My husband and I have been fortunate enough to take three Viking River Cruises—actually four because France’s Finest is two cruises put together.
We had another VRC scheduled for April of this year, the Rhine Getaway from Basel to Amsterdam on the Rhine River, and I don’t have to explain why that didn’t happen.
We rescheduled the same cruise for April of next year, gambling that there would be (1) a Covid-19 vaccine; (2) Viking’s Longships will be cruising Europe’s rivers again; and (3) Europe will allow Americans back in by then. Hope springs eternal.
We can’t plan our 2021 trip online yet. Choosing what expeditions to go on and what sights to see and photograph is part of the fun. Because I am a tour guide in Boston, I get to experience Viking ‘s on-land excursions from both sides of the big red lollipop and I know they are outstanding.
Photo Theme of the Day
In the meantime, I really miss travel. There’s a private Facebook page for friends of Viking cruises on which we share photos and information. For weeks now, the page’s administrator, who has been on more Viking cruises than most of us can imagine, has been running a photo theme of the day. We post any pictures we have that match the theme.
Going through our photos and looking at those posted by others helps to scratch the travel itch, but it also makes me antsy for our next Viking River Cruise.
Come Along on a Virtual Viking Vacation
So, today I’m going to take you on a virtual Viking vacation. Here’s a collection of some of my travel posts, which I have grouped according to my own themes. There are more, but I tried to curate them.
Our Viking European River Cruise — One of the best. We loved every minute of this extraordinary cruise and had some great experiences.
Unexpected Discoveries in France – You can never tell when you will find something interesting, beautiful, unusual, or historical when you poke around Europe. Here are a few I discovered.
In the Footsteps of Great Artists
With Monet and Renoir on the Seine – Follow in the footsteps of great artists and you can see what they painted and where they painted in in person. The experience gives a whole new meaning to what you see inside museums.
With Van Gogh in Arles and St. Remy – Some of the places Vincent Van Gogh painted look almost the same today as they did back in the nineteenth century. Others, not so much. In this tour, I got to smell the amazing air of Les Alpilles, the Little Alps, while visiting the mental hospital in St. Remy where he committed himself and did some of his best work.
Prince Bishop’s Residenz and the Tiepolo Ceilings — Europe holds more great art than we can imagine, despite the losses from bombing in WWII. Discovering one can be a great surprise. This one is jaw dropping.
How John Davis Skilton Saved the Tiepolo Ceilings — The Residenz was designed by a German, decorated by an Italian, bombed by the British, and saved by an American. Here’s how John Davis Skilton did it.
Mornings and Celebrations
Everyone Was Dancing in Tournon sur Rhône – Although Viking runs outstanding expeditions away from the ship, you can often get a nice surprise if you just wander around yourself. You might even stumble upon a local festival. Avec le vin – of course!
Celebrating Freedom in France – Memorial Day has a whole new meaning when you experience how the French remember what we did in World War II. They haven’t forgotten. They take meticulous care of the war cemeteries that held the Americans and Canadians who freed them from Nazi occupation.
Just Cruisin’ Along
Viking Longship Mornings on the Sundeck – I’m an early riser and I go through a round of physical therapy exercises in the mornings. On a Viking Longship, I can go up to the sundeck and do them whether we’re in port or the middle of a river. It’s a great experience and I see some wonderful things. Sometimes, people see me, too. Gotta watch out for downward dog.
Low Bridges and High Castles – Sliding under bridges and spotting old castles are two of the pleasures of a VRC. It feels special to be going under something when everyone else is going over it.
The 68 River Locks from Budapest to Amsterdam – I’m a lock geek; I admit it. I love going through locks, especially the tall ones. On Viking’s Grand European cruise, we cleared 68 locks on the Danube, Main, and Rhine rivers.
Religion and Churches
Finding St. Louis de France in Europe – As a recovering parochial school student, I was fascinated by continually finding places in Europe that were named for, or had been bult by, our patron saint. This is how I found him.
Exploring the Old Churches of Europe – I never know what I will find when I wander around churches that are hundreds of years old. Sometimes, I want to get a bucket and sponge and clean away the grime of ages.
Exploring European Churches: Part 2 – This is my follow-up post with more discoveries in European churches.
That Little Old Wurst Maker, Me! – There’s nothing like learning to cook a local delicacy – and then eating it the local way – to make you feel at home in another country. In Regensburg it was weisswurst and bier!
The Virtual Viking Vacation Ends
We have reached the end of our virtual Viking vacation. Thank you for boarding four of Viking’s Longships: Modi, Forseti, Heimdahl. and Rinda. Next year, I hope to add some more posts after we take the Rhine Getaway from Basel, Switzerland, to Amsterdam. I have a better camera now, so — better pictures. In the meantime, I’m counting the days.