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WatchBoom.com's Travel Destinations for the Month of May 2015

EUROPE ON A SHOESTRING (WELL, ALMOST)

EUROPE ON A SHOESTRING (WELL, ALMOST)

The Norsemen are back, re-conquering Europe’s waterways with a growing fleet of slick new 195-passenger Longships and an advertising blitz that continues to dominate PBS’s favorite shows – Downton Abbey and Masterpiece Mystery, among others. Anne Z. Cooke samples the cruiseline from the Garonne and the Rhone.

La petite Venise des Alpes

La petite Venise des Alpes

Flower bedecked canals, open-air cafes and cobbled stone pathways from Old Town delight visitors on their journey through France’s tiny Venice in the Alps.

The Largest Canvas In The World

The Largest Canvas In The World

The dividing wall between East and West Germany stands as a momument to expression and free speech in the former communist state. The artists that contribute do so anonymously.  Most of the Berlin Wall has been torn down (just like Reagan surmised) but the parts that remain stand as a relic to outsider art in the 20th and 21st century. 

Rotterdam: A City to See

Rotterdam: A City to See

In the final days of WWII Rotterdam was bombed and left in ruin by German troops as they retreated back to German territory. Destroyed but not forgetten the Dutch people emerged and rebuilt the city with a certain sensiblity.  Modern, clean and crisp.  

Rotterdam is a modern day Oz–gleaming towers and public artworks dot city streets and canals with a thoughtfulness for enviorment and the people who live there. 

Royal Holiday club raises the vacation bar

Royal Holiday club raises the vacation bar

Vacation clubs use the buying power of their worldwide members to negotiate low rates with hotels, resorts, condos, cruise lines and other travel providers. Some, like Royal Holiday, have sister resort properties where club members can get particularly good deals. Shown above is one of Royal Holiday’s partners, the five-star Grand Park Royal Cancun Caribe.

How Walt Disney’s Love of Trains Changed the World

How Walt Disney’s Love of Trains Changed the World

Walt Disney loved trains, and because of that, the world is a better – and happier -- place. 

Walt was fond of saying that his empire “started with a mouse.” And indeed, his creation of Mickey Mouse did make him a fortune.  But the idea for Mickey Mouse came to him while riding a train.

Mazatlan: The good times are back

Mazatlan: The good times are back

Over a third of a million passengers are expected to pour off the gangplanks of Mazatlan’s cruise docks this winter, packing the resort’s shops, restaurants and bars. Just a few years ago, the cruise passenger count here was zero – that’s right, none, zilch, nada. Frequent WatchBoom contributor Bob Schulman tells us how a dramatic turnaround in the resort’s tourism business came about.

Tuscan love story

Tuscan love story

Travel writer Bonnie Reuben weaves a boomer couple’s love story from start (a 17th-century watermill) to finish (they host guests from around the globe in their B+B) and live happily ever after. It’s the kind of dream many boomers have and never dare to live.

Underground playlands await visitors to the Yucatan

Underground playlands await visitors to the Yucatan

Chances are you’ve heard about Cancun and the other super-resorts out on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. Ditto for the nearby Mayan ruins like Chichen Itza and Tulum. But there’s a whole lot more to see and do on the Yucatan – such as cave diving, snorkeling and exploring underground caverns at cenotes dotting the peninsula.

Punta Diamante: Mexico’s new kid on the beach

Punta Diamante: Mexico’s new kid on the beach

Five years ago you could shoot a cannon down miles of beaches on a diamond-shaped point outside Acapulco and not hit much. Now the sands are dotted by no less than 50 condo towers (all told with 12,000 units looking out on the Pacific), three new resort hotels, championship golf courses, shopping malls, lots of restaurants and discos and – the area’s crown jewel – an immense new convention center.

The Great Adobe Castle of the Santa Fe Trail

The Great Adobe Castle of the Santa Fe Trail

Few roads in history have conjured up romantic images like the Santa Fe Trail.  It lasted only 60 years, from 1821 to 1880, but for that short time it was America’s first international highway.  And the most colorful.

MEMORIAL TO THE MURDERED JEWS OF EUROPE

MEMORIAL TO THE MURDERED JEWS OF EUROPE

Built in 2005, the memorial honors those murdered by Nazis and their supporters across Europe during the WWII. 
The jutting blocks shaped like caskets create a labyrinth for visitors to wonder in somber reflection on the atrocity that is the holocaust.

COOKE TAKES 1st in Catalonia competition

In December, 2014, the Catalonia’s G! Awards committee awarded Anne Z. Cooke First Prize for a pair of stories about cultural and adventure travel in Catalonia, or as the committee put it, “for the best tourism communication in print.”  The stories, entitled “Hello Dali, and much more” and “Brava Costa Brava,” were distributed by Tribune News Service (then the McClatchy Tribune News Service) and subsequently printed in Sunday travel sections at the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and 47 other publications in the U.S., including the Miami Herald and Chicago Tribune; and in 400 associated websites.

Watchboom.com Featured Writer: Patricia Alisau Watchboom.com Featured Writer: Patricia Alisau

So smitten with Mexico that she turned a one-week vacation into a 20-year sojourn, Patricia Alisau has traveled just about every inch of the country on assignment for U.S. publications. She’s traveled four continents into 40 different countries engaging her in exotic locales and attitudes, which she thoroughly enjoys. Her stories and photos have been published by The New York Times, Newsweek, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune and global news agencies such as the Associated Press, United Press International and Reuters. She’s earned writing credits in Mexico’s Vogue and National Geographic plus Mexicana and Aeromexico in-flight magazines. Her byline has appeared in W, Successful Meetings, TravelAge West, Travel Weekly, Hotel & Motel Management and Fodor’s. German, French and British magazines also have featured her work. Now residing in San Antonio, Texas which she calls “Mexico north of the border,” she believes she lives in the best of both worlds with her frequent jaunts to Mexico to savor her favorite spicy salsas and chimichurri sauces.

Alisau is a member of the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW) and the Texas Writers League.  

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