Tag Archives: River Cruise

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.

 

 

The Queens Hamlet

The Hameau de la Reine is a rustic retreat built for Marie Antionette in 1783 within the park which includes the Palace of Versailles.  It served as a private leisure and meeting place for the queen and her closest friends.  In a couple of weeks that will include us as we visit as part of an excursion on our Paris to Normandy River Cruise aboard the S.S Joie de Vivre.

Including the queen’s house there are a total of 10 cottages.  The site was abandoned after the French Revolution and would be completely lost if not for later restoration efforts.  Napoleon ordered a full restoration between 1810 and 1812, which unfortunately included tearing down some of the most dilapidated structures including the barn and the working dairy.  A second restoration campaign funded by John Rockefeller in 1930’s saved the hamlet from certain ruin.  Part of the hamlet was restored once again in the late 20th century, with some buildings including the windmill restored to their original look.  The farm itself almost totally disappeared over the course of the 20th century but was reconstructed in 2006.  It’s now home to a variety of animals.

We are really looking forward to our upcoming visit.  While the cruise is sold out you can still follow along on our Facebook page – we hope to see you there -https://www.facebook.com/getawaytravelllc/

GetAway Travel - you renewed

 

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

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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!

Széchenyi thermal bath Budapest_4

Happy GetAway Travelers!

 

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


 

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.

 

 

Sustainable River Cruising

Not only do you want to go to great destinations, but it’s good to know that suppliers such as Uniworld are working to keep them as great destinations for future generations of travellers. 

Here is what Uniworld has to say about this important initiative.

Sustaining the destinations we visit is of great importance to us at Uniworld. We are part of a joint initiative by The Travel Corporation (TTC) family of brands called TreadRight; a not for profit working to ensure that the environment and communities we explore remain vibrant for future generations.
TreadRight is The Travel Corporation’s hub for all corporate social responsibility efforts, and manages a long-standing grants program that benefits sustainable tourism projects.
To date, TreadRight has committed more than USD 1.5 million to projects worldwide, and encourages industry best practice through our support for the World Travel & Tourism Council’s Tourism for Tomorrow Awards. To learn more about our work at TreadRight, please visit us at www.treadright.org.
Uniworld’s current and most exciting project is in partnership with The Travel Foundation, a United Kingdom-based charity with the same socio-environmental values we share. With their support, Uniworld is spearheading the Sustainable River Cruising project—the first of its kind—focusing on minimizing the environmental impact of Uniworld’s ships, and the river cruising industry at large.
We believe conservation starts at the local level, and encourage you to learn more about our Sustainable River Cruising initiative and its impact on Uniworld and the river cruising industry as a whole.

Why not join us on a very special River Cruise in 2013?