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European adventure by land, sea and air

29 June 2012


When Graeme and Sue Putt met with Christine Sheppard to plan their European trip in 2010, they had a clear idea of what they wanted to see.

“Neither Sue nor myself had done our ‘O.E.’ and hadn’t been to that part of the world”, says Graeme.  “With the kids having moved out of home, it was an ideal time for us to travel; our chance to ‘hit the highlights’ of Europe, with a few special extras thrown in”.

First stop was a four day stay in London.  Basing themselves in Kensington made it easy for the couple to walk most places, taking in major sights such as Buckingham Palace and the London Eye.  They also saw two shows ‘We Will Rock You’ and ‘Jersey Boys’ in the West End.

From London the couple embarked on an eight-day Trafalgar Tour bus trip, taking in the cities of Paris, Lucerne, Venice, Florence and Rome.

Graeme and Sue loved Paris, and plan to go back to spend more time there.  “The highlights were the dinner and show at Moulin Rouge, and of course the Eiffel Tower.  A beautiful city,” says Graeme.

The bus tour also visited Lucerne, where they were wowed by the Swiss Alps; Venice, where they took a gondola ride around the canals drinking red wine whilst being serenaded, and the beautiful city of Florence.  Seeing many cities on an organised tour worked well for the couple.

“As a package tour, Trafalgar took care of everything – it was very well organised.  And they knew where to go and what to see.  There is no way we could have seen what we saw in eight days if we’d done it on our own.  And it’s given us a really good idea of where we’d like to come back to, to do more exploring,” says Graeme.

After Florence the bus travelled to Rome for two days sightseeing.  In Rome the Putts met up with old friends and opted to stay an extra four days taking in more sights, eating at local restaurants and absorbing the local culture.

From Rome they joined the Noordam, a Holland America cruise liner, on a 10 day cruise stopping off in Croatia, Turkey, Greece, and Sicily.

“With Christine’s help we upgraded to a balcony room on the Noordam and would highly recommend it.  Having our own balcony gave us the opportunity to have some private time, to sit on our deck and watch as we sailed in and out of port,” says Graeme.

The cruise took the couple to Croatia (Dubrovnik), Greece (the old city of Olympia and then Athens), the Greek islands of Corfu and Santorini, and Kusadarsi in Turkey before sailing back to Rome via Sicily.

When the Noordam docked at each port, it was up to Graeme and Sue to decide how they wanted to spend the day, before setting sail in the late afternoon.

“We did a mixture of organised day tours and doing our own thing,” says Graeme.  “I would thoroughly recommend taking guided tours in the older cities such as Olympia – that way the history is explained to you.”

“The cruise was not five star, it was six or seven star!” laughs Graeme.  And he has great things to say about Christine and her planning of their trip.  “She was faultless in connecting air, land and sea.  It all worked perfectly.” 

So perfectly in fact, the couple are about to leave on another trip, this time a month exploring the Caribbean.

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