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

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.


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.


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

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.

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

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.


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.


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

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!




Infographic: The EU’s Gender Pay Gap Visualised

Gender inequalities in terms of pay vary widely among the European Union member countries (EU) and among groups of employees according to data compiled by Eurostat.
The unadjusted gender pay pap (GPG) is an indicator used within the European employment strategy (EES) to monitor imbalances in wages between men and women.
It is defined as the difference between the average gross hourly earnings of men and women expressed as a percentage of the average gross hourly earnings of men.

Women’s gross hourly earnings were on average 16.4 percent below those of men in 2013.
The most pronounced gap is in Estonia where there was a 30 percent difference in what men and women make per hour!! This was a real surprise to me.
Spain, the United Kingdom and Germany are also at the wrong end of the table. Slovenia has the narrowest gender gap when it comes to pay at just 3.2 percent.

Let’s just have a quick glance at some facts.

Gender pay gap levels
The gender pay gap varies significantly across EU Member States

By working profile (part-time versus full-time)
Pay gaps can also be analysed from the perspective of part-time or full-time employment. Information at this level of detail is not available, however, for all EU Member States (Figure 2). In 2013, the gender pay gap for part-time workers varied from -8.2 % in Malta to 33.7 % in Spain. A negative gender pay gap means that on average women’s gross hourly earnings are higher than those of men. For full-time workers, pay gaps varied also widely in the EU Member States, ranging from 1.9 % in Italy to 20.3 % in Hungry.

By age
The gender pay gap is generally much lower for young employees

By economic activity
The gender pay gap in the financial and insurance activities is higher than in the business economy as a whole

Pay gaps and economic control
In 2013, the majority of the EU countries (for which data are available) recorded a higher gender pay gap in the private sector than in the public sector.

Infographic: The EU's Gender Pay Gap Visualised | Statista
You will find more statistics at Statista

Travel Impressions: Jeff Hrusko on EuroCircle’s African Safari, 2015

 Traveler bio: Jeff came to EuroCircle through a romantic relationship, so you could say he’s like the boyfriend you stay friends with after the girlfriend left. He’s a technologist, graphic artist, and strangely enough, brings both an academic knowledge and caveman sensibility to our travels. When we reviewed our African itinerary, we quickly realized we were unprepared for the remote wilderness of the Okavango Delta, Kalahari desert, and Nata. But Jeff, an avid outdoorsman reassured us, we could survive without hair dryers for a week. EuroCircle’s African Safari, 2015

All travel photos are available via Sherry’s Flickr account at HERE!

 Jeff, unlike most of our members, you haven’t traveled much outside the USA. What possessed you choose EuroCircle’s African Safari, 2015 as one of your first adventures abroad?

I figured I should go big, or stay home. I mean, now that I’ve been to Africa I feel like I can go anywhere.

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

I think we quickly became like a family unit. That’s not to say we weren’t dysfunctional, but I know we looked out for one another, and had to accept each other, warts, dirty wash, and worse.

Being in a social group that’s bound together by logistics and miles of savannah, there’s no channel to switch or website to keep you in your comfort zone. I love that. We had to engage with each other as people. Sometimes the scarcity of choice brings about an abundance of value.

Of all the travelers, you seemed to be the most easy-going, and laid back. Nothing seemed to bother you. Are you like that in real life, or was that your strategy to get along with the various personalities?

I try not to “sweat the small stuff.” Of course one person’s small stuff is another’s civil war, but I felt we were a good hearted group, for everything else there is always headphones.

What was the funniest thing that happened for you on this trip?

“Oh my god, a lion!” Or a donkey, it could be a donkey. “Ah, a snake, look a snake!” Or I guess it could be a stick. The adamant misidentification of animals was definitely a high-point of the trip’s comedy.

Beyond that, outside of Victoria Falls, when we were all dressed in white (me in the Alana’s sparkly tank top), I walked out ahead of the gang, and a local asked me “Why you all dressed in white?”

“Oh, I’ve just married wife number five.” I replied.

“You must be rich!”

“No, just very, very tired.”

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

From an adventurous perspective I’d say being among the elephants in the Maun, but in truth, two times during the trip, once at the Thamalakane River Lodge and the second time on the Chobe river, I had a chance just to feel… it’s hard to put into words, and please shoot me if I say “one with nature” but I felt like just another mammal, and it was a good feeling. In our dominance as a species we’ve killed off the large mammals in Europe and America, and I miss them. There was a certain rightness being among them. Not in a Disneyfied way, but as fellow creations of evolution on this planet.

If I could stay in one moment, it would be that sensation. The smell of the soil and grasses, the setting sun streaming through the trees over the river, life was everywhere and I was a part of it!

As a single man, would you rather bring a significant other, or next time, join us solo?

Blow up doll? Did you mean to ask to go solo or bring a girlfriend? In a way I had the best of both worlds. Maryana and I grew close again during the trip. I think the answer is whatever enhances the experience. I mean, one can fight with their girlfriend any place, but kissing someone in front of Victoria Falls is another thing all together.

All travel photos are available via Sherry’s Flickr account at HERE!

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!

MAP: Dual Citizenship Around the World (Video & Infographic)

MoveHub wrote this cool article telling which countries allow and restrict dual citizenship around the world. For the globetrotters that is good info to know.
Some countries have strict yes/no policies regarding dual citizenship. However, it is more complicated than that. They ended breaking down the following countries that allow dual citizenship into:

Yes, with restrictions*
No, with allowances*

Countries that allow dual citizenship

There are countries such as the UK and Australia that allow dual citizenship under all or most situations. Some others – Russia, Spain, and Turkey – allow dual citizenship but their residents either have to notify the government before and after applying for a second citizenship. Usually they can’t run for federal office – or only allow citizenship from certain other countries.

Countries that don’t recognise dual citizenship

There are a few countries that have a no tolerance policy – for example Austria and Ukraine. Many countries that restrict dual citizenship tend to have rules that only their citizens can have dual citizenship, but not naturalised foreigners. Or they allow it only if another country won’t let someone out of their original citizenship. Norway does that/

Courtesy of MoveHub: Dual Citizenship Around the World

Dual Citizenship World Map

Infographic: These are the cheapest cities in Europe to visit 2015

Anyone who is European or been to Europe knows that travel through Europe can be surprisingly costly. Even more if you have special interest in cities like London, Zurich, or Stockholm. However, travel through Europe can be affordable: that is if you know which cities to go to.
The website SimplyHolidayDeals.co.uk put together the infographic breaking down the cheapest cities in Europe.

The costs — which use what the Price of Travel website calls the “European Backpacker Index” — include a night in a hostel, two trips on public transportation, one paid attraction, three budget meals, and three drinks.

The top 10 cheapest cities are really amazing towns. The winner is in Ukraine.
Check the infographic out, and start rethinking that next European trip.


Travel Impressions – Yvonne Gunnarsson on India, 2014

Sherry Kumar sat down with one of her travellers Yvonne, let’s hear what she found out.

Traveler Bio: Born and raised in Nossebro, Sweden, Yvonne resides in NYC. She is a talented seamstress and owner of www.YvonneDesignTeam.com

So far, you have participated in two EuroCircle adventures, Cambodia & Vietnam 2013, and India 2014. What are your overall impressions of EuroCircle’s travel program?

I had super, super, great experience. These trips have changed my life. I have never traveled with any group before. It was always by myself since I was 16. I thought I would never be able to afford to go to such far away places, but these trips are affordable and the accommodations are always very nice.

 Our itineraries are very fast paced and there is a lot to adjust to: the diversity of travelers who come from a variety of cultures, the wide range of personalities, and then there is the changing terrain, scenery and experiences. How do you deal with it all?

Love it all! I consider myself a “good traveler” and all this diversity ads to the experience!

Some people travel with us for the adventure, others are looking to build friendships and make connections. What’s your motive?

That is the thing, I Love both! I equally like both. I do not necessary loveall the people on the trip, but I try to get a long. I find it so interesting to study how everyone copes and interacts, or not. The travelers that do not behave within the rules cannot come on the next trip.

What surprised you most about India?

I was so pleasantly surprised by all the beautiful people, art, and architecture. India was not as dirty as I expected, people were begging, or rather trying to sell all kinds of souvenirs, and they could be very pushy at times. But we did not see children with cut off hands or poked out eye. India was not as dirty as I saw on TV.

If you could re-live one day of the India itinerary, what would it be?

The day at the Royal museum in Jaipur, the unplanned stop at the Rajastathani village where we interacted with kids and the locals, and the beautiful dinner at the opulent Rambagh Palace.

What did you bring back from India, and why did you choose it?

I bought a carpet, I loved it and I enjoyed bargaining for it, even if it was not cheap, and a bought all kinds of small art for memory and gifts.

More about the trips that Sherry has organized for EuroCircle members:

Next trip with Sherry: EuroCircle Journeys Across Africa in October 2015
Check out all EuroCircle Travel stories

And who is Sherry…. Globetrotting with Sherry – wanna go with her & other EuroCircle members to Africa in Oct 2015?

An antique network of waterways for the most modern of travels –Europe by barge!

Who is Stephanie Sack and how did you find out about EuroCircle?

Hello EuroCirclers! My name is Stephanie Sack and I am the Communications Manager for my family’s luxury European travel company, the Barge Lady. I heard about EC about a year and half ago on Facebook! I joined the group right away, introduced myself to the Chicago ambassador, Maria Dollas, and have been active ever since.

How did you end up in Chicago? You lived in Europe, right?

I am a native Midwesterner, born and bred Chicagoan. My exposure to international travel and foreign affairs was from a very young age, as I began French lessons at age 8, attended an international youth leadership camp at 15, took my first trip to London at 18, and then off to Paris at 21! I have since been to Madrid, Barcelona, and Amsterdam, with additional trips to London and Paris. I have a very good friend who has lived all over the world, speaks four languages, and obviously possesses a complex view of international affairs. He has always said I am typically Midwestern in that I am grounded and pragmatic, but have a far reaching and global view that belies my upbringing as a lifelong Chicagoan. That is a wonderful compliment!

What is the best and worst about Chicago for you…what is a typical day and weekend?

On more days than not, I adore Chicago! I work out of the Barge Lady offices in the River North area, an area that once was sort of scuzzy thanks to the nightlife “of ill repute”. These days, it is a vibrant business district with a slew of scrappy start-ups, large corporate companies, flagship Chicago restaurants, and chic juice bars. We have a darling office in a vintage office building and are always visiting and collaborating with other colleagues in the area. Weekends I am at my yoga studio taking hot yoga classes, grocery shopping for new recipes, hanging out with my boyfriend, and spending time with my family!

How do you find the lifestyle in Chicago compared to Europe?

The European way of combining the old with the new has always been a fascinating difference. America is still so young, whereas Europe reveres its millenia of history in a way that simply does not translate to any American city. Chicago obviously stands alone in American architecture, but lacks the serene grandeur of European landmarks and cities. It’s hard to describe but I do feel it.

How do you make your living now – and how did you choose that career? Ever done anything else?

I am so blessed in my professional development in that I have always had the coolest jobs for the best people. I sold adverts for an arts and entertainment publication in my twenties, and am still very close with the owners of that company. I then owned and operated Chicago’s original independent boutique for stylish plus size women, offering the latest looks and and trends exclusively in sizes 12-24. It was called “vive la femme”, bien sur! After eleven years, it was time to move on, and I then ran a small marketing agency as for small business throughout Chicago, producing private events, consulting on advertising buys, and managing social media strategy. I was having a blast, meeting a ton of people and working on interesting projects, when my sister, Caroline, offered me a job as the Communications Manager at The Barge Lady in July of 2014. Caroline’s tenure at the Barge Lady began in 2010, and I was hesitant at first to join my mom AND my sister in a professional context. I started part-time in August 2014, took my first barge cruise in October 2014, and went full-time in November 2014! Now I get to use my entire skill set, speak a bit of French, AND see my family every day!

What is the essence of Chicago to you – what do you absolutely want your friends to see or feel in these places?

The neighborhoods are the beating heart of Chicago, and when friends are in from out of town, I take them to the authentically “Chicago” places, well off the beaten path. I had a gal pal in from California over the winter…we had coffee and people-watched at my favorite cafe, met a bunch of awesome folks at a party at one of the local clubs, and attended a meditation service at a super hip spiritual center, all in three different neighborhoods. Those kinds of things are what I like to show people about Chicago.

What do you absolutely miss from Europe…or elsewhere?

I miss a sense of gentility and culture that prevails in Europe. It is definitely in Chicago, you just have to look for it, but Europe’s complex culture, iconic cuisine, public art, and urban planning is something I think about often.

What are you favorite travel destinations for you – outside work?

I LOVE the American West…Nevada and Colorado are always top of mind when I travel domestically.

If you could change one thing from American culture/mannerism – what would you do? Same for Europe (a loaded Question, I know)
LOL this is definitely a tricky issue! Americans are sweet people, and we mean well, but we are SO GAUCHE! Loud, dressed badly, clueless…gah. All harmless but irksome traits. Europeans…perhaps a more generous spirit when a tourist (okay, yes I mean ME) asks for help would be delightful.

Workwise – how do you see Europeans being different from Americans– also culturally, what stands out in your chosen profession?

I think a more entrepreneurial spirit has influenced the European work ethic. It’s been amazing to see the food tourism movement take hold in France, and England revved up the economic engine with the success of the Tate Modern, a slew of new hotels, and a commercial response to the success of Downton Abbey. Travel has always attracted hard workers and detail-oriented people — if you don’t know where your passport is you ain’t going anywhere — and the influx of travel websites, personality-driven blogs, and self-publishing options has added new dimensions no one could have predicted when the Barge Lady began in 1985.

Would you live fulltime in Europe?
I would LOVE a place of my own in…Amsterdam, maybe? Ultimately I would like to have a permanent address in Chicago with a ton of escapades throughout Europe. So we’ll see!

What is a great weekend for you?
Lots of yoga, plenty of cooking, hanging out with my boyfriend, and smooching my adorable two-year old niece!

Your favorite trips by your company and why?

There are SO MANY amazing itineraries! Barge cruises are luxury adventures on your own private floating hotel. France is chock full of awesome barges! We have a “Dine Around” program aboard the “Savoir Vivre” where guests visit small restaurants deep in the French countryside for a taste of Burgundian cuisine, which is a super popular option for foodies. Winsome winos will adore the Bordeaux wine cruise on the “Mirabelle” with daily wine tastings throughout the region’s world-famous vineyards, while those who like more physical activity can bicycle throughout the pristine backroads of France while on the “Papilion”. In Scotland, guests can golf on elite courses during the day and sip small batch Scotch at night, while in Holland passengers immerse in the glorious assault on the sense that is Tulip Time. Beauty, culture, and gastronomy abound freely on barge cruises!

Your own dream trip – where and how would you like to travel?

I am planning a trip to Scotland to visit a barge called the Scotland Highlander, hopefully in late 2015 or early 2016. A stop in Edinburgh seems prudent, and I love to take trains in Europe, so a train ride (or three) will be involved! I also REALLY want to visit Iceland and Denmark, so with any luck some time in Reykjavik and Copenhagen are also on the docket! Finally, I plan to attend the Burning Man Festival this year in Nevada. This will be my fifth visit to this otherworldly event!

What makes Stephanie happy….if I had the power to give you anything you want to make your life perfect for you, what would you like me to do?
May I have an emerald green vintage Jaguar, please! Oh, and a driver to go with it!

\I look forward to sharing the barging lifestyle with the good people of EuroCircle!

Connect with Stephanie:
Stephanie at Facebook
Other: Email Stephanie
Like Barge Lady Cruises @ Facebook

Experience the Magic of Iceland with Runa Bergmann

We have a European visitor in Austin this week. It’s Runa Bergmann, who is here to promote her destination management company and offer Austinites a Taste of Iceland at restaurant Chez Zee on Balcones. She is accompanied by chef Bjarni Bequette who will be serving Icelandic lamb, desserts made from the renowned skyr, a dairy product dating back to Viking times, licorice and Brennivin, an Icelandic aquavit from Thursday February 26th to Saturday the 28th.

***Stop by Chez Zee during the promotion days, Feb 26-28 and enter a drawing for a $500 gift card
from Icelandair towards an airfare and a 5 nights stay at Grand Hotel Reykjavik.

How long have you been in the travel industry?

“I’ve been in the event management and travel industry for 25 years now,” says Runa. “I ran my own hotel and tour operation for several years and have been a tour escort for groups both in Iceland and other countries. I love my country and have been travelling around Iceland since I was a little girl, hiking, skiing, hunting and salmon fishing, so I’m familiar with every part of the products I’m offering through my business.”

I currently live in the Vinings suburb of Atlanta GA and have been in Atlanta since 2007.

Tailor made trips to Iceland

“ICELAND TRIPS 4 YOU specializes in tailor made tours for people who want to visit Iceland, whether the group consists of 2 or 20 persons. In addition, we plan conferences and incentive trips. The company is built on years of experience, as the owners have all been in the industry for 20 years or more. My partners are the owners of the Fosshotel and Iceland Hotel Chains, the second largest chain in Iceland.”

Why promote Iceland in Austin?

“Sharon Watkins, the owner of Chez Zee, is a dear friend of mine. We became friends at my hotel in Iceland and she has repeatedly been back to escape the hottest months in Texas. She loves the country and the food and has always wanted to have special themed Icelandic days at her restaurant, so when I opened my travel agency, it just seemed right to go ahead with her idea. I was lucky enough to get Bjarni R. Bequette, the Executive Chef of the Fosshotel Chain, to travel with me. He will be serving up a special Taste of Iceland dinner menu at Chez Zee on Feb 26-28, as previously mentioned. We brought real Icelandic food items with us, including Icelandic lamb, “geyser” rye bread, licorice, “skyr” the special Icelandic dairy product, and Brennivin, an Icelandic aquavit. The guests who visit Chez Zee are in for a special treat.”

See more about the menu and ingredients below:

What are the 10 things you’d like everyone to see in Iceland and why?

It’s hard to choose, because Iceland has so many beautiful and magnificent places to visit, but my list would look something like this:

1. Thingvellir, which is where the first parliamentary rule in the world was established in 930 A.D. It is a sacred place, the landscape is magnificent, and it sits on one of the few visible rift valleys on Earth.

2. Geysir, the geothermal area, which all “geyser” areas are named after. Strokkur, one of the geyser’s, erupts every 3-5 minutes.

3. Gullfoss, the golden waterfall, which demonstrates the force of water which has carved its way through the land forming deep gorges.

4. Snaefellsjokull Glacier and the surrounding National Park in West Iceland. French author Jules Verne used the Glacier as an entrance to inner earth in his novel Journey to the Centre of the Earth.

5. Latrabjarg cliffs, the westernmost point of Europe, where puffins and other seabirds nest.

6. Lake Myvatn in the north east part of Iceland. Psuedo volcanic craters as well as real ones, and lava formations create magical landscape. The birdlife on the lake is unique.

7. Jokulsarlon Glacial Lagoon, where icebergs from calving glaciers fall into a lagoon, and float around the boats that take tourists around it.

8. Dyrholaey headland on the south coast of Iceland. Spectacular landscape created by erosion, where many seabirds nest during early summer.

9. The Blue Lagoon. It was formed by runoff water that came from a geothermal power plant. The silica in the water formed a layer in the lava field, so instead of seeping through the water formed a lake with hot water, great for healing skin issues.

10. And of course Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland which is by the sea, with views to the mountains that mean so much to us Icelanders.

What would be YOUR favorite trip in Iceland?

“My list of 10 describes many of my favorite places, but it only lists a small part of the magic that can be experienced in Iceland. The country is rugged and beautiful. It has glaciers and volcanos side by side. I have travelled the globe, been to all continents, and yet I am always in awe of the magic of Iceland. That is why I am in this business; to introduce the magic to the rest of the world.”

How to connect with Runa Bergmann:

Connect with Runa:
LinkedIn: Runa Gudrun Bergmann
Twitter: @runa_bergmann
Other: Email Runa
Video: Inspired by Iceland