The Road to Mandalay – 1

“Come you back to Mandalay, Where the Old Flotilla lay; Can’t you ‘ear their paddles chunkin’ from Rangoon to Mandalay, On the road to Mandalay, Where the flyin’-fishes play, An’ the dawn comes up like thunder outer China ‘crost the Bay!” –Rudyard Kipling Just the title of Kipling’s haunting, romantic poem always stirred our sense of adventure. So, when we had the chance to travel that “road,” we made the quickest travel decision ever–we didn’t have to …

Read moreThe Road to Mandalay – 1

On to Paris from our lovely river cruise on the AmaDagio

PARIS, FRANCE – We knew Paris in December would be much cooler than Paris in June. This time Paris’ high temperature barely reached 40° F, while on our previous visits in summer we experienced highs around 70° F. And we knew we’d see barely half the hours of daylight we enjoyed in June. But we assumed there would be a corresponding benefit of smaller crowds. It didn’t turn out that way. We boarded France’s justifiably renowned TGV in …

Read moreOn to Paris from our lovely river cruise on the AmaDagio

Wine-themed river cruise: Tournon to Lyon

ABOARD THE AmaDAGIO – Sailing from Tournon around midnight brought us into Vienne before breakfast. We fell in love at first sight with this very historic little city, only about 30 km south of our destination, Lyon. Perhaps we were getting wistful as we approached the end of a most memorable voyage, but we enjoyed one of the best city walking tours ever in Vienne. Our guide, a young man not yet 30, said to call him …

Read moreWine-themed river cruise: Tournon to Lyon

Wine-themed river cruise – Arles to Tournon

ABOARD THE AmaDAGIO – Today the program is completely dedicated to wine. It’s not as though we have been lacking in opportunities to enjoy the nectar of the gods, but if anyone on board could forget that this cruise was “A Celebration of Wine,” this day will straighten them out. Upon arriving mid-morning in the small town of Tournon, our tour immediately disembarked for a Wine & Chocolate Tasting, walking through narrow cobbled lanes to the Chateau. Our …

Read moreWine-themed river cruise – Arles to Tournon

Wine-themed river cruise – Avignon to Arles

ABOARD THE AmaDAGIO – Around breakfast-time we finally arrived at the spot where we thought we would begin this cruise. A place of fond memories from an earlier visit, we were anxious to return to Arles, and we were not let down. We joined a coach tour to an olive oil producer and to the medieval village of Les Baux, called the most beautiful village in France. Our guide explained that bau is the Provencal word for rocky …

Read moreWine-themed river cruise – Avignon to Arles

Wine-themed river cruise – Viviers to Avignon

ABOARD THE AmaDAGIO – Again we departed in the wee hours—in time to arrive in Avignon around breakfast-time, and to commence our shore excursions. One of the things that attracted us to this cruise, in addition to the wine theme and the itinerary, was that all shore excursions were included in the price. A decision we often faced—which excursion? In Avignon, in lieu of a walking tour of the city and the Pope’s Palace, we opted for a …

Read moreWine-themed river cruise – Viviers to Avignon

Wine-themed river cruise – Lyon to Viviers

ABOARD THE AmaDAGIO – We departed Lyon around midnight and with the assistance of a fast current, arrived in Le Pouzin around noon. This was the port of debarkation for our first excursion and it was memorable. While cruising in the morning, Cruise Manager Kriss provided a general destination briefing for all interested passengers, followed by our first wine lecture from Steve Ledson, our wine host. Steve’s 10:00 A.M. talk included the opportunity to taste two white wines …

Read moreWine-themed river cruise – Lyon to Viviers

A sudden change of direction…but we made it to our river ship!

EnROUTE TO THE AmaDAGIO — As we prepared to depart Barcelona, we were suddenly faced with the need to change direction. We had purchased train tickets from Barcelona to Arles weeks before, but on our final day in Barcelona we were contacted by AmaWaterways and advised that the Celebration of Wine cruise was now going to depart from Lyon, instead of Arles. It seems Mother Nature had intervened and drenched southern France in a deluge over several …

Read moreA sudden change of direction…but we made it to our river ship!

Before our cruise, we visit lovely Barcelona

BARCELONA, Spain –– A 40-minute walk from our hotel, including one wrong turn, finally brought us to our restaurant in el Raval district, about 20 minutes late for our 8 p.m. reservation. We found the lights out and the door locked. A man greeted us. He said they had a problem with the water and were closed. He had reserved a table at a nearby sister restaurant—but because of our tardy arrival that table had been taken. …

Read moreBefore our cruise, we visit lovely Barcelona

Rhone River cruise features wine

When our travel agent friend, Donna asked if we’d be interested in a wine-themed cruise on France’s Rhone River, we said, “Are you kidding? Sign us up.” And so, here we are about to embark on our first European river cruise, something that’s been on our short list since we hired a self-drive barge in Burgundy 30 years ago. We do seem to favor renowned wine regions, and that’s not just chance. AmaWaterways, a 12-year-old company specializing …

Read moreRhone River cruise features wine

CLOSE
CLOSE