Living legends, meeting royalty and other Tauck treats

Posted by Cindy Clarke on 12/19/2014
Posted in: Tauck’s Travelogue
Tags: Tauck, Travel, Europe, Royalty

Before I travel to a new destination, I read about it. I learn about its history and culture. I research the food, traditions, and the weather. I look at pictures, seek out travelers’ reviews and talk to others who have been there. Then I daydream about it.

I imagine going back in time to the days when the people I read about were making history… chatting with artists like Michelangelo as he painted the Sistine Chapel, walking in the gardens of Giverny with Monet himself, dining with royalty in gilded palaces, talking intrigues and politics with great statesmen like Winston Churchill… or meeting those who are in the news today… talking about documentary filmmaking and writing with Ken Burns and Dayton Duncan, sharing cooking stories with Princess Diana’s former chef or Julia Child’s dear friend, sipping wine with vintners whose expertise dates back centuries... it’s these kind of personal interactions that make my travel dreams the stuff of fairy tales… and Tauck’s royalty trips so incredibly unforgettable!

With a 90-year history traveling all over the world, the folks at Tauck have met and made lasting friends with some pretty amazing people in the places they explore. And those friends love it when Tauck comes back with their guests to visit them. They open their homes, their vineyards, their workshops, and more to Tauck, sharing glimpses of daily lives not available to people who don’t know them, and rolling out the red carpet – literally in some places! – to welcome Tauck inside with food, wine, music, stories, laughter and a lifetime of memories. 

Who can you meet with Tauck? Take a look at some of the famous folks who share their personal tales below with Tauck European tours; in a later blog, we’ll introduce you to filmmakers, authors, Baseball Hall of Famers, jazz musicians and more in North America. But no matter where you travel with Tauck, you’ll meet local experts on every trip!

celiaWinston Churchill’s granddaughter, Celia Sandys, who also happens to be an author, TV personality, and an always charming, quite funny, down-to-earth guest speaker for Tauck. She shares her personal memories of traveling to the south of France with “grandpapa” when she was a teenager, watching him paint Provençal landscapes and having him to herself, while the rest of the world tried to beat a path to his door. When you meet her on select departures of Tauck’s trips to London, you may want to ask her about the time she and her grandfather were guests on Aristotle Onassis’ private yacht, Christina O., when Maria Callas came aboard…

carolynTRH Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s personal chef, Carolyn Robb, used to make “Eton Mess,” a traditionally English dessert made of strawberries, pieces of meringue and cream, for young princes, Will and Harry, when they were just kids. Her insider stories about life in the royal household for 11+ years are entertaining and heartwarming – and her royal recipes are equally delicious! Her dinner presentations are special treats for guests visiting London with us on a few of our trips.

williamPrague’s Lobkowicz Palace has been in William Lobkowicz’s family since 1603. It’s a living museum of priceless ceramics, porcelain, decorative arts, military rifles, musical mementos and paintings that chronicle the history of Europe through the family’s unique, noble perspective in 22 beautifully appointed galleries. When he’s in town, he and his wife personally welcome us to his 600-year-old family home inside the Prague Castle complex for a private tour of the art collections and dinner. Chatting with them, you may hear the dramatic story of how the family lost everything twice – and got it back twice!

countAs he tells it, Count Jean-Charles de Vogüé’s country château, just outside of Paris, not only rivals the Palace of Versailles, it was the model for it! As legend has it and the Count tells it, King Louis XIV’s superintendent of finance, Nicolas Fouquet, built the château in 1645 and inaugurated it with a sumptuous party in honor of the king. Offended… and likely envious… of this display of wealth and splendor, the king threw Fouquet in jail and promptly built his own opulent palace. Jean-Charles de Vogüé’s great-great-grandfather assumed ownership of the château through his marriage in the late 1800s and in 1967, Jean-Charles’s father opened it to the public. Now, the Count opens it to Tauck guests for a private visit on New Year’s Day and invites kids on our Tauck Bridges family trip to dress up in 17th-century costumes as they tour the palace!

ferragamoYou’re invited to meet Salvatore Ferragamo at a private wine-tasting reception in Florence and take a close look at some 10,000 shoes, designed by his grandfather from the 1920s to his passing in 1960, sporting the signature wedge heels and the high-stepping cage heel that put footwear fashion on a whole new path. Today the younger generation runs an international retailing empire that includes handbags, leather goods, eyewear, clothing, fragrance and even wine, which, thanks to Tauck’s connection to the Ferragamos, you will get to sample, sip and savor on select small group departures of Classic Italy.

They are just a few of the locals you’ll get to know in Europe; you’ll also cook with celebrity chefs; meet artisans plying their craft; watch equestrians dance with Andalucían steeds and Lipizzan horses; chat with art historians and politicians; listen to private concerts by accomplished musicians – all of whom inspire travel-minded imaginations like mine!


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