Cost of living in major European cities

Quality of life

Nobody is surprised to see Geneva, London and Oslo as top 3 – some might be surprised to see Dublin so high.

However, most of us may be surprised to see how Berlin is #11.
Fair rental prices, cheaper living costs than in NYC for example, that’s what Berlin is known for. Not to mention the leisure, cultural and educational opportunities that provide 3.7 million Berliners with room for personal development.

Some people consider Berlin as a paradise among major European capitals: green spaces, lakes, city parks, spacious streets, short distances, a well-developed transport network, not to mention cheap and quick connections to the surrounding areas and the sea, make Berlin a place with impressive scope.

A piece of trivia for your information: Berlin is the only German city that can cover its drinking water needs with its own groundwater?

Infographic: Low cost of living makes Berlin an attractive option | Statista You will find more infographics at Statista

EuroCircle Travels to Jordan, Lebanon and Egypt – Sep 2018

Join other EuroCircle members on Sherry’s 8th Annual International Adventure.

This year you will explore 3 countries of the Middle East. The main itinerary consists of 8 days in Jordan and Lebanon. Travelers can opt to extend the trip to Egypt (priced separately). This trip is open to prior EuroCircle travelers in good standing, members of all EuroCircle chapters, and approved guests.

Tour Organizer:
Sherry Kumar
Sherry hosts this trip for her fellow EuroCircle members.
She will be your main point of contact prior to departure. If you have never travelled with Sherry before, please email her to schedule an informational call.

This is required for all new travelers, no exceptions.

Prices: (Subject to change)

Jordan and Lebanon Only: $1989* per person double occupancy. Single room supplement 320 additional.
Optional Egypt Extension (priced separately): $597* per person double occupancy. Single room supplement: 189 additional.
Non-RefundableDeposits are:

$800 for Lebanon and Jordan only.

The additional deposit for the optional Egypt extension is $140. Please make sure that when you place your deposits, you pay both for the main trip and the extension.

Sample Itinerary (Subject to change)

Day 1: Sept 12
Landing Day- Meet and assist upon arrival at Amman airport (Airport code: AMM) by our representative who will assist the group through customs and immigration. Transfer to the hotel in Amman and check in for overnight.

Day 2: Sept 13
Breakfast at the hotel and drive to visit the Greco- Roman city of Jerash which is the largest and best preserved Roman city outside of Rome. Afterwards return to Amman for a city tour of the capital with visits to the Amman Citadel and Roman Amphitheater. Then return to the hotel, to freshen up and dinner at Kan Zamaan Restaurant in Amman for dinner and overnight.

Day 3: Sept 14
After breakfast in hotel, drive to visit the World Wonder, Petra. This is Jordan’s Crown Jewel of Archaeological heritage. The city was built by the Nabateans as their capital over 2000 years ago along the routes controlling the trade between the Arab Peninsula, Africa, Asia, and the Mediterranean basin, making it a great success and allowed the city to prosper. After the visit, return to the hotel, and time to rest until dinner and overnight.

Day 4: Sept 15
After breakfast in hotel, drive to visit Oldest mosaic map of the region in Madaba’s St. George Church. From there continue to Mount Nebo and visit Moses’ Shrine overlooking the Jordan Valley. Then to Amman Airport for departure flight to Beirut.
Upon arrival in Beirut, Meet and Assist upon arrival and transfer to the hotel for overnight.

Day 5: Sept 16
Breakfast at the hotel and start with a city tour of Beirut to explore the city, different neighborhoods, and history of the great coastal city. Continue to visit the Jeitta Grotto with its great monumental natural creations, then to visit Harissa with Majestic views over the city. Return to the hotel for overnight.

Day 6: Sept 17
Breakfast at the hotel and start with a visit to the Beqaa Valley with its great Roman Temples ruins. Then continue to Ksara, a region that is very fertile and famed for its great wines. Then continue to Baalback, Lebanon’s greatest Roman treasure, can be counted among the wonders of the ancient world. The largest and most noble Roman temples ever built, they are also among the best preserved. Then continue to Anjar to visit the Umayyad era ruins. Return to the hotel for overnight.

Day 7: Sept 18
Breakfast at the hotel, and departure to visit The Ouadi Qadisha (the Holy Valley) and the Forest of the Cedars of God (Horsh Arz el-Rab) is a cultural landscape encompassing one of the most important early Christian monastic settlements in the world. Then continue to visit the ancient coastal city of Byblos which is believed to have been inhabited around 8000B.C. Then return to the hotel for overnight.

Day 8: Sept 19

Last day of main itinerary. Flights back to USA or optionally continue to Egypt.
Breakfast at the hotel and departure to Beirut Airport for departure flight to Cairo (or USA if you opt for the main itinerary only).
Upon arrival in Cairo, Meet and assist at airport, and transfer to the hotel for check in. Start with a tour to Khan El Khalili bazaar for the afternoon with a great selection of shops, crafts, traditional cafes, followed by dinner at a local restaurant. Then return to the hotel for overnight.

Day 9: Sept 20
Breakfast at the hotel and take a full day tour to the most significant sites, starting with the Pyramids in Giza, the best known monuments of Egyptian Antiquity. Then continue to visit Memphis and Sakkara with more Pyramids and Royal tombs. Afterwards return to the hotel for overnight.

Day 10: Sept 21
Breakfast at the hotel and start the day with a visit to the Cairo Museum. This is one of the most treasured and rich museums of the world with artifacts and treasures collected from the Pyramids, tombs, and other monuments. A must see for any traveler. Then continue to the One of Cairo’s most popular tourist attractions is the Citadel which houses a number of museums, ancient mosques and other sites, located on a spur of limestone that had been detached from its parent Moqattam Hills by quarrying.
Afterwards, return to the hotel for overnight.

Day 11: Sept 22
Breakfast at the hotel, and transfer to Cairo Airport for departure flight back home.
Jordan & Lebanon Price Inclusions:
• Meet and assist upon arrival with visa
• Transportation in a private A/C vehicle with and English speaking driver
• Services of a professional English speaking guide throughout
• Entrance fees to all mentioned sites
• Dinner at Kan Zamaan restaurant
• Accommodation with breakfast at the 4* hotels

Egypt Price Includes:
• Meet and assist upon arrival
• Transportation in a private A/C vehicle with and English speaking driver
• Services of a professional English speaking guide throughout
• Entrance fees to all mentioned sites
• Dinner at local restaurant in Cairo
• Accommodation with breakfast at the 4* hotels
Not Included:
• Airfare (You will purchase both international airfare and middle-east airfare yourself. Flights between the 3 countries are not included, and will be priced separately and estimated below. You will pay for these short flights through our travel consortium).
• Visa Fee for Egypt
• Sightseeing not listed in the itinerary
• Meals not listed in the itinerary
• Personal expenses such as room service, internet charge, laundry, drink, fax, telephone call, optional activities, etc.
• Gratuities, tips to guides, drivers, bellboys, etc.
• Excess Baggage Charges
• Travel insurance
Flights in the Middle East + Egypt airways Amman-Beirut – Cairo

These flighs and times are simply estimates. Prices are not guaranteed. You will purchase these flights through our travel consortium, so that you can travel with the group.
Flight Date From Dest Departs Arrives Terminal Flying Time

ME313 06-SEP-18 Amman- AMM Beirut- BEY 18:50 20:00 01:10h
MS710 10-SEP-18 Beirut- BEY Cairo- CAI 12:00 12:20 01:20h

Estimated Prices:
Middle east + Egypt airways Amman-Beirut – Cairo : USD 500*
Price subject to availability at time of booking
Prices are quoted Feb 2017 and are guaranteed to change by the time of booking.

How to prepare for your EuroCircle trip:
If you have not traveled with us before, you must schedule a call with the organizer Sherry Kumar. The purpose of the call is to get to know you and you to know her, inform you about other travelers, and see if we would make compatible travel companions, and inform you about how to prepare for the trip.
You will receive a copy of Group Rules, which all travelers must sign prior to making a deposit.
Deposits are Non-Refundable (no exceptions).

CONTACT:
Email Sherry Kumar here

The Special Hideaway – Home of Happiness

The things that make us happy in life are often rather simple: fresh food, peace, nature, good company. These simple ingredients form the core of the special hideaway on the sunny southwestern French countryside. The Happy Hamlet, a lifetime project of a French-Finnish/Czech couple with a multicultural background, offers an inspiring story to anyone with the same motto for life as they like to preach in the Hamlet:
Do what you love and love what you do.” 

When Suska Karjalainen and Nicolas Prevot were still living partly (her) in New York and (both) in Djibouti, life threw some unexpected elements in their way. It became necessary, on a short notice, to pack their belongings from a bit all over the world, as France was destined to become their new home country. After sharing an experience of renovating and running a Guest House in Djibouti, they had decided to not only do the same, but to expand from the offer of a typical B&B to experiences around different themes. Inspired by their own international network of professionals in many fields, they started the house hunt suitable for themed retreats in fall 2015.

LOOKING FOR THE RIGHT PLACE

The list of criteria for the property became rather long – and so did the search itself. It took several months, 25.000 kilometers on the road, and almost a 100 visited properties. But the hard work paid off, because the former goat cheese farm that centuries ago used to be a hamlet or a settlement of many families, became their new home the following spring.

Even if found partly in ruins, there was that special something that they knew would make a world of difference in their advantage when entering the very competitive market in the travel industry. The vast renovations were quicker than anyone would have imagined or believed, and so The Happy Hamlet (http://thehappyhamlet.com) opened its doors for the first guests in the summer 2017. The charm of the old white stones of the several buildings which together form the property, and the vast nature that stretches on over 30 acres of own land, provide an unbeatable combination to relax and unwind. “It is an outcome from sweat, blood and tears, for sure, but most of all it is love that one feels all around. Love from family, love from friends, love from the artisans who sometimes spent even their free time just to help us finish on time. The property may have a soul that dates back to 16th century, but it’s also all those people who’ve pitched in and whose presence and participation give the Hamlet its good vibes of today.”, says Suska visibly moved.

Today the Hamlet hosts retreats around various themes (http://thehappyhamlet.com/retreats2018): yoga, pilates, other well-being, fitness, arts, literature, food&wine, coaching and more, always instructed by top professionals in each field. Even if last summer was their opening season, the guest feedback has already been overwhelming. The word has spread and the Hamlet has been covered by several media, too, latest in the Finnair inflight magazine this January http://bluewings.finnair.com/lifestyle/29890/ and in the UK Living France magazine in December, featured as one of three Feel Good retreat spots in France: http://thehappyhamlet.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/1711-Living-France.png.

Why do people love the Hamlet? The “luxury” does not come from golden faucets or the trendiest decor, but it does offer a stay with a soul – and an ambiance that is intimate as if visiting a friend.
“We are literally in the middle of nowhere, but that’s exactly what we needed in order to create the atmosphere we envisioned”, says Suska and adds “Besides, being surrounded only by wild nature, sunflower fields and rolling hills and having the band of birds or the frogs down by the pond, or the owl at night as the only noise pollution.. I think life could be worse, definitely.“, she laughs.
There is a natural swimming pool (no chlorite nor other chemicals!) and a sauna in a barrel, and the guests can enjoy their meals made with fresh and clean produce from own garden or nearby producers. Surely no need to mention the wine – there are hundreds of vineyards, small and family-run, organic and little castles,… The stay might soon seem oh so very short for all there is to do and see, to learn and to enjoy the French “joie de vivre”.

HOME AWAY FROM HOME

Compared to many typical retreat spots the Hamlet goes beyond the “feeling like at home” idea. The group size is always very small, the neighbors stop by for a chat, the places visited, such as the vineyards, are actually those of friends, and the stays are always all inclusive in the true meaning of the term. On top of the instructions, meals and drinks, accommodation, and visits in the region, all the snacks, drinks or anything else one may desire, is always at hand and for no extra costs. “We think it is disturbing while traveling that there are situations where enjoying and relaxing becomes a budget thing. We wanted to host stays where the guests can forget their wallets and budgets and concentrate on the most important: themselves and their own well-being.” Suska explains and adds that this has already proven to be a well-appreciated approach. Guests seem to love even the fact that meals are served just like at home, no menus and thus no difficult choices to make!

As the Hamlet is in the beginning of its journey, its natural “home market” has been Finland.
This means, that in its first phase many of their retreats are in Finnish. The list of names of instructors is rather impressive for the Finnish market: Teresa Välimäki, one of the best known female chefs in Finland, popular author-writer Katja Kallio, musician and yogi Mariko Pajalahti, and many other Finnish celebrities. However, the offering expands more and more to the global market, too, and there are already retreats instructed in English next season: in July Yoga & Wine & Goodness (http://thehappyhamlet.com/retreats2018/marikovibes) and a Bodyfulness retreat in August (http://thehappyhamlet.com/retreats2018/bodyfulness). The whole month of April is reserved for a Creatives-in-Residence program (http://thehappyhamlet.com/creatives), and the Hamlet is also open for any private or business rentals or venue hire for events (http://thehappyhamlet.com/hideaway). “We are small and we like to be that way. It allows us to be flexible and open to any and all suggestions – that makes it more interesting for us, too!“, Suska says and runs away as the guardian dog has started to bark, meaning someone has popped in to say hi. Without notice, which is how it still works on the countryside.

USEFUL LINKS:

Happy Hamlet

– homepage: http://thehappyhamlet.com
– FB: http://facebook.com/thehappyhamlet

– All retreats: http://thehappyhamlet.com/retreats2018

– In English: Yoga&Wine (July 9-14)  http://thehappyhamlet.com/retreats2018/marikovibes

– In English: Embodied Sensuality & Heart’s Desire / Bodyfulness retreat (Aug 7-12) http://thehappyhamlet.com/retreats2018/bodyfulness

– Creatives-in-Residence: http://thehappyhamlet.com/creatives

– Rentals, Venue hire, Events: http://thehappyhamlet.com/hideaway
– Finnair Blue Wings: http://bluewings.finnair.com/lifestyle/29890/
– Other testimonials/feedback: http://thehappyhamlet.com/testimonials

Contact Suska Karjalainen:

Email Suska here

http://instagram.com/thehappyhamlet.

A Toast to Travel – Chicago-based travel management services offers the best Italian Experiences!

This time we are featuring one of the first EuroCircle members in Chicago – Natalie Mosallam. Natalie and her fiancee John  decided to change their lives and started a company called A Toast to Travel, LLC.  It is not hard to figure out that the company provides travel management services.  Let’s find out from Natalie in her own words what and why this means to them. Every entrepreneur faces different challenges and everyone to some extent faces the same challenges.

Why and how did you start?

I lived in Europe for many years and fell in love with Italy ( I am fluent in Italian and French).  When I met my current fiancé, we decided we wanted a lifestyle change. We worked in corporate America for a combined, 20+ years and really wanted to transform our lives and share our passion for international travel. We want to help people experience Europe like a local and celebrate their lives!

A Toast to Travel is all about experiencing the best Italy has to offer. We will be expanding into other countries but for now, we offer two experiences.
Our Tuscan Wine and Culture Experience takes people on great wine journeys to hidden, hard to find wineries for amazing wine tastings (and farm to table cuisine) and is based in Florence, Italy with city sites and cultural treasures.

Our Cooking Under the Tuscan Sun Experience is all about relaxation where you learn to cook each day, yoga in the morning, a painting under the Tuscan sun class and drinks by the pool. This experience is based in the Tuscan countryside at a beautiful restored villa with private rooms.

What is/are the best skill/s you have for this business and/or relationships?

As an international and technology attorney, I bring keen business skills to every negotiation and business relationship. All my experience to-date as an attorney and business person helps in shaping who I am and what I contribute to A Toast to Travel. Years of working with teams and building business relationships (nationally and internationally) certainly comes in handy when you are in the travel business.

How has your life experience made you the leader you are today?

Learning many different languages and acclaiming to many different cultures has made me very adaptable and given me the keen ability to understand people of all walks of life. These experiences have also made me very open minded and overall, a deeper person.

I am very grateful for my experience so far and do my best to give back. I volunteer at a women’s shelter as a business coach and mentor. It’s critical to have role models who help you to aspire to move up. I also work with refugees and help with their transition to the US culture.

What do you consider as your biggest success and failure?

The biggest success is launching our dream company, A Toast to Travel! And my biggest failure is not launching sooner.

What is your top challenge?

Our top challenge right now is getting the word out to our target market — whether that’s groups of friends who want to travel together, couples or girls’ trips.

Who is your most important role model?

My grandmother — she was an immigrant from Lebanon many years ago and taught herself how to read and write English.
She also had to support her family as her husband died not long after they arrived in the US. She rolled up her sleeves, would take the bus everyday (even in freezing weather) and become one for first chef’s in Detroit sharing her Lebanese recipes.

As for other female leaders I admire –Oprah Winfrey—she started with very little and she’s one of the most influential women in the world today. She’s a household name!

What advice can you offer to women who want a career in your industry?

You need to really plan for it and then, implement. Go for it! Life is short.

What do you think is the biggest issue for women in the workplace?

Having served as the ambassador for gender equality for the United Nations Association, Chicago, I would say that the biggest issue in the US is equal pay for equal work. We really need to work on this and get this one right.

How do you maintain a work/life balance?

Be grounded, be deliberate and have faith. It will work out. I am not great at work/life balance. I am still working on that one.

What do you want A Toast to Travel to accomplish in the next year?

I would like to see tons of people going on our Experiences and having a great time while living life to the fullest!
We will also be expanding the countries/regions where we offer amazing experiences.

Tuscany countryside

Contact Natalie & John and A Toast to Travel:

Call Natalie or John with any questions: 312.504.8640
Email Us

FACEBOOKwww.facebook.com/A.toast.to.travel
TWITTER:  twitter.com/Atoasttotravel
INSTAGRAM: instagram.com/tuscanwineandtravel

Cooking Under the Tuscan Sun (video): www.atoasttotravel.com/cooking/
Tuscan Wine and Culture Experience: www.atoasttotravel.com/copy-of-experiences-1/

Social media: www.linkedin.com/company-beta/15238883/

Everyone – let’s have a Toast to Travel!

EuroCircle Travels to Australia & New Zealand October 2017

This year, our gathering takes place down under, as we meet in Sydney to embark on an 13 day tour of both Australia and New Zealand.

EUROCIRCLE TRAVELS TO AUSTRALIA & NEW ZEALAND, 2017

Sydney/ Cairns, Great Barrier Reef, Queenstown
Departure Date, Oct 4  2017 (depart USA on Oct 4 and land in Sydney Oct 6)

Join EuroCircle for its annual global adventure.
For the 7th year in a row, our members from all over the world will gather to make new friends, explore two beautiful destinations, and make memories that last a lifetime.

This year, our gathering takes place down under, as we meet in Sydney to embark on an 13 day tour of both Australia and New Zealand.

Please contact Travel Organizer:
Email Sherry Kumar here [the trip organizer] for complete trip details.

MAIN TRIP

All pricing is based on cash/check/wire and include a 3% discount.
Credit cards are accepted but the 3% discount will be lost. Travelers will have option to purchase airfare directly through an air consolidator.

AUSTRALIA & NEW ZEALAND 13 Day / 12 Night

Deposit $950 plus balances due below:

Balance due $2,990 based on twin or double occupancy**
Balance due $3,825 based on single occupancy**
** land only. International or local air is NOT included.

DEPOSIT: Click Here

QUICK HIGHLIGHTS SYDNEY & THE BLUE MOUNTAINS

A 1 Hr Tour and Tasting Plate

Begin your journey by exploring underneath the sails with a spectacular Sydney Opera House Tour, or Bento Tower taking you inside one of the worlds greatest buildings of all time. You will see inside the theatres, discover the stories, history and magic of the House and learn of how architect Jorn Utzons heritage-listed masterpiece came to life.

You can also decide when to take your Opera Kitchen three-tier gourmet Tasting Plate, before or after your tour as lunch or return for dinner at dusk or a late supper. There’s nothing more to do than sit back at Sydney’s newest dining spot and indulge in succulent prawns, mini wagyu burgers, or fresh sushi, and soak in the Sydney Harbour views.

Opera Kitchen is home to Sydney’s best chefs, food artisans and producers that will tantalise your tastebuds and leave you spoilt for choice. The perfect way to experience one of the world’s most stunning icons and Sydney’s newest dining destination.

Sydney Sights, Bondi and Magistic Harbour Lunch Cruise

Enjoy a magnificent luncheon cruise on the famous Sydney Harbour travelling aboard Magistic Harbour Cruises. After your leisurely cruise follow instructions from Magistic Harbour Cruises staff to board our coach, to discover the dynamic and diverse charms of Sydney. Enjoy fabulous harbour views as you pass through the historic Rocks area, Chinatown, the Sydney Harbour Bridge and visit Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair. Head to the entrance of Sydney Harbour, known as the Gap. Travel to Bondi Beach where you’ll have the chance to stroll along the sand or time for afternoon tea (own expense). Return to the city through Double Bay, Paddington and Kings Cross. Tour concludes at King Street Wharf or Circular Quay.
Magistic Harbour Lunch Cruise.

A Blue Mountains tour including short hike

Your informative and knowledgeable guide will collect you from your Sydney hotel as we commence our small group deluxe tour into the heart of the unique Blue Mountains World Heritage Region. The Blue Mountains National Park is one of seven national parks that make up the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area. This wonderland of sandstone outcrops, deep ravines and hazy blue eucalypt forests boasts luxury retreats and the world’s steepest railway. Today your guide will take you off the beaten track to visit remote lookout locations and discuss the history, flora and fauna of this magnificent region.

Our first stop this morning is at Featherdale Wildlife Park where we arrive before any other tourists to meet the native Australian animals here – guests can actually get up close and personal, stroke a koala and hand feed kangaroos, wallabies & emus, a great experience.

Departing from Featherdale, we commence our drive to the Blue Mountains via the highway. We will travel through the picturesque village of Wentworth Falls, home to a good collection of Victorian and other historic buildings and onto the Wentworth Falls Lookout. With spectacular views over the Jamison Valley and the magnificent waterfall for which it is named, this beautiful lookout is our first stop. Here we enjoy a leisurely 30 minute round trip walk to see the Waterfalls.

Continuing on we arrive at Eaglehawk Lookout, a remote lookout point away from the crowds for views of the famous 3 Sisters. Whilst the Blue Mountains features so much more than this natural attraction you can’t help but admire the unquestionable beauty of this amazing rock formation. The character of the Three Sisters changes throughout the day and throughout the seasons as the sunlight brings out the magnificent colours. Here your guide will discuss the legends behind this famous rock formation and time available for you to take some great photo’s.

Travelling around the mountains, we arrive at Evans Lookout where you will be issued your lunch pack and instructions on the hiking track.

This is without doubt one of the most scenic hikes available in the mountains taking you across a number of valleys and ridges as you hike from Evans Lookout to Govetts Leap all the while looking out across Australia’s Grand Canyon, The Grose Valley. Once you clap your eyes on the view from many points along this track, you will know why it’s one of the most famous lookouts in Australia. The magnificent waterfalls drop a whopping 180m to the base of the cliff. If you are not mesmerised by the dancing waves of water spray, you will be transfixed by the sweeping views down the valley to the Grose Wilderness.

The last stop is at the delightful Mt Tomah Botanic Gardens where we stop to enjoy the sweeping views across to Sydney before travelling down the Bells Line of Road to arrive back at your hotel approximately 4.30 – 5.00pm.

CAIRNS – QUEENSLAND

A Michaelmas Cay Cruise

Set sail aboard the 32 meter luxury sailing catamaran, Ocean Spirit, for a day to remember with a wide range of activities to fully experience Michaelmas Cays unique reef environment. Snorkel from the cay’s shallow protected waters, cruise in the semi-submersible for a diver’s view of the reef and discover the island birdlife. Or if you prefer just relax and enjoy a leisurely day on the Great Barrier Reef. The Choice is yours!

Includes all environmental management/administration charges. Morning and afternoon tea, tropical smorgasbord lunch, snorkel equipment, coral viewing in air-conditioned semi-submersible, informative ecological presentations by qualified Marine Biologists and guided nature tours of the island and bird sanctuary.

A Kuranda All Inclusive

Experience the contrast of the regions oldest railway and the world’s most beautiful Cableway, knowing that we have taken care of all the details.
Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park:

This morning you will be greeted by your driver who will collect your voucher and issue your Kuranda Boading Pass. We then transfer you to Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park. On arrival, meet your Indigenous guide who will show you through the remainder of the park, including bush food demonstrations, didgeridoo demonstrations, movie theatres, fire making demonstrations and the famous Tjapukai Dance Troupe.

Enjoy a buffet lunch in the Boomerang Restaurant.

Skyrail Rainforest Cableway:

A short distance from Tjapukai is the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway.

Proceed directly to the boarding line – there is no need to queue as your Skyrail tickets are already on your Boarding Pass. Once aboard, be amazed as you glide silently over the rainforest. There are 2 stations enroute where you can alight and enjoy a walk through the rainforest to spectacular lookouts, or visit the CSIRO Interpretive Centre.

Kuranda Village:

Upon arrival in Kuranda, you have free time to do your own exploring.

Why not take advantage of the exclusive Kuranda discounts on your Kuranda Boarding Pass!

Kuranda Scenic Rail:

At the scheduled time, present your Kuranda Boarding Pass at the Kuranda Station ticket window – your tickets are already on your Boarding Pass. After boarding the train, your journey winds through hand-hewn tunnels, across bridges and around curves, all the time appreciating what an amazing engineering feat it is. Upon arrival at Freshwater Station, our coach will transfer you to your accommodation.

QUEENSTOWN – NEW ZEALAND

A Discover Milford Sound

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS:

. Te Anau
. Eglinton Valley – ancient alpine beech forest, waterfalls
. Mirror Lakes – photo opportunity
. Homer Tunnel
. Fiordland National Park
. Southern Discoveries Scenic Cruise
. Knobs Flat
. Christie Falls
. The Chasm (subject to road and weather conditions)

Take an unforgettable journey into the heart of Milford Sound. You’ll experience the world famous fiord – rich in dense rainforest, glacier carved valleys and beautiful waterfalls. Journey across the Southern Alps and travel deep into the Homer Tunnel, a 1.2km tunnel drilled through solid rock. Uncover Eglinton Valley, a place of ancient alpine foresy and gushing waterfalls, take photos of the stunning Mirror Lakes, then walk across The Chasm.

At the deep waters of Milford Sound, board your 1 3/4 hour Southern Discoveries Scenic Cruise. See the wonders of Mitre Peak, glacier-scarred rock walls and waterfalls that tumble through valleys and crash into the sea far below. After your cruise return to Queenstown by coach.

A Safari of Scenes Wakatipu

BASIN Half day scenic 4WD tour. Includes gold panning and light refreshments.

Explore the magical side of New Zealand and understand why this beautiful country was chosen to protray Middle-earth. The Queenstown area featured prominently in the filming of the incredibly popular Lord of the Rings trilogy.

The perfect tour for those that want the thrills of an off road adventure but also want to discover exciting Lord of the Rings film locations. The Wakatipu Basin tour takes you to The Remarkables, which were used as various mountains throughout the trilogy including the Misty Mountains. Travelling part way up this beautiful mountain range you get a birds eye view onto Deer Park Heights, which was used for the refugees of Rohan and the Battle of the Wargs scenes.

Travelling from The Remarkables we head to the Kawarau Gorge where the filming took place for the Argonath, or Pillars of the Kings. Leaving the Kawarau Gorge the trip heads to Arrowtown where the loss of The One Ring at Gladden Fields was filmed. Near Arrowtown you will experience some true off road adventure. Following a historic gold mining road up the Arrow River you will cross the river to get to the Ford of Bruinen.

At this point you can indulge in morning or afternoon tea and try your hand at a spot of gold panning.

From Arrowtown you will travel to the entrance of Skippers Saddle where you will be offered spectacular panoramic views of the Wakatipu Basin and over Skippers Canyon.

SHOTOVER JET BOAT RIDE

“Catch the Canyons” with Shotover Jet, the World’s most exciting Jet Boat ride and the only company permitted to operate in the spectacular Shotover River Canyons.

sydney-opera-house

What Are The Worst Places to Be a Girl in England & Wales

For some of us who grew up in countries like Sweden, Denmark or Norway this is hard to understand.  In those countries people are much more equal than in many others.

Quality of life tends to vary tremendously for girls across England and Wales, depending on where they live.

A recenr report from Plan International UK and the University of Hull showed the areas where girls are struggling.

Middlesborough, Blackpool and Manchester were ranked bottom, evaluated on GCSE results, teenage conception rates, childhood poverty, life expectancy and the Neet indicator.

Infographic: The worst places to be a girl in England & Wales | Statista
You will find more statistics at Statista

Peru Gourmet Tour Sep 30 – Oct 09 2016

A gourmet tour to Peru, organized by Pablo from EuroCircle Houston ( PeruGourmetTours.com) has a few spots left open. Of course EuroCircle members from other cities are welcome to join.

This trip is NOT organized by EuroCircle as an organization, nor are we affiliated in any way with Peru Gourmet Tour (or getting any profit).

Friday, September 30th through Sunday, October 9th , 2016

Tour normally costs 3400 USD, but as a non for profit tour it costs 2660 USD per person in double room, with everything included, except:
– flight from US to Lima (between 600-1000 USD or 40k miles with United)
– if not group arrival, cab from airport to hotel (20 USD)
– tips, and hotel incidentals (laundry, drinks at bar, room service) during the stay

Itinerary:
Friday: all arrivals
Saturday: departure for wineries and pisco distilleries. Evening Arrival in Nazca
Sunday: Overflight of Nazca Lines (#1 stop for “1000 things to do before you die”)
Monday: Arequipa and Santa Catalina Monastery (#2 stop from book “1000…”)
Tuesday: Sacred Valley of the Incas
Wednesday: Machu Picchu Ruins (#3 stop from Patricia Schultz’ book “1000…”)
Thursday: Cusco, the capital of Inca Empire (#4 stop)
Friday: Lima, the capital of Peru. Central Restaurant (#4 restaurant in the world)
Saturday: Lima, cebiche at Javier Wong (best fast food in the world), last supper
Sunday: Arrival in US

Includes:
– all hotels (minimum 3 star, a few 3 ½ and 4 star)
– land and air transport within Peru (2 flights, 2 trains, 1 overland luxury night bus, superior class private coach the rest of the time)
– all meals, including top restaurants in each city, top foods of Peru, wines or beers during meals, wine and pisco tastings
– guided tours and tour directors constant presence

EuroCircle Special Price: 2495 USD per person in double room (with a minimum of 6 travelers)
Email Pablo here for more info!

What to Expect to See in Argentina in October 2016 with the EuroCircle Group

BUENOS AIRES
Quote from The Lonely Planet, Sandra Bao
“Sexy, alive and supremely confident, this beautiful city gets under your skin. Like Europe with a melancholic twist, Buenos Aires is unforgettable.”

It is a huge city – bigger than you expect. At 15.2 million, nearly 40% of Argentina`s population of more than 40 million lives in the greater Buenos Aires metropolitan area.
Porteños (Buenos Aires residents) are friendly – if you have a common language. Buenos Aires’ religion is football/soccer (just kidding) – and the best-known clubs are River Plate, Boca Juniors, Independiente, Racing Club and San Lorenzo. Names like Diego Maradona and Lionel Messi are familiar to many people who do not like sports.

POLO

It has been described as ‘making love in the vertical position’. The story is tango began in the bordellos of long-ago Buenos Aires, when men waiting for their ‘ladies’ passed time by dancing amongst themselves. Tango shows are entertaining with their athleticism. You’ll find endless venues for practice your moves, from salons to milongas (dance events) to cafes.

FOOD

Parrillas (steakhouses) sit on practically every corner and will offer up pretty much anything from bife de chorizo (sirloin) to vacio (flank steak) to ojo de bife (rib eye). This is not a vegetarian heaven but they have started adding more healthy choices. Pastas, pizzas and the delicious empanadas are also part of their Italian heritage. There are a lot of coffee places serving a selection of pastries and medialunas (croissants). Not to mention modern Andean cuisine and tantalizing tapas.

Ice cream is part of the Argentine culture and credits its existence to Italian immigration during the 19th century. The Italians brought with them: 1) gelato, and 2) the ice cream parlor, locally known as the heladería. Similar to the parrilla, there is an heladería on seemingly every corner in Buenos Aires. Over the years they have tinkered with recipes and created their own unique style of ice cream, the helado. Its thick yet light consistency falls somewhere between a traditional gelato and hard-frozen ice cream.
And the flavors… a common theme: plenty of chocolate and abundant dulce de leche (similar to caramel). The classics are chocolate con almendras (almonds), chocolate suiza (chocolate chip with dulce de leche), mousse de chocolate, chocolate amargo (bitter), dulce de leche con almendras and dulce de leche con brownie. Then there are fruits such as cherry, lemon, mango, melon, pineapple and strawberry.

When it comes to tipping, 10% of the amount of the dining check is usually left in cafes and restaurants. Doormen, porters, and ushers in cinemas and theatres are also generally tipped

SHOPPING
Palermo for hipsters and people who like for example Soho (NY style), Recoleta for the jet set/diplomates, San Telmo for bohemians and anyone who likes street markets. Palermo, Recoleta area has the greatest park area as well with The Botanical Garden right there – and close-by Polo field and the horse races.

HISTORY
Eva Perón (one of the photos is from the cemetery where she is buried) and Che Guevara are among the city’s unforgettable figures.

ART
Modern Art Paintings at the museums, colorful murals on walls throughout town.

Pickpocketing and mugging are fairly common, so avoid wearing flashy jewelry, be discreet with money and cameras, and be mindful of bags and wallets. Phone for taxis after dark.
Protests are a part of life in Buenos Aires. They are mostly peaceful, but some end in confrontations with the police since the country is known for corruption. They often take place in the Plaza de Mayo or along Avenida de Mayo.

The must see sights vary from person to person depending what you like: the average tourists like to see Plaza de Mayo, La Recoleta Cemetery, Mataderos (maybe),Teatro Colon, Cage Tortoni, Palermo, La Boca, San Telmo /San Telmo flea market, Puerto Madero and Obelisco. We really liked living in Palermo area close to the huge park area, we walked to see polo and horse races – we even walked to Recoleta from there.
We did not like that much the actual downtown area.

From Buenos Aires you’ll fly to Mendoza.

MENDOZA

Distance: 1,037 km (644 mi) from Buenos Aires (13 hours by bus) and 380 km (236 mi) from Santiago, Chile (6–7 hours by bus).

Mendoza is the capital city of Mendoza Province (in the northern-central part of the province, in a region of foothills and high plains, on the eastern side of the Andes). The region around Greater Mendoza is the largest wine producing area in Latin America. As such, Mendoza is one of nine cities worldwide in the network of Great Capitals of Wine, and the city is an emerging enotourism (Wine tourism) destination and base for exploring the region’s hundreds of wineries located along the Argentina Wine Route.

From Mendoza you will fly to Iguazu Falls.

IGUAZú FALLS

Distance to Buenos Aires: 1335 km

Your Iguazú Falls visit with other EuroCircle members will be a jaw-dropping experience. Picture the power and noise of the cascades – a chain of hundreds of waterfalls nearly 3km in extension – live forever in the memory. The Iguazú Falls falls lie split between Brazil and Argentina in a large expanse of national park, much of it rainforest. There is a lot unique flora and fauna.

The falls can be accessed from either side of the Argentine–Brazilian border, as well as from nearby Paraguay.

275 waterfalls that reach an altitude of almost 260 feet. They were declared one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature in the World and, also, Mankind Natural Heritage.

The entrance complex has a lot of amenities (lockers (AR$50), an ATM – you have to pay in cash in pesos – and a restaurant)
There’s also an exhibition essentially aimed at school groups. At the end there is a train station, from which a train runs every half-hour to the Cataratas train station, where the waterfall walks begin, and to the Garganta del Diablo. You may prefer to walk: it’s only 650m (1/3 of a mile) along the Sendero Verde path to the Cataratas station, and a further 2.3km to the Garganta, and you may well see capuchin monkeys along the way.

Login for the detailed itinerary in the Travel forum
Details or contact Sherry Kumar via email

After Iguazu Falls you can decide to extend your stay and see more of Argentina, go to Brazil, Uruguya, Paraguya…a lot to see no matter where you go!

EuroCircle Travels to Argentina Oct 2016

Dates: 8 Days, 7 Nights   Arrival October 7th, 2016

Cities:  Buenos Aires, Mendoza, Iguazu Falls (Argentina)

Highlights: Tango, Wine County, Igiazu Water Falls

Inclusions:  7 breakfasts, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner, airport transfers, private motor coach, tour guide, ticketing for all sightseeing activities.

Not-Included: Airfare from your home city to Argentina. Local Intra-country flights. Tips to tour guides and drivers are not included. Visas are not included. Extra, optional excursions.

You may purchase airfare on your own, or request a quote by contacting Sherry Kumar via email . Lunch and dinner, tips, optional excursions at your own cost.

Non-refundable Deposit: $700

Balance Due: Sept 1, 2016

Cancellation: Deposits are non-refundable. Partial refunds issues depending on time before departure.

Airport Codes:    EZE (Ministro Pistarini International Airport, known as Ezeiza International )

Detailed Itinerary:   For complete, daily itinerary with activities, click HERE. (you must be logged in to read it. note – Facebook, twitter and linkedin logins work at our site)

Booking:  Deposits and Payments

HOW TO CONTACT SHERRY FOR MORE INFORMATION
Sherry Kumar has been organizing trips for her fellow EuroCircle members for 6 years.
She is your main point of contact, source of travel information, booking, and leads the trips each year. Please contact her with all questions. Simply email Sherry, with your full contact information, and the best time to call, and she will contact you in regard to the trip.

1) Place your non-refundable deposit online via PayPal to reserve your space.

2) Purchase airfare, and send a copy of your air ticket(s) to Sherry Kumar. Airfare confirmation is required prior to your balance payment.

3) Balance payment & Passport Information:  The balance of your payment is collected with a clear copy of your passport (TSA requirement). Please fill out the Credit Card Form, and your Passport Form, scan both, and submit via email to Sherry Kumar.

4) Once your balance is processed, you will receive an email confirmation.

Travel Impressions: Zane Brown on EuroCircle’s African Safari, 2015

Traveler bio: Zane joined EuroCircle’s Travel Program for the first time in 2015. He is an avid world traveler, speaks multiple languages, and fit in perfectly with our multicultural group. There were a lot of new faces on our Safari that year, but Zane, a native of San Francisco, got along with everyone beautifully. He entertained everyone on our bus, with his music playlist. Thanks to him, we sang and danced as we crossed the Kalahari desert.

 

SK: This was your first trip with Eurocircle. Whatever possessed you to pack your bags, travel 5000 miles, land into Namibia, to meet up with a bunch of travelers you have never met before?

ZB:    When I first received the email advertising the African tour, I asked myself the question, “when else will have the chance to explore Namibia, Botswana & Zambia?” These countries intrigued me naturally because of the chance to see the spectacular animals and experience local culture. Although I had not heard of the Eurocircle travel group before, I had enjoyed the Eurocircle social events for several years here in San Francisco.

SK: Be honest, what did you think of our group of travelers?

ZB: Initially rooming with Jeff concerned me, a vegetarian with a hunter doesn’t necessarily  make for a harmonious mix on paper. What a relief to bond with him quickly – a true gentleman. Loved Alana, and Hana, of course. Nobody from the group irritated me. Seems like everyone respected each other’s personal space.

SK: Each year when we go abroad, there is always a nice surprise for some travelers. This year, you found yourself in a bit of a romance. Was that your intent when you signed up?

ZB:  Harbored no expectations embarking on the adventure other than having a blast and hopefully meeting some chill folk. What fun hanging out with Hana, that dynamo (very different from the women I typically date). Hope that our paths will cross again in future.

SK: I’m still reliving some of the more spectacular moments of our tour. What was the most memorable experience for you?

ZB:  Difficult to pick only one highlight. So here are 3. (Must say that I also enjoyed the intellectual conversation several of us enjoyed just hanging out at the “Lodge” of the last evenings in Zambia)

  1. a) Chobe sunset cruise where we saw fantastic animals along the water
  2. b) Meeting Hana
  3. c) Lion Encounter!!!

SK: If you could re-live one day of Eurocircle African Safari, 2015, what day would that be?

ZB:  Clearly would relive the day Hana and I hung out together for the first time. Don’t hate us, but we “Illegally” ventured beyond the lodge and could swear we heard ambitious animal sounds!  But Sherry, I believe you are looking for a different answer here.

As you may know, I am a student studying Spanish. My professor assigned me the task of writing a  daily diary in Spanish about our trip. Here are excerpts from what I believe was October 29 (the 6th or 7th day): “enchanting safari through Chobe National Park, a frontier bordering  4 countries. We encountered giraffe, buffalo, elephants, antelope, ostrich, monkeys and unusual native birds. In the evening navigated the river Chobe with the breathtaking animals, witnessing a spectacular sunset. Slept most of the night in a hammock next to Hana, awakening to the sound of playful monkeys.”

SK: You have traveled all over the world independently, why join a group?

ZB: Travelling independently to this part of the world could present logistical challenges. I had travelled to Africa four times previously (twice on safari), but always in tours.

Eurocircle Travels is an annual program, that takes our members on a global adventure. So far, we have explored the silk markets of Istanbul, trekked to the top of Machu Pichu, raced tuk-tuks in Siem Reap, Cambodia,, and sailed down Halong Bay for an unforgettable experience. As a group we experienced dune bashing in the Arabian Desert, UAE, dined in a palace in India, then trekked across 5 countries in Southern Africa on safari. Join us!