Seniors Visit Wine Country

Yours truly is continually searching for new travel sites to share with seniors readers all over the country.   I read in the news an article about Castilla-La Mancha in Spain and discovered that La Mancha is an ideal area for growing grapes. La Mancha is the largest wine region in the world with around 465,350 hectares of vineyards.

I did not know for sure where it was located but soon discovered that my wife and I had driven through the area a few years back. We found it to be an inspiring concoction of villages, historical tales and friendly locals.

Castilla–La Mancha is very close to Madrid and right in the heart of the Iberian Peninsula. Of major interest to senior visitors are the monumental cities and towns of historical importance, like Toledo its capital city, enchanting Cuenca and Albacete, the largest city with over 170,000 citizens. It’s the land of the famous windmills immortalized in Miguel Cervantes’ Don Quixote.

Seniors Find Cheese, Olives and Mystery

The history of Castilla-La Mancha is a history of sheep-herding, that is the history of Spain. Archeological remains confirm that Bronze Age Spaniards lived on this Meseta (inner plateau) nearly 4,000 years ago.

This is a land famous for its arts and crafts, full of unique monuments in its towns and cities, and the setting for the adventures of the famous literary hero Don Quixote of La Mancha.

Any trip to this area in inland Spain should include a visit to its World Heritage cities, Cuenca with its famous Hanging Houses, and Toledo with its cathedral and Alcázar fortress. The area has the largest number of officially designated nature reserves, nature areas and national parks and acts as a natural buffer between the rich industrialism of northern Spain and Moorish, tourist-driven Andalucia.

 Senior visitors will find a land of craggy cliffs, golden fields and red soil, producing savory Manchego cheese, olives, saffron and more than its share of mystery.

Pass through the Bisagra Gate to experience the walled city of Toledo, a UNESCO World Heritage site that pays stylistic tribute to the Christian, Jewish and Islamic cultures.  If ever a city had the atmosphere of a living museum, it has to be Toledo.

Situated on a hill and more or less surrounded by the river Tajo and the old walls, the old town is totally untouched by modern development, making it crammed with monuments of every age in Spanish history and home to El Greco.

TripAdvisor will add 247 things for you to see and do. It is certain that you will want to spend several days in the area having fun and dining well. We loved visiting Spain and you will too.  Buen Viaje! jeb


Seniors Discover Valence

The word valence comes from Latin valentia, meaning “strength or capacity”  and history abounds. Valence is proud of it glorious past. Senior visitors will discover its old center, its cultural wealth and a special quality of life as you stroll in its narrow streets.

Valence goes way back to the Romans who named the town Valentia in 2BC and there has been a university in Valence since 1452. At the tender age of 16, Napoléon Bonaparte attended military school in this terraced city.

With a population of 65,000, Valence is surrounded by grape vines, olive groves and fields of lavender. It sits on the left bank of the Rhone River and is home to the largest river marina in France, so seniors, if you are a boating enthusiast, it is a great destination.

USA Today had an recent article on the “10 Most Expensive Restaurants” in the world. La Maison Pic in Valence was on that list as a legendary French restaurant that boasts three Michelin stars. More than a century old, today’s chef, Anne-Sophie Pic, is crafting the food and menus just as her father, Jacques Pic and her grandfather, André Pic did before her.

All three Pics achieved three Michelin stars during their tenure. For the most decadent experience at the restaurant, seniors can choose the Collection Pic menu, which costs roughly $445 per person.

Seniors, Welcome To Le Midi

Valence is said to be the portal to the Mediterranean and is the temperate zone demarcation area where the cold climes of France seem to melt away. In addition, the quality of light is different and the temperature higher as you travel south, bringing with it the scent of eucalyptus and pine. Valence is France’s largest producer of organic food, and is renowned for its fine cuisine and the wonderful Rhone wines.

Valence is a sleepy city overlooking the Rhone.  An hour from Lyon and Grenoble and in close proximity to vineyards producing Crozes Hermitages, St Joseph and St Peray wines, the city makes a great stop off for wine tours of the region.

The much-loved Kiosk De Peynet stands on the Champ de Mars and is one of the highlights of this small city – and a good place to start your visit. This ornate bandstand has beautiful views of the decorative gardens and fountains of Park Jouvet below.

The bandstand is an historic monument and has come to symbolize Valence, so look it up. The Cathedrale St-Appollinaire, consecrated in 1095 by Pope Urban II is another main attraction.

TripAdvisor has been to Valence and suggests that senior travelers visit La Maison des Têtes, a beautiful and very ornate 16th century building whose façade has been sculpted with heads – hence the name.  When you are in Provence, don’t skip Valence… You’ll be glad you spent some time in this charming city.  jeb


Kawela Bay Is An Untouched Gem

My wife and I took the complete bus tour around Oahu for our 50th, but these seniors don’t remember passing by Kawela Bay. It’s probably due to the fact that Kawela Bay is one of the most secluded sandy beaches on the island. It is located near the famed Turtle Bay Resort on the North Shore of the island.

The Bay made major news recently as part of the movie Hunger Games – Catching Fire and a host of others were filmed there. Jennifer Lawrence might be the celebrity muscle of the “Hunger Games” sequel “Catching Fire,” but viewers soon find Oahu to be a superstar of the film.

Kawela Bay’s seclusion makes it an enviable spot for beach goers and the perfect place to get away from the crowds to enjoy a day of relaxation. The warm calm turquoise waters are free of currents and remains undisturbed by large winter waves because of a reef at the entrance of the bay. Surfboarding is big and this is a perfect place for senior travelers to swim, snorkel and scuba dive.

 Kawela Bay Draws Seniors

Kawela Bay is a perfect spot to unwind. Years ago, honu (turtles in Hawaiian) were often seen coming ashore to lay their eggs in the sand, hence the name Turtle Bay. The Bay is home to giant sea turtles that swim right along with you.

The unique banyan trees are nearby this beach on the property of the Resort. Senior visitors bathe in the calm water or just enjoy a peaceful stroll along the beach. Narrow and bordered by a tropical forest, the beach is populated with ironwood trees and a few coconut palms. Watch out for falling coconuts!

Here’s a super site that highlights Kawela Bay with a host of great photos. Senior travelers will find the Bay very picturesque and quiet. It is suggested that you park along the highway and walk through the trees to discover the Bay that is protected by a large reef keeping nearshore waters calm year-round and diffuses high waves during winter months.

 An Untouched Gem

Wikipedia has all the specs on the Bay including the 2010 census with a population of 330. Here’s a quickie view of the Bay and you’ll soon see why they call it an untouched gem on Oahu. If you know anything about Oahu’s North Shore, you know that beach goers, snorkelers and surfers all consider it a favorite.

On weekends and weekdays alike senior visitors will be hard pressed to find a parking spot at the most popular beaches. Now imagine a beach on North Shore where, on a Saturday, you can find no more than ten people lying in the sun.

Other recreational activities for seniors include golf, hiking, biking, horseback riding, windsurfing and sailing. Haleiwa Town is just a 15-minute drive from Kawela, and Honolulu is approximately 48 miles away. That’s Kawela Bay. Grab your flippers and check it out for yourself.  jeb


Seniors Head Off to Mont-Tremblant

I was immediately attracted to this site as it came up on my iPhone,as a great place to visit.  Knowing the French verb TREMBLER meant to tremble or to shake, I just has to check out what is shaking up seniors at Mont-Tremblant. Mont-Tremblant is derived from local Algonquins who referred to it as the “trembling mountain”.

Since the 18th century, people have come to admire the beautiful landscapes the region of Mont-Tremblant has to offer. The nearby Mont-Tremblant National Park, proud defender of the fauna and flora, welcomes thousands of  visitors each year.  Massive mountains, including the highest summit in the Laurentians, they say will change your perspective of the world.

Three villages will charm senior visitors with the diversity of their restaurants and their cultural environment. Mont-Tremblant’s region is not only a mountain, it’s also and mostly every element orbiting around the highest peak in the Laurentian Mountains.

The Parc National du Mont-Tremblant, or Mont-Tremblant Park, is a protected nature area and part of Quebec’s network of national parks. It alone represents close to 20 per cent of all the protected areas of Quebec. Mountains, lakes and forests provide an idyllic setting, especially in the more rustic northern side.

 Seniors Discover the Aspen of Canada

As winter approaches, senior skiers will want to keep Mont-Tremblant in your plans and Notez Bien, Mont-Tremblant is an internationally renowned and multi award winning ski destination. 

Senior skiers will find 94 runs serviced by 13 state-of-the-art lifts as the Mont-Tremblant dominates a stunningly beautiful countryside. A paradise where ski and snowboard enthusiasts are spoiled: 18 acres of ramps, rails and jumps as well as an Olympic calibre superpipe.

Skiers have flocked to Mont-Tremblant since its first chairlift and lodge opened in 1939. At Mont-Tremblant, those who live for the great outdoors and love to breathe clean air have the perfect year-round playground. The area is active all year long not just for skiers in the winter but also for many fun events in the summer.

Seniors will enjoy a large variety of exciting musical, sportive and charitable events like the Tremblant International Blues Festival and Tremblant’s 24 hours of Skiing and Cycling.

Mont-Tremblant is actually divided into two parts. The original village of Mont-Tremblant now goes by the name of The Village, but these days it’s The Resort (aka the Pedestrian Village), some 13 km away directly at the foot of the mountain, where the action is.

 TripAdvisor can help to prepare you for your visit.  You will discover 20 things to see and do as well as a nice choice for dining in one of the 120 top-notch restaurants. Golf is also a major with the Le Diable Golf Course where you can tee off on one the best courses in Canada. 18-holes, 7,056-yards, with impeccable greens and all the prep time you need to line-up each shot, thanks to 12-minute start time intervals.

Enjoy your week at Mont-Tremblant.  jeb


Seniors Drawn To The Space Coast

Let’s take a little trip down the Space Coast of Florida from Titusville to Melbourne. That’s where seniors will enjoy a plethora of sites as they meander the eastern shore.  If you’ve got three days and a tank of gas, the beautiful beach towns of Florida’s ” Space Coast” make for a perfect winter getaway.

Known as the “Space Coast” because of its historic space relationship, featuring Cape Canaveral and NASA, the region is comprised of surf-style Cocoa Beach, romantic Melbourne Beach, riverside-based Titusville and a host of other unique towns all within one destination.

The Titusville area features several great museums. Senior airplane enthusiasts will enjoy the Valiant Air Command Warbird Aviation Museum, which features aircraft used throughout our military history.

Located on the Eastern Coast and spanning from Cocoa Beach to the exciting Historic Downtown Melbourne, be ready for a unique, all-encompassing trip which offers casual sophistication and plenty of history.

And restaurants to satisfy every gourmet taste whether dining al fresco in a downtown setting or dockside in a nautical venue sniffing in the salty air.

Seniors Enjoy NASA, Nature Hikes and National Parklands

They call the Titusville–Cocoa Beach– Melbourne area the Space Coast because it’s home to NASA, but it could just as easily be referring to the miles of undeveloped beaches and protected national parkland, where space is one thing you can find plenty of. The highlight for techies and nontechies alike is the Kennedy Space Center, the only spot in the US from which humans have been hurled into space.

Visitor information is available through Florida’s Space Coast Office of Tourism. Lonely Planet has a listing of some of the many highlights you’ll encounter along your drive. Seniors can have fun ranging from surfing and nightlife in the north to romantic secluded getaways in the south, and find a perfect nature hike or jog along the ocean.

Stretching 72 miles along Florida’s East Coast, the Space Coast is best known as the home of Kennedy Space Center, Orlando’s closest beaches and some of the best surfing in the country. If you are in Orlando, the Space Coast is located one short hour away and provides numerous opportunities to visit cultural, natural, historic and recreational sites.

Visitors discover an affordable vacation haven. Whether for a weekend family getaway or months long “wintering” on the many sunny beaches, mild temperatures, space travel, and wildlife can all be found in Brevard County. One of the many sites that attract senior visitors is the Black Point Wildlife Drive in the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge.

If your preference is wildlife, history, fine arts, amusement or the beaches, the Space Coast offers a wide variety of these attractive activities. I think that you will really enjoy each day you spend along the Space Coast. jeb


Seniors Investigate Cluj-Napoca

“Why Cluj-Napoca”, seniors ask? Just because it’s there and it’s a “Treasure City”. By the way, it’s pronounced, Kloozh’-Nah poh’kah. I recently read about the town on my iPhone and the CNN Travel app. Relatively unknown, let’s find out if we seniors would enjoy a visit there.

Cluj-Napoca is a weird name alright but take a look at what you can find there. Capital of a historical region, Cluj – Napoca is the heart of Transylvania, guarded by the western Carpathians. A city of more than 300,000 people, among which the most educated of them speak English, French and Italian, besides the official language, Romanian and  Hungarian, the commonplace language.

Cluj (the short form of the name) is one of the most attractive Romanian cities and a tourist delight. Romania’s fourth largest city, Cluj-Napoca is an important business, cultural and academic center. Located in the northwest part of the country, in the heart of Transylvania region, 325 km northwest of Bucharest. 

Ever Been to Transylvania?  Say ‘Not Yet’!

I always told my language students when I asked them if they had been to Chicago, Paris or Tokyo, they were to respond with “not yet.” In the heart of Transylvania, Cluj-Napoca awaits its visitors, with the famous Transylvanian calm and reflexive mind, seriousness and pride.

Known as “The Treasure City”, Cluj lost most of its medieval protective wall and bastions which were demolished at the beginning of the 20th century. However, the old-city still has many significant monuments to show senior tourists. The city’s most important attraction, the Gothic style St. Michael’s Church, was built during the 14th and 15th centuries.

 Cluj-Napoca, a Very Special Place

The National Theater is the #1 draw followed by a fantastic Botanical Garden. Cluj–Napoca is famous not only for its varied architecture but for its natural landscapes and parks and its blue jewel – the river Somes, which divides the city center. The Cetatuia Hill or the Fortress Hill used in the past as a stronghold or a jail, hosts the Belvedere Hotel at the top, offering a great view – and also a great restaurant reachable on a set of stairs from the center of the city.

 Seniors, Meet DuckDuckGO

I did a lot of the research on this blog using  It is a new search engine for me and it is fantastic. It took me to many helpful sites like Wikipedia that highlights the major sites of interest, including the history of the town.

With its cupolas, baroque and secession outcroppings and weathered fin-de-siècle backstreets, downtown Cluj-Napoca looks every bit the Hungarian provincial capital it once was. So put Cluj on your senior travel bucket list. It’s a city that for centuries has embodied the religious diversity typical of its region, Transylvania. I think that you will find it memorable.  jeb

Filed under : Europe


Seniors Voyage By Eurostar

Eurostar is the high-speed passenger train from London to Paris via the Channel Tunnel, taking as little as 2 hours 15 minutes for the 495 km (307 mile) journey. Eurostar trains travel up to 186 mph, leaving from central London almost every hour and arriving at the Gare du Nord in central Paris. Seniors can also take the Eurostar from London to Brussels in as little as 1 hour 55 minutes for the 373 km (232 miles). Eurostar trains are run by Eurostar International Limited and their trains carry only passengers.

The history of Eurostar can be traced to the 1986 choice of a rail tunnel to provide a cross-channel link between Britain and France. A previous attempt at constructing a tunnel between the two nations had begun in 1974, but was quickly aborted. In 1988 construction began on a new basis.

Eurotunnel was created to manage and own the tunnel, which was finished in 1993, the official opening taking place in May 1994. Eurostar’s home station is St. Pancras International Station in London and its Paris station is the Gare du Nord.

 And How About This Seniors?

And the magic even begins before your journey. Eurostar’s state-of the-art London terminal, St. Pancras International Station, is a destination in itself and considered one of the most romantic places to meet, drink, and dine in London.

Those trains reach such high speeds keeping journey times at around two hours, making fabulous day-trips possible. Imagine this seniors, breakfast in London, lunch in Paris and dinner back in London. Try that some time just for the fun of it.

Eurostar trains offer three classes of service: Economy, Standard Premier and Business Premier. Travel classes are adapted according to different needs and they have them all. Train travel in Europe is unlike any other in the world except perhaps the Shinkansen (Bullet Train) in Japan that I’ve had the good fortune to experience as well.

Eurostar is Europe’s most lavish, talked about, and awarded train. ” The ride is smooth and comfortable and all you’ll hear is a loud “swoosh” as another train passes going the opposite direction. No seat belts and seniors can get up and walk round and visit the bar and restaurant car on your trip.

It’s The Way To Go, Senior Travelers

Since 1994 Eurostar high-speed trains have been redefining travel between Britain and the Continent. The best way to travel between the heart of London and Paris or Brussels, Eurostar trains carry more travelers between its destinations than all airlines traveling these routes combined.

 The journey is so easy and quick that many Londoners and Parisians take Eurostar day trips for business or shopping. A comparable flight from London to Paris is quicker, but total travel time is considerably more when you factor in the trek to and from two airports, early check-in requirements, and potential tarmac delays.

So seniors, put Eurostar on your travel bucket list in Europe. It will transport you to Europe’s favorite cities and ensure you arrive at your destination relaxed, restored and ready to go. jeb


Seniors Explore Columbus (City of the Sun)

Senior citizens why go there?  National Geographic mentioned this town in their recent publication and “Curious Jim” just had to check it out. Columbus is a neat little village in Luna County, New Mexico. The population runs right at 1,800.

“Hidden in plain sight at the seemingly prophetic intersection of Interstates 9/11, lies this historical town nestled firmly in the footprints left by the dramatic events that transformed the United States at the Turn Of The 20th Century”.

Established in 1891 and sitting in a high-desert valley that’s nestled between the Florida and Tres Hermanas mountain ranges, Columbus enjoys a fascinating history. Columbus has a 24-hour border crossing, a unique geology, a New Mexico State Park, museums, and a mild winter climate that attracts snowbirds, senior tourists, artists, historians, authors, and retirees from all over the country and only 3 minutes away from Old Mexico.

Senior Retirement Community

Columbus is a retreat from the daily pressures of a fast paced, dog-eat-dog world. The Village offers the weariest of souls a real opportunity to rejuvenate, relax, re-center, and to quite literally “Get away from it all”. It’s quite isolated so seniors seeking a rest can find it in Columbus. The area has become a community for senior retirement  and is coveted by artists and others who simply want to get away from crowds.

Learn all about Columbus via Wikipedia including the famous raid back in 1916 by Pancho Villa. Villa’s army burned a part of the town and killed seven or eight soldiers and 10 residents before retreating back into Mexico. At that time Columbus was the largest city in New Mexico and nearby Camp Furlong was the headquarters of the 13th US Cavalry. This Camp was eventually made into a National Historic Landmark. The Pancho Villa State Park is another big attraction to the area.

The Village of Columbus was the dream of a man by the name of Andrew Osmond Bailey, an American Civil War Veteran with one arm missing from that conflict and known as Colonel Bailey. His home and ranch were close to the Mexican border just west of the present border gate.

Senior Historical Interests

In 1902, when the El Paso/Santa Fe Railroad Line opened a station for Columbus, the residents moved themselves and their village three miles north to the present location. While Columbus remains a refuge for those who enjoy the quiet life, there are many amenities such as a modern health clinic and a regional learning center that provide for a high quality of life.

Of particular interest to senior visitors and serious historians alike are the Columbus Historical Museum and the Columbus historical walking tour. Those of you who appreciate the attractive flora and fauna of the Chihuahuan Desert you’ll find a plethora of hummingbirds, snow geese, dove, quail, hawks, eagles, finches, rabbits, hares, and many types of lizards all around Columbus.

Stop by Columbus and check the place out for yourself.  jeb


Senior Oenophiles Visit Entre-Deux-Mers

 This senior citizen traveled through Bordeaux with a group of highschoolers years ago and undoubtedly passed through this region, but did not know it was called Entre-Deux-Mers.

Actually between two rivers, La Dordogne and La Garonne,  Entre-Deux-Mers produce a very good dry white wine. My favorite is called Saint-Emilion. The wines produced in this area are some of the world’s finest on 7,400 acres of choice terrain.

Bordeaux’s boat-bejewelled quays, lined with neo-classical 18th-century buildings, are so beautiful that UNESCO has classified the city as a World Heritage Site, and by now you know how much I appreciate all those sites. As the capital of the Gironde departement and of the historic province of Aquitaine, the city of Bordeaux is both the commercial and cultural center of southwest France.

The “terroir” is unique with silt, compact sands and its clayey-limestone. It’s where 15 million bottles are produced yearly. The primary grapes are Savignon, Sémillion and Muscadelle. Seniors, maybe you already knew that?

The wine is aged between 1 to 3 years and has a rich aroma of grapefruit, litchi and peach. And if senior visitors choose a quality cheese to eat while sampling, it just has to be roquefort.

And chateaux… 7,000 of them.  If you have had a Bordeaux on your table you know that the label most often reads “Chateau de….”

And love of wine… Oenophilia is a love of wine and in the strictest sense, it describes a disciplined devotion to wine, accompanying strict traditions of consumption.

Senior Oenophiles Understand Viticulture

Entre-deux-Mers occupies a substantial slice of the Bordeaux region, stretching from the city of Bordeaux in the west almost all the way to the farmland outside Bergerac in the east. The landscape is mostly fertile and green, rolling gently between 33 and 330 ft (10–100m) above sea level.

However, vineyards have replaced some of the green landscape, with large patches of land being rapidly turned over to viticulture, that is the production of wine.

Wherever seniors taste Bordeaux’s wine, you’re in for a treat, so take in some sampling. The region has no less than 57 wine appellations. Not surprisingly, the wines of the region are often used as a base for regional food specialties.

Although countryside Médoc eateries are few, the city of Bordeaux is jammed with restaurants, especially around Place du Parlement; and many cafes, notably in the Quartier St-Pierre; and bars (Place de la Victoire and Cours de la Somme).

Understanding viticulture means understanding the importance of climate, harvesting, location, the Vine and Vineyard management. I’ll depart today with some pertinent information on Bordeaux by TripAdvisor with great hotels and where you can browse 133 attractions. Enjoy your tasting and tours. jeb


Seniors Find That Alicante Has It All

Alicante, a city and port in Spain on the Costa Blanca, has about 340 000 inhabitants and lies directly at the Mediterranean sea.  An historic Mediterranean port and known for its miles of sandy beaches, Alicante is lined with villas, hotels and restaurants.   With many historical buildings throughout the entire city, Alicante offers senior travelers countless sightseeing attractions, from cathedrals to churches and of course a wonderful harbor area.  

So let me fill up your travel basket with things to see and do in Alicante. According to TripAdvisor Rancho La Ofra is #1 with tourists and if you are into horses, you’ll see why. In the heart of the city is Postiguet Beach, illuminated at night by sodium street lights. These give the beach and breaking waves a surreal effect. With a bit of traveling (by bus or tram), you can reach a spacious 7km long San Juan Beach, which is considered to be one of the finest in Spain.

 The Romans loved Lucentum (City of Light)

The Greeks called it Akra Leuka (White Summit). As a crossroads for inland and coastal routes, Alicante has always been known for its luminous skies. It is considered one of the most populous provinces in Spain. The climate is classic Mediterranean and the average temperature is 20ºC. Weather in Alicante region is gorgeous with over 300 days of sunshine per year.

 The Beauty of Alicante is everywhere. What a choice city for a lovely vacation seniors. It is also a booming province, partly due to the surge of tourists over recent years, especially along the coastal areas which have the best climatic conditions in the whole of Spain. Modernity runs alongside tradition and you can still find very traditional villages tucked away in the mountains. You can also find some of the best gastronomy in Spain here.

 Seniors Relax in the Friendliest City in Spain

A visit to the Santa Bárbara Castle is highly recommended. Located atop Mount Benacantil, it is one of the largest medieval fortresses in Spain, with unbeatable views over the Bay of Alicante and on clear days you can see all the way to Tabarca Island.

More than 20 million holiday makers from across Europe head for the region every year because of its warm welcome and tourist attractions. The beaches are the main draw with fine sand, picturesque coves and clear waters attracting sun worshippers, snorkel enthusiasts, divers and senior water sports enthusiasts who find plenty to explore along these shores.

 Alicante’s Old Town, with narrow streets and great nightlife invites the senior nvisitor to get to know the best gastronomy and local entertainment. The Old Town is home to the Cathedral of San Nicholas, and is the true heart of the city. It boasts narrow, winding streets and medieval buildings allowing you to imagine what the city was like before the age of industrialization. Another “tourist bucket list” for the Beckers.  How about you? jeb

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