Travel Like an Architect: Cruises allow you to visit amazing places you may otherwise avoid

By Robert and Lynn Belles
Independent Vacation Specialists

If you “Travel Like an Architect” you have an insatiable curiosity for the exotic and unusual. We have learned, through experience, there is no better way to visit fantastic places and partake of marvelous architecture than on a cruise ship.

First, there are simply some places that are difficult to impossible to reach UNLESS you cruise there. We flew to Manaus, Brazil — the headwater of the Amazon River. In Manaus, we boarded a cruise ship — our floating hotel. We navigated down the Amazon, observing the rainforest, and stopping to visit small villages along the way. AND, each night we had a warm shower, delicious/safe food and secure place to sleep.

Secondly, there are places that are AMAZING to visit, but not to stay. We have visited many cities where we enjoyed our daytime adventure, but would not have been comfortable, or felt safe, sleeping and eating there. Chipas, Mexico, Iquique, Chile, or even Lima, Peru, for some, may feel a bit menacing. While there is MUCH significant architecture to see in exotic places like these, there are not always hotels with the standards we enjoy on a daily basis. Rooms may not have air conditioning, or even screens on the windows. Water may not be safe to drink. Foods, while delicious, may not be prepared using the sanitary methods we take for granted.

Further, exotic places are not always safe. Political instability, drug and people trafficking, or simply the conditions that exist in LARGE, and poor cities, create environs that are better avoided, if possible.

We have personally visited many exotic and unusual places that we would return to in an instant. We have also visited many where we were grateful that we had brought our own floating hotel and a five-star restaurant.

Rob and Lynn Belles are owners of Belles Firm of Architecture, a local professional design firm. They are seasoned travelers with family and adult-only international travel experience. They are teaching others what they know about traveling as a family, a couple and as business owners who stay connected with their clients, even while they are traveling abroad.

From the Feb. 4-10, 2015, issue

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