Greetings from Lyon, France!
We're just wrapping up a week of spectacular dining here in France's gastronomic capital, stuffed to the gills and thoroughly satisfied.
Our Michelin-star experience with Jeremy Galvan was of course the pinnacle of it all - and I would say one of the top dining experiences of my life - but frankly all of our meals here have been outstanding.
It hasn't all been also food - we've also been enjoying the vibe of Lyon and Burgundy, both of which have a very different energy than the north. We're now off to Carcassonne, where part III of our France Kaleidoscope program will take us down the Canal du Midi. More fun ahead!
I've received a number of emails in the past weeks about future programs, and I apologize that we have been delayed in releasing several for next year that I had hoped to have out by now.
I was projecting optimism that autumn would see less turbulence as the travel industry continued to recover and countries continued to open...but this has not happened yet. Fewer restrictions yes, but less chaos, no.
Hotel space in particular has been challenging to secure, as most places are struggling with some combination of surging demand, staffing issues, and unforeseen circumstances.
This is the case in for our planned Ireland program next spring, which we're now in the process of moving to next September. As it happens, the Irish government has generously taken in a large number of refugees from Ukraine, and some 25% of the available rooms in the country are in use for this purpose.
This is a huge percentage of the available rooms nationwide, and it's put a huge squeeze on for rooms for an indefinite amount of time, pushing many things back and understandably many hotels were unable to guarantee any space for the spring.
Ireland is an extreme case here, but far from alone in terms of challenges for the tourism industry, as we've been finding out.
Now that Europe is slowing down from the tourism boom of summer and fall, I expect by the time spring rolls around things will be in a better state, and hopefully things have calmed down geopolitically by then as well.
Since all of this is largely out of our control, the question remains as to what we can do about it. The obvious answer is to get things secured further in advance wherever possible, and thus it would behoove us to get our plans down for 2024.
I've spent several weeks digging through our New Member Questionnaires to put together the 2024 Trip Planning Calendar from your lists, and I'm just about finished laying it out so you can plan ahead should you desire to join us somewhere exciting.
So, stay tuned, we'll release that in next week's newsletter - but this week I'm pleased to release our Scandinavia & the Baltic Capitals program for 2023. We had a lovely time making our way from Copenhagen to Tallinn this summer, and I'm glad we were able to get things secured for next year in May. You can find the full itinerary in your newsletter should your curiosity be piqued.
In the grand scheme of things all these little hiccups are just a little friction on the road, and it's not going to stop us from going to all these wonderful places. I very much appreciate your patience and all the great feedback we've received, and I look forward to your thoughts about adventures together in 2024.
P.S. The wifi will be spotty in the French countryside, so no webinar in the week ahead. The next one will be on Oct 27 where we'll be looking at a unique yachting program in the Turkish Mediterranean - join us!