We hope you are all well and staying safe during these difficult times.
The Covid-19 pandemic started earlier in Germany than the UK and the government immediately put in place some very stringent measures. The restrictions are now slowly being lifted and, among other things, the campsites and Stellplätze (aires) have been allowed to re-open. Capacity is reduced and the sanitary blocks are mainly still closed.
We didn’t hesitate long, packed the motorhome and spent the long May bank holiday weekend at one of our favourite campsites on the Rhine, which also happens to be one of the campsites we use on our “Majestic Rhine & Moselle Rivers” tour. We were able to get a pitch directly on the bank of the river and enjoyed 3 days of beautiful weather watching the boats go by. Travel to other European countries however is still difficult, even though borders are slowly re-opening, depending on the situation with the virus in each country. Unfortunately, some countries are only opening their borders for countries at the same stage of the pandemic and with similar levels of infections and this has made us consider the situation regarding the final two tours for this year. For example, our tour to the “Delightful Danube”, starts in Passau in Germany, continues through Austria and ends in Budapest in Hungary. At the present time German residents may now travel to Austria but UK citizens may not and the borders to Hungary are still closed for all EU citizens!
Therefore, last week, we decided to call everybody booked on the last two tours of the current year to hear their thoughts and opinions about travelling in August/September. Although everybody had been looking forward to the tours, many were feeling very wary, considering the present situation, about the idea of having to travel through so many countries, starting in France or Holland, depending on the ferry crossing and then on to Belgium, Germany, Austria, finishing in Hungary, and for those having booked both the “Delightful Danube” and the “Captivating Croatia” tour also having to cross Slovenia to get to Croatia. There was also a lingering worry about what would happen if a second wave started and borders were to close again, and the possibility of mandatory quarantine in any of the countries and, of course, on returning to the UK. Besides all these “administrative” hurdles, many of our customers travel with us because they enjoy the group experience and the company of other motorhomers during the tours. All this would be very different this year and it is difficult to imagine how we would be able to enjoy a welcome dinner or have a drink together in the evenings sitting 2 meters apart, while adhering to social distancing rules, possibly in face masks.
We have therefore decided to cancel both tours, as we feel responsible for both the well-being and enjoyment of our customers during our tours, but unfortunately it also means that we have not been able to run any of our tours this year. We have offered all our customers the option of either having their deposit returned or using it to book another tour in 2021. We are therefore delighted that the large majority have already decided to book for next year, either on the same tour, or on another tour. Several customers have even booked two back to back tours to either “Discover Denmark” and “Stunning Norway” or to the “Amazing Alpine Roads” and then “Captivating Croatia”, giving them 5 great weeks of touring in Europe and something to look forward to after the problems we have all faced this year. We have never received so many bookings so early for a touring season and we would like to thank you all for your support – we really appreciate it.
And now on a lighter note! As it will probably be a while until we can travel to the Mediterranean coast, we thought we would send you a link to the song “La Mer” by Charles Trenet (Clicking on the link you will get a chance to improve your French with Mr. Bean) and dream of our tour to the “Picturesque Provence” next year, where we have the opportunity to see the vineyards, olive groves, horses and flamingos in the Camargue and of course the sea! One thing that brings back memories of this tour for us is the lavender oil we bought after our visit to the L’OCCITAINE plant. Audrey sometimes sprinkles some onto her pillow before going to bed and then asks me if I notice anything. When I say I can smell the Provence, she says that’s good because then I must be Corona free because I obviously haven’t lost my sense of smell 🙂 and as you can see, I have not lost my sense of humour either!
If you have any questions, or require any further information, please do not hesitate to contact us by e-mail, or just give us a call!
Audrey & Michael