Travels through Europe

May 27, 2014 

A fundraising riverboat trip on the waterways of Harland and Belgium, sponsored by the Coarsegold Historical Society, was enjoyed by 36 Mountain Area residents in early April.

The group, led by Jack and Kay Good, spent time on the River Splendor and funds raised from the trip will be used for the ongoing operation of the Coarsegold Historic Museum.

"Spring was bursting at the seams in Europe with flowering trees, daffodils, tulips and mild temperatures which greatly enhanced the trip," Kay Good said. "We enjoyed a canal ride in Amsterdam and guided tours to famous museums, a visit to the Delft porcelain factory and the "cheese" town of Gouda including the beautiful windows of St. John's Church, visits to Schoolhoven and the famous windmills at Kinderdijk."

The trip also included a walking tour and canal ride in ancient Bruges, chocolate making in Antwerp, and visits to the museums in Nijmegen and Enkhuizen.

In Hoorn, the group experienced a tulip farm's operation, followed by a trip to the Aalsmeer Flower Auction to see how 20 million flowers are packaged and shipped daily all over the world.

The culminating thrill was a visit to the 80 acres of Keukenhof Gardens, the world's largest flower garden in full bloom, to see gardens prepared by the many growers … all varieties of spring bulbs, orchids, azaleas, flowering trees and on and on. The many brightly colored fields of growing flowers in the surrounding areas added to the visual pleasure of the trip. On board the ship, many lectures offered insight into the culture of the area and talks on Belgium cheese and chocolate making.

Another highlight was the "home visits" hosted by citizens where the travelers were introduced to many area delicacies.

Planning underway for Paris trip

The Coarsegold Historical Society will offer another escorted riverboat trip in April of 2015 — "A Seine River Cruise: Paris and highlights of Normandy." The River Venture ship is new and very comfortable for 138 passengers. This 12-day trip includes nine sight-seeing tours plus cultural connections, and a visit to the Normandy beaches that took their place in history on D-Day — June 6, 1944.

The trip will also feature Claude Monet's home and gardens that inspired his "Waterlilies." In Rouen, famous for Joan of Arc (1431), travelers will see the Rouen Cathedral, visit Honfleur's picturesque waterfront; and Les Andelys, the sleepy ancient town with the ruins of Chateau Gaillard built by Richard the Lionheart in the 12th century.

Prices for the cruise only start at $3,600, with substantial discounts for advance reservations and airfare discounts.

Details: Videos, vantagetravel.com, Steve Mitchell, (559) 683-6395, Ken Rawlings, (559) 658-8631.

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