"Where the spirit does not work with the hand, there is no art." – Leonardo da Vinci
It's been quite a week here in the home office with lots of great bookings falling into place including a cabin on our Celebration of Classical Music cruise with AmaWaterways (see below) and a lovely honeymoon in Tokyo and Kyoto. The young newlyweds are visiting Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo Sea and taking the bullet train to Kyoto, where they'll get acquainted with Kyoto's spiritual culture on an expert-led tour exploring the Gion District, visiting several key Shinto and Buddhist temples, and learning the history, traditions, and rituals of both Shintoism and Buddhism in Japan. They have an incredible private tour of Nara, a city with history predating Kyoto's; for 74 years during the 8th century, Nara was Japan's capital and many important religious and traditional sites still remain. Their day trip to Himeji is entirely custom-made to their preferences and will of course include Himeji Castle, one of Japan's first UNESCO World Heritage Sites and its largest and most visited castle (pictured above). In Kyoto, we've arranged two very special cultural experiences; the first is visiting an instructor's home to don beautiful kimonos and learn the basic steps of Nihon Buyo, the classic Japanese dance performed, among others, by geisha, and the other is to a private home for instructions on a tea ceremony to discover how every movement has a meaning and what serving tea to guests means in Japan. Collaborating with my clients and tailoring each trip to their desires is PURE JOY for me. In my imagination, I'm going to all these places too as I help plan each trip. The next best thing for me is seeing the photos from their travels and hearing all about it when they return. My wonderful honeymooners, like so many of my clients, never worked with an advisor before, and they sometimes apologize for tweaking their itinerary in the planning phase. No apologies needed! The first proposal is always to get the conversation started by looking at something tangible, and then we adjust as necessary. I do feel super proud when a first proposal is the winner my clients love and book, but when you hire me, you get as many proposals as it takes until you're delighted and excited. I even put finishing touches on my own trip to Europe this weekend. As I head back to Paris for the fourth time, I finally built in time for the Louvre because what kind of advisor would I be if I kept skipping it? Seriously. I'm embarrassed to admit Mona Lisa never smiled at me. This time I arranged a late entry tour timed perfectly for an intimate, uncrowded visit with her. I also booked an art expert-led private tour of the Pompidou, a private art nouveau walking tour, a hotel site inspection of Le Meurice - a Dorchester Collection property (where Pablo Picasso held his wedding reception), and a spa treatment at my new home away from home in Paris, The Peninsula. I'm staying there free for two nights with breakfast thanks to winning a drawing at a Peninsula hotels event last year in New York. I can't wait to share it all with you next week when I'll be writing Muse News from The Peninsula Paris! Au revoir!
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