Category Archives: France

Europe GetAways in 2017

We have 2 exciting European Group GetAways scheduled for 2017.  They may both be cruises, but they are completely different!


1-Wine_grapes07First up is the Wines of Western Europe which includes Bordeaux (France), Basque (Spain) and Portugal.  Our group will be sailing aboard the luxurious Azamara Journey.  Azamara Club Cruises is at the crossroads of where luxury and destination immersive cruising meet.  This ship only holds 694 passengers and has a wonderful mix of amenities.  She’s a perfect-sized vessel: small enough that it’s never too far from one place to another, yet large enough to provide variety on long itineraries. On our trip we will experience late evening and overnight port stays.  The Journey was completely refurbished in 2016 –  it received new spa suites in the fully renovated Sanctum spa with updated decor in marble, light wood and a cream palate. Every suite and stateroom has new beds with the same decor scheme, and the restaurants also received a modern upgrade.

Our 12 Night GetAway begins in Southampton England on September 4 and ends in Lisbon Portugal on September 16.  Along the way you will experience the worlds foremost wine region in Bordeaux, spend a day at the Guggenheim museum in Bilbao, wash Tapas down with Rioja wine, and sip port in the Douro Valley – and so much more.  You can find more details at our website.  We hope you can join us.


salzburg2Our second European Group GetAway for 2017 is in December.  Why December?  Christmas MarketsCome with us and celebrate the season as we cruise along the Danube aboard the Uniworld SS Maria Theresa.  We last visited Christmas markets in 2014 and everyone had such a great time that we knew we’d definitely do it again.

If you’re tired of commercialism taking over the holidays, you will be very pleased with the traditions and romance of real Christmas markets where the gifts are not mass-produced but craftwork of real quality.   Our group will begin in Budapest and sail along the Danube while visiting Hungary, Slovakia, Austria and Germany.  Every stop along the way will feature special Christmas Market excursions.  You can find more details on the itinerary at our website.

Every Uniworld ship is as unique as it’s itinerary and the SS Maria Theresa is no exception.  It’s opulent 18th century décor is a floating homage to one of the Habsburg empires most beloved ruler.  The food, drink and service on Uniworld are absolutely outstanding – and everything is included!  Call now as there are limited time promotions where even the air is included!

  As always, we can be reached at 262.538.2140 or send us an email: paul@getaway.travel or sue@getaway.travel


 

Looking Forward – 2016 Year in Travel

European vacations continue to hold great value. The US Dollar remains at historic low levels vs. the Euro. This is good news for travelers to Europe as you definitely get more bang for your buck.  Our best advice for Europe is to plan ahead – this is not a destination that typically rewards the last-minute traveler.   The best way to start planning your European vacation is to schedule a consultation with Sue.

Uniworld River Baroness Honfleur France 3-26-2009 4-32-41 AMRiver Cruising continues to grow and for very good reasons. Our clients absolutely love to take River Cruises. All it takes is to try it once and you will rave about it forever. Be aware however that not all river cruise companies are equal. You can research endlessly on your own, or you can call us to discuss. Our goal is to find out about what you want to do, how adventurous you are, what you like and what you don’t like. What are your travel dreams?  Our recommendations are simply based on you and your needs, that’s it.

iberostar-rose-hall-beach-poolAll Inclusive vacations will remain hot, hot, hot. The industry continues to upgrade old properties and build new ones. There are All-Inclusives for all tastes and budgets. Well we know you want a warm weather, beach destination, but are you looking for a romantic escape or a family/multi-generational getaway? Do you want basic dining choices or a more gourmet experience?   How does a canopy covered bed and open air shower sound? Or a private plunge pool within mere steps of your suite? The choices go on and on.  We can help narrow it down to something you will love.

According to the experts, air ticket prices are down but add-on fees are up.  The simple fact, is you need air tickets to get to many vacation destinations. They are the transportation, not the vacation.

Cheap will remain, well….cheap. While the dictionary defines cheap as inexpensive, it also defines it as something of poor quality or shoddy. Continue to be cautious about anything advertised as cheap, supercheap, ultracheap, etc. A fantastically cheap vacation is not a good value if it is actually craptastic (this is our official industry word for cheap vacations!). Everyone wants good value and that’s where we help – get the best value for your money that actually gets the vacation experience you are looking for. Will it be cheap? We certainly hope not.

The best things in travel continue to come to those who plan ahead. For example, how about planning 2017? You may not be ready yet, but we are. We have 2 special group options worth considering.

Join us in January 2017 for our GetAway on the Getaway.   We will do all the following:  go down the highest water slides at sea, attend award-winning Broadway shows, experience Iron Chef dining, walk the plank and be endlessly entertained and pampered.   Book now and choose between Free unlimited drinks, Free Specialty Dining, Free Shore Excursions or Free WiFi.

In September 2017 we will be hosting a very special Wines of Western Europe group on the Azamara Journey.  Beginning in England, we will sail to France, Spain and Portugal.  Azamara specializes in unique itineraries that include overnight stays in many ports.  Our group will be in Bordeaux, one of the world’s foremost wine regions for 3 days.  But that is not the only World Heritage region we will visit – see our web page for all the details.

European Christmas Markets

We recently returned from an unforgettable cruise along the Rhine River to visit Christmas Markets in Germany, France and Switzerland.  Our journey was even more memorable as we travelled with a group of close friends.

Christmas Market

Christmas Market

River cruising provides an up close and personal experience.  The ships typically dock in the heart of town allowing easy and convenient access to the local sights and sounds.  This is especially convenient for a Christmas Market Cruise.  During the advent season, towns throughout Europe host wonderfully decorated markets for crafts, drink and food!  Hop off the ship to go shopping all day and then back on  in time for cocktail hour and a gourmet dinner before you set off for your next stop.

Half-timbered building decoracted for the holidays

Half-timbered building decorated for the holidays

Top 10 Reasons to have GetAway Travel help Plan your next Vacation – #6

Ahhh Europe!

Rich culture and history, amazing cuisine and diverse heritage are all packed into this amazing destination.  Europe has some of the greatest intellectual and artistic developments the world has ever known.  The landscape is dense with museums, cathedrals, monuments and palaces.  Irresistible and intriguing, Europe continues to call us to visit. to experience the rich culture, history, and warm friendly people.

There are so many places to go – where do you begin?   From the oldest monument in Europe (Stonehenge) to the most amazing museums:  Louvre in Paris, Uffizi in Florence, Guggenheim in Blibao, and the list goes on and on.  From the rolling Tuscan countryside wine regions in Italy to the mecca of beer – Hofbrauhaus in Munich.  From the pristine beaches at Normandy where the allies initiated the liberation of Europe in World War II to the defensive fortification of Hadrian’s Wall built in the 1st century AD.

There are so many places to go and so many ways to see Europe that the best place to begin is right here with us.  We can help plan the perfect trip that is right for you.

#6 Europe

 

Groups!

Are you looking for a girls getaway to the Caribbean?  How about a wine club tour of France, Italy or New Zealand?  Would your church group like to experience the footsteps of St. Paul in Turkey and Greece?  What about taking a group of your friends to Napa to celebrate a milestone birthday?  How about a family reunion on an Alaskan cruise?  Ski club trip to Vail?  Scrapbooking club River Cruise in Austria?  Choral group trip to Christmas markets in Germany? Foodies group at Walt Disney World food and wine festival?  Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

The possibilities are endless.  We can help with generating ideas, the detailed planning, the marketing and of course getting everyone in your group to where they need to go.  While we work with the group leaders to help craft the whole experience, we also make sure that we meet the needs of individual travellers within the group as well.

Have an idea for a group GetAway?  We need to talk – (262) 538-2140

#9 groups

Some things are always a work in progress

For example, it seems that every single Google app we use always seems to be in beta version.  Not a bad thing as one can assume it will (hopefully) keep getting better and better.

Such is the case with our GetAway Travel Pinterest pages.  Always room for improvement, but it is actually starting to look better.   We have a wealth of great photos from our trips that we love to share to help inspire our clients.  Eventually we will get more photos posted, but there is only so much time in the day – and – planning great vacations for you will always come first.  For now, please enjoy and let us know what you would like to see more of.

On our “Places We Love” board, we’re messing around with the new Pinterest feature that shows on a map where all the pins are located.

We do have other passions besides travel!

Here is a very small fraction (so far) of wineries we have visited

and of course our Wheaten friends

 

The way grocery shopping should always be

We’re talking “market day” in Italy!  Nearly every town in Tuscany and Umbria have a weekly market day and there is nothing more special than being a part of one.

Usually held in the mornings, the town square is filled with dozens of trucks with literally everything from fruit to nuts.  There will be stalls selling shoes, clothing, olives, bread, meats, cheeses and everything in between.  Now don’t get us wrong, this is not a tourist attraction, this is how the locals shop and it’s amazing to be able to participate.  We love to sample our way through the market, always buying things to eat throughout the rest of our trip or to pack for our family back home  When we aren’t sampling we are photographing the array of items for sale.  On our Wine Centric Italy trip in October 2014 we’ll be experiencing market day in Greve in the Chianti region.  I know we’ve said it before, this is another one of those experiences you must have when visiting Italy.

Wine Tasting in Burgundy – Recycled

This post is for all of you, but especially our friend Jon, who wanted to locate all of the original posts we made on our custom tour through Burgundy in 2013.

Recycling sometimes brings to made taking waste glass, paper or plastic and reprocessing the material so it can be used again.  In our case, recycling means taking some of our most popular blog posts from 2013 and re-posting them.

We hope you enjoy.  Oh wait…  Everything can’t be just reposted material – here is a newly posted video from the trip, wherein our expert guide explains the wine appellations of Burgundy.  It’s a little dark, as we were in the wine cellar at the time, but the explanation of Burgundian wine appellations is well worth your viewing time.

Wine Tasting in Burgundy Part 1 – Moissent-Bonnard

Wine Tasting in Burgundy Part 2 – Comte Senard

Wine Tasting in Burgundy Part 3 – Pierre Andre

WIne Tasting in Burgundy – The Finale!

Spelunking in Champagne

Websters defines spelunking as “the hobby or practice of exploring caves”.

Well, we are adventurous, but also a bit soft.

So for our soft spelunking adventure, we explored the chalk caves at Domaine Pommery in Rheims, France.   Jeanne Alexandrine Louise Melin was born in the Ardennes area of France in 1819.  She married Alexandre Pommery in 1839.  When Alexandre passed away in 1860 she assumed full control of their wine business.   Madame Pommery went about establishing the reputation of Pommery as a force to be reckoned with.   She commissioned a grand property in Rheims with an eclectic mix of architectural styles.   Built in 1863 the estate covers 120 acres and sits on top of 11 miles of Gallo-Roman chalk caves.

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Pommery Champagne House

The entrance hall is also where the tasting room and gift shop is located.

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Known as “le Grand Foudre”, the Pommery blending barrel in the tasting room is one of the largest in the world and holds the equivalent of 100,000 bottles.  The barrel was made to celebrate the friendship by Pommery between France and America and was sent to St. Louis for exhibition at the World’s Fair of 1904.  The sculptures represent France in the form of a young woman offering a glass of Pommery to America (yeah!).  She is astride a sphinx like creature with the head of an Indian.  On the top is the Statue of Liberty (also a gift from France).

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le Grand Foudre

Detail on le Grand Foudre

Detail on le Grand Foudre

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You didn’t drink too much yet – it is an elephant standing on its nose at Pommery.

The ancient chalk caves became a unique cellar which allowed Pommery to story over 20 million bottles in a temperature controlled environment.

No ropes needed for our spelunking adventure, we simply walk down the stairs.

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Entrance (and exit) stairs to Champagne caves

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OK, we are getting just a bit thirsty, but these bottles are not ready

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We selected our bottles, but realize there will be some problems getting them in our suitcases without going over the airlines weight limit.  Probably best to just drink them here.

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Chalk wall carving

Pommery is well-known for hosting on-going art exhibits.  You will find temporary art installations everywhere on the property.  Also there are these amazing wall carvings which are etched directly into the walls of the caves.

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Louise Pommery ran the wine house after Madame Pommery died.

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Behind a locked gate and easy to see why – amazing stuff!

Just a small fraction of the millions of bottles aging in the cellars.

Just a small fraction of the millions of bottles aging in the cellars.

Our most artistic shot

Our most artistic shot

It's art - the boots actually move, sorry did not have video going.

It’s art – the boots actually move, sorry did not have video going.

The signature "Louise"

The signature “Louise”

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Thanks for joining us on our spelunking adventure in Champagne!

When you are done with your Champagne tastings, have some dinner and then walk over to the Rheims Cathedral for a night-time spectacular.

We hate to brag, but…

We love our clients and work very hard to make sure all of their travel dreams come true.

As the majority of our business is from word of mouth referrals, it’s always great to get feedback to see how they enjoyed their vacations.

Here is some of our most recent feedback:

 “GetAway Travel Service is the company that we used for our recent trip to France and Italy. They spent a lot of time with us to help us decide where we wanted to go and what we wanted to see. They took care of all of the details and provided all of the information we needed to avoid stress when we were there. Everything went flawlessly. I highly recommend Sue Adams and Paul Adams at GetAway. Consider using them for your next trip!”

These clients took an amazing river cruise in France and then while they were already in Europe, we sent them on a luxury tour of Italy (Venice, Rome, Florence).

“We booked our 25th anniversary trip with them this summer. When the plans changed (beyond our control) just 5 days before our trip, Paul and Sue booked us an entirely new trip and took the stress away! We are already booked with them next year.” 

These clients had booked a Celebrity Galapagos cruise over 1 year in advance.  Literally days before departure, the cruise was cancelled (very rare circumstances).  We quickly scrambled and sent them on a dream cruise to Alaska.  We worked with the cruise lines to get them an upgrade on their Alaska cruise stateroom, and got full refunds on their air and cruise for Galapagos.   They have already rebooked their Galapagos cruise for next year.

Is there anything we can do to help you make your vacation dreams come true?

Experience the difference that smart dedicated travel agents can make in your next vacation.