Friday, February 23, 2018

The Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland is worth its weight in gold

The Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland glistens with
white marble from Greece  (

SWITZERLAND – With the Winter Olympics coming to a close in PyeongChang, South Korea, there is a fabulous year-round substitute at the home of the International Olympic Committee in Lausanne, Switzerland.

You don't have to be a lover of sports to enjoy Lausanne's Olympic Museum because it embraces the ideals of athletics rather than purely winning and losing. Rather competition, art, culture, the human spirit and international good will were the goals of Pierre de Fredy, Baron de Coubertin, the dreamer who revived the Olympic Games in 1896.

De Coubertin's  idealistic concept to unite the countries of the world through athletic competition, followed the philosophy of "it's not whether you win or lose, but how you play the game."

The father of the modern Olympic movement conceived the idea of restoring the Olympic ideal in 1889 and seven years later the first modern games were held in Athens, Greece.
Baron Pierre Coubertin
revived the modern
Olympics (wikipedia)

As Pierre de Coubertin himself often repeated, “The important thing in life is not the triumph, but the fight; the essential thing is not to have won, but to have fought well.”

In the 100-plus years that have transpired since Coubertin’s first games in Greece, controversy has probably been more in evidence than the athletic ideals espoused by their founder, but the spirit of the baron’s concept never wanes at the Olympic Museum in Lausanne.

Situated on a terraced esplanade overlooking Lake Geneva, the white Greek marble building glistens in the sun as its gardens and sculptures seep toward the shores of the lake.

The Olympic Museum is the perfect museum for people who don’t like museums. With its rare combination of history, art, athletics and global cultural exchange, this is a site that can be found nowhere else in the world.
Interior of the Olympic Museum has something for everyone

The sculpture park leading down to the lake contains numerous pieces centering around a theme of athletics and competition. When combined with the art however, the museum features thousands of historical objects including Olympic torches from all of the games, equipment, medals and interactive displays where visitors can access virtually any event that has ever been recorded.

The baron’s advocacy for the Olympics evolved from several ideals he believed about athletic competition. To de Coubertin, the ancient games, which were held every four years in Olympia, Greece, encouraged the spirit of competition among amateur athletes while setting aside the rivalries of war by promoting peace through cultural interchange. The precise longevity of the original games is not known. They began in 776 B.C.E. and continued until either 261 or 393 AD.
Olympia, Greece was home of
the first Olympics  (Taylor)

Other attempts to revive the Olympic movement were made prior to Baron de Coubertin’s success, the most notable of which happened in London in 1866 when Dr. William Penny Brookes held a series of contests at the Crystal Palace. Though Brookes’ concept of an international track meet did not materialize, his games were the first time that “Olympic-style” competitions on an national scale had ever been held outside of Greece.

In a city layered with museums, the Olympic Museum in Lausanne is by far the brightest star attracting more than a quarter of a million visitors each year. Its purpose is to perpetuate the philosophies about which Baron de Coubertin was so deeply passionate.
The original Olympic stadium in Greece  (Taylor)

Perhaps the official message of the museum states it best, “The Olympics is much more than a mere sporting competition. It is a philosophy of life that is rooted in the depths of time, sport, art and culture are the traditional pillars of the Olympics.”
The Castle of Chillon made famous by Lord Byron sits on the
shore of Lake Geneva near Lausanne  (wikipedia)

While sports may be the initial attraction of the Olympic Museum, the venue never lets travelers forget that art and culture must be included in the blend in order to fulfill the purpose of the movement. As Coubertin put it, “Olympism is a state of mind.”
The eternal flame is a perpetual reminder of the human spirit of
competition and culture at the Olympic Museum  (Taylor)

It is important to note that travelers holding a Swiss Travel System Pass are entitled to free admission. Hours from mid-October to the end of April 30 are from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. From the beginning of May to October 14 the hours are from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. The Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland is a museum of the ages for all ages.

The Olympic Games are the world's greatest five ring circus.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Celebrity Edge to set bold new cruise horizons in December

Celebrity Edge prepares to leave for her maiden voyage in
December (
MIAMI, FLORIDA — When Celebrity Cruises unveils its newest sea-going vessel on December 9 of this year, the best word to describe it will be "transformational." Construction for the ship will be completed ahead of schedule allowing Celebrity Edge to make alternating maiden voyages from her home port in Ft. Lauderdale.

Celebrity's bold innovations will make the ship itself as much of a destination as its ports of call.
The innovative "Magic Carpet" stops at the pool deck
The first sailing will cruise to the Western Caribbean followed by another maiden voyage to the Eastern Caribbean.

In addition to the alternating maiden voyages, Celebrity will also offer four new Edge Preview Sailings. The three-night Bahamas cruises will sail round-trip from Fort Lauderdale, FL., departing November 21, November 24, December 3 and December 6.
Celebrity Edge has 3D flair
Created completely in 3-D with the talents of world-class architects and designers, Celebrity Edge will change the world of leisure cruising forever with landmark innovations.

The manner in which stateroom balconies altered  previously popular portholes is incorporated in the dreamlike imagination of Celebrity Cruises. Come December, a bold new standard of shipboard comfort will challenge the competition to keep pace or leave them in their wake.
Stateroom balconies will bring indoors out and outdoors in
Among Celebrity's "transformational" conceptions will be dramatically expanded staterooms including several accommodations for single cruisers so they no longer have to pay supplements for traveling alone.
The stunning "Magic Carpet" will be the first of its kind
Perhaps more stunning will be the ship-climbing "Magic Carpet" platform at mid-ships which will serve multiple purposes with the ability to raise and lower from the lowest deck to the top of the 16-story, 2,900 passenger vessel.

In addition, stunning contemporary suite designs will redefine the way cruise lovers experience the world. Edge Staterooms with Infinite Verandas will adapt guest quarters into a space where the simple touch of a button brings the outside in and the inside out by giving passengers open-air access to the sea.
Massive suites will face the sea

With 23-percent more square footage and 10-percent larger bathrooms than the Celebrity Solstice Class ships, Celebrity Edge, and her yet to be built three sisters, will allow guests to select another button that can personalize the stateroom from cabin lighting, shades, temperature and service.
The ship will also have some
split level suites

Celebrity Edge will also increase the number of suites from Solstice Class by 7-percent, including 146 one-bedroom Sky Suites that face outward with king-sized beds.

Thanks to bi-fold doors which can be left completely closed to create a true balcony or remain open for a sunlit indoor space, Celebrity Edge will feature 918  Infinite Veranda cabins.

For the ultimate cruise experience, two new Iconic Suite categories will offer more than 5,000 square feet of space located above the bridge, facing forward, so occupants will experience the same views as the captain.

If that doesn't appeal to your "suite tooth" desires, perhaps one of six split-level Edge Villas with view from two stories of windows, private plunge pools and direct walk-out access to the Retreat Sundeck will be more to your liking.
Add captionAn outdoor lounge offers soothing sea vistas (

"The Retreat" boasts round-the-clock personal butler service and an exclusive Suite Class restaurant known as the Luminae @ The Retreat. The Retreat will be a private cruising Garden of Eden for deluxe travel at its finest.
Celebrity Edge will be a
destination all its own

The "transformational" feature that every cruiser will be able to experience however, and, which is arguably the most innovative aspect of Celebrity's new Edge series, is its moveable deck called the Magic Carpet.

The large outdoor elevator-style deck will be cantilevered off the ship with the ability to move from the bottom at Deck 2 all the way up to Deck 16. In so doing, the Magic Carpet puts a new twist on an age-old maritime expression by putting "all decks on hand."
The "Magic Carpet" will have multiple purposes
Depending upon where the Magic Carpet is stationed, will determine its functionality. On Deck 2, for example, the Magic Carpet will greatly ease the ability to board and off-load the ship without the need for ramps or stairs.

This will be especially practical for travelers with disabilities by significantly simplifying the process of access and egress to the ship.

Furthermore, every passenger will experience less difficulty during occasions when tenders are necessary to go ashore.
The Eden Lounge offers casual
elegance (

On other occasions, the Magic Carpet will serve as an al fresco extension to a raw bar restaurant when stationed on Deck 5. Or it can become a lively hot-spot for late-night parties and happy hours when it stops on Deck 14.

Daily theme dinners will be the order of the day on Deck 16 when the Magic Carpet becomes an alternative restaurant.

Interior amenities will also be "transformational" with the Celebrity Edge. The Rooftop Garden is one of many public areas that beckon guests to unwind in a completely unique environment. Created by architect Tom Wright, the Rooftop Garden will have a resident horticulturist to ensure that guests enjoy activities throughout the day in a utopian garden that will also feature live music as well as the movie-and-meal pairing of "A Taste of Film."
Pool Deck in the daytime

Naturally, traditional cruise amenities will also include lounges, a casino, a theater, pools, sundecks and a variety of dining opportunities, but you can expect these aspects of Celebrity Edge to be equally defining innovations.

Many other amenities  of Celebrity Edge have yet to be revealed, but come December, cruising as we know it will sail into a bold new world of sea-going adventure. As part of the Royal Caribbean family of ships, Celebrity can be identified by its iconic "X" which stands for modern luxury mingled with cool, contemporary design and welcoming friendly public spaces.
Everything looks different at night (celebritycruises,com)

Bookings are now open for the four Preview Sailings, the Maiden Voyages and for future itineraries.
Tugs prepare Celebrity Edge for her first of many adventures
Come December, "X" marks the spot in Ft. Lauderdale where Celebrity Cruises will launch a new world of cutting "Edge" sea-going travel that is certain to make waves in the industry. 

Friday, February 9, 2018

Williamsburg, Virginis is great year-round Valentine's destination

Crim Dell Bridge on the campus of William & Mary captures
Williamsburg's spirit  (wikipedia)
GREATER WILLIAMSBURG, VIRGINIA If you're looking for an ideal romantic destination for Valentine's, Williamsburg, Virginia might just be the perfect spot. Combining Greater and Colonial Williamsburg, visitors get a lot of bang for their traveling dollar because it's like "having your cake and eating it, too."
Quaint streets with 17th and 18th century charm beckon visitor
For those who grew up doing the traditional fourth grade field trip to Colonial Williamsburg, the entire area has matured to become a top-notch adult resort catering to the children in all of us. The historic village remains, of course, but the surrounding area has evolved into a site that makes Valentine's a year-round destination.
With "palate-able" pleasures galore, Williamsburg is no longer the haven of fast-food emporiums it was in the past. Thanks to a prime location between the James and York Rivers and its proximity to the Chesapeake Bay, farm-to-table dining can be found everywhere, especially fresh fish and seafood caught daily in local waters.
Just desserts in Williamsburg
With its plethora of choices, the variety and selection of menus make Williamsburg's palate friendly cuisine a food lover's paradise.
Add in the delights of wine, beer and smooth local distilled drinks and the culinary experience in Williamsburg is as rich as the historical outings in the famed colonial village are rewarding.
The Tasting Trail is a favorite for visitors to Williamsburg
The Williamsburg Winery wends its way through a serpentine driveway filled with 300-acres of vines where the road ends at the tasting room and store of the Gabriel Archer Tavern.
Tour the variety of varietals throughout the area, and never fear suffering the "wrath of grapes" during your visit because Williamsburg has wineries for all seasons.
Copper Fox Distillery
What was once the domain of wine alone has yielded to the popularity of local breweries and distilleries as well. If you feel the need for mead, Williamsburg's Silver Hand Meadery produces the ancient honey-based fermented drink in its very own establishment.
Local beers made in their own micro-breweries are becoming as popular and, in many ways, as sophisticated as wine. Williamsburg has kept pace with the times by offering kegs, drafts and growler selections in numerous taprooms, patios and beer gardens, many of which feature live music.
There's nothing like a horse and carriage to set the mood
For those desiring somewhat stronger spirits, Williamsburg boasts of an expanding number of distilleries, including Copper Fox Distillery which currently produces the first applewood-aged whiskey in the world.
In keeping with the "spirits" of the 18th century, Williamsburg's craft micro-distilleries, 8 Shires Distillery offers "American Heritage" recipes and techniques which produces the only bourbon in the world made with Indian corn.
B&Bs are captivating
To enjoy many of these establishments, be it wine, beer or something slightly more potent, Greater Williamsburg features the Williamsburg Tasting Trail where visitors can experience the art of creating handcrafted alcoholic beverages by many of area's liquid pioneers.
Naturally, food and drink are just the beginning. No destination is complete without first-rate shopping, especially on Valentines. With 135 stores, Williamsburg Premium Outlets is a browser's and shopaholic's nirvana featuring the likes of Burberry, Calvin Klein, the Coach Outlet, Ralph Lauren, L'Occitane and Waterford to mention a few.
Accommodations are elegant in
their simplicity
If shopping is not your forte, Williamsburg is also an oasis for museum hopping with English and American portrait galleries of the 17th to the 19th centuries, European and American prints, drawings and paintings dating as far back as the 14th century up to contemporary 21st century pieces, Japanese prints and photography, African art and Asian ceramics.
Crim Dell Bridge captures the charm of Williamsburg
Nearby Crim Dell Bridge on the campus of William and Mary, is an entrancing spot for a stroll and to stop and listen to the rippling water as it gurgles under the bridge.
For the "rest" of your romantic visit, luxurious accommodations abound with everything from quaint B&Bs to elegant hotels and spas.
The spa at Kingsmill Resort adds to its 4-diamond rating
Pamper yourself at Williamsburg's only AAA Four Diamond Resort, the Spa at Kingsmill Resort.
Each spa is unique with its own selection of themed treatments ranging down through the centuries to include wraps, herbal treatments, massages and other delights to soothe your cares away.
Whichever you choose, Williamsburg's spas are guaranteed not to  "rub you the wrong way."
Artisans are a major part of Williamsburg's ambiance
All of that is just part of the adventure before a traveler even begins to enjoy the living-history of Colonial Williamsburg with its world famous re-enactors who take visitors on a time-travel experience that is second to none.
The 301-acre Historic Area includes 18th century buildings from the days when Williamsburg was the capital of Colonial Virginia, as well as 17th and 19th century structures that are an interpretation of a colonial American city.
Re-enactors make the past come alive
The colonial village is different from similar sites because it is constructed from a living town whose inhabitants and post-colonial-era buildings were removed.
Furthermore, unlike many other living history museums, Colonial Williamsburg allows guests to walk through the historic district free of charge at any hour of the day.
Williamsburg is living history
Among the most popular attractions are the re-enactors (interpreters) who dress and talk just as they would during colonial times. Much like the Beefeaters at the Tower of London in England, these historical figures explain and demonstrate aspects of daily life just as it was hundreds of years ago.
Warning, you can try to trip them up if you like, but you will not win. Rather, savor the moment and indulge yourself in history as you have never experienced it before.
At the end of the day, a relaxing nap before dinner
When it comes to Valentines, there's more to romance than hearts, candy and flowers. Greater Williamsburg is a perfect example, because you can celebrate Valentines every day of the year.
After all, that's what makes Williamsburg even "Greater."

Friday, February 2, 2018

James Bond discovered Udaipur, India, maybe you should too

City Palace in Udaipur, India at dusk  (wikipedia)
UDAIPUR, INDIA If the producers of the James Bond franchise determine that a particular location is good their stories, travelers can be certain those destinations are practically guaranteed to be luxurious exotic places to visit.

Though Udaipur, India might not readily roll off the tongue, Roger Moore's portrayal of 007 in the 13th edition of the Bond series titled "Octopussy" (1983) takes our favorite British spy to the "Venice of the East" for scenery, romance and, of course, plenty of action.
A boat ride on Lake Pichola in the City of Lakes  (Taylor)
Also known as the "City of Lakes" and the "Kashmir of Rajasthan", Udaipur was founded in 1553. It became a British princely state in 1818, partially accounting for its elegant architecture and stylish atmosphere before gaining independence in 1947.

Centrally situated roughly halfway between Delhi, approximately 410 miles to the north, and Mumbai which is about 500 miles south, Udaipur is well connected by air, rail and road to make it a popular tourism destination, especially among natives.
Arriving by boat  (Taylor)
Udaipur is known for its history and five major lakes, but it also contains massive forts, palaces, museums, galleries, gardens and temples. Just the sort of place James Bond would be drawn to for his majesty's secret service  endeavors.

As might be expected, if 007 travels there, Udaipur boasts of some of the world's most famous hotels. The Oberoi Udaivilas, for example, was rated the best hotel in Asia in 2017 by World Travel Awards.
The Oberoi Udaivilas is one of the most luxurious hotels in the world  (
Situated on the bank of Lake Pichola, the Oberoi Udaivilas stands on the 200 year old hunting grounds of the Maharana of Mewar, the Indian ruler who founded Udaipur in the 16th century. Today the grounds include a 20-acre wildlife sanctuary.
Taj Lake Palace Hotel (Taylor)

Two other properties, the Taj Lake Palace and the Leela Palace Udaipur are among the most expensive hotels in India.

The setting alone for the Taj Lake Palace, where guests arrive by boat is beguiling enough, but when the elephants and other sculptures that line the exterior are added in, it's little wonder that visitors are hooked immediately.
Formerly the 18th century royal summer palace, the elegant hotel is constructed of while marble.
Locals hang on anywhere they can for a ride  (Taylor)
Public transportation in Udaipur remains typically Indian with riders hanging from the sides, windows and inging to rooftops of local buses, but it's all part of the ambiance.

When it comes to history and sightseeing, Udaipur is a traveler's paradise. Located on the east bank of Lake Pichola visitors encounter the City Palace, a vast series of palatial buildings dating through the centuries from 1550. Known The main entrance is a triple-arched gate.
Typical scene in Udaipur with elegance surrounded by masses
of humanity  (
Kesariyaji Temple features 52 pinnacles that make it visible from afar. It is lovingly dedicated to oft forgotten Lord Rishabh Dev, the first Jain Tirthankara.
The Ranakpur Jain Temple  (
According to Jain, a Tirthankara is a rare spiritual leader and teacher who has conquered the samsāra, the cycle of death and rebirth, on his own and made a path for others to follow.

With numerous other temples and shrines, Udaipur requires a minimum of two days to take in all the attractions.
City Palace and lake  (wikipedia)

Rudyard Kipling used Udaipur as the birthplace of, his fictional panther Bagheera in the King's Menagerie in the classic novel "The Jungle Book."

The name may not be recognizable in the book at first, because Kipling's reference to Udaipur in the book is spelled Oodeypore.
Elephant sculptures greet visitors at the Taj Palace  (Taylor)
Other sites include Sahelion ki Bari, a major garden filled with fountains, kiosks, a lotus pool and marble elephants. A popular tourist attraction, the garden was laid for a group of forty-eight young women attendants who accompanied a princess to Udaipur as part of her dowry.

In 2002, Vetern Sangh Pracharak. the Veer Shiromani Maharana Pratap Samiti began a project to provide more detailed information about Maharana Pratap, the founder of Udaipur.
Massive sculpture pays tribute to Maharana Pratap
The group purchased land at Tiger Hill in 2007 and built the impressive Pratap Gaurav Kendra Rashtriya Tirtha with its main attraction being the 57-foot high metal statue of Maharana Pratap.

With sacred cows strolling through the streets, local riders clinging to the tops of buses and the typical chaos of humanity that is India all combined in a setting of exquisite beauty, Udaipur is a James Bond location that will definitely leave travelers "stirred but not shaken."