On a trip to Idar-Oberstein, travel agent Pat Garcia visited the home of gemstone designer Manfred Wild. // © 2015 Pat Garcia
Pat Garcia, a travel consultant at Northridge Travel, has been working with Abercrombie & Kent (A&K) for nearly 30 years, booking about 16 trips with the tour operator each year. Her first A&K trip in 1985 sealed the deal.
“We were visiting Cape Point, South Africa, and all of a sudden, our tour director, Gail, told us we had a flat tire,” Garcia said. “On one side is the beautiful ocean, and on the other side is a small hill with lovely vegetation. We all piled out of the bus, and Gail led us up the hill. As we came to the crest, we could not believe our eyes — beautiful tables were set with floor-length white tablecloths, flowers, crystal and China, and there were waiters in white coats and gloves and an array of food that just did not end. To this day, I can still picture it.”
Since then, Garcia has visited Africa an additional 34 times. She and her clients have traveled the world with A&K on Marco Polo Club Journeys, Private Jet Journeys and fully tailored itineraries. She is currently working on an itinerary for a mother and daughter visiting Kenya and Tanzania.
“Peter Ngori, managing director for Kenya and Uganda at A&K, so kindly has taken it under his hat to make sure their trip is wonderful every step of the way,” she said. “The daughter is a botanist so that has been taken into consideration also. All of these little things pull a trip together to make it memorable.”
Following are a few special experiences Garcia has had on her travels with A&K.
“We entered Queen Nefertari’s tomb, which is now closed to the public — unless you can pay $4,000 for a 15-minute visit.”
“At Nelahozeves Castle, we met with William Lobkowicz, who told us how he returned to Prague after being born in Boston to claim his family’s rightful ownership of the castle and the art that had been confiscated.”
“We put together a trip to view World War I battlefields with a guide who was extremely proficient in the history. But the real frosting on the cake was our visit to Idar-Oberstein, where we visited the homes and workshops of Erwin Pauly and Manfred Wild, two of the top gemstone carvers in the world.”
“We visited the private home of Paul Gerber, one of the top watchmakers in the world, who has a contract with Faberge. On the same trip, we visited Bloodhound, a former secret missile station.”
“Shaanxi History Museum and its funerary mural paintings dating back more than 3,000 years are unbelievable in their vibrancy. We visited with the director of the museum, who has worked on the excavation since its inception.”
“In the Elah Valley, an expert archaeologist treated us to a fascinating dig, and we visited a recently discovered fortress that was not open to the public.”