2015 Chain Gang Season Getting Closer

Our First Tours In 2015

Last year, 2014, business was good. So, believing our Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, that the financial outlook was getting better, we’ve scheduled a few more early-season tours for 2015. Not many – I don’t actually believe politicians – but we will have slightly more to offer you in May and June.

I thought I’d look at our first tours in each country and let you know what our plans are. And click on the images to enlarge them.

1. Tuscany, in Italy.

Cypress trees, hilltop villa, you're in Tuscany.

Cypress trees, hilltop villa, you’re in Tuscany.

We kick off our Italian season in Tuscany, on May 23rd. We’ve got some Chain Gang previous offenders booked already, and I’ll be guiding, so I’m looking forward to this. Elsewhere this month I’ve blogged about my favourite day on our Tuscany tour.

Tuscany is hilly, there’s no getting around that, but it’s particularly beautiful. It’s a reward for those fit enough to do it. You can read all about it on our website. But if a picture truly is worth 1,000 words, here’s about 200,000 words about Tuscany, or put another way 3 fantastic galleries on Flickr taken by Patrick Hudgell, Chris Yates and Robero Peixoto. Much, much better than my photographs of Tuscany, so please take the trouble to enjoy them:

Tuscany, Gallery 1

Tuscany, Gallery 2

Tuscany, Gallery 3

 

2. Provence, in France.

In France, our first tour is in Provence, starting on May 30th, followed by the Dordogne on June 6th.

The Roman Theatre in Orange.

The Roman Theatre in Orange.

The aspect about Provence that surprised me the most, when I reasearched the area years ago, was the quality and breadth of the Roman remains. As a guide, you rely on the ‘gasp’ moments to establish credit in case anything goes wrong (for example, God forbid, it should rain!), and there are gasps the first time you see the Roman theatre in Orange, or the spectacular Pont du Gard near Uzès.

But the Triumphal Arch in Orange is also memorable, as well as the Roman town of Glanum just outside St Rémy. In the Kilometre from the Roman town of Glanum to our hotel in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, we pass the asylum where Van Gogh lived and painted many of his famous painitings, and the bull fighting arena. That’s Provence.

Read more about our Provence tour on our website. And if you want to see some beautiful photos (as ever, not taken by me!) here are a selection for you:

Provence, Gallery 1

Provence, Gallery 2

Provence, Gallery 3

 

3. Devon, in the UK

We only run one tour in the UK, and that’s my home county of Devon.

It took us a few years of fine-tuning to get this tour right, and now I’m thrilled with it. The most beautiful part of Devon is an area called The South Hams. Also the hilliest. Ain’t that always the way!?

The south coast of Devon at Slapton Ley

The south coast of Devon at Slapton Ley

As well as the beautiful coastline we also visit Dartmoor and meet wild ponies. Believe it or not we visit a vineyard – and quite a good one at that – in Sharpham near Totnes. And the food is a very pleasant surprise. Devon is a farming county, and most of the food we eat on our tour has travelled metres to the table, not Kilometers!

There’s also some fascinating history. As well as the oldest working steam engine in the world, we’ll cycle to the Mayflower Steps in Plymouth where a group of Pilgrims set off in 1620. Whatever happened to them?

We’ll be starting our Devon tour on June 20th, me and some of my favourite Chain Gangers. Again, previous offenders already booked, so we’ll have a great week.

Read more about our Devon tour on our website. And here are a selection of photographs for you:

Devon, Gallery 1

Devon, Gallery 2

Devon, Gallery 3

You can see all our photo galleries here.

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