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European Escape

14th September 2011

Gayle Grimshaw from Noller & Turner Travel Associates fondly recalls her trip to Europe.

I recently spent 5 weeks in Europe. The highlights were cycling in the Loire Valley, France and a Seabourn cruise from Venice to Athens. We did a self-guided cycle from Chissay along river banks and quiet country roads. Each day included coffees and lunch in a beautiful quaint French village. We cycled an average of 25kms per day on relatively flat trails.

The area is abound with beautiful chateaus, which we stopped to visit along the way. We arrived at a new hotel each afternoon to find our bags had miraculously already been delivered. The hotels were of a very good standard, and the restaurants  served an amazing array of foods. Luckily, we were able to burn off the calories the next day. We then spent a wonderful week in a small village in the Dordogne, where we hired a car and spent our days visiting caves & castles that populated the valley. We finished off our trip with a 7-night cruise on Seabourn Odyssey.

With only 450 passengers, this cruise ship offers all the luxury of the larger liners but with a more intimate feel. Being a smaller ship, we were able to sail into the fjords of Montenegro, which was an amazing experience. We had breakfast served on our balcony that morning as we sailed through mountain valleys. Our suite was beautiful, with more space than most hotel suites.

Being an all-inclusive cruise,  we were treated to cocktails around the pool and didn't have to worry about a large bill upon disembarkment. We also visited Dubrovnik, Corfu and Santorini. All in all, it was a wonderful way to get a taste of these beautiful destinations with ease.

Singapore Airlines best suited our itinerary and as usual, their service was faultless. This was an easy but interesting itinerary with very little unpacking & packing. Gone are my days of one or two nights in each city.