Okay, I think I owe my daughter an apology. Although she was the one who suggested a river cruise I’m thinking she wishes she didn’t leave the actual planning up to me. The week and the route were okay but spending so much time with your mother is another thing entirely. We were both aware of our differences: our sleep clocks are opposite….I’m an early riser and early to bed, she is not; and those little rooms, while charming, are not sound proof.
I was assured by the young man who booked our trip that this boat was usually a younger crowd and mostly English-speaking. Wrong. At 69 I was one of the younger ones if you didn’t count the grand-kids accompanying their grandparents and it took me almost the full week before I identified the two other people on board who spoke English as their first language. Unfortunately that meant I was heavily relying on my daughter to be my playmate as well as my bunk-mate. However, she paid her own way and hoped to enjoy a different sort of VACATION…which to her meant lying by the pool, reading a book and not having to socialize with me or anyone else.
Not me. I was waiting for the boat to dock so I could get off and explore. The excursions were set up for either the German travelers (79%) or the special group from Spain (20%) who had their own guide. We were told that we could go along with the German group and only pay half since we would not understand anything other than a few words. Consequently I did many solo trips through the towns, but was able to convince her to join me in taking the bus to Aix-en-Provence assuring her we could go off on our own. We laughed when the French guide confided in us that the Germans were quite concerned that the Americans would not make it back to the bus in time….we were there first!
Then there was the bicycle tour to the Mediterranean since the Rhone wasn’t deep enough for the boat to go the entire way. The sign up session was in German but I asked for a briefing at the end in English. We pedaled for only 20 minutes before we arrived at the beach and the group started locking up their bikes. I asked what was going on and was told that we now had 3 hours to swim and tan before heading back! My daughter had her suit under her clothes but not me. Neither of us had towels, sunscreen, or an understanding of what just transpired. So much for the exciting bicycle jaunt! We convinced the guide that we could find our own way back.
And lastly, the food, which was delicious and bountiful but not so for my companion, the vegetarian. I asked the tour booking agency about this and he confirmed there would be no problem. Unfortunately the chef mistakenly thought a vegetarian still eats fish….guess I should have been more specific. She ate enough cheese and eggs (thank goodness she’s not a vegan!) that toward the end of the week she stuck with a simple salad.
Lessons learned: Just because a trip is all-inclusive does not mean that changes can’t be made and I’m lucky she was my daughter and didn’t ask for a refund. I’m guessing her next couple of trips will exclude me!