Past Tours

"Cinque Terre"

- Rome"

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Past Tours

Vietnam and Cambodia 2011
Kenya and Tanzania 2010
Egypt and Jordan 2010
UK and Northern France 2010
Turkey and Greece 2010
Italy and Sicily 2010
Egypt 09
Canada 09
Egypt 08
Italy 08
Vietnam 08
Egypt 07

European Love Affair!!!

It’s official, we all fell in love with Italy, Santorini and Paris. I had been to Italy before but not to many of the wonderful places that we visited on this trip. Starting in Milan we did the city tour taking in the Duomo, the 2nd largest Gothic Cathedral in the world, La Scala and other interesting sights before travelling the next day to Lake Como. We took a private boat out onto the lake and saw many beautiful villas and places where Hollywood movies such as Casino Royale and Ocean’s Twelve were filmed. Sadly we didn’t see George Clooney.

On to Venice via Verona, a medieval city that is the home of Juliet’s balcony. Venice is an amazing city and so quiet after the hustle and bustle of Milan. It is noticeable that there are no cars or motor vehicles of any kind other than boats. We enjoyed a gondola ride along the canals taking in the sites of this beautiful ancient city and the shopping.

For the next 9 days we would enjoy the company of Alessandra, our Italian assistant and our driver, Roberto. During our five days in Florence we travelled out into the Tuscan countryside and visited the walled medieval city of Lucca and Pisa with it’s leaning bell tower. Having been to Pisa before, I was so happy to this time be able to climb to the top of the tower for panoramic views of the city.

We went by boat to Cinque Terra, stopping at 2 of the 5 villages Vernazza and Manarola and then walking along the trail past the terraced hills and vineyards to our third stop, Riomaggiore to admire the beautiful coloured houses and rugged coastline. Sienna was a very interesting town which celebrates a famous horse race “Il Palio” twice a year.

The town is separated into seventeen Contrade or city wards that are represented by such icons as Goose, Caterpillar, Snail, Dragon etc., and each Contrade is fiercely passionate about their territory. So much so that if you are a Caterpillar and are married to a Dragon, and live in the Dragon ward, you must return to the Caterpillar ward during Palio!! We were lucky enough to be there on a Sunday and see the most recent winners, the Goose carry out their drum parade through the city. It was very impressive.

San Gimignano is another lovely hill town in Tuscany with it’s many beautiful towers one of which Kaz and I climbed up to enjoy the spectacular views of the Tuscan countryside.

Next it was into the Chianti area of Tuscany and our cooking class at Agriturismo Vergelle. In the capable hands of our chef Lena and her assistant Eliza we cooked up a storm of bruschetta, home made spaghetti with garlic sauce and Cantucci (biscotti). We had a ball and when the work was done and we sat down to enjoy the spoils of our labour, the Chianti reward added to an already joyful day….. Salute!

Soon it was time to farewell Tuscany and drive towards the Amalfi Coast and what a spectacular drive it was. The coastline is rugged and the water is the deepest blue. On the way we visited Assisi in Umbria, the birthplace of St. Francis before arriving at our hotel at Sorrento with views of Mt Vesuvius and the Bay of Naples.

We were very fortunate during our visit to the Isle of Capri that we were able to visit the Blue Grotto, a sea cave with magnificent blue water that appears to be lit from below. The boatmen who take you into the grotto in their tiny little boats are also would be opera singers who are happy to belt out a tune and demonstrate the grotto’s natural acoustics. Tourists can sit for hours waiting to gain entrance into the grotto so we were very lucky to only wait a short time and to actually be able to go inside and see this natural wonder.

Ravello is one of the delightful villages of the Amalfi Coast and is very popular for its beautiful Villa Rufolo and the opera’s that are held there during the warmer months. Our visit to the ruins of Pompeii was very interesting and much restoration work has been done to the site over the past years. Our last stop in Italy was Rome and sadly it is here we say farewell to Alessandra and Roberto. In Rome we visited St. Peter’s Basilica, the Vatican and Sistine Chapel and the Monument of King Victor Emmanuel II at Piazza Venezia. From the top there are great views of Rome.

When we visited St. Peter’s we went down to the Grottos where the tombs of many of the Popes are and when passing the tomb of Pope John Paul II, I was overcome with emotion. Many stop to pray and leave offerings to this most popular of Popes. It was raining the morning we went to the Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps but that didn’t stop us from tossing one coin over our shoulder into the fountain so we will return to Rome! The Colosseum, Rome’s greatest amphitheatre is an imposing site. Built in 72AD it remains as one of the greatest works of Roman engineering and architecture. The Pantheon with its natural skylight is beautiful and a real wonder of Ancient Rome. All too soon it was time for us to say Arrivederci Roma!!

Next stop Athens where we visited the Acropolis and other interesting highlights before flying to the beautiful Greek Island of Santorini. From our hotel, Santorini Palace, we had a great view of the famous blue domed church that is the most photographed blue dome on the island. We enjoyed a sunset cruise around the Caldera, beautiful sunny days and blue skies.

Our hotel was an easy walk to Fira, the old town where there were shops and restaurants a plenty. A bus tour of the island showed us the ancient towns and churches and the other villages on the island and finished off with the beautiful sunset at Oia. All too soon it was time for us to leave this rugged island and fly to the city of lights……… Paris.

Life On The Nile

Ahh Paris, what can I say? Paris has so much to offer and you can’t possibly see everything in 4 or 5 days. Our hotel, La Demeure was well located in the Latin Quarter close to the Metro and the buses. There were good restaurants, supermarkets and Laundromats all close by, not that we had time for laundry. So much to see and so little time. Some of the girls were lucky enough to be up high enough to have views of the Eiffel Tower and were treated to a light show at night every hour on the hour. A morning tour of Paris took us to such landmarks as Notre Dame, Napoleon’s Arch, Arc De Triomphe and along the Champs-Elysées, ending with a cruise along the Seine and ending at the Eiffel Tower.

Nine of us from the group went to see the latest production at Moulin Rouge, “Féerie” with its troupe of 100 artists, 60 of them Doriss Girls recruited world-wide, 1,000 costumes of feathers, rhinestones and sequins. We enjoyed a memorable night of the most French of entertainment, cuisine and of course Champagne. What a wonderful, wonderful night!!

Life On The Nile

Paris is not a one size fits all kind of city and with this in mind, when planning the tour, I didn’t have planned tours and activities for every day. We had a morning tour on the first day for everyone to get their bearings and a quick overview of the city and it’s history and then for the next 3 days there were some optional tours to Monet’s Garden, Versailles, the Champagne Region and one of the girls took in the French Open.

Quite a few of the ladies visited the Louvre and other museums and art galleries while others went back to Notre Dame and the Eiffel Tower. As the #67 bus that went all the way through to Pigalle was right across from our hotel, some of us took a ride up to Montmarte and Sacre Couér in the 18th District of Paris which is still today the home to sculptors, painters and artisans who lead a somewhat bohemian life. Everywhere there are artists sketching and painting the faces of tourists and locals who have come to enjoy this village experience.

Paris is a city that you can return to time and time again and never see or experience enough to satisfy your appetite forever. If you love Paris, it’s a lifetime affair……

Burj al Arab Dubai

"Blue Grotto"

"Rome Flower Garden"

"The Louvre
- Paris"

"Amalfi Coast"

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