In celebration of turning 70, Larry is hitting all seven continents with the help of THIRDHOME.

As Larry travels the globe with THIRDHOME, he’ll be blogging about his experiences as he navigates the post-pandemic world. His planning began in 2019 with THIRDHOME Director of Adventures, Liz Bates, who has assisted him in pivoting to satisfy his travel cravings when COVID-19 restrictions have not allowed him to visit a destination. Keep reading to learn more about Larry’s most recent travel experiences.

Next Stop: Azilal, Morocco

It was a balmy 112 degrees when I landed in Marrakech.  Who knew Africa could get hot in July?  Morocco was a detour from my European Invasion to sneak in a visit with my friend Abdou.  I met Abdou when he guided our Third Home “Colors of Morocco” tour last year and he and I morphed into “Whatsapp buddies” staying in touch ever since.  So, I took him up on his offer to return to Marrakech and travel with him to his hometown of Azilal located 3 hours away in the Atlas Mountains.  I welcomed his invitation to join him in his air-conditioned car and as we entered the scenic mountain range, the temperature cooled down to a slightly less awful 95 degrees.   Our adventure was underway. 

First stop on our “Abdou Azilal Tour” was the spectacular Ouzoud waterfalls located 15 miles from Azilal.  After a short walk from the crowded parking lot in the middle of this rocky and desolate landscape was the highest waterfall in North Africa surrounded by olive groves with cafes, vendors and a series of hiking trails leading down to the falls.  The resident monkeys joined us as we approached the falls and appeared to be pretty content and well fed as visitors were chatting them up and feeding them.  In the distance I saw hikers beat the heat by swimming in the small lake at the base of the Falls.  If I didn’t experience Ouzoud first-hand and take dozens of pics, I would have left convinced that what I saw was a mirage since the surrounding area as so dry and rocky.

Next up was hanging out with his family in their Azilal home.  I arrived in Azilal during the four-day celebration of Eid al-Adha, one of the 2 main holidays celebrated in Islam.  This “feast day” celebrates the willingness of Ibraham to sacrifice his son Ishmael to Allah as an act of obedience.  Spoiler alert: It didn’t happen, and a lamb provided by Allah was sacrificed in Ishmael’s place.  To celebrate the holiday, animals are ritually sacrificed, and meat provided to families, friends and the poor in each town.  Abdou’s brother slaughtered 3 sheep and a goat prior to my arrival so for the next 2 days we were seriously well-fed carnivores with large plates of meat, olives and fruits at each meal. 

Several mosques dotted Azilal so prayers were plentiful and residing at the top of the mosques, next to the speakers, were huge nesting storks.  The highlight of the town was the numerous cafes where the locals gathered to sip tea and talk.  Two days later I parted company with Abdou and his family and arrived in Marrakech at my Riad for my final night in Morocco and a welcome swimming pool.

As a final note, while in Amsterdam, I learned to love fresh herring, a local favorite fish served with pickles and onions.  My father would have been proud as he was a herring lover his entire life. 

Next Stop: Lisbon

TAP Air Portugal has become my favorite airline in the world for two reasons:  1. They hold an auction wherein flyers can bid on moving up to a first-class seat from coach.  For the record, I bid, and I lost.  2. They send out an email prior to any flight connecting through Lisbon offering to extend a layover from several hours to several days and rebook your flight allowing a traveler the opportunity to stay in Lisbon and experience the city.  When I received the email 3 days prior to flying home from Morocco I remembered my favorite Spanish saying “por que no?” (why not?) and decided to spend two nights in Lisbon prior to leaving the continent.

Great decision on my part because Lisbon is a city worth exploring and quite different from my prior European destinations.  Lisbon is a hilly city much like San Francisco, with picturesque vantage points to view the Tagus River, the plazas and the neighborhoods.  I decided that a tuk tuk tour was in order given my short stay and I chose Jose’s vehicle mainly because his tuk tuk was adorned with a really cool wooden parrot.  It was a great choice because we covered the entire city riding up and down streets so narrow that arms had to remain in the vehicle to avoid hitting fellow tuk tuk travelers.  During my tour I learned that the great earthquake of 1755 combined with a fire and tsunami pretty much leveled the entire city of Lisbon. 

My 5 Favorite Lisbon highlights:

  1. The Portuguese sardine!  Not disrespected and squeezed into a small can with a bunch of oil, but grilled and served on a plate to be consumed with French fries.  Delicious!
  2. Strolling through the city’s narrow streets and seeing how the locals live.  Even the graffiti tells a story.
  3. Dining al fresco and sipping sangria in the Alfama historic district while chatting with the restaurant owner.
  4. Riding a bicycle along the Tagus riverfront and stopping at Commerce Square to admire the large rectangular square and the iconic arch leading into the city center.  
  5. Gazing down at the city from up high at sunset and admiring the vibrant array of colors and shadows.  Lisbon is an incredibly colorful city.

MEET LARRY

World Traveler, Philanthropist, Friend, & THIRDHOME Member

In celebration of turning 70, Larry is hitting all seven continents with the help of THIRDHOME.

As Larry travels the globe with THIRDHOME, he’ll be blogging about his experiences as he navigates the post-pandemic world. His planning began in 2019 with THIRDHOME Director of Adventures, Liz Bates, who has assisted him in pivoting to satisfy his travel cravings when COVID-19 restrictions have not allowed him to visit a destination. Keep reading to learn more about Larry’s most recent travel experiences.

Next Stop: Amsterdam

What’s not to like about a country that birthed Vincent Van Gogh, Heineken beer, those cute wooden shoes and coffee shops that sell marijuana alongside their java?  And how about all those bikes in Amsterdam?  800,000 Amsterdammers (yes, that’s a real word) own 880,000 bikes and dominate the city streets.  Autos beware, this is a city bent on travel on 2 wheels, not four.  The Dutch go to work on bikes, take their kids to school on bikes, go on dates on bikes and stay incredibly fit on bikes.  This is an indicator of a very egalitarian society where young and old, men and women and rich and poor travel side by side across the city.  Noom and Weight Watchers are advised to stay clear of the Dutch market.  These folks don’t need you.

My three days exploring this glorious city led to more steps per day than the prior 3 weeks of my Virginia life.  Amsterdam continually ranks as one of the most walkable cities on the planet and the Amsterdam-Centrum or city center can be reached from all sides of the city on foot.   Tired of walking?   Rent a bike, or better yet, take a city tour by boat and explore the Amsterdam canals and bridges while learning about Amsterdam’s history.  

You want great museums and attractions? 

As a final note, while in Amsterdam, I learned to love fresh herring, a local favorite fish served with pickles and onions.  My father would have been proud as he was a herring lover his entire life. 

Next Stop: Bruges

Second stop, Bruges, Belgium for a stay in one of the coolest Third Homes on the website.  This amazing apartment in the heart of Bruges features a 16th century tower that provide a 360-degree vantage point of the city.  On a clear day one can see the towering windmills on the coast as well as dozens of church spires scattered throughout Bruges. 

Bruges is a city to fall in love with.  It is a medieval Unesco site and a living museum that leads one to believe they are walking through a modern-day fairy tale.  At the heart of the city are the Markt and Burg squares and a 13th century belfry with 366 winding and narrow steps made from stone, wood and marble that one can climb (and I did) to view the whole city and surrounding countryside.  Each Wednesday the square features a “don’t miss it” market with fresh fruits, vegetables and delicacies from across the region.  Warm weather features al fresco dining in dozens of outdoor cafes. 

What makes Bruges such a spectacular and memorable site?  How about this:

  1. There are more than 80 bridges in Bruges and canal tours operate all day to cruise the city.  At night the bridges and surrounding historic buildings are lit up and produce some of the most memorable reflection photo opportunities anywhere. 
  2. You have to love a city that features one museum dedicated to the French Fry and another museum dedicated to the history of chocolate and cocoa.  Only in Bruges can one witness singing and dancing taters.
  3. Speaking of chocolate, over 50 chocolatiers (chocolate shops) dot the streets of Bruges.  Each shop offers different versions of quality cocoa ranging from melt in your mouth white and dark chocolate truffles to caramel and marzipan infused cocoa treats.  For true chocoholics tours operate daily to visit several of the top stores.
  4. Once a week locals gather beneath the belfry for a concert of church bells from above.  Since I have a high level of ignorance identifying classical music hits, and I was clearly in over my head, I asked my fellow concert mate what was playing and was told it was a Bach fugue.
  5. The waffles in Bruges, especially at Chez Albert’s, are absolutely the most scrumptious delicacy in the whole city.  How about choosing between chocolate, fresh strawberries, whipped cream or caramel toppings.  Diet be gone!  These are simply too difficult to pass by. 
  6. A bicycle tour into the countryside is a must do.  Windmills and pastoral scenes along the river as well as the rare Belgian Blue cows await tourists who are so inclined to explore the nearby town of Damme.
  7. Belgian beer dates back to the Middle Ages and the Belgian Brewers guild was recognized in 1385.  The Belgian breweries bring over 2,000 original beers to market.  My favorite?  Brugse Zot Blonde.

MEET LARRY

World Traveler, Philanthropist, Friend, & THIRDHOME Member

In celebration of turning 70, Larry is hitting all seven continents with the help of THIRDHOME.

As Larry travels the globe with THIRDHOME, he’ll be blogging about his experiences as he navigates the post-pandemic world. His planning began in 2019 with THIRDHOME Director of Adventures, Liz Bates, who has assisted him in pivoting to satisfy his travel cravings when COVID-19 restrictions have not allowed him to visit a destination. Keep reading to learn more about Larry’s most recent travel experiences.

Next Stop: Peru

Look, I’m all about a relaxing vacation.  Poolside margaritas, reading a good book at the beach, and maybe a yoga class or two. But this trip wasn’t THAT vacation. This was going to be an adventure. I was headed back to possibly my favorite country on the planet, Peru, for three weeks and I needed guidance and ideas. So, I did what I always do when I’m visiting a faraway place and I called my secret travel weapon, Liz Bates at THIRDHOME Adventures.

After all, post-COVID travel has gotten more complicated and more expensive, so there is little room for error.  Back in the day (I’m old), there was no such thing as Expedia, Kayak and the like. There were travel agents in the mall who gave out brochures and travel advice and offered a variety of trip options. Real, live human beings who planned travel adventures for a living, and had a passion to help folks like me who wanted to explore the world. Enter Liz, a throwback to the Travel Agent Era!

I had already reserved a really cool THIRDHOME property in the Sacred Valley of Peru. My daughter, Morgan, made it clear that if I was going to Machu Picchu, she was going with me. So I called Liz and pleaded:

“I need a ‘kick-ass’ Peruvian itinerary that explores the Sacred Valley, Cusco, and the Peruvian Amazon that will be interesting for me and my 31 year-old somewhat quirky daughter who lives on Instagram.

I knew Liz was up to the task, since she was the coordinator for Morgan and my “Colors of Morocco” tour this past October. We not only survived the tour together, but had a blast, met some great people, and decided we were pretty good travel companions. In this case, Morgan could get her Machu Picchu groove on, and I could continue my adventure into Cusco, and later, visit Iquitos and the Amazon jungle.

It was at this time I was introduced to Marco Bustamante and his travel company ,Peruvian Odyssey.  After 28 years of helping Gringos and other foreigners explore his country, Marco put together the perfect itinerary that would keep both of us happy. Marco is one of those people you could sit and talk to for hours. He’s visited all corners of the globe and has a story for each corner.  His plan allowed Morgan to knock Machu Picchu, one of the 7 Wonders of the World, off her bucket list and enjoy her celebrity as the Queen of Instagram. I could do my thing and take photos, explore glorious foreign markets, and practice my bad Spanish with the lovely Peruvian people. We would climb hundreds of Inca stairs while exploring ancient Incan structures and visiting villages inhabited by direct descendants of the Incas.

From Cusco and the Sacred Valley, I flew to Iquitos, Peru. After a four-hour journey by van and wooden boat, I arrived at Treehouse Lodge (suggested by Liz) to spend three nights in the Amazonian jungle doing my best Mowgli (see The Jungle Book) impression.  Sleeping 60 feet above the ground while listening to birds chirping, monkeys howling, and insects buzzing is a different kind of experience for a guy who grew up in Chicago.

Over the next three days, my guide, Leyner, demonstrated why he was the guide… and I was not.  Where I saw a never-ending canopy of uninhabited trees, he saw trees full of monkeys, sloths, macaws, toucans, and owls.  On the river, we witnessed pink dolphins jumping during the day and cayman alligators cruising at night. In one of the Amazon riverfront towns, we met the town’s mascot: a 12-foot anaconda snake. 

Trip Highlights?  Here’s a few:

  1. Riding the Vistadome train from Urubamba to Machu Pichu.  The Andes never disappoint in terms of majesty and beauty.
  2. Eating one of the 4000 plus varieties of Peruvian potatoes that are baked underground in a dirt cooking pit or huatia in the Andes mountains.
  3. Hanging out in the Cusco Plaza del Armas in the afternoon and evening. Music everywhere, aromas from the many restaurants enticing visitors, and a walk through the Cusco market for smoothies, souvenirs, or street food.   
  4. There’s not a sight on earth that compares with looking down on the Incan village of Machu Pichu from up high.
  5. Going back in time several centuries to visit the high in the Andes village of Willoq, a community where time stands still and artistic, musical, cooking, and dress traditions of ancient Peruvians flourish today. 
  6. Seeing the creepy crawlers of the Amazon up close, including tarantulas, bullet ants, the jumping stick, and the Leaf-Cutter ant.
  7. Visiting classrooms in remote villages to see youthful villagers fully engaged with outstanding teachers learning a new language and working on school projects.

Maybe in time I’ll be a sit-around-the-pool-guy and revel in relaxation. But for now, bring on the adventure! 

PHOTO GALLERY

MEET LARRY

World Traveler, Philanthropist, Friend, & THIRDHOME Member

THIRDHOME member, Larry Grossman, heads down to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico for a luxury stay at Hacienda del Mar.

Cabo San Lucas in February. What’s not to like?  Warm weather, breaching whales, beautiful beaches and all the guacamole a gringo can eat. My friends and I had a week through THIRDHOME in a large three-bedroom condo at Hacienda del Mar, located in between Cabo San Lucas and San José Del Cabo.  If you like traditional Mexican architecture (and I do), you’ll love this place.  Fountains everywhere, red tile roofs, soft arches, and grand exteriors blended with old-style swimming pools winding across the property. 

But the highlight of the resort is the wide and beautiful beach facing the Sea of Cortez.  Our first morning at the resort, we carried our coffee to the beach and watched a crazy-beautiful sunrise followed by several whale sightings from the shore.  Wow!  Pretty great start to the week!  Each day that followed, more of the same. Coffee, sunrise, whales and Mexican style eggs in a seaside restaurant.  And the afternoon featured not UNO, but DOS happy hours every day, whether sitting poolside or on the beach.

Of course, food and drinks always figure prominently into the travel satisfaction index with my crew and the Cabo corridor is a foodie’s dream location.

Highlights:

  1. The most original taco I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating served right on premises: a combo pulpo (octopus) and pork taco with fresh pico and hot sauce.
  2. Dinner at Flora Farms with farm-to-table veggies, fresh Chilean bass, brick oven pizza and one-of-a-kind drinks.
  3. Street food with tacos al pastor and churros that make your mouth water.
  4. Fresh margaritas prepared by Paco at the Cuban cigar lounge located in central San José del Cabo.
  5. 12 flavors of gelato including “Moose Tracks” to choose from in the Fresco La Comer supermarket.  (Who knew they had moose in Mexico?)

This was the sort of vacation in which daily outings and big-time adventures took a back seat to long walks on the beach, lounging at the pool, reading a book and simply enjoying the resort.  You want yoga, you got it every morning!  Cooking class, bring on the quesadillas!  Movies on the beach, “Grease” rocks!  After 3 months of U.S. winter, hanging out in this beautifully landscaped slice of paradise fit the moment perfectly.  The operative words were “decompress” and “unwind” and so it went.  Thanks Hacienda, for providing the perfect location for recharging and preparing to survive the last gasp of winter upon our return up north. 

THIRDHOME member Larry Grossman turns 70 this year.

In celebration of this milestone, he’s hitting all 7 continents with the help of THIRDHOME.

Meet Larry:

World Traveler, Philanthropist, Friend, & THIRDHOME Member

As Larry travels the globe with THIRDHOME, he’ll be blogging about his experiences as he navigates the post-pandemic world. His planning began in 2019 with THIRDHOME Director of Adventures, Liz Bates, who has assisted him in pivoting to satisfy his travel cravings when COVID-19 restrictions have not allowed him to visit a destination. Keep reading to learn more about Larry’s most recent travel experiences.

Next Stop: Isla Mujeres

It was “Big Chill Week” on the Mexican Island of Isla Mujeres and I got lucky.  With THIRDHOME’s help, I scored a seaside house large enough to host four couples at the southern tip of Isla. Word travels fast with my travel buddies and Dale called first and said, “I Heard it Through the Grapevine that we’re going to Mexico the week before Christmas.”  Shortly thereafter, Fiesta texted “I Ain’t Too Proud to Beg and count me in!”  Pam emailed, “I Second That Emotion and I’ll buy the tequila,” and finally Tina let me know that she was “My Girl” and she was not staying home.

*If these song titles are too obscure, power up your Spotify and listen to what could be the greatest screenplay soundtrack ever made: The Big Chill.

And thus, another grand “Larry World” vacation got on the calendar, and seven vaccinated Gringos flew into the Cancun airport from Baltimore, Chicago, Phoenix and Norfolk, VA. One cab ride and a 30-minute ferry ride later, we arrived at the Isla Mujeres ferry terminal to begin our adventure in this beachy, funky, laid-back island paradise.

While only eight miles removed from Cancun, Isla offers a totally different vacation experience. Missing are the mass of all-inclusive resorts with partying tourists everywhere. Present, are visitors from all over the world riding around in golf carts, visiting the beaches that surround the island, partaking in a beverage in one of several unique beach clubs, and deciding on the optimal location to watch crazy-beautiful sunrises and sunsets. 

In the course of our week, we met visitors from Australia, Denmark, Ecuador, Italy, France and Great Britain.  It quickly becomes apparent that Isla Mujeres is a really diverse environment with any number of languages being spoken over the course of a day – “arrivederci” meets “hasta la vista.”

The entire week we never left the island, and why would we?  We had a great house, Casa Amarilla, with a chef-worthy kitchen, a lap pool in the back yard, one deck to watch sunrise and another deck to watch sunset.  Most importantly, our house was a short walk from Punta Sur, the eastern most tip of Mexico that features Punta de Amanecer, the Point of Sunrise.

As the first part of Mexico to be touched by the sun’s rays every morning, this spot has a “Key West Sunset” vibe that draws visitors from all over the island.  Every day began with our group ambling over, coffee in hand, to the same spot that Mayan warriors hung out 2,000 years earlier.  The statue of the Mayan Goddess Ixchel alongside the giant iguana statue greeted us every morning as we entered the point. 

My Top Seven Isla Memories:

1. Sitting on our deck, listening to a Christmas jazz collection while sipping one of Art’s top shelf margaritas as the sun set over the turquoise waters and the Cancun skyline.

2. Our private Chef dinner that featured Mexican lobster, shrimp, and fish, along with killer guacamole and totopos (chips).

3. Visiting the Women’s Beading Cooperative to witness beautiful, handmade necklaces, bracelets, purses and more.  This wonderful business provides an income to island residents and provided us the chance to purchase colorful and unique Christmas presents.

4. Snorkeling off the beach at Garrafon Natural Reef Park.  This part of the world is renowned for crystal clear water and abundant fish, and the reef didn’t disappoint.

5. Our spur of the moment golf cart “Photo Safari” that covered the whole island and gave me the opportunity to capture all the colorful murals, statues, and dramatic Caribbean coastline of Isla. 

6. Singing (badly, I should add) old Motown hits while we cooked, ate, drank, and reminisced together in the kitchen.

7. Our afternoon lounging at the Capitán Dulché Beach Club.  This was not your run-of-the-mill beach club. A row of faceless, metal statues greet you as you arrive, and great food and drinks welcome you as you lounge at the beach, in the pool, or under the palapa.

This is a really tiny island that is five miles long and half a mile wide at its widest point, yet every inch is worth exploring. And explore we did, walking and “golf carting” every day. This quirky, historically significant, and simply gorgeous slice of Mexico proved to be an idyllic location to reconnect with good friends.

Seven days post-arrival, none of us were ready to depart and I fully understood why a number of expats chose to make this place their home.  It was a great place to end 2021 and set the stage for 2022.  Our “Big Chill” week at Casa Amarilla left us all singing Three Dog Night’s “Joy to the World.”


To read more about Larry’s adventures with THIRDHOME, click here. Stay tuned for more of his travels!

THIRDHOME member Larry Grossman turns 70 this year.

In celebration of this milestone, he’s hitting all 7 continents with the help of THIRDHOME.

Meet Larry:

World Traveler, Philanthropist, Friend, & THIRDHOME Member

As Larry travels the globe with THIRDHOME, he’ll be blogging about his experiences as he navigates the post-pandemic world. His planning began in 2019 with THIRDHOME Director of Adventures, Liz Bates, who has assisted him in pivoting to satisfy his travel cravings when COVID-19 restrictions have not allowed him to visit a destination. Keep reading to learn more about Larry’s most recent travel experiences.

Next Stop: Morocco

I didn’t like the camel and the camel didn’t like me!  It was a rout, a blowout, a first-round knockout.  If there was a scoreboard, it would have read “Camel 70 – Larry 0.”  So, after five agonizing minutes aboard this gargantuan dromedary, I accepted the fact that I was a “desert weenie,” and came back down to the Sahara dunes and did two things I felt comfortable doing: walking in the Sahara and taking pictures. Gone forever was my fantasy of reprising the role of Lawrence of Arabia on the big screen, and winning the Best Actor Oscar wrongly denied to Peter O’Toole in 1963. 

My Morocco adventure started more than two years ago when my “travel muse” and THIRDHOME Director of Adventures, Liz Bates, called me and said, “Don’t miss our Colors of Morocco tour! I’ve been there and the country is spectacular.” I had to confess that I knew little about Morocco beyond the fact that Casablanca, to this day, remains one of my favorite classic movies. I also knew a that an endorsement from Liz had proven to be the closest thing to a guaranteed great travel experience. She got me to the Peruvian Amazon and to the Galapagos, so why not Morocco?  Finally, I remembered just enough geography to know that Morocco was in northern Africa, and would therefore move me forward in my 7 at 70 Adventure to visit all 7 continents in the next 18 months. Thus, with the words from “Marrakech Express” (Crosby, Stills, and Nash) and “Midnight at the Oasis” (Maria Muldaur) dancing in my head, my daughter Morgan and I proceeded to meet 10 fellow travelers in Rabat, Morocco to begin our journey.

I’ve learned that a successful tour is dependent on a charismatic leader, and we were lucky enough to have resident Moroccan Berber villager, Abdou Imelouane, guiding us for the 14-day adventure.  Abdou was knowledgeable about all things Morocco (culture, food, history, religion, and art) and he patiently answered every question we threw at him, often with a wry sense of humor. 

Some of the many interesting factoids about Morocco we learned from Abdou on our adventure:

  1. Although tourists can visit “Rick’s Café” in Casablanca and listen to live piano music, the movie Casablanca was filmed in its entirety on the Warner Brothers lot in Burbank, California.
  2. There are massive underground reserves of water under the Sahara Desert, making water easily available to residents. Long hot shower, no problem!
  3. Morocco has been the site of 37 feature length films including Gladiator, The Mummy, Lawrence of Arabia, Sahara, Hidalgo, Sex and the City 2, and Kingdom of Heaven.
  4. In 1777, Morocco became the first country to formally recognize the United States as an independent nation.
  5. The national drink of Morocco is a special green tea drink called atai, a mixture of green tea, mint, and sugar. Guests are offered tea at every meal and it is considered rude to refuse the tea.    
  6. Morocco is the third largest exporter of olives (behind Spain and Tunisia) in the world.
  7. The Moroccan military has gone deep into the desert to vaccinate the nomad population against COVID-19.    

Our tour included visits to Roman ruins, Kasbahs, Royal Palaces, Unesco World Heritage sites, the Sahara Desert, as well as ancient Medinas (walled historic city sections) and Riads (large traditional houses with open areas/gardens in the center) in both Marrakech and Fes. We enjoyed meals in restaurants and villas across the country, and sampled typical Moroccan cuisine including lamb tangine, chicken pastilla, vegetarian couscous, and olives of every shape and color. Our accommodations ranged from funky and colorful Riad residences to luxury hotels.  Our group bonded during long rides through the Atlas Mountains with breathtaking scenery and hair-raising curved roads.  We witnessed nomads moving across the desert with mules and donkeys while establishing temporary homes held together with wood, blankets, and rugs. 

Highlights? There were so many:

Sunrise, sunset, and starry nights over the Sahara were mystical and unforgettable.

Our “back-of-the-bus” discussions during long rides solved no pressing problems, but we covered politics, movies, sports at every level, and established new friendships that are destined to lead to more adventures.

Walking through the Marrakech market at night shopping, haggling, taking photos, and talking to shop owners.  Massive crowds everywhere: monkeys with handlers, horse drawn carriages, shop owners selling, drums beating, and the smell of lamb, chicken, and beef wafting over the main square.

Our culinary workshop cooking various versions of Moroccan tangine. Not only was the final product photo worthy, but absolutely delicious and ready for prime time.

Touring the Hassan II Mosque inside and out.  This magnificent structure completed in 1993 is the second largest mosque in Africa, and features the tallest minaret in the world. 

“Colors of Morocco” offered an exceptional opportunity to experience the African Continent for the first time. 


To read more about Larry’s adventures with THIRDHOME, click here. Stay tuned for more of his travels!

THIRDHOME member Larry Grossman turns 70 this year.

In celebration of this milestone, he’s hitting all 7 continents with the help of THIRDHOME.

Meet Larry:

World Traveler, Philanthropist, Friend, & THIRDHOME Member

As Larry travels the globe with THIRDHOME, he’ll be blogging about his experiences as he navigates the post-pandemic world. His planning began in 2019 with THIRDHOME Director of Adventures, Liz Bates, who has assisted him in pivoting to satisfy his travel cravings when COVID-19 restrictions have not allowed him to visit a destination. Keep reading to learn more about Larry’s most recent travel experiences.

Test Run: The Pandemic Pivot Blog

East Coast Road Trip

For starters, I love everything about Spain. Tapas, flamenco, Mediterranean food, Las Ramblas in Barcelona and Moorish architecture. I planned to return to international travel and visit southern Spain in September as a vaccinated American and visualized myself sitting on a balcony in my Third Home condo in Malaga, sipping sangria, and gazing at the Mediterranean. Seaside condo, check! Car rental to explore the Costa del Sol, check! Renewed passport with extra pages, check! And then I saw the dreaded CDC Traveler’s Health notification: “Level 4: Very High, Avoid travel to Spain”. And thus began my “Pandemic Pivot”.

I consider myself a pretty adventurous guy, but the emergence of the Delta variant and the possibility of quarantine made me reconsider and go to “Plan B: East Coast Road Trip”. So, I returned to the THIRDHOME website and there it was: “Chateau Plateau” in the New York Catskills. In 8 hours and 3 minutes I could arrive at the front door of the house and thereby satisfy my travel addiction. I booked it quickly, places like this don’t last long on the website, and then it got better! I called my friend and muse Liz Bates, THIRDHOME travel guru and after whining about my lost European adventure and informing her of my revised road trip she had an idea. “Don’t stop in New York, keep going north in New England.” “Why don’t you consider going “glamping” in Cape Cod, I know a great place and September is beautiful in that part of the world.”

I replied that Larry’s Camping Era ended about 4 decades ago and I was presently a bit of a lodging snob, in large part due to being spoiled as a Third Home member. So camping was not an option, and by the way, “what the hell is “glamping” anyway? She patiently pointed me toward the Cape Cod “Autocamp” website that highlighted Airstreams and luxury tents that bore no resemblance to my prior camping experience of sleeping in a pup tent in a noisy and bug infested campground. I humbly apologized, and at her suggestion, made a reservation to spend 3 nights in an iconic Airstream “Suite” located in Falmouth, Massachusetts. The spacious Autocamp Clubhouse featured gourmet coffee, killer granola, indoor and outdoor fireplaces and pizza in the evening. Spending 3 nights in an Airstream proved Liz right: “Glamping” was the way to go for an old guy who loves the outdoors, but doesn’t want to spend any remaining part of his life climbing in and out of backpacking tents.

Cape Cod highlights? There were several!

1. Bike riding along the coast on the 10.7 mile Shining Sea Bikeway. (Thank you Autocamp for the complementary bikes).
2. Sampling lobster rolls in waterfront restaurants.
3. Sipping Bloody Marys while boating over to Martha’s Vineyard on the Island Queen Ferry.
4. Riding the oldest carousel in the country, “The Flying Horses”.
5. Nightly campfires at Autocamp in our private fire pit.
6. Visiting Bad Martha’s Brewery in Falmouth and ordering “Tatooed Lady Beer” from a real tattooed lady.

And so it went! My 8-day New York tour included a stop at Citifield Stadium to watch a NY Mets game. This was followed by my first visit to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown allowing me to verify that my beloved Chicago Cubs had indeed won the 2016 World Series and I hadn’t imagined it. From there I proceeded on to my reserved THIRDHOME in the Catskill Mountains in time to witness the beginning of fall foliage.

A week at Chateau Plateau proved to be an exceptional getaway and just what the doctor ordered. The majestic home is located at the top of Plateau Mountain with no neighbors, no noise and breathtaking sunrises over the Catskills. By day we explored small towns like Woodstock, Stamford and Hunter, New York. Back at the house I read, took photos and hung out with Tina and David without a care in the world. Each evening happy hour on the deck was followed by sitting by the fireplace and yakking with my friends til’ bedtime.

My New England pivot and adventure was just what the doctor ordered. I substituted NY wines for fruity sangrias, hiking in the Catskills for daydreaming on my Malaga balcony, and I enthusiastically embraced exploring a different body of water along the beautiful Cape Cod coast, in lieu of my lost Mediterranean adventure. I figured Spain would still be there next year, as would airplanes, tapas, historic sites and the Mediterranean Sea.

7 at 70 up next: Covid be damned, I’m going to Morocco!!!!


To read more about Larry’s adventures with THIRDHOME, click here. Stay tuned for more of his travels!

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