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(VIDEO) Two Days In San Sebastian


Wine and Cuisine 



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Of course I couldn’t cover everything I did in San Sebastian in the video, but here are some other things to see and do during  your visit.

Ondarreta

Ondarreta is the western part of San Sebastian.  Here are some recommenations:

  1. Playa de Ondarreta (the beach).
  2. Palacio Miramar.
  3. The Ondarreta Gardens (near the beach).

Parte Vieja/Old Town

The old town was where I spent most of my time due to the fact that this are is filled with restaurants, bars, historical sites, and museums.  Here are some recommendations:

  1. Castillo de La Mota.
  2. Plaza de la Constitucion. (Constitutional Palace).
  3. San Vincente Church.
  4. Santa Maria Church.
  5. The Naval Museum.
  6. The Aquarium

Centro/Center

  1. The Victoria Eugenia Theatre.
  2. Bar San Marcial.
  3. La Espiga.
  4. Bar Antonio.

Gros

  1. Kursaal Congressional Palace.
  2. Pintxos Pote (Thursday Nights).
  3. Plaza Biteri.

 

More recommended Places to Eat Pinxtos 

The Center

Bar Iturrioz, Bar Antonio

Parte Vieja – Old Part

Sport, Goiz-Argi, Borda Berri, Txepetxa, La Vina

Gros

Bergara, Bodeguilla Donostiarra


©2016 World Travelers Today

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WTT 001: Jim Sutton’s Tips on Traveling Safely Around the World


Podcast



Audio Player


Recorded on June 27, 2016, two days before the airport bombing in Istanbul, Turkey.  We would like to express our condolences to the families of the victims of this terrorist attack.

Joining me this week is Jim Sutton, Founder of the North American Intelligence Exchange.  Jim is also a former U.S. government intelligence analyst and FBI Special Agent.  Jim is a travel security expert and contributor to World Travelers Today.

I met Jim over 10 years ago while working on a contract with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.  Jim was the project’s Intelligence Director and over the years, has served as my mentor and colleague on multiple security projects.  Jim has traveled the world for both business and pleasure, notably in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

Today, Jim is going to share some valuable tips on how travelers can stay safe while overseas.  He will also share some insight into why terrorist groups target modes of transportation.  One question I had for Jim is, will the level of security at airports expand?

You will learn:

  • Traveling comes with inherent risks such as system failures, natural events, criminal activity, and terroristic events.
  • Tips on personal protection discipline.
  • How to stay alert while traveling.
  • Practice situational awareness.
  • How to know where you are at all times.
  • Calibrate your intuition by learning from past events.

I am looking forward to you hearing Jim’s tips on travel security.

Don’t forget to follow our podcast on iTunes and to also follow our blog.

Thanks for listening!

sjg_signature_black2014 copy

 

 

 


©2016 World Travelers Today

Play
Posted on

Travel Security Tips


Travel Security Tips


Jim Sutton

By Jim Sutton


 Five Easy Lessons for all Travelers 

After several decades traveling around the world, including several “Hot War zones” I’ve learned several lessons about traveling.  I’ve narrowed my list down to the five most important lessons that have kept me safe during my travels.

Lesson # 1: You will make mistakes during your trip, but you must learn from your mistakes and move on. 

Most of us have realized that the best lessons are the results of mistakes we have made.  All of our mistakes have been learned in hindsight.  It reminds me of an old adage: “Experience is the mother of wisdom; experience can only come from living/enduring the consequences of our mistakes.” The greater the mistake the most memorable the lesson becomes.  You will make mistakes while traveling.  Learn from your mistakes and try to share the results and wisdom with other travelers.  However, allowing your mistakes, — losing your wallet, being robbed, or missing a flight–to overwhelm you, will taint your experience and possibly others around you.  Plan for things to go wrong during your trip.  Staying flexible while traveling will allow you to enjoy your time traveling.

Lesson # 2: Wanderlust is an essential component of being human and you can’t allow threats to deter you from traveling.  

We would not exist today as a species if our ancestors did not have the urge to move, explore, travel and visit. While every possible foreseeable precaution is taken to ensure our survival and wellbeing, it is nearly impossible to anticipate all possible contingencies. It is critically important to plan ahead before going on a vacation or business trip, and you should also also take into consideration local conditions at your destination.  Another thing to remember is for you to accept the fact that no travel is completely without risk. The key to travel security is to be well informed about the latest developments in the country you are visiting.  I highly recommend that you read up on the the country or city you are visiting.  Learn about their culture, past security issues, the political situation, and seasonal weather patterns.

Lesson # 3: Violence against travelers is the new normal.

Criminal violence including terrorism is the new normal.  Violence against travelers happens everywhere and each one of us must accept that we cannot assume “it will not happen to us.” Complacency, ego, and travel ignorance are the greatest challenges you will face as a traveler.  The new normal is here to stay and all travelers must realize that there have always been threats to travelers.  There seems to be an idea or theory that Europe has always been a safe place for travelers.  This thought process or belief is risky.  The most recent wave of terrorist attacks in Paris and Brussels are part of a long history of violence against travelers in Europe.

Lesson # 4: Make your travel fears concrete and specific in order to overcome them.

From personal experience, I can assert, that the best way to handle fear is to make the fear concrete and specific.  During my travels, I’ve had considerable concerns about the overall level of violence in some of the countries I was in,  however after introspection and time in the country, I realized that an unspecified fear was a psychological issue and not a real issue that could be managed. I have learned to develop the insight that nothing will screw/mess-up with my mind faster that my own brain. I was finally able to make my fear specific when I realized that my real fear was being taken hostage and losing control over my free-will.  Coming to this realization allowed me to better deal with my fear.  You cannot fight a defeat a ghost or an illusion. To defeat a real or imagined enemy you must first make your fear concrete and definable.

Lesson # 5: Stay informed and alert during your trip.  

It is very important that all travelers stay informed.  However, do not preoccupy your mind with rumors or second hand information.  Instead, rely on credible primary sources such as officials in the area you are visiting, or credible news sources with an established local, domestic, and international reputation.  This credible sources could be the Embassy/Consular officers of your nation of origin in the region. Remember, that not all the sources of danger come from the criminal or violent actions of others; but also from Mother Nature herself.

System Failures

We live in a complex technologically advanced world where the biggest source of danger and fatalities come from the system we depend on. Planes crash, ships and other maritime conveyances sink, buildings/hotels/hostels collapse or catch fire. These types of system failures are reported throughout the world on a daily basis.  Therefore, research and gather all the information you can on your airline, cruise ship company, hotel, and tour company.  It is your responsibility to make well informed decisions before and during your trip.

Natural Events: This includes all events caused by nature, from volcanic eruptions, floods, tsunamis, typhoons, hurricanes, tornados, intense rain storms, pandemics, epidemics, infectious diseases, avalanches, etc. Natural events are of such a large scope/magnitude they cannot be avoided unless we take precautions to evade them once their possibility has been defined or established by a credible source.  Several years ago, a volcano erupted in Iceland causing all commercial flights in Europe to come to a halt.  You should always plan for these types of delays by having emergency funds for food, hotel, and transportation.

Criminal Activity

 This is by a the most statistically probable event you are likely to experience. Travelers are victims of crimes all over the world. Travelers can avoid being victims of crime by staying alert, being well informed, and exerciseing common sense.  This can be summed up in two words: Imprudence or Inattention. If you analyze all instances of victimization the cause of the all events is inescapable; it is one of the two “I’s) or a combination of both.

Terrorism

While terrorist incidents receive a lot of media attention, they are statistically the least probable to occur to you while traveling. They are commonly classified as “low probability/high consequence.” Remember, terrorism is political theater designed to frighten people and coerce a change in their normal routines and prove government and authorities are unable to provide real security. Unless you plan to travel into a “hot” zone known for political violence and instability, you should not worry about the unspecific fear of “terrorists.”  To be sure, travelers have been victim to terrorism, but as mentioned before, you are more likely to be a victim of crime or having your flight delayed while traveling.


©2017 World Travelers Today

Posted on

(VIDEO) SER Part Two: The Food


Wine and Cuisine



 SER:  “to be” simple. easy. real.

This post is the second part of SER.  If you missed part one, you can see it here at SER Part One:  Interview with Javier Candon.


Join me as I explore SER in search of Fab Food.  I will show you SER’s trendy look and then dive straight into a three course meal that will make your mouth water.

Starter:  Brochette de Pollo

Main Course:  Grilled Grouper and Cordero a la Plancha (Lamb leg fillet).

Dessert:  Goxua (cold layered dessert, strawberries, cream, sponge cake, custard)  & Arroz con leche Asturiano (Caramelized rice pudding Asturian style).

Drinks:  Pingao 2014/Tempranillo/Rioja/Spain

Screen Shot 2016-06-30 at 5.59.49 AM

1110 North Glebe Road/ Arlington, VA/USA
www.ser-restaurant.com

Special thanks to Ryan Leon, Javier Candon, and SER’s staff for an amazing experience.


 

©2016 World Travelers Today

Posted on

ROME’s ENOTECA IL GOCCETTO


Wine and Cuisine


“Italy has changed.  But Rome is Rome.”
– Robert De Niro

630

 

By Samuel Garza

 

I have visited the ancient city of Rome many times over the past two decades and I can never get enough of Rome’s culture, history, and food.  I have several favorite restaurants and historical sites I enjoy visiting (more blog posts to come), but nothing motivates me more than visiting Enoteca il Goccetto.  This cozy and rustic bar serves up many delicious Italian and French wines along with small plates to hold you down before dinner.  Over the years I’ve met many locals and tourist in the bar, and during my most recent visit, I was surprised to learn that Goccetto is one of the first wine bars in Rome.  The bar opened in 1983, which may seem new, but the cool thing about this bar is that it’s housed in an ancient Roman building called “Palazzetto del Vescovo di Cervia”.

Beer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I like to start my day off with a delicious Italian cappuccino followed by a long walk around parts of the city to take photographs.  Regardless of the weather, I’m usually in need of a rest and a cool drink after a few hours of walking around the streets of Rome.  I usually find my way to the historic street of Via Giulia and then zig zag my way to Goccetto.  Once I arrive, I usually order one of my favorite Italian beers, G. MENABREA E FIGLI Amber.  I highly recommend you do the same, especially on a warm Summer day.

 

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There are several beers to choose from, but I consistently order the amber.  This beer is part of a brewery that was founded in 1846 and has been winning medals for it’s tasty brews for 170 years.

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Food

The bar does not offer large portions of food, but you can order Carciofi Grigliati, cheese, olives, and other small plates to compliment your wine selection.  If you need help figuring out what you should order, ask the bartender to pair some food with your drink selection.  The bar’s staff are friendly and welcoming.  Don’t be shy.  Ask and you shall receive.  ?

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Wine

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The bar has over 800 wines which are mostly a collection of Italian and French.  You don’t have to ask for the menu to see their selection because the wines are the bar’s decoration.  There are hundreds of wines decorating the walls.  You can walk around and select the magic bottle that will keep you happy for a few hours.  I usually have wine in the evening when the bar is filled with people.  I’ve asked other patrons their recommendations when I wanted to try something new.  Trust me, the regulars are friendly and will be willing to help you choose a good bottle or two.

Digestivo

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Before I head home for the night, I always choose a digestivo to cap off a wonderful day.  My favorite Italian digestivo is Amoro Nonino.  This famous digestivo is made in Fuili, which is in Northern Italy.  This delicious drink is grappa based and blended with several herbs.  Amoro Nonino is reddish in color and stands firm at 70 proof.

Don’t be surprised if you see several patrons crowded near the entrance to the bar with their drinks.  The bar is small and many people take their drinks out to the street to chat with their friends.  I recommend getting to to the bar early if you want to have a seat inside, however hanging outside with the locals is also a cool experience.

Posted on

WTT 002: Travel Discussion with United Nations Consultant Robert Palmer


PodCast


I’m happy to have Robert Palmer, a United Nations Consultant speak with us on WTT’s Podcast.  Robert is a personal friend and former colleague.  Robert and I met at the University of Kent at Canterbury while we were both earning our MA in International Relations.  Robert travels the world for both business and pleasure and he will be sharing some advice on working at the UN, living in Rome, and traveling the world.

What you will learn:

  • Robert’s career advice on working with the UN
  • Advice on living and traveling in Rome
  • How to study abroad and earn an international MBA

Thanks for listening and stay tuned for new posting soon.

©2016 World Travelers Today

Posted on

The Medieval Streets of Cáceres


History Hiker


Samuel Garza

Samuel Garza

 

 

 

 

I traveled from Madrid to Caceres, which was my first trip to the Extremadura region of Spain. My friends in Madrid told me that visiting Extremadura is the perfect place to see old Spain. Like many areas of Spain, there have been settlements in or around Caceres since prehistoric times.(1) The city was founded by the Romans in 25 B.C. and the city still has it’s ancient walls and and much younger medieval streets and churches. I arrived via train and on my journey I saw a countryside filled with grazing cattle and pigs. In 1986, Caceres was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Alfonso IX of Leon conquered the city from the Moors in 1227.(2) Soon after, the town grew in prosperity due to free trade that the town’s merchants implemented. Due to family dueling and bitter rivalries, King Fernando and Isabel ordered many of the town’s watch towers to be demolished.(3)

Caceres was untouched by the Spanish Civil War and stands gloriously as it once did. I was so excited walking around the city late in the evening and also early in the morning taking photos and drinking coffee in one of the many cafes sprinkled throughout the town. Caceres is known for it’s wine, which is a full bodied red that does not disappoint. You can also taste amazing goat and sheep cheese that pairs well with your Extremadura wine. A must try is Caceres’ famous stews, pork, and lamb. The food here was amazing.

Below I have provided a gallery of photos that hopefully express the beauty of the streets of Caceres. This is a city to get lost in, to wander with pure excitement, and to get lost and to use your camera like there is no tomorrow. Caceres was a wonderful city to visit and I learned enough about it’s history in just a few short days to want to return to the Extremadura region in 2016.

Plaza Mayor

Upon my arrival, the town square was buzzing with activity. A tent was erected in the middle of the square and inside the locals were tasting food and wine. I also came across a book sale (pictured below) but I decided against buying a few books due to lack of space and I just didn’t want the added weight.

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San Francisco Javier Church

I made several attempts to enter the church and each time I was met by a locked door. I couldn’t find the hours the church was operand and the tourist office nearby had no clue. Anyways, the exterior of the church is beautiful and worth seeing.

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Plaza De Santa Maria

Walking further into the winding streets of Caceres, I wandered into Plaza De Santa Maria. The plaza has several important building and it is ideal for setting up your tripod and capturing some beautiful images.

Iglesia de Santa Maria on the left.

Iglesia de Santa Maria on the left.

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Arco de la Estrella

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In 1726, Manuel Churriguera built this beautiful low-arched gate. The gate connects Plaza Mayor with the old town. It’s a beautiful structure and worth taking a few pictures early in the morning with less people crowding your shot.

Iglesia de San Mateo

Nestled in the center of the old town, is San Mateo church. Construction began in the 14th century and was completed in the 17th century.

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How to Get There

I arrived in Caceres from Madrid via train. The travel time is 2 hours and 50 minutes one way for around €58 round trip. I highly advise that you buy your tickets at the station. You can also travel via bus. The bus trip will take 4.5 hours at a cost of around €20.

Where to Stay

I stayed at the Hotel AH Agora, which is a few blocks away from Plaza Mayor.  There are plenty of places to stay, but book your rooms in advance to get better prices.

Address and Phone Number:  AH Agora/Parras, 25/Cáceres, 10002, Spain/Phone: +34927626360

View more photographs of Caceres, Spain by Samuel J. Garza.


©2017 World Travelers Today

Posted on

Five Easy Lessons for All Travelers


Travel Security Tips


Jim Sutton

By Jim Sutton


 Five Easy Lessons for all Travelers 

After several decades traveling around the world, including several “Hot War zones” I’ve learned several lessons about traveling.  I’ve narrowed my list down to the five most important lessons that have kept me safe during my travels.

Lesson # 1: You will make mistakes during your trip, but you must learn from your mistakes and move on. 

Most of us have realized that the best lessons are the results of mistakes we have made.  All of our mistakes have been learned in hindsight.  It reminds me of an old adage: “Experience is the mother of wisdom; experience can only come from living/enduring the consequences of our mistakes.” The greater the mistake the most memorable the lesson becomes.  You will make mistakes while traveling.  Learn from your mistakes and try to share the results and wisdom with other travelers.  However, allowing your mistakes, — losing your wallet, being robbed, or missing a flight–to overwhelm you, will taint your experience and possibly others around you.  Plan for things to go wrong during your trip.  Staying flexible while traveling will allow you to enjoy your time traveling.

Lesson # 2: Wanderlust is an essential component of being human and you can’t allow threats to deter you from traveling.  

We would not exist today as a species if our ancestors did not have the urge to move, explore, travel and visit. While every possible foreseeable precaution is taken to ensure our survival and wellbeing, it is nearly impossible to anticipate all possible contingencies. It is critically important to plan ahead before going on a vacation or business trip, and you should also also take into consideration local conditions at your destination.  Another thing to remember is for you to accept the fact that no travel is completely without risk. The key to travel security is to be well informed about the latest developments in the country you are visiting.  I highly recommend that you read up on the the country or city you are visiting.  Learn about their culture, past security issues, the political situation, and seasonal weather patterns.

Lesson # 3: Violence against travelers is the new normal.

Criminal violence including terrorism is the new normal.  Violence against travelers happens everywhere and each one of us must accept that we cannot assume “it will not happen to us.” Complacency, ego, and travel ignorance are the greatest challenges you will face as a traveler.  The new normal is here to stay and all travelers must realize that there have always been threats to travelers.  There seems to be an idea or theory that Europe has always been a safe place for travelers.  This thought process or belief is risky.  The most recent wave of terrorist attacks in Paris and Brussels are part of a long history of violence against travelers in Europe.

Lesson # 4: Make your travel fears concrete and specific in order to overcome them.

From personal experience, I can assert, that the best way to handle fear is to make the fear concrete and specific.  During my travels, I’ve had considerable concerns about the overall level of violence in some of the countries I was in,  however after introspection and time in the country, I realized that an unspecified fear was a psychological issue and not a real issue that could be managed. I have learned to develop the insight that nothing will screw/mess-up with my mind faster that my own brain. I was finally able to make my fear specific when I realized that my real fear was being taken hostage and losing control over my free-will.  Coming to this realization allowed me to better deal with my fear.  You cannot fight a defeat a ghost or an illusion. To defeat a real or imagined enemy you must first make your fear concrete and definable.

Lesson # 5: Stay informed and alert during your trip.  

It is very important that all travelers stay informed.  However, do not preoccupy your mind with rumors or second hand information.  Instead, rely on credible primary sources such as officials in the area you are visiting, or credible news sources with an established local, domestic, and international reputation.  This credible sources could be the Embassy/Consular officers of your nation of origin in the region. Remember, that not all the sources of danger come from the criminal or violent actions of others; but also from Mother Nature herself.

System Failures: We live in a complex technologically advanced world where the biggest source of danger and fatalities come from the system we depend on. Planes crash, ships and other maritime conveyances sink, buildings/hotels/hostels collapse or catch fire. These types of system failures are reported throughout the world on a daily basis.  Therefore, research and gather all the information you can on your airline, cruise ship company, hotel, and tour company.  It is your responsibility to make well informed decisions before and during your trip.

Natural Events: This includes all events caused by nature, from volcanic eruptions, floods, tsunamis, typhoons, hurricanes, tornados, intense rain storms, pandemics, epidemics, infectious diseases, avalanches, etc. Natural events are of such a large scope/magnitude they cannot be avoided unless we take precautions to evade them once their possibility has been defined or established by a credible source.  Several years ago, a volcano erupted in Iceland causing all commercial flights in Europe to come to a halt.  You should always plan for these types of delays by having emergency funds for food, hotel, and transportation.

Criminal Activity: This is by a the most statistically probable event you are likely to experience. Travelers are victims of crimes all over the world. Travelers can avoid being victims of crime by staying alert, being well informed, and exerciseing common sense.  This can be summed up in two words: Imprudence or Inattention. If you analyze all instances of victimization the cause of the all events is inescapable; it is one of the two “I’s) or a combination of both.

Terrorism: While terrorist incidents receive a lot of media attention, they are statistically the least probable to occur to you while traveling. They are commonly classified as “low probability/high consequence.” Remember, terrorism is political theater designed to frighten people and coerce a change in their normal routines and prove government and authorities are unable to provide real security. Unless you plan to travel into a “hot” zone known for political violence and instability, you should not worry about the unspecific fear of “terrorists.”  To be sure, travelers have been victim to terrorism, but as mentioned before, you are more likely to be a victim of crime or having your flight delayed while traveling.