City of the White Rose

York, England

Candymakers in York are known for their delectable chocolate!

I’ve written two recent blogs about York, but there is still more to cover. York is a city of history that began in Roman times and still thrives today. This city is the most popular tourist attraction in the United Kingdom, welcoming over 38 million overnight visitors in 2018. 13.3 million of those came from international destinations. This statistic proves that York is as popular in the UK as it is out of it.

All that's left of the Roman fort.

My family and I only spent 3 days in York, far too little time in my opinion. Around each corner is another tidbit of history. Across each street, another story. Romans. Vikings, Normans and Kings wandered these streets. 300 hundred-year-old pubs are still serving pints to the people.

The best tour company to help you help you unlock the mysteries of York is White Rose Tours. Alan Sharp is the owner and original tour guide and his knowledge of the York and its history is unmatched. As he studied drama at college, his history “class” isn’t boring and he captures your attention and holds it at each site.

Stands on old Norman castle grounds.

Our tour started with Alan meeting outside our hotel. As the location was across from Cliffords Tower, he started there and told us the saddest and most horrible incident in York’s history. Cliffords Tower is built on the site of a wooden castle built by William the Conqueror in 1069. Over the years, it burned and was built again using stone. In 1189, Richard I, called Lionheart, refused to allow Jews, many of whom were wealthy, to attend is coronation, unintentionally sparking a countrywide of anti-Semitic backlash. In York, this sentiment was egged on by 4 merchants seeking to abolish their debts to the Jewish money lenders. The Jewish community took refuge in Cliffords Tower and barricaded the doors. There, in 1190, the Jewish people in York chose to kill themselves, rather than submit to torture, forced baptism, or death at the hands of the mob. Afterwards, a royal inquest was held, but no one was ever held responsible.

Another site on the tour is the Richard III museum, contained in one of the bars marking entry into the city. Richard III really gets his bad reputation from Shakespeare’s play, bet even today, Yorkshire’s still love him. He held his seat of power in the city, although that was ended when the War of the Roses was finally won. Richard III of York and his family represented the White Rose and Henry Tudor, who eventually became Henry IV after Richard was killed, represented the Red Rose.

A hallway in York Minster

The Cathedral and Metropolitical Church of Saint Peter in York, otherwise known as York Minster, is the seat of the Archbishop of York, the third highest church official in England. The site dates back as a Christian place of worship to the 4th century, when, into 627, a wooden chapel was built. This chapel was built to baptize Edwin, King of Northumbria when he became a Christian and the faith. In 637, a stone structure was built by Oswald, a Viking missionary, and dedicated to St. Peter. Now it stands as the largest Cathedral in England. For more on the history of York Minster, let me book you a tour with White Rose Tours!

For more information, contact me at AmberRoadsTravel.com.

First-Time Cruise? Read This Guide!

It’s always smooth sailing with Norwegian Cruise Line,® from your first cruise to your next grand adventure.

There’s nothing quite like the anticipation before a cruise vacation: new discoveries that await in port, beautifully prepared meals every night and the lifelong friendships that you’ll form. Whether you’re gearing up for your first-ever voyage or inviting your loved ones to earn their own sea legs with you, Norwegian Cruise Line® brings all the elements together for a perfectly planned vacation.

Step One: Where Should I Go?

When the urge to travel strikes, it’s impossible to ignore. The only question we have is, how soon can you leave? When we arrange your voyage with Norwegian Cruise Line, you can select from 15 different regions across the globe — with options that appeal to your sense of adventure and that can be tailored for a romantic escape, a grand reunion or fun family vacation.

Go wild in Alaska on an Inside Passage cruise roundtrip out of Seattle. Nature and culture come together in the most beautiful ways as you hike through Tongass National Forest, enjoy an authentic salmon bake in Skagway, and set off from Ketchikan on a black bear safari in the Alaska Rainforest Sanctuary.

For sheer island bliss, it’s hard to beat a Hawai‘I cruise — particularly one that includes overnight stays on both Maui and Kaua‘i. By spending nearly 100 hours in port, visiting four different islands in seven days, you can make the most of every sunny minute. Snorkel with sea turtles and zip line through lush rainforest, and even tee off in front of incredible ocean views thanks to Norwegian Cruise Line’s golf program that gives you access to 30 breathtaking courses.

Barcelona serves as a sophisticated base for an adventure to some of the great cultural capitals around the Western Mediterranean. On a seven-day voyage, you’ll witness the highs and lows of ancient Rome, from its eerie catacombs to the ethereal ceiling inside the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel. More treasures are in store as you stroll Cannes’ famous La Croisette boulevard and enjoy an authentic taste of Naples’ greatest export: pizza.

Step Two: What Should I Wear?

A sense of freedom underscores Norwegian Cruise Line’s philosophy of Freestyle Cruising.® With Freestyle Dining, you can dine where, when and with whomever you wish. So dress up or dress down, it’s always your choice.

A more challenging decision is where you’ll eat every day and night, with up to 27 different dining venues on board. Classic Mexican dishes like enchiladas de mole get a twist in Los Lobos Cantina, and authentic pasadores carve slices of slow-roasted beef tableside in the Brazilian steakhouse, Moderno. Look forward to an evening of fun at Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville at Sea, while elegance — and oysters on the half shell — await at Ocean Blue restaurant.

Step Three: What Will I Do on Board?

A place as enormous as Alaska deserves two ships that loom just as large: Norwegian Bliss and her sister, Norwegian Joy, launching April 2019. Norwegian’s largest ships to date offer such cool amenities as a bilevel Race Track and the four-deck-high Aqua Racer tube water ride. Stroll along The Waterfront and watch the Tony-winning musical “Jersey Boys” before kicking up your heels to live music at the Texas-style smokehouse, Q.

Island hopping around Hawai‘i is equally exciting aboard Pride of America, which underwent a major refurbishment a few years ago and came back a whole new ship. You’ll develop a new perspective of Polynesian culture with performances and onboard ambassadors who lead hula lessons and other immersive workshops. In between activities, relax on your private balcony or on deck as you watch for whales or witness the dramatic Nāpali Coast coming into view.

In between action-packed days on land, we promise that “bored” won’t even cross your mind when you’re at sea. On Norwegian Epic, you can make a real splash under the Mediterranean sun at the Aqua Park’s two pools, five hot tubs and 200-foot Epic Plunge, the first bowl slide at sea. Roll a strike in the full-size bowling alley, get a stress-reducing massage at the Mandara Spa. And catch “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert” or another dazzling production in the Epic Theater.

With all that Norwegian Cruise Line has to offer, it’s your ideal introduction to cruising or a perfect way to introduce your friends and family to the experience. Let us walk you through the process and we’ll design a voyage that creates indelible memories.

Follow Your Sense of Adventure in Hawai‘i

You won't need a road map to experience more than you imagined during your Hawai‘i vacation. It’s time to Let Hawai‘i Happen.

On the island of O‘ahu, a trip north from Honolulu takes you along a winding highway toward Hanalei Town. Stop at roadside trucks selling plump, buttery shrimp — the heavily graffitied Giovanni’s truck is perhaps the most famous, but you’ll run into many more local favorites. In Waimea Valley, cool off with a plunge into Waimea Falls and end in the surfing town of Hale‘iwa with a refreshing and colorful shave ice.

The island of Hawai‘i is filled with dramatic vistas like the magnificent summits of Maunakea and Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Once you experience those essential sights, drive toward the coast, stopping at the onyx-colored sands of Punalu‘u Beach. On this magical black beach, you’ll stroll on smooth sands and spot sea life in the clear waters.

Depart the coast of Maui for the agricultural haven of Upcountry Maui. Pause to watch the windsurfers in action in Pā‘ia, then wander the mazes of lavender fields in Kula and explore the soulful arts community in the paniolo cowboy town of Makawao. Take time to go even farther off the grid and fly to Moloka‘i, the birthplace of hula , or hop aboard a ferry from Maui to Lāna‘i to discover just how luxurious true seclusion can be.

Much of Kaua‘i feels off the beaten path, considering that at least 80 percent of the island is not accessible by car. On the northwest side of Kaua‘i, the undulating Nāpali Coast is so remote that it’s only reachable by boat or air. Any way you choose to explore, your adventures here are well-rewarded, but our advice is to approach it by helicopter for spectacular views of the majestic cliff “cathedrals” framed by aquamarine seas.

Where to Indulge

Take a break from all your adventures in these naturally inspired hotel spas.

Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort

In Hawaiian language, ‘āwili means to mix, blend and entwine, and at the ‘wili Spa & Salon, relaxing treatments are crafted to suit your needs. Discover a traditional Japanese spa experience with your $100 in spa treatment credit.

Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa

The 45,000-square-foot Anara Spa is the island’s largest and boasts open-air yoga classes and spa treatment rooms that open to a tropical garden. Enjoy these amenities with daily complimentary spa access for two.

Halekulani

Rejuvenate at SpaHalekulani with one of the many heavenly spa treatments with $100 in resort credit for room types garden courtyard through junior suite or $200 in resort credit for pool-view suite through premier suite.