I'm writing today at the end of a European vacation that took me to
London, Tenerife and Madrid before boarding a ship for a Mediterranean
cruise. I'm sorting through my cruise photos and notes now and I'll
report on that voyage in two weeks....please don't miss it!
Despite the strong dollar, travel to Europe from America is off somewhat
this year, due primarily to the fear of terrorism. It's understandable
that some people are afraid to travel after a terrorist attack, but I'm
not one of them.
Travel is a right and a privilege that none of us should be denied.
There's an immense and incredible world out there, calling out to be
explored, and only so much time in which to see it.
Anyone who has vacationed internationally knows that travel, above all
other things, builds bridges between countries, cultures, religions,
races and individuals. Everyone at Vacations To Go feels blessed to be
part of such an amazing industry, and it is an honor to be trusted to
annually help more than 700,000 customers see the best that the world
has to offer.
If the number of Americans in Europe this summer is a little lower than
usual, I certainly couldn't tell it from the packed streets, cafes and
tourist attractions everywhere I went.
I stood in line for an hour to enter Westminster Abbey in London, one of
my favorite places in the entire world, and I shudder to think how long
the queue might have been if it hadn't been raining.
I took the enjoyable, self-guided audio tour there, as I did at the
fascinating Tower of London, another of my favorites, and stopped
afterward for a pint at the colorful Hung, Drawn and Quartered pub.
Madrid was equally busy, with bustling squares and streets and vibrant
nightlife on rooftop bars. Outdoor cafes were packed starting at
10 p.m., not coincidentally about the time the 100-degree heat of the
summer day begins to wane. Bring on the tapas and ice-cold sangria!
On Tenerife, largest of the Canary Islands, I floated just offshore with
a dozen pilot whales (there year-round) and a stray humpback whale,
usually seen in February in those waters. I hiked through and around the
spectacular, sheer cliffs of Los Gigantes, which rise from the sea to a
height of 2,600 feet, took a helicopter tour of the island and rode a
cable car to the top of El Teide, a 12,000-foot active volcano.
Tenerife's breathtaking natural beauty is on display just far enough off
the beaten path to allow tourists to escape the crowds, even in
After the land tour, I flew to Nice and was shuttled to nearby Monte
Carlo to board my ship. A couple of days into the cruise, I heard the
horrific news that someone had driven a truck into a crowd of children,
women and men along the oceanfront in Nice.
Initial suspicions were quickly confirmed when it became clear that the
crime was the act of another jihadist lunatic. The target was not just
the good people on the Promenade des Anglais, or the people of Nice, or
the people of France, but people who live free from tyranny, anywhere on
At least 84 killed, more than 100 injured, a mile-long trail of carnage
I resolved then to visit the Promenade to pay my respects, upon my
disembarkation in Monte Carlo. That was this morning, and here I am.
Today, along the Cote d'Azur, sunlight glistens off the water and a lone
swimmer back strokes against the tide. Families spread their blankets on
the rocky beach and children play at the water's edge.
But only a few steps away, on the pedestrian promenade, a memorial has
sprouted and the city publicly grieves. People speak in hushed tones or
not at all, hugging, crying, consoling.
Scattered amid thousands of flower bouquets and handwritten cards, there
is a heart-wrenching display of ownerless toys and tiny stuffed animals.
Candles flicker for those whose lights have been extinguished.
We will never know what all those children might have done with their
lives, the songs they might have sung, the books they might have
written, the light they might have brought to the darkness. All of that
potential was swept away by the pointless act of a misguided coward.
The memorial has spread across the wide boulevard to the park, where it
continues to grow at a rapid rate. The outpouring of love and goodwill
from people of all nationalities is touching and inspiring.
This is a tribute to those who lost their lives and to those who lost
loved ones, to be sure, but it also seems to me to be a tribute to what
is good in the world.
A prayer for Nice is a prayer for the world.
Chairman & CEO
To see photos of the Nice memorials, please
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Here are today's Top 10 Cruises
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, 7 nights on Carnival, departs San Juan Oct 23, starting at $409, save 66%, FastDeal # 23127
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8) Panama Canal
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(Norwegian does not provide brochure rates for this cruise, so we are unable to show a savings percentage.)
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visit our world-famous
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Once you've found a FASTDEAL, call us toll free at 800-338-4962 (US and
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Chairman & CEO
Vacations To Go