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July 2010

June 2010

Uniworld offers "family-friendly" river cruises this summer


ABOVE: River Baroness is one of two Uniworld ships that will cater to children and teens (and their adult companions) on featured cruises in July and August.

The word "children" usually doesn't come up in discussions of river cruising, but this summer, Uniworld is proving that ship travel on Europe's waterways needn't be reserved exclusively for adults. The U.S.-based company, which sails on 11 rivers in more than 20 countries, is testing the waters of "family-friendly" cruising with four voyages that will incorporate activities for young people into 9-day/7-night itineraries. 

To make the cruises even more tempting, Uniworld is offering 50% fare discounts for passengers between ages 4 and 18 who are accompanied by a parent, grandparent, or other adult.

Featured cruises include:

Castles along the Rhine
9 days (7 nights)
July 10 and August 7 departures

Paris & Normandy
9 days (7 nights)
July 3 and July 17 departures

Activities include things like hikes, scavenger hunts, dessert-making classes, games and movies in a PlayStation-equipped playroom, German or French language classes, a ship's tour with the captain, and special shore excursions (such as a visit to the Chocolate Factory Museum in Cologne or a sightseeing-balloon ascent in Paris). A children's menu will be available, and young guests will receive free soft drinks at lunch and dinner. 

For more information, see the Castles Along the Rhine and Paris & Normandy pages at

Photo: Uniworld.

2010 is Switzerland's"Year of Hiking"

Hiking in the Val d'Hérens
ABOVE: Hiking in the Val d'Hérens, not far from the Grande Dixence Dam.

Switzerland Tourism reports that 2010 is the "Year of Hiking," and as compulsive pedestrians, we're happy to spread the word. On the Switzerland Tourism's Web site, you'll find hiking-related items such as:

  • Descriptions of Switzerland's "32 most enjoyable hikes";
  • A "Switzerland Mobility" planning guide (with maps) that describes six national hiking routes, 57 regional routes, and (new for 2010) 143 local routes;
  • A "Hiking Competition" for UK and U.S. residents that requires no actual hiking and offers a range of tempting prizes;
  • Summer hiking (and biking) offers that can be enjoyed as weekend getaways or built into a longer Swiss vacation;
  • A free "Swiss Hike App" for your iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad;
  • Links to maps, hiking-guidebook publishers, and other resources.

To get started on planning a walking trip in Switzerland during the country's "Year of Hiking," see the Hiking pages at

Yorkshire garden is 'The People's Choice'

Yorkshire's Rhubarb and Custard Garden

ABOVE: Yorkshire's Rhubarb Crumble and Custard Garden. INSET: The Queen visits the garden. 

The Queen at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show Welcome to Yorkshire's Rhubarb Crumble and Custard Garden has been voted the public's favorite garden at the 2010 RHS Chelsea Flower Show in London. The award follows the Royal Horticultural Society's silver medal for the garden earlier in the week and a visit by the Queen.

The garden, described as "a quirky take on the classic dish of rhubarb crumble and custard," features a large bowl of rhubarb (see top photo) with a traditional dry stone wall representing the crumble topping and yellow sedum plants depicting "a good serving of custard flowing through the garden." The York stone patio has a handcrafted oak chair, shaped like a spoon, by Yorkshire Dales craftsman Peter Cummings.

Welcome to Yorkshire reports that "the garden is made even more celebratory" by the fact that Yorkshire Forced Rhubarb was awarded Protected Designation of Origin status by the European Commission's Protected Food Name Scheme (which also covers Parma ham and Champagne) earlier this year.

The Rhubarb Crumble and Custard Garden will be on display again at the Great Yorkshire Show (July 13-15) before taking up permanent residence at RHS Harlow Carr, Harrogate.

For more information about Yorkshire, which attracts 209 million visits each year, see Welcome to Yorkshire's Web site at

To request a free Yorkshire Gardens guide, visit

BELOW: Welcome to Yorkshire CEO Gary Verity is flanked by Simon Hall and Kate Dundas of Gillespies, the urban and landscape design firm that created the garden.

Simon Hall, Gary Verity, Kate Dundas