Ten years with the Travel Bags
In 2005, Canadian rambler Jocelyn Wattis decided to visit Europe on a walking tour. She invited some friends to join her, and the Travel Bags were born! Since that first visit to Paris, the tradition has continued, with an RWH trip for the Travel Bags every two years. This year, this formidable group is celebrating its 10th anniversary by visiting Ireland and Scotland. We look forward to the story of that trip, Jocelyn!
The Travel Bags – Paris 2005
Twenty-four ladies (including my two sisters) from Canada set off to Paris on our inaugural trip with Ramblers Worldwide Holidays. We had a wonderful week in the City of Lights. The boat ride on the Seine, the Eiffel Tower, the Champs Elysées, Notre Dame, the Arc de Triomphe, the Catacombs, Versailles, Montmartre, St. Chapelle, The Louvre. So much to see and do, and so much to eat and drink and so many amazing memories. The trip was fantastic, as was our hotel and our guide Margaret, who made this a very memorable holiday.
The Travel Bags – Venice & Lake Garda 2007
Our first trip was a great success so we decided to do it again. Thirty-two Canadian ladies (including my sister again) set off on this adventure to visit Venice & Lake Garda with two amazing guides, Anne and Burg. In Venice, we loved the water taxis and gondolas and we were so happy to visit the quaint islands of Burano (famous for its lace) and Murano (famous for its glass blowing). St. Mark’s Square was beautiful, the Doge’s Palace was awe-inspiring and the winding streets of this city opened up many new experiences for our group.
Then it was off to Lake Garda with a stop in Verona where we walked through their amazing Amphitheatre and searched for the famous window where Romeo professed his love for Juliet. I highly recommend visiting this city. Onward to Lake Garda, where we visited many lovely places, including Limone, Riva and Desenzano (where our hotel was situated). A great day trip was to catch the boat to Sirmione sul Garda where we wandered through the 13th century Scaliger castle. At the end of the day, what could be better than to try a new flavour of gelato? This trip was made special by our guides and it was chalked up as being another amazing trip with Ramblers.
The Travel Bags – Classical Greece 2009
Time for adventure #3 Fourteen Canadian ladies set off again to see the classical ruins of Greece. We stayed in four cities, Delphi, Sparta, Nauphli and Athens, and enjoyed them all. We had the same great guide that we had in Venice (Anne) and she was amazing. The hike from Delphi down to Itea (largest olive groves in the world) was a definite highlight of the trip, and after the walk, the best part was dipping our toes in the Mediterranean. The ruins in all the cities were awe-inspiring. My favourite was Olympia, where we raced around the original track. The ruins of Mystra outside of Sparta were also wonderful and the hike to the top was well worth it. Athens was one of my favourite cities. Our hotel was a five-minute walk from the Acropolis. What a great location. The food, the company, our guide Anne and the sights were all amazing.
The Travel Bags – Rome 2011
Two years flew by and it was time for another amazing trip with Ramblers. Our guide was another Ann and 24 Canadian ladies (including my sister and eldest daughter) followed her around Rome for a week and had the experience of a lifetime. The Colosseum, the museums, the Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps…how beautiful. And our hotel was amazing. It was a converted monastery that was perfectly situated and we could walk everywhere from its doorstep. Our excursions outside the city were beautiful also. Once again, a memorable trip with great food, great wine, great sights and fantastic people.
The Travel Bags – The French Riviera 2013
September is a wonderful month to go the French Riviera so 24 Canadian ladies set out to meet Michael, our very patient and accommodating guide, in Nice and tour the Côte d’Azur.Walking through the cobblestone streets of Old Nice and spending time in the flower and flea markets was quite an experience. The elegance of the Villa Ephrussi and its gardens was well worth the train ride along the coast, which was spectacular with thebeautiful blue sea greeting us on one side. Each day was an adventure, with great hikes during our visits to the hill towns of Vence and St. Paul de Vence, which were mesmerising to wander through and enjoy the shops and cafés.
Monte Carlo was everything we expected and more: elegant, charming and beautiful. A quick visit to the casino was a must. Eze was my favourite hilltop village with its many stairs, amazing views from the top and its interesting exotic garden. We were able to walk to the train stations and to the jetty from our hotel, which was centrally located and close to everything. Nice and the Côte d’Azure: another amazing trip with Ramblers for the Travel Bags.
We’re looking forward to our next adventure in Ireland and Scotland in 2015, when, for the first time, men will be allowed to join our group!
PS: Details of the Travel Bags’ tours have changed over the years, but you might be interested in taking a look at similar tours, such as Gardens of the French Riviera, Nice, Classical Greece, and our selection of Short Escapes and City Breaks, including Venice, Rome and Athens.