Untours Cafe

June 2008 Blog Posts (21)

An Athens Adventure

(June 25-26, 2008)

The flight from Geneva to Athens follows a marvelous flight path, soaring over snow-capped mountains, down the entire boot of Italy, and then along the Mediterranean coast. It finally approaches Athens after offering tantalizing glimpses of miles of beaches and beautiful blue water.…


Added by Powen Shiah on June 29, 2008 at 4:14pm — No Comments

Remembering Paris

This morning while setting up for breakfast, Eleanor played one of the Edith Piaf songs we used to listen to every day in our Paris apartment. All the sweet memories started flowing back. I miss Paris. I miss the shops around the corner on rue Montorgueil. I miss Madame Latifa and Houcine. I miss Larry and Claudia. I miss seeing all those cute dogs that even the homeless keep for company. I miss the food. I miss speaking French. I'm starting to forget already. We have to continue to practice… Continue

Added by Bill Kover on June 29, 2008 at 7:14am — No Comments

Untours Dinner in Nafplio [Lots of Photos!]

After less than a day in Athens I rushed off (slowly, on the bus) to Nafplio in order to make it back to what many people call a major highlight of their Greece Untour: the Untours dinner!

Just a little background: it usually takes place during the 2nd week of the Untour, and it's a way to get all the Untourists back together to share their experiences.

Some olives to start us off…


Added by Powen Shiah on June 28, 2008 at 5:00pm — 5 Comments

30 Hours in Nafplio

This is actually not going to be one of those New York Times-esque comprehensive travel articles about going to a place. Why? Well, I am feeling super rushed at this internet cafe so I can't compose such a work of art. Also, they don't have wireless and all my notes and pictures are on my laptop.

Some brief notes...

  • Gotta adjust to the pace of life here, it's so different. Slower, everything goes later, stuff closes in the afternoon when it's super hot and not a…

Added by Powen Shiah on June 27, 2008 at 4:00pm — 1 Comment

Greece May, 2008

Update June/2008-I'm still working on my photos (there are so many!) to select ones to post here. In the meantime, you can visit my web galleries:



56- Photos of Athens, Corinth, Epidaurus, Hydra, Crete, Kusadasi, Mycenae, Mykonos

63-Nafplio, Patmos, Santorini, Tolo


We have just finished staying at our 13th… Continue

Added by Vickie K on June 27, 2008 at 8:00am — 6 Comments

Packing batteries

I had a question put to me by JoAnne regarding batteries on planes. This is an important subject, so I am posting her question and my answer here:

On June 27, 2008 at 2:08 AM, JoAnne wrote:

>I'm now packing for my trip to Florence and Paris,

>and I have a question for you. Can I take along

>extra batteries for my camera and MP3 player? I

>thought I read somewhere that you couldn't bring

>batteries on the plane.

My answer to… Continue

Added by Bill Kover on June 27, 2008 at 6:00am — 7 Comments

Food & History

This is just a quickie before I head to bed, I got into Athens around 3pm today and took the Metro into the city (6 euros, if you're taking notes & about 45 minutes).

I walked around town after a much-needed shower, and somehow stumbled onto the Acropolis area (the hotel has got a great location).

I'm planning on trying to go up to the actual Agora tomorrow, but here's a picture I got today!…


Added by Powen Shiah on June 25, 2008 at 4:08pm — 8 Comments

Greetings from the Geneva Airport!

[this entry was posted 'after the fact' from the Hotel Achilleas in Athens, 23:37 on Wednesday 25 June 2008]

There isn't free wireless here, and I can no longer piggyback my laptop on my cell phone internet connection, as Sprint (and Verizon) phones are on a different type of network than is used in Europe (if you are interested, Sprint/Verizon use CDMA network technology, Europe is on GSM). Even if I could use my phone overseas, I'm sure the data charges would be something… Continue

Added by Powen Shiah on June 25, 2008 at 2:30am — 2 Comments

On my way to Greece!

Well, I'm only just starting off my journey. I'm on a bus (with wireless!) on my way from Philadelphia to NYC where my flight (on Swiss) takes off in 5.5 hours. The reason I can update you all from there is because there's wireless internet access in these buses, as well as power outlets in the backs of the seats in case your laptop battery is low.

Here's a picture from my webcam of me sitting awkwardly in the bus trying to take a picture of myself on the webcam :-)…


Added by Powen Shiah on June 24, 2008 at 1:20pm — 8 Comments

Latest News About Brunello Wine

Back at the end of 2007, I wrote a blog with the details of making Brunello di Montalcino and its "cousin", Rosso di Brunello, when they could be marketed, etc. While the wine has been the major industry of Montalcino

and a source of local pride, it is now a source of embarrassment since late last year a prosecutor has been

investigating whether some of the major producers of the wine have been violating the laws that determine whether

or not their product can bear the name… Continue

Added by Mary Lou Grier on June 21, 2008 at 5:47pm — No Comments

Should the right hand know what the left hand is doing?

Here's an interesting column by Peter Singer, a fascinating and controversial philosopher, on philanthropy. He mentions Hal and Norma Taussig (Untours' founders/owners).


Added by Brian on June 18, 2008 at 4:29pm — 1 Comment

The Manoir at Notre Dame de la Mer

One the advantages of attending the Paris Untours orientation is that the tips and advice you get from Joanna Touren-Center and Jane DeGeorge can lead to some absolute gems. This was one of them: Manoir de Notre-Dame located in the village of Notre-Dame de la Mer. When we suggested the possibilty of our staying overnight in the Giverny area, Joanna referred us to this Bed & Breakfast. Their website is as follows: http://manoirdenotredame.com/. The bed & breakfast is run by Hélène and… Continue

Added by Bill Kover on June 16, 2008 at 11:00am — 2 Comments

Thank Goodness for Untours!

Tour blog

Last September, we finally did it! After many years of either independent travel or journeys with Untours, my husband and I took a tour! It really was a matter of time constraints and laziness. We wanted to go to Alaska and really didn't have the time to do our own research and planning. Besides, how bad could a tour be?

Well..........I can't count the number of times we looked at each other during the 2 weeks and said, "thank goodness for Untours!"

We… Continue

Added by Vickie K on June 14, 2008 at 2:00pm — 2 Comments

Sommersdorf gearing up to celebrate 800-year anniversary

During the first weekend of July (July 3-6, 2008), Sommersdorf, the locale of our Bavarian Untour, will hold a medieval festival to commemorate its 800-year anniversary. The program features concerts, lectures, a medieval market, banquets, knights camps and knights fights. One of the many highlights will be the Knights Dinner in the Castle's Gothic Hall held on July 4. The Castle Untour host, Dr. Baron Manfred von Crailsheim, is one of the key organizers of the event. Six Untourists will have… Continue

Added by Cathrin Baumbach on June 12, 2008 at 11:13am — No Comments

I took it for granted!

Several times between the dates April 22 and May 21, 2008, I would sit down and look around me. I would have to concentrate and tell myself "This is real! You're not dreaming! You're really in Paris, France! Don't take it for granted! Don't take it for granted!" For 35 years I dreamed of returning to Paris. For the last year and a half I imagined being there. Now I am finally there. It's so easy to take it for granted. Every morning you go out the front door and walk down rue Marie Stuart. It's… Continue

Added by Bill Kover on June 11, 2008 at 9:03pm — No Comments


Sicily Untour Fall, 2007

Drayton and Jim Metzler

This was only our third official Untour (Spain 2003 and Switzerland 2005), traveling with my in-laws, Ann and Bill Logan. They have been on at least 18 Untours and help us enjoy and explore Europe. Since Sicily was a newer

destination for all of us and for Untours, we thought it would be exciting to try it out. Our hostess, Kathleen, greeted us at the airport in Catania along with Andi Cancelliere, an Untour Italy team… Continue

Added by Jim Metzler on June 10, 2008 at 8:45am — No Comments

Making some friends along the way

Whenever Eleanor is in the vicinity, we are bound to make some new friends along the way. I just smile and say "I'm with her!" Her smile and lack of shyness seems to work every time. All I have to do is follow orders when she says "Take a photograph!" So here are samples of the "Eleanor effect" :

Photo #1 Hassan at Altitude 95 Restaurant, Eiffel Tower

Photo #2 Paul & Rachael at The Frog Pub on rue St. Denis

Photo #3 Diana from Sussex, England and Winifred from Kent,… Continue

Added by Bill Kover on June 8, 2008 at 2:30pm — 7 Comments

Biking on the Rhine

Find more videos like this on Untours Cafe

I and Brian Taussig Lux, my nephew and the COO of Untours recently traveled together for ten days in Europe staying in two of our Untour locations: the Rhine and Vienna. The biking video featured here took place the very day after our arrival in the charming town of Kaub. We rented bikes from a hotel just steps away from our apartment. I knew that… Continue

Added by Hal Taussig on June 5, 2008 at 4:04pm — No Comments

Rome/Venice May 2007

Rome/Venice....May/June 2007

(Yes, this is from 2007 - I thought I had posted it on the Untours website last year, but when I just checked, I couldn't find it!)


We flew from Ft. Myers to Newark and then on to Rome. The Alitalia flight was comfortable and there were individual video screens with a variety of movies, games, etc. . When the earphones were handed out, many people were unable to plug them in. It seems that one of the two metal prongs has… Continue

Added by Vickie K on June 4, 2008 at 9:04pm — 3 Comments

Weekly Wed. Words: Weigh in on Ads & Meiringen

Summer greetings to everyone... we're starting to feel the heat here in the Philadelphia area, though the rain last night cooled things down some.

There are just a few things I wanted to highlight in these semi-regular "Weekly Wednesday Word" updates (please forgive the excessive alliteration).

First, we've been tossing around the idea of adding in some advertisements on the Untours Cafe site. Travel-related text ads, probably. Please let us know your thoughts on the… Continue

Added by Powen Shiah on June 4, 2008 at 1:30pm — No Comments

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