We are (finally) back. It is always exciting to go on a journey… but by George, it is absolutely wonderful to come home.
Most of you already know that time off can mean hard labor, especially when an “excursion” (or two) awaits you every single day of your getaway. And hard labor it was. According to my iPhone, on the average, we walked between 4 and 5 miles a day (often more), which was a lot to take for my left foot still suffering from “plantar fasciitis”.
So how was our trip to the old continent in general? It was great. And the “old continent” by the way has a lot to teach us and is often more cutting edge than our vaunted New World.
The airfare (Economy Premium) from San Francisco to Paris was fairly comfortable but 10 hours resting on my derriere is a bit much. Every part of my body deserves respect and I am sorry to say that I grossly disrespected that part.
The biggest hassle on this trip was the flight connection from Paris to Zurich in the Charles de Gaulle airport. The distance from one satellite to the other is humongous and it is a long-distance marathon for exhausted passengers.
Fortunately, my travel agent (Jan Toulon) had the great forward-thinking idea of asking for “assistance”. So, waiting for me in Paris was an Air-France wheelchair driving attendant to take me painlessly to my destination. Thank you, Jan, for that lifesaving suggestion.
We embarked on the “Avalon Panorama” in Basel (Switzerland) and disembarked in Amsterdam a week later. The ship was 443 feet long and 36 feet wide. But most excellently, it carried only 156 passengers with a crew of 52 people. In my book, bigger is never better!
The rooms were spacious, the service excellent and the food to die for. The only setback was the cold weather. It snowed in Basel and rained intermittently throughout our journey. But this didn’t dampen our spirit. We just bundled up and soldiered on.
Every excursion was led by a “guide” who always had a scintillating command of the English language. I would be willing to bet that half of California is not as proficient in English as our guides were.
For each excursion, all the participants were given a Bluetooth earpiece which allowed us to hear very clearly the guide’s comments… even when they strayed 30 feet away from that person.
As you can imagine I took a lot of pictures. This cruise and the subsequent stay in Amsterdam were a photographer’s dream come true. So, I shot around 3000 pictures which (after a strenuous effort) I managed to bring down to about 800.
I will probably post 3 or 4 albums; two devoted to the Rhine cruise and the 2 others devoted to Amsterdam.
Good to be back. I hope that you will like the pictures.