It’s been SIX-Months since travel came to a halt, and international borders were closed. Even now when the international borders and destinations have started to open up, but not without restrictions (quarantine, immunity/COVID test reports, social distancing, masks), travel seems to be a distant dream till such time we have a cure or a vaccine for COVID-19.

But the curious travellers while they wait for the borders to open, and for them to continue to explore and discover the world, my friends at Context Travel who have been running expert-led guided tours in over 60 cities across 6 continents since 2003, decided to launch Context Conversations, offering scholar-led virtual learning for the intellectually curious travellers.

Context Difference:

The core of Context Travel is the network of scholars and experts who lead their walks (and now their virtual conversations). Their expert guides hail from a wide variety of disciplines including art history, cuisine, environmental science, archaeology, and classical studies.

What unites them is a deep knowledge and passion for their city and its cultural heritage. Whether one is spending three hours with a Byzantinist in the Hagia Sofia in Istanbul (Pre-COVID times) or learning proper Renaissance fresco making technique with an artist in Florence, their expert guides are trained to take you deeper into these rich cities to help you explore their history.

While over 80% of their guides have MA or PhD-level degrees in their fields of expertise, they live by the rule that learning isn’t a finite activity. They’re inquisitive about the places and people around them.

They’re inspired by conversations ripe with new perspectives and oft-untold stories. They don’t play loose with the facts. They have the intellectual seeker’s approach to the world: both in life and in work, they thrill at the potent possibility of “yet”.

At day’s end—they believe that travel is the ultimate form of education, one best served with a heaping side of meaningful interaction and memorable conversation.

Context was founded in 2003 by Paul Bennett and Lani Bevacqua, a husband and wife who landed in Rome after over two years spent sailing across the Atlantic.

Once in Rome, Paul and Lani fell in love with an eclectic group of professors and specialists—architects, native Romans, researchers, writers, archaeologists—and formed Context as a means to connect those experts with travelers yearning for an in-depth understanding of the city.

Context Conversations: Virtual Learnings & Experiences

Context Travel have now (COVID-Era) unveiled fascinating “virtual” experiences for the fall.

These are live & interactive online seminars led by Context’s expert guides. Conversations allow curious travelers the opportunity connect with and learn from experts from all over the world. New seminars are offered every week and cover a broad range of cultural & historical topics – from Freud to Frida, the Louvre to the Uffizi, Caravaggio to Michelangelo, and Paris to Berlin during the war.

Their new Courses are multi-part seminars led by experts, offer an enriching weekly connection to another part of the world.

NOTE: While you are booking online, please remember to check your time-zone, since currently all course timings are as per USA East Coast time zone.

Please learn more on FAQ page for all clarifications.

Upcoming Courses:

Check out their courses below starting this weekend.

And if interested, take 10% off your first purchase using code etjspecials10 .

Eternal Rome: Art History and Architecture across the Centuries:

A Seven-Part Course with Cecilia Martini

During this seven-part course, led by Cecilia Martini, an art historian and native Roman, we will discover its history through the lens of art history and architecture. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with an increased understanding of Rome as a unique example of historical continuity.

Fridays at 11AM ET, Sep 18 Through Oct 30


The Evolution of Fashion:

A Six-Part Course with Estela Mendes

In this six-part course, we will delve into nine centuries of fashion evolution, from the Middle Ages to the 21st century. We will focus on the western world and both men’s and women’s wear. In each lecture, we will identify fashion trends, the materials used, the differences in attire between social classes, and from different countries, and the technological advancements of each period.

Estela Mendes is an art historian with a MA in Museum Studies. Her research background is in Costume Design. Born and raised in Lisbon, she has been teaching about the beauty of the world for the past 15 years.

Saturdays at 11AM ET, Sep 19 Through Oct 24


The History of British Interiors:

A Six-Part Course with Francesca Herrick

In six lectures, this course explores the evolution of British interior design, from the 17th century to the present day, via inspirational case studies, with a focus on domestic properties ranging from modest townhouses to grand stately homes. We will study these examples in their wider contexts and discuss their relevance to current design debates and trends. In each session, we will train our eyes to recognize antiques of key eras and look at contemporary British interiors that offer a creative twist on the past. A history of interior design is also a history of art, architecture, furniture, lighting, fabrics and decorative objects, with a considerable amount of social history thrown in.

Francesca Herrick is a London based lecturer who has expanded her teaching practice beyond her Art History degrees to encompass the history of interior design.

Saturdays AT 3PM ET, Sep 19 Through Oct 24


The World of the Samurai:

A Five-Part Course with Dr. Gavin Campbell

They were never more than ten percent of the Japanese population. And yet for centuries, the samurai had an outsized influence on Japanese society. Even today, they still dazzle the imagination. But who were they? This course explores the samurai at their zenith, and the remarkable world they created.

This course, led by Kyoto-based history professor Dr. Gavin Campbell, examines the samurai as both history and legend. Beginning in the 12th century and ending in the twentieth, we cover battlefields and tactics, politics, popular culture, religion, and women’s lives, gaining by the end a rounded sense of samurai culture at its zenith.






Secrets of Sicilian Arancini Balls with Gina Tringali – 27th September 2020

In this hands-on conversation, you will learn how to prepare this delicious Sicilian snack. Led by food historian, sommelier, and home cook Gina Tringali, this interactive lesson will have you making arancini like an expert.

Designed to deliver a taste of Sicily, participants will come away with an understanding of how to make this beloved fried snack and learn about its different names, forms, and flavors.

Take 10% off your first order using my code etjspecials10



Drawing is for Everyone with Millie Nice on Sunday, September 20th

Led by an expert on drawing, Millie Nice, this interactive seminar will explore drawing for pleasure and relaxation. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future learning, participants will come away with increased confidence in their ability to capture the world around them in drawings.

Take 10% off your first purchase using my code etjspecials10



French Wine: From Bordeaux to Burgundy with Andres Medrano – 20th September 2020

Looking for a little escape next week?

One of my partners is hosting a seminar, led by a sommelier, which introduces the basics of French wines. Over a couple of glasses of wine, they will discuss the wine-making process and the evolution of wine in France, as well as food and wine pairings, current trends, and tasting techniques to help you continue your appreciation at home or abroad.

Take 10% off your first Context Conversation order using my code: etjspecials10


Destination France Seminars in September 2020:

For those of us missing the sights, the sounds, the tastes, and the LEARNING that goes along with travel. This month we are featuring Destination France with over 30 seminars from the Louvre Museum to rich Burgundy red wines to the influence of Nice on Matisse.

Follow my link and plan your ‘virtual trip’ that can start as soon as today!



The Beatles: The Musical Revolution with Richard Bowen Sep 19, 2020

Led by an expert in rock music, Richard Bowen, this interactive seminar will focus on the cultural influence that the Beatles had on popular music in the 1960s, and will analyze how they changed from being a simple rock and roll band from Liverpool to become, perhaps, one of the most innovative artists of the second half of the twentieth century.

Time will be spent discussing their recording history and experimentation with sounds in conjunction with their wider cultural and commercial achievements including such phenomena as Beatlemania. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with an increased understanding of the impact that this unique group had on Western music and society.

Take 10% off your first Context Conversation order using my code: etjspecials10


Japanese Religion: Kyoto Shrines & Temples with Marcin Tatarczuk on Sep 24, 2020

Led by an expert on Japanese history, folklore, and religion, Marcin Tatarczuk, this interactive seminar will present Japanese religions and spirituality. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with an increased understanding of Japanese culture and hopefully plenty of curiosity to experience different cultures and ideas.

Take 10% off your first Context Conversation order using my code: etjspecials10


Islamic Architecture: Light and Darkness Unveiled with Tiago Neiva on Sep 25, 2020

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Led by an expert on Architecture and Art History, Tiago Miranda Neiva, this interactive seminar will explore the multiple roles of light in Islamic culture, the main concepts of the Islamic architecture, and finally, the impact of those spatial and luminous typologies on contemporary Islamic architecture. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with a better understanding of Islamic architecture and the use of light to maintain, transform, or modify its forms, contents, and meanings.

Take 10% off your first Context Conversation order using my code: etjspecials10


Russia’s Fabergé Eggs: Easter Gifts of the Tsars with Vladimir Ivanov Sep 17, 2020

Fifty-two Easter eggs, produced in St Petersburg between 1885 and 1917 by the “goldsmith to the Imperial Crown” Carl Fabergé, are among the most outstanding (and expensive) works of jewelry ever produced in Europe. They are more than art and more than craftsmanship: each egg tells us a story from the private life of the Russian Royal Family on the eve of the fall of their Empire.

This Conversation will examine the masterpieces of Fabergé from both the collection of the Moscow Kremlin and that of Malcolm Forbes (which was recently sold to the Fabergé Museum in St Petersburg).

Led by local St. Petersburg art historian and author Vladimir Ivanov, this seminar aims to give an overview of the produce of the House of Fabergé.

Take 10% off your first Context Conversation order using my code: etjspecials10




– Amit Kalsi, Private Travel Designer

B-10 Green Park Main
New Delhi, Delhi 110016

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