Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Are your taste buds ready for Lasagne ai Carciofi?

Tasting the local cuisine is a vital part of any travel experience and at Incantato Tours, we take food very serious. Now that the Mayfield Seniors High School Arts Immersion journey is in its final stages, we will feature some of the restaurants that the travelers will be dining in here on the blog.
What's the mystery ingredient?
Not all of them have websites, and one of the reasons for that is as simple as they do not need one, because word of mouth is the best advertising for a great restaurant in Italy. 
Ristorante Terra di Pa, located right in the historic city center of Contigliano, is one of those examples and the members of your tour will be eating here on Good Friday, April 6.
What's on the menu? Well, we won't spill all the beans just yet, the main course or star will be Lasagne ai Carciofi and the first one of you to translate the main ingredient correctly by posting it as a comment below this blog entry will get to double-up on dessert that day. Here is a hint, Carciofi are very much beloved by the Italians and will be in just in season when you get to Europe. And do not forget, the main reason why your group is in Contigliano on Good Friday is the torch-lit procession takes place that very evening, winding its way through the ancient streets and has done so for hundreds of year.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Incantato Travel Tip: Money Matters

Dear Travelers, Money is a delicate subject and everyone may feel different about how to handle their pocket money. Many people prefer to bring some Euro over with them already - your local bank should be able to help getting you this currency while still in the US. From our experience, the best way to use your money during your upcoming trip is to have a debit card; this allows you to withdraw money from any ATM machine with only being charged a small withdrawal fee. The fee differs between banks. Be sure to call your bank before your departure to tell them where you are going and for how long so they won't freeze your account. Make sure you know your four digit pin for withdrawal. Some debit cards given by banks have the compatibility of being usable as a credit card, usually Visa, MasterCard, both are widely accepted in Italy, but not for small purchases. If you bring cash, you can exchange it but you will lose more money as they charge for their services. Most places in Europe won't accept traveler's checks anymore. Also, be prepared to pay for water and a little fee for restroom use. Last but not least, there are no free refills on soft drinks in Europe which is why most Europeans ask for little to no ice in their drinks.
We suggest you have some spending money available and our recommendation is the equivalent of around 20 dollars per day for the meals not included, snacks, drinks, postcards, and some souvenirs. It is not imperative that you have this amount of money. There are many ways to lower your expenses:
· Most restaurants have menus outside so you can check their price range.
· Venture off the main roads to find a restaurant. These usually have more character, better food, and better prices.
· Bring your own water bottle. Most places have safe tap water for refills.
· Buy food from the "convenient" stores. You don't have to sit down in the restaurant for every meal.
· Shop around for souvenirs; many stores have the same things on sale for very different prices.

Last but not least, remember that your Incantato Tour Manager is with you pretty much 24/7. The guide is there to help you make the right choices.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Incantato Travel Tip: Voltage and Converters

Voltage differences in the world are not so shocking!
Voltage in the world differs for each country 220 volt or 110 volts. Plug shapes, plug holes and plug sizes are also different in each country. Some countries like USA and Canada run on 120 volt 60 cycles (60hz) and most of the worlds run on 220/240 volt 50 cycles (50hz). This difference in the voltage can be solved by using an appropriate voltage converter. These converter devices are usually available at superstores and over the internet. While you can also buy them overseas, we recommend purchasing them before you leave if you need them - some items such as ipods, laptops, cameras may only need a two or three round prong adapter plug (pictured on the left, the middle plug is not essential).