Royal City Carlson Wagonlit Travel's Blog

Explore Haida Heritage at Kay Llnagaay In Northern BC, the Haida Heritage Centre at Ḵay Llnagaay is a cultural jewel on remote Haida Gwaii. read more
Say I Do In Mexico Mexico is one the best destinations for your wedding. Here are 5 places that could make your wedding spectacular. read more

 

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Go ahead stay in a castle on your next travel adventure

​Have you ever thought about living in a castle while on vacation? 

In countries such as Germany, Ireland, France, Italy and Scotland, you can often stay in a castle for far less than a hotel.  

•    Castle Hotel Auf Schönberg  This castle is surrounded by a beautiful view of the Rhine River along with vineyards and trails for hiking and is perfect for touring the wine country. The castle was inherited by all the sons in the family instead of just the eldest; it accommodated up to 250 people from 24 families during the 14th century.  

•    Castle Hotel Liebenstein This castle is the highest castle in the Rhine River Valley. Is is a part of the UNESCO World Heritage Upper Rhine Valley. Liebenstein is furnished in medieval style with decorations that rival those of the luxury Hotel Wernberg. Rumor has it that the castle hotel was built for the younger of the two brothers whose feud over a woman split the family line forever. From the hotel, it is only a short walk down to the river pier where Rhine cruises depart daily. 

•    Castle Sababurg This castle is surrounded by the oldest zoological garden in Europe (Tierpark Sababurg) and an ancient forest with oak trees that are over 650 years old (Urwald Sababurg). It is also the setting for the Sleeping Beauty fairytale. Each of the hotel’s rooms is named after an animal, a nod to the castle’s history.  Performances and parties are held both in the castle’s vaulted cellar and in the castle ruins. 

•    Burghotel Schloss Staufenberg This castle is located near Giessen, Marburg, and Wetzlar. It has replaced room numbers with the names of important historical persons.  You can stay in Count Gazmar’s Suite or Countess Sophie’s Apartments.  During World War II Staufenberg was occupied by Allied troops and used as a refugee camp.   

•    Castle Hotel Colmberg Set in Bavaria, the thousand-year-old Castle Colmberg is a destination on both the Romantic Road and the Castle Road. This hotel has it all: ancient stone towers, fortified walls, overgrown royal stables, and a deer reserve. Ask for one of the historic rooms that have four-poster beds, centuries-old paintings, antique furniture, and wooden ceilings.

Ready set jet!!! Contact us today for more information.

Islay: Home to the Peatiest Single Malts on the Planet Islay's delicious single malts. read more
Scotland, the home of Golf A few facts about Scotland and why it is the Home of Golf. read more
A Wee Dram or Two at Glenmorangie Distillery, Tain The beauty of distillery’s whiskies and their distinctive taste and style. read more
Eilean Donan Castle King of the Highlands The history behind Eilean Donan, one of the most famous and beautiful castles in Scotland read more
History of Reggae Music

I am going to share a secret with you about the history of Reggae Music. I think now is the opportune time as I think you are at a place that you can handle it. This genre did not originate with Bob Marley nor his world renown song One Love.

The term reggae was derived from rege-rege, a  Jamaican phrase meaning “rags or ragged clothing,” it is used to denote a raggedy style of music. The  reggae genre  came into to being in the 1960’s as an evolution of the Rocksteady and Ska musical styles.  Reggae music is a soulful entertainment in Jamaica. It expresses in words the pain, struggle, hope and emotion that is felt by the average person.

Reggae music is recognized by its lament-like chanting and emphasizes the syncopated beat. It is distinguishable from other genres in the heavy use of the Jamaican vernacular and the African nyah-bingi drumming style.

Reggae began to rise to international acclaim as the 1970s progressed. A seminal moment for the genre was the release of the 1973 movie The Harder They Come starring Jimmy Cliff. The movie soundtrack consisted of only reggae hits; this contributed in elevating the music to a internal platform.

Of course, Bob Marley is the world’s best known and loved international Reggae ambassador. Marley’s career spanned more than a decade, beginning in 1963 with Rocksteady band, the Wailers, and culminating in the release of his 1977 solo album, Exodus, which achieved international acclaim. Marley was not only a Reggae singer, but a committed Rastafarian and a political activist. Through his music, his words and his actions, he earned forever a place in Reggae fans hearts around the world. Marley’s music was first popularised in the Wes by Eric Clapton performing a cover of Who Shot the Sheriff.

Since the 60s and 70s, Reggae music has spread and developed in many different ways around the world. Reggae is still going strong in its pure form around the world too, with many modern Reggae bands achieving success in the mainstream.

For authentic reggae experience you can visit the following places for a reggae cultural experience.

  1. Visit  Nine Mile which is the birth place and final resting place of reggae legend Bob Marley. Listen to the knowledgeable guides tell stories of Bob’s childhood! Stand on Mount Zion Rock, where Bob used to meditate and rest your head on ‘the pillow’ that was made famous in the song ‘Talking Blues’.

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  2. Take a family-friendly tour of Bob Marley museum. The Museum is the former home of the reggae legend. Bob’s home is filled with rich memories and treasured mementos, which seek to preserve the life and accomplishment of this great Jamaican and outstanding musician.

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  3. Participate in Sumfest Reggae Festival. This is Jamaica’s biggest reggae festival, It is a three-day festival in Montego Bay is a three-day extravaganza (from July 12 through the 18th. It features internationally known music acts and contemporary takes on reggae alongside more tried-and-true originals.

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  4. For Beach Lovers – To experience reggae in its most relaxing setting, nothing beats the soft, welcoming vibes of a sea-lapped Caribbean Beach. In Ocho Rios, you’ll find the appropriately named Reggae Beach, with the notes of improm ptu jam sessions (and the scent of jerk chicken) emanating from small beach bars, and late-night bonfires with DJs supplying the sound track. This quarter-mile beach is small but secluded, and you won’t have to battle huge crowds for beach real estate.

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  5. Visit Horace Andy Record Studio – Horace Andy is best known for his 1973 cover of “Ain’t no sunshine,” Take the opportunity to explore this famous record studio, and access a once in a lifetime opportunity to have a studio session with Andy personally.

  6. Visit Randy’s Records – This record shop was opened in  1958 by Vincent”Randy” Chin; a legendary record producer. Although Mr. chin is deceased the shop is still heavily visit from persons from all across the world.

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  7. Visit Tuff Gong International Recording Studio – a visit to Jamaica would not be complete without stopping by this world renown studio that contains Bob Marley’s original recording equipment.

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North Coast  Highway 500 Travel Itinerary Spending five days driving around Scotland’s north coast, taking in beautiful sites and visiting magnificent places. read more
Visit the Andrew Carnegie Birthplace Museum in Fife An exquisite museum dedicated to Andre Carnegie. read more
Get on your bike and cycle Scotland! Mountain biking is hugely popular in Scotland and the country is home to some of the best cycling ranges and trails in the UK. read more
Duart Castle, Argyll: Home of the MacLean Clan Explore the historic Duart Castle which has been the base of the McLean clan for over 400 years. read more
Get Thee to a Convent in Old San Juan El Convento, originally a 17th century Carmelite convent, has been listed as one of the world’s best places to stay by both Condé Nast Traveler and Travel + Leisure magazines. read more
Marrakech: Feast for the senses Marrakech is an ancient caravan town, a gathering place where Arabs and Berbers mingle with Sahara nomads and mountain people. read more
The Ultimate Operatic Experience in Venice Live opera in the 12th century Palazzo Barbarigo Minotto on the Grand Canal read more
Meet the Tequila Goddess and Beware of the Snake Bite The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, a tequila bar in Scottsdale. read more
Chihuahua: Take a stroll down memory lane in Batopilas

By Anita Draycott

Batopilas, a small town nestled in the Western Sierra Madre at the bottom of a cliff has tales to share. It’s home to beautiful plazas and bridges built of rope and river rocks, but the main surprise is a beautiful aqueduct built in the 19th century.

Walk its streets and Batopilas will reveal stories about the discovery of silver deposits and its glory days during the Porfirio Diaz era when its most notable buildings were erected, such as the impressive City Hall, built around 1890 and the San Miguel and Shepherd Haciendas. Visit La Bufa mine, where the mining entrepreneur Alexander Robert amassed a fortune.

Saint Michael Archangel Temple is another emblematic building with a triple dome that dates back to the 17th century. To reach the temple, you need to travel 8 km on foot from the town to the Satevo Valley. It’s a bit of a hike but the views are worthwhile.

The warm climate of Batopilas is ideal for the tropical and semi-tropical vegetation. Expect to find orange, mango, avocado and papaya orchards. Likewise, it is not uncommon to find bougainvillea, tabachines and ceibas along the streets.

From La Bufa viewpoint, located in the surrounding area of a Tarahumara community called Quirare, you’ll get a fantastic view of the canyons, the Batopilas River and the minerals at La Bufa. Another viewpoint is Piedra Redonda, where you can admire the Banana Canyons.

Along the Batopilas River you can set up camp and take a refreshing dip. Close by, the La Bufa bridge, which crosses one of the canyon’s deepest sections. You will soon discover that Chihuahua, the largest Mexican state, has a multitude of charms, attractions and surprises.

That’s Entertainment in Myrtle Beach Myrtle’s plenty of theatre venues. read more
Boo! The Ghosts of Charleston The Ghosts of Charleston. read more
You must stay at Henn-na, a newly opened fun and unusual hotel in Nagasaki, Japan

Japan, “The Land of the Rising Sun”, has a very rich culture, tradition and history, but there is another side of the Japan, a country known for its eccentricities, unusual attractions, fun and amazing cosplay and anime culture, and the newly opened Henn-na Hotel, one of the most unusual hotels in the world.

Located in the city of Nagasaki, Henn-na was opened to the public in July 2015. Incorporating technology, highly efficient Japanese service and modern facilities, Henn-na Hotel is the world's first hotel to be staffed by humanoid robots! Located in a 380-acre waterfront theme park called Huis Ten Bosch, a mini-Netherlands, Henn-na Hotel is expected to lure more visitors with its unusual concept. The hotel and Huis Ten Bosch is about an hour away from the heart of the city. You can reach Nagasaki by sleeper trains from Tokyo, bus and regular train from Fukuoka. You can also fly into the Nagasaki Airport served by domestic carriers and a few international carriers.

Nothing will prepare you with what you will encounter in Henn-na Hotel. Its staffs from the porters, receptionists, concierges, to cloakroom clerks are all  humanoid robots!  You might feel a little uneasy at first but once you exchange pleasantries with them, it’s as if you are just interacting with humans. Make friends with an English-speaking dinosaur robot, a bowing humanoid “lady” called Yumeko, or small cartoon-like robot called Churi-chan.  Although the hotel does not have any elevator, it only has two floors.  It has 72 rooms ranging from the standard, superior, and deluxe types. Its facilities and services include a Café Corner, Smart Kiosk, and an Amenity Store. If you want to revel in its superb technology, you can request for a facial authentication for unlocking your door. Another wing of the hotel is expected to open in March 2016.

Book a room in Henn-na Hotel before people start flocking to Henn-na so they can relish a unique hotel experience. Consult your travel agent for more details. 

Welcome to Grapevine, Texas, the “Christmas Capital of Texas

This city knows how to celebrate, and they do it with a bang! Bring the entire family to Grapevine, Texas, to celebrate an unforgettable Christmas!

With 1400 events spread out over 40 days, the city of Grapevine is often referred to as the “Christmas Capital of Texas”. Adjacent to Grapevine Lake, the city is only 14 miles from Arlington and 19 miles from Dallas. It is inhabited by about 50,000 people and covers a total area of 35.9 square miles. Named a “World Festival and Event City” by the International Festival and Events Association in 2012, and one of "America's Best Places to Live” by CNNMoney in 2007, Grapevine's economy is highly dependent on the tourism industry, and a commuting workforce to Dallas / Fort Worth. The city boasts of more than 20 hotels, 2 marinas, 3 golf courses, and the Grapevine Vintage Railroad’s Steam Engine 2248, the oldest continuously operated steam engine in the South.

You will definitely feel the Christmas spirit in Grapevine. The fun kicks off with the flipping of the switch of its 30' Christmas tree which symbolizes the beginning of the Christmas season. Its historic downtown area becomes illuminated by millions of lights! Its thousands of events include “Christmas Around the World”, Lone Star Christmas, Santa's Wild Workshop Snow Tubing, Elf on the Shelf Scavenger Hunt, Milk & Cookies with Mrs. Claus, Christmas Market by Moms in Action, Gingerbread Decorating, Food Sampling, Carol of Lights, Magic of Christmas Light Show, North Pole Express, Main Street LIVE "Christmas Spectatular", Santa’s Workshop, Snowland!, Christmas on Main, and so much more.

Spending your Christmas holiday in Grapevine is one of the best gifts you can give your family. Consult your travel agent for more details.

Head to Ponchatoula, Louisiana, for the annual Strawberry Festival

Ponchatoula might be a small city but it is a giant when it comes to strawberries. In fact, Ponchatoula is known to be the ”Strawberry Capital of the World”!

Located in the Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana, Ponchatoula is probably one town you haven’t even heard of, and we can’t blame you, as the city only covers a total area of 4.2 square miles and is inhabited by a few thousand people. It was a mining camp until it was incorporated in 1861. It was at the turn of the 20th century when the town turned into commercial farming as its main industry, and its main produce was strawberry, Thus,earning the moniker of being the "Strawberry Capital of The World". Aside from strawberries, the city is also known for its antique shops. The city is perfect for a day trip from New Orleans which is 40 miles away, or Baton Rouge which is 42 miles away. The best time to visit the city is during the Strawberry Festival held every April.

The second largest festival in the state, the Ponchatoula Strawberry Festival was first celebrated in 1972. It is a three-day festival that was established to pay homage to local farmers, promote the strawberry industry, and to raise funds for local charitable organizations. True to its objectives, non-profit organizations are the only vendors on the official festival grounds. The festival features a Strawberry King and Queen, Little Miss and Masters Pageant, jambalaya cook-offs, strawberry auction, strawberry eating contest, children games and activities, carnival rides, a strawberry parade, vendors selling their strawberry produce, and lots of strawberry-themed food and beverages!

The next time you plan to visit Louisiana, make it on an April so you can drop by Ponchatoula and have a “berry” great time at the Ponchatoula Strawberry Festival. Consult your travel agent for more details. 

Toasting the Home of Tomato Juice Where else but at French Lick?

By Anita Draycott
The story goes that one day in 1917, Louis Perris, a harried chef at the French Lick Hotel, ran out of orange juice. Eager to please his customers, Perrin squeezes some fresh tomatoes, adds a dash of sugar and seasoning. Voilà, tomato juice is born.
Before dinner at the 1875 Restaurant, (named for the year of the first Kentucky Derby in nearby Louisville), we thirsty Warriors met bartender,Tomi Parker, whose been working at the French Lick resort for almost 30 years. Tomi takes her role as mixologist at the 1875 seriously. When I asked her if she had any special concoctions to pay tribute to the tomato juice legacy, Tomi whipped up her signature 1875 Bloody Mary.  This “meal in a glass” contains vodka that Tomi has infused with whole black peppercorns, Tabasco, Worchestire sauce and tomato juice (canned). Tomi garnishes it with slices of lemon and lime, green olives and a colossal cocktail shrimp. The black pepper vodka adds depth and bite.

 

Scream your heart out while enjoying the numerous thrills at the Royal Gorge Bridge, Colorado

Looking for a place where you can enjoy a number of extreme adventures? Head to Royal Bridge and Park located in Cañon City, Colorado, where you can experience heart-stopping adventures!

Located on a mountain bowl along the Arkansas River valley, Cañon City is a small town with about 16,000 inhabitants, established in 1858. Known as the "the Climate Capital of Colorado", the city is also dubbed as the “Prison Town” with 13 prisons and correctional located in the city. The city has numerous attractions including the Museum of Colorado Prisons, Temple Canyon Park, Royal Gorge Regional Museum and History Center, Cañon City Municipal Museum, Garden Park  Fossil Area, The Winery at Holy Cross Abbey, and of course, the famous Royal Bridge and Park. The city is accessible by land and air travel. The closest major airport is Colorado Springs Municipal Airport which is about an hour away.

There is so much to experience in Royal Gorge Bridge and Park. It is where you and the entire family can have lots of fun. The first thing you must do is to visit the Visitor Center which provides you a bird’s eye view of that you can enjoy in the park, as well as where you can shop and dine. This is also where you can take a gondola ride and zip line across the gorge, definitely not for the faint hearted.  You can also walk or drive through the Royal Gorge Bridge, the, highest suspension bridge in the country which will leave you breathless. The waterclock located behind the visitor center, one of the three in the world, is simply amazing. The one-mile open-air train ride is a great bonding experience for the entire family. For the kids, they will definitely enjoy the Children’s Playland where they can learn more about the park and enjoy fun activities. The Royal Rush Skycoaster, named one the “world’s scariest skycoaster” is where you can scare yourself by free-falling at a speed of 50 miles per hour!

Ready for a thrilling adventure at the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park? Call or email us and ask when is the best time to visit the park.