Jose Cuervo Tequila filled day

All aboard the Jose Cuervo Express train to the Magical Town of Tequila. That is right, Tequila is coming from the same name town in Jalisco, Mexico; just a few hours away from Guadalajara.

Jose Cuervo, who has its family distillery there since 1795 as well as its agave fields offers one of the best day tours. A day tour in the heart of Tequila.

La Rojena Jose Cuervo

The Tequila Train departs at 9am passing by multiple villages and spiky-blue agave fields. The tasting starts right on the train as you will be welcomed with a pink margarita and you will be offered unlimited Margaritas, Palomas or shots if you have a solid stomach.

Jose Cuervo express

Upon arrival at Tequila, you will start the fun-filled day with a visit at the distillery La Rojena where “Pepe” the Cuervo Crow welcomes you to the tasting. You will get to see some 100-year-old tequila stored at La Reserva Familia – a unique and smooth Anejo – as well as the distillation process. The tasting ends at one of the many open bars on site.

After a lunch break in the Pueblo Magico where you can enjoy some authentic tacos at Fonda Cholula and admire the colorful town, the afternoon festivities start with a colorful Mexican show. You will admire the dancers and the Mariachis while sipping on some more tequila.

Pueblo Magico Tequila

Finally, right on time for sunset, you will head to the agave fields. Anthony, one of the Jimadores, demonstrates how the agave pina is harvested. You will then have time to take many Instagram worthy pictures on the Spiky-Blue Agave Fields and dance the night away on the dancefloor installed next to the field. It all comes with an open bar of course. The perfect way of ending this magical day.

Jose Cuervo Agave Fields

For the night you can return to Guadalajara or spend the night at Tequila at the amazing Solar de Las Animas Hotel.

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Florence in 2 days

Florence, the symbol of the renaissance is an open-air museum. No need to go inside any monument; the walk through the city is the way to see the beauty of the 600 years of artistic work. Here is a 2-day walking guide to admire that chef-d’oeuvre.

My travel App: Ulmon. It has all the sightseeing places saved and most of the restaurants and bars as well. It can be used offline which is very practical.

My booking site: Tripmasters.com . This is my 3rd time going through them to arrange my travel plans and I love the site. They have a great itinerary suggestion, hotels and all for a great price.

My Hotel: Hotel Vasari Palace, a former monastery, is a beautiful traditional hotel situated by the train station in a pedestrian zone.  I love to stay in traditional hotels where I can feel the charm and the history of the city. Great location, great service, great room and great price.

Must eat : Hotel Chocolate at Café Rivoire. Lunch at Le Volpi e L’Uva. Happy Hour at Caffe Cibreo . Dinner at Cantinetta Verazzano. Gelato at la Carraia.

Day 1

Start at the Train Station from where you can see the Church of S Maria Novella. Take the small pedestrian streets to get to San Lorenzo Basilica and Palazzo Medici. You can quickly go inside both monuments if you want, but again I don’t think it’s worth it. However, take a moment to admire the San Lorenzo Basilica from outside and go to the courtyard of Palazzo Medici to see the David by Donatello. Then, head to San Lorenzo Food and Flea Market. The covered food market is the perfect stop for lunch and the flea market is the perfect place for some souvenir purse shopping. After that cultural break, walk to the Duomo and the Baptistery. The entrance to the Cathedral Santa Maria del Fiore is free but to go up the Duomo you will have to get tickets in advance. In front of the Duomo, in the middle of the Piazza you will see the Baptistery and the east door of it called Gate of Paradise. The Duomo Piazza and the Cathedral are just breathtaking. The Piazza next to it via the pedestrian passage of Via de Calzaiuoli is where is Piazza Signoria with Palazzo Vecchio and Loggia dei Lanzi, a lodge full of inspiring statues. Palazzo Vecchio is not an impressive palace if you have been to Versailles. You can easily skip it. You can seat at one of the cafes on that square like the Rivoire Café to take a moment to absorb all that beauty. Walk then towards Ponte Vecchio by passing by Uffizi Gallery Courtyard where you can admire statues and check out the work of the painters in the courtyard.  You can admire the sunset from there or even better from the bridge next to it Ponte Trinite. The neighborhood of San Spirito next to those bridges is not that touristy yet and is full of great locals’ restaurants and bar. Great way to finish that first walking tour day.

Day 2

Start your day at Galleria dell Academia. Make sure you bought your ticket in advance as the line can get very long very fast. The museum is fairly small and the main attraction is the Statue of David by Michelangelo. David is enthroned in the middle of the museum.  You should then walk towards Via de Tomabuoni the shopping street of Florence for why not shopping session. Then cross that Ponte Trinite to go to Pitti Palace. The ticket will allow you to visit the palace, the exhibition, the Boboli Garden and the Bardini Garden. The only attractions worth visiting, I believe.  The palace is beautiful and you will get the feel for the grandeur of the Italians monarch. The Boboli gardens are beyond beautiful and as you go up you get to see more and more of that legendary Florence from the above view. There is a cave on the corner of the garden; don’t miss it. It is one of the unusual things to see in Florence. You can go up the small narrow street of old Florence, classified UNESCO World heritage to go to Giardino Bardini Gardens. The Building is a museum and has a very interesting exhibiting. The gardens are bigger than Boboli garden and majestic. Finish your walk uphill at the Forte di Belvedere where you will have the best view of Florence and the sunset. For dinner, you can head across the Arno River to Santa Croce.

Macchu Picchu and Peru

While in Peru, make sure to take a 3-day tour to see Cusco and one of the new 7 wonders, Macchu Picchu.

A lot of company offer the same 3-day tour where you will have a chance to see beautiful Inca sites, proof of the greatness of the empire.

Cusco City, the historical capital of the Inca Empire and its Cathedral La Iglesia and Convento Santo Domingo on the main square Plaza de Armas and the Inca landmark of Qorikancha. At night, the Plaza is very lively and all the restaurants and bars are full of locals and tourists.

Right outside of the city, you will be able to see other Inca landmarks like the archeological site of Tambomachay, the citadel of Sacsaywaman, the Huayllay National Sanctuary and the village of Ollantaytambo in the sacred valley. You will stop at Mirador Taray, the place to have the best view of Cusco and the surrounding nature.

Macchu Picchu is a day trip by itself. You will take the blue train to the Macchu Picchu city called Aguas Calientes . From there, you will take a bus to the ruins. Be ready to start some walking but it is so worth it. You will soon be able to witness the breathtaking 15th Century Inca site. The scenic is just breathtaking.

 

Back in Lima, make sure to head to Downtown, The place for shopping but also to admire the old streets and some fine architecture works.

A Day in Tuscany

Siena, San Gimignano and Greve in Chianti Day Trip from Florence with Wine Tasting

Wanting to see Tuscany in one day is very hard. Taking a tour is the way to go. I booked the Tuscany Tour with Viator. They offer the perfect itinerary:  Siena, San Gimignano and Greve in Chianti Day Trip with of course Wine Tasting. Travel with Viator through the picturesque countryside in Tuscany to discover those three places.

We first stopped at the Tuscan gems of San Gimignano. It is a medieval hilltop town. We had 30 minutes to walk around that walled city. Walk through the old narrow passages; the small shops have great souvenirs. You will soon get to the triangular Piazza della Cisterna and Piazza del Duomo where you will found painters working on their art. Go towards the walls and enjoy the view of all the nearby wineries.

We then stopped in Siena for lunchtime. We had some times to grab lunch or just walk around on our way. Then we met up at the main square Piazza del Campo for a walking tour of the city. Piazza del Campo is the home to Siena’s Horse race called Palio. That race organized twice a year, see ten of the seventeen contrada or districts of the city circle the narrow piazza three times or usually 90 seconds after which there is only one jockey left on his horse. The Palio maintains the rivalry that exists between all the contrada and reanimates all the passion people have for their contrada.  We then had a chance to visit the Contrada’s Museum for Contrada of Aquila (Eagle) and learn the history behind that contrada. We then headed to Piazza del Duomo to admire the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta; what a majestic cathedral. We finally walked through the historic center of Siena that has been declared by UNESCO a World Heritage Site to get to Basilica Cateriniana San Domenico.

After all, those walking we traveled through the picturesque Chianti countryside, passed by olive groves, green hills, and vineyards to get to  Chianti in Greve for a tasty wine tasting session at a great winery on the hillside. We tasted great white but of course red Chianti wine with some cheese. Make sure to leave with some wine and cheese. It is a great way to remember that day trip once you get back home. It was raining so we didn’t have the chance to walk around or go to the barrel cave.

Finally, you will get to see Greve. It’s a very small town. You can take a break the at the main square Piazza Giacomo Matteotti where you can admire the statue of Giovanni Verrazano and buy amazing salamis at Antica Macelleria Falorni.

Greve Piazza Giacomo Matteotti
Greve Piazza Giacomo Matteotti under the rain

Thank you Viator for nailing another tour.

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