The pyramids in Egypt have never been less crowded.

The pyramids in Egypt have never been less crowded.

I’m just back from the 2015 New York Times Travel Show, where Peter Greenberg from CBS News shared many insights into the state of travel in 2015. He talked about a place that he visited just last week, (January 2015), Egypt.

It’s one of his favorite destinations, and the point he made was that there was NO ONE THERE. Tourism in this fantastic destination accounts for up to 90 percent of the country’s economy, yet Americans and some Europeans have been totally scared off. He said he had museums to himself and no lines waiting for taxis, dinner or any other attractions.

If you have ever thought about going to Egypt, this is your year. Greenberg talked about touring the pyramids at a very early hour. If you can rouse yourself out of bed at 4:30 am, you’ll be able to watch the sunrise over the Great Pyramid with no one else besides a few camels beside you. If you wait until 8 or 9 am, you’ll see throngs…but still no where near the number of tourists as you might have seen three or four years ago.

A British company eshores, has many Egypt itineraries that allow their clients to see many different places such as Nile cruises, beach vacations to Sharm el Sheik, and other excursions. You can find seven day tours to Luxor and Cairo starting at about 595 pounds

Even a package spanning 17 nights, the Complete Egypt Experience, will only set you back about 965 pounds, including the flights from the UK and three nights in Cairo, two nights in Alexandria and a 7 night Nile cruise and five additional nights at the beach. WOW!  You can even tailor your trip to change cities to suit your taste.

If Egypt has been on your bucket list  (and who doesn’t?) then take Peter Greenberg’s advice and book a trip there.  The country is legendary for its hospitality and they need your tourist spending now more than ever!

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Fish chowder in Nova Scotia.

Fish chowder in Nova Scotia.

 Nova Scotia’s Annapolis County

To say that Nova Scotia is a food lover’s paradise, is an understatement.  The Atlantic Canadian province makes it easy for travelers to find just-caught seafood and farm-fresh produce and to sample its award-winning wines.  They can follow the Chowder Trail or explore the Annapolis Valley.

Visitors can drive the entire coastline of Nova Scotia – all 4,700 miles of it – sampling seafood chowders at 60 restaurants, inns, resorts, lodges and B&Bs along Nova Scotia’s Chowder Trail.  Chefs take seafood from the surrounding clean, cool waters and fresh produce from its lush fertile fields creating tasty recipes – all of them distinctive.

Nova Scotia lobster is world famous, so it is no wonder the province’s lobster chowder is one of its most popular.  At Le Caveau at the Domaine de Grand Pre Winery in the Annapolis Valley, Chef Jason Lynch serves his lobster and scallop chowder with Spanish flavors: almond broth and smoked paprika.  In Lunenburg, the charming UNESCO World Heritage seaport on Nova Scotia’s Lighthouse Route, Chef Shelley Steventon at the Old Fish Factory prepares her chowder with lobster, scallops, mussels, haddock, shrimp, smoked bacon, potatoes and heavy cream.

Last year’s Chowder Cook-off champion was Chef Thomas Carey of Pictou Lodge Beach Resort on the Northumberland Shore.  His winning recipe included local double-smoked bacon, mussels, scallops, haddock and fresh chopped tarragon.  He finished the dish with a sous-vide egg yolk and red tabiko caviar.  Coming in second, Mark Gabrieau of Gabrieau’s Bistro in Antigonish – also on the Northumberland Shore – added a splash of pernod and a puff pastry cover.  At Chives Canadian Bistro in Halifax, Chef Craig Flinn, Nova Scotia’s Culinary Ambassador of 2012, was awarded third place for his chowder that boasted jalapeno, red pepper and cilantro oil.

Speaking of lobster, Ye Olde Argyler Lodge, an oceanfront lodge on Lobster Bay in the Yarmouth area is offering a two-night “Lobster Lover’s Getaway” for $325 per couple.  The package includes two night’s accommodation, lobster supper for two, two creamed lobster dinners (a traditional Nova Scotia dish), and for breakfast, lobster omelets one morning and Lobster Bay Benedict the other morning.  Chef Jonathan Joseph will personally take guests down to the wharf to choose their lobsters fresh off the boat.

While in the area, oyster lovers will want to head for Eel Lake Oyster Farm in Ste. Anne De Ruisseau.  Raising Atlantic Oysters since 1996, Nolan D’Eon takes visitors by boat to see the oyster habitat and back on shore they get to taste these succulent delights.

Wine Country

Less than an hour west of Halifax lies the province’s fertile Annapolis Valley dotted with apple orchards, cheese makers and 11 wineries.  Visitors can easily spend a weekend tasting wines, visiting farmers markets and apple or blueberry picking.

At Tangled Garden, herbs and fruit are transformed into jewel-like jellies and flavorful liqueurs.  Visitors can stroll through the three-acre herb and sculpture garden before heading to the gift shop to sample handcrafted jams, cordials and honey.

Everything is grown, harvested or made by the vendors themselves at the year-round Wolfville Farmer’s Market.  Visitors can meet the local farmers and the chefs who bring all the ingredients together. Fox Hill Cheese House crafts over 20 varieties of specialty cheeses, natural yogurt, gelato and milk, all from its own herd of Holstein cows.  Visitors can watch the cheese-making process from the viewing window and taste complimentary cheese.

Nova Scotia’s first operating winery, Domaine de Grand Pre  has one of the province’s best restaurants in Le Caveau and offers tastings of its award-winning wines in a charming tasting room.

Lucketts Vineyards has become a regular stop on the tasting tours not least because of its delicious wines, the cuisine at Crush Pad Bistro, its scenic views and the charm of its owner Pete Luckett who knows something about food having run the province’s top gourmet food emporiums.

 For more information about Nova Scotia, go to www.novascotia.com or call: 1-800-565-0000).

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What Time Is It in Cancun? One Hour Later

January 27, 2015

Cancun Changes Time Zone to Take Advantage of Extra Hour  As of February 1, Cancun will be treating tourists to one more hour of fun, culture and beautiful beaches, as the state of Quintana Roo officially changes time zones from Central Standard Time (CST) to Eastern Standard Time (EST). After more than two years of […]

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My First Visit to Lorraine

January 26, 2015

It makes me feel old to say this, but I remember the first time I drove into France as an adult. The year was 1988, and we had  flown into Stuttgart, Germany and we crossed the border into the region of Lorraine France. At dinner one night, we got to talking  to the owner of […]

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A Two-Nation Vacation on a Small Ship this Summer

January 15, 2015

Experience the best of New Brunswick on this two nation vacation!  In historic Saint John, the oldest incorporated city in Canada, walk in the footsteps of British Loyalists, taste local delicacies at the City Market, and browse shops in the historic uptown area.  Cruise the highest tides in the world in the breathtakingly beautiful Bay […]

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I Took My Parents to Italy

January 8, 2015

It began with a loan.  My parents were kind to me when I told them back in 2002 that I wanted to buy a travel website.  They sent me a check to help me pay for it and then a few years later, it turned into my full time job.  I owed these wonderful people […]

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