I am sitting in my hotel room in Avignon, listening to the sounds of an accordion player trying to make a living and watching locals and tourists alike stroll through the ancient streets of this stupendous town.
Provence is wonderful and we are on our last night of a six-day bicycling tour. The days have been filled with fantastic riding; visits to wineries, a specialty cheese shop, and an olive oil mill; and wandering through fantastic small towns including Chateauneuf du Pape, Gordes, and Saint Rémy-de-Provence. At night we enjoy long, three-course French meals accompanied by Provencal wine of the local area.
The only disappointment, for our three tour participants, my co-guide Giovanni, and me, was that out of our group of 11 planned participants, eight had to cancel at the last moment. One injured himself playing volleyball a week before the trip and the other seven were all stranded in the US, unable to find a flight to Europe because of the Iceland volcano that erupted and closed almost the entire European airspace.
Six of the eight were alumni and I had been looking forward to enjoying Provence with good friends who are also Zephyr travelers. Of course, the greater disappointment was theirs and I was sad the eight were not able to join us on what is an excellent tour.
Giovanni and I are staying another week in Provence and have a private group of 17 American women who live in England joining us for a bike tour. This is their third trip with us and I know they will be impressed with the area.
We will plan another trip to Provence next spring and I hope our eight travelers will be able to join us then. If you are interested in moderate biking (with some nice optional long routes), excellent food and wine, and historic sites, consider joining us. My only suggestion – book travel insurance! You never know what might get in the way of your travel plans.
Market photo courtesy of Giovanni Ramaccioni.