Bonjour from Nice, France!
Austria, Italy, and now France...the vibe here in Europe is relaxed but vigilant and everyone I talk to in the hospitality world here is keenly awaiting the return of tourism on a much larger scale.
From what I can see there are quite a lot of tourists here already, but according to the locals, it pales in comparison to when this place is in full swing. This is pretty much exactly what the Italians were saying in Florence; the 'early adopters' of the vaccine passports and the more risk tolerant travellers are out and about, but the rest are waiting in the wings just a bit longer.
It makes me think a lot about timing, as obviously it would be preferable to be just on the edge of the wave before things are overrun with everyone making up for lost time...but the pieces have not quite lined up for us yet. My letter regarding the travel advisory should have made it to the desk of Monsieur Garneau by now, so perhaps a followup is in order next week. I remain optimistic that will be resolved in time to make things smooth for our upcoming programs.
I've been inspecting our accommodations and meeting with our local guides for our Kaleidoscope trip next year, and thus far everything has met or exceeded my expectations. Provence and the southern part of France is really just exceptional at this time of year - sunny and 22 degrees or so, cool at night but not chilly, and oozing with le charme français. It's so delightful in fact that I am in the process of setting up a LiveAway program for this area...but more news on that later.
We won't have a webinar next week as I anticipate the wifi to be a little spotty while boating down the Canal du Midi, which while slightly inconvenient is something I would call a feature of the program rather than a bug. If you have any questions about the boats or that program in particular, send me a note as I'll get all the answers next week.
Following my trip down the canal, I'll be zipping off to Madeira to take stock of the situation on the ground there in preparation for our Madeira LiveAway in February. Travel advisory issues notwithstanding, Portugal has done a great job with vaccinations, and Madeira being an island is even safer than the mainland.
Things look good there from here, and I'll have an even better idea when I arrive. We've set up a webinar to give you the full update and the chance to ask any questions, so if you're thinking about coming along in February, please join us for that.
More to come as I continue poking around and assessing the best ways to get our community on the move again. I've received a lot of great emails the past few weeks from members, and I can tell the enthusiasm and excitement to travel again is growing...let's keep channeling that energy and get ready for some upcoming adventures.