For Vivien and Stephen Harding, this was a chance to catch up with their daughters who are living overseas and at the same time do some serious touring.
They flew first to Ireland, it was their first visit and what a wonderful place it was, the scenery was breathtaking and the green countryside was a green that only Ireland could produce.
After a few days in Dublin they hired a car and made their way to Cork and the Ring of Kerry. Vivien says this was a very special part of their tour.
Next stop was Galway, it was a really beautiful city, the people were very friendly, while there they met some buskers in the mall and just enjoyed the experience.
They took time to travel on to Bailieborough and Carrickmacross to catch up with some relatives, both Vivien and Stephen came from these areas but it had been a long time, the ‘rellies’ were thin on the ground but Vivien who’s maiden name was Hand met her relations who run a footwear shop.
Next stop was Denmark, flying into Copenhagen they were met by their daughter Alison who lives in London.
Known as the city of the seas a must do is to take a ferry around the canals, it was overcast and as they sailed the skies opened and it bucketed down.
Leaving the ferry they headed for a restaurant on the shore, they walked down three steps to enter and soon the rising water followed them in.
Soaked they headed home and were told along the way that there had been 6 inches of rain in just 30 minutes.
Yes they did see our Mary, during a visit to the royal palaces out came Mary Crown Princess of Denmark in a grand car and drove right by them, Vivien says she looked beautiful all dressed for a royal occasion.
From Copenhagen they flew to Oslo the capital of Norway from there they toured the fjords of this beautiful country.
First a visit to a maritime museum with the history of the Viking ships, then they joined a bus tour that would take them to see the country’s shimmering glaciers, wonderful waterfalls and the fjords.
Vivien says the water was so clear and the reflections of the mountains were breathtaking.
The tour took them to Bergen, Flam, Balestrand and Geiranger and all along the way the scenery was just wonderful.
They flew on to London to meet up again with their daughter and see some old friends.
They headed to the south coast to Worthing where they had lived 22 years ago, it was like visiting the old stomping grounds. They had a wonderful time.
From England, they travelled to Scotland where the daughter of their best man was getting married, it was a great wedding and they stayed 3 days to explore the area afterwards.
Returning to London the State rooms in Buckingham Palace were open to the public and on show Kate’s wedding dress and jewellery, Vivien says the display was well put together and judging by the crowds, a must see for all of London.
Finally on to New York, Alison came with them and their other daughter Lauren flew in from Spain, it was great having the family together and with one week in New York, the sightseeing was full on.
The best way to travel was on the ‘Hop On Hop Off’ buses, you get to see everything and can stop off wherever you fancy.
They went uptown and downtown, to Manhattan, travelled on a Ferry to the Statue of Liberty, walked over the Brooklyn Bridge and took in the view from the top of the Empire State Building.
Now Vivien is a great fan of the late John Lennon, so a visit to Strawberry Fields was a must do, the plaque says it all with just one word “Imagine”.
After travelling back home later that week, New York seemed a blur, but the visit to Strawberry Fields and the spectacular view from the top of the Empire State Building stand out crystal clear. Yes it certainly was a Grand Tour.
Vivien and Stephen would like to thank Virginia Stedman and the team at Travelworld Shepparton.
Until next time,