Cycling through Tuscany
After spending a week enjoying the Amalfi coast, the guests were chauffeured to the Naples train station. They travelled Executive Class to Florence, where they were met and taken to a five-star hotel on the river and had a dinner reservation ready.
We would never rush anyone to leave beautiful Florence! Our guests were able to spend the day relaxing or immersing themselves in all that Florence has to offer before setting out the following day for their cycling excursion.
The guests met their highly-rated guide and are shuttled to a nearby town to begin their ride. The ride is beautiful - they pass through olive orchards, vineyards, and stopped for a Tuscan-style lunch at a working farm. When they finished their ride at the evening's accommodations, they are met with a welcome dip in the pool, a deep tissue massage, and world class dining.
The ride starts with an easy descent into the Arno Valley, towards the chianti wine region. A picnic lunch and olive oil sampling awaited our riders at a midday stop before they hopped back on for more of a climb. The destination was worth it, though - a world class wellness resort and award-winning winery. They were treated to another massage and an exclusive wine tasting before heading to a local osteria for dinner.
A hearty breakfast was key to beginning the day, since this ride featured more hills. Climbs come with great views and varied terrains, though! The lunch stop including a sampling of pecorino, was in the quaint village of Asciano. After lunch, the ride continued through pastures dotted with sheep and stone farmhouses. In the evening, the travelers enjoyed an outing and dinner in historical Siena.
A day of splendid cycling and incredible scenery, with stops peppered in throughout: first, a highly regarded ceramics shop before they made it into Radda.
In Radda, the guests were able to sip a morning coffee and wander the medieval streets & open air market. Afterward, they rode the rolling ridgeline to Castellina and lunched at a local cafe. A few challenging climbs then lay between Castellina and their picturesque hilltop home for the next two nights - but a pool, massage, and dinner at the estate winery awaited them.
The guests started and finished at the same place today, but they were rewarded with sweeping views and the ability to explore San Gimignano, a World Heritage site and one of the real jewels of Tuscany. While strolling the 10th century city and taking in the impressive medieval fortifications, they enjoyed award-winning gelato. In the evening, they were treated again to the spa before a farewell dinner at a Michelin-starred restaurant.
Safari in Africa
days one - three
The guests were able to spend three days enjoying Cape Town and exploring all that it has to offer - it's a mecca of adventure. From the views and tram ride at Table Mountain to diving with sharks to spending an afternoon with penguins, there is so much to see and do. In the evening, there is world class dining, wineries, shopping, and of course spectacular accommodations to come home to.
days four & five
The guests were chartered from Cape Town to the Serengeti in northern Tanzania, where their safari journey began. They stayed at a private river lodge and enjoyed comfortable accommodations and amenities in the midst of the African savannah. A pool overlooking the plains was a perfect place to relax and catch glimpses of wildlife.
days six & seven
Next, the guests moved on to some camping - or glamping, really. It's "roughing it in style" with modern comforts and amenities, and an attentive crew of experts to make their experience a great one. The proximity to the surrounding wildlife provides for the unique experience of seeing wildlife at your front door or on a game drive that can happen on a whim.
days eight & nine
After the "roughing it" experience, it was time for a bit more comfort and leisure. These days were spent at a retreat-style private home, with ample space to spread out, both indoors and outdoors. Featuring a gym, tennis court, and spa, it was the ultimate setting for relaxation.
days ten - twelve
The final location is a bit more removed from the action than the other accommodations were, but in many ways, it is the crown jewel. It sits above the vast Serengeti, a magnificent vantage point to take in the annual zebra and wildebeest migrations. It has an old-world elegance, and though animals might not stroll right by as with the other residences, it is perhaps the best place to reflect on all that you've seen and an adventure well done.
Experiencing Culture in Japan
DAYS ONE - THREE
After a good night's sleep and a leisurely morning in their comfortable Tokyo hotel, the guests were met by a private guide to begin their Japan experience. They visited a weekend farmer's market and a few of the best districts in the city to enjoy cuisine & culture. The next day was another day of Tokyo exploration, and one of great contrasts: they visited the Meiji Shrine, one of the most worshipped shrines in Japan, as well as the Imperial Palace, a historical landmark. The rest of the day was a very different experience: the hub of youth culture - the Harajuku district - and shopping the best neighborhoods. On the last day in Tokyo, the guide took them to Tsukiji, the famed fish market, where they were able to have breakfast sushi. Afterwards, a river cruise transported them to the oldest district in Tokyo, where they saw traditional Japanese buildings and culture, wore kimonos, participated in a tea ceremony, and were taught how to make proper matcha tea.
days four - six
No trip to Japan is complete without riding the bullet train. Today, the guests rode the bullet train first class for just a few hours to get to their next destination: beautiful Kyoto. For a few days, they were able to soak in the natural sights and historical places throughout Kyoto. They stayed in a marvelous, relaxing retreat-like hotel with large, private outdoor soaking tubs. On the last day in the region, they took a day trip to Nara to visit shrines and temples and watch hundreds of graceful deer roam Nara Park.
days seven - eleven
The guests flew to the island of Ishigaki - it's a paradise island, perfect for a change of pace and several days of enjoying the beach, sun, and crystal-clear water.
days twelve & thirteen
Today, the guests were in Hakone to experience more of Japan's natural beauty. A gondola ride took them up Mt. Komagatake, and from the observation deck they could see Lake Ashi and the Hakone Mountains. Hakone is home to so much beauty: a path lined with 450-year-old cypress trees, a volcanic vent, and Lake Ashi are just a few of the natural sights of Hakone's great nature that they were able to witness. They also were able to try black eggs boiled in a hot spring - believed to make you live seven years longer by eating one! Hakone was a great cap to the Japan trip, before they made their way back to Tokyo to fly home.