Category Archives: Group Travel

Beaune France – wine and oh, so much more!

Beaune, (pronounced bone), is south of Dijon, Burgundy’s capital city, but it is considered the capital of burgundy wines. If you are interested in wine, food, France, culture and tradition, then consider the river cruise GetAway Travel has planned for November of 2022. It will be a great way to tour and understand all things wine since you will be accompanied by experts from Spring City Wine House. https://getaway.travel/unique-getaways/spring-city-wine-house-burgundy-river-cruise/ 

Sue – ready for wine in Beaune

 Beaune is renowned for wine, but also for food, the architectural excellence and cultural significance of Hospice du Beaune, museums, markets and a family run mustard mill. 

 First, let’s talk wine 

 The vineyards around Beaune produce some of the world’s best Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Joseph Drouhin, Louis Jadot, Bouchard Pere et fils, are a few of the well-known vintners that allow tours. An optional city tour is included in your tour package and you can always consult your travel advisor at GetAway Travel for more specific information. Five of the greatest vineyards in the region are in the Beaune area and you can tour on foot, in vehicle, by horse and carriage, on a bike and even on a Segway if you like! 

The original ramparts built to protect Beaune still exist and you can stroll on the ramparts to some of the vineyards. 

There are independent wine shops and cellars throughout the town. 

Wine cellar in Beaune

 Hospice du Beaune 

 You can’t talk about Beaune and wine without mentioning the Hospice du Beaune. Home of an annual wine auction that draws celebrities and cash, the auction which began after 1457, still benefits area charities. 

Hospice du Beaune

Built in 1443, the Hospice du Beaune was established to care for the infirm who could not afford health care. In 1457 a local vineyard owner donated a bottle of wine to be sold to start a fund to care for the infirm in perpetuity. Now, Christies runs the auction each year. 

formerly hanging in the hospital, but now in the museum for Hospice du Beaune

But even if you aren’t attending the auction, the gothic hospital is considered one of the finest monuments in the country and a site that should not be missed. The complex with its bright, mosaic tiled roofs is a glorious sight in the sunlight. 

The pharmacy, chapel, wine cellars and, of course the vineyards, can be toured. More than 20 prestigious winemakers tend the vineyards around the Hospice du Beaune. 

 Food, shopping, museums and more 

 On Saturdays, Beaune is home to two huge markets. In the downtown area, you can find culinary wonders including meat, cheese and produce. The regional cheeses are fabulous, there’s Chaource, Espoisses and Delice de Pommard which is a light, creamy cheese rolled in mustard seeds. A second market a short walk from the town square specializes in antiques including books, glassware, vases and clothing. 

Market day in Beaune – Olives

You likely will experience some of the local cuisine from the river cruise chefs, perhaps Boeuf Bourguignon or Escargots a La Bourguignon. And no doubt the local mushrooms and truffles will find a place in one or two meals. 

Beaune market

In addition to the historical displays at the Hospice du Beaune, there is a wine museum in town, and the Dalineum is a museum dedicated to the works of Salvador Dali. The venerable Theatre de Verdure is now a spectacular public garden and sample a variety of mustards after taking a tour of the Fallot Mustard Mill. It offers an historic perspective on mustard production and the evolution of the condiment. 

Beaune market – a foodies delight

There are a number of public parks suitable for picnics and the Parc de La Bouzaire has its own lake and a small animal farm as well as a cafe. The Cote Plage beach features grassy access to the water and four natural pools. 

One of the finest examples of Romanesque architecture dating back to the 12th Century is the Basilica of Notre Dame in Beaune. Tour the old cloisters and St. Leger Chapel. There are stunning stained-glass windows and five intricate tapestries woven in the 1500s that chronicle the life of the Virgin Mary. 

Wine, food, architecture, culture and ambiance — Beaune has it all and you can experience it first-hand on the GetAway Travel river cruise planned for November 2022.  

As always, we can be reached at:  (262) 538-2140

e-mail: sue@getaway.travel or getaway.travel@outlook.com

 

World of Travel Opening Up – Again

If travel were a toddler, it would be past the toddling stage and into elementary school. In some cases, even into junior high. The pent-up quest for adventure means as travel restrictions ease up, access to prime locations and tours are booking up.

To keep the toddler analogy going, it’s time to start planning for that “college” vacation. GetAway Travel is ready to tailor a vacation to your needs.  For more ideas –  take a look at our fabulous selection of 2022 group tours on our website.

Confusing restrictions and requirements

Sure, there seems to be a lot more rules governing when you can get to a location and what you need, but that’s where a good travel agency is important. We stay on top of those rules and restrictions for you.

Which country needs a test 24 hours before, seven days before, do you need a vaccination passport, is there a quarantine period, a limit on stays and what documentation is required?

We can help with all those questions.

And, as time goes by, more and more countries are relaxing and streamlining their requirements. That’s another reason why you should be planning your trip for the end of 2021, but probably into 2022 right now.

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A Very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you! 

Wow! – What a year it has been!  Never in our lifetimes has the whole world faced such challenges as it has in 2020.   Like many industries, the world of travel was absolutely turned upside down, with every possible facet feeling the effects of shelteringinplace and closed borders.  Much of the world is still closed to us now, but that will eventually change as we move through 2021.  The desire for new experiences motivates us even now to look into the future with great anticipation of our next great travel adventure. 

Here’s a great quote from travel writer Bill Bryson –

 

 “To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.” 

Unfortunately, much of this year has been Groundhog Day – over and over again with the scenery rarely changing, as we patiently and hopefully – safely wait for our next opportunity to experience everyday things as if for the first time.  

Many of us have had more than our share of challenges and tragedies in 2020.   We’re not complaining though as we’ve also had more than our share of blessings this year!   

The travel business is still in a severe downturn, yet we remain steadfast in our resolve to go beyond our current circumstances and get to a brighter future.  We are look forward to the great reward that travel truly is and we know you are doing the same.  Despite the obstacles, we remain open, available, willing and more than excited to help you plan your next great adventure.    

We know many of you are waiting for the world to return to normal before making plans.  We get it.  Don’t forget though that travel brings joys before during and after your trip.  The joy of sharing travel memories with friends and loved ones, the great joy of the journey itself and the joy of anticipation from planning your next great trip. 

When you’re ready again to take that first step – planning – give us a call, we’re here for you – same as we’ve been for the last 21 years. 

 

 

Your Invited Down Under – Thursday April 23

It’s been a difficult time for everyone, trapped at home, concerned and unable to escape. A few of my Travel Adviser mates are hosting a virtual Australia information day and we’d love you to join us. You will escape your current confinement on a fabulous pictorial journey to the land Down Under.

On Thursday, April 23 we have lined up expat-Aussie, Jeff Adam to guide us through the best of Australia. There are 4 sessions as follows:

Session 1 – 11am PT, 12pm MT, 1pm CT, 2pm ET

Session 2 – 12pm PT, 1pm MT, 2pm CT, 3pm ET

Session 3 – 1pm PT, 2pm MT, 3pm CT, 4pm ET

Session 4 – 2pm PT, 3pm MT, 4pm CT, 5pm ET

For more details on the giveaways, prizes and to register http://campaign.r20.constantcontact.com/render?m=1112006432410&ca=e2b8df2a-d6c3-4369-bbd5-249a1d9b4af8

Jeff’s got a bit of a funny accent so all attendees will get a “How to Speak Aussie” dictionary, along with an Australia Map and Travel Planner. It will be balance of great information and good Aussie humor.

Ever take a cooking class on a River Cruise Ship?

Last September we had the joy of sailing with a small group aboard the Uniworld S.S. Joie de Vivre cruising from Paris to Normandy.  Everyone loved the experience onboard – the service was outstanding and the food was amazing.  One of our (many!) highlights of the trip was a group cooking class in the on board Wine Cave – La Cave des Vins.

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Being in Normandy, we had a welcome cocktail made with Calvados (local Apple Brandy) followed by a 4 course food and wine pairing.  The whole group assisted with all the food prep and cooking.  Our first course was an amazing sauteed foie gras atop a vanilla apple – which Continue reading

Too many Pictures and not enough time

This happens every time we GetAway.  We take a ton of pictures while we’re travelling and then after we get home we struggle to find time to sort through them, find the best ones and share.  So for today’s post we just grabbed some random ones from our recent Paris to Normandy river cruise that we hope you’ll enjoy.  So, well…enjoy away!

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This was our third time to Versailles, but our very first to see the Queen’s hamlet.  It’s a beautiful setting and makes for a great day of touring. You can read more about it here –The Queens Hamlet

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I think you can tell we love River Cruising.  But it’s not just us (although we are pictured above), our friends and clients love it too.  The Joie de Vivre was an amazing home for 7 days.

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Yup it’s just a picture of cheese in France.  Call us guilty – we are from Wisconsin and we love cheese enough to take pictures of it.

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Artwork as seen through a store window in Honfleur, France.  This gorilla looks to need a glass of single malt scotch to go with his cigar.  We didn’t buy this painting as we don’t know where we’d hang this in our house, however if you have a place for it – a trip to Honfleur might be just the thing you need.

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Speaking of Honfleur – here it is.  It’s a gorgeous town to visit.

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The American cemetery in Normandy is a humbling beautiful place to visit.  Words cannot express the gratitude.

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This is a view down a stretch of Omaha beach.  The coast line is rugged and looks much the same as it did in 1944

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Sainte-Mère-Église is now famous for a true incident portrayed in the movie The Longest Day.  The incident on D-Day involved paratrooper John Steele whose parachute caught on the spire of the town church, and could only observe the fighting going on below. He hung there limply for two hours, pretending to be dead, before the Germans took him prisoner. Steele later escaped from the Germans and rejoined his division when US troops attacked the village.  Look closely and you’ll see a mannequin with a parachute hanging from the church tower today

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Water lillies and France – must be the home of Monet.  Some of Monet’s most famous paintings are of his garden at Giverny.

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Random visit to a pop-up market behind the exclusive Domaine Les Crayères hotel in Reims.  Yes we’re in the heart of Champagne and this is a craft beer tent.  It was a very happy moment for Paul!

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There is a lot of limestone in the soils of Champagne.  Our Wine expert is showing us the ancient sea creature shells embedded in the stone on the Reims Cathedral.  He explained the calcium in the limestone is present in the wine and now that we’ve been drinking Champagne, there is a bit of the region of Champagne in all of us.

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You should definitely go for the night time light show at Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Reims.  But during the day you get better close up shots of the statues and this one is missing the top of his head.  Perhaps his hat blew off in a strong wind.

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Speaking of hats, this one looked great on Pierre, but we don’t think he actually brought it home.

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Sitting outside in Hautvillers, France for a wine and food tasting.  That’s a lot of glasses! It was all so we could taste some of the individual varietals that go into Champagne.  Hautvillers itself is famous for the Abbey of St. Peter which existed here until the French Revolution.  The Abbey was the home of Dom Perignon, a rather famous Benedictine monk whose work in wine-making helped to develop champagne.  Perhaps you’ve heard of him?

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Speaking of Champagne how about a place called Billecart-Salmon?  They create fantastic wine and it was a great Champagne house to visit.  We discovered that in his college years, our host (center of photo above) spent a year in Milwaukee.  You can imagine we quickly bonded over that.  Yes it is a small world!

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Hmm….you may be wondering…yes it is a foosball table – perhaps the best one ever.  We discovered this one at Ruinart.  Come for the bubbles and stay for the foosball!

Well that’s just a sample of some of our activities and the sites we visited.  These pictures don’t even include our cooking class in Reims – you can see that on youtube here.  Champagne is a quick train trip outside of Paris.  While it was not part of the river cruise – we went there for a few days first prior to the 7 days on the river Seine.  If we can help make your France (or any other location) travel dreams come true – please give us a call or drop us a note.

 

 

Dusky Sound – Fjordland National Park New Zealand

Fjordland National Park in New Zealand is a truly magnificent place to go. On our recent cruise we were favored with fantastic weather outside, but inside Sue Adams​ was a bit under the weather so some of the viewing was done just from our stateroom balcony. As we were passing by another stunning waterfall, some dolphins just happened to swim by and put on a show for us. Wow! #love2getaway

 

You know, some people still wonder…Do I really need to have a balcony cabin? uh, yes you do!

Blogging my way down the Danube – Budapest day 2

It’s up and at ’em today with a goal of seeing as much as possible. First stop St. Stephen’s Basilica. Located in a very nice area, the church is surrounded by many shops and cafés so after the visit you might want to grab a bite to eat or a glass of wine and enjoy the square.

St Stephens Basilica Budapest

St. Stephen’s is dedicated to the Hungary’s king who was the founder of the Hungarian State. Construction started in 1851 but the church was not dedicated until 1905. During WWII, the church roof, towers and external walls were badly damaged however visitors today will find that even the beautiful mosaics have been successfully restored. Like many churches & Basilica’s in Europe, St. Stephan’s has it’s precious relic. Here (in the chapel) you will find the mummified hand of the church’s patron saint, the first king of Hungary. I’ve seen quite a few mummified parts in my travels but no matter how many, I can’t quite get over the concept – and yes, in every church I do seek them out….go figure!

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If you are ambitious (we were not) you can walk up the 364 steps to the cupula for a panoramic view of the city, or do it the easy way and take one of the 2 elevators – either way, its worth the effort on a clear day.

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St Matthias church on Buda Castle hill

Next stop on our whirlwind tour is Buda Castle. We took public transportation for an easy jog over to that part of town. Located on what is referred to as Castle Hill, the 18th century Buda castle is a 200 room palace built to protect from Mongol and Tartar attacks. The castle was quite damaged in World War II however today many parts of it have been restored and now house the Hungarian National Gallery and the Budapest History Museum. The entire complex is designated a Unesco World Heritage Site and it is worth taking the time to explore.

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An amazing view from Castle hill of the Parliament building on the Danube

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View of Danube from Fisherman’s Bastion on Castle Hill

Funicula to Budda castle

Funicular Ride up to the Castle

Take the historic funicular up to the top and be sure to marvel at the views from the top. Stay for a changing of the guards ceremony and be sure to throw a penny in the fountain. While we were exploring a festival was being set up in the castle square and we are glad we hung around until the stalls began to open. This was by far the best Hungarian food ever! The cabbage roll was to die for, the grilled chicken was moist and tasty and sausage….well with a cold Hungarian brew, what could have been better??

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Sue & Ellen enjoy lunch at the Buda Castle

Onward we went – in search of one of the “most scenic tram rides in Europe”. AKA Tram #2, on the Pest side of the river is according to National Geographic, one of the most scenic trams in the world but I think we missed its beauty. Don’t get me wrong, out the river side of the tram there were some very pretty sights – when you could see them. However, the tram is crowded and used for local transportation so if you can get a seat on the scenic side you are lucky…heck that is if you can get a seat at all!

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Tram running in front of Gellert Baths in Budapest

Now a word about this and other trams/public transportation options in Budapest. You must buy a ticket and you MUST validate it upon entering the tram. We bought a 10 pack and got on. One of us validated and the other 2 did not, as our main goal was seeking out a seat. Well it seems that the one who validated did not actually validate the ticket itself but rather the ticket cover….and folks that doesn’t count when the tram police step on board and check your tickets. Let’s just say that the 1 Euro tram ride ticket became about a $35 per person fine – yep, even though we had attempted to validate according to the nice lady checking tickets, we had done so incorrectly and it simply didn’t count! You see, she doesn’t “make the rules, she just follows them” thank you very much and pay on the spot! It did not matter that we had some 8 unused tickets that she could have easily stamped …nope….tourist hand over the money! And so we did….but here is the good news (according to her), we could now ride the tram the rest of the day for free! Well we rode it all right, to where we found a wonderful little wine bar to toast our contribution to Budapest tourism!

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A Souvenir that won’t be soon forgotten!

All in a days fun…and something to talk about for a long time to come!

 

Blogging my way down the Danube – Day 1

Starting in Budapest, Hungary, we made our way down the Danube River on the Uniworld SS Maria Theresa and oh what a time we had.

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We arrived in Budapest a few days earlier and checked into the Boscolo Budapest Autograph Collection Hotel aka the New York Palace Hotel.  This city center hotel is truly an extraordinary experience where historic combines with contemporary comfort. Marble bathrooms, plush bedding, silk wallpaper and Murano chandeliers make you feel as though you are royalty.

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The service is fantastic and a visit to the world-famous New York Café located within the hotel is a must do.
Although tired, we grabbed a bite to eat while we waited for rooms to be ready and then our first stop of the trip was the famous natural hot spring baths. It was a short stroll from the hotel to the underground that took us right to the baths.

Széchenyi thermal bath Budapest

There are many hot mineral bath options in Budapest but we chose to visit Szechenyi Baths. Szechenyi is the largest in Budapest with 15 indoor baths and 3 grand outdoor options. Each pool has a different temperature, our favorite was outdoors pool because of the size and temperature. It was the warmest and together with the sunshine it revitalized our bodies, minds and spirits after that long overseas flight. Onsite, one can also take advantage of steam and sauna cabins, massage therapies and even a beer spa! We rented a cabin which afforded us a private change area and a place to store our things. This experience is highly recommended on your next trip to Budapest, there is just something about floating around in deliciously warm water while surrounded by a Neo-baroque palace!

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Feeling refreshed we headed back to the hotel knowing dinner and bedtime were just a few hours away. Tomorrow was to be a full day of sightseeing….stay tuned!

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Happy GetAway Travelers!

 

Free Dining or Free Drinks. Hmm…which to chose?

Being offered a “free” dining or beverage package seems to the be sign of the times today in ocean cruising bookings.  Every cruise line has its own twist on the perks offered but these two are always in the mix of offerings.

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So, which do you choose?  You love to eat and…. okay you like to consume adult beverages too, thus the dilemma exists.

Now, my first recommendation is talk to your travel professional because all “free” perks are not created equally.  For example, some lines charge service fees associated with their “free” while others do not.  Most lines have a dollar limit to drinks available using the perk and the big difference is how they handle those drinks that hop over that limit.  For example, let’s assume your drink limit is $13 but you really want to try that $16 martini.  On some lines, you would pay only the $3 extra, on other lines you would not be able to use the beverage package and be charged the full $16.   Note from one wine snob to another:  Serious wine drinkers (those who won’t drink the house wine at a bar and who don’t drink much in the way of other alcohol) should think twice about the “free” beverage package because it isn’t likely to have wines that will make you happy.  You, may want to consider choosing the free dining perk and then buying your own wine package.

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Dining packages are no different, you really have to do the math regarding which perk will be best.  Example:  you are on a 7-day cruise, your perk is 3 nights in a specialty restaurant, on board credit, free wifi or the beverage package.  What is the value of those 3 nights dining?  Let’s say the price is $35 per visit to the specialty restaurant x 3 = $105 but the onboard credit is $150 per person…..which is better?

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Remember a particular cruise line can only speak to and only wants to sell you their product, they cannot offer you a side by side comparison like a travel professional.  We can help sort all that out and can search across all cruise lines for the best perk offering out there.

And on that note:  Cheers and Bon Appétit1-Celebrity Century 3-20-2010 10-19-42 PM