Brice & Turner Travel Associates clients Ron and Kerry Wheadon from Western Australia recently returned from an exciting tour of the U.K., France and Belgium, where they delighted in many of the fascinating historic sites and natural wonders of the region.
Add to that a night of exhilarating entertainment at the famous Moulin Rouge in Paris and special times spent with new found friends over good food and cheerful libations, and the tour became more than just a holiday, but an enriching experience filled with happy memories to last a life time.
Beginning their journey of discovery on the continent with a battlefield tour, one of Ron and Kerry’s first stops was to the legendary village of Ypres, in Belgium. Site of one of the most dramatic war time sieges in history, Ypres became entwined in the struggle for European supremacy during the First World War.
It was at the quaint Hotel Kasteelhof’t Hooghe, an old chateauin the lovely outskirts of Ypres where the Aussie couple witnessed first-hand the destructive forces wrought upon the town between 1914 and 1917.
“We reckon we had the best room in the hotel,” said Kerry. “We were on the first floor, right on the corner overlooking the front, with a bomb crater right next door, which is now a lake!” Peaceful and romantic today, the charming country side surroundings and rustic chateau offered an idyllic cultural setting.
The Backroads Battlefield Tour also included the honoured sites of the Battle of the Somme in France. For months this war torn countryside was embroiled in bitter combat, becoming the largest, most deadly battle of the entire war.
“Our guide was extremely knowledgeable about the battlefield’s history,” said Ron. “He has lived on the Somme for around 25 years and lives and breathes the area and its history!”
Continuing, Kerry said, “The people on this tour were fantastic! There were many great people from Australia who were on the tour, it was so good to pay homage to those men and women who gave their all in WW1.”
It was off to the U.K. where Ron and Kerry toured the magnificent sites of London, from Piccadilly and Big Ben to the centuries old Tower of London and that famous wheel along the River Thames, the London Eye.
While London is special in so many ways, it was but a stopping point on Ron and Kerry’s journey to the remote islands of Orkney, in the far north of Scotland. Known for its ancient settlements, charming coastal villages and stunning cliff lined shore, Orkney offers a pristine natural environment where beach side sheep mingle with resting North Atlantic seals.
Survey the mountainous countryside on any of the 20 or so inhabited islands and one is struck by the completely treeless landscape, and while its far northern latitude and blustery air currents may sound uninviting, this remote area is delightfully temperate – and the hospitality downright warm and welcoming. “The tour itself was a smorgasbord of delights,” said Kerry, particularly when it took in the Orkneys.”
Back in Australia, the Wheadon’s happily recounted their heart-warming journey. “The places the tour visited were out of the box! We really enjoyed the people and locations visited and it was great to be out and about with people all having a good time! We can't thank our agent Shelley enough for all her hard work and helpful advice.”