Exploring Mount Rigi ~ Switzerland!

A visit to Lucerne must include a trip up Mount Rigi for the beautiful panoramic view of its famous lake below.  The best way to navigate your way around is with your very own St Bernard, replete day with the traditional barrel of emergency liquid. In this case, the view was not so great, but Barry was great company nevertheless.

BTW, Did you know there was a Great St. Bernard Pass, used by humans to cross the mountain range since the Bronze Age?

Mother-daughter time in ancient Greece

Daughter is in University in Europe leaving her mother an ocean apart so we crafted some quality time:

You did it again...

Just when I think I have seen and done everything on my bucket list, you tweak an itinerary that was suppose to be a simple trip to visit a daughter into a simply magical experience! We LOVED the culinary food tour. The food was delicious! Eating and walking, combined with a bit of history made for a super fun and perfect evening under the Athens night sky. Our guide for the Mythology tour was also awesome. We were fascinated by her
stories of the Greek Gods and historic sites built to honor them. And then there's Santorini...WOW! Very nice way to end our travels with a little sight-seeing, hiking and relaxing.

You certainly take the stress out of traveling abroad! Never a glitch or concern about getting to and from airports, hotels, tours. Nice balance between organized touring and time to explore on your own.
Thank you, sincerely, for another wonderful vacation!

Mom & Daughter!

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Heaven Found at La Donaira

Travellers recently home from a trip to Spain. We sent them to La Donaira, one of our new favourite places in the Andalucian countryside and it exceeded all expectations. 

"Wow.  This place was the highlight of the trip by a mile!.......  

....... It is the vision of the billionaire founder of PartyPoker, and the house and rooms are off-the-charts awesome.  The kitchen was magnificent, and we were served 3 wonderful fresh, organic, vegetarian meals per day directly from the farm products from a world-class chef.  We did yoga overlooking the massive fields and hills with an instructor.  The natural spring-fed pool with zero chemicals was incredible.  And the spa – not on the website yet as it is new – was crazy – huge infinity lap pool with windows overlooking the hills, sauna, ice bath, etc.  Horses everywhere.  We did a big hike on the property.  We would have stayed for 4-5 nights.  Ridiculous deal seeing as its all inclusive.

Absolute Heaven."

Venice, Italy

After studying Venetian Art for a semester at University, Pat wanted to go to Venice. We created a trip that put her in front of all the great things she had studied, which included five nights in Venice, then popping around the Veneto to see more important works in Ravenna, Mantua, Vicenza, and Padua. The last night was in Asolo at the special Villa Cipriani.

Just Got Back … Ireland

 Cliffs of Moher

Cliffs of Moher

Who: Family of Five
Where: Ireland
When: March
Why: To visit their daughter, studying in Dublin, and explore the countryside as a family

Ireland is the quintessential spot for a family trip. It’s a small country but certainly packs a punch. We recently planned a 10-day trip there for a family of five. They just got back and loved every minute of it (ok maybe not the rain on one of their walking tours - but what’s a visit to Ireland without a wee bit of drizzle).

Some of their highlights included staying in the 18th Ballynahinch Castle in Connemara, being entertained by the wonderful storytelling of their guide Barry on their Kinsale walking tour and catching a demo of sheep dogs herding in their flock at a working sheep farm. To top it off, their main guide Eric introduced them to hidden gems (restaurants, pubs and other spots and sites) not found in many a guidebook, giving them a real flavour for the local culture.

In their words…

“Thank you Chris for organizing such a wonderful tour and making sense of our original wish list which was literally all over the map. Couldn't have picked better places to visit and stay. All accommodations inside and out of Dublin were lovely!

Looking at the map that Eric kindly mapped out tracing our route I'm amazed at the ground we covered and all we saw from major attractions to little out of the way places. And learned so much as well as being entertained and catered to! Thanks again to all who put this 'family tour' together. It was a great success.”

- GL & LL, reflecting from home in Toronto

Portugal is Hot!

At the end of September, we helped a couple with a trip to Portugal. For twelve days, the pair explored some of the best and most beautiful sights in Lisbon, Évora, the Algarve and the Atlantic Coast.

 Top-down view of the Bela Vista. Check out that beach!

Top-down view of the Bela Vista. Check out that beach!

Highlights included their guide, Jorge, who took them on a private tour of Lisbon and their day trip to Sintra, and the hotels, the Villa Joya and the Areias do Seixo (the location, the room, the food), and a sushi joint in Lisbon called Bonsai. 

Reviews from the Road

Private Cruise on Seine

One of our favourite travellers went to Ireland with a side of France. It was a quick trip to Paris, their first time to France. Many take the Bateaux Mouche up the Seine with 200 others, but we prefer a private cruise. 

We agreed to help with the little detour, but only after they promised to plan a trip back back to France. After all, France is too beautiful, its culture too rich, to take in during just a few days!

Just Got Back ... Fogo Island


Trip type: Outdoor adventure, cultural exploration & gastronomic delight

Destination: Fogo Island, Newfoundland, Canada

Number of Days: 5

Meet the locals: Everyone is friendly on Fogo Island.  You'll notice lots of the same family names--Foley, Decker, Forster, Poole.  They've been there for centuries, and you'll meet them all.

Most other-worldly experience: Being surrounded by thousands of puffins and razorbills, furiously flapping their wings to stay airborne in the north Atlantic.  Take the boat out to Little Fogo Island to meet them.

Favourite hotel: Fogo Island Inn, an architectural wonder on the shore near Joe Batt's Arm.

Best meal: Cod au Gratin, which is Chef Murray MacDonald's modern take on a traditional Newfoundland dish.

Architectural fantasy: The Shorefast Foundation's artist studios--Squish, Long, Tower and Bridge--all designed by the Inn's architect Todd Saunders.  The studios host artists in residence year round on the island.

Recommended hike: The Lion's Den is a 6km ramble along the coast.  It takes you through abandoned communities and is a lovely way to spend the morning.  Have the Inn pack you picnic.

What to pack: More warm clothes than you'd think--mittens and hats came in handy for an afternoon at sea.  Don't worry if you forget something--the Inn has plenty of gear you can borrow, from rain gear to locally made wool wear.

 

Just Got Back ... Chile

Chiloé

Note's from the Road ... Chile style

Trip type: Outdoor adventure and research (the best part of the job)

Destination: Chile

Number of Days: 15

Best place to act like a local
Wander the Sunday morning at Bío Bío flea market in Santiago. Navigate the maze of antiques, look for rare books and eat empanadas. Need a wrench? You can get one of those, too. If it exists, you can buy it at Bío Bío.

Most other-worldly experience: Stargazing at 4am from the terrace of Tierra Atacama.  It's absolutely stunning.

Favourite hotel: Tierra Chiloé, a seaside hideaway among the picturesque fishing villages.

Best meal: Curanto, a traditional Chilean clambake where seafood, chicken, sausages, pork, vegetables and potato bread are layered over hot stones and covered with nalca leaves to trap steam.

Architectural fantasy: Tierra Patagonia, designed by Chilean architect Cazú Zegers to incorporate rather than fight against the strongest natural element of Torres del Paine National Park--wind.

Recommended hike: Cornesus Condoreras, a 6km hike up, across and down a prominent rock buttress. The reward?  Stunning views and, because of the high winds, the chance to see condors float up beside you.

Most other-worldly experience: Stargazing at 4am from the terrace of Tierra Atacama.  It's absolutely stunning.

What to pack:
For the desert: your hiking boots and sunglasses
For Chiloé: an appetite for unique indigenous culture, and seafood.  
For Patagonia: serious wind gear and a sense of adventure.

Want to go to Chile, email Jackie, she would love to elaborate on her trip.

 

Family Trip to Stockholm, Copenhagen, and Florence

The reviews keep coming in ...

After a family holiday to Stockholm, Copenhagen and Florence the first two weeks of July, we paid for it with a busy slate of trips waiting for us to get on the road.

They're all home now and this is what they said ...

 

 
“Just a quick note to say we had an amazing trip and cannot thank you enough. I am working on typing up my official feedback but just wanted to send this now just to let you know that I felt it was as close to perfect as life can be.”
— Two families to Burgundy and Provence
 

 
“Thanks so much! What a fantastic vacation!

The villa experience overall in Amalfi, gelato making a huge hit, gondola ride Venice and just sitting at a cafe at night in Venice on the water having drinks, kids loved watching glass blower in Venice arranged by Matteo, early morning private Vatican tour.”
— A family of five doing an "Italy 101" with a week on the Amalfi Coast
 

 

One of our favourites was a note sent to our referrer.

“At your suggestion, we retained Chris Tabbitt to book our trip to southern Ireland. We had 7 golfers and just returned on Sunday, August 17th. You should be aware that due to Chris’ efforts everything was perfect! The drivers, the hotels, the booking of the golf courses, caddies, all went according to schedule.Thank you very much for your recommendation and I recommend the use of Chris Tabbitt in the future for anyone booking a golf trip.”
— Eight men golfing the SW of Ireland
 

 
“All back safe and sound and enjoyed the week tremendously and yes we all played the Old Course. Mission accomplished! Thank you for your patience and diligence in making the event a great one.”
— A father and his three grown sons, who are all scratch golfers, were off hoping to play the Old Course and other classic Scottish Links
 

 
“What a trip! Everything was as smooth as silk and the courses were great. Your personal booklet for us was extremely helpful everyday... Congratulations on your exceptional service, recommendations and expertise.”
— A couple celebrating his 70th birthday with Dublin's best links culiminating with a stay up the coast with our favourite course Royal County Down
 

 
“House is stunning! Weather great ... Hiked the north shore trail today and swam in a waterfall pool ... Doesn’t get much better !!”
— A family of five escaping to Maui and Kauai for hiking, snorkeling, biking, surfing and lots of other adventurous things ending in "ing"
 

 
“Iceland is stunning .....I loved it.”
— A long weekend celebrating a 65th birthday in Iceland

Highlights of First Non-Golf Trip to Scotland

We have planned many golf trips to Scotland, but recently were asked to help with a post-Olympics jaunt to Inverness.

Here are the highlights from our travellers:

 

 

Falconry at Dunrobin Castle

"We absolutely loved Dunrobin Castle and the falconry.  I'm sure you've gotten this comment before.  It was so interesting as well as entertaining.  Fish & chips lunch at Trawler's was also perfect, great choice.  It was also nice to visit this area (more desolate) first, before heading to Inverness.

Falls of Shin

The Falls of Shin was absolutely worth visiting.  Not only did we get to see a few leaping salmon, the entire place was amazing to see--so beautiful, peaceful.

Biking Loch Ness

The bike ride to Loch Ness and back was spectacular and one of our most favorite things of the trip.  We took the side roads (per the map and the guy at the shop) to and from, both paths amazingly beautiful.

We actually spent 4 hours and the cost for the hybrid bikes were 15 pounds per bike (30 pounds for 4 hours, not 40 pounds for 3 hours).

We also ended up not doing lunch at Castle Tavern, but did a late lunch at The Dores right on the lake, which we really enjoyed, and got a beer late afternoon at the Castle Tavern (great place too).

Cullodon Battlefield was very interesting, glad we stopped.

The Glenmoriston was a great choice and the room overlooking the canal was perfect.  Mustard Seed was also great for us, we got seated upstairs with a view.

bedroom overlooking river.jpg

The topper for our trip was Boath House.  How beautiful!  We got upgraded to room 3 (probably thanks to your connections) and it was a stunning room - basically most of the back of the house facing the pond.  Huge room and huge bathroom.  We walked the gardens, we got in the row boat and rowed around the pond.  The dinner was spectacular, we ate way too much but relished every bite.  The only bad thing was that we hated to leave.

So, maybe too much detail, but we wanted to let you know how much we enjoyed our time.  You have certainly become our new favorite travel expert.  We will definitely be contacting you for our next one.  By the way, do you know much about Patagonia?  Macchu Pichu?"