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50th birthday and 25th wedding anniversary - Where to go??


Aug 3rd, 2013, 02:28 PM
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50th birthday and 25th wedding anniversary - Where to go??

In March of 2014 I'll turn 50 and in December I'll celebrate my 25th wedding anniversary. My husband and I have enough miles to get to wherever we want to go. I've been to Western Europe a dozen times, so I'd like to go somewhere else. We'll probably go in March for my birthday since that's when I have spring break. Right now our top three ideas are Buenos Aires, Puerto Rico and a driving tour of Portugal (and northern or southern Spain.) We're always on the lookout for a good deal! (I'm a teacher so most of the travel I've done has been through work; we're not rich.) We live in North Carolina and I'm fluent in Spanish and can get by in other Romance languages. I guess I'm looking for somewhere really awesome that's not the typical suggestion (I've been to London, Paris, Venice, Florence, Rome, Barcelona, Madrid, Dublin, Prague, Budapest, Berlin, etc.) I've also been to China and am not really interested in returning to Asia at this time. So who can recommend a fantastically awesome unusual place?

P.S. We like food & wine, history, museums, culture. We're not super outdoorsy. We usually don't sit around on beaches with umbrella drinks. Neither of us is interested in cruises. Thanks in advance for the suggestions!!
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Aug 3rd, 2013, 03:02 PM
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How about the Azores? A group of volcanic islands in the middle Atlantic belonging to Portugal. Most flights to the Azores go to Ponta Delgado on the Island of Sao Miguel, the largest of the islands. These islands are beautiful, have interesting architecture and culture and a mild climate throughout much of the year. Spring is ideal when they are covered in flowers. Although islands, I would not consider them as a place for the beach, but rather for the attributes above and beautiful, often dramatic scenery. The Azores are in 3 island groups and one can easily hop from one to another within the group or between groups by plane or boat. The food is island Portuguese, IMO delicious and the local wines are excellent.

If you could leave from Boston - the only city that I know of with non stop commercial flights, the flying time is only 4-5 hours. Other airports require one or two changes and are thus longer.
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Aug 4th, 2013, 05:51 AM
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That sounds rather fantastic! My husband and I spent a lot of time last night looking into the Azores and they look awesome. With our miles we'd have to fly to Germany and then back to the islands, but we're thinking it might be worth it. Thanks for the suggestion!!
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Aug 4th, 2013, 06:38 AM
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Have you thought about New Zealand? We recently spent a month driving around both the North & South Islands. In over 40 years of travel this was one of the BEST trips we have ever taken.

WARNING: If you do a self-driving tour, plan on it taking a lot longer then it does "back home" to get from Point A to Point B. Why, you ask? The scenery is so breathtaking that it seems you want to stop every 15 minutes or so to admire the incredible vistas.
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Aug 4th, 2013, 11:20 AM
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Or perhaps you can fly to Portugal and then fly back.

I have been to the Azores some 14X and love it. The people there treat you like a guest rather than a tourist.
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Aug 4th, 2013, 03:36 PM
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Of the places you list, Buenos Aores would get my vote but I would add in side trips to Iguazu and to Salta for a drive around the Norht west of the country and it spectacular scenery. Also maybe some time down in Patagonia. Some more info and photos of our time there from a few years ago on our blog http://blog.travelpod.com/travel-blo...ai/1/tpod.html entries 70 on cover Argentina.

Otherwise, I second RoamsArounds suggestion of NZ. We hired a campervan and drove around the North and South Islands for two months in their winter and loved it. Some of the most diverse and spectacular scenery in the world.
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Aug 4th, 2013, 05:23 PM
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For our 25th we simply drove to NYC for 4 nights, stayed at the Essex House (called something else now) hotel and went to the theater every night after a splurge dinner. It was memorable.
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Aug 5th, 2013, 10:51 AM
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Well really you have pretty much the whole world to pick from and even your interests don't cut it down a great deal with the possible exception of wine. 'Fantastically awesome unusual' is subjective, not objective. What someone else considers 'awesome' may bore you.

What about a wine tasting based trip to a region from which you find you like their wines? For example, you could easily spend a couple of weeks (you don't say how long you plan to go for)touring around the Bordeaux region tasting as well as taking in the culture of the smaller towns/villages of the area. Paris is not all of France after all. Or, since you mention Portugal, do you like their wines? Why not plan a driving trip around that?

They would not be 'unusual' for someone who likes to explore wine regions but no doubt would be highly unusual for many people who never think beyond a list of cities.
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Aug 5th, 2013, 11:11 AM
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I'm a big fan of Portugal, and of course the port is awesome. Loads to see and no need to visit the beach (skip the Algarve).

But South America is a great destination, too. I wasn't as sold on the cities, but the scenery at aiguazu and in Patagonia was magnificent (click on my name for my TR). And both Argentina and Chile have wine districts.
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Aug 6th, 2013, 11:48 AM
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South America...have you considered Peru? Food (not so much wine, but Pisco), museums, culture, history, architecture, archaeology. Machu Picchu for the anniversary date.
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Aug 7th, 2013, 12:42 PM
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What airline are your miles with? If they're with any Oneworld airline or Alaska Airlines, then I'd look hard at Easter Island, served out of Santiago by Lan Chile. Spanish speaking, remote, tropical, beautiful, amazing history, big heads. Kewl. Add a couple of days in the Chilean wine districts (autumn, harvest time) or maybe on the beach at Viña del Mar or Concón.
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Aug 14th, 2013, 09:25 AM
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We loved Portugal, especially Lisbon. It has everything you are looking for. The Azores sound awesome, too. I'd plan a trip around these Portuguese destinations. It is also less expensive than many European countries.

In Lisbon, the Avenida Palace is wonderful. We stayed there 6 nights and day-tripped via train to Cascais (twice because we liked it there and it's an easy train ride) and once to the hillside village Sintra.

If you are flying via the Star Alliance, TAP Portugal is a member and it is a very nice airline.
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