"Once we have tasted far streams, touched the gold, found some limit beyond the waterfall, a season changes and we come back changed but safe, quiet, grateful." — William Stafford
I've finally settled back down in Brooklyn after an extraordinary month of travels through Tuscany, Austria, and most recently Québec City. I returned this weekend, and I hope you'll visit the Nine Muses Travel Instagram and Facebook pages to see more photos of this captivating city plus Île d'Orléans (a picturesque island in the St. Lawrence River dotted with artisanal foodie delights) and Parc de la Chute-Montmorency (pictured above), where we rode the cable car up to the bridge and walked across the crashing falls. I didn't expect my visit, courtesy of the Québec City tourism office, to be full of so much natural beauty and culinary highlights!
When you arrive in Québec City, it's hard to believe you're still in North America and not a quaint European village. It feels like you've entered the pages of a fairy tale or onto the set of a Hallmark movie! The narrow, shop-lined streets are lit year-round with strings of overhead lights, and the architecture is a blend of French, British, and Irish. Québec City is one of the oldest European settlements in North America, and its Old Town is protected by the only fortified city walls in the Americas north of Mexico. The Historic District of Old Québec is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and it stole my heart in an instant. I look forward to returning on my own to experience its winter festivities and summer music concerts.
While traveling the world, I've kept a close eye on the news from the Middle East and the recent travel alert, which is basically a blanket statement to let Americans know not to go out of your way to show your nationality so you avoid unwanted attention. When I first went backpacking through Europe in the mid '90s, I remember vividly being told not to announce or make a big show of being American and to consider putting a Canadian patch on my backpack instead. Being a citizen of a wealthy and powerful country is something best kept to yourself in mixed company as a general rule. Also, avoid any public protests you might come across in your travels. When I was in Vienna (the day Israel was attacked), two unrelated back-to-back protests paraded the Ringstrasse. We see protest marches in New York all the time. You might be curious and want a closer look, but walk the other way and watch the news later. You just never know how it might suddenly escalate. The other advice in the global alert was to enroll in STEP, and I already send my clients this reminder before they depart. It's always been a good practice!
If you have any questions or concerns about travel now or ever, please call or send me an email so we can talk about it. Having traveled consistently since the latest Israel-Palestine conflict began, I can assure you so much of the world is happy to welcome you!
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