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According to the popular 1960 beach movie, Fort Lauderdale is “where the boys are.” The city’s reputation as America’s Spring Break capital, however, has been replaced with the more favorable image of a prime family tourist destination, attracting more than 10 million visitors annually. The most popular beach resort in Florida is even more rightly famed as the “Yachting Capital of the World,” with more than 40,000 registered crafts calling its waters home. The city also prides itself on being the “Venice of America” with more than 300 miles of navigable waterways. Fort Lauderdale boasts world-class theaters, museums, sightseeing, and shopping.
Rising from the depths of the Atlantic, the rugged, volcanic Azores lie 800 miles off the coast of Portugal. Colonized by the Portuguese in the 16th century, the nine islands have provided a haven to Atlantic mariners for over five centuries. The Azores offer travelers spectacular landscapes that range from lush meadows fringed with brightly colored hydrangea to ancient caldera filled with lakes. And the many small villages and shops retain an otherworldly air and 18th-century charm.
Ponta Delgada is located on São Miguel, the largest of the nine Azores. The island’s rich volcanic soil sustains fields of tobacco and tea, vineyards, and pineapple greenhouses. The Azores are also noted for fine crafts, particularly basketry and pottery.
The capital of Madeira is named after the fennel (funcha) that once flowered there in profusion. The largest island in the Madeira Archipelago was discovered in 1419 by Portuguese explorers venturing south into the Atlantic. The island is nearly equidistant from Lisbon and the African coast, and its unique geographical position allowed Madeira to play a pivotal role in European discovery. Seamen such as Christopher Columbus gained knowledge and experience plying the routes of the island’s sugar trade. When sugar declined, the island’s famed wines continued to provide a robust trade. By the late 18th century, Madeira’s mild climate, rocky peaks, and lush valleys provided a winter haven to Europe’s aristocrats. Visitors still flock to the island today, drawn by its scenery and its weather.
Funchal is noted for its superb hand-embroidery and wicker ware, both Madeira specialties. The island, of course, is also noted for its superb wines: they are perhaps the world’s most complex and long lasting wines.
For many, the word Casablanca conjures up Hollywood’s vision of an exotic city of intrigue. But the reality is far removed from film fantasy, more complex and fascinating. Casablanca is Morocco’s largest city, the busiest port in North Africa, and home to nearly four million people. An important trading center since the days of the Phoenicians, Casablanca is an evocative blend of more new than old, more familiar than exotic. It is a modern commercial city with an old heart that is home to narrow, cobbled alleys, bazaars and souks, minarets and medinas.
Casablanca is a modern city with beaches bordering the Atlantic and broad, tree-lined avenues. The city is also your gateway to Morocco’s interior and the exotic “Imperial Cities” of Rabat and Marrakech.
Mention Spain and the images that inevitably spring to mind are images of Andalusia – shadows falling across the bullring, the staccato rhythms of flamenco, the waft of orange blossoms from a Moorish garden. Cadiz is your gateway to this storied land and the city of Seville. Visit Seville’s massive Alcazar fortress, modeled on the legendary Alhambra Palace of Granada. See the city’s cathedral, a 15th-century Gothic masterwork that boasts a Moorish patio, fountain and minaret. Seville is also the legendary home of Don Juan, Bizet’s Carmen and Rossini’s Barber of Seville.
Cadiz is one’s of Europe’s oldest inhabited cities, dating from 1100 B.C., and your gateway to Seville and Andalusia.
Draped across seven hills, Lisbon was once the center of a vast maritime empire that stretched from the west coast of Africa to the Spice Islands of the East Indies. Then, on November 1, 1755, a violent earthquake destroyed two-thirds of the city in the space of 10 minutes. Only the Alfama, the old Moorish quarter, survived. Today, Lisbon is a stately city of Neoclassical buildings and wide plazas. Eternally linked to the sea, Lisbon’s magnificent harbor is spanned by the longest suspension bridge in Europe.
The south of England boasts a dramatic coastline that encloses some of the most beautiful countryside in Britain. The landscape of hills and heaths, downs and forests, valleys and dales, is without rival. Southampton serves as your gateway to the countryside – and to a wide variety of historic sites, national landmarks and charming. And of course, London is a two-hour drive by modern highway.
The United Kingdom’s premier passenger ship port, Southampton was home for many years to the great transatlantic liners of yesteryear.
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