The Daydream Series: Jamaica – One Love!

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Daydreaming is easy, healthy, and free!
Here at AAV Travel, we would like to give your mind a break and the opportunity to enjoy and learn more about the world from the comfort of your home.

TASTE • LISTENEXPERIENCEREADHAPPY HOUR

Jamaica is a popular travel destination for March. This post is dedicated to the island of “One Love,” its people, and those that have had to reschedule their trip. #tourismstrong



Jamaican Flavors

Jamaica’s food is known across the world for its freshness and exotic flavors. Jerk chicken, likely being the country’s most famous export! If you’ve never had a chance to stop by Scotchie’s, you will want to put it on your list.

Although jerk varieties are plenty, we are in love with the patties!

Inspired by the British Cornish pastry, which typically is filled with meat and potato, the Jamaican patty has become its own delicacy. They make a great snack to pick up while on vacation but are also an excellent addition to your weekly lunch. Not to mention you can make several, so that you can freeze and reheat them at your convenience.

There are many recipes for beef and chicken patties out there. However, we opted to share a Rastafarian version, which is not only vegetarian but also vegan. Not to mention, super yummy!

Check out Our Green Planet’s recipe and let us know how you like it once you make it!


Copy of taste!

Music and Jamaica go hand in hand. You will be hard-pressed, not to come across a Jamaican that is either humming a tune or moving to the rhythm. Everyone knows Bob Marley and hearing his songs while in Jamaica is a guarantee. Jamaica, however, also has some incredible new talent, and if you want to get a better feel for what Jamaicans listen to these days, check out our Playlist on Spotify. It will take you straight to the Caribbean island!

aavtravelJamaica



experience!

When you can’t travel, movies and videos are a great option to get the daydreaming started. Jamaica has a few great options to consider!

Ian Fleming, the author of the James Bond series, owned a house in Jamaica, and it comes to no surprise that his sixth novel, Dr. No is set on the beautiful island. Dr. No is interesting for several reasons, including the fact that it is the very first James Bond movie and introducing Sean Connery as the first James Bond. Of course, there is also some amazing Jamaican scenery.

If you are a James Bond fan in general and want to know more about the significant Jamaican movie locations check out Carib Journal’s post. 

The Port Antonio area provides most of the settings for the movie Cocktail as well as Knight and Day, which takes you to Frenchman’s Cove.

20,000 Leagues under the Sea features Negril and its cliff area, whereas How Stella got her Groove Back was filmed at the Roundhouse Villas, in Montego Bay.

If you just want to get a little feel for the island, have a look at this clip!



Read!

If you are ready to go deeper and learn more about the country as well as its history, culture, and behind the scenes, there are some excellent reads for you!

Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys

Jean Rhys’s reputation was made upon the publication of this passionate and heartbreaking novel, in which she brings into the light one of fiction’s most mysterious characters: the madwoman in the attic from Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre. Set in the Caribbean, its heroine is Antoinette Cosway, a sensual and protected young woman who is sold into marriage to the prideful Rochester. In this best-selling novel, Rhys portrays a society so driven by hatred, so skewed in its sexual relations, that it can literally drive a woman out of her mind. For more.

The Harder they Come by Michael Thelwell

Like the acclaimed film of the same title, this lyrical, lilting, densely textured novel is based on the exploits of the legendary Jamaican folk hero and reggae star Rhygin. With passion and precision, Michael Thelwell recounts Rhygin’s journey from a morally coherent rural universe to the teeming, predatory slums of Kingston, his rebellion against the poverty and corruption of postcolonial Jamaica, his blazing, simultaneous rise to the top of the charts and the Most Wanted list. For More.

A Brief History o Seven Killings by Marlon James

In A Brief History of Seven Killings, Marlon James combines brilliant storytelling with his unrivaled skills of characterization and meticulous eye for detail to forge an enthralling novel of dazzling ambition and scope.

On December 3, 1976, just before the Jamaican general election and two days before Bob Marley was to play the Smile Jamaica Concert to ease political tensions in Kingston, seven gunmen stormed the singer’s house, machine guns blazing. The attack wounded Marley, his wife, and his manager, and injured several others. Little was officially released about the gunmen, but much has been whispered, gossiped and sung about in the streets of West Kingston. Rumors abound regarding the assassins’ fates, and there are suspicions that the attack was politically motivated.

A Brief History of Seven Killings delves deep into that dangerous and unstable time in Jamaica’s history and beyond. James deftly chronicles the lives of a host of unforgettable characters – gunmen, drug dealers, one-night stands, CIA agents,  even ghosts – over the course of thirty years as they roam the streets of 1970s Kingston, dominate the crack houses of 1980s New York, and ultimately reemerge into the radically altered Jamaica of the 1990s. Along the way, they learn that evil does indeed cast long shadows, that justice and retribution are inextricably linked, and that no one can truly escape his fate.

Gripping and inventive, shocking and irresistible, A Brief History of Seven Killings is a mesmerizing modern classic of power, mystery, and insight. For more.


HappyHour!

JAMAICAN RUM PUNCH

The Jamaican Rum Punch is a staple at many bars. Often you receive a pre-mixed version. However, if you are one for craft drinks and would like to make yours from scratch, check out Calvin’s recipe.

Ingredients:

  • Pimento
  • Rosemarie
  • ½ White Rum
  • 1 oz Dark Rum
  • 3 oz of Ting or Grapefruit Soda
  • 1 dash of Angostura Bitters
  • ½ teaspoon of Strawberry Syrup

Directions: 


This list is compiled in response to the COVID-19 crisis, but also as a resource for anyone considering to travel to Jamaica, or wanting to get a feel for the island before their trip.

Please stay safe and healthy, wash your hands, and practice social distancing as long as it is necessary.

Being able to travel is an incredible gift. The experience can open our eyes to the unique cultures and spellbinding beauty of the natural world. But with this gift comes a responsibility – to protect the world as we know it. Please behave responsibly and show respect!

STEFANIE PICHONNAT
Stefanie Pichonnat is the owner of AAV Travel, a boutique travel firm specialized in creating customized travel itineraries. Originally from Switzerland, she started exploring the world at a young age and continues to expand her knowledge every year.

To plan a trip contact her at stefanie@aav-travel.com

On the Twelfth Day of National #PlanForVacation Day: Cycling in Burgundy

France offers many wonderful wine regions, one for every wine enthusiast it seems. For Mark, Julie, Allen, and Alicia, Burgundy was the choice.

Burgundy is made up of vineyards, castles, rivers, and a lot of history. Dijon, its capital, can easily be reached in an hour and forty minutes from Paris via high-speed train. If you are into wine, there is quite a bit to explore with the five wine producing regions.

The most important red wine areas are Gevrey-Chambertin, Nuits-St-Georges, Vosne-Romanée, Chambolle-Musigny, Beaune, Pommard, and Volnay.

If you prefer white, your most famous areas are Chablis, Puligny-Montrachet, Meursault, Corton, and Pouilly-Fuisse.

There are many different ways to explore the region but since Mark, Julie, Allen, and Alicia, love being active, we set them up with a private bike tour through the vineyards. During their day cycling the Côte de Nuits area, they visited a domaine in Aloxe Corton as well as Gevrey Chambertin. They tried many wines and enjoyed a traditional lunch. As you can see they lucked out with perfect weather that day!

This blog post is the twelfth destination highlight concluding our series of twelve, leading up to the National #PlanForVacation Day on January 29, 2019. Don’t let your vacation days go to waste, plan a trip!

stefanie pichonnat aavtravelSTEFANIE PICHONNAT
Stefanie Pichonnat is the owner of AAV Travel; a boutique travel firm specialized in creating customized travel itineraries. Originally from Switzerland, she started exploring Europe at a young age and continues to expand her knowledge every year.  To plan a trip contact her at stefanie@aav-travel.com

On the Eleventh Day of National #PlanForVacation Day: A New England and Canada Cruise

When people think of cruising, they mostly talk about the Caribbean, Alaska, the Panama Canal, or the Mediterranean. Sailing along New England to Canada is not the first thing that pops to mind. Once it does, however, it makes sense.

A typical itinerary typically navigates between Boston/New York and Quebec. While in New England, you can the coastal scenery dotted with lighthouses and visit Acadia National Park by Bar Harbor.

One of the cruise highlights is the natural phenomenon of the Reversing Rapids by Saint John, Canada. To truly experience the change, make sure to be there about an hour before high tide starts. Once it goes into motion, the ocean will start flowing inland. As the tide starts ebbing, the St. John River will once again continue its usual flow into the ocean.

Another stop is Halifax, where you find the fishing village of Luneburg, once known as the fishing capital of the world, is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Of course, Quebec is a spectacular site with the beautiful Chateau Frontenac towering above the city. Many restaurants and boutiques await as you stroll through the romantic cobblestone streets. Don’t forget to taste Canada’s famous dish “Poutine”!

This blog post is the eleventh highlight of twelve, leading up to the National #PlanForVacation Day on January 29, 2019. Don’t let your vacation days go to waste, plan a trip!

stefanie pichonnat aavtravelSTEFANIE PICHONNAT
Stefanie Pichonnat is the owner of AAV Travel; a boutique travel firm specialized in creating customized travel itineraries. She is a Princess Cruises certified expert. To plan a trip contact her at stefanie@aav-travel.com

On the Tenth Day of National #PlanForVacation Day: European River Cruising

Exploring Europe via a river cruise has gained a large momentum over the past ten years. Several river cruise companies have emerged, built new ships, and today, you have a large choice of itineraries as well as different river cruise companies.

River cruises are best planned well ahead. The pricing can seem steep initially, but a lot is included. Also, promotions and discounts are available if you plan to travel during the off-season, or chose a less popular cruise itinerary.

The most popular river cruise itinerary sails along the Danube River. The Danube originates in Germany and crosses Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Moldova, and Ukraine before draining into the Black Sea. A typical River Cruise itinerary, however, travels between the Nuremberg/Regensburg area to Budapest only, making several stops throughout Austria, most notably Vienna.

architecture bridge building structures castle

Photo by JÉSHOOTS on Pexels.com

Equally popular is a Rhine River cruise which sails between Basel, Switzerland and Amsterdam, Netherlands. It travels along the German/French allowing guests to visit the romantic Alsace Region and then continues through Germany on to the Netherlands (or the other way around).

The Seine River is a wonderful option for guests who are interested in Paris, France’s countryside, all the way to Normandy. As it travels a rather short distance, it often is roundtrip and allows for a lot of in-depth stops.

For wine lovers, a Bordeaux river cruise is an excellent option. Staying within a fairly small area, it allows its guests to visit famous wine regions like Pauillac and St. Emilion.

There are many more river cruise options within central Europe all with a different flair and unique experiences.

This blog post is the tenth destination highlight of twelve, leading up to the National #PlanForVacation Day on January 29, 2019. Don’t let your vacation days go to waste, plan a trip!

stefanie pichonnat aavtravelSTEFANIE PICHONNAT
Stefanie Pichonnat is the owner of AAV Travel; a boutique travel firm specialized in creating customized travel itineraries. Originally from Switzerland, she started exploring Europe at a young age and continues to expand her knowledge every year.  To plan a trip contact her at stefanie@aav-travel.com

On the Ninth Day of National #PlanForVacation Day: Milano

Milan is not on top of the list of cities to visit in Italy. Most people end up in Milan because they are in transit to somewhere else. It could be they are flying into the airport and are heading South towards Florence or East towards Venice. It could be they have to go through Milan to travel to Lake Como.

When in Milan, the typical tourist route includes the Duomo, the Galleria Emanuele III, Castel Gandolfi, and Da Vinci’s Last Supper. These sights are good for a day of sightseeing. But, what else is there to do?

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele

Milan is odd. After the Romans left the Milanese destroyed most of the Roman structures as they didn’t want any reminders from that time. Milan originally was built with many canals which were the way for tradespeople to get around. These were later covered to make way for streets and cars. The city took another big hit when it was heavily bombarded during World War II.  Today, the contrast between modern buildings and old structures is quite drastic.

As I arrived for my fifth time in Milan, I was determined to find its soul. After all, it is a fashion, design, and business metropole. I quickly understood that using the public transportation system was the key to discovering the city’s pulse. The subway is fast, efficient, and incredibly affordable. It will take you to areas such as:

Brera
This enchanting district is one of the most beloved, romantic, and atmospheric quarters of Milano. The best way to experience it is by strolling along and randomly soak it in. Peek through gates, look at artworks, stop by galleries, enjoy one of the many excellent ristorantes and trattorias. If you don’t want to walk from the city center, take the subway to Lanza.

Navigli
This neighborhood is set along the original Naviglio Grande canal, the oldest canal in Milan. It was built around sometime around 1200 and is more than 35 miles in length. At the time it was used to transport goods. Today the area is home to numerous restaurants, bars, many small boutiques, and art galleries.
In the evening, it is hugely popular with the young Milanese crowd because of the so-called aperitivo hour or happy hour. Between 5 pm – 7 pm many of the bars offer free food provided you purchase one drink. It’s a fun and hip place to sit outside and experience some authentic nightlife and there are plenty of options to choose from. There are also some romantic, more hidden trattorias.

 

This blog post is the ninth destination highlight of twelve, leading up to the National #PlanForVacation Day on January 29, 2019. Don’t let your vacation days go to waste, plan a trip!

stefanie pichonnat aavtravelSTEFANIE PICHONNAT
Stefanie Pichonnat is the owner of AAV Travel; a boutique travel firm specialized in creating customized travel itineraries. She specializes in creating experiences across Italy and travels to Milan almost yearly, to network at Italy’s tourism trade show. To plan a trip contact her at stefanie@aav-travel.com

 

The Eighth Day of National #PlanForVacation Day: Los Cabos

For the longest time, I didn’t understand the appeal of Los Cabos. The idea of a resort town, set in an arid desert with basically non-swimmable beaches didn’t seem like the place I would want to visit.  And then it got devasted by Hurricane Odile 2014, and that took it off the radar for a little while.

aerialloscabos

Odile wreaked havoc on the Baja California peninsula and forced many major resorts to shut down, renovate, and rebuild completely. Three years later, Los Cabos rose out of the ashes, more glorious than ever.

Numerous new resorts have opened: Grand Velas, Le Blanc, Montage, Hard Rock Los Cabos, Garza Blanca, and many more. There is no shortage of properties to stay at, from less expensive to most extravagant really. You have plenty of choices both all-inclusive and not, depending on your preference.

leblancloscabos

Los Cabos consists of three resort areas:

  • San Jose del Cabo which is a quaint, authentic Mexican town, bustling with tourists as well as locals. It offers a beautiful art district and a real Mexican experience. It is very close to the International Airport making it fast to get to.
  • The Zona Hotelera, the hotel zone, which is a desert corridor, spans for about 20 miles between the two towns. Backed by desert and hills, resorts are set between the main road and the Sea of Cortez.
  • Cabo San Lucas, furthest away from the airport is more artificial with a marina, shopping mall, movie theater and all the entertainment one could want. It is also where the boats to the famous Arch depart from.

loscabos; hotelzonecabosanlucas; marinasanjosedelcabo

The fact that you can have three completely different experiences within a reasonably small distance is one of my favorite things about Los Cabos. The local people are amiable and helpful. Food is generally excellent. The highlight though is the ocean, scrap the fact that it is mainly non-swimmable. Watching the waves is utterly fascinating. The brute force, the crashing sound, the power these waves have, it’s incredible. Admiring them over the edge of an infinity pool, or doused in the sunset from your balcony, is phenomenal!

This is the eighth destination highlight of twelve, leading up to the National #PlanForVacation Day on January 29, 2019. Don’t let your vacation days go to waste, plan a trip!

stefanie pichonnat aavtravelSTEFANIE PICHONNAT
Stefanie Pichonnat is the owner of AAV Travel; a boutique travel firm specialized in creating customized travel itineraries. She specializes in creating experiences across Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central America. To plan a trip contact her at stefanie@aav-travel.com

The Seventh Day of National #PlanForVacation Day: Munich and its Surroundings

Most people associate Munich with the Oktoberfest which spans over about 16 days at the end of September to the beginning of October. It is the world’s largest Volksfest with currently 14 tents, all serving beer, and festival food. It is a lot of fun!

bavaria munich octoberfest oktoberfest

Photo by Manuel Joseph on Pexels.com

But there are more reasons to visit Munich than the Oktoberfest and a less busy time might be more enjoyable. Of course, its historic city center is beautiful; there are many creative shops, restaurants, and entertainment options. It is particularly pretty before Christmas when the lights are up, and the Christkindlmarkt is running.

Munich also makes for a great hub:

Venture South East to visit:

  • Neuschwanstein Castle also dubbed the Cinderella Castle.
  • Salzburg, the city of music, and gateway to anything related to the Sound of Music.
  • Hallstatt, picturesque village set on a lake.
white castle during daytime

Photo by Pascal Renet on Pexels.com

Venture North to visit:

  • The Romantic Road, a scenic drive through Bavaria’s countryside with many medieval and romantic towns.

rothenburg germany

For WorldWar II history buffs there are many sites to visit:

  • The Dachau Concentration Camp
  • Hitler’s Eagles Nest
  • Nazi Party Rally Grounds in Nuremberg

Many of our clients combine Munich and the area with some other parts of Germany, or Switzerland for example. Rachel & Lee, combined Switzerland, with the Oktoberfest and Munich, and from there explored the Romantic Road.

We are so excited that they shared some of their pictures with us, enjoy!

 

 

This is the seventh destination highlight of twelve, leading up to the National #PlanForVacation Day on January 29, 2019. Don’t let your vacation days go to waste, plan a trip!

stefanie pichonnat aavtravelSTEFANIE PICHONNAT
Stefanie Pichonnat is the owner of AAV Travel; a boutique travel firm specialized in creating customized travel itineraries. Growing up in Switzerland she has had the opportunity to explore Europe ever since she was little. She can help you create a wonderful European adventure. To plan a trip contact her at stefanie@aav-travel.com