muse Travelers: Your Sandals Source

Ready To Give You NEXT LEVEL Info & Service: Dana Braun of MUSE Travelers Vacations Attends Sandals Resorts Luxury Included® Workshop

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Nashville, TN, July 2, 2018 – Certified Sandals Specialist Dana Braun of MUSE Travelers Vacations has successfully completed ALWAYS NEXT LEVEL, the latest Sandals Resorts’ travel agent workshop and is now fully prepared to share with travelers the most exciting reasons to visit the Caribbean’s leading Luxury Included® resorts right now.  

According to Braun, the immersive workshop covered all that’s new and exciting across the Sandals Resorts International (SRI) family of brands that include adult couples-only Sandals Resorts; family-friendly Beaches Resorts; Island Routes Caribbean Adventures for fun excursions in the Caribbean and is a critical opportunity to gain firsthand knowledge of these distinct brands.  

From the opening of Sandals Royal Barbados, Sandals’ second luxury resort on the island, the launch of Aisle to Isle, a new destination wedding program, to Beaches Resorts’ groundbreaking certified autism centers, travelers can be confident that my counsel is informed and expert.
— Dana Braun. Owner, MUSE Travelers Vacations

Braun is a Certified Sandals Specialist (CSS), part of an elite group of travel agents recognized by the travel industry as experts in the world’s only Luxury Included® Resorts.  ALWAYS NEXT LEVEL fulfills the crucial educational requirement for travel agents pursuing their Certified Sandals Specialist designation.

Gary Sadler, Senior Vice President of Sales for North America at Unique Vacations, Inc., an affiliate of the worldwide representatives for Sandals Resorts and Beaches Resorts.  

Gary Sadler, Senior Vice President of Sales for North America at Unique Vacations, Inc., an affiliate of the worldwide representatives for Sandals Resorts and Beaches Resorts.  

We applaud Dana Braun on this tremendous accomplishment. CSS agents are uniquely qualified to help travelers select their best Caribbean vacation, and it is a sincere pleasure to recognize MUSE Travelers Vacations for their dedication to serving their clients so well.

A Word About Red Stripe

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Some locals sniff that Red Stripe is for tourists, and when we were present at Scotchies green Heineken bottles inhabited the rustic bar in company with the red and white labels. But Red Stripe is indisputably the most iconic symbol of Jamaica aside from Usain Bolt smiling from a green and yellow T-shirt. Red Stripe beer appeared in the first James Bond movie, Dr. No, filmed around Ocho Rios.

Red Stripe is classified as a North American Adjunct Lager, in the same family as a Coors or a Bud or a Pabst. A moderate 4.7% ABV.

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One beer reviewer writes that Red Stripe is the beer equivalent of Bob Marley’s “No Woman No Cry.” “Everybody knows it, but those with more discerning taste know there are better Marley songs.” But Jamaica’s national beer partners perfectly with jerk chicken and a hot beach. I like Red Stripe. Which is fortunate because Red Stripe has a virtual monopoly at the bars of most major resorts (where you can sometimes find Heineken behind the bar). Skip the Red Stripe Light. Unkind critics describe its taste as like classic Red Stripe mixed with water in a dilution of 5 to 1. I can’t disagree—thin and flavorless.

I stick with Red Stripe in Jamaica, but for those who seek alternatives there is Dragon (a stout made by Red Stripe), Heineken and Guinness. Both Heineken and Guinness are locally brewed in Jamaica.

SECRETS OF THE PONTE VECCHIO

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As the Nazis retreated from Florence during World War II, they blew up all of the bridges across the River Arno, except one: the Ponte Vecchio, which was evidently saved on Hitler’s personal orders. This was where he had met the Italian dictator Benito Mussolini in 1938, cementing the “pact of steel” alliance. The Führer had been so impressed by the elegant “Old Bridge,” which had graced the spot since being built in stone in 1345, that he decided to save it. Instead, the German army blew up all of the ancient buildings on either side, so that the bridge could not be used by the Allies, but the Ponte Vecchio itself was salvaged for posterity.

Today, thousands flock to this glorious arched edifice to buy gold and silver from local vendors, much as they have since 1593, when the Grand Duke Ferdinando Medici ordered that metalworkers and jewelers replace the butchers and tanners who worked there. He wanted a more pleasant walkway and was offended by the stench of rotting meat and the pungent odors of hides that were cured in horse urine and washed in the river. A bust of Benevento Cellini, the most accomplished of all Renaissance goldsmiths, stands as a reminder of this great tradition.

In its heyday, like all bridges of the period, the Ponte Vecchio was bustling with merchants and crowded with domestic residences, taverns, and shops. Today, if you visit the bridge in the early morning or at night, when the vendors’ stone-walled stalls are closed, you can see city’s ancient symbol, a stylized lily (not unlike the fleur de lis), used as a decorative pattern on the metal hinges of all the wooden shutters.

But at any time of day, make sure you look up and spot the barred round windows in the top level of the bridge. Unbeknownst to most visitors, a secret passage runs above the Ponte Vecchio. It was added by the Medici family in 1565 so that they could get from the Uffizi to the Palazzo Pitti without having to weave through the crowds and risk assassination. It is known as the Vasari Corridor after its designer, Giorgio Vasari, and its circular windows are called “the eyes of Florence.” Through them, the Medicis could spy on their subjects and even eavesdrop on conversations. It was actually in this passageway that Adolf met Benito back in 1938, in order to hatch their plans in privacy.