Travelling with Joy pt 2

Ahh, it’s so difficult to describe the utter languid feeling of complete relaxation and confidence that comes with letting go and having someone else deal with the details. I can speak with the utmost sincerity when I say that Tauck truly does care.

The cuisine and amenities notwithstanding, the little things make all the difference. After each day of exploration, one of our dedicated tour directors surprises us with a little local memento, whether it’s a unique delicacy, pastry, or, in the case of Heidelberg, a story of the origin of ‘Student’s Kiss’, with samples of a local chocolate confection. It’s in the little details, such as fresh flowers, fresh baked breads, and waiters who remember your drink of choice within 48 hours of boarding. 

Although the weather is definitely on the chilly side, our October sailing is gifting us with spectacular fall colours that truly define our photographic attempts.

Strasbourg, France

Not truly French . . . not really German . . . Strasbourg is an enviable mix of both cultures. A creation of the Alsace region, it is known for excellent wines, and for being the seat of a number of European institutions. 

We wandered the alleyways of the Grand Ile (city centre), marvelled at the beauty of her architecture, and stood in absolute awe of her impressive Cathédrale Notre Dame with the iconic Astrometric Clock and 142 metre tower. 

We had a full afternoon to wander, shop, sample, and simply absorb the unique atmosphere that is Strasbourg. That evening, we enjoyed an Alsatian folkloric performance aboard the Inspire.

Baden Baden, Germany

The playground and spa town of the European rich and famous. Truly one of the most beautiful cities I have ever had the pleasure of visiting. 

Took off on my own (as I’m apt to do), to hike into the surrounding hills of the Black Forest. The fantastic views and autumn foliage made the effort so worthwhile. 

The German word for bath is ‘bad’. Heavily influenced by the Roman practice of ‘taking bath’, the German love of spas is foremost evident in the state of Baden-Wurttemberg. The love of thermal baths and spa treatments is the true lifeblood of Baden Baden. 

Surrounded by the opulent villas of European aristocracy, Baden Baden is a ‘bubble’ of privileged living and wealth. The historical Friedrichsbad Spa is well-known for the true purist practice of bathing, which includes progressing thru 14 separate pools of varying temperature, and all in the nude in a co-ed atmosphere. Beware and be aware! 

A Tauck special event was experienced when we visited the world-renowned Casino, decreed ‘the world’s most beautiful casino’ by none other than Marlene Dietrich. A private tour of the decadent Baroque ballrooms and croupier dens wasn’t enough, we were then ushered into the Summer Garden and treated to a private champagne receptions within the revered walls. A final walkabout of the gorgeous rose gardens and eloquent ‘river walk’, and it was time to board our shuttle back to our home aboard the Inspire.


The biggest University town - imagine going to school within the walls of a 15th century fortress. The Old City Centre is crowned by the presence of this incredibly beautiful ruin that  29,000 students call home. Stories of feuds and duels, love lost and won, heroic battles, and dismal losses are all a part of this city’s folklore. Loved by many a romantic novelist (Mark Twain, Ernest Hemingway), Heidelberg is a dichotomy of the past and future of Germany. Litre steins of beer, sauerkraut and bratwurst . . . it is Germany at its best.

The journey continues on with much more to come.

More The Joy of Travel articles

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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