Greetings from Cefalù!
Things are well and things are warm here in the second part of our Sicily LiveAway, on the north coast in Cefalù. We've just finished an excursion into the Castlebuono region, complete with beautiful vistas, hilltop towns, and old-world wineries all over the place.
Truly Italy is gem with many facets...every region is different enough to warrant exploring them all! Its popularity among travellers is without question well-deserved.
And on the subject of popular travel destinations, I'm pleased this week to at last release our 2024 Ireland: The Emerald Isle program, the culmination of a hard-fought battle to secure hotel space there.
This is partly due to the Irish government hosting Ukrainian refugees in more than a quarter of the country's hotel rooms, and partly due to the sheer popularity of the island among travellers the world over.
We Canadians are no exception, and this program has been one of our most in demand here in our travel community. So what is it about Ireland that captivates the imagination of so many of us?
The humour and charm of the Irish people is certainly part of it, as well as the subconscious pull of heritage for those of us with Irish descendants. And of course there are the landscapes and that marvellous, iridescent shade of green that covers the hills dotted with sheep.
It's that green that stands out most to me, and beyond its captivating natural beauty. There is something about the aliveness in those shades that speaks to the mysterious allure of Ireland, where the stories of the fae and other elemental energies have seeped into the landscapes and communities across the island.
To hear it from the Irish, they are not just stories...they are often presented more as memories, of times when there was more of an interplay between the human psyche and the forces of nature and the cosmos.
Most of us, conditioned as we are by the hubris of Western science, have dismissed such things as mere legends...but they remain alive in the land and in the imagination of the people in Ireland, and somewhere here I think lies the enchanting pull of the country.
Perhaps Ireland is one of those places where you can reattune to these more elemental energies, in doing so reawakening your intuition and that child-like sense of wonderment that, just maybe, there really is magic - and meaning - out there in the world.
After all, this is why we travel, is it not? To escape the confines of the familiar and open ourselves to other more expansive ideas and experiences. I think Ireland is the right kind of place to explore such questions, for all the reasons mentioned above and more.
Lastly, this Ireland program happens right after our Lochs & Castles of Scotland program, presenting the opportunity for a truly spectacular exploration of the two countries together should you so desire.
I'll leave you with that - do stay tuned as we have a whole bunch of new trips for 2024 to be released in the coming weeks, and do get in touch should you like to join us to Ireland or beyond.