For the Summer of 2018, we have planned something quite different from any of our past travels in Europe. We have not spent the past 6 months laboring over extensive itineraries, booking accommodations, renting cars and figuring out train schedules (although, in reality, we do love to do all of those things). This year, we decided to let someone else do all of the planning…and I mean every.last.detail! This year, we are going to sit back and enjoy a two and half week river cruise!
Okay, so I know we are not alone. It’s a quiet Sunday evening, you are at home relaxing on the sofa, about to watch some PBS show such as Downtown Abbey, and then the ad comes on….classical music plays as you see the river boat slowly gliding by some lovely European building that you don’t quite recognize (hint: it’s the Parliament Building in Budapest) and the picture-perfect (slightly older) couple in their smart outfits stand on their deck smiling and drinking wine while sailing past quaint Bavarian towns. It’s a Viking River Cruise, and you have to admit it looks pretty enticing!
All that enticement aside, Josette and I have encountered tourists in Europe that were on one of these very Viking River Cruises. In fact, last year in France, we were touring the Cathedral in Rouen and we saw a Viking group. Let’s just say that the majority of the group had a good 35 to 40 years on us….there were lots of canes and walkers amongst them. Admittedly, we chuckled a bit and decided then and there that we had many years of travel before we would be ready for a river cruise.
But things change…especially after returning home last summer only to receive a handful of very expensive traffic tickets issued to me from lovely ‘ol France. I was shocked. I’m a slow, careful driver, even mocked by wife and friends for driving like an old man. But apparently, not by French standards! Not only did I get ticketed for running a red light, but at some point I was speeding as well. Having to pay in Euros against a weak dollar only added to the sting. So on this trip, I don’t have to worry about traffic tickets, driving in a strange country, paying for insurance, navigating, or getting lost….none of it. We are letting someone else take care of it all.
Our trip is called the “Grand European Tour“, and it is a solid two-week journey that takes us through 4 different countries. We are starting in Amsterdam and making stops in Germany, Austria and ending in Budapest, Hungary. We extended our trip a bit by adding a few days in Amsterdam before the river cruise begins.
I love to share all of the sights and sounds of our travels on this blog and show the food and drink we devour, and I intend to do that again this year. But in past posts, I have definitely let my history major invade my brain, and I get a little too detailed in the history behind the places we visit…which takes a lot of time and effort to write and research, but also to read! So this year, I am going to stay away from that and concentrate on documenting all of the things we do and see, what we eat, the people we encounter, the cultures we experience and also, what it is like to take a Viking River Cruise. Obviously, I’m not a paid spokesperson for Viking (or anyone else), so I intend to let readers know quite honestly if it was worth the very heavy price tag!
Our 10-year-old is safely tucked away with family for the month of July and will actually be taking her first ocean cruise to the Caribbean in a few weeks. So we are once again going on this trip as a couple. We leave New York on the evening of July 3rd and will awake in Amsterdam on the 4th….so join us as we embark on our European adventure version 2018!
9 thoughts on “Europe 2018”
Look forward to your cruise and the price tag is just right for me!”Enjoy!
Looking forward to a new kind of adventure from you.
I have to admit to skipping over some (but not all) of your history lessons while appreciating your knowledge and incredible photography.
Michelle in Seattle
Can’t wait to read about your experience on the river cruise. I’ve never been on one and have heard mixed reviews from some who have. Looking forward to reading your opinion, as some who have glowing reports have no other European travel experience and, thus, no other experiences to which to compare river cruising to other types of trips. Bon voyage!
We are excited but equally ambivalent…and I will definitely miss staying in apartments and hotels in the heart of these towns and cities ( like we typically do). With the price tag of this trip, it had better be good! I’m definitely an honest and blunt New Yorker, so follow along and see how it goes! Thanks for reading and commenting!
Thank you for taking me along with you on this “experimental” river voyage. I’ve never been on a river cruise but have always thought it would be something I would enjoy. One word to the wise however. I was enjoying a small boat river cruise on a lovely summer’s night in Budapest last August. Our small boat was passed by several Viking Cruise boats that night and one in particular was memorable. One plump, naked guy didn’t remember (?) to pull the curtains in his Viking ship stateroom and afforded everyone on the river quite a memorable show that very dark summer evening. There’s a lesson here-if not enjoying the gorgeous-especially-from-the-river-at-night city of Budapest fully clothed, drink in hand, from the deck, please pull the curtains unless you want everyone on the river to be part of your story! You will love Budapest and want to come back.
Andi- that is hilarious!! Reminds me of last summer in France…we were there days before the Tour de France and there were tons of amateur bicyclists riding the tour route. One day, we were eating lunch at a river-side restaurant but happened to be facing some parked cars…one of which was a van. Four 60 something bicyclists pulled up and proceeded to take turns going in the back of the van to change out of their biking gear. But they didn’t close the door…and we saw WAY more of these men than anyone ever should! Lol. Thanks for reading my blog and leaving a comment.
Ah, those priceless travel experiences! 😉
Have a GREAT Trip !!!