Monday, May 21, 2012

Amadagio Provence Cruise, Part 1

Double Parking on the Rhone!
 Lyon currently ranks as France‘s third largest city behind Paris and Marseille (although that depends on who you talk to!). After finally returning the three rental cars, we drivers/spouses reached the ship totally exhausted...and barely made the 7 pm dinnertime. We‘d dropped everyone else in our group off at the ship earlier, so they attended the onboard welcome briefing and captain‘s welcome cocktail reception. Ben and I raced to our cabins to deposit our bags, only to find an invitation to dine at the captain‘s table in 1 minute, normally a wonderful treat, but with no time to change and freshen up and, frankly, in no mood to play nice, it took us by surprise. Somehow, however, we managed to put on our best faces (if not our best clothes) and received our welcome briefing personally from the delightful hotel manager Luis de Sousa Marques seated next to me. The captain, Louis Devaux, and his second-in-command wife Patricia sat across from us and are very congenial, but speak little English.

Beaujolais Wine Country
We have to especially sing praises of our cruise manager, Sue Obermoser, who was diving a borrowed jazzy classic car en route to the christening of the brand new Amacerto, when a call from AMA diverted her to France due to a medical emergency of the woman scheduled to serve. Despite having to receive a crash course on this itinerary, she‘s doing a great job for us!

Scheduled in Lyon the next morning was a panoramic tour of the city to the Place Bellecour and Place des Terreaux, followed by a visit to Fourvier, part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Ben and I had visited these site on our previous Provence cruise...and chose to sleep in.

An afternoon sail northward up the Saone brought us to the historic village of Trevoux, where we saw medieval ramparts and watched a traditional game of boules, similar to Italian bocce, while sampling a regional wine. I‘m happy to report that one of our own made the “finals“ of an impromptu tournament for the guests.

We could hardly leave Trevoux without touring the Beaujolais region and visiting the winery of a vintner in the hilltop village of Oingt. Ah, which to buy....
With Friend Belinda and Cruise Manager
Sue During Crazy 60s Night
 The Amadagio once again sailed south past Lyon and the confluence of the Saone and Rhone rivers to the city of Vienne on the Rhone for the night. Our treat for the evening was a “Chaine Des Rotisseurs“ Dinner, made possible only because AMA Waterways president Rudi Schreiner along with our ship‘s hotel manager hold membership in this exclusive gastronomic society. (As always, I will add links and photos later and send blog updates.) Thankfully, AMA‘s traditional 50s/60s dance party that evening helped us work off that delicious meal. Always a lot of fun, and ...our group even won one of the dance contests! 

Next up: the Cotes Du Rhone and more Beaujolais--and rain, rain, rain.

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