News from the European Travel Club

The European Travel Club at Machesi di Gresy

The European Travel Club at Machesi di Gresy

Brian Mundy

Northwestern Italy! Our group of 25, hosted by my wife Cheryl and I, began our final 2018 European travel adventure on October 1 with a scenic drive from Milan to the lovely seaside resort of Sestri Levante, just south of Genoa, where we settled in for four nights in our hotel. A multi-course welcome dinner with Prosecco and unlimited red and white local wines in the lovely hotel restaurant overlooking the Bay of Silence was a splendid start to this 12-day program. Our first full day with our amazing tour director, Alex, began with boat trips to the jet-set resort of Portofino and the elegant Santa Margherita Ligure and included a waist-busting outdoor seafood luncheon with (need we say?) lots of local wine. The following day highlighted Cinque Terre with more boat rides and even a train trip; amazing scenery! On Day 4, everyone enjoyed a morning cooking class and (after) ate (with local wine!) what they had prepared.

It was time to move on, so we headed north and then west to Savona, where we visited the Sistine Chapel (Yes! There are two in Italy!) and the magnificent Cathedral. From here we continued west along the Autostrada dei Fiori (Freeway of Flowers) to the historic town of Albenga and then to the City of Music, Sanremo, where we could again relax for three nights in our hotel overlooking the Ligurian Sea. Day 6 began with a true highlight – a visit to the unique medieval town of Dolceaqua – and ended with another traditional meal with local wines and liquors. The following day we explored Sanremo with a guided walking tour and time to immerse ourselves in the bustling open-air market before heading off into France and on to Monaco, for a walking visit (the Royal Palace and St. Nicholas Cathedral – where Princess Grace is buried – are stunning), dinner and then on to Monte Carlo for the chance to win or lose big at the world famous casino. We saw more Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Maseratis, Aston Martins, Rolls and Bentleys parked outside than had we visited all of Italy and searched for them! Truly a destination for the rich and famous!

Day 8 was time to head north inland into the Langhe, a picturesque region of rolling hills, vineyards, hazelnut trees and forests. Our lovely villa, where we relaxed for four nights, was in the heart of it all and we were able to enjoy highlights such as visits to historic hilltop villages, wine tasting at the estate of the Machesi di Gresy (where our group photo was taken, surrounded by the natural amphitheater of vineyards), truffle hunting with Giovanni and his two charming dogs, baking a hazelnut cake at a local farm and a remarkable dinner in a Michelin-starred restaurant. And then it was back to Milan for our flights home and reality-.

The European Travel Club is based in SaddleBrooke and offers custom hosted travel programs to certain areas in Europe. I’m sure members may be intrigued by the prospect of a camping trip to Iceland. If this is ever organized, we will likely be using this iceland campervan packing list as the basis for a lot of the planning. Our 2018 travel menu consists of Spain (first half of May), England and Scotland (second half of May), Slovenia and Croatia (June), Holland and the Island of Malta (second half of September) and southeast England and a French River Cruise (early October). For further information, please contact me at [email protected]. Happy travels, everyone!