In last week’s survey asking What, If Anything, Is Holding You Back From River Cruising In Europe, more than half of respondents (52 percent) said that it was war in the Ukraine that made them hesitant to river cruise this year. We did not ask readers to elaborate, something we may do in a future post.
War in the Ukraine was followed closely by the Covid surge in Europe. Nearly 30 percent of you expressed concerns about the variant tearing its way through Europe. I am on barges traveling in France now with a group of 20+. On the last morning of our first barge trip, two people tested positive. Both were mild cases. When I checked in with the two this morning to ask how they were feeling, they replied, ”Generally okay, symptoms similar to a cold, some coughing, sinus draining, slight elevated body temps.”
The rest of us have tested negative so far. Many of us have had second boosters. The additional jabs could be helping our immune systems or perhaps the rapid tests aren’t doing their jobs. This morning, The New York Times reported that negative home test is not a guarantee you don’t have Covid. In the article’s comments section, the writer clarifies that a negative test is not a false negative. ”The test is telling you that you don’t have an infectious level of Covid,” writes Tara Parker-Pope, a columnist covering health and other issues for the Times.
Is it worth the risk to travel during these perilous times? The consensus seems to be yes. We had a wonderful trip through Alsace and on Saturday we begin barging from Dijon through Burgundy. We could have put this trip off for a third time, but the weather has been lovely (despite forecasts of heavy rain), the French have been delightful and the cuisine exactly what you would expect French cuisine to be, delectable. Here are a few photos from my walk around Dijon this afternoon.
During our barge trip through Alsace, many of us walked and pedaled bikes alongside the canals. On one day, I pedaled 25 miles between Saverne and Lutzelbourg and along the Vallée des Éxlusiers. The latter is an old abandoned canal and lock system built in 1853. It was replaced by the Saint-Louis-Arzviller inclined plane, eliminating 17 locks and 2.5 miles of travel along the canal de la Marne du Rhin. I loved photographing the old lock-keepers’ houses, now homes to a lucky few.
War and Covid weren’t the only reasons that some of you gave for being reticent to river cruise in Europe. A few (4 percent) cited inflation and its impact on the economy as a reason to wait. Indeed, some report that airfares, particularly for business class across the Atlantic, have soared to the stratosphere, causing some to forego immediate plans to river cruise in Europe. About 10 percent of you had no concerns at all; others have cruises planned for 2023.
My take? Life is short, the world still has a lot of beauty. Do what it takes to protect yourself and get out there to experience life.