27 OCT 2014: “You know dear your knees have expiration dates,” the NY Times bestselling author of “1000 Places to See Before You Die” Patricia Schultz was once told by a 90-year-old trekker in Peru. That advice has stayed with her but another travel tip she likes to offer goes like this, “Travel as much as you can. There are no guarantees in life.”

So, she explains before a recent dinner in Toronto, when it comes to Europe, the Old World has never looked more attractive than now. Patricia was in town as part of Trafalgar Canada’s Canadian tour to share her 10 must-see European places which coincided with Trafalgar’s new Europe and Britain brochure now available in travel agencies.

Free presentations from the dynamic duo were heard in Victoria, Winnipeg, Toronto, and next month they will give presentations in Halifax (Nov. 4) and Ottawa (Nov. 5).

“That’s what I love about Europe – it’s always changing,” she said prior to an intimate dinner with journos who gathered at Toronto’s Le Select Bistro. I chose steak frites and crème brule with no regrets.

Trafalgar’s new brochure

Trafalgar’s sales pitch about Europe, as with so many destinations and destination marketing offices as of late, is about offering authentic experiences.

According to Trafalgar, clients will receive incredible experiences with the travel company’s new 2015 Europe and Britain travel program with over 600 Insider Experiences, its most in-depth and biggest to date.

The new Trafalgar Europe and Britain brochure features a record 117 itineraries covering 44 countries with 14 new trips added across 10 trip styles.

Jeff Element, president of The Travel Corporation, the parent company of Trafalgar, explained that a new program known as “The Hidden Journeys” launched this year.

“It’s for people who haven’t been there before or say they’ve ‘been there and done that.’ We beg to differ,” he said, describing these itineraries designed for smaller groups of up to 26 clients that offer certain experiences on less-visited places you can’t do with a bigger group.

It seems solo travellers don’t need to fret anymore either. Element noted Trafalgar listened to its customer feedback and has decreased its single supplement from 50-100 percent on multiple departure dates of 12 holidays in 2015 including all trips to Egypt.

Schultz’s Europe

Patricia includes Ireland’s “Gourmet Capital of Ireland,” Kinsale, County Cork.

“Everybody’s friendly,” she said, and as for the Lofoten Islands in Norway, “Take one of those cruises and go into the fjords.”

Other European haunts she shared were the thermal spas of Budapest, “the only city that has all this thermal activity underneath it. Not just in Europe but anywhere in the world;” the lavender fields of Provence; and, the magnificent Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba in Andalusia, Spain, what she describes as “a unique corner of Europe.”

“They built this massive cathedral in the middle of the mosque. You see a thousand columns that still exist and yet you see this cathedral and its one of the reasons why I love staying in Europe. It changes every five minutes or every 100 years or every 100 miles.”

So where does her heart live? The renowned author borrowed from the famous composer Giuseppe Verdi who was known to have said, “You may have the universe if I may have Europe.”

“That’s how I feel,” Patricia said as she reflected on the love affair she has with Italy and its stunning Cinque Terre coastline on the Italian Riviera. (Her mother is from Southern Italy).

“You don’t need to have Italian blood coursing through your veins (to love Italy),” she laughs.

For Europe visits, Patricia recommends visiting in the offseason during January and February for smaller crowds, amiable temperature and better accommodation options.

“In the summer when a lot of these cities are overwhelmed it’s also very hot, but in the offseason you can get the hotels, the people are more relaxed, they will actually talk to you.”

Author Patricia Schultz

 



 

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Ilona Kauremszky

A regular contributor to Travel Industry Today, Ilona is a prize winning journalist whose writing pursuits have taken her around the globe.

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