Featuring ArubaAruba SpecialistLast visit December 2006
As an “Aruba Ace Certified Agent”
accredited by the tourist board, I have been exposed to an array of
travel tidbits and unique gastronomic dining options of this wonderful
destination. I have visited this friendly desert island on six occasions
thru out my travel career. The island just keeps calling me back for
more over and over! I can’t say enough about the dining, activities,
nightlife, beaches, friendly locals and plentiful shopping.
I have recently developed a rapport with a local
jeweler and am pleased to share this with future clients in the mood
for some serious jewelry shopping. I recommend them highly as I to have
been the recipient of some fine purchases within the past several
years. They specialize in trendy precious and semi-precious jewelry
designs and of course can also fulfill a need for some overrated Bling
Bling, just in case you are in the mood.
Over the years my husband and I have returned to
dine at our personal favorites and seem to always locate a new dining
hot spot each time we visit. Just a few of our favorites:
Papimento-150 year old manor
house offers inside dining amongst family antiques or outside dining
surrounding an outdoor patio/pool area with lighted palm trees in the
evening, affording a wonderful ambiance----offering an array of local
Ventanas del Mar..located at
the Tierra del Sol Golf Course-which offers 5 star Caribbean cuisine
with tableside serenading or outside dining boasting spectacular views
of the lush golf course by the sea and the historic California
The Flying Fishbone....just in case
a client is feeling adventurous and would like to dine off the beaten
path I would suggest dining here. It is located just a 30 minute drive
to Saveneta offering a combination of European gourmet cuisine with the
Caribbean charm of Aruba. Arriving before or just after 6p will afford
you the best spot on the island to view a memorable sunset. Once the sun
sets you will be dining underneath a star-filled sky while your feet
are swaying in the sand on their own private beach dining area. You will
be serenaded by romantic live music as the smooth breeze and gentle
swaying of the palm trees surround you for this outside unique tropical
dining experience; Don't forget to ask for the "Cakebread Chard".....
Hostaria Da’Vittorio...Last but
by no means least why not try your taste buds at the best Italian
Ristorante on the island-----the last time I dined here I sat with the
chef/owner for an after dinner drink and was told that the majority of
the italian food, vino and bira (beer) are shipped in from Sicily. It's
quite evident as you partake in the cuisine…..once again they offer
indoor/outdoor unique dining and are conveniently located just across
from the "Hyatt Hotel" on Palm Beach.
Pincho's...This is my latest
find. This an over the water restaurant and is located near the landing
path of the airport. The sunsets are gorgeous and the arriving
European jets are intrigueing as they approach the nearby airport. This
restaurant was by far my favorite new find. The reality series "The
Bachelor" was filmed here several years ago. The cuisine is grilled and
offers very innovative menu choices. After dinner...take a ride on the
oversized swing as you watch the stars. As a Certified Agent I
always set aside a morning of the trip to arrange for a private site
inspection with the Tourist Board and Hoteliers of at least 5-6
properties. What a wonderful way to view renovations, new hotels and
connect with the onsite reservation managers. This has definitely proven
to be a great selling tool and enables me to choose the perfect
accommodation for my client’s overall expectations.
There are a wide variety of properties to choose
from starting with a 5 star beachfront high-rise hotels located on Palm
Beach with great dining options, casinos, pet iguanas and birds on
property. Perhaps a client would like the ambiance of a low-rise hotel
located on Eagle Beach offering a European/chic flair for décor with all
the bells and whistles and rooms overlooking the ocean. Just next store
they can visit the brand new Balinese Spa set amongst a tropical garden
setting and massage cabanas with a magnificent ocean view.
This is truly an island destination
that offers superb dining, choice hotels, abundance of shopping, wide
array of island adventures, (2) golf courses and much more! Once you
choose to plan your vacation excursion with me I can assure you that you
will be utterly pleased with my overall knowledge and personal
favorites on this “One Big Happy Island”.
Click the link below to display a slideshow in a new window.
Egypt Trip hosted by Egyptian Express22 - 29 March, 2006
Day 1: Wednesday, 22 March:Upon arrival of our international flights into Cairo International Airport, we were greeted by Egyptian Express (our Virtuoso Onsite Tour Host) who assisted us with the passport arrival formalities, followed by direct transfer service to the luxurious brand new Four Seasons at Nile Plaza Hotel. This evening we were greeted with a welcome reception and free time to meet our counter-parts for this amazing ancient journey back in time, for a week long tour of the highlights of Egypt.
Day 2: Thursday, 23 March: Today we were met by our superb private English-speaking Egyptologist-Guide (Achmed). We started our amazing journey of sightseeing throughout Egypt, in the morning with a short butinformative introduction to the sites we will visit during our tour, starting with an exciting full day Cairo City Tour. We motor coached a short distance to the marvelous Egyptian Museum of Antiquities in the city center, for a tour of all the highlights of its brilliant collection of art and everyday-life objects from ancient Egypt, including the golden Treasures of the Boy King Tutankhamun! We enjoyed a luncheon hosted by the famous Rotisserie Belvedere Restaurant in Cairo Nile Hilton hotel’s rooftop, while enjoying breathtaking views of the River Nile. After lunch we visited the 12th century fortress; “The Citadel”, constructed by Saladin to protect Cairo from the Mongol threat. Within the Citadel walls is the mosque that has become the symbol of Cairo, the Mohammed Ali Mosque. It was built in 1830 in Byzantine style on the model of Hagia Sofia in Istanbul. This mosque is characterized by the great amount of alabaster used to sheath the walls. Then we continued to the Khan El Khalili Bazaars, where we enjoyed shopping amongst the shop owners. We had our on private shopping assistant as we searched for the perfect Egyptian gift for our loved ones at home. I espcially enjoyed my shopping experience at the ancient spice market. I was able to acquire several of my favorite spices; cardamon, curry and saffron, for a future dinners only to remind me of that special day. We returned to our hotel, only to attend an evening to the spectacular Sound and Light Show - in English language at the Sphinx and Pyramids of Giza! This spectacle was a perfect introduction to our upcoming adventures of the next several days. The show displayed the innovative Old Kingdom of Egypt’s long history, - the dramatic “Pyramid Age”, when our earliest civilization was formed! The show duration of 50 minutes was so surreal! This evening we enjoyed a welcome dinner hosted by the Four Seasons management team, before we retired for the evening only to wake for a wonderful day of planned touring.
Day 3: Friday, 24 March: Today was an early 5:15 AM, transfer to the Cairo airport to embark on our short 45 minute flight to the Aswan airport. We boarded a motorcoach to visit the Aswan Dam and the historical temple of "Abu Simbel". Our 1st stop was the highlight of Abu Simbel; where we toured the Great Temples of Ramses II and his beloved Queen Nefertari, known as “Abu Simbel Temples”. After this amazing tour we returned via a flight to Aswan - “Gateway to Africa”, followed by a direct transfer from Aswan airport to the pier to embark on our Nile Cruise ship for an unforgettable 3-Nights/ 4-Days Nile Cruise from Aswan to Luxor. We were greeted with a welcome drink upon embarkation as well as a piano recital. All in all, a superb residence on the river! We enjoyed our first lunch on the Nile followed by a sail through the Nile in Aswan by “Felucca” - traditional sailing crafts - around Kitchener's Island and the Agha Khan Mausoleum. This was over the top---we visited a nearby Nubian village and were serenaded by music as we arrived upon this tiny Nubian village that dates back centuries in time. Our tour of Aswan featured a visit to the High Dam, the ancient Granite Quarries & Unfinished Obelisk, and the beautiful Temple of Philae. Followed by a Captain’s welcome cocktail party.
Day 4: Saturday, 25 March:Today we were met by horse and buggy as we embark on our visit to the city of Edfu. We are whisked off briskly by our coachman dawned in the traditional egyptian garb. As we take off, I am offered to sit up front with our coachman. I know better and decline... for fear of what is to come. Our driver thought he was in a race to the finish line and guess what... we won the race...as he sped thru the ancient city of Edfu exclaiming his newfound American saying "Giddee Up" we finally arrive safe and sound and in first place! Upon our hairaising arrival we visited the mighty Temple of the Falcon-Headed Sun-God Horus, best-preservedtemple remaining from Egypt’s ancient past! We returned via stage coach for yet another pseudo race to the finish line only to have the driver announce that he won the race (even though we were the only carriage in the race....mind you) and expected a hefty tip...which we graciously offered due to the entertainment value had by all...and then he requested an additional tip for the horse...we kindly told him to split his with the horse and ventured off to our ship to enjoy an afternoon sail to Luxor This evening we all dressed in fancy "Gallabeya" costumes and enjoyed a belly dancing show and mummy wrapping contest with our colleagues. My husband (Mr. Charles Shachat) was chosen to belly dance on stage and was the hit of the evening and was featured on the ship's television thru-out the cruise. In hindsight, I think he wished that he stayed in his seat and blended in with the rest of the audience! Oh well.....it must of been the air onboard that enticed him.....huummmm!
Day 5: Sunday, 26 March: Today we visited the West Bank - The Valley of the Kings and Queens, the Temple of Queen Hatshepsut at El Deir El Bahari, and the Colossi of Memnon. We continued on to visit Karnak and the Luxor Temples. What an amazing day! Followed by a lovely dinner and another Belly Dancing show.
Day 6: Monday, 27 March: Today we were up bright and early to disembark to the Luxor airport to take our one-hour flight back to Cairo. We checked into the luxurious Four Seasons at the First Residence Hotel. We had some long awaited free time to enjoy this lovely hotel and visit the underground shopping complex. This evening we visited the Giza area followed by a lovely dinner at the hotel.
Day 7: Tuesday, 28 March: Today we ventureed off for a full day of touring to Memphis, Sakkara, and the Great Pyramids & Sphinx of Giza! Our first surprise of the day was a "Camel back ride experience" in front of the Pyramids. An incredible experience and a must do for any Egyptian clients. We stepped back in time over 5000 years this morning as we motorcoached through the lush Valley of the Nile to the site of ancient Memphis, founded circa 3100 BC as the first capital of the newly united Kingdoms of Upper and Lower Egypt! This once glorious metropolis has vanished - and we learned why, during the visit to the open-air museum which offered evocative reminders of the time when Memphis was the city from which the entire known world was ruled! Among these remnants were a stunning colossal fallen statue of Ramses the Great and an elegant alabaster sphinx. Next we motorcoached from the green valley up onto the nearby desert plateau - to the vast and astonishing necropolis of Memphis, - spectacular Sakkara! - Here - truly “where architecture was born” - we walked among the very first buildings in hewn stone in all their history and glory, to the centerpiece of the soaring Step Pyramid of Pharaoh Zoser - first of all the pyramids! - We explored the noble courtyards and enchanting “dummy” buildings of this funerary complex of the pharaoh, designed by his Vizier-Physician-Architect Imhotep for the use of his God-King, not in this life, but in the Afterlife! Nearby, we entered the tomb of a court figure of the Old Kingdom, the delightful carved and painted relief scenes in whose chapel give a vivid picture of daily life at the dawn of history! Lunch was enjoyed at the Legendary Oberoi Mena House, in Giza. This afternoon shows us the final triumph in the search for the perfect pyramid, - the imposing Pyramids of Giza! The we ventured off via motorcoach and foot to explore the entire northern Memphite necropolis of Giza. - Driving through the site, we saw the three major monuments - the towering Pyramids of Cheops (Khofu), Chephren (Khafra), and Mycerinus (Menkaura); - the Subsidiary Pyramids of favorite Queens and Princesses; - the other three most important buildings of the funerary complex of each pharaoh - his Valley Temple, Causeway, and Mortuary Temples; - the still mystifying sacred boat pits which dot the ground beside each pyramid; - and the vast adjoining cemeteries of members of the Royal Family and of court nobles and high government officials! Proceeding to the high desert plateau beyond, we then enjoyed a panoramic view - where tookmarvelous photographs - of all the Giza monuments spread out below! Returning to the heart of the necropolis, we visit the Museum of the Royal Boat (or “Solar Boat” or “Sun Boat”) of Cheops, oldest large sailing craft every discovered - and a vessel of surpassing craftsmanship and elegance. Then we entered the well-preserved Valley temple of Chephren, with its astounding stonework, - and stepped onto this huge Causeway for a close-up introduction to his giant Sphinx! All in one day. This evening we enjoyed our farewell dinner and said our goodbyes to all of our new found Egyptian friends and contacts.
Day 8: Wednesday, 29 March:Up bright and early to say our final goodbyes to the group. Today Charlie decides to bid Egypt farewell by golfing at the Sphinx and Pyramids during a total eclipse of the sun. What an incredible experience. This was no typical day on the course by far! We are now off to extend our trip to the beautiful city of Prague for an extended stay. Please refer to that chapter for further details. I would be pleased to assist and future clients to enjoy an amazing excursion to the land of Pharoahs and Pyramids with my new affliation of my Virtuoso onsite "Egyption Express". The are truly professional and the best tour operator for Egypt and Israel by far!
Stay tuned for details of our 4 days in the Imperial City Prague!See photos below!