River cruises make for mem­o­rable trip

The Hutt News - - CONVERSATIONS -

Julie and John Shee­han own and op­er­ate The Call Cen­tre Lim­ited in Lower Hutt. They’ve just re­turned from two months in Europe with Julie’s brother Pat Smith, which in­cluded two backto-back cruises with Avalon Wa­ter­ways, from Ar­les in the south of France to Chalon-surSaone on the Rhone River south of Paris, then on the Rhine from Basel in Switzer­land to Am­s­ter­dam.

WHAT IN­SPIRED THIS LAT­EST TRIP?

We’ve al­ways wanted to visit France, and now our son is help­ing to run the busi­ness we saw it as an op­por­tu­nity to take a longer break. The river cruises are a fan­tas­tic way to re­lax and yet see places you might never see - and the abil­ity to un­pack your clothes and for­get about liv­ing out of a suit­case is a ma­jor plus. Our state­room (bed­room) had huge slid­ing doors al­low­ing us to be in our own room but watch the world go by if we wanted to – which we of­ten did! The up­keep of the boats is metic­u­lous and they have three ac­com­mo­da­tion decks with a huge up­per deck with lounge chairs and a Jacuzzi. The boats carry bi­cy­cles that you can take to ex­plore the towns and vil­lages – it was not only good ex­er­cise but also al­lowed us to see parts of the coun­try­side we would have missed oth­er­wise.

WHATWAS THE HIGH­LIGHT?

There were so many mem­o­rable places it’s hard to pick, but we did a stun­ning train ride on the Bern­ina Ex­press, from Ti­rano in Italy to St Moritz, then a tour to the laven­der fields of Provence – which bloom from June to Au­gust and are a must-see. We also did a Vespa tour in Florence into the vine­yard coun­try­side, then a pri­vate boat tour from Sor­rento down the Amalfi coast.

WHAT SUR­PRISED YOU MOST ABOUT YOUR TRIP?

How quickly two months went by! It was the first time we trav­elled with Julie’s brother, but we all got on re­ally well.

WHOWAS THE MOST IN­TER­EST­ING PER­SON YOU MET ALONG THEWAY?

On the river cruises we met an Aus­trian man who was 75 (but looked late 60s and was fit as a buck rat). He’d been ‘re­tired’ for 30 years, it was his 20th cruise and there wasn’t a part of the world he hasn’t seen. He left Aus­tria in his early 20s, made and lost money in South Africa and now lives in Bris­bane but spends four or five months a year trav­el­ling. He was a real char­ac­ter and we made a good friend.

HOW HAS TRAVEL CHANGED YOU?

It in­tro­duces you to other cul­tures and forces you to en­gage with other peo­ple in their lan­guages. This can be chal­leng­ing, but also re­ward­ing. Also learn­ing about the his­tory of places go­ing back hun­dreds, if not thou­sands of years, is fas­ci­nat­ing. It also makes you re­alise how good we have it in NZ in so many ways.

Look­ing for in­spi­ra­tion? Join House of Travel Lower Hutt’s UK& Europe Travel Expo at the Dowse at 5.30pm on Oc­to­ber 17. To se­cure your spot phone (04) 569-0950.

Julie and John Sheen­han with Julie’s brother Pat Smith en­joyed back to back cruises in Europe.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.