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Travel Experience
European Viking River Cruise

by Jan Darby and Krystal McCallum

Krystal and I recently had the opportunity to join an 8 day, 7 port, Europe river cruise with Viking Cruises from Passau, Germany to Budapest, Hungary.  As neither of us had been on a river cruise before we were very excited to experience this very popular way of travel. We flew with Qatar Airways via Doha Airport, which is modern, clean and easy to get around. 

 

Category Archives: Travel experience

Travel Experience – Portugal and Spain
By Linda Owen

I recently toured through parts of Portugal with Backroads Touring, a small group specialist. Our tour was slow-paced, with no early mornings and great for the experienced traveller. We stayed in small boutique hotels and everything was very locally focussed.

  

Following are some of the highlights from my time in Portugal:

Starting in Lisbon, we had the lovely experience of learning to paint tiles in what looked just like a private house, before driving to the 12th century Pena Palace in Sintra. On our way back we stopped at Park Eduardo VII to enjoy the views of the garden right to the ocean.

On our way to Alvados, a small village surrounded by rolling hills, we stopped at Obidos – a super cute village surrounded by an old castle.  This was my favourite – the atmosphere when walking down the narrow streets, all the buildings with their white concrete walls and decorations, and shops lining the streets with local produce, porcelain, knickknacks and souvenirs.

  

  

At Tomar we visited the Convent of Christ, originally a 12th century Knights Templar stronghold and after lunch we had a go at picking olives at a local farm.

Our next destination was Viseu, stopping on the way at the Sanctuary of Fatima, a Catholic pilgrimage site. The Capelinha das Aparições marks the spot where the Virgin Mary allegedly appeared in 1917. The city has become in one of the most important international religious destinations, receiving between six and eight million pilgrims a year.

        

At Lamego we walked around the Our Lady of Remedies Sanctuary and rather than walking up the 600 steps to the heart of the town, we took the easy way and drove up to the top and walked down to the bottom.

We enjoyed a boat ride along the Duoro River, following by a shopping expedition for supplies for a picnic dinner.

  

The Aveleda Winery and Gardens were established around 300 hundred years ago and after a walk around the garden, we had a wine tasting with more cheese and olives.

On a day trip to Guimaraes we visited the Palace of the Dukes of Braganza and the historic town centre.

  

We spent a day doing a city tour of Porto, ending with a port tasting, of course. Porto is a beautiful city located along the Douro River. It also houses the bookshop that inspired the staircases in Harry Potter.

After an early flight to Barcelona for a quick 2-night stop, we headed home.

  

  

I found the scenery in Portugal quite surprising. I was not expecting the mountains to be so close to the ocean, and was very impressed by the lush green of the forests and rolling hills of wineries and olive farms.

The villages were delightful and one thing I can say about the Portuguese themselves – they are generous hosts.  Where ever we went we were offered homemade breads, olives, wonderful cheese, cakes, jams and wine.

  

Travel Experience – Central America, Mexico & Cuba By Jacquey Turner – Tour Leader/Director In March, I embarked on a reconnaissance journey of Central America and Cuba in preparation for the tour I shall be escorting in May 2020. I discovered that this is a most fascinating part of the world with every country being quite… Continue Reading

Travel Experience – Sri Lanka By Brianna Van De Ven    This October I was lucky enough to head to Sri Lanka with a fantastic company that specialise in boutique 5 star experiences, Abercrombie & Kent. After an 8 hours flight on board Sri Lankan Airlines we arrived in a very warm Colombo.      … Continue Reading

The Yukon By Monica Bethune – Senior Consultant After flying into Vancouver and spending a couple of days sightseeing, I joined a group of other travel consultants for our flight to Whitehorse, Yukon, in northern Canada.               First up on arrival, we did a 28km canoe trip, stopping for a campfire lunch… Continue Reading

Travel Experience – Norfolk Island By Jacinta Anderson  View New Iitinerary for 2021 Tour  I have been fortunate to visit Norfolk Island with groups in 2018 and 2019 and have fallen in love with this beautiful destination. Located in the Pacific Ocean around 3hrs from the Australian mainland, the island is serviced by Air New Zealand… Continue Reading

Travel Experience – New Zealand By Jacinta Anderson  Jetting off with Air New Zealand in late May, I arrived in Christchurch for the first night of an 8-day Grand Pacific Tour of the South Island. I had not visited this part of New Zealand before so was looking forward to the scenery and beauty that… Continue Reading

Travel Experience – The Kimberley By Nicole McGuinness    I had a wonderful time in the Kimberley’s with Adventure Wild!      I flew with Virgin via Perth to Broome.  Once arriving at Broome Airport, I checked into the Cable Beach Resort desk, picked up my luggage and was transferred to the resort – this was… Continue Reading

Travel Experience – Viking River Cruise By Jan Darby  – Senior Staff Member and Krystal McCallum – Senior Consultant   Krystal and I recently had the opportunity to join an 8 day, 7 port, Europe river cruise with Viking Cruises from Passau, Germany to Budapest, Hungary.  As neither of us had been on a river cruise… Continue Reading

Travel Experience – Iceland By Monica Bethune Earlier this year, I was lucky enough to experience and explore this amazing country and create some wonderful memories that I now hold dear. After spending a few days in Edinburgh we flew into Reykjavik, Iceland’s capital, an easy two-hour journey. Our driver met us at the modern… Continue Reading

Travel Experience – Incredible India By Jaquey Turner We are featuring extracts from the journal of my tour of Northern India a number of years ago, which I hope you will enjoy. I shall be escorting another tour of this fascinating country in November 2019. Delhi: After flying into Dehli, a good night’s sleep and… Continue Reading

Travel Experience
Portugal and Spain
by Linda Owen

I recently toured through parts of Portugal with Backroads Touring, a small group specialist. Our tour was slow-paced, with no early mornings and great for the experienced traveller. We stayed in small boutique hotels and everything was very locally focussed. Starting in Lisbon, we had the lovely experience of learning to paint tiles in what looked just like a private house…

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