31 Oct River Cruising
DISCOVERING EUROPE BY RIVER
I always remember my Auntie returning from a river cruise when I was a little girl. She had brought me back a small leather handbag from Switzerland, one of the countries she had visited, and as I listened to her chat to my mum about the different countries she had visited, it sounded like the most fantastic trip, ever. Just imagine going to bed one night…and no hard, cramped airplane seat here…and waking up in a different country the next morning.
Cruises just seem to fit in well with the whole notion of mindful travel. You have to slow down, take in the scenery, eat and sip good food and wine, and enjoy the anticipation of the next country on the itinerary. So, when Saga invited me to take a look at what they had to offer for their portfolio of river cruises, I was intrigued to see what destinations were on their map.
BUBBLES ON BOARD
Imagine slowly winding your way through the waterways of Champagne country, drinking the good stuff and sampling the local cheeses and other delicacies. I’ve plenty of friends (and me!) who’d love this foodie orientated trip in an 11 cabined barge. It’s not all food of course. Reims is a stunning medieval town whose history is strongly entwined with the life of Joan of Arc, and you can see her statue outside the imposing cathedral. There are five tours that included in this cruise, including an overnight stay in Paris.
DANCE WITH DRACULA
Bran castle in Transylvania is another destination my hit list, and this cruise takes you down the Danube, stopping off at places like Bucharest, Belgrade and Mohacs on your way to beautiful Budapest. It’s Bran Castle that intrigues me the most though, the inspiration for the setting of the first part of Bram Stoker’s infamous novel Dracula. Previously a medieval fortress and a royal residence, it imposes over the landscape around for miles and is bound to be an unforgettable experience.
SIZZLE IN SOUTHERN FRANCE
Another big food and wine destination is Southern France, and this cruise around the waterways of Provence and Languedoc-Roussillon takes you right through Cote de Rhone land, and the town of Arles, brought to fame by Van Gogh as being the place where he was his most prolific. It’s also the place where he lived with fellow artist, Gaugin. Fish lovers will appreciate the tour ending in the port of Sete, which is also known as the Venice of Languedoc, and is the largest fishing town on the Mediterranean coast.
WINDING DOWN THE RHINE
Another beautiful wine region (see, there’s a theme going on here!), is the Rhine and the smaller Moselle, and this cruise takes you right through them. You’ll be drifting past stunning castles and the steep banks of vineyards, as well as visiting the livelier destinations of Frankfurt and Strasbourg. This is not to mention a wine tasting in Traben-Trarbach, a treat for anyone with an interest in art-nouveau architecture, as well as wine. What’s fascinating about this area is that it encompasses both the French and German, so culturally it’s full of pleasant surprises and keen photographers may find themselves unable to out their camera down.