SE England and France river cruise 2018

On a brilliantly sunny day in SE England 22 European Travel Club guests checked into the Woolpack Inn, located in the tiny village of Chilham, Kent. What’s so special about that? Well, only that the inn has been welcoming guests since 1488! For four glorious days we explored the counties of Kent (“The Garden of England”) and Sussex. We visited Battle Abbey, historic site of the Battle of Hastings in 1066, then met the Town Crier and Mayor for a private get-together in Rye’s historic town hall (and, after, enjoyed a walking tour of the ancient, cobblestone centre.) The next day we traveled to Provender House, where the European Travel Club (i.e. me!) had arranged a private visit and tea/cakes hosted by Princess Olga Romanoff, daughter of Prince Andrei Romanoff, the eldest nephew of Tsar Nikolas II. From there we headed into Canterbury for a guided tour of the incredible Cathedral, seat of the Archbishop of Canterbury, leader of the Church of England. A highlight of our next day was a visit to Chartwell, beloved former home of Sir Winston Churchill. The grounds were magnificent on a crystal-clear autumn day! That afternoon we toured the Bolney Wine Estate and enjoyed some tasting of English wines. Yes, they turned out to be very good! As did four fun evenings with the locals in our inn and the neighboring White Horse pub!

Our trip to Paris was on Eurostar, under the Channel and, once in France, with a speed reaching 284 kilometers an hour! Wow! We transferred to our “home” for the next eight days, Avalon Waterways’ “Tapestry II” luxurious river boat and on a delightful sunny afternoon (after checking into our very spacious and beautifully-appointed staterooms) began our cruise down the River Seine on time at 5:00. Our days were superbly handled by the crew and local guides and drivers and our stops included Giverny, Bizy Castle, Les Andelys, Caudebec (where we visited Normandy abbeys and, on one glorious sunny day, paid tribute to those who landed on D-Day 1944, visiting the Point du Hoc, Omaha Beach and the American Cemetery), the beautiful city of Rouen, Auvers-sur-Oise (where Vincent Van Gogh lived and died) and Napoleon and Josephine’s Chateau de Malmaison. The food, service and wines on board were superb! And the afternoon cruise out of Rouen on a brilliantly warm and sunny afternoon, with the leaves changing colors and the lovely homes and villages along the river, was truly a highlight. Upon arrival back in Paris, many in our group took full advantage of the city with walking and bus tours. So many lasting memories and, for Cheryl and I, placing a red rose in the sand on Omaha Beach to say a heartfelt thank you to all those who gave us our freedom was the greatest memory of all. Saying au revoir to France was brutal, but we’ll be back in 2020!

For further information on our Travel Club’s 2019 adventures (Slovenia and Croatia, NE Italy, the Baltics and Ireland) and to list for advance notice of our five 2020 programs (Turkey, France, England, Poland and Germany), please contact me at [email protected]. Happy travels, everyone!