I am thrilled and excited to introduce you to my dear friend, colleague and now partner, Denise! Denise and I connected early 2016 via Instagram when she stumbled upon this blog post. This began an immediate friendship, especially after I read her travel blog, The Girl in Seat 5A. It has become so obvious to me over the last year that one of Denise’s strengths in travel planning is her attention to detail and her love of finding off-the-beaten-path tours, connecting with local guides, eating at the best restaurants, and she has an eye for itinerary flow – all very important things when it comes to travel planning. She’s also the one who convinced me that I would most definitely love Italy (and she was 100% correct)! Denise is joining the HCTC family as an itinerary specialist and destination expert…I have no doubt you’ll find her in depth Europe trip posts just as fun to read as I have! Please take some time to read her blog and welcome one of the ladies who is behind your TripScopeApp when working with my agency. Denise, I am so thankful for you finding me!
Let’s learn a little more about Denise!
Age of first trip: I was lucky enough to have started traveling around the United States at a very young age. I was two months old when I went on my first trip to Wisconsin (I’m from Chicago), and then when I was 8 years old, my family took a road trip to Wyoming. Even at that age, I was completely amazed at how beautiful it was. My first international trip (not counting Canada) was to Italy at age 32 – and that was the start of my love affair with Europe!
Places you’ve traveled: Domestically, I’ve visited over half of the United States and will be adding one to my list in February (Arizona). Internationally, Europe is my passion/obsession. I’ve been to Italy (seven times), Germany, Austria, Hungary, Czech Republic, Spain, Portugal, Poland, France (twice), Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg, England, Brazil and Argentina (which totally blew my mind, by the way).
Favorite place on earth: Rome, Italy. I’ve been there five times, and every time I go, I think “Well, this is probably the last time I’m going to be here.” and then a month later I find myself planning my next trip. I don’t know what it is about Rome, but it is seriously in my blood. It’s just so unbelievably amazing. The energy, the people, the history…the FOOD. Oh my, the food. I would love to live in Italy some day and have an apartment in Rome, as well as one in a small Tuscan village like San Gimignano, so I could split my time between the two (might as well dream big, right??).
Top of your bucketlist: Ooohh, that’s a tough one. I guess if I had to pick one, I would say Ireland, since I’ve heard so many great things about it. But I also want to get to Scotland, Greece, Croatia, Switzerland, Iceland and New Zealand.
Favorite hotel you’ve ever stayed in: Before I answer this question, let me say that I love being spoiled and pampered. I love being surrounded by luxury and having all of my needs anticipated. Unfortunately, since I haven’t yet won the lottery, that doesn’t happen very often. But when I stayed at The Savoy in London, I couldn’t help but feel very special and catered to. They didn’t go so far as to scatter rose petals in front me as I entered the hotel (really, is that asking too much?), but the elegance, ambiance and service were seriously A-list.
I want to also give an honorable mention to the Hotel Antiche Mura in Sorrento, Italy. The location, view and staff were wonderful – and when I return to Sorrento, I will stay there again for sure!
Favorite drink: Give me a nice glass of Valpolicella (preferably in a lovely, family-run trattoria in Italy) and I am a happy, happy girl!