A group of Jayhawks embarked on a cruise that begain in Lisbon, Portugal and ended in Bordeaux, France. On board the ship we enjoyed a series of culinary presentations by Kristine Kidd, former editor of Bon Appétit magazine and author of numerous cookbooks. Her presentations included topics such as butter, salt, and chocolate; sustainable seafood; jamón; cheese; and olive oil. The tastings were my favorite part of her presentations; they inspired me to start cooking more. We made stops along the way to the Stock Exchange and the Igreja de Sao Francisco church in Oporto, Portugal before traveling to Spain.
Santiago de Compostela, or the way of Saint James, was our first stop in Spain. It was interesting to see the current restoration of the church and also watch the pilgrims with their packs making their journey along the path. Our last stop in Spain was my favorite: we visited Bilbao to tour the Guggenheim Museum and the Basque Country. The Guggenheim did not disappoint— the Frank Gehry design is credited with reviving commerce and tourism in Bilbao. I enjoyed the digital installation at the museum with the sentiments of love and hate which could be viewed from different directions, and of course the Andy Warhol display.
To end our visit, we enjoyed a culinary experience at the Restaurant Aspaldiko, which was housed in an old 16th-century farm house. We were greeted with wine and the peacocks that were living on the property and then sat down to a meal of traditional hot and cold pintxos (tapas), local desserts and Spanish wines. Our group of Jayhawks had a good time learning from the chef about the local ingredients and how the pintxos were prepared.
The last country on our trip was France. We started with a full day visiting three towns: Saint Jean de Luz, Biarritz, and Bayonne. More of the Basque region, but this time in France. Biarritz was a beautiful seaside resort. We enjoyed free time in Bayonne. I’m not much of a chocolate fan, but I experienced hot chocolate at Chocolat Cazenave that was founded in 1854. It was quite the treat!
The next day we stopped in Saint Martin de Re and then headed on to La Rochelle for the afternoon. I enjoyed lunch with the Millers at an outdoor café, and the table next to us ordered an elaborate boat of seafood (it was served in a small wooden boat and intricately decorated food presentation). We ended our trip in Bordeaux. It was a rainy day for our walking tour, but our passengers were good sports. Many took time to dry off and regroup back on the ship before venturing back out to Bordeaux for some independent exploration. It was a good trip, with a great group of Jayhawks. It was a different take on travel by experiencing it through local cuisine.
I loved meeting new Jayhawks and experiencing new corners of the world. I hope to travel with our passengers again.
Until next time,
—Tegan Thornberry, assistant director of membership and business development, hosted the Flying Jayhawks trip “European Coastal Civilizations” from April 16-24. For more information about the Flying Jayhawks program, including the 2017 schedule, visit www.kualumni.org/flyingjayhawks.
Watch the slideshow below to see more photos from the European Coastal Civilizations trip, or click here to view the pictures on Flickr. Photos may be downloaded for personal use only.
Posted on Aug 26, 2015
in Alumni News and News
The Flying Jayhawks trip “Great Journey Through Europe” was truly a great journey. We had a wonderful group of passengers that enjoyed the ten-day tour of Switzerland, Germany, France and the Netherlands. Not to mention it was my first international trip!
The Swiss Alps are absolutely stunning, and pictures do not do them justice. We enjoyed taking our “flat Jayhawk” with us wherever we went and made sure to post pictures on social media, so everyone back home could see where we were. While the castles of Germany were breathtaking, the true highlight of the trip for me was Mt. Pilatus, where you feel as if you are on top of the world!
We took a gondola ride up to the top (and I only turned ghostly white once from my fear of heights) and rode the Cog Train down the mountain back to Lucerne, Switzerland, which sits at the base of the mountain. Both the trip up and down provided different, yet gorgeous views. This was a once-in-a-lifetime trip and I am so thankful I was able to experience it with fellow Jayhawks!
See more pictures from this trip on Flickr.
—Kelsey Hill, coordinator of alumni programs, co-hosted the Flying Jayhawks trip “Great Journey through Europe” with Tegan Thornberry, assistant director of membership, in July. For more information about the Flying Jayhawks program, including the 2016 schedule, visit www.kualumni.org/flyingjayhawks.
Posted on Aug 14, 2014
in Alumni News and News
Debbi Johanning, c’98, and her husband David, f’94, served as hosts of the Flying Jayhawks trip “European Tapestry” from June 23-July 1, 2014. Debbi is the digital media content manager for the KU Alumni Association. David is a former member of the KU men’s basketball team.
The Flying Jayhawks trip “European Tapestry,” offered by long-time travel partner Go Next, was billed as an intricate tapestry of colors, cultures and world-class architecture in western Europe, but many travelers agreed that it should also be touted as a wine lover’s dream trip.
Oceania Cruises’ M.S. Nautica set sail from Lisbon, Portugal, on June 23 and docked in Porto, Portugal, where port wine received its name in the later half of the 17th century; the cities of La Coruña and Bilbao in Spain; and spent a luxurious two-day, overnight stay in Bordeaux, France, the home of the world-famous Bordeaux wines.
Each day, except for the final day spent sailing the Bay of Biscay and the English Channel, included a choice of several guided excursions. We traveled the ancient narrow and winding streets of Porto in a trolley; visited Europe’s oldest working lighthouse, the Tower of Hercules, in La Coruña; and toured the beaming titanium-tiled Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, an iconic symbol of the city’s economic and cultural revival.
After sailing for hours down the Garonne River, Nautica docked in the port city of Bordeaux, mere feet from the concrete promenade that lines the river. Our travelers were delighted to discover that the Bordeaux Wine Festival, a biennial international wine tourism attraction, was taking place on the promenade—literally steps away from the ship. It was a tough choice to decide between taking preplanned excursions, exploring Bordeaux on our own or experiencing the wine festival! Some of us attempted all three options.
The perfect weather in Bordeaux was interrupted by a brief rain shower that dampened the wine festival but produced the most complete, brilliant rainbow I’ve ever seen—we enjoyed the view while dining in Nautica’s Polo Grill steakhouse, on my birthday no less.
Our Flying Jayhawks group included 42 alumni, friends and future Jayhawks. We quickly discovered many small-world connections among the group, and something unique about this particular Flying Jayhawks trip is that half of the group was made up of a blended family coming together for a reunion.
We bumped into KU fans and alumni everywhere we went. Our flight to Europe included a connection in the Toronto airport, where we spotted a couple hurriedly pulling carry-on bags decked out with KU bag tags. We assumed they might be on our trip, but alas they rushed off to make a connection to Barcelona.
Upon arrival in Lisbon, we noticed a couple who had been at our gate in the Kansas City airport. “They must be part of our trip,” I said, “if we’ve traveled all this way on the same flights.” My husband ventured off to ask them; sure enough, they were sailing with us, though not on the official trip through the Alumni Association.
And then at the Guggenheim in Bilbao, a man saw our Jayhawk gear and approached us. He and his wife attended KU, spent many years in Nebraska and later retired to Arizona. They were serving as chaperones for Semester at Sea, a shipboard program for global study abroad, and excitedly shared that a current KU student was part of the program. Of course we tracked her down in the museum—it was so much fun meeting Jayhawks 4,500 miles from home!
Our European adventure proved something we already knew: no matter how far from the Hill we may travel, we’ll always feel at home in the company of fellow Jayhawks.
Watch the slideshow below to see more pictures from the European Tapestry cruise in western Europe, or click here to view the photos on Flickr. Trip participants are welcome to download photos for personal use.
Travel the world with fellow Jayhawks! Visit www.kualumni.org/travel for more information about upcoming trips and to sign up for emails about the Flying Jayhawks program. Or, contact Tegan Thornberry at email@example.com or 785.864.4765 for more information.