Travel Expert and Radio Talk Show Host Stephanie Abrams - Travelers411 Travel Radio Shownotes - April 30, 2011
"Travelers411" Radio Show - April 30, 2011
Scotland Two Commoners Turned Princesses: Kate Middleton and Grace Kelly; Robert and Ann Herring Report Live from Glenapp Castle, Ayrshire, Scotland; The Importance of Taking a Honeymoon Right Away.

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Hour 1

Topics Include:

Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams kicks off this hour of the "Travelers411" Radio Show with a discussion of the royal wedding. "It was quite a spectacle," she says. "The world needs more glorious parties. Aren't you tired of all the people getting shot at, whether close to home or in cities you can't pronounce? And add to that the sadness we feel for the people who lost everything in Alabama and everywhere else that tornadoes have swept through." Stephanie was very impressed by how the royal wedding ran right on schedule. "What a Swiss clock it worked on," she observes.

London, England, UK.
London, England, UK.

As meaningful as the wedding was for the bride and groom, Stephanie points out that it was also a great publicity stunt for all of the United Kingdom. "Look at all the shots on TV of Windsor Castle, Buckingham Palace, and the guards there," she says. "Look at the number of monuments around London and parks that were shown. It was interesting how many Americans they found in the crowds to interview, too. These weren't people from New York, Los Angeles, or Chicago, but from Tennessee and other states you don't often hear about, so that was kind of a neat thing."

London, England, UK.
London, England, UK.

The dress worn by Kate Middleton reminded Stephanie of the classic gown worn by Grace Kelly at her wedding to Prince Rainier of Monaco. Travelers who want to follow in the footsteps of Princess Grace have a few options. In Monaco, they can visit her rose garden, which is right across from the Hotel Columbus, or her grave, which is in the hilltop cathedral next to that of her husband. "You can also visit some very snazzy museums which were the personal collections of the prince," Stephanie adds. "There are stamps and classic and antique autos, all in pristine condition."

Photo of Grace Kelly at the Palais Stephanie in Cannes, France.
Photo of Grace Kelly at the Palais Stephanie in Cannes, France.

Traveling west towards Cannes, France, travelers can visit the happily-named Palais Stephanie. This hotel is just half a block from the Palais de Congres, the big convention center in Cannes and where many films are shown during the annual festival. Stephanie warns travelers, however, that unlike the film festivals in Toronto, Montreal, and Tribeca, the Cannes Film Festival is by invitation only. "You have to be a producer, actor, director, or distributor to get in," she says. "You can't just buy a ticket and go. There are some films that might be open to the public at Cannes, but those are not always worth your time."

Palais Stephanie in Cannes, France.
Palais Stephanie in Cannes, France.

Inside the Palais Stephanie, the decor features blown-up photo murals of various film stars, including Grace Kelly. The suite where Stephanie stayed had a huge photo of the future princess from one of her films with Cary Grant. The two actors were filming "To Catch a Thief" in the area when Kelly met Prince Rainier. "If you want to see the casino in Monte Carlo, watch the film," Stephanie suggests. "Part of it was filmed in Cannes – the scene where they're riding in a convertible down the road where the Grand Prix is held. It comes down into Monaco off the mountain top and it's the same road the princess was killed on."

Monaco.
Monaco.

More Grace Kelly memorabilia can be found at the Pontoon Bridge Hotel in County Mayo, Ireland. The hotel is built on a strip of land between 2 lakes and offers fishing in both lakes as well as painting and cooking classes. The walls are decorated with family-style photos of the princess, which according to Stephanie just "exude love and happiness." The hotel is also close to the famous woolen mills at Foxfords, which were started by nuns to give an economic boost to the area. Today, visitors can see a diorama-style exhibit at the mills and purchase wool throws and sweaters.

Monaco.
Monaco.

Returning to the royal wedding, Stephanie remarks that the commentary calling Kate Middleton a 'commoner' was not intended as an insult. "In the UK, they have the House of Lords and the House of Commons," she explains. "They have the royals and then the average folk. Europe is still very class-conscious. On trains, they have a first-class compartment and a second-class compartment. Some restaurants even have classes; in the second class the menu is different and cheaper, there's silver-plated instead of sterling silver cutlery, and a brass chandelier instead of a crystal one. It's just normal."

Hour 2

Topics Include:

Link to this segment

Link to this segment

Robert Herring, Guest, Glenapp Castle, Ayrshire, Scotland..
www.glenappcastle.com

Ann Herring, Guest, Glenapp Castle, Ayrshire, Scotland..
www.glenappcastle.com

Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams and the "Travelers411" Radio Show meet up again with Robert and Ann Herring. Stephanie first met the couple at Relais & Chateaux Cobblers Cove on Barbados, which is an English-style country house on the beach. Robert and Ann hail from Bicester, Oxfordshire, England, but are currently on the road to Scotland to escape the crowds flocking to London to celebrate the royal wedding.

Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams in Scotland surrounded by reindeer.
Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams in Scotland surrounded by reindeer.

Glenapp Castle is another Relais & Chateaux property, located in Ayrshire, Scotland, and Robert and Ann have just arrived. "We've arrived in the most wonderful Scottish weather," Robert says. "There's wall-to-wall sunshine, the trees are absolutely magnificent, the rhododendrons are out, and we couldn't wish or a better spot. I'm talking to you while sitting in the sunshine overlooking the Irish Sea."

Bicycling in the Scotish Highlands.
Bicycling in the Scotish Highlands.

The castle is about 350 miles from Robert and Ann's home in England, so they split up the journey and stopped at 2 other hotels along the way. "We visited a railway line in Cumbria, too, because I'm interested in old steam engines," Robert explains. "It's the Settle and Carlaw line. There are wonderful structures along this line; it was built back in the 1800s. It has the highest station in England, Dent Station, which is over a thousand feet up. There's super architecture, the buildings are wonderful, and it's so remote as well. From Glenapp, we're off to Loch Lomond, and if the weather stays this way, I'm sure we'll have a wonderful holiday."

Scotch!
Scotch!

The Herrings generally spend the first week of May at a lodge on Loch Lomond. This year, however, they decided to explore the Scottish lowlands and escape the royal wedding hoopla at the same time. The couple just visited the town of Knocknain on Scotland's west coast, where Churchill and Eisenhower apparently used to meet during World War II. "It's an isolated hotel on the beach, 2 miles from the nearest road," says Robert. "It was obviously an opportunity to discuss what was going on without any interference."

Welcome to the Highlands sign reading: "Failte don Ghaidhealtachd".
Welcome to the Highlands sign reading: "Failte don Ghaidhealtachd".

Stephanie also suggests a visit to nearby Culzean Castle, which is pronounced 'Cullean.' "Someone with sloppy penmanship mistook the 'z' for an 'l,' so it's pronounced like 'Cullean' but spelled 'Culzean,'" she explains. "There's an apartment there that was given to Eisenhower in recognition for his role in bringing an end to World War II. You can visit the apartment and even stay overnight there; it sleeps up to 12 people. There's a little office filled with memorabilia, and the grounds are gorgeous – the gardens there are worth a visit by themselves."

Travelers411 Community Forums - This interview's thread:
http://www.travelers411.com/forums/showthread.php?t=3379

For more information visit www.glenappcastle.com


Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams responds to news coverage of the British royal wedding with some advice for the happy couple: take a honeymoon right away. "There's enormous pressure that builds up from the engagement to the end of the wedding celebration," she explains. "You need that downtime to just decompress. Even if you're been living together, postponing the honeymoon is really a mistake. You're starting a new passage together and it's important to be able to relax."

Le Blanc Spa Resort Beach.
Le Blanc Spa Resort Beach, Cancun, Mexico.

Not only is it a question of timing, but also of choice of destination. "Apparently Prince William proposed in Africa, so the current rumor is that they'll travel there," says Stephanie. "That's the first place I thought they would consider because it seems they're very appreciative of what nature has to offer. There are other places that are not so good, for security reasons. The Le Blanc Hotel in Cancun, for example, offers you your own personal butler. But then again, there are lots of people in Cancun, so it might not be right for a royal couple from a security perspective."

Le Blanc Spa Resort Beach.
Le Blanc Spa Resort Beach, Cancun, Mexico.

If the choice is not a game reserve or resort in Africa, Stephanie is betting on the choice of a British island in the Caribbean. She suggests Necker Island, a private island owned by Richard Branson, head of the Virgin companies. "If I were making recommendations, I would call Richard Branson and ask him to pull out his private plane and fly the happy couple to Necker Island. It's British, the whole thing is a resort, and it only holds 28 people. So they could take some of their friends with them or they could have the whole thing to themselves."

Le Blanc Spa Resort lagoon.
Le Blanc Spa Resort lagoon, Cancun, Mexico.

Travel Tips:

Want to see James Taylor at Ozawa Hall at Tanglewood on June 30, 2011? Stephanie is giving away 2 tickets to the concert and an overnight stay at the Berkshire Crowne Plaza. Listeners can enter in the forums at sabrams.com by submitting 50 words on why they should win the tickets.


Guests Include:

Robert Herring, Guest, Glenapp Castle, Ayrshire, Scotland..
www.glenappcastle.com

Ann Herring, Guest, Glenapp Castle, Ayrshire, Scotland..
www.glenappcastle.com

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