Metropolitan Museum – New York

Metropolitan Museum – New York

The Metropolitan Museum, more accurately a collection of museums, was a must for art lovers in the New York area. With two million artifacts spanning 5,000 years of art history, the sheer size of the Metropolitan Museum was daunting. It was the kind of place best enjoyed in multiple viewings and visits. There are only a small number of museums in the world with such large and diverse collections. Of those, few allow visitors as much room to admire and enjoy their extraordinary collections. When we visited The Metropolitan Museum, there were tours, audio guides, several eateries and souvenir shops to enhance the experience.

Visited by more than five million people a year, the Metropolitan Museum was a bustling art reservoir. In spite of large crowds, the afternoon we were by there was plenty of space to enjoy the fine art; we were even able to approach individual sculptures and paintings to observe a detail or identify a signature. This was noteworthy because getting within a couple of feet of major artworks at other comparable museums can be a tricky.

Louvre Museum

Louvre Museum

: Founded in the 12th century as a castle, the Louvre has one of the most extraordinary art collections in the world. It houses an extraordinary collection of approximately 290,000 works, including the Venus de Milo, the Winged Victory of Samothrace, Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa and many others. For the curious or moderate art lovers it merits at least one visit in a lifetime; for dedicated art lovers, perhaps there are never enough visits to satiate their need.

Jacquemart Andre Museum, Paris, France

Jacquemart Andre Museum, Paris, France

We thought this small museum, situated in a luxurious late 19th century home in the tony eighth arrondissement, was a treasure in a city of treasures. Visited by 600,000 people a year, the Jacquemart André Museum was home to the art of 150 masters including Rembrandt, Tiepolo, Della Robbia, Botticelli, Uccello, Carpaccio, Mantegna, Bellini, Boucher, Chardin and Fragonard.

Cirque du Soleil Alegria

Cirque du Soleil Alegria

: Cirque du Soleil Alegria is not a new show, it was first introduced to audiences in the mid 1990’s. We found the show likeable, especially for theatre and circus lovers who have never seen a Cirque du Soleil show. The show included acrobatics, trapeze performances, Aerial High Bars, flaming knives, a strong man, clowns, a contortionist act, Russian Bars and synchronized choreography. Though veteran Cirque du Soleil fans may prefer more dynamic shows such as “O,” Mystére, and Dralion, first timers may appreciate Alegria’ s understated efficiency.

Marmottan Museum

Marmottan Museum

As Monet lovers, this is one of the museums we enjoy visiting whenever we get a chance. Located in a house in a quiet patrician neighborhood, we think it has the perfect size for its collection. Visiting the entire museum is manageable in a half a day or less, even for first time visitors. We enjoy viewing our old favorites like the famous Soleil Levant and water lilies; and discovering temporary exhibits.

Compass Point, Nassau Bahamas

Compass Point, Nassau Bahamas

Overall thumbs up. An especially good property for those wishing to be near the airport and still have access to Nassau’s popular tourist attractions. When we were there, the restaurant provided great service and high quality food in a lovely setting on the ocean. The property is very colorful and has a tasteful island atmosphere.

Kamalame Cay, Andros Island Bahamas

Kamalame Cay, Andros Island Bahamas

Though only a short distance from Florida’s east coast Andros might as well be a world away. We encountered friendly Bahamians the way they used to be 20 years ago at Kamalame Cay. We shared the secluded hideaway with a maximum of 8 other guests during our visit. While we were there we enjoyed a laid back, unhurried ambiance and wonderful, inventive food.

Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopter Tour

Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopter Tour

We were pleasantly surprised by the staff’s professionalism and emphasis on safety. The tour was fun, worth the time and expense, especially for ecotourism oriented travelers visiting ‘Vegas.

We were six passengers on a 1997 helicopter for the Grand Canyon Celebration Tour, which included aerial views of 400-foot deep Lake Mead, one of the largest man made lakes, and the Hoover dam. We made a brief stop to fuel the helicopter. The high point of the tour was breakfast at a small Papillon owned covered picnic area near the bottom of the Grand Canyon with a wonderful view of the Colorado River. It was great to stand near the bottom of the 277-mile long and 3,000 to 6,000 deep majestic Grand Canyon

Four Seasons, Las Vegas

Four Seasons, Las Vegas

There are a lot of hotels in Las Vegas, many of them with rooms and suites just as nice as the Four Seasons. But for the overall experience, from check-in to breakfast to evening turndown, this was the hotel for us. No slot machines and casino to walk through to access the elevators, quick check-in without velvet roped lines of dozens of travellers.

Saint Peter and the Vatican / The Legacy of the Popes

This is a wonderful way to get a modest peek of the enormous Vatican collections. Regardless of your religious inclinations, these artifacts, artworks and jewelry, dating as far back as the 3rd century, are of historical significance and worth at least one visit. If you expect to see the Vatican collection, Rome is the place for you. Although the exhibit stands out for the quantity of pieces exhibited for the first time outside the Vatican, and there are some lovely items on display, they provide only a pale glimpse that cannot do justice to the immense (in size and artistic quality) Vatican collection. It whet my art and history appetite and motivated me to plan a visit to the Vatican Museums, among the most wonderful in the world .

Plantation Club, Seychelles

Plantation Club, Seychelles

The Seychelles are pretty islands with tropical weather and landscapes. Compared with destinations such as the Caribbean or the Maldives, the Seychelles was disappointing. Compared with other properties we visited, the Plantation Club was decent. By worldwide standards, we found it wanting. If we had to go to the Seychelles again for some reason, this hotel would be an acceptable place to stay.

Royal Island Maldives (Horubadhoo)

Royal Island Maldives (Horubadhoo)

Overall thumbs up. Royal Island Maldives is an especially good property for those wishing to get away to an exotic, luxurious, comfortable island hotel with good service, excellent diving and snorkeling. Compared to the prices and quality accommodations in other island destinations, we found the Maldives to be a good value.The people are friendly and service oriented, the locations spectacular and the pace leisurely.

Coconut Beach Resort, Key West, Florida

Coconut Beach Resort, Key West, Florida

Overall pretty good. A nice property for those that have families and want to stay away from the craziness that is Duvall street down by Mallory Square. The water is very visible from the resort and it is well placed for one of the few decent beaches on the island accessible to civilians. The property is well maintained and has some very interesting plants from the Keys in its landscaping.

Carenage Bay Golf and Beach Club

Carenage Bay Golf and Beach Club

When I was there, Carenage Bay offered an extraordinary setting, fabulous beaches, golf, and many activities to keep us busy. We chose to just relax and enjoy the setting and outstanding service. If they were open, I would visited them last year and this year too. I will look forward to news when they reopen November 2003.

PADI dive center, snorkel equipment, motorized catamaran day sailing and charter fishing available.

Singapore Zoo

Singapore Zoo

The Singapore Zoo was very modern and clean when we visited. Sitting almost right on the equator, the weather only seems to vary between wet and dry, it is always warm. The designers of the zoo have utilized the tropical conditions to full advantage with lush landscaping and open pavilions to escape the rains.

Johannesburg – South Africa

Johannesburg – South Africa

Johannesburg can be an excellent point of departure for game viewing and South African tours. It offers excellent shopping and nearby attractions including Sun City, the gold mines museum, and Pretoria. Visitors should use caution when driving (left hand side) and be aware of the high crime in certain parts of the city. The nearby Sterkfontein Caves, South of the Hartbeespoort Damcontain a rich collection of fossils, and what is believed to be the oldest human skull ever found, over 2.6 million years old! Many believe this area to be the true cradle of mankind.

Victoria Falls

Victoria Falls

We enjoyed our visit to this quiet, sleepy southern Africa country of 11 million souls known for Victoria Falls, copper mining, and unspoiled abundant game viewing in its national park system. Because of limited road systems we used charter planes to get to our remote destinations. We were impressed by the quality of meals especially considering the remoteness of some of the camps we visited. We found our guides and the staff in the lodges we visited to be knowledgeable, friendly, courteous, gracious and very helpful.