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This is not just a US pandemic

As the US media focuses on the upcoming election you may not see much about what is going on in the rest of the world. It may be surprising to many to learn that the coronavirus pandemic is not just a US problem. Most countries have had much harsher restrictions compared to most US states, and mask wearing has been mandatory in many countries, including hefty fines for those who transgress the rules. Yet case numbers in Europe are surging, with several countries reporting case numbers that are 4 to 5 times higher than the US (on a per capita basis).

Around Europe: The relentless resurgence of coronavirus causes unease and despair.

Amsterdam, Cologne and the Best of Holland & Flanders River Cruise

Who's ready for 2021? Like me, you may be thinking it's only April (although the month had 4,847 days), but then I look at the calendar and realize it's almost November. It's really time to start thinking about where to travel in 2021.

With news of a vaccine on the horizon – and the joy that this crazy election will soon be behind us – we're hoping that travel to Europe will be back to a semi-normal state by summer. But what if it's not? No worries – a deposit of just $400 per person holds space on this river cruise, and if you book before October 31, 2020 you can transfer your booking to a later date, up to 45 days before departure.

Here's what you get:

  • Seven nights on board in your choice of luxury cabin or suite, all with river views
  • Guided tours of Cologne, Antwerp, Bruges, Ghent, and Rotterdam
  • Visits to Kinderdijk, Airborne Museum, or Het Loo Palace
  • Amsterdam canal cruise
  • All meals on board from dinner on your day of arrival through to breakfast on your day of departure, including a welcome dinner and the Captain’s Dinner
  • A packed lunch during the full day trip to Bruges
  • Five-star service from an English-speaking crew and knowledgeable local guides
  • Complimentary on-board tea and coffee
  • Complimentary on-board Wi-Fi

Prices for this 8 day/7 night cruise start at just $1749 (per person, double occupancy), and there are frequent departures from May through October.

Contact Bryan for more details, or to book this cruise.

Travel Thought for the Week

“The world is a country which nobody ever yet knew by description; one must travel through it one’s self to be acquainted with it.”

– Lord Chesterfield, English statesman

Michelangelo's 'rock'

The Belvedere Torso, Vatican Museums
The Belvedere Torso, Vatican Museums

If it were not displayed in the center of the room, it would be easy to overlook this broken, battered, and scarred chunk of rock. That would be a mistake. The Belvedere Torso is one of the few original Greek sculptures left.

Michelangelo thought it was so beautiful that when the Pope asked him to restore the statue, Michelangelo refused to alter it in any way. This chunk of rock taught him more than any human teacher could. By the time he was in his late 20’s, Michelangelo had surpassed every living sculptor, and the only way he could continue to improve was by studying the work of the ancient Greeks.

Even though it is signed, we don’t know anything about the sculptor, Apollonios son of Nestor, or even for sure what the statue represents – Hercules is as good a guess as any.

Take a mental picture of this statue. You’ll see it again in Michelangelo's painting of The Last Judgment in the Sistine Chapel.

(excerpted from the forthcoming Hand Crafted Walks in Rome & the Vatican)

Malerwinkel, Bacarach, Germany

Malerwinkel in Bacharach, Germany

Bacharach is a sleepy little wine village on the Rhine River, that becomes a little less sleepy when river cruise boats dock nearby. But on just about any day you can wander down a path at the base of the cliffs that rise above the village, and find the 'Painter's Corner' (Malerwinkel), with a babbling brook, flowers in bloom, and the quiet rush of the wind through the trees.

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