Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Time For A River Cruise in France

Ken and I are about to embark on an overseas trip. Our home for close to two weeks will be on a river ship like the one above. This will be our fifth river cruise which says something for them. I'm not a fan of the big ocean liner cruises. European river cruises are much more to my liking. Board, unpack once, but you see a different area of the country each day, stop to see sights, shop a bit and soak in the local color. We have found the crew, tour directors and food to be excellent on each of our river cruises. Another thing I like is that I can see land on both sides at all times! 

This trip begins in Paris where the ship will stay for 2 1/2 days, then on up the Seine to Normandy. It follows the path where many of the Impressionist painters lived and worked. It highlights the Normandy Beaches where D-Day happened, memorials, an American military cemetery and a museum honoring those who fought to free France in 1944. We are both looking forward to all that lies ahead on this trip, including a visit to the Palace of Versailles.

We have always traveled in Europe during the summertime, so this will be a slightly different experience with cold mornings and afternoons in the 40's and 50's. Hopefully, we've chosen the right clothes to take with us. There will be 85 in our group. Some of the river cruises have 120 people. One we took with a group of 42 which was really nice. 

For the next two weeks, my blog posts will highlight our travels along the Seine River. They have wi-fi on the ship in the lounge area so I'm hoping it will all work the way it should and I can connect. I may not be able to post every day but will do what I can when possible. So, if you would like to take a virtual tour of this area of France with us, keep checking. 

The only negative in a trip of this kind is the long travel day at each end. For us, it begins with a 2 hour drive to Kansas City today. We'll stay at a hotel near the airport and fly out tomorrow morning. We go to Atlanta where we connect and straight on to Paris, arriving at 6:10 a.m. after what will probably be a night of cat naps, not real sleep. The advice always given is to keep going all day that first day, don't give in to the desperate need for sleep. We have often ignored that advice and opted for a nap of an hour or two, then keep going. It seems to work for us. Jet lag is not a myth. It's for real but I'm willing to deal with it for the benefits received on a trip like this. 

We go with Grand Circle Travel which caters to those 50 and up. They have won many awards and are noted for having outstanding tour directors. We've found it to be true on every trip. Our tour guide, Isabelle, emailed us last week to welcome us and, yesterday, she called us from Paris to see if we had any last minute concerns or questions. What could be more welcoming? Our river ship is the Bizet

We're packed and ready to go, eager to see more of France. Two years ago, we were on a river cruise that took us from Nice to Paris with 3 days in a hotel in Paris. Half of my ancestral heritage is French so I was eager to see this country. Visiting my roots! 

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