October 06, 2007


September has become the month that my sister and I meet up (we live 400 miles apart) and travel together on some touring holiday.

Miss (British) Italia [left] and Bridge of Si(mon) [right]

Neither of us can tolerate those London airports, and Archers gives a wide choice of regional airports for most of its tours. Usually we meet half way at an airport in the Midlands, but I was a little smug when my sister agreed that Leeds Bradford airport just over the next hill from me also suited her requirements.

Jet2 then launched us onto our holiday without fuss or bother, and with our homemade egg sandwiches in the overhead locker!. By lunchtime we had been bussed in the Venetian sunshine to our hotel for an overnight gathering of clans!

With Archers, people from all over Britain join tours and are collected together in an hotel on the first night of the holiday. You meet many different, and interesting people, but also as we have found you meet some people again; this year we joined two couples who had shared Archers holidays with us previously.

I chose to use up my first afternoon by making my own way into Venice rather than resting in my hotel, and I visited the Venice Gheto.

Continuing to explore on my own I came across other sights not usually seen by Venice's tourists.

The word “organised” may put people off joining an organised tour, but only the essential parts of the holiday are arranged. Outside of the essential you have the choice to wander alone like I did, or to join the arranged.

If you ride with the arranged itinerary then it is only a matter of getting breakfast and going down to the coach on time. On our holiday, the bus took us to Mantova where arrangements had been made for us to enjoy freshly cooked local food in an intimate family run restaurant, and afterwards a local guide collected us and walked us around the town giving expert explanations of what we looked at.

My photos show similar guided walks in Piazza del Signori (Verona) and inside the Baptistery in Parma.

Each afternoon we were brought back to a comfortable hotel and sat down to a good evening meal. In our view the right balance between relaxation and excitement.

Our tour started on the waters of eastern Italy and took us across to the waters on the western side. But we returned to La Serenissima for a memorable evening meal and a morning flight back to Yorkshire.

VeniceVeronaLiguria and Emilia Romagna