Perpignan Draws Senior Travelers

Perpignan lies in the southeast corner of France close the border of Spain north of Barcelona, 8 miles west of the Mediterranean and 19 miles north of the Spanish border, within sight of the Pyrénées. Senior travelers find that it’s not large, with just over 120,100 inhabitants (Perpignanais, Perpinyanés) in the city proper. Though settlement in the area goes back to Roman times, the medieval town of Perpignan seems to have been founded around the beginning of the 10th century (first mentioned in a document as villa Perpiniarum in 927) and that’s a long time ago.

Perpignan is situated near France’s stunning Côte Vermeille (the Red Coast). Perpignan, the second city of Catalonia, the region that encompasses France and Spain, is a wonderfully lively city, one that passed back and forth between French and Spanish rule over the centuries.  Now in Languedoc-Roussillon, the French Catalans still keep a separate identity from the rest of France with their own language and the national colors of yellow and red that you see everywhere.

I’ll Show My Bias

When I was a student years ago at the Sorbonne, I was told that I had an accent from the Perpignan area.  To me, an American student, it was a compliment that I still cherish. So I have always been fond of Perpignan.  I want to share with my senior friends some of the attractions of the city and good reasons for you to consider spending some quality time there. You’ll discover much to see and do and senior visitors will enjoy just strolling through the town.

Attractions for Senior Visitors

Perpignan has a close connection with the sculptor Aristide Maillol, who attended school there; and artist Salvador Dali proclaimed that the Perpignan rail station is the center of the universe. Today in Perpignan, senior visitors will experience a pedestrian-friendly historic quarter; a daily market; several arts festivals in the summer and lively nightlife.

This site has a number of day trips, images to review, info on the weather and much more. Senior travelers will find lots of history with a host of old buildings in downtown Perpignan, the historic center and more fun sites to visit.

TripAdvisor has a helpful listing of top-rated hotels as well as some suggestions on things for senior citizens to do and where to dine. And another new discovery for Jim called Eye Flare travel advice and tips.

Yahoo Travel will put you into a fine hotel. views Perpignan At A Glance with some fine restaurants and others things to do elsewhere in the Midi-Pyrénées and Languedoc-Roussillon. That name Languedoc, is an interesting one, and as a teacher of French I learned that it meant the “Language of Oc” a region where the word YES was ‘Oc’. In northern France the word ‘oïl’ became “Oui”. How about that?

Enjoy your visit to Perpignan and do learn a few words in French prior to your visit. It will make your visit more enjoyable.  jeb

Filed under : Adventure Travel, Europe


Riga Awaits Senior Visitors in Latvia

Riga is called a “Baltic Gem” and is the largest of the Baltic capitals. It is famed for its “Old Town” where you can arrange a walking tour and stroll the ancient alleyways.  Ask yourself why a senior citizen would want to take in Riga on a personal visit.  Here’s why…you’ll find that the Latvians are very friendly and welcoming to all senior tourists.

Riga is a venue for cultural events on an international scale, but in 2014 it will become the cultural epicenter of Europe. During its year as European Capital of Culture, hundreds of special events will take place – culture in the very broadest sense. Wikipedia is always a good starter point for first-timers to both Riga and Latvia.

Riga’s History Intrigues Seniors

Riga has a history that goes back, it is written, to 2,500 BC. Art Nouveau architecture and Modernism, wooden buildings and masonry… yet the city is young and its cultural & historic environment blends with diverse contemporary events. As you take in Riga on foot you will discover that it is the Old City Riga (Vercriga) that draws thousands of tourists, and folks discover for themselves why this area is the #1 attraction in the city. Punch in the 284 visitor photos of Old City Riga and you’ll fall in love with it. TripAdvisor finds 58 other good reasons to visit Riga.

Riga Today Attracts Seniors

Riga is spectacular with 6 UNESCO World  Heritage Sites. This Official Latvian Tourism Portal shows all of Latvia and senior travelers will notice that Riga is right on the coast. Latvia Travel notes that the “best thing about Latvia” is the fact that it is so compact. This map indicates the major points of interest in Riga.

Riga Tours and Excursions has a listing of all the major things for senior visitors to see and do with a host of custom tours. Scantours would like you to consider joining one of their Riga tours and maybe check out a few more here.

Riga Life provides travel tips, means of getting to Riga, getting around Riga and valuable additional information. Seniors can view a host of images that brings tourists from every nation. Riga is experiencing a new Renaissance as the capital of Latvia, and many large-scale restoration projects on old buildings have made Riga one of the most attractive cities in Europe.

St. Mary’s Dome Cathedral was founded in 1211 and was completed in 1270 as a cathedral of a bishop. This beautifully built historic building has a large organ built in 1884, which has over 6,768 pipes, making it the world’s fourth largest organ. That’s a biggie alright, but there are many other churches well worth your visit.

For me personally, if I had two days in this Baltic gem, I’d search out a sightseeing bus like this one and then walk back to those sites that I wanted to explore in depth. So check with your travel agent for some travel deals to Latvia and plan on spending a few days in Riga.  You’ll enjoy every moment.  jeb


Seniors Visit Vilnius, Lithuania

Vilnius is the largest city (population 550,000) in Lithuania. Wondering where Lithuania is located? It’s on the Baltic Coast. Check out this map and seniors will note that it is just north of Poland and south of Latvia.

Vilnius is an attractive capital with Baroque architecture, churches, medieval towers and one of Europe’s finest “Old Towns.”  The city was founded in 1323, stretched to be the largest country in Europe, and housed a number of cultures, religions and traditions as well as received the best architects and artists from all over Europe. It‘s a mix of beautiful nature, historical landmarks, good food, and “kind people.” Vilnius has interesting history and seniors will discover that the destiny of Vilnius due to its proximity was to be closely intertwined with that of Poland.

Old Town Tops List of Attractions

I know from visiting European capitals that I would head for the old historical portion of the city first.  So let’s see what attracts tourists to Vilnius’ Old Town.  Wikipedia notes that “The Old Town of Vilnius is one of the largest surviving medieval old towns in central Europe.

Vilnius, situated on the banks of the rivers Neris and Vilnia, was founded in 1323 when Grand Duke Gediminas built a castle there. Today the tower of this castle is one of the landmarks and symbols of the city. Vilnius, in Your Pocket Guide, is in English and has everything you’ll want to know about the city.

Shopping? Yes, lots of great shopping for the ladies. Many first timers begin their exploration of Vilnius with a climb to Gediminas Castle, which towers over the old city as a lasting symbol of the strength of Vilnius’ founder. Wanderlust has their TOP TEN for you to check out.

You’ll find that there are several tours available and Viator has a wide selection. A popular tour is the hot air balloon ride over the city. The little red City Tour Bus looks like a fun tour. What the heck, let’s take a private tour instead and see things “up close” and with a personal guide. It’s a lively, fascinating and beautiful city and it seems like there are activities and events going on year round.

Vilnius Attracts Senior Travelers

One of the top attractions in the city is the Money Museum.  TripAdvisor is offers 80 additional sites. The KGB Museum (Genocido Auku Muziejus) ranks high with senior visitors as well. Lonely Planet can help you get to Vilnius as well as finding some recommended hotels.  The local Tourist Information Center caters to English-speaking tourists and can provide maps, suggestions and walking tours. If senior travelers enjoy festivals, concerts, performances, exhibitions and sporting events, here’s the calendar of upcoming performances.

Vilnius looks like a great place to spend maybe a week folks.  It’s on my bucket list.  Put it on yours too.  jeb


Seniors Enjoy a Trip to Zagreb

Zagreb has suddenly become a hotspot for tourism in Croatia.  And why not?  Senior visitors are fond of immersing themselves into the crystal clear Croatian Adriatic and visiting this fascinating country for the first time.

Zagreb is the capital of the Republic of Croatia with around 800,000 strong making it a vibrant city.  Senior visitors will discover that it is a political, diplomatic, cultural, economic, mercantile, transport & communication and major sports center. Wikitravel points out many amenities of Croatia.

Medieval City Attracts Senior Visitors

Zagreb boasts a charming medieval ‘old city’ with architecture and cobbled streets reminiscent of Vienna, Budapest, Prague and other Central-European capitals. Ask me about those three cities that I took in last October. Each is a wonder and full of monuments and sites that thrill millions all year long. Prague and Budapest are said to be the most popular cities in Central Europe for foreign visitors. But Zagreb is also a dazzling place.

The shape of Croatia is highly unusual as you will note on this map. These days, Zagreb is the heart of contemporary Croatia’s culture, art, sports, and academics, but its history is not forgotten. The unique blend of medieval towers, 19th century palaces, open-air markets, and ancient cathedrals, make Zagreb the perfect city for seniors to explore. Here is a map of Zagreb to help you get around.

Culturally, it is a very old and traditional European city, with its numerous historical monuments and a long cultural history reminding of the times gone by . Having been involved in travel for over 35 years, I am well acquainted with the major travel providers such as TripAdvisor, Lonely Planet, Fodor’s, Frommer’s, Wikitravel and a host of others.  I have not yet seen  Here’s their version on Zagreb. This video by the same firm provides a nice overview of the city.

An inexpensive means of viewing the city is to take the Zagreb Tram (Mini Tourist Train). TripAdvisor wants you to consider these 57 attractions along with 14 museums, 12 landmarks, 14 cultural events and much more.

Zagreb’s Major Attractions

Most of Zagreb’s major attractions are in the city center, which consists of two main sections, Gornji Grad (Upper Town) and Donji Grad (Lower Town). Gornji Grad is on a high plateau above Donji Grad and home to Zagreb’s Cathedral and parliament building. Donji Grad is a more modern area known for museums and the Croatian National Theatre.

The Michelin Travel Guide finds 22 major sites to see and suggests that seniors look into these 6 hotels. I leave you with 20 things to do in Zagreb, so have fun choosing which ones you want to take in and check out this nice  hotel while you’re at it.

Enjoy Zagreb.  jeb

Filed under : Adventure Travel, Europe


Seniors Discover Barolo: Wine of the Kings

Achilles Barolo owns Baroli Winery in northern Italy and it has had an impact on the world market. He invites us to Wine with me.  In Piedmont, Italy, Barolo and the Barbareso vineyards invite seniors to enjoy the region and some famous wines.

Much of the Boroli wines is produced with dolcetto grapes. The color is deep ruby red with purple tints while the bouquet displays sweet fruity aromas such as violet, marasca, wild blackberry. The label reads Madonna di Como. A little history on Boroli finds that they have been in business in the region since 1831. Achille Baroli speaks to Bing on his winery and the growing of his famous vineyard.

And Brandolini…

Vistorta has been in the Brandolini family since 1780 and is in northeast Italy’s Friuli region, just 25 miles north of Venice and Count Brandino Brandolini is making an effort to get the word out for a fine Merlot.

Fox News has a listing of wines related that the ladies will love and they list white wines men should drink.  In Italy they say the cold brings out the craving for Barolo and Barbaresco reds. Then there is the fine art of wine tasting.

I’ve been fortunate to be part of a dozen programs in France called Food and Wine of France when I was employed by Elderhostel (now called Road Scholar). Tough job but somebody had to do it! I always thought that I really did not care for Champagne until I spent two weeks in Champagne territory sampling the bubbly.  I discovered that it was “quite alright.”

Seniors Enjoy Winetasting will fill in details on where to buy, testing notes and more. Wine produced with Barbera grapes has a color very intense, ruby red. On the nose it offers aromas of ripe forest fruits and undertones of vanilla while on the palate this wine is close-texture, mouth-filling with aromas of ripe raspberries and blackberries.

I learned all this once as did dozens of participants on my tours in France. I am always amazed at how experts can detect all those aromas and can list four or five very quickly.  I was always safe in saying that the sweet white wines had the aroma of “pears.”  They always agreed with that.

You may wish to do a little searching for the correct means to sniffing out the secrets of white wine aroma. The reds have a long listing as well. To get the best whiff of the wine’s aroma, spend a good 10 seconds swirling the glass with some vigor. This allows the alcohol to volatize and will lift the wine’s innate scents towards your nose. So give these wines a sampling and be sure to use your “nez” well  as you swirl the glass.

Enjoy! jeb

Filed under : Europe, Wine Trips


Seniors Discover Sorrento

Benvenuti to Sorrento, a rising star for many senior vacationers. Located in an area of Italy called Campania with just over 16,000 inhabitants, Sorrento has become a popular tourist destination that can be reached easily from both Naples and Pompeii. Senior travelers will find that it’s  located on the western coast of Italy, about halfway between Rome and the tip of Italy’s boot.

Sorrento is the main portal to the resort island of Capri, which is only  two miles off the coast and is near Pompeii, Mount Vesuvius and the Amalfi Coast.  Almost all travel to Sorrento is routed through the nearest major city, Napoli (Naples). Senior vacationers can get to Sorrento in a variety of ways that suit a wide range of budgets. Note the ferry and hydrofoil terminal on this map that will take you to Capri as well as to and from Naples.

Seniors Stay Busy in Sorrento

 Sorrento’s main selling point is its location. Straddling cliffs that look directly over the Bay of Naples to Mt Vesuvius, it’s ideally situated for exploring the surrounding area. Sorrento’s 2,000-year-old history shows elements of ancient Greek and Etruscan influence and the Romans colonized it in the first century B.C.

I love these interactive maps and this one features some great sea views as well as the port. Senior visitors will find plenty of things to keep you occupied in town starting off with a great pizza place called Pizzeria Da Franco. I think you will especially enjoy the old quarter with it’s narrow streets and many shops.

 Sorrento is Full of Possibilities and Surprises

Wikitravel notes the beautiful architecture, the many cafes and fine restaurants to suit every senior palate. Yahoo Travel has some great photos to share along with suggested vacation rentals. The Sorrento Tourist Office Guidebook can fill in all the FAQs you might want on the city.

I’m big on Hop-On Hop-Off Tours and Sorrento is no exception. The Top Seven Things to Do in town include taking in Capri, the Amalfi Coast and Pompeii with travel hero Rick Steves. Hop in and we’ll drive along the coast or join our guide and tour Sorrento.

Just a couple more “hints” from Virtual Tourist on your stay in Sorrento. A helpful URL by Frommers will fill in most specs…be sure to view the slideshow on this link. My last photo choice site is full of scenic beauty that senior travelers will discover in Sorrento.

I confident that you will totally enjoy your visit to Sorrento. Ciao. Buona visita a Sorrento. jeb

Filed under : Adventure Travel, Europe


Seniors Find Taormina To Be Terrific

Today senior citizens arrive in Catania from the toe of Italy  on the autonomous island of Sicily.  We could easily spend a day or two here in the shadow of Mount Etna but our goal is Taormina. Taormina has been one of Sicily‘s top travel destinations since it became part of the European Grand Tour in the 19th century and Sicily’s first resort.


Senior travelers arrive and discover that Taormina is an amazingly beautiful destination.  The infamous Greek theater dating to the 3rd century BCE, the popular 13th-century Cattedrale di Taormina and the grand Piazza Vittoria Emanuele. How’s that for starters?

The single most popular activity in Taormina is simply strolling up the main drag Corso Umberto, window-shopping and people-watching. My wife and I loved that video. And there’s more.

 Not large, only 11,000 plus folks call this home, but so much history and so much for senior visitors to see and do.  Walk the streets of Taormina with me and study the sites with this slide presentation.

Wikitravel will get you there easily with plenty of helpful traveler information. Italy Heaven likes Taormina too and finds it to be a “fashionable tourist resort.” Would you like a private tour?  Try one of these or City Discovery sightseeing has a guided walking tour.


Seniors See Taormina At a Glance

Check out the principal sights, entertainment, hotels, restaurants and some great travel deals with Fodors. Follow that up with Frommers links and note the Intro to Taormina. Seems like all the biggies, including Lonely Planet, knows all about Taormina and the 45 things to do once you arrive. The Office of Tourism site describes the main monuments in detail plus some great accommodations.

Well, you just have to know this…Taormina has made it to my “bucket list” and it’s easy to see why.  jeb

Filed under : Adventure Travel, Europe


Seniors Gather in Galway

Galway has been a favorite place for seniors to gather for years, especially if you are of Irish background. It’s considered to be the “most Irish part of Ireland.”  It’s also called simply “The City of Galway” and is located in the West Region in the province of Connacht.

Galway lies on the River Corrib between Lough Corrib and Galway Bay and is surrounded by County Galway. It is the fourth most populous city in the state and the fastest growing on the island of Ireland. The city has many relics of its medieval past and is worth taking time to explore on foot. It has changed considerably over the last number of years and features a fascinating juxtaposition of new and ancient architecture.

Senior Visitors Walk in Galway

Here’s a brief history that takes senior citizens back as far as 1232. Today it’s a thriving, bohemian, cultural city that is a popular seaside destination with several attractive beaches.  Tourists flock annually to the Galway Arts Festival, a leading Irish festival.

One of best things about Galway is that senior visitors can walk everywhere. As soon as you arrive, enjoy a walk through the city streets. Here seniors will find lively pubs, independent shops and winding cobblestone streets packed with students, artists, writers and craftspeople. I’ve discovered some neat tours for you to consider taking in Galway.

The NY Times has planned out a 36 hour vacation for us in Galway. The City Museum is highlighted with exhibitions that focus on archeology, local history, arts and crafts. As per usual TripAdvisor has their sign hanging out over Galway inviting seniors to come and take in the 166 B&Bs and 58 other attractions.

Driving in Ireland is another story for those of us who drive on the right side of the road. But here’s some good advice if you choose to drive, told with a little Irish humor. I just loved this video having driven in England.

Discover Ireland features a helpful map, things to do, where to stay, attractions, food and drink and more. And this One Stop Does All link may be all you need to uncover all that you can enjoy in Galway and adds to the list.

This is a fun URL.  Punch in the View the Background in the lower right hand corner of the screen and go from there. Fun and what an enticing view huh? Also go to the Next Beautiful image arrow on the right hand side and you’ll see why senior visitors love Galway. jeb


Seniors Explore Cappadocia (Kapadokya)

Senior historians are captivated by Cappadocia, a historical region in Central Anatolia, largely in Nevşehir Province, in Turkey. In the time of Herodotus, the Cappadocians were reported as occupying the whole region from Mount Taurus to the vicinity of the Euxine.

Lonely Planet notes that those troglodytes sure knew what they were doing when they decided to lay down their hats and call Cappadocia home. Deep in the heart of the country, they settled within the lunar-like landscape and burrowed their houses and churches into stone cliffs and their cities underground. In so doing, they provided a still-cogent example of the simplicity and sense of living at one with nature rather than imposing upon it.

Centuries of volcanic eruptions dumped mud, ash and lava that was later sculpted by rain and wind into some weird shapes. Senior visitors will find needles and chimneys galore. Early christians built the “rock city” and an underground village of Kaymakli that await seniors to come and discover. Not enough historical background for you?  Read on.

Senior Travelers Appreciate World Heritage Sites

By now senior readers know me well enough in my travel blogs to know that I would put Cappadocia on my “bucket list” simply because it is a World Heritage Site! Sure there are lots of natural formations, but human hands performed equally incredible works here. The rocky wonderland is honeycombed with a network of human-created caves; living quarters, places of worship, stables, and storehouses were all dug into the soft stone. The NY TImes has a captivating slide show that exemplifies some of the natural wonders of the area. To me it looks like some giant termites have been at work for a century or two.

TripAdvisor feels that you can spend so much time here that senior citizens can make it a special vacation.  How about 123 hotels and flight from Ankara to get you started? The popular destinations include Goreme, Urgup, Ichisar, Avanos and Ortahisar.  Try spelling those from memory.

In Urgup you can check into a Cave Hotel that you will stay in your memory for a long long time. This is just a one-of-a-kind terrain in the Heart of Byzantium. I found a tour for you to consider with English-speaking guides.

I’ll cap it off today with a few things to do while you are in the vicinity. Enjoy exploring all those big holes in Cappadocia.  jeb


Seniors Travel to Eastern Europe

Krakow, a major center of Polish culture and education, survived WWII intact as did Prague. Today, senior visitors will discover  more historic buildings and monuments in Krakow than any other city in the country.  The authentic Old Town is a UNESCO cultural site and the Main Market Square is the largest medieval square in all of Europe.  Imagine that. The city is a virtual museum as this map indicates.

Krakow travel will fill your itinerary with plenty to keep you busy.  City of Krakow invites seniors to come and see for themselves the Wawel Royal Castle, St. Mary’s Tower and the old streets. There are 79 things to See and Do in Krakow plus cultural sites, museums, landmarks and much more. For seniors considering a European Vacation, Paris, London and Venice might be on the top of your list, but do not neglect the jewel of the east: Krakow, Poland – it has art, history, and beautiful waterways all its own, and is considerably less expensive than any of the more popular locations.

The Prettiest of Poland’s Cities Invites Senior Citizens

TripAdvisor notes that you will want at least three days to take in Krakow. So seniors, study this comprehensive “Survivor’s Guide” to Poland’s second city. I’ll fix you up with some great tours with best prices and even a second site for your planning.  I’ve always found Virtual Tourist to be very helpful and this Travel Guide is no exception.

Consider Krakow’s Historic Center as well as St. Mary’s Cathedral.  Housed in the former administrative building of Oskar Schindler factory, Emalia, is a museum that tells the story of Schindler and the Jewish prisoners of Plaszow who were the inspiration for Steven Spielberg’s hit movie, “Schindler’s List.” Check out TripAdvisor’s suggestions.

I’ve always felt that with little time and not knowing the city, a bus tour is the way to go.  Here is a great example by Gray Line. The Wieliczka Salt Mine is a World Heritage Site. This deposit of rock salt in Wieliczka-Bochnia has been mined since the 13th century. Spread over nine levels, it has 300 km of galleries with works of art, altars, and statues sculpted in the salt, making a fascinating pilgrimage into the past of a major industrial undertaking.

I always put World Heritage Sites at the top of my list for any visit anywhere in the world.My wife and I toured Spain going from one World Heritage Site to the next. That’s the route to take.

There can be no doubt about it, Krakow is Poland’s Cultural Capital. Study the map a bit, make your plans and enjoy your visit to Poland.  jeb

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