Craig Travel
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As we sailed along the Croatian coast onboard Windstar Cruises ms Wind Surf, the Captain turned off the engines and at once we were floating on air or so it seemed. Nothing in sight but ocean, the emerald water mesmerizing and the only sound the occasional sail flapping in the warm breeze. For the past six days, we'd been living like royalty and on this last day at sea, we savoured every moment as Wind Surf made her way back to our starting point of Venice, Italy.

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From Craig Travel's Sales and General Manager, Jennifer Kempa on her recent travel industry educational tour on a Rocky Mountaineer rail journey through Canada's west.... "This was a journey to remember! Arriving at Calgary airport, I was pleasantly surprised when, at the information desk, I simply gave my name and the nice gentleman behind the desk checked his computer and efficiently told me which hotel I was going to, then grabbed my luggage and lead me outside to the waiting coach. So began my lovely Rocky Mountain excursion.

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Arriving at Venice's Marco Polo Airport in the morning, we didn't wait long before our luggage arrived and we were outside waiting for ATVO bus number 5 which would take us to Piazzale Roma. From here, a two-minute taxi ride would take us to the pier, where we would store our luggage for the day, until it was time to depart on our Mediterranean cruise. We had a lot of exploring to do, on this, our first visit to Venice.

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It was Christopher Columbus who, on returning to Europe after his forth voyage to the New World in 1502, named his latest discovery, Costa Rica, the rich coast. Who knows what types of riches he was anticipating finding in this lush, tropical paradise, but surely he must have been speaking, in part, of the lands stunning natural beauty. Today, Costa Rica remains one of the world's most ecologically intact and environmentally proactive countries.

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Our flight from Quito, Ecuador to Baltra in the Galapagos Islands was the start of one of the most awe-inspiring journeys I've had the privilege to experience. I could only imagine Charles Darwin's surprise as these spectacular islands came into view when he first visited here in 1831!

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For many travellers, the lands down under, Australia and New Zealand, are the ultimate dream destinations; the once-in-a-lifetime adventure at the top of many bucket lists. I have been to Australia and New Zealand and this February will make a return visit , as tour leader for Craig Travel's popular annual tour.

What I love about this tour are the many magical experiences which have been included. Instead of simply seeing, we will be doing. And to me, that's what a great travel experience is really all about.

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Let's face it; aggressive peddlers and pushy locals fighting for their share of sales can be intimidating. As tourists, we are at a great disadvantage as we search the world for treasures and trinkets; foreign languages, unfamiliar currencies and strange customs can all add to this daunting experience. Daunting? Isn't the bargaining process supposed to be fun?!

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The inspiration to travel, to get out there and explore and discover new shores, is, for me, a never-ending journey; an addiction-like passion for which I never seem to get enough. I believe this is true for all of us who love to travel.

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I believe there are three things which make each travel experience a complete success...the anticipation, the journey itself and the memories. And the memories last a lifetime! In my golden years, I plan to let my mind wander to those special places explored in my past, to those travel memories created long ago. One such place I will meander to is stunningly beautiful Tuscany and the amazing hiking tour I recently completed with a wonderful group of travellers.

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I do realize that as we age, our brain functions "differently" than when we were younger; however, I have often wondered why I remember details of certain things which occurred on some travel experiences more than others. And it’s not always the advertised highlights that I remember best. For example, on my first travel industry educational visit to South Africa some twenty years ago, I remember most my first night staying in a rondeval in Kruger National Park. The night was black as coal and someone suggested that we lay on the ground to view the magic above.

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