Category: Experiences

A traveler’s guide to European coffee culture

HI Travel Tales has experienced coffee culture around the world. We’ve sampled various ways of serving the caffinated elixer, from nearly syrupy dark tablespoons of caffeine in doll-sized cups to huge bowls of espresso and frothy milk. It’s what you do as a traveler – enjoy a cup of local coffee as the locals enjoy it.

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Fresno Underground Gardens: Highway 99 stop for curious travelers

The Underground Gardens tourist destination offers an intriguing tale for all ages that is well worth a stop. The Underground Gardens is what it sounds like: A weaving labyrinth of caverns, rooms and passages all dug underground and filled with fruit trees, vines and plants in spaces that open to the sky. This oddity was built – or shall we say, dug – by Italian immigrant Baldassare Forestiere for about 38 years starting in 1906.

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Three Asian Luxury Hotels that Stand Out

When Absolute Travel recommends Asian luxury hotels, it’s not just because the hotel boasts 5-star status and finds its way onto lists of the world’s best hotels each year. The Absolute Travel team prefers to be a bit more selective, sending its luxury travel experts to seek out hidden boutique gems you have perhaps never heard of, but should know about. Here are three Asian luxury hotels that stood above the rest among all the hotels where the Absolute team stayed in 2016…

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Two European luxury hotels that stand out

When Absolute Travel recommends European luxury hotels, it’s not just because the hotel boasts 5-star status and finds its way onto lists of the world’s best hotels each year. The Absolute Travel team prefers to be a bit more selective, sending its luxury travel experts to seek out hidden boutique gems you have perhaps never heard of, but should know about. When choosing a hotel that’s considered an Absolute Travel standout, the team looks for superb location, thoughtful design with a sense of place, a commitment to a light footprint, cuisine that is so good you will not want go outside the hotel to eat, and a staff that makes its guests feel so at home they never want to leave. Here are two European luxury hotels that stood above the rest among all the hotels where the Absolute team stayed in 2016 — plus three more to take a peek at.

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Mozzeria pizzeria provides diners with much more than extraordinary food

Mozzeria pizzeria on 16th Street in San Francisco’s Mission District seems like any other pizza joint from the outside looking in. Unassuming sign, simple door, narrow long room, tables full, a line of patrons waiting to be seated, and wait staff bustling about. The noise-level inside is subdued, but unless one is very observant, you may not even notice the out-of-the-ordinary experience provided by dining at Mozzeria. Not until the hostess greets you do you begin to realize this is not your everyday pizza joint.

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Creative, tasty meals at Ogi Deli in Elko, Nevada

When you’re driving along Interstate 80 across frequently spectacular yet periodically desolate Nevada desert, eatery choices can be, well, less than inviting. So when we first found this amazing deli in Elko – now called Ogi Deli, but it was “2 Dames and a Deli” when we discovered it – we were utterly delighted.

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Busy bee in Hamburg’s Planten un Blomen garden

A visit to the Planten un Blomen Garden on your Hamburg tour is a must, whether you are a flower and garden lover, adore open spaces, enjoy dancing water fountains, or just want a nice place for a stroll or picnic. Now, not many non-Germans head there – obvious in the fact that the official Hamburg tourism website doesn’t have the garden’s page translated into English!

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4 Fun Free Things to Do in Key West (+ 2 )

Key West, at the southernmost tip of the United States below Florida (and only 90 miles from Cuba), can leave you getting sucked into one attraction or tourist kitsch shop after another. And that can leave a dent in your wallet. How about four free things to do in Key West that are totally cool and fun? (Plus, we’ll toss in 2 bonus things to do).

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Kellerwald Forchheim beer gardens: a Franconian forest secret

“Off to the cellar” is what you’ll hear from Forchheim locals when they disappear into the forest on trails (“auf die Keller”). What that means in local slang is that they are headed to a beehive of popular beer gardens nestled deep in the forest of Franconian Switzerland in Upper Bavaria – the Kellerwald Forchheim beer gardens.

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Loire Valley wine tasting experience is memorable

Covering several hundred square miles with hundreds of wineries, Loire Valley wine tasting opportunities are numerous. This French region may be one of the world’s most well-known wine-producing areas – but HOLY COW how do you get to experience it all on a short visit? The wine trail (“La route des vignobles”) is nearly 500 miles! The Loire Valley tourist and wine experts have figured that out for you, so take a breath and get ready to take a sip (or two, or three…).

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UC Davis Arboretum: free award-winning gardens

Alongside the roar of Interstate 80 connecting the San Francisco Bay Area to Lake Tahoe is an award-winning botanical garden that beckons plant-lovers, gardeners or anyone looking for a relaxing park setting – the UC Davis Arboretum. The park-like arboretum itself beckons with winding paths, benches and plant collections with different themes.

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Postcard Paris: Jardin du Luxembourg escape

Paris is a marvelous, invigorating city with many corners to explore but sometimes you have to make like a Parisian and go to the park to escape it all. The Jardin du Luxembourg in the 6th arrondissement near the Sorbonne and only about a mile from St. Michel and the Seine River is just right for that.

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Allez French restaurant delight near Placerville

The HITT team could not have imagined what French culinary delight we were about to experience as we walked to the front door of Allez! Located just a few minutes from Placerville in the California Gold Country not far from Sacramento, Allez French restaurant is an intimate bistro owned and operated by Christian and Jennifer Masse. Christian is as French as they come — and Allez’s chef. It had just enough “quaint” to offer a casual European bistro feel.

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Give thanks for Thanksgiving Point Gardens near Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City — home of murky salt lakes, vast salt flats and towering mountain peaks – isn’t the first place you think of when conjuring up images of lush gardens. But Thanksgiving Point Gardens, just 30 minutes south in Lehi, is a beautiful respite that leaves you gaping in awe as you stroll the grounds.

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Fiji’s Garden of the Sleeping Giant: Orchids forever!

While we will admit to being fans of visiting botanical gardens anywhere in the world, Fiji’s Garden of the Sleeping Giant is one that is truly special. Yes, really. Even non-flower lovers and non-botanical garden enthusiasts – and there was one among us – should put this on their Fiji list.

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