Travel Survival Skills – Pink or Blue Currency?

Before any Journey departure, I have a long check list of what to do/what to take. Rarely do I arrive to a foreign country without local currency, VIP arrival translates to tipping, begging for unscheduled help translates to a gratuity, ie in Scotland, after 50+ days of travel, I injured my hip- I struggled with carry on bags on the tarmac at small airports – those steep stairs up to a plane in heat or rain were a challenge – local cash is always appreciated. At every airport, my pockets are stuffed with small bills. Traversing three countries with different currency presented its own challenges – memorizing each currency and value.

In Morocco the dizzying 30 day Camel Caravan Two schedule sometimes left me fatigued, my driver and I developed many code phrases for the Journey, we had a code phrase for please, let the guide go, I’m tired; for tipping, it was simple blue or pink – use the Blue currency for your gratuity. It made me slightly dependent, but it relieved me of calculating rates at the end of a strenuous hiking or sightseeing day!

Turkish Lira may prove more daunting – the 5 Lira note equals .30. When I’m on my own and language barriers are challenging, I’ve been known to just open my wallet and let people take the necessary amount, fresh oregano from a farmer provides immense pleasure when I’m home recreating a local dish – I’m sure they have never taken too many pink or blue notes.

A small spice shop in Marrakesh that I frequented would pick out coins in my wallet – currency is mostly manageable, but coins, takes me so long to read the small font, please take the coins! One of my favorite photos of me is on a country lane in France, me with wallet open ‘negotiating’ a bag of walnuts from a local farmer! I’ll never forget the experience!

Please just take the coins!

Memories and Experiences – are what I crave the most in my travel.

Exclusive Experiences Wine & Unwind Close to Home!

San Ysidro Ranch in Montecito – The Ranch has a historical guest list: Groucho Marx, Winston Churchill, Sinclair Lewis, and John Huston, who finished writing the screenplay for The African Queen while in residence. Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh exchanged midnight wedding vows on the grounds, and Camelot began here with John and Jackie Kennedy honeymooning in the cottage that now bears their name.

syr collectortour hero
San Ysidro Ranch, Montecito

Tucked away in the leafy foothills of Santa Barbara, San Ysidro Ranch offers a unique blend of privacy, peace, and tranquility in an idyllic setting. Thirty-eight vine-covered cottages surrounded by incredibly landscaped gardens with flowers always in bloom under a canopy of stately sycamores and gnarled oaks make this exclusive property destination unplugged from the rest of the world. Citrus groves, olive trees, brilliantly colored lantanas, lily pond, and the sweet smell of orange blossoms, fragrant magnolias, and jasmine make you think that you have just discovered a slice of paradise.

san ysidro secluded cottages
San Ysidro Ranch, Montecito

Whether you’re a collector of rare wines or unique experiences, San Ysidro Ranch’s new “California Wine Country” package offers an extraordinarily elegant way to explore this celebrated region. Enjoy a five-day itinerary of private wine tastings, picnics, and much more – all thoughtfully curated by chefs and sommeliers with innate knowledge of the Santa Ynez Valley.

Romantic  Cottages individually decorated cottages feature a gated entry with an enclosed garden and adjacent private parking. Interiors are sprinkled with antiques and original artwork recalling a relaxed European country-home feel. Furnishings include Persian rugs, stone fireplaces, king-sized four-poster beds, oversized sunken spas, and outdoor rainfall showers.

The Ranch provides several premier dining settings featuring a palate of herbs and vegetables harvested from the onsite chef’s garden. The Stonehouse, a Wine Spectator Grand Award-winning restaurant, is located in a 19th-century citrus packing house and has a romantic full-bar lounge and separate dining room with an outdoor terrace and a crackling fireplace. For a more casual destination, the Plow & Angel offers more regional cuisine and a convivial ambiance as a local favorite. Housed in a storybook setting, the Carriage House features fireside dining with French doors opening to a private stone-paved courtyard, ideal for intimate gatherings and celebrations. The Wine Cellar features a masonry barrel-vaulted ceiling with a stunning glass doorway leading to a patio canopied by lantern-lit loquat trees, next to a crackling fireplace. If you prefer a more intimate setting, arrange for private dining in the original Old Adobe, a California historical landmark built on the property in 1825.

san ysidro restaurant stonehouse at night
San Ysidro Ranch, Montecito

Fly SouthWest out of Oakland to Santa Barbara now- so convenient compared to the fog plagued SFO /SB Route!

Exclusive Summer Wine & Dine Offering:

  • Four Night Stay With Wine and Cheese Welcome Amenity: Each of the intimate bungalow-style cottages offer a private entrance, complimentary cottage-side parking with an electric vehicle charger, cozy fireplaces and private backyard gardens with outdoor rain showers and sunken spas. Guests are greeted with a bottle of local wine and artisanal cheese plate. 
  • One Day Bike Rental and Gourmet Picnic Basket: Enjoy a bike ride into Santa Barbara with a self-guided tour of the best tasting rooms in town, plus a gourmet picnic basket to enjoy around property, in town or at the beach. 
  • Private In-Cottage Wine Tasting: Advanced Sommelier Tristan Pitre will guide guests through a customized flight of 6 wines in the comfort of their cottage. The flight can be tailored to individual interests and the overall experience is designed to be fun, engaging and educational.
  • Private Wine Tasting Trip to the Santa Ynez Valley: Santa Ynez Valley is one of California’s most appealing wine regions offering a relaxed, uncrowded experience with some of the best wine and food in the state. We will organize a custom itinerary for you, including round-trip transportation, featuring some of the top wineries in Santa Ynez Valley, all just a short ride away.
  • Four-Course Dinner at Stonehouse and Wine Cellar Tour: Set inside a 19th century citrus packing house, the Stonehouse Restaurant exudes the rustic romance of its historic setting. Executive Chef Matt Johnson will prepare a customized four-course meal with wine pairings picked by the sommelier. Guests will also get an exclusive look at the 12,000 bottle wine cellar featuring some of the most sought-after vintage varietals in the world, accompanied by a glass of bubbly and canapes. 
  • Vinatherapy Wine Wrap at the Salon & Spa: The Vinatherapy Wine Wrap is a luxurious body treatment removing dead skin cells and deeply hydrating while utilizing the powerful antioxidant properties of the grape. After, sip a bellini on the vine-covered spa patio next to a cascading waterfall while enjoying smells of fragrant rosemary and lavender.
san ysidro ranch view of the gardens
San Ysidro Ranch, Montecito