Sue Steenhoven – Point of Departure and Just Girls Travel
I have been very busy booking people all over the world. I am still sending folks to Paris, Africa, Germany, Belgium and Australia, New Zealand and yes even the Mall of America sometimes.
The world is a wonderful place to explore and the more you travel the more you know there are loving people all over the world. On Facebook on Friday I was reminded of friends I have acquired around the world as those who welcomed me in their homes in Paris on my last visit reported that they were safe.
Yes, there are those out there who will try and put fear in our travel plans and daily lives but we can't just hide. We must continue to live and understand new cultures and explore. I have compiled a list of things you can do prior and during travel to stay safe abroad and to use care and common sense - no matter where we travel.
o Leave your itinerary, and passport data page, with a friend or family member back home so you can be contacted in case of an emergency.
o Know and respect the laws in the country you are visiting.
o Follow your instincts and avoid any areas or situations that seem as though they could become dangerous.
o Remain alert to their surroundings at all times.
o Avoid all demonstrations, as even peaceful ones
o Ask tour guides and hotel officials about any planned demonstrations in the locations they plan to visit.
o Do not display expensive looking jewelry, large amounts of money or other valuable items. Also, do not leave luggage unattended in public areas and do not accept packages from strangers.
o Check with your cell phone provider prior to departure to see if your phone is capable of roaming on GSM or 3G/4G international networks.
o Check your medical insurance coverage to make sure it applies overseas. If it doesn’t, consider buying travel insurance that covers overseas medical attention and medical evacuation.
I love sending folks off to explore the world around them.
The way they make a connection with the people are thier fondest memories.
Before you leave on a trip to France, most people have visions of the Eiffel Tower, Paris lights and the Louvre. It's not until we arrive, that we discover the people and the history and the flavors of each city and small town. Getting off the beaten path - simply means, opening your eyes to see through the eyes of those who live there. Past and Present.
My client's Linda and Steve from Michigan just returned from thier Uniworld River Cruise Adventure on the ss Catherine - Burgundy /Provence May 2014. They so enjoyed getting off the beaten path. (Her pictures will be posted soon ) . Enjoy! - Sue
Sorry it's taken so long to get back to you. I've had surgery and am taking it
We had a fabulous time on our cruise on the Rhone and our time in Paris. Our
trip over was fine but long. All connections were made easily. We
loved walking Arles and getting a refresher on the narrow streets as well as the
seeing the Van Gogh stomping grounds. Avignon was so intriquing with the wall
around it. We took a walking tour in the morning, informative, and enjoyed
the trip to the famous Aquaduct then to a winery. My camera just never
Meanwhile, our meals on board were always fabulous not to mention the wines. We found
the flute/violin and piano duo to be enjoyable in the early evenings. It
provided us a quick dance before dinner. There were several other
entertainers to allow us dancing a couple evenings. Our fellow passengers
as well as the crew were friendly and enjoyable.
As we sailed and toured, we found we had a favorite tour guide, Frances. She
led us in two different towns, but our favorite was of her home town of
Viviers. After an interesting tour of historical places, views, and an
organ concert, she graciously invited us into her home for a private tour.
This was a highlight of the tour. Her Aunt had actually hidden French
Resistance in WWII in the home. We were allowed to roam on our own to even
see where they hid. She had a lovely terrace on the third floor where she
served wine, cheeses, bread, and pate'. The stone stairs accessing all
floors was open from top to bottom. When asked what our favorite part of
the trip is, we always mention this day.
I enjoyed seeing the memorial ceremony in the town square in Tain Hermitage.
Actually, it was a glimps as we walked by, but it brings so much to mind as our
service members were remembered in uniform. One young lady held the glass
case of the folded American flag. We watched the firemen in uniform march
across the bridge.
We docked in Lyon, where I enjoyed a long walk on the boardwalk along the
Rhone. Steve watched river traffic. Our tour to Lyon included a back
street walk which took us into a unique tiny piazza. It looked like we
were walking into a house from the street. Our guide directed us to the
little opening where several homes had their entrances. What a lovely
surprise to know that behind many of the large doors on the streets, you'd find
the same thing.
After visiting the market at Beaune, we took the castle tour, lunch, and wine
tasting. This was another favorite that we mention to
We had some sprinkles of rain on the river cruise, but nothing heavy. All the
walks were pleasant. Our shuttle to the train went well, but the girl
escourting us seemed confused that we were with the people catching a
flight. After getting them checked in, she walked us to our train area
which we greatly appreciated. Well, you know the rest of that story as in
sitting on our luggage between train cars. On the bright side, we met
a young man who chatted with us about Paris.
It was pooring down rain when we arrived in Paris so we took the first cab and paid
too much, We were so tired that we didn't mind when we arrived at our
great hotel. It was comfortable and had a little balcony. We dined
in the restaurant and were pleased as well as getting a complimentary glass of
wine as some of the guest were a bit roudy. No problem for us as it
provided entertainment. The breakfasts were
Our full day in Paris was fun even with the heavy sideways rain. We laughed,
dried off, and got wet again. That tour was with Viator guided by Sabina
and covered the Loevre, Eiffel tower, and Notre Dame. It was all done
effeciently. We were very impressed with Sabina, and I wanted to give her
a thank you via internet but haven't been able to find out how to do so.
We were messing with umbrellas and crowds when we left Notre Dame and forgot to
give her a tip. :( She directed us as to how to walk back to our
It was a long walk, but we enjoyed a dinner on the way back. Our hotel was so
nicely centered to what we wanted to see that we'd take a little rest then head
to the Tuilleries and Plac De Concorde for me to take photos. I got some
great nighttime shots of the Arc D Triomphe, Obelisk, Grand Palace,
Our guide, Roman, the next day was extremely knowledgeable about art. The
Museu D Orsay was one of the major museums I wanted to see and was not
disappointed. Our tour was 3 hrs. long. I would have liked to have
gone back after lunch, but Steve's back was giving him problems. We were
sorry that the Museu D Orangerie was closed on the two days we were there.
If we'd known, we might have been able to catch it on the evening we
arrived. I have seen Monet's water lillies on tour and in the Chicago Art
Institute, so I'll live.
We had a reasonable cab trip to the airport and had a great flight to Detroit then
to Grand Rapids.
Many, many thanks for planning this wonderful trip. What wonderful
memories!! Thank you, Sue,
Linda and Steve R.