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/
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
River 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.
All 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.
Advent has been ushered in since the late middle ages via traditional Christmas markets. Depending on where you are in Europe a Christmas market is also known as Christkindlmarkt, Marché de Noël, Christkindlesmarkt, and Weihnachtsmarkt. Christkindlesmarkt literally translates as “Christ child market”.
Generally held in town squares, the markets sell food, drink and seasonal crafts from open-air stalls accompanied by traditional singing and dancing. Popular attractions include a Nativity scene, nutcrackers, toasted almonds, traditional gingerbread cookies and hot mulled wine to help stave off the cold winter air. Many handmade items including toys, decorations and ornaments are found in the Market. Check out this photo – It’s truly a magical experience!
One of the most visited Christmas Markets is found in Cologne, Germany which in fact has 7 markets in total of which the 4 biggest are located near the amazing Cathedral. The Christmas Market at the Cologne Cathedral is the most impressive one in, due to the huge backdrop of the imposing Cathedral. Beneath the Cathedral and the largest Christmas tree in the Rhineland, you can find well over 160 festively designed wooden pavilions. Here you can watch artisans at work, enjoy original “Christmas Mulled Wine” out of festively decorated Christmas mugs or you can choose from an unlimited choice of sweets and local delicacies. The Alter Markt takes place in front of the old town hall only 200 meters from the cathedral. Shadowed by beautiful narrow-gabled houses and half-timbered stalls, this market conveys a very romantic and idyllic feel. The Neumarkt is Cologne’s oldest Christmas market located near St. Aspoteln’s (Basilica of the Holy Apostles) church. This market glows in splendor with charmingly designed chalets and a unique “stars at night” theme. The Christmas Market on the Rudolfplatz takes you to a world of brother’s Grimm fairy tales. Large fairy tale figures and festive illuminations provide a special eye-catcher, set against the historic backdrop of one of Cologne’s 3 standing medieval gate houses.
Prepare to be pampered and amazed on our special 7 day trip cruising along the legendary Rhine through Germany, France and Switzerland. Explore charming towns and discover treasures in some of Europe’s finest traditional Christmas markets. You’ll revel in the brilliant holiday decorations and in tasting the many treats and spiced wines of the season. This is truly the way to celebrate Christmas! Discover the roots of our Christmas traditions as you explore some of Europe’s most charming towns. Browse for unique ornaments in Basel’s Christmas Market. Sip vin chaud as you stroll to Place Kléber to behold the enormous, brilliantly lighted tree that Strasbourg offers modern celebrants. Find unexpected treasures in the red-roofed stalls clustered around Cologne’s magnificent cathedral.
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.
Well it’s not really a word from our sponsors, but more like a word from ourselves.
We are a fully independent “boutique” travel agency. We do not have sponsors, we do not have quotas, we do not do high pressure sales. Our agency is located in Wisconsin, but we have clients all across the US.
We really strive to develop more personal relationships with our clients in order to help them make great decisions on amazing vacation options. We work to find out what is special to them, and then work to make it happen – period.
Most of our posts are about some of the fantastic places we visited, of course with the thought of inspiring others. But in order to keep the agency healthy – we will need to send an occasional post out with details on what we feel are special offerings. These offerings are limited to unique experiences and vacations that we have faith will meet the needs of our clients.
This month we have 4 items that we feel are worth your consideration.
#1 – Sometimes girls just need to GetAway. We have limited group space (land & air) on hold at the elegant Secrets Capri in Riviera Maya, Mexico. This is a AAA Four Diamond award-winning property that will provide an excellent break from the frigid Midwest winter.
#2 – Ireland is typically close to the top of everyone’s bucket list and for very good reasons. Discover what they all are by joining us for an Unforgettable Irish Experience from May 30 – June 9, 2014. A special $100 per person discount is available for anyone who deposits before September 9, 2013
#4 – Last but not least are our current specials with Royal Caribbean. They have some of the most amazing ships at sea with so many activities that there is truly something for everyone on board a Royal Caribbean Cruise.
We thank you for your kind attention, and if there is ever anything we can do to help you or a group of your friends and/or your families have a wonderful vacation experience, please just ask.
On the southern bank of the Seine in Lower Normandy is a beautiful town with the most picturesque 17th century harbor – Honfleur. Painted many times by famous artists including Claude Monet, the port is characterized by its houses with slate covered frontages.
Harbor of Vieux Bassin, Honfleur
The sky was well overcast and it drizzled most of the time during our visit, but you could not escape the unique charm of this town.
The amazingly well-preserved half-timbered medieval architecture was everywhere to be seen during our walking tour.
St Catherine’s is certainly one of the most unusual churches you will visit in France. Apparently all the local stone was used to build town defenses, so the church was built out of wood by nautical ship builders.
Oh and there is no shortage of bakery goods available for the tourists to satisfy a sweet tooth. There are many different ways to tour Normandy and Honfleur, one that we highly recommend is by River Cruising. You can get more details at our partner site with Uniworld
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.