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"You know how you can tell the tourists from the natives?" shouted our affable guide, Brett, above the din of wind and rain as our small group made its way
to the next stop on our walking tour of downtown Seattle. "They're the ones with the umbrellas!" By this point we were all pretty well soaked from the
Pacific Northwest's equivalent of what we New Englander's would call a Nor'easter. Brett assured us this was not the norm for Seattle. "Usually it's just a
gentle, misty rain."
It's a long trip from the Mighty Mississippi of Moline, Illinois, to the diminutive Canal du Midi in southern France. But we were four Midwestern couples
ready for an adventure. As it turned out, this adventure was many years in the making. Apparently my wife, Diane, and some of her friends had been talking
for quite some time about doing a chartered barge trip through one of the wine regions of France. Knowing Hideaways has worked with and highly
vetted European Waterways, I finally took the bull by the horns and said, "Well, let's do this then!" A quick phone call to Darcy, our Hideaways Travel Consultant, was all it took to set the gears in motion.
It all started with an offer I could not refuse. My Aunt Sondra and Uncle Pete, who are Hideaways members, said they wanted to give me the trip of
a lifetime and asked where I'd like to go. It took about two seconds for me to come back to my senses and say, "Alaska!" I've always been fascinated by
Alaska, how big and wild it is. The photos I'd seen and stories I'd heard only added to my fascination. So Alaska it was!
If you've been following our concierge tips in the past two issues of Hideaways Life, you know what a wealth of best-kept secrets and hidden gems
these on-site staff members have revealed about their destinations in both Europe and the Caribbean.
Here, we bring you our third installment of "Cool Concierge Tips" from a smattering of our partner hotels and resorts in The Hideaways Collection ® located in Brazil, Peru, and Thailand. This is the full version, so sink your teeth into some of these great recommendations.
The Elegant Elbe was our third river cruise with Viking, but it will not be our last. We're hooked on river cruising and Viking has made it a fine art.
Once you arrive in your destination city, you are totally cared for from start to finish. Someone meets you at the airport and that is the last time you
have to move your luggage until you check in for your flight home. It just miraculously arrives in your hotel room or cabin. Once in the cabin, you can
unpack and settle in for a week of as much relaxation or as much activity as you desire. Viking provides the activities; you just pick and choose.