Monthly Archives: October 2016


I thought I was pretty familiar with Europe, and that I knew a thing or two about European culture and life. But when I say “Europe”, I mean the UK, France, Switzerland, Italy and so on – the countries that attract visitors from all over the world to spend their holidays there. When I set out on our June research trip, little did I realize that I was about to discover another understanding of the Continent.

One of the stops on our research trip was Slovenia. Before the trip I had only the haziest of ideas as to what Slovenia would be like. All I knew was that it had been communist until about twenty years ago, and so I imagined it to be a sombre place, its people dressed drably, its buildings colourless. Yet my experience of the Slovenian capital, Ljubljana, turned these expectations completely on their head.

One sunny, 34C Tuesday morning, the sunlight shining through the leaves, we drove into the city. I couldn’t stop looking around me, comparing what I saw before me to the mental picture I had conjured up before our trip. This was no grey, drab country! I had to laugh at my own ignorance. As we approached the city centre, the roadside was plastered with adverts of all kinds of cultural events and activities; classical music, pop concerts, dance, theatre, I even saw a poster for Beijing opera, which gave me a moment of disorientation. After parking the car beside Republic Square, a popular spot for concerts and a gathering place for local people, we walked around the square. The scene that greeted our eyes was one of unselfconscious relaxation: people lay back on the lush green grass, reading, talking, drinking red wine or peacefully soaking up the sun. It looked like a still from a slow-motion film, so complete was the air of leisure, like a remake of La Dolce Vita.

When dinnertime arrived, we accepted the invitation of friends to a restaurant in the hills, and took in the view out over nighttime Ljubljana. During the meal, the sound of distant music floated up from below. Our friends told us that there was an open-air concert being held in Republic Square, and I wished that I could hurry back down into the city to enjoy the summer evening programme.

Without realizing it, the sounds of the concert gradually disappeared as our meal drew to its end. When I looked at the time it was already 11pm, and I started to worry that the streets would be deserted by the time we returned to the spot where we had left the car many hours earlier. After all, when one is in a strange place there are so many uncertainties; would it be safe? I never thought that the scene on the streets would completely surpass my expectations. Restaurants were just as full as they had been earlier in the evening, and – their insides full to bursting – happy drinkers simply spilled out onto the steps in front of each bar!

Centuries ago, the earth was thought to be flat, and people believed that if you walked to the end of the earth, you would simply fall off.  And yet, as people gradually moved across the surface of the globe, eventually people discovered that our planet is a sphere. With every journey, as I gradually discover new places, I’m continually made to feel that the world is bigger than I could have imagined; a big and a beautiful place indeed.

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Another three months have passed…it is hard to believe!  We’ve been busy as beavers writing about our adventures, hosting journeys and developing new itineraries in Europe and Asia. Curious what we’ve been up to?  Here is our quarterly round-up of happenings and travel inspirations…

Looking back…


Over the summer, we published some fun reading on our Detours blog

What a Day?! – Here is a story about a very special day on my most recent research trip in Europe

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Jo has written a story about traveling from Luang Prabang in Lao to Lhasa in Tibet…a route that lies at the heart of our new, 2017 “Lands of Silk and Snow” journey (see below).

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And Mareen published a story about a day in her life working at On the Road.

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We take our work seriously, but we’re not serious all the time. Here is what we do when, we pray, our clients aren’t watching us.  


Looking forward…

In September, we announced two entirely new journeys for 2017.

From Lao to Tibet

First out of the gate will be “Lands of Silk and Snow: From Luang Prabang to Lhasa, our entirely new journey to Tibet. Imagine driving from the lush rain forests of Lao to the stupendous mountains of Tibet, from a culture inspired by one form of Buddhism to that inspired by another. For this magical journey you need 16 days, but you can shorten it to 12 days if you skip the Lao portion.

On the other hand, if you want to make it into the journey of a lifetime, then add Roads on the Roof of the World at the end to drive all the way to the Mt. Everest Base Camp. Driving tours don’t get any better than this in Asia!

 


Austrian Hungarian Lands: Vienna, the Adriatic, the Alps and Prague

And then comes a milestone for us.  After several private group journeys in Europe, here we are with our first scheduled European journey you can join in spring or autumn 2017.

If you would like to

  • spoil yourself with beautiful hotels,

  • eat fine meals (not always Michelin star, but the best these regions have to offer the way “mom used to cook it”),

  • drive on some of the world most beautiful roads and

  • immerse yourself in the landscapes and cultures of Austria, Slovenia, Croatia and the Czech Republic, there is no better journey in the world.

 

 


Travel Inspirations for Christmas 2016 through Easter 2017

A Christmas Treat: From Shangri-La to the Lanna Kingdom

  • Our flagship Asian journey from the edge of Tibet to Chiang Mai in northern Thailand is even better at Christmas and New Year

  • It is beautiful as a family adventure, too, a journey that will be unforgettable for you and your children

  • December 22 2016


A Burmese Journey: From the Golden Triangle to the Bay of Bengal 

  • Drive on back roads through this country that was frozen in time but is now undergoing rapid change…

  • February 12 and November 4 2017


Yunnan through a Lens: Red Earth and Fields of Gold

  • Our most beautiful Yunnan photography journey with Ron Yue

  • Only one single time each year, when Yunnan’s most photogenic regions are at their best at the same time:

    the Red Earth of Dong Chuan stands out in stark contrast to the surrounding hills and fields

    the Rapeseed Fields of Luoping shine in bright yellow

    the “Mirrors of God” Rice Terraces of Yuanyang sparkle and reflect the sky beautifully

  • To get you in the mood, Ron has written an article, Earth and Gold, about how he feels about this journey and why he loves it so much on our Detours blog.

  • March 3, 2017


Elephants and Parasols: From Vientiane to Chiang Mai

  • A discovery of beautiful landscapes, natural splendor and local culture.

  • Laos is an ideal destination if you are after:

    – a breathtaking getaway,

    – being close to nature,

    – enjoying a relaxing, peaceful journey and

    – meeting friendly people everywhere you turn.

  • You’ll encounter the delectable Lao cuisine: a little bit French, a lot of Southeast Asian, and perfect washed down with a bottle of Beer Lao.

  • April 1st and April 14 2017

Family Adventures: Travel Photography in Yunnan

  • A journey that combines

    all the fun elements of our kids-friendly journeys … and …

    photography with Ron Yue as the coach.

  • The idea? A chance you and your children to join in a shared and meaningful activity!   

  • Photography has the power to

    inspire anyone, young or old, to see beauty where others see drabness; 

    has the power to help simplify one’s life

    the power to let us recognize that even in this world of insta-anything – Instagram, instant noodles, instant gratification – patience has value

  • Wow! ‘The best family holiday ever was the travelers’ refrain of those who joined over Easter this year.

  • April 1st and April 14 2017

 

We hope these stories and journeys make you want to travel, see the world and spend good time together with friends and family!

Peter

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