$1,000 Per Couple Savings in the Fabled British Isles: Embark on the historic trail of Normans, Saxons, Celts and Norsemen on the 10-night chartered cruise British Isles: Fabled Lands, Wild Shores (June 1-13, 2007). Trace ancient settlements along the rugged shores of England, Wales, Ireland and Scotland on this custom crafted journey that explores the region’s hidden gems, offbeat attractions and famed UNESCO World Heritage sites. Highlights include the Isle of Man, the medieval St. Michael’s Mount on England’s Cornish coast; Scotland’s Orkney Islands; and Iona, where monks living in splendid isolation created the Book of Kells some 1,200 years ago.


Culinary Trail in Western Europe:
As life reawakens in the spring, revive your taste buds, too, on Feast for the Senses, a 10-day voyage (May 2-14, 2007) embarking in the “White City,” aka Lisbon, whose 3,000 year history spans Phoenicians, Greeks, Cathaginians, Romans, Moors and Christians. Onboard the 116-passenger Island Sky, cruise north to Porto to sample the region’s signature sweet wine, then on to Spain, not only for tapas, but also to savor the architectural delights of the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, with its Baroque façade and Romanesque portico. After a spot of Bilbao and a hearty serving of Basque, bid adiós and wake up with a bienvenue in France’s classic wine capital of Bordeaux. Delight in the fables of Mont St-Michel’s Benedictine monastery and tales of Richard II, before toasting a fond farewell in Rouen. Cheers!

Beyond Carnival: Soak up the sun in Rio de Janeiro for two days while staying at the elegant Hotel Caesar Park located on the famed Ipanema Beach, before setting sail on a 10-day cruise on board the 114-passenger Corinthian II on Historic Landmarks & Natural Treasures of Brazil, February 26-March 11, 2007. This five-star mega yacht will navigate the undulating Atlantic coastline of South America’s largest country. In 1500, Porto Seguro (or “Safe Port”) provided a haven for colonizing Portuguese – today it’s a treasured enclave of historic colonial buildings. As Brazil’s first capital, ancient Salvador weaves together European, African and Amerindian cultures. Not surprisingly, Smithsonian Journeys has arranged a private performance of capoeira – the rhythmic martial arts dance form invented by African slaves more than 450 years ago. Ferry across the Potengi River to hop on four-person buggies that traverse Natal’s majestic sand dunes overlooking the ocean, before visiting the UNESCO World Heritage site of São Luís, the only settlement in Latin America founded by the French. Solo travelers take note: the single supplement is waived on this Brazilian odyssey.

Finding Romance in Colonial Mexico: Three centuries of colonial history are embedded in the art, architecture and other creative traditions in Guanajuato, San Miguel de Allende and Querétaro. This Valentine’s Day, opt for a romantic getaway at two exquisite Small Luxury Hotels of the World. On the weeklong Colonial Cities of Mexico, the engaging Angelica Juarez, a resident of San Miguel de Allende, introduces you to local artists and artisans, including a restoration expert at Atotonilco (considered Mexico’s Sistine Chapel); the director of the Art Museum of Queretaro, where you will have a private tour; the renowned ceramist Gorky Gonzalez, known for his talavera pottery; and a local resident who will be your host at a gracious reception in her lovely garden.

A Learning Vacation with a Global Twist: Smithsonian Journeys is giving experiential travel a planetary turn. Learn everything you need to know about global warming on Arctic Odyssey: A Symposium of Global Warming, aboard the 108-guest polar-class icebreaker Kapitan Khlebnikov, July 5-18, 2007. Legendary news anchor and journalist Tom Brokaw will moderate discussions with shipboard experts from MIT’s Center for Global Change Science, the Energy and Resources Group at the University of California in Berkeley, and the Smithsonian Institution’s own William Fitzhugh, an arctic anthropologist and director of the Arctic Studies Center at the National Museum of Natural History.

What Travelers are Saying… “Educational goals are set high, and taken seriously. Study leaders are well qualified and resourceful. Tour guides are responsible and personable. The ratio of expense to value received is excellent.” Emily G. Middleton, 2006 Smithsonian traveler.

Steals & Deals:

– “Bring a Friend and Save” promotion offers a $250 savings on Egyptian Odyssey, Insider’s Florence and Art Treasures of Italy

– Summer Family Discounts: Special reduced kids prices for A Family Adventure in the Galapagos Islands, Tanzania Family Safari, and Voyage to the Lands of Gods and Heroes

– New $500 per person discount on British Isles: Fabled Lands, Wild Shores

Celebrating the Year of the Pig: February 18, 2007, will usher in “the year of the pig” (boar or hog) according to the Chinese zodiac calendar. Smithsonian Journeys pays homage to the culture, traditions and long historical arc of this Asian powerhouse with three grand departures to China. Timeless Traditions traces the unification of the country by Qin Shi Huang-di, the building of the Great Wall and the narrative and key sites associated with the birth of Buddhism in China. In Marco Polo in China, the ancient trade route along the Silk Road is traced on a journey that includes artifacts, history, colorful tales and other highlights of 13th century China. Legendary Landscapes of the Yangtze makes its way through the picturesque and populous river valley that has long been central to Chinese history and everyday experience, exploring the extraordinary transformation of modern China in Beijing and Shanghai, and marveling at the Terracotta warriors excavated in the ancient capital of Xi’an.

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