Abercrombie & Kent: Five cinema-cations around the world

You may not have that look that Hollywood craves, but you still want to get close to the action, right? You want to touch the greatness that comes with being splashed across screens from coast to coast. Thanks to the latest concept from luxury travel company Abercrombie & Kent, you don’t need talent. The latest “cinema-cation” packages send you to the locations where some of the hottest movies of the last year or so have been shot. There are enough options that you’ll definitely find something to match your personal style.

1. Sex and the City 2
After seeing this movie opening night on May 27, 2010, dash off to Morocco. A&K Group Managing Director George Morgan-Grenville was actually over there while movie was being filmed at the Amanjena Hotel and in the Djema el-Fna Square souks. The interiors and pool scenes, he says, were shot at the soon-to-open Mandarin Oriental Jnan Rahma and Palmeraie over in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains. Suggests Morgan Grenvile: “Take a camel ride at sunset and spend the night under the stars in a Bedouin-style tented camp surrounded by the largest sand dunes in the world.”

2. Eat , Pray, Love
Before going to see Eat, Pray, Love on August 13, 2010, check out the treasures of Northern India with this A&K Journey for Women. You’ll take apersonal journey with A&K guide Shagun Mohan, who says, “We spend time with local women at a bead-making workshop in the holy city of Varanasi, witness a spiritual Aarti ceremony on the Ganges at night, see the Taj Mahal at both sunrise and sunset, and visit Khajuraho’s Hindu temples. This kind of journey is a life-changing experience for almost anyone.” 3. Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallow Part 1
Families can get a feel for Harry Potter‘s Great Britain ahead of the November 19, 2010 opening with the A&K Tailor Made Magical Great Britain package. According to Duncan Hambidge of A&K Europe, who has visited may Harry Potter film spots with his family, “One highlight for children is the Great Hall at Oxford University, Hogwart’s Dining Room. Another favorite is crossing the dramatic Glenfinnian Viaduct in the Western Highlands aboard The Royal Scotsman, the route taken by the Hogwart’s Express train in the Chambers of Secrets, The Prisoner of Azkaban and The Goblet of Fire.

4. The Hurt Locker
Last year’s Academy Award winner for Best Picture, The Hurt Locker captured the attention of audiences across the United States. A&K suggests following in the footsteps of Lawrence of Arabia if you’re looking for travel inspired by this movie. The A&K Extreme Adventures Jordan package is the way to go, led by Raed Omar Saleem.

Saleem’s been leading thrill-seeking visitors through Jordan since 1997 and recalls from a recent excursion, “In the middle of nowhere, we pitch our tents and gather around the campfire for dinner, recalling the hikes through ancient cities, the 4X4 treks and mountain climbs that brought us here. Without speaking of it, we all share the same sense of awe, the palpable sense that time passes through this desert yet barely seems to touch it. The moon-like landscape stretches to the mountains, bannered by multicolored striations in the rock. The smooth reddish sand is devoid of stones, and our camels’ toes rouse no dust as they thudded in their steady pace. There is no dust here in the valley of Wadi Rum, once a sea basin and later the place T.E. Lawrence found his calling. That is the beauty of the desert: it is nothing and everything.”

5. Creation: The True Story of Charles Darwin
Trace the history of life with the A&K Wonders of the Galapagos trip. Says A&K’s Ian Mackinnon, “The islands of the Galapagos offer an opportunity to interact with the natural world to a degree that’s virtually impossible anywhere else.”

He suggests, “Swim and snorkel with sea lions and turtles. Stroll past colonies of penguins and blue-footed boobies. Imagine yourself as Charles Darwin seeing a tortoise for the first time. Every island is unique; it’s no wonder Darwin was changed by his time there.”

I suggest: “Bring a creationist and ask constantly if he thinks dinosaurs walked the earth 5,000 years ago. Point and laugh.”

Adventure and Luxury in Morocco

Mountain trekking has become a favorite vacation for adventure travelers, with some jetting off to South America to tackle the Andes, others hopping a plane to Europe for a tour of the Alps, while yet another group will head to Northern Africa to experience the Atlas Mountains. That’s exactly where travel writer Amanda Jones went when she wrote this piece for the LA TImes.

Jones discovered that the Atlases, which stretch for more than 1500 miles across Morocco, into Algeria, and continuing on to Tunisia, are separated into three distinct parts, beginning with the Middle Atlas that run along the north. The High Atlas are located in the central south, while the Anti-Atlas run into the foothills before tapering off into the Sahara Desert in the deep south.

An Atlas trek can be quite an adventure, with trails winding into some remote regions, including up Jebel Toubkal, the tallest mountain in North Africa at 13,671 feet. The scenery is stunning, and hikers frequently pass through Berber villages along their routes. Jones gives excellent details on her own trek, which was six days in length and consisted of 6-9 hours of trekking per day. Nights were spent in a variety of guest houses found in the different villages along the route.

To top off their Moroccon adventure, Amanda and her traveling companion treated themselves to a stay at the Kasbah Tamadot, a luxury resort owned by Richard Branson that includes a spa, two pools, restaurants, and 18 specially designed suites, along with six authenic Berber tents.

No one said you couldn’t spoil yourself a bit after the adventure is over.

World’s Best Road Trips

Death ValleyIn March, my wife and I drove from Florida’s east coast to its west coast for a long weekend. In total, we put 600 miles on the car. Does that qualify as a road trip — or is it just a long drive?

In August, we’re planning on taking our two dogs and driving from Florida, through Georgia, and up to Indiana. We plan to be gone for 2+ weeks, and that trip will add about 2500 miles to the car. Does that qualify as a road trip — or is it just insanity on wheels?

Want to spin your wheels out on the open road but can’t figure out a good route? Check out Concierge, which has put together a dreamy list of the world’s best road trips, including:

Finally, after you read the piece, you can vote on your favorite road trip — or nominate a new one altogether.

In case you’re wondering, my all-time favorite road trip was the three-month tour my wife and I took along South Africa’s coast, from Durban to Cape Town: wicked pretty, varied scenery, friendly people, and lots to do.

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