trades, and gardens add layers of authenticity to the recreated town. Seniors will fit in easily with the over 4,000,000 people who visit the Williamsburg area every year. You’ll  experience the award-winning, authentic, interactive tours of the times and lives of our colonial ancestors, not to mention the great dining and quality shopping found throughout the “Historic Triangle”. Jamestown, Williamsburg, and Yorktown contain treasures found nowhere else. This map may help to give you some orientation.

Where the American Dream Was Made

It is said that both Colonial Williamsburg and Yorktown are where the “American Dream Was Made.” Colonial Williamsburg, the nation’s largest living history museum, encompasses 301 acres including some 500 buildings, homes, stores and taverns reconstructed and restored to their 18th-century appearances; dozens of exhibition sites; tradesmen practicing 30 historic trades and domestic crafts; historical interpreters and character actors; and 90 acres of gardens and greens. The interactive, live-action drama Revolutionary City is offered daily from mid-March to the holiday season.

Historic Yorktown, a 15 minute drive from Williamsburg along the scenic Colonial Parkway, is most remembered as the site of the pivotal victory in the American Revolutionary War. The Yorktown Pub is located on the historic Yorktown Beach. While you enjoy your meal or a cold drink, you can view the scenic York River and the most historic beach in America.

It is located just minutes from the Yorktown Battlefield where independence was won. Yorktown is famous for the siege and subsequent surrender of General Cornwallis to George Washington. You can visit the Yorktown Battlefield site including a terrific Diorama version. This was also the point of departure for the surrendered British forces.

Major Highlights Attract Senior Historians

Some of the major highlights are the Governor’s Palace, the Capitol, the Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg (DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum and Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum) and Bassett Hall. TripAdvisor  will keep senior visitors busy with Things to Do. Jamestown Settlement is a major attraction and one of the most interesting living museums in Williamsburg.

Senior citizens will enjoy our nation’s heritage and today’s amenities. Experience the past along with modern attractions, outdoor activities, visual and performing arts, contemporary accommodations, world-class golf, outlet and specialty shopping, and memorable dining.

So come and maybe meet some of your ancestors in Williamsburg, Jamestown or Yorktown. I believe this might be one of the best US trips for senior citizens. You are only six people away from knowing everyone in the world anyway, but here you may even shrink that number with a visit to Virginia.  jeb

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