Interview: Discover Hidden Journeys with Liesa Bissett

When you want to know something, sometimes it’s best to go straight to the source. So last week we caught up with Liesa, Trafalgar’s European Product Development Manager, to get the lowdown on Hidden Journeys – our newest trip style.

Hear what she had to say – and discover some of 2015’s hot European destinations.

What are Hidden Journeys?

Our new Hidden Journeys are small-group trips that are concentrated on less-visited regions in a destination, like Piedmont in Italy. They’re the perfect way to travel if you’ve sampled a country before and would like to delve deeper into the local culture.

Piedmont region, Italy

Piedmont region, Italy

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Latin American Dances

In many Latin American countries music and dance plays a very important role in daily life. There are dozens of dances that originated in South America and here are some of my favourites.

Tango

The tango is a passionate dance which originated in the dance houses of working class Buenos Aires. It is a mixture of many different dances and has European, Latin and even African elements. It is an intimate dance between two people and consists of abrupt rhythms, postures alternated by pauses. Don’t be surprised to see a couple swirling around the dance floor when you walk into a bar or restaurant in Buenos Aires. And if you’re lucky you might even be asked to tango yourself.

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Discover the flavors of Switzerland

Switzerland has a unique geography, nestled between countries revered for their culinary excellence. Travelling from region to region, it’s easy to identify the culinary influence from Italy, France and Germany, with each region adding its own traditional touch.  Many Swiss dishes are based on cheese and potatoes, ingredients readily available to the Alpine farmers.

French influences are perhaps the most well-known from Swiss cuisine and include Fondue and Raclette – a dish of hot cheese served over potatoes traditionally served with gherkins or pickled onion. Papet vauois, made from leeks and potatoes served with sausage is another French inspired classic.

Cheese fondue - a classic Swiss dish

Cheese fondue – a classic Swiss dish

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Swiss customs and traditions

For a relatively small country, Switzerland offers an array of diverse cultures, heavily influenced from its esteemed neighbors: Germany, France and Italy. But binding it all together is a distinct Swiss mentality.

Beautiful scenery in St. Moritz, Switzerland

Beautiful scenery in St. Moritz, Switzerland

In spite of diverse cultural influences, the Swiss have developed and maintained a series of local customs and definitive ‘Swiss’ traditions. Although when showcasing at the 1992 World Expo is Seville, the Switzerland pavilion introduced itself using the phrase ‘la Suisse n’existe pas’ (meaning Switzerland does not exist). When asked to describe such an allusive statement, it was said that it is not uniformity, but variety in a small space that defines Switzerland. This has led to numerous regional traditions, with fewer customs celebrated from a national perspective.

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London’s hidden treasures: Paramount Bar, Centre Point

by Ross Barnard

I love London. I’ll never tire of its diverse variety of pastimes, nor will I tire of those crowded-Tube altercations you come to know so well during the daily commute. It’s all part of the package when you make this heart-capturing city your home.

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The City of London – including The Shard and The Gherkin

That’s why I believe there’s no-one who can truly know a place than someone who lives and breathes it. Someone with the passion to explore every inch of its metropolis, and whose city-led existence is driven by the desire to constantly discover something new.

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Maya Customs and Rituals

Mexico’s Maya history is one of many mysteries.We can only still guess as to why a civilisation that was so advanced went into decline and led that last Maya dynasty to fall in the 13th century. What’s left are the many ruined cities such as Uxmal and Chichen Itza. On the other hand, these archaeological treasures have revealed some interesting Maya facts.

Mayan temple

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Alternative European Wines

No doubt that French and German wines are the best known and most popular European wines in the world, however this continent is home to many  more wine producing countries that are worth trying.

Greece

Definitely not a country that usually springs to mind when you think of European wines, but Greece is one of the oldest wine producing countries in the world. The ancient Greeks were making wine long before it ever hit the dinner tables in the rest of the world. Many quality Greek wines come from regions such as Macedonia, Thessali, the Peloponnesos as well as some of the Ionian and Aegean Islands.

glasses of wine Continue reading