I can't believe I'm seriously planning on taking an almost-3-week vacation -- since I graduated from college I've never even taken two weeks in a row away from work -- but I'm a-gonna do it! (But then, maybe that's why I can actually afford this trip, given that I've been working my behind off for 11 years practically non-stop....)
Not only do I know somebody who tried and loved this tour group, but their travel philosophy sounds like it lines right up with mine:
Blue Marble's Discovery is a program of cycle voyages for individualistic, curious, adventurous adults, young in fact or young at heart. The pace of a bike trip is ideal for exploration and impromptu discovery. And cycling helps you fend off the thousands of pounds you would otherwise gain eating yourself silly every night.
Our guests are atypical of the world that travels by bike. Not youth hostelers or campers, not your boss on a $600-a-day "adventure" which ends each day at the local Ritz. We travel as Europeans: modestly, weighing the value of our purchases; but comfortably, seeking out the special experiences that make the trip. And we are curious. We don't shield ourselves from European cultures: we seek them out.
So we are going to be cycling for two weeks in France and Italy -- the Lavender & Olive trip, they call it.
This combination of Provence and Tuscany welcomes you to Europe’s oldest civilizations. It is no surprise that these should have formed on the shores of the Mediterranean: gentle climates, rich lands and beautiful scenery are a soothing joy, though most of us live without them in our modern worlds. No need to here! Bask in the soft colors and full flavors of the European south, surrounded by olive groves and Roman temples, cypress trees and stately villas, taste buds tickled by tomato sauces worthy of the name, sense of smell drawn to the sage and rosemary in the hills.
We're also taking a couple of days on either end of the trip in order to travel to/from Europe, plus a chance to briefly see Paris, Florence, and Rome. ("Do you really think we'll find two whole days worth of stuff to do in Rome?" I asked Sis. She just looked at me, and I nodded. "Yeah, I suppose it's fairly famous.")
It should be awesome. It better be! I'd better start bicycling now though, so get myself (and my butt bones) in shape...I don't want to find myself too sore to enjoy myself for the first few days. I wish I had a stationary bike. Maybe I'll join a cheap gym for a couple of months, while it's so cold outside.
I'm pretty overwhelmed, but really excited!