Expert’s Eye: Faces of the Mekong

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The most treasured sights of a great journey aren’t the temples, urban skylines or mountain vistas — they’re the faces of the people you meet, as A&K Managing Editor Dan Wiencek learned on a recent trip to Southeast Asia.

People of the Mekong River

For ages, I have wanted to see Angkor Wat and the ruins of the Khmer Empire, the bustling streets of Bangkok and the rapidly rising nation of Vietnam. I had the opportunity as part of a seven-night cruise down the Mekong River, which began (after a few prefatory days in Bangkok and Siem Reap) at the port town of Kampong Cham, Cambodia, and ended in Saigon at the river’s mouth. Yet as great as these places are, what drew me irresistibly day after day was the people in the riverside towns along the way. I was astonished at the openness, curiosity and friendliness we encountered, without exception, everywhere we went. Most “vacation photos” — my own especially — are shots of the same sites thousands of other people have taken (only not as good). When it came to exploring the Mekong, the “sights” that stand out for me are the faces, each one unique, each one bringing the destination to life in a way no building or natural wonder ever could.

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Expert’s Eye: Lima

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victor1Proud to call Lima his home, A&K Resident Tour Director® Victor Pulisci has been escorting groups throughout Peru and beyond since 1992. Victor is passionate about his hometown, and this becomes immediately apparent when he’s sharing the sights of Lima with our guests. Here’s what this resident insider had to say about his favorite city.

What makes Lima so unique?
This city has so many distinctive traits. The architecture, history and culture are all so compelling. The common thread is diversity. You see Incan, colonial and contemporary international influences everywhere.

lima-miraflores-parksWhat is your favorite neighborhood?
I grew up in Miraflores, and it still holds my heart. It offers the best of Lima: trendy shopping malls (such as Larcomar overlooking the Pacific Ocean), an abundance of parks, all manner of art galleries and the city’s finest restaurants. Continue Reading ›

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Expert’s Eye: Barcelona

Expert’s Eye: Barcelona
Jeremy Kerrison

If you’re travelling to Spain this year, this is the man to talk to first. A&K Resident Tour Director®, Jeremy Kerrison has over 25 years of travel experience in Europe, several of them spent in the Catalan capital of Barcelona. Jeremy recently sat down with us to share his short list in Spain’s must-see city.

What makes Barcelona so unique?
It is a Mediterranean-situated city, renowned for its Modernist architecture, which is inspired by Antoni Gaudí and reflected in singular buildings, such as the unfinished Sagrada Familia church. However, its history dates back to the Romans, so there is amazing, diverse architecture that spans 2,000 years. Continue Reading ›

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Expert’s Eye: Xian

Expert’s Eye: Xian

You’ve Seen the Terra Cotta Warriors. Now What?

A&K Tour Director Gerald HatherlyEver since 1974, when local farmers accidentally unearthed its now world-renowned Terra Cotta Warriors, Xian, China, has graced countless luxury China tour itineraries. Viewing the life-size antiquities up close, accompanied by an on-site archaeologist on an A&K Luxury Small Group Journey, is an unforgettable travel experience clearly worth the trip.

Less obvious is how to choose from among this ancient city’s many other cultural and historic attractions. So, we asked Gerald Hatherly — one of A&K’s premier Tour Directors and a Condé Nast Traveler Top Travel Specialist for China — for his best recommendations.

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Expert’s Eye: Madrid

Expert’s Eye: Madrid

A&K Tour Director Simon Butler-Madden A&K Tour Director Simon Butler-Madden takes you inside the place he knows best — his hometown, Madrid. Travel to Spain, as this madrileño reveals his favorite sites, place to grab a bite, soak up local culture and unearth treasures in Spain’s capital.

A diplomat specializing in East-West relations before joining Abercrombie & Kent in 1989, Simon has accompanied groups throughout all of Europe and Russia. His involvement in European arts, politics and culture gives him a unique insight that he shares with his travellers. He is a connoisseur of European wines and cuisine, even producing his own olive oil on a small farm in Extremadura, Spain.

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