Travelling with Joy

Come along with me - I’m going to keep you updated on my journey on the Tauck Inspire river cruise from Basel, Switzerland, to Amsterdam.  

Checked in with Air Canada, and observed how diligent they’ve become with maintaining strict adherence to the carry-on luggage size limits. Witnessed three separate passengers being forced to check their bags. Be advised, the days of stuffing fully-packed duffel bags as carry on are over.

Flew over to Europe with Lufthansa. Beautiful aircraft, lovely meals, and cabin service. Fabulous free WIFI service aboard their planes now: Fly-Net. Great for staying in touch via social media, etc..

Arrived in Basel on time and was promptly greeted by a friendly Tauck driver. Haven’t touched my luggage once now that I’m here. The French balcony cabin is sumptuously furnished with exquisite linens, Molton Brown bath amenities and a fully stocked, complimentary mini bar. No need for adaptors or convertors, as the Tauck ships have both 220 and 110 volt outlets.

I arrived early in the morning, and therefore had a full day to myself before the rest of the guests arrived aboard. I wandered into the town of Basel, along tree-lined boulevards and meandering canals, all flourishing with fall colours. Had forgotten that the Swiss still deal in their own currency, but was glad to learn that they will accept Euro as long as you’re okay with receiving Swiss Franc change. Basel is the third largest city in Switzerland, yet still maintains something of a village feel to it, especially in its Old Town city centre. Lindt chocolates, aromatic coffee, and, of course, Swiss knives and watches are favourite souvenirs here.

Our first evening on the Inspire was somewhat laid back due to the overwhelming jet lag affecting a majority of the guests (myself included). We gathered in the lounge for a quick introduction to our three cruise directors, who each, in turn, explained the ways daily ship life is coordinated. The unlimited inclusive aspect to Tauck is spectacular. Every premium brand alcohol imaginable is represented. Extensive wine lists and an unending assortment of beautifully prepared appetizers are served during the cocktail hour prior to the beginning of dinner service. Menus are elaborate, and special requests are granted with alacrity. Fellow guests are a lovely bunch, predominantly American, and range in age from 40 to 70.

Our first full day of activities provided a choice between an escorted walking tour of Basel or a bus drive and orientation tour of the picturesque Alpine town of Lucerne. Having already experienced a bit of Basel, I chose the 80 km drive to Lucerne. Breathtaking scenery was enjoyed along the Autobahn. Upon arrival into Lucerne, we disembarked along the shores of Lake Lucerne. A morning mist blocked our view of the surrounding Alps, so we moved to view the ‘Lion of Lucerne”. A mournful depiction of a dying lion is the tribute memorial dedicated to the Swiss soldiers who lost their lives while serving the French King Louis XVI during the French revolution. It was the Swiss mercenary army who defended and orchestrated the escape of the royal family while the revolutionary masses attacked the castle Tuileries, in Paris, on August 10, 1792.

Switzerland is EXPENSIVE. Wandering the narrow alleys and corridors, we were shocked at the high cost of living. A small espresso is $6 Cdn. A sandwich, $12 Cdn. A glass of wine, $15 Cdn.  Thankfully, fully enjoying the hospitality, beautiful scenery and culture is FREE. During our last hour in Lucerne, the sun finally broke thru and we were rewarded with glorious views along the shoreline.  

Tonight is the Captain Welcome Dinner, and tomorrow we visit Strasbourg, France.

Check in again next week for more play-by-play of my adventure!


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About the Author

Joy has long been a believer in the art of travel: the belief that a vacation is something to be anticipated savored and then long remembered as one of life’s great adventures. 
Website: thejoyoftravel.ca

You can contact Joy at [email protected]

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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