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By Judy Newell

Mexico Travel News

Celebrate the Wine Harvest in Guanajuato

August is wine harvest time in the state of Guanajuato and the season to celebrate the region’s award-winning wines and rich bounty, with five festivals that will delight everyone from recreational wine connoisseurs to the stodgiest oenophile.

The state’s wines are international award-winners, and the harvest has become the time to elevate the wine, its makers, and the region with festivals in the cities of Guanajuato, San Miguel de Allende, Dolores Hidalgo, and Comonfort.

With a wine history dating back to the 16th century, when Spanish conquistadors brought European grapes to the region, Mexico is technically considered the oldest wine growing region in North America. The wine that was being produced in those days, however, was strictly for the use of the church. Any production or consumption outside of the church was prohibited for almost 100 years.

In addition to the various harvest festivals, Guanajuato’s Wine Trail is a must. The Wine Trail, known in Spanish as the Circuito del Vino, stretches from the town of Dolores Hidalgo to San Miguel de Allende.

The trail consists of three vineyards: Cuna de Tierra in Dolores Hidalgo, and Toyán and Dos Búhos in San Miguel de Allende. The vineyards combine quality, culture, and history. At each vineyard, you will have the opportunity to learn how the vines are grown and nurtured, observe the wine making process, and indulge in tastings.

The season’s five harvest festivals are held during the respective five weekends of the month of August. Each event is limited to 4,500 participants, offering a more intimate setting that allows guests to savor each sip.

International News

Spend the Night in Princess Diana’s Childhood Home

It was recently announced that Althorp, Princess Diana’s childhood home and final resting place, will open to overnight visitors for three weekends in an effort to raise money for the Whole Child International charity.

The Princess’s brother, Earl Spencer, shared the announcement on NBC News, stating that couples will be able to spend the weekend at the 500-year-old mansion for £17,000–that’s about US$24,879.

The home is open to the public, but overnight guests will have access to previously closed areas of the house. They will also have the option of sleeping in Princess Diana’s room. In addition, the home will be available to private groups of 18 people for £170,000 (US$248,803). Talk about a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Cruise News

Viking Cruises Unveils New Ocean Itineraries and Ships

As Viking Cruises continues to expand from the rivers to the oceans of the world, its fleet and future itineraries also grow. The Viking Star and Viking Sea are already plying ocean waters, and the Viking Sky and Viking Sun will follow in early and late 2017 respectively. The Viking Spirit is set for a 2018 debut.

In 2017 and 2018, 10 new itineraries will be offered, ranging in length from 8 to 22 days, and adding over 30 new ports of call. Itinerary highlights will include Europe and the Americas as well as the Caribbean and even Cuba. Viking Sun’s maiden voyage in December 2017 will be a 141-day world cruise, sailing from Miami to London across 5 continents, 35 countries, and 66 ports.

Through June 30, 2016, US residents can take advantage of an Early Booking Discount on 2017 and 2018 itineraries, amounting to 2-for-1 cruise fares plus up to US$1,000 per person off flights.

Air News

Six US Airlines Now Cleared for Takeoff to Cuba

The US Department of Transportation approved American Airlines, Frontier Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Silver Airways, Southwest Airlines, and Sun Country Airlines to offer flights between the two nations.

The flights could be available as early as this fall and will be departing from Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Minneapolis/St. Paul.

The approval permits the six airlines to schedule flights between the United States and Cuba for the first time in more than five decades. The flights have been approved to land in nine Cuban cities, including Camagüey, Holguín, and Santiago de Cuba.

Flight applications to Havana have yet to be approved. The Transportation Department said it plans to make final selections to flights in and out of Cuba’s capital this summer. The airlines still need to get approval from the Cuban government.

Words of the Wise and Well-traveled

“Those who seek paradise on earth should come to Dubrovnik.”–George Bernard Shaw

Deal of the Week

Special Holiday River Cruises 40% Discount

With the glittering backdrop of snow covered hilltops, twinkling lights, and extravagantly decorated cities, it’s almost impossible to not get swept up in the magic that’s in the air during the holidays in Europe. On these two special holiday river cruises, guests will sail aboard the brand-new AmaViola, which features connecting staterooms making it perfect for the whole family or a group of friends to travel together.

Christmas Markets on the Danube, 7-night cruise from Budapest to Vilshofen, December 8, 2016. Rates starting from: $2,899 $1,740. Book by June 30 and save 40 percent.

Ring in the New Year as you cruise along Europe’s Danube river. On the night of January 31, you will be treated to a special New Year’s Eve Gala on board: a lavish dinner, festive decorations, and champagne toasts are all part of the experience on this unforgettable cruise.

The Romantic Danube New Year’s Cruise, 7-night cruise from Vilshofen to Budapest, December 29, 2016, Rates starting from: $2,899 $1,740. Book by June 30 and save 40 percent.

 

Judy Newell, an international travel consultant for over 40 years, heads Perfect Journeys and specializes in unique travel experiences to destinations around the world. She designs journeys that are tailored to suit a client’s interests, abilities and budget. Please contact Judy for reservations or further information on any Travel News topics; cell phone 415 111 8765; Vonage 949 300 3682; email judynewell@perfectjourneys.net. Her office is in Rancho Los Labradores, Car. a Dolores Hidalgo.; hours Mon–Fri, 11am–4pm. View the latest travel specials on the website www.perfectjourneys.net.

 

Sources: Guanajuato Tourism Board, Travel+Leisure, Viking Cruises, CNN Money, AMAWaterways

 

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