Corkie Van Zak
Beverly Hills, California Travel Agent
If you can imagine it, I can probably make it happen in Europe, whether you want to travel like royalty or slip into the rhythm of local life in an Alpine village. I have always been drawn to Europe’s history and Old World ambiance and love that you can travel a short distance and find yourself in a new culture, where the cuisine, language, crafts, and music are totally different. It is a part of the world I return to again and again, (especially now that my daughter and son-in-law live in France, near the Swiss border). Europe is also a favorite with my clients, so I have planned trips that focus on a variety of special interests and enjoy ferreting out unique experiences.
One of the most daring and “cool” places to spend a night is in one of the ice hotels where you bundle up and sleep in a room carved out of ice. If you time your trip right, you are likely to see the Northern Lights dancing across the sky, and during the day, you might go dog sledding, leading your own team of dogs through pristine wilderness, or go zipping through the forest on a snowmobile.
For a “hot” experience, I can suggest a volcanic cooking class in Ischia, Italy. Your guides are scientists who take you hiking through a volcanic area where you pick herbs as you learn the science of volcanoes. Then, you cook your meal using the heat of the volcanic sands, a local tradition. While your food is cooking, you can snorkel and see Ischia’s undersea attractions.
When one of my clients wanted to throw a surprise dinner party at a restaurant in Paris for his wife’s 65th birthday, I suggested that he bring everyone on the Bustronome. It is a unique evening where you are served a truly gourmet meal aboard a double-decker bus as you drive by the famous landmarks. Nothing like a normal bus on the inside, the Bustronome feels like a fine restaurant on wheels, with white linen table cloths, white-glove service, and amazing food. Its big windows, glass ceiling and roomy interior let you fully appreciate the beauty of Paris at night.
A great way to do your holiday gift shopping is on a river cruise that stops at Christmas market towns, each decorated to the hilt and showcasing unique crafts and specialties. These towns are very festive during this period, with special foods and music. Or spend a pre-holiday shopping week in one of Europe’s stylish cities, where I can arrange for a personal shopper to help you find just the right gift for everyone on your list.
These are just of few of the fun and unusual experiences I can book for you. From family celebrations to romantic getaways to culture and cuisine-focused itineraries, I have the knowledge and resources to plan extraordinary experiences throughout Europe.