Hotspot For Seniors

Birmingham, England has become a hotspot for seniors to visit. For historians with a hunger to explore a city’s history, Birmingham’s heritage is magical. The city’s name comes from the Old English Beormingahām, meaning the home or settlement of the Beormingas. Just thought I’d toss that in for your explorative minds.

London is just a hop, skip and a jump away from the bright lights of Birmingham, in the Heart of England. Take some time to explore some of the most interesting and idyllic areas that England has to offer.

Whether you’re following your senior taste-buds, your fashion sense or your passion for history, there’s a part of the Birmingham region that’s perfect for you. Outside of London, Birmingham has the largest population with just over one million residents and is a major international commercial center.

Birmingham has been undergoing a radical change and many of the post war buildings have been replaced. The majority of the city center is now pedestrianized (there’s a Brit term), and the canals cleaned up to make for attractive walkways.

Senior History Buffs Drawn to Birmingham

With a traceable history going back over 10,000 years, there’s plenty to uncover. The industrial revolution created unheard-of wealth in the city, and the resulting Georgian and Victorian architecture mixes perfectly with modern masterpieces to create a vibrant, brilliant city.

With one of the most compelling and eclectic British arts scenes, Arts and Culture abound in Birmingham. On the one hand the area spawned Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, UB40 and Duran Duran. On the other, it’s perfect for those who like to stroke their chins in academic appreciation of the arts.

Birmingham (the h is silent, and, in the local dialect, the g is hard, as in Birming-gum) was at the heart of the UK’s industrial revolution, and its wealth was built upon the multitude of trades that were spawned. This led to a massive canal network, with more miles of canals than Venice or Amsterdam (though they’re very different types of canals).

The city is full of attractions that will fill the inquisitive minds of most seniors. Locals are called “Brummies” that comes from the city’s nickname of ‘Brum.’ Don’t miss the #1 attraction, Symphony Hall, that is Birmingham’s world-famous acoustically refined 2262 capacity concert hall presenting a diverse program of jazz, world, folk, rock, pop and classical.

Senior visitors will note the rejuvinated town center, helped in no small part by the revitalized Bullring center, and the iconic Selfridges building. So get out a good map, find a good travel agent and make plans to visit Birmingham. You will find it to be an exciting and fun place.  jeb




Seniors Discover Authenticity in Little Bavaria

There are several reasons to “gear up” for Leavenworth, Washington including the upcoming Oktoberfest which is one highlight of the year for the town of only 2,000 inhabitants. The locals like to say to senior visitors that “We’re Bavarian Charm and Northwest Hospitality.”

The Fest starts October 4th, so get ready for live music, German food, arts and crafts, and activities for the whole family, including senior visitors. Oktoberfest in Leavenworth is the next best thing to being in Munich. Leavenworth, originally known as Icicle (can you guess why?), was renamed after Captain Charles Leavenworth, one of the first commercial developers in this part of Washington.

Senior Love Affair With Leavenworth

Leavenworth is located on the eastern slopes of the Cascade Mountain Range in the upper reaches of the Wenatchee River Valley. The town is 118 miles east of Seattle. Ever since the change to a Tudor Style Bavarian Village, Leavenworth has become a pillar of the tourism industry in the Pacific Northwest.

Woody Goomsba, the dapper nutcracker from Leavenworth, stars in his first music video – “Gitcha Goomsba Up!” This is really a “one of kind” tourist ad that highlights Leavenworth. Now we know why close to two million tourists come to visit Leavenworth each year.  You too, like each senior visitor, will find an individual love affair with the community. And those mountains…right out of the Sound of Music.

Leavenworth is famous for it’s exciting festival line-up including the Christmas Lighting Festival, Oktoberfest, Mai-Fest, Alefest, Autumn Leaf Festival and several more events. In the winter, the summit of Stevens Pass is just 30 miles from town making playing in the snow quite convenient.

TripAdvisor will fill in all your FAQs and suggest several fun things for senior citizens to do while you are in town. Maybe practice your German (ein Bier bitte hier) prior to your visit. Can you yodel? Maybe they can use you. Enjoy Leavenworth.  jeb




Seniors Discover Natural Wonders

Big Bend. Ever heard of it?  When I told my wife that I was writing a blog on Big Bend, she said, “That’s in London and it’s a big tower, right?”  I said “wrong.”  Actually point of information: Big Ben is the nickname for the great bell of the clock at the north end of the Palace of Westminster in London. Seniors, have you been there? Don’t say “NO”, say “NOT YET”.

Big Bend National Park is located in SW Texas. It has national significance as the largest protected area of Chihuahuan Desert topography and ecology in the United States. Included in this park are more than 1,200 species of plants, more than 450 species of birds, 56 species of reptiles, and 75 species of mammals.

Why do a blog on a park in Texas?  Because it’s special and it’s BIG.  It’s full of natural flora and fauna that seniors enjoy on site. Big Bend is one of the largest, most remote, and least-visited national parks in the lower 48 United States.


This is the place in Far West Texas where night skies are dark as coal and rivers carve temple-like canyons in ancient limestone. At the end of the road, hundreds of bird species take refuge in a solitary mountain range surrounded by weather-beaten desert. Tenacious cactus bloom in sublime southwestern sun, and diversity of species is the best in the country. This magical place is Big Bend.

Once a remote and seemingly inhospitable area reached only by miles of dirt roads, Big Bend has become one of the most popular vacation destinations in the state of Texas visited by an average of 300,000 visitors each year. Seniors love its scenic vistas, diverse wildlife, historic sites, and border culture.

The Rio Grande River runs along the southern part of the Big Bend Country and forms the border between Texas and Mexico. Did you know that the Rio Grande is one of the longest rivers in North America? This region is called “Big Bend” because the Rio Grande River turns into a Big Bend.

Flora and Fauna Intrigues Senior Visitors

The diversity of life is largely due to the diverse ecology and changes in elevation, ranging from the dry, hot desert to the cool mountains to the fertile river valley. Senior hikers, Big Bend’s primary attraction is its trails. And senior birders, another popular activity is birdwatching with more than 450 species of birds recorded in the park. Many species stop in the park during their migrations.

Welcome Bravoceratops! On June 1, researchers from Big Bend National Park and Texas Tech University announced the discovery of a new species of dinosaur in Big Bend National Park – the Bravoceratops. This horned giant roamed the area 75-65 million years ago, adding another Cretaceous era dinosaur to Big Bend’s long list.

Pack your water jugs, your camera, sun glasses, binoculars, a great hat, and enjoy Big Bend. You’ll be glad you did.  jeb



Filed under : United States


Seniors Experience Culture and Diversity

Set on sparkling San Francisco Bay, Berkeley is a city of diverse districts and great discoveries. It’s a city where senior visitors come for the culture, stay for the food, and depart with their imaginations, taste buds and memories fully engaged. Berkeley is a food-mecca. The city motto seems to be “Come for the Culture.  Stay for the Food.”

It is quite evident that the counter-culture, flower power center of the 60s, bohemian Berkeley has evolved into a culinary and cultural travel scene. The very name of Berkeley conjures up images of dissent and it remains a solidly left-wing oasis.

Senior visitors will find that Telegraph Avenue holds most of the student hangouts, and several excellent book stores. Culture overflows into the streets of Berkeley and the Downtown Berkeley Arts District and Berkeley Art Museum. The Aurora Theatre Company, Berkeley Repertory Theatre and Cal Performances present world-class productions year round that draw visitors from every nation.

UC Berkeley is home to the Golden Bears and is one of the world’s leading educational and intellectual centers. Furthermore it is renowned for the distinction of its faculty and students, scope of its research and publications, and quality of its libraries.

The Cal campus also serves as Berkeley’s unofficial “Central Park,” with beautifully landscaped grounds, historic architecture, and wide walking paths through stands of redwood and eucalyptus trees that connect downtown Berkeley with the Telegraph Avenue business district.

UC is home to more than 30,000 Golden Bears and 24 Nobel Prize winners. UC is clearly what makes this city something more than a picturesque bedroom community. Cal’s landmark is the 1914 Sather Tower, also called the Campanile, with elevator rides to the top. It’s a cool site senior travlers will not want to miss.

Senior Visitors Enjoy Berkeley’s Parks

Tilden Park is one of Berkeley’s oldest and most popular parks. The #1 tourist attraction in Berkeley, Tilden Park is also one of the three oldest parks and has been called the Jewel of the System. The #2 draw in town is the 34-acre Botanical Garden, which holds about 13,000 species of plants. The species are organized according to regions of the world, and the garden has a great collection of native Californian plants. This senior citizen would have to head over there being a Master Gardener and my older brother, a PhD botanist, would probably beat me there.

For a city of 112,000, Berkeley has a super-sized presence. Berkeley has a strong reputation for its liberal politics, rooted in the Free Speech Movement of the 1960s. Although Oakland, its southern neighbor, is considered the new center of liberal political activism, the progressive spirit is alive and well in Berkeley,  just as it is in nearby San Francisco.

Berkeley is a unique experience, enjoy!  jeb




Seniors Say Yes To The Ultimate Adventure

My wife and just returned from lunch with friends who shared with us that a senior brother and sister-in-law were busy hiking the Alps. It was a pace of 10 miles a day for 10 days. We learned that they’d planned for a year for this ‘Ultimate Adventure’,  making plans for a shelter for each night along this well-traveled trail. My wife says to me…”you just have to do a blog on this.”  So here we are.

I figured that there may be one or two firms that specialize in hiking in the Alps, but there are several. Smarter Travel calls this experience the Ultimate Summer Adventure with several options and ideas on how to make this a great tour.

Trails for Every Interest and Ability

Wild alpine meadows, deciduous and evergreen woods, lunar landscapes, high altitude terrain, alpine lakes, soaring peaks, dramatic walls, and towering heights… sound like your kind of place? Many senior hikers want the freedom to set the pace and to do a self-guided tour. In the European Alps I found the famous Haute Route (or “High Level Route”) that links two of Europe’s great mountaineering centers: Chamonix and Zermatt.

More than 10,000 people make this trek each year. For hikers, the Tour du Mont Blanc is the ultimate summer adventure: a 10-day circular walk that starts and finishes in France and passes through both Italy and Switzerland along the way. It encompasses 11 mountain passes, about 32,000 feet of elevation gain and loss, and nights in remote mountain inns and huts. In short, there’s no better way to experience the centuries-old traditions of the Alps than hiking the Mont Blanc circuit.

This hiking route leads you between small alpine villages surrounded by idyllic landscapes, mountain huts with superb views and the gastronomy of three different countries. Senior hikers cross over iconic mountainous passes, and along ancient glaciers as you walk through the French, Italian, and Swiss Alps.

Attn. Serious Senior Trekkers Only

National Geographic has a link called”Hiking the Alps from End to End”. Nota bene: I did say serious as Europe’s new Via Alpina is a 3,100-mile (4,989-kilometer), high-altitude answer to the Appalachian Trail. Alpine trekking is a perennial classic, drawing millions of summer hikers who prowl old Roman roads and medieval footpaths among glaciated peaks, wildflower-carpeted meadows, plunging valleys, and quiet mountain villages.

While roughing it is always an option, the Alps trekker is more likely to dine on local delicacies—Swiss fondue, French pâté, German pilsner—at comfortable village lodges and well-established hut systems along the way. The Nat. Geo. specs are all there.

 So fire up your mate and consider this once in a lifetime adventure and as they say JUST DO IT!  jeb




Seniors, Do You Recognize World Currencies?

A fellow from the UK just sent me his currency exchange site wanting me to add it to my Best Travel Website page.  I liked it and noted that there was a listing of the various currencies throughout the world.  I discovered that I did not recognize many of them.  Seniors, do you know where the Kuna is used or the Forint? I got the last one right since I was in Budapest last fall. The Kuna is used in Croatia.

Seniors, if you keep up with national news at all you know that China uses the Yuan and the Brits did not join in with the EUC and the Euro and kept their almighty Pound. The Peso is also easy and maybe you have been to Norway and know the Krone. And the Yen and the Shekel. Yes, Japan and Israel, but let me go on and challenge you just a bit more.The Peso is also easy and maybe you have been to Norway and know the Krone.

It’s Currency Quiz Time Seniors

The folks in Brazil, what do they use? It’s the Real. Now this one will be easier, seniors, Hong Kong, Jamaica, The Cayman Islands, Ecuador, The Bahamas, New Zealand, Trinidad and Tobago, Singapore and Fiji. How did you do on that one?  It’s a dead giveaway when I add in Canada.

How about the Rupee? Did you guess India? A+ for you. The Koruna? I got that one too because I was in Prague last fall with my daughter. Being half Czech I wanted to know where my relatives came from. What a neat city.  Put it on your “travel bucket list”. It rates 100/100 and for me that is near where Paris rates.

The Franc. No, it’s not France. They gave in to the Euro as well. It’s Switzerland. Maybe you know the Rial? It’s the currency of Qatar, but it you haven’t been there yet, possibly you did not know that, but then again maybe you did.  Good for you if you got that one.

Here are The Finals.  A Forint, A Won, A Shilling, A Ringgit (good luck with that one), A Colón, A Dinar, A Dirham, A Nuevo Sol, A Zloty (another toughie), Litas, A Rand.  You thought that I was going to give you the answers here didn’t you?  No way.

Please go to: My Travel Money and simply hold down the Select Currency that reads EURO and they they are. If you are of a “curious nature” you just might do that.

Anyway…Bonne Chance Mon Vieux. Hope you enjoyed your coffee as much as I did.  jeb


Seniors Investigate Ancient Civilization

(The Gateway of the Sun) Tiahuanacu is in the Bolivian Andes lying 12,500 feet (over 2 miles) above sea-level. It is said to be the “most intriguing ancient site on the planet.” The original port of Tiahuanacu was built on the shores of Lake Titicaca less then 600 feet away, but whose coastline now lies some 12 miles away. Senior travelers discover the remains of a civilization predating the Incas.

The 10-ton Gateway to the Sun is monolithic, carved from a single block of Andesite granite. It is broken through the center, leading investigators to wonder what sort of tremendous forces could have achieved this feat. So folks, this blog will be a “little different” from other travel blogs you have read here. So on we go.

Seniors Find Megalithic Stones of Puma Pumku

45 miles west of La Paz high, in the Andes mountains, senior visitors can visit the mysterious ancient ruins. The megalithic stones are among the largest on the planet, measuring up to 26 feet long and weighing more than 100 tons each. Puma Pumku (which translates to the Doorway of the Puma) is a large temple complex or monument group that is part of the Tiwanaku site near Tiwanaku, Bolivia.

The ruins are what is left of the Puma Pumku pyramid, a temple that stood at least 56 feet tall. The Nazca Lines in South America remain unsolved in a similar vein. Puma Pumku is so unique in the way that it was constructed, shaped and positioned, that it is said to be the most intriguing ancient site on the planet.

You can read all about Puma Punku on Wikipedia that shows several interesting photos of the high-precision small holes, blind holes of complex configuration and huge stone blocks that baffle scientists today. The initial construction of the Puma Punku dates back to AD 536–600.  The engineering feat is mind boggling with the largest of these stone blocks measuring 7.81 meters long, 5.17 meters wide, and about 1.07 meters thick, and is estimated to weigh about 131 metric tons (288,805 lb).

Marvelous Ancient Architects

Whoever constructed Puma Punku  were marvelous architects. The precise means by which these blocks were positioned remains unknown, in part because the Tiwanaku civilization did not have a written record. The Tiwanaku civilization and the use of these temples appears to have peaked from 700 to 1000 AD. by which point the temples and surrounding area may have been home to some 400,000 people.

Another of the most important archaeological artifacts ever discovered in Tiahuanacu or Puma Pumku is the famous Fuente Magna Bowl discovered in the Titicaca Basin. This bowl has Sumerian cuneiform and Proto-Sumerian hieroglyphic written on it. Skeptoid has a story on that explains a lot about the entire site and its history. All this may whet you appetite for a trip to the Bolivian Andes.  jeb




And Seniors Love Solo Travel

Solo travel has become popular among seniors. I learned that 11% of travelers today go solo and from that experience learn that…”Life is a Trip.” I liked that part. For those of you who seek adventure, prefer to be alone on a trip and simply want to seek out your own destinations, read on.

I discovered several tour companies that seek out seniors who wish to travel by themselves on their own terms, but want the security and piece of mind that accompanies group excursions. I came across an article in my Budget Travel Magazine called “Flying Solo: Everything you need to know about traveling alone,” and that is what triggered this blog.

“Travel on your own, but never alone” is a frequent quote. More and more travelers are choosing to see the world on their own –  and Abercrombie & Kent notes that they accommodate seniors with group escorted journeys to more than 100 inspiring places. Many tours feature the destinations solo travelers most want to visit. Yes, even Facebook has a Solo Travel feature that you may find useful.

Women Travel Solo

Wanderlust and Lipstick, a site by women for women caught my eye. Don’t miss the neat little video on this page that will take you through several countries where you can stop and embrace the local culture and customs. For you “Roaming Boomers,” here are ten tips for traveling solo. Female travel safety is a primary concern for most adventurers, especially abroad. Tips from experienced women also prove very useful.

Seniors Meet Like-minded People

Seniors who choose to solo (a new verb) often seek the same adventure as you. That’s cool as connections on a trip are often made deeper and faster than they might be in your everyday life. I know this from my experiences as a tour group leader in Europe.

Independent Travelers is a resource with some practical advice for senior  adventurers. For those senior travelers who enjoy cruising, Solo Cruise Resource may be of service to you.

My wife and I enjoy just exploring the many sites that we post. She often says “We just have to go there. This place is really neat.”  I agree.  ‘Connecting… Solo Travel Network’  will take you around the world as you read stories about folks just like you who recant their experiences. That’s a One Stop Link and a great discovery.

I’ll sign off today with one more “says it all” link that focuses on Solo Travel. They claim to be the “Best of Solo Travel.” You judge and have fun making your travel solo plans. jeb




Seniors Find Best Sunsets in Jamaica

Negril, Jamaica (the Capital of Casual) is a hot spot for visitors. Bob Marley (Jamaica’s most famous Rastafarian son) may have put reggae and Jamaica on the map, but there’s a reason seniors visit this jammin’ island over and over again. With its breathtaking beaches, enchanting waterfalls and a captivating musical culture, Jamaica strikes a chord in the heart of senior travelers.

It’s fairly small with only 3,000 locals. You can’t help but relax and enjoy the festivities when you’re on the island. Negril is blessed with some of the best sunsets you’ll find anywhere in the world. Negril gets its name from the black cliffs south of the village.

Jamaica is a developing nation of over 2.7 million people. International airports are located in Kingston and Montego Bay. English is the “official” language and the Jamaican dollar is the accepted currency however the almighty buck is accepted in most places.

The peak-season runs from mid-December through mid-April. An “official” link loaded with upcoming events, hotels, dining and a host of other travel aids. Wikipedia will fill in any details that you might want to know about the site. Enjoy the year-round sun on a hiking trip through the Blue Mountains, take a helicopter over the uncharted hills of Cockpit Country, lie on the rose-colored sand or surf in the turquoise waters at Long Bay, and discover a 600-foot waterfall that crashes into the deep sea of Ocho Rios.

Seniors Find Beautiful Blue Hole

The resort town of Negril has some of the most beautiful coastline in the world. Seven Mile Beach is an inviting stretch of golden sand, perfect for sunbathing or taking a dip in the warm Caribbean Sea. Jump into the Blue Hole Mineral Spring for a rewarding adrenaline rush, then take in a kaleidoscopic sunset from the comfort of a beachfront bar. The Cliffs are located on Negril’s West End, these dramatic and soaring cliffs were used as a backdrop for the James Bond film “Thunderball.”

I and I’m confident that my wife as well, would quickly head off to visit the famed Blue Hole that is a major tourist draw. For you local food samplers, try the typical Jamaican breakfast of fried ackee and saltfish. Negril looks like a great spot to spend maybe a relaxing week.  Enjoy.  jeb




Seniors Enthralled With Salzburg

Salzburg, art lovers call it the Golden City of High Baroque; historians refer to it as the Florence of the North or the German Rome; of course, music lovers know it as the birthplace of one of the world’s most beloved composers, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-91) and senior visitors know it as the “Small Paradise”. 

Salzburg is called the ”Stage of the World”, there are so many things happening and there is so much for senior visitors to see and do. The city is located near the German (Bavarian) border with a population of some 150,000 making it the fourth-largest city in Austria after Vienna, Graz and Linz.

Salzburg is one of the smaller Austrian lands but it is one of the most important for the tourism industry. Hundreds and thousands of visitors from all over the world visit the “Small Paradise” of Salzburg throughout the year. There’s history in this city; Salzburg can be regarded as the oldest and most important cultural and spiritual center in present-day Austria.

The name Salzburg literally means “Salt Fortress”, and derives its name from the barges carrying salt on the Salzach river, which were subject to a toll in the 8th century. Salzburg’s “Old Town”, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, has internationally renowned baroque architecture and one of the best-preserved city centers north of the Alps.

Traces of human settlements have been found in the area dating to the Neolithic Age. The first settlements at Salzburg were apparently begun by the Celts around the 5th century BC.

For Senior Cyclers and Hikers

Old Town is still the #1 attraction but there are 69 more for senior visitors to explore. ‘The Sound of Music’ was shot at a handful of places throughout Salzburg. The world-renowned Salzburg Festival, since it was founded in 1920, annually attracts thousands of art and culture lovers from all over the world. Music especially but also major theatrical events form the basis for the world reputation of the Festival.

In the summer the most popular leisure pursuits by far are mountain hiking and cycling. Hiking and trekking tours range from technically straightforward excursions in the Pinzgau and Pongau areas of the Grasberg Mountains to high alpine mountaineering in the Hohe Tauern region.

Cycling enthusiasts will find everything from easy family routes that seniors cyclers can enjoy to challenging tours over the Grossglockner. The Tauern cycle path is especially popular. Lonely Planet has done a lot to change its travel websites with portions of their website that read DO, SEE, TOUR, STAY, etc. Fodor’s is not far behind with a great Overview of Salzburg. Viator will fix you up with lot of tours and the Top 10 Insider’s Picks.

Enjoy your stay in Salzburg.  jeb



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