A tour of Mediterranean with Geoff Vallance
That’s the philosophy of Jacqui Henry of the Olivehouse at Kialla when planning a holiday.
Jacqui was looking for a no fuss holiday as it was her partner, Rob Crifo’s, first holiday outside Australia, they just wanted to relax and let the world unfold.
As Rob has an Italian background, Italy had to be on the menu, so after looking at what was on offer it was decided to go on a cruise around the Mediterranean.
Why a cruise? Well as Jacqui explains you only have to unpack once, your nightly entertainment is provided on the ship, the food is good and you have a selection of restaurants, and a Casino.
They chose the Caribbean line’s Brilliance of the Seas, it only takes two and a half thousand passengers so it was easy to get on and off for the excursions.
They flew to Barcelona from where they boarded their ship and set sail for the French Riviera, they stopped off at Nice and also at Monaco. Rob loved the exotic cars he saw and the Casino was very exciting as was the palace.
Then it was onto Florence and finally the eternal city Rome, it was hot getting up to 40 degrees, but the tours were well worth it.
They saw the Colosseum, the Vatican and Michelangelo’s famous painting on the ceiling of the Sistine chapel.
The Trevi Fountain was wonderful, there were so many people around due to the 40 degree heat and the water was very cooling. Rob just loved the history, all there right in front of your face and the cruise ship made it so easy to get from one location to another.
A real highlight was the Amalfi coast, they stopped off at Positano and it was just a magic day, it’s such a beautiful location.
Then it was onto Venice, sailing right into the landing dock in their grand ship, it’s an exciting place with St Mark’s Square, the canals and the gondolas, it was a great atmosphere.
After their cruise they decided to visit the UK where Jacqui had lived and she wanted to catch up with old friends.
After a few days in London they hired a car and set off exploring, first stop was Bath, they visited the Roman baths which look good after restoration works to bring them up to their original appearance, they stayed for two nights so they could look around and try the restaurants.
Next stop was Oxford and then the Lakes District, then onto York and Cambridge, they loved the feel of the UK, Rob says the little country towns along the way look like they are straight out of a movie set.
At the Olivehouse, Rob is the chef and Jacqui front of house, so being foodies they wanted to try all the local produce and visit as many restaurants as they could.
The food was good but somehow just not as good as back home, Jacqui says we sometimes underestimate the quality of the produce available in Australia.
Eating out here is quite inexpensive compared with much of Europe and the produce seems to be of a better quality.
Having said that, Rob was impressed with the farmers markets he saw where the produce was straight from the farm.
As far as keeping it simple goes, Jacqui was happy with the way the holiday went, her advice is to pre-book as much as you can before you leave, she would like to thank Tara at Jetset in Shepparton for making all the arrangements.
Rob enjoyed his time particularly in Italy, he even saw where his parents had come from. As they sailed the channel between the mainland and Sicily, Rob was reminded that his father had grown up on one side, his mother on the other before getting together and moving to Australia.
Both Jacqui and Rob are keen to do some more travel, Rob would like to go back to Italy and explore more of the interior of the country, Jacqui? Well she just loves to travel.
Until next time,