Make Your Next Trip Extraordinary

After committing to a private cruise through the Amalfi Coast, we knew we wanted to spend some time in Rome and Florence and then in Malta before our yacht departed from Valletta. Somehow, I became the default travel planner for our group of six. We had already booked hotel rooms when I became overwhelmed and contacted Wendy for help. She connected me with Jennifer for Rome and Florence and with Jason for the day-and-a-half that we had in Malta. Both experiences were exceptional and I would highly recommend Jennifer and Jason for travelers to those regions.

Jennifer and Jason were easy to work with and great at suggesting itineraries for our group of mixed interests and experiences in Italy and Malta. In Malta, Jason introduced us to Stephen, who is one of the best tour guides I have ever met. He was great at combining his passion for history with storytelling to make our day-and-a-half in Malta one of the best experiences on our two-week trip. Jason also connected us with Lawrence, a fulltime falconer who is passionate about birds. In our private tour with Lawrence, we were able to fly his Harris Hawk, Jessie, and he gave us a short demonstration with his Maltese Falcon, Gustav.

For dinner, Jason sent us to Mdina, an ancient walled city, which was extraordinary. We walked around the lamp-lit “Silent City” before dinner and were captivated by the timeless atmosphere. I hadn’t done a lot of research on Malta before we left and as an introduction to the country, Jason absolutely knocked it out of the park. We will definitely return to Malta and be calling Jason when we do.

Malta is an amazing destination and Damon and team were amazing in helping us plan it and making all the arrangements! They were instantly responsive to issues and random questions and their recommendations were always spot-on. We had an amazing tour of prehistoric temples (marking the calendar thousands of years before Stonehenge), had a private tour of the famous St John’s Cathedral (we were alone wandering through it and gazing mesmerized at the Caravaggios), a tour of a palazzo by the baron (and knight of Malta) who owns it giving a very unique perspective on their role in modern Malta, and an amazing cooking lesson with a local bakery owner. We kept several days for independent sight seeing but certainly many of the most amazing experiences were those arranged by Damon and his team.

I have taken many trips over the years with Wendy-recommended WOW experts and this one more than lived up to our extremely high standards!

The Fisher Family in Malta

The Fisher Family enjoying a picnic lunch in Malta

Family fun in the Maltese Islands—our group of nine just returned from a weeklong Spring break trip to Malta organized by Damon. The trip included grandparents, children and grandchildren ages 16 to 10. The trip was exceptionally well organized due to the time Damon spent prior to the trip determining what our interests were and how to maximize time spent making memories with our grandchildren.

The itinerary was heavy in outdoor activities and we spent minimal time indoors to keep the grandkids engaged. Our activities included an all-morning quad biking experience on Gozo, a multi-course picnic lunch with wine on a secluded bay, followed by bocci ball with local players. The next day we toured the ruins of Hagar Qim and Mnajdra temples and then spent an amazing afternoon with the local falconer who brought an owl, Harris hawk and Maltese falcon to share with the entire group. His enthusiasm was contagious and for a large portion of our group, this event was the highlight of the trip.

The next day we took a private tour of underground Valletta, and that afternoon we took a private dghajsa boat ride across the Valletta harbor for more exploration. The next day we started by visiting a baker and his wife where we made a local pastry called pastizzi, spent time with a local artisan who made musical instruments, visited a honey farm and ended the day with a visit to a sheep farm where we sampled some delicious cheeses. The last night of the trip we had Chef Carl come to our lodging and prepare a meal with the four grandkids. I’m not sure if Carl or the grandkids had more fun.

The entire itinerary was wonderful, but two things made this trip exceptional: the lodging and our driver. We stayed at a beautiful villa in Gozo that was very well appointed and included a heated indoor swimming pool! You can imagine how excited the grandkids were when they walked in the front door and saw an indoor pool. Our lodging in Valletta was equally impressive but in a different way. It was a castle-like structure built in the late 1500s that had been updated to include all the amenities of the current day. There was an outdoor pool, but since it was not heated it saw very limited use. Our driver throughout our adventure was Super Mario. He was absolutely delightful! Always on time, always helpful, and always attentive to everyone’s needs, which were often a challenge. The entire experience was exceptional. If you ever think about going to Malta, contact Damon…he’ll craft an amazing trip for you.

The nine-day itinerary Jason created for us to Malta and Sardinia in March was crammed with memorable experiences: entrance to the 4000 BC Hypogeum underground burial complex (tickets difficult to come by); a fascinating visit with a sixth-generation gilder; the tastiest private tour of a food market I’ve ever been on; a walk in the Sardinian countryside to see the island’s wild four-foot-tall horses; and—my favorite—a fabulous multi-course lunch set up just for us on an isolated cliff in Gozo above the crashing waves.

Jason’s ground teams were as interesting as the sights and scenery—our Malta guide, Martin, is a practicing Knight of Malta whose title goes back generations, as well as a professional photographer and former coach of Australia’s Olympic bobsled team (go figure); our driver there, Mario, is a former comptroller and auditor in addition to being an all-around great guy; guide Paola got her start translating for Tony Ryan when he was setting up his Ryanair empire in Sardinia; Marcello, our driver in Sardinia, had recently returned from the Polish border as a volunteer transporting Ukrainian orphans by bus to safety.

And if you ever want to feel like Bill Gates, now is your moment: Thanks to the VIP service Jason arranges at the airport, you wait in a private lounge before being escorted past the frenzied crowds to a town car on the tarmac that drives you to your plane, all before boarding officially begins.

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