THE world is a big place but it’s amazing how much you can see in just one holiday if you put your mind to it.
Ngaire Rikys of Shepparton and long time friend Viv Bricker, decided to give it a go, first stop was Paris and what a city, from its famous museum the Louvre to the Eiffel Tower, it’s an exciting place to be.
First night in town they decided to see a show and chose the Lido, known worldwide for its exciting floor show, the girls were not disappointed.
The dancers were excellent, many of the girls are from Australia, act after act the atmosphere was special, it was Viv’s birthday, they ordered champagne, when the waiter found out they were from Australia, he excitedly told them that his girlfriend was one of the Aussie dancers, and even more champagne came out.
That night they climbed the Eiffel Tower and what a sight looking across the lights of Paris. Next day they had two things they wanted to see, first was Monet’s Garden where he had painted many of his famous works and Ngaire and Viv found it a wonderful place to be.
Then it was onto Versailles, the palace is huge and Ngaire says it almost borders on the obscene, it is so opulent, as royalty lived encased in gold the peasants starved, no wonder there was a revolution.
As they travelled back to Paris the countryside looked so clean, small well kept farms along the way, it was picture perfect.
The next couple of days were spent exploring Paris on foot, a great city to get around, so much history.
On their final day a visit to Montmartre the artist’s quarter, they attended a special dinner with entertainment from singers capturing the essence of this great city.
Boarding a coach it was time to travel across Europe to Amsterdam to join 126 other Australians on an Evergreen River Cruise to Budapest.
The ship was first class, Ngaire says it only catered for 126 passengers, the cabins were excellent, food fantastic, entertainment wonderful and you could sit out on your own balcony and watch the world go by.
Ngaire and Viv can recommend cruising as a wonderful way to travel, they saw so much calling in at all the major tourist sights along the way.
Each town they visited had its own special story to tell plus the added advantage of really great shopping.
In Vienna they attended a special waltz night, there had been a mix up on their arrival, the hall had been double booked, so they were taken on a night tour of Vienna and it was just great, finally when they arrived back at their venue they were just in time for a special late performance.
It was the music of Mozart and Strauss in a concert supported by a wonderful orchestra, singers and ballet that just blew them away.
They applauded to a standing ovation, and the performers responded by playing on and on, it very late by the time they got back to their ship, but a late supper was waiting for them capping off a great night.
Finally they arrived in Budapest and then onto Prague a very pretty city, there was lots to see, the old quarter had such history and they were treated to a special performance by the city clock in all of its grand construction. At noon as the clock chimed a parade of figures came out of the clock face.
Next they travelled through the Swiss Alps to Salzburg, the birthplace of Mozart, they took the Sound of Music Tour capturing all the major locations where the film was shot.
Ngaire and Viv had decided to fly to London for the next leg of their journey, they stayed in Paddington, which turned out to be a great location, they were close to the rail and could travel easily to see the sights during the next four days.
Ngaire explained that they used the ‘Hop On Hop Off’ bus to tour on the first day getting the lay of the land and then stopped off at the major sights, it’s an easy way to get around, so they used the bus at each city they visited.
Hiring a car they travelled first to the White Cliffs of Dover with its striking composition of white chalk which can be seen across the channel.
Using B&B’s for accommodation, they would book as they went, each night as they arrived at the end of the days touring they would find a B&B, that full English breakfast each morning set you up well for the day ahead.
They travelled to Farnham to see friends, then onto the Cornwall, St Ives, Bath, Cotswolds, Stratford, and The Lakes district, then leaving England arrived in Scotland.
Edinburgh was a must see, the castle is so interesting, then onto Loch Ness and its fascinating Castle (no monster today).
As they moved onto John O’Groats and the Journeys End, it became apparent that Scotland with its magic scenery was a great place to be.
Heading back to Edinburgh they arrived at St Andrews, they had to visit the golf course where many souvenirs were brought to bring back home to a golfing family.
As they returned to London to catch their flight home they took with them so many memories of all they had seen, memories that will stay with them for a long time to come.
Ngaire and Viv would like to thank Tara McPherson from Jetset in Shepparton for arranging everything and making the whole experience just magic.
Until next time,