Category Archives: Travel Events

world travel to spain

World Travel with Events & Adventures

The only way to sum it up our visit to Spain is to say that Events & Adventures really does world travel well.  This wasn’t a trip where we were on a clock throughout the experience; there was a great mixture of planned tours and free time.  We started our adventure at JFK in New York, getting some quick introductions to the over 40 people who were taking part in the trip.  And believe it or not, someone was sweet enough to bring everyone homemade cookies!

world travel to spain

Events & Adventures members from around the US and Canada visited Spain!

After landing in Madrid, we got to stretch our legs with a quick tour of some of the city’s most famous sights, before taking a break to enjoy a welcome lunch that offered a staggering amount of delicious traditional Spanish cuisine.  Our first full day started with a tour for the presidential palace, which was spectacular.  We then journeyed to the ancient city of Toledo, which is thousands of years old, and got the chance to get lost in the labyrinth of tiny streets that wind around the historic town.  Dinner was a casual five-course party with several small plates (tapas) before our entrees. We learned the hard way we would have to pace ourselves with the food here because they just keep bringing it out!

We headed to towns ancient towns of Avila and Segovia. The Roman aqueducts are still soaring over the town.  How can the residents just go on about their day when they have such spectacular history all around them?!   After we returned to Madrid we refreshed ourselves and headed out to a popular bar area for a Tapas crawl.  The bars here are more like pubs, not clubs—because those open way later.  Each bar we tried different luscious small dishes, and we loved how everyone shares!

We packed up from Madrid and headed to Bunol, where the residents were preparing for the Tomatina Festival the very next day.  It was such a cute little town. We spent our afternoon and evening touring and eating in this historical city by the sea.  The next morning was the beginning of the adventure that is the world famous Tomatina Festival—probably the world’s largest annual food fight.  Security was tight.  To make sure no one got hit with anything other than tomatoes we couldn’t bring anything in.  Twenty thousand people packed the long narrow streets before the dump trucks just started unloading as they drove down the street, and at the starting pistol—it was pure madness.  Goggles were the best idea ever—as long as you kept them on!  It was so exciting, and everyone was there for the fun of it, not to kill other with these little red bombs.  As much as we laughed, it was best to keep your mouth closed though!  After the ending pistol the fire department and locals brought out hoses to wash everyone off.  There is nothing like experiencing world travel by being involved in the local culture.  Getting smashed tomatoes out of hair proved to be the most challenging part of the whole trip.  Even playing in the warm and relaxing Mediterranean Sea didn’t get it out.

world travel to spain

Barcelona was the final hotel location for our world travel to Spain.

We took a tour of what is probably one of the biggest promenades you’ll ever see, and thousands of people were out for an evening stroll.  The shopping, food, bars, and views of the Gothic neighborhood were everything you’d expect it to be.  Small lanes that are no wider than one car have little bars and restaurants around each turn, with people spilling out into the lanes.

It wasn’t long before we got to witness La Sagrada Familia, one of the most incredible cathedrals in the world—and they are still building it!  Every tiny detail has a meaning, and the colors the stained glass creates and projects into the building are breathtaking.  Designed by several architects, the most influential being Gaudi, it has different styles in throughout the construction.  Afterwards, we had an amazing tour of Park Guell.  It was the original planned neighborhood.  At the time it was too far out of town and too expensive but for a handful of the super elite. Gaudi’s influence could be felt everywhere we went, and he managed to translate beauty even in the unusual, as everything he produced appeared to be curved and wavy.  His mosaics were everywhere and they were beautiful, even the monochromatic ones.  World travel can expose you to so many wonderful things you might have otherwise never seen.

Monserrat Benedictine monastery is a historical and religious jewel. Hidden up, up, way up in the mountains, disguised by the hills, how’d they build this gorgeous place?  There are still monks there and a school for boys!  So after our tram trip to the ‘top’ of the mountain (there’s a small chapel and alter up even higher if your legs can get you there), we went to the coolest place ever for another never-ending lunch—a traditional hacienda (ranch house) that was turned into a restaurant.  We learned the traditional Spanish way to drink wine and had never ending courses of family-style food (again).  People were stuffed before they brought out the chicken, traditional sausage (which tasted like Texas BBQ!), and meats.  We HAD to get to the winery so dessert was taken to go—Biscotti-like biscuits and fresh fruit!

Speaking of wine….  We had a tour of the most amazing winery I’ve ever seen, and I live in Northern California.  This was not a regular winery; it was a huge commercial business that makes great wine.  It was simply amazing.  The tram we rode had headset options for six languages, though we didn’t use them since it was a private tour.  Stories of the wineries founding and growth were projected on walls that lifted up so we could see the barrel storage.  We got to walk down the original storage cellars below ground. They told and showed us how they produce spectacular “healthy” wines that don’t harm the environment.  Using solar power the facility is almost entirely self-sustained!  Everyone was impressed before we even started the tasting and got to try four different delicious wines.  I imagine the wine drinkers were ready to move in.

Our last day of this world travel tour was spent visiting the ancient cities of Figueras and Girona.  Girona is a medieval city with narrow streets, castles and ramparts.  Figueras is another historical city that is such for a different reason—Salvador Dali.  The museum made of his birthplace was a trip in the madness of a truly brilliant artist.  The amount of art in so many different mediums was staggering.  Our farewell dinner was a little different since it was in the Catalonian style.  Less meat, meat, meat, more little flourishes on the dishes, but still way too much food.

The trip and tours were truly awesome, but getting to see people from the other E&A Clubs was like gathering of old friends while making new ones.  There were so many people I wanted to spend more time with but the time slipped away so fast. We’ll stay friends through social media until we meet again on our next world travel trip, maybe even on an in-between trip to visit friends!  We talked about the Amazon trip next month and Cuba and China trips already scheduled for next year.  I can’t wait to join my Events & Adventures world travel friends in our next exotic destination.

world travel to spain

E & A Singles Take Over Vegas!

Las Vegas 2015

Las Vegas 2015

Wow! 85 singles on our Long Weekend VIP Trip to Vegas. What a blast! We had VIP bottle service in the cabanas. We had a special reserved section with unlimited bar in an awesome club and we even had VIP bottle service at the Night Swim at XS (the #1 night club in the world) where we had  a balcony cabana that overlooked the pool and 5000 people partying to a nationally known DJ. It was so cool to make friends from the different E&A cities.  We traded numbers and plan on keeping in touch for future trips and to visit each other’s city. Everything ran so smooth. We were whisked into the VIP entrances so we didn’t have to wait to enter anywhere.  The team at I Love Vegas Enterprises worked great with the E&A members and staff to make sure we were all taken care of.  Can’t wait for the High Roller trip this fall!

Our Adventure in Australia!

collage

Australia. Wow. Definitely a bucket list item for most of us. And Sydney does not disappoint. Directly after our early morning arrival we were whisked away to drop our bags at our hotel (THANK YOU  early check in!) changed our clothes and headed out for a great, enlightening tour of ‘The Rocks’ the original area of town built by English criminal that had be sentenced to their new penal colony. It was so interesting! You can still see chisel marks, foundations and even a few original buildings. Since they are sandstone and not wood they are still in use! After that we jumped on a lunch cruise around Sydney Harbor. It seemed odd to have the day we arrived jam packed but by 7pm I totally understood. Stop moving and you crash from the overnight flight and time change. We were gifted with a lovely spring day where the outside deck was warmish. Dinner on the harbor was a perfect end to our very long day. Day 2 started with early morning breakfast and the group scattering a bit to different adventures. Eastern Seaside Walk and Blue Mountains tour were the top choices. The coast is spectacular. The ocean breathtaking around each point. I’ve walked how far? No wonder my legs a sore!

We got to feed Kangaroos and pet Koalas! Betcha didn’t know kangaroos like ice cream cones – just the cone part! The animal park fills it with grass and we got to feed them. Koalas are adorable, but rather boring since they sleep 20 hours a day and pretty much eat the rest of the time. Hiking in the Blue Mountains are spectacular. Some went the day before and raved about it so others went today.  It looks like the Grand Canyon with rainforest covering it. Waterfalls galore, great hiking and inspiring views. Our super adventurous members walked up the Sydney Harbor Bridge and watched the sunset from the top! The Sydney Opera House at night is a sight to behold. It’s majestic. It’s even better when you are sitting on a rooftop patio bar on a mild spring night.

Holy Great Barrier Reef! We just saw one small corner of it and it really is amazing. Wally is a snorkeler/divers favorite. They trained this massive fish to visit the tourists, be petted and ‘pose’ for photos.  Even inexperienced divers could dive with a dive master and experience this once in a lifetime event. I loved it. Nothing else like it. Our dive master let us touch corals and items that had interesting texture (and we wouldn’t harm by touching it.) She pointed out interesting fish and the colors of both were astonishing. It is really disappointing that the colors are never as vibrant in photos. The option for an underwater camera was totally worth it.  After a couple dives some of us decided to try the Adventure Snorkel with the Marine Biologist. We went on the outside the reef where you get to see even more astounding schools of fish but you are a human bobber rising and falling with the ocean waves. The fish were freakishly cool until motion sickness overtook all thought.  Gimme some Dramamine and I’d try it again in a second. Got back aboard our boat, headed to shore and we all longed for bed. Oh! Downtown Cairns is hopping at sunset as we arrive. Tired? Who’s tired? We need dinner and to check out town. We can sleep on the flight home. . .

The Australian Rainforest is definitely a sight to behold. It’s breathtaking. The rich forest, massive trees and dizzying number of different greens is a jaw dropper. Our second full throttle day in Cairns took us up the hills into the outback. We had a scenic rail trip up where we all got to Oooo and Aaaah together; we split up in Kuranda to see everything from an Aboriginal Cultural Center, to koala & kangaroos to museums and shopping; then jumped on the sky gondolas for our trip back down. I got to hold a koala! The scenery here can’t be beat. It was fun to have a group to share the experience with. No one got tired of you saying, “Oh! Look at that!” because you could say it to so many different people 🙂  We had a couple stops on the gondolas so we fire drilled the carriages. Tomorrow we are off to Melbourne!


 

Searching for Walter Mitty

Walter Mitty

Have you done anything noteworthy or mentionable? That is the question that plagues Walter Mitty in the movie “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.” First published in 1939 by James Thurber, Walter Mitty is a mild man with a vivid fantasy life. In his fantastic daydreams, he is the heroic, adventurous, romantic man he longs to be and personally triumphs. In Ben Stiller’s remake of the 1947 classic, Walter Mitty is trapped behind a desk where his biggest real-life adventure is trying to fill out an online dating profile. When asked what he has done that is noteworthy or mentionable, he has no answer.

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Another AWESOME Trip to New York!

new york

Traveling with E&A is awesome. Not only do they do all the planning work, but we get to hang out with members of the other cities. I had such a great time! For many of us it was our first time in New York City. I got to experience the city with friends not only from Dallas but also Minneapolis, San Jose and Vancouver. I met a bunch of new friends from other cities too. I love that E&A scheduled the best stuff for us. Carnegie Deli, Radio City and the Rockettes, Hop on & off bus tour, boat tour around Manhattan Island with a fabulous narrator that knew, well, everything about the city’s history. The holiday lights are awe-inspiring. We had time to do our own thing, too. We got discount tickets for Broadway shows. Spiderman Rocked! Visited the Empire State & Rockefeller buildings-WOW. Sat in the audience of my first TV show. Really cool. We ate all kinds of delicious food (think I’ll be paying for that for a while). How can you stop when it’s EVERYWHERE? Thank you so much for a great trip! I’ll remember it forever!>

Live from New York… it’s Events & Adventures!

New York

Flying in from all over the country… we’re finally here in the Big Apple!! Imagine meeting someone for the first time… in New York… for your first time in the city! If the distraction of the traffic isn’t enough, what about the buildings and architecture, the buzz of Times Square, the roar of the night clubs, or even the scents from the food trucks lining the street? For most of us, it was our first time here… as we walked to our dinner location this evening, I loved hearing the “OMG’s” and “Look at that!” from the group behind me, as I led them down 5th Avenue, then over to 7th, through Times Square… the light was enough to want us to put our shades on, but standing in the middle of the glowing lights, I saw the awe in their faces… as people surrounded us, walking about, not caring that it was our first time here… we took pictures, we looked at our maps… we were tourists tonight, and we were ok with that! As we walked, we thought about our feet and possibly questioned the shoes we wore today, but when we finally hit the famous Carnegie Deli, got seated at our own table and got right to ordering, we knew the walk was worth it! As we look at the menu, we see other plates going out to other tables… “Woah” and “Is that the size??” is what came out of their mouths… but as we got our own plates set in front of us, we couldn’t help but take some photos! And don’t forget the New York Cheesecake for dessert… I have never tasted anything like it… as we talked about what we wanted to see and to plan our next day of adventures, I couldn’t help but think about how great an opportunity this was to meet some fellow E&A friends from our clubs around the country, let alone, check off a New York City visit on our bucket lists! And on only day 1, all I have to say is… “Oh New York… we have only just begun!”

Whitewater Rafting in Peru!

 Have you ever been river rafting? WOW! What a thrill. We started off on a calm leg of the Umbra River in Peru. Most the water is from glacial runoff. Good thing because that sun is toasty at 10,000 feet. We learned to paddle together (which is very difficult when there’s a splash fight with the other boats!) and headed down to the class 3 rapids. Coolest thing ever. Our awesome guides knew just when we needed to give extra effort to stay off those sneaky rocks. A couple times my heart felt like it was going to stop when we hit the rushing rapids. We looked at each other and realized we all had the terror-thrill grins and started laughing as we slapped out paddles together over our heads for our congratulatory cheer. We did it! When can we do it again?

Jacque Event Manager Dallas

The Amazing Trek at Machu Picchu!

 I took this picture at our basecamp at Soraypampa, Peru roughly 3,800 meters up in the Andes Mountains.  After completing the first days 7 hour hike in the lead group I see a bright light of confidence and accomplishment in my eyes.  Day 2 would destroy that light like a waterfall crushing the faint light of a candle.  After “sleeping” through rough winds, cold temperatures and a choir of wild dogs; the banging on our tent at 5am wasn’t the best wake up call I have ever had.  This was the start of the most challenging day of my life.  Fighting altitude, rough terrain and fatigue I would eventually reach the height of our trek 15,220 ft…before lunch;  A grueling 4 hour hike up over 3,000 feet in a matter of hours.  As I passed another adventurer up the trail he said something to me I would never forget.  He was much older than me and he looked at me through tired yet excitedly hopeful eyes and said “Have you ever had so much fun being miserable?” It was a quote that I will always remember because I never want to forget that the things in life worth striving for often require the most challenging journeys.  Learning to love the journey is what Events & Adventures is all about every single day.

Reid Johnson
Events Manager – Texas Region

Grand Canyon 2013!

Season of Firsts

This summer 39 adventurers throughout the U.S. & Canada landed in Las Vegas, Nevada for a grand adventure!  What was billed as a bucket list excursion to raft 90 miles of the one and only Grand Canyon ended up being a story of friendship and firsts. 

For many this trip was a first to the Las Vegas strip, Hoover Dam, white water rafting, horseback riding, ATV riding, skeet shooting, helicopter ride, first time seeing the Milky Way & shooting stars and the first time sleeping outside under the stars in the desert!  Even a self-proclaimed adventurer like me experienced the first thrill of sitting shotgun in a helicopter diving through the canyons and speeding 30 miles per hour through a sun setting desert in a roaring ATV!

Strong bonds of friendship formed early in the trip and strengthened through shared mealtimes and river duties.  A circle of camp chairs at night became the stage for two adventurers, who had never met, to give out nightly awards and share stories of the day’s great accomplishments and comical blunders.

When we had tried every adventure and our trip was coming to a close, one member from our Vancouver club quietly asked the guides if she could experience being rescued out of the water.  She quietly, and without warning, jumped into main channel of frigid 55 degree rushing water.  Luckily I happened to have my camera out!  We quickly undocked our boats and found her enjoying the peace and quiet of being alone in the middle of the Colorado River.  She didn’t appear to want to be rescued from the bliss and peacefulness of the Grand Canyon…but we never leave anyone behind because it is just a short time before our next life changing adventure…

By: Reid Johnson

Reid has been with Events & Adventures for four years and led adventure trips to Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii, The Grand Canyon and multiple destinations in Texas throughout his time with Events & Adventures.  Check back soon for a recap of Reid’s upcoming adventure stories from Peru where he will lead 30 adventurers up 16,000 feet over 10 days to reach mystical Machu Picchu.