Seniors Land In Florianópolis

Ever heard of Florianópolis? Me neither until this senior accidentally got off a plane in this city and had difficulty reboarding to fly on to Sao Paulo and back to the states.  I thought that we’d landed in São Paulo.

My wife and I had just spent a month with Argentine friends in Corrientes and were on our way back to the states. I figured that it was a direct flight to São Paulo and on to Miami. Wrong. Anyway, I got off the plane in Florinapólis and had a difficult time getting back on again. Dumb me. Anyway, here I am back in the states and so I did manage to get back on the plane to return home.

 The Island of Magic

Dubbed Ilha da Magia – Island of Magic – Florianópolis is one of three Brazilian state island capitals. Floripa, as the island is affectionately known by locals, is one of the world’s best surf spots and most stunningly beautiful locations. The city has become one of the most popular destinations in Brazil for senior visitors looking for superb beaches, beautiful scenery, interesting culture and friendly people.

With a half million residents, Florianópolis is said to be one of the finest places to live and visit in all of South America. The many crescent beaches and quiet town demeanor invite seniors to extend their stay and enjoy the easy going Brazilian lifestyle.

With a choice of that many fine beaches, some are like private islands and others offer popular water-based activities. Florianópolis also satisfies people who appreciate historical places. The forts from the 18th century, built to protect the island against foreign invaders can be visited via easy strolls.

The New York Times reported that Florianópolis was a “Party Destination of the Year.” Does that tell you something partygoers? Brazilian weekly Veja noted the city to be “the best place to live in Brazil”, so it’s only natural that senior tourists would want to come and check it out.

Seniors Discover Dynamic City

Named one of the “Ten most dynamic cities in the world” by Newsweek Magazine, Florianopolis boasts a highly developed infrastructure, schooling system, literacy rate, and the list goes on.  TripAdvisor notes 107 attractions travelers recommend including some of the best surfing in the world.

And not only will you be safe in the water while surfing in Florianopolis (no sharks or reefs to worry about!), you’ll also be safe outside the water as there is very little crime. City officials say it will be the future “Silicon Valley of Brazil, with beaches.”

You’ll find the city modern, with large shopping malls, chain and high-end restaurants and many glamorous bars and nightclubs. Furthermore it is a modern city with a touch of colonial feel to it because of the old fortresses and other similar sites.

Looking backwards, guess I should have just not gotten back on the plane and checked out the Floripa for myself. Enjoy your stay.  jeb


Seniors Discover the Unbridled Spirit of Blue Grass Country

I’ve been to The Blue Grass State a couple of times, but never to just take in major sites and attractions as a senior tourist.  Major national conferences pulled me in, but I did get to visit Churchill Downs a week before the Big One in Louisville.

If you have driven through the state you will agree with me that all those beautiful white fences that host some of the best horses in the world still stick in one’s mind.  Locals refer to Kentucky as an “Unbridled Spirit.” I liked that as it describes the friendliness and hospitality of just over 4 million Kentuckians.

What Senior Visitors Can See and Do

I continue to make up a nice long “Travel Bucket List” and Mammoth Cave is on it.  Mammoth Cave National Park is the most extensive cave system on earth with more than 350 miles of passageways mapped, and who knows how many more uncharted. Cave tours range from 30-minute beginners’ tours to a 6½ -hour Wild Cave Tour, requiring a headlamp and serious chutzpah.

Another big draw for senior sport car fans is the National Corvette Museum, not far from Mammoth Cave, and just off Interstate 65 in Bowling Green. The 52 state parks and historic sites are equally great reasons for a visit to Kentucky.

For historians, Kentucky was the first region west of the Allegheny Mountains to be settled by American pioneers. A fellow by the name of James Harrod established the first permanent settlement n 1774. The following year Daniel Boone, who had explored the area in 1767, blazed the Wilderness Trail through the Cumberland Gap and founded Boonesboro.

And did you know that Abe Lincoln was born in Kentucky? It was also home to Muhammad Ali, Judge Roy Bean, James Bowie, George Rogers Clark and James Audubon. The origin of the name Kentucky they say comes from the Iroquois word “Ken-tah-ten,” which means land of tomorrow.

Seniors, Imagine…

Imagine finding in one travel destination the second-largest inland peninsula in the United States, the second-largest contiguous block of forested public land east of the Mississippi River and the largest publicly owned bison herd east of the Mississippi. It’s all in Kentucky.

Next imagine finding the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area. Red River Gorge, Natural Bridge State Resort Park and Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, each big attractions. Senior visitors pour through the Gap to visit the 20,000-acre park just south of Middlesboro. With a width of 125 feet and a drop of 68 feet, Cumberland Falls State Park is well worth a stop.

Jim Beam, and KFC, started by the legendary Colonel Harland Sanders, Lexington, known as the Horse Capital of the World, plus it’s the state capital and home of the U of Kentucky Wildcats, all found in Kentucky.  Enjoy your stay in Blue Grass Kentucky.  jeb


Seniors Discover Kraków’s Popularity

Recently rated as the #15 most popular city in the world, seniors are off to visit Kraków. So why have I not visited Kraków already for this blog? Honestly, Je ne sais pas! Also known as Cracow, Kraków is one of the oldest cities in Poland. To the Polish people it’s known as “The Gem of Poland” and “Slavic Rome”.

The word is quickly getting out that this medieval city is home to an eclectic and creative atmosphere that tourists crave. So let’s explore Kraków a bit and see why seniors are finding that there is much to see and do in this beautiful capital city.

The main market square, or Rynek Glowny, dates back to before 1300, is the oldest and largest medieval square in Europe and is a World Heritage Site. On any afternoon in the market square you’re likely to find folks just like you sipping cappuccinos and babcias, gossiping over tea, tourists bartering for amber jewelry, and pigeons soaring into the wide sky overhead.

Most senior tourists are lured by a magical atmosphere and the architectural beauty of this city. In Kraków, you can see a medieval cathedral, Renaissance castle , Baroque churches, Art Nouveau Theater and a host of other monuments.

In Europe, Kraków is a “perfect vacation destination.” Loaded with history, Kraków is ancient, with evidence showing settlements there since thousands of years BC. Legend has it that it was built on the cave of a dragon whom the mythical King Krak had slain.

 A Great Senior European Vacation

Most of the cities that sustained massive bombing damage like Kraków were rebuilt in the same decade. Kraków is a big exception to this in spite of its central location during the conflict. In other words, the central part of Kraków still abounds with historic buildings and churches, and its design in general makes it one of the most pleasant town centers in all of Europe. On top of all of this, Kraków is one of the cheapest major cities on the continent.

Pedestrian only zones run throughout the Kraków’s old city making it a delight to wander and have lunch or dinner outside watching other tourists stroll by. The hundreds of restaurants and clubs make it a lively city both day and night. The cultural depth of the city is easily revealed by the range of its festival calendar, with annual standouts like the Street Theatre Festival, Jewish Culture Festival and the Kraków Film Festival.

The 13th century merchants’ town is home to Europe’s largest market square and offers numerous historical houses, palaces and churches with magnificent interiors, 14th century fortifications, ancient synagogues, Jagiellonian University and the Gothic cathedral where the kings of Poland were buried.

Kraków is considered one of the top ten most beautiful cities in Europe.  jeb


Condé Nast Loves Siena For a Senior Visit

Condé Nast has selected the top cities in the world to visit and Siena, Italy (70,000 residents) ranks among the best.  A step back in Medieval Tuscany, it’s world famous historic center is a World Heritage Site. One of Italy’s most visited senior tourist attractions, Siena is about 30 miles south of Florence.

Siena is a “hill town” first settled in the time of the Etruscans dating back to 900–400 BC. One of the most beautiful cities of Tuscany, it is set on three hills linked by a maze of winding alleys and steep steps. The Piazzo del Campo, a stunning paved square, stands at the heart of the city, overlooked by the magnificent Duomo.

Siena is home to one of the oldest universities in Europe, which lends a bustling, vibrant atmosphere to this historic place. Siena is the embodiment of a medieval city. Its inhabitants pursued their rivalry with Florence right into the area of urban planning.

Cathedrals, Historic Squares and Horse Races Draw Seniors

Senior visitors generally head off to visit the top attraction in Siena which is the Cathedral. This grand cathedral, built in the 1200s, has marvelous marble floors. Right behind is the Bilioteca Piccolomini one of the cathedral’s great treasures.

In the center of Siena is the enormous, scallop-shaped Piazza del Campo, one of the greatest squares in the world. It is still the city’s symbolic and physical heart. Crafted like a sloping scallop shell, the Campo was first laid out in the 1100s on the site of the Roman forum. The herringbone brick pavement is divided by white marble lines into nine sections representing the city’s medieval ruling body, the Council of Nine.

For senior horse enthusiasts, the heart of the city is Piazza del Campo, where the Palio Horse Races are held every July 2nd and August 16th. Ten horses and their colorfully clad riders represent ten of Siena’s 17 districts, but before the race – which is just three brutal laps – there is a lengthy ceremony and procession celebrating Siena’s medieval past.

And senior oenophiles, vineyards take up much of the space between Florence and Siena, where the famed Chianti wine was first born. To the south of Siena is the Brunello region, home to another of the country’s most acclaimed wines. Siena College attracts students from all over the world. It’s a great place to study the language and may include a family home stay as well.

In many ways Siena hasn’t changed much in 800 years. And that’s a good thing. Go Italy lists the ten top cities to visit in Tuscany and Siena ranks right in there just after Florence. In the countryside outside of Siena, Senior travelers will find small villages, medieval hill towns, grape vines, and olive trees. So now we have some idea why Siena rates so high among favored tourists attractions in the world. jeb


Seniors Find Fun in “Queen City”

Can you spell Cincinnati? Cincy is easier, and that’s what the locals call it. It’s one of those words like Chillicothe, Mississippi or Tennessee. Seniors, have you been to Cincy yet?

Settled in 1788, the city is located on the north bank of the Ohio River at the Ohio−Kentucky border, near Indiana. With around 300,000 folks, the third largest city in Ohio it is known as the “Queen City“.

Cincinnati was the only 19th century American city that left a favorable impression on the then 30-year-old English author Charles Dickens. “Cincinnati is a beautiful city; cheerful, thriving, and animated,” Dickens wrote in “American Notes. “I have not often seen a place that commends itself so favorably and pleasantly to a stranger at the first glance as this does: with its clean houses of red and white, its well-paved roads, and foot-ways of bright tile. Nor does it become less prepossessing on a closer acquaintance.”

Sir Winston Churchill once proclaimed it to be America’s most beautiful inland city in the states. Today Cincy is one of the “top 10 cities that rock,” so it’s no wonder Cincinnati is a favorite destination of modern senior enthusiasts.

Attn. Senior Sports Fans and Architectural Admirers

Sports fans know that the Reds and the Bengals (BsB and FB) call Cincinnati home. The University of Cincinnati Bearcats call it home as well.

The city is known for its fine collection of historic architecture. Over-hte-Rhine a neighborhood just to the north of downtown Cincinnati, boasts among the world’s largest collections of Italianate architecture, rivaling similar neighborhoods in New York City, Vienna and Munich in size and scope.

In the late 1800s, the city was commonly referred to as the ‘Paris of America’, primarily due to its significant architectural projects. Downtown Cincinnati is focused around Fountain Square, a popular public square and event location.

As for you senior gourmets, the city has many restaurants located along on the banks of the Ohio River. Oktoberfest Zinzinnati is the largest Oktoberfest celebration in the country. More than half-a-million herren und frauen converge on a six-block area to eat, sing, mingle, sport lederhosen, listen to great polka music, try to speak a little German and perform the Chicken Dance after a couple of “bier hier.”

Welcome to Cincinnati USA covers the best Must See Attractions. The Cincinnati Music Hall is a major visitor site along with the Springer Auditorium known worldwide for it’s outstanding acoustics. The city’s early economy was based on the pork industry and today is celebrated annually with the Big Pig Gig.

Seniors who enjoy amusement parks will have an unforgettable thrill riding the greatest wooden roller coaster ever built at Kings Island. Senior visitors will find Cincinnati to be a great place to visit.  jeb


Seniors Enjoy Tiny Hallstatt

CNN Travel selects what they call “Photos of the Day” and tiny Hallstatt caught this senior’s eye. I’ve been to Austria but had never heard of Hallstatt. Upon investigating further, I find a scenic beauty unmatched in all of the country.

The village has been occupied since the iron age; 7000 years ago people founded the salt mines, which gave them an opportunity to settle an area which they would make into a trade center. This rich cultural history is the basis for Hallstatt’s inclusion as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its heritage.

An old cemetery was found that dated back to the Iron Age (between 700-450 BC). The city has several museums that includes the principal archaeological museum in Hallstatt center.  The salt mines, “Salzwelten” or “Salt Worlds”, are the top attractions in Hallstatt.

Archaeological tours are offered of the renown salt mine and senior visitors will learn how salt is mined, see ancient tools and the “Man in Salt”. Archeological evidence shows that this isolated village gained its wealth through the salt trade.

With pastel-colored houses casting shimmering reflections onto the glassy waters of the lake, and towering mountains on all sides, the beauty of the village alone would be enough to guarantee it fame. The old houses are clustered together so tightly that many are accessible only from the lakeside, while the old street runs above the rooftops.

A small town of less than 1000, with a rich culture, Hallstatt is called the World’s Most Lovely Lakeside Town, a Small Paradise on Earth and it’s on the list of World Beautiful Places.

 How Do Senior Travelers Get To Hallstatt?

Hallstatt is located in the Salzkammergut Region of Upper Austria, southeast of Salzburg and directly on the shores of Hallstätter See (Lake Hallstatt). Rick Steves, my travel hero notes the Salzkammergut’s pride and joy is the town of Hallstatt. He calls it A Toy Town.

The village Hallstatt is such a spectacular setting that the Chinese have created a copy of the ancient salt mine village. But only in the original will you discover this truly unique culture with such a history all in a breath-taking mountain setting. Known as Austria’s oldest and possibly most photographed village, it looked to me something like a mirage.

Seniors can enjoy hiking, mountaineering, cycling, mountain biking, Nordic walking, swimming and rock climbing.  So just how many shots can one take of a village with only a thousand people? The answer is endless as senior visitors will discover with their camera.

The little tourist office will recommend a hike — the 9,000-foot Mount Dachstein looms overhead — or a peaceful cruise in a rented canoe. Most people go to Hallstatt simply to relax, eat, shop, and stroll. It will prove to be a memorable visit and it’s on the Becker’s travel bucket list. jeb


Angkor Wat Attracts Seniors

Angkor Wat is a Hindu, then subsequently Buddhist temple complex in Cambodia and the largest religious monument in the world. It is a World Heritage Site and by now you know this senior’s penchant for those sites wherever they lie in the world.

Angkor was the capital of the Khmer (Cambodian) empire from the 9th to the 15th century, a period that is considered the classical era of Cambodian history.  Today Angkor Wat is one of the most important archaeological sites in South-East Asia.

Angkor Archaeological Park contains the magnificent remains of the different capitals of the Khmer Empire, from the 9th to the 15th century. They include the famous Temple of Angkor Wat and, at Angkor Thom, the Bayon Temple with its countless sculptural decorations, built between roughly A.D. 1113 and 1150, and encompassing an area of about 500 acres.  It is one of the largest religious monuments ever constructed. Its name means simply “temple city.”

Seniors Visit the Seventh Wonder of the World

UNESCO has set up a wide-ranging program to safeguard this symbolic site and its surroundings. The temples of Angkor, built by the Khmer civilization between 802 and 1220 AD, represent one of humankind’s most astonishing and enduring architectural achievements. The site is called the “Seventh Wonder of the World”. Angkor Wat, in its beauty and state of preservation, is unrivaled.

Seniors can take a Virtual Travel Tour of Angkor Wat and get a good conception of just how large the entire structure is. Originally built as a Hindu temple dedicated to the god Vishnu, it was converted into a Buddhist temple in the 14th century. It has remained a place of worship since its founding in the 12th century.

Thought to be a miniature replica of the universe, its composition of towers, moats and concentric walls reveals an architectural sophistication, and the bas-reliefs with their plump figures and triumphal battle scenes reflect a robust, healthy and wealthy period of history.

Angkor, in Cambodia’s northern province of Siem Reap, is one of the most important archaeological sites of Southeast Asia. It consists of scores of temples, hydraulic structures (basins, dykes, reservoirs, canals) as well as communication routes. For several centuries Angkor, was the center of the Khmer Kingdom.

Bustling Ancient City Uncovered

With impressive monuments, several different ancient urban plans and large water reservoirs, the site is a unique concentration of features testifying to an exceptional civilization. Angkor, is located in modern-day Cambodia and was once the capital of the Khmer Empire. As old as it is, airborne laser technology has uncovered a network of roadways and canals, illustrating a bustling ancient city linking Cambodia’s Angkor Wat temples complex.

 Angkor Wat is visually, architecturally and artistically breathtaking. It is a massive three-tiered pyramid crowned by five lotus-like towers rising 65 meters from ground level. It is the centerpiece of any visit to the various temples of Angkor. jeb

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