The first journey abroad went to Denmark.
England and France – language school in Brighton with the first taste of Paris – le mode de vie français. Back to Denmark, hitchiking and alone on a «cruise» with DFDS Seaways for the first time.
Spain and Moroco, Costa del Sol and Tangier. The north of Spain, San Sebastian, England and Scotland. Bulgaria and Turkey – Slanchev Bryag and Istanbul. Tunisia and a glimpse of Sahara. Mallorca, London and Scotland/ Grantown on Spey. Ceylon/Sri Lanka, back to Morocco; Marrakech and Agadir. Tenerife and Grand Canaria. Austria, Switzerland, Germany, France and Italy – mostly skiing. Israel; Eilat, Sharm el Sheikh (diving) and Jerusalem. In communist Leningrad – via Stockholm and Helsinki. Jordan, Aqaba and Petra. Ireland. USA; Minneapolis, New York, Boston, Newport Rhode Island. Based in Minneapolis with the entire USA as «sales district». Florida for the first time.
Germany, the communist East Germany/DDR, Austria, Switzerland. USA – almost every state was visited + Hawaii and Alaska. The first cruise on Kloster’s «White Ships». Cuba, Grand Cayman, Key West, Jamaica and Bahamas. Maldives and, Singapore, Hong Kong, China with Xian and Beijing. Japan, Tokyo and Kyoto. Indonesia, Pulau Tioman. Australia. Dubai.
Florida as a base 1990 – 2003: Extensive travel all over the USA + Mexico, Costa Rica, Venezuela, Brazil, Chile with Bariloche, Argentina, Peru, Bolivia – Machu Pichu and the Titicaca Lake. South Africa, Zimbabwe and Botswana – safari in Mala Mala and Chobe Lodge + wine tour in Stellenbosch and Paarl, combined with Rovos Rail and the Blue Train. Austria, Hungary, Italy, France, Spain. Iceland and Spitsbergen. Crossed the Atlantic with the Concord from London to New York. First cruise with the small ship «Song of Flower» from Hong Kong to Bangkok via Canton and various ports of call in Vietnam, also first cruise with Crystal Harmony from Copenhagen to London via Oslo, Stockholm, Gotland, Tallin, St. Petersburg, Rostock/Berlin and Amsterdam. Canada: Vancouver Island, BC and Alberta. St. Martin, St. John, Puerto Rico, Saint Croix, Domenica. Cruise with Seabourne Sun in the Caribbean with a new island every day.
Living in Italy from 2003. Extensive travels in Italy from north to south to educate oneself in the new adopted country. Long stays at the island of La Gomera with trecking and swimming. In shuttle between Europa and the USA the first years of the millennium. The first cruise with favorite ship; Crystal Serenity (of the midsize ships). Transatlantic cruises from Lisbon to Miami via Madeira, Tenerife, Grand Canaria, Bermuda or the Azore islands. Cruise with Serenity from Los Angeles to Auckland, New Zealand, 21 days to cross the Pacific Ocean. Egypt, Jordan, Oman and Dubai – cruise with Silver Seas. Thailand with Bangkok, Koh Samui, Pattaya and Chiang Mai. Cruise with Oceania from Buenos Aires via Uruguay, Tierra del Fuego, the Falkland Isles, Ushuaia, Antarctica, through the strait of Magellan, Punto Arenas, Puerto Mont to Valparaiso – 21 days and then on to Santiago. Across the Andes to Mendoza, further to Rio de Janeiro and by air to Manaus. Cruise down the Amazon River to Devil’s Island, St. Lucia, St. Bart to Miami. India and New Delhi and a one week train journey through Rajasthan with the luxurious Palace on Wheels. From Bath by private Lear Jet via Toledo to La Gomera. SeaDream Yacht Club crossing from Tenerife to Miami – 10 days on a very small ship on a very huge Atlantic Ocean.
Mostly distant travels so far in this decienne, and also land based tours: Venice to London on the Orient Express, further on to Bath via private Lear Jet to Montenegro and Dubrovnik, then back to Torino, still on the private jet. With MSC from Rio de Janeiro to Venice with interesting ports of call at Ilha Grande, Salvador, Tenerife, Casablanca, Mallorca, Malta and Taormina. Costa Cruise from Savona to Santa Cruz de Tenerife – via Marseilles, Barcelona, Malaga, Casablanca and Lanzarote. Autumn cruise with Oceania’s Riviera from Venice to Rome with visits to Dubrovnik, Zakynthos, Messina, Amalfi and Capri – and a spring cruise half a year later with the same ship and itinerary – in the opposite direction, however, from Rome to Venice. Cruise with SeaDream Yacht Club from Athens/Pireus to Rome/Civitavecchia through the Corinth Canal via Hydra, Delphi, Kefalonia, Taormina, Amalfi and Capri. A short gourmet cruise with Crystal Serenity from Nice to Malta via Genova, Naples and Taormina. Extensive stays at La Gomera with trekking and swimming. «Educational Cruise» with Oceania from Hong Kong via Taiwan, Okinawa, Kobe/Kyoto, Hiroshima, Shanghai, Seoul, Dalian and Beijing – a voyage with lectures every day highlighting the region’s geography, history and politics. The following year; the southern part of this cruise from Singapore to Hong Kong, with ports of call in Bangkok, Saigon, Danang, Hue’, Ho Long Bay and Hanoi. Celebrated May 17th 2016 in Sofia and Sozopol, Bulgaria. Educational cruise on M/S Gil Eanes on the Douro River from Porto to Salamanca July 22-29 – to prepare the 2017 cruise with a group of 125 guests.
Now that Desderi Travel Club – DTC – has been established and tours & cruises are being offered worldwide, it is important to emphasize that many group arrangement have been completed with great success already. Below please find some of the tours that Desderi Travel Club has organized over the years:
Big Band Cruise across the Atlantic Ocean
From Lisbon to Miami across the Atlantic Ocean with Crystal Cruises – a voyage emphasizing big band music, jazz and gourmet wining & dining. The cruise lasted 12 days and this DTC-group was the largest Norwegian group ever on Crystal Cruises. The Norwegian captain, Glenn Edvardsen, invited the entire group of 30 to a very special “Captain’s Dinner” – a treat so unique that it was the “talk of the ship” among the other passengers. Desderi Travel Club is always aiming high for that “little extra” on a tour or cruise. The itinerary that November was the northern Atlantic route; Lisbon – the Azore Islands – Bermuda – Miami. The group had an extended stay in Fort Lauderdale. (Check 2018 tours – then a Crystal Serenity cruise featuring the southern route, is offered in November).
South America cruise – Tierra del Fuego, Falklands Islands, Antarctica, Chile’s Glaciers and Isabel Allende’s Valparaiso
An international group from Norway, Sweden, USA and Holland – 10 in total – met in Buenos Aires to celebrate Christmas and New Years on the intimate Insignia of Oceana Cruises. This small 684 passenger ship should be the home for the discerned group for the last days of 2007 and the first days of 2008. The voyage included Uruguay, Punto Alta, the Falkland Islands, Tierra del Fuego, Ushuaia, Antarctica, the Strait of Magellan, the glacier district, Punto Arenas, Puerto Mont and Valparaiso. Various lectures on topics such as geography, history and politics; the Falkland crisis, ice melting, pollution of the oceans, whales and sharks, discoverers, generals and juntas, Isabel Allende and Pablo Neruda. A cozy and intimate Christmas eve and a festive New Years’ night in the Arctic. This cruise will definitely be repeated in the not too distant future.
India, New Delhi and a train journey through Rajasthan on the luxury train “Palace on Wheels”
A small exclusive group of four met in Delhi and stayed in an “antique store” of an apartment that was rented for a week. Time was at issue as Trond and Roald should buy curtains and table cloths for Cascina Desderi prior to the rail journey. The rail adventure included such highlights as Jaipur, Saway, Madhopur, Chittorgah, Udaipor, Jaisalme, Jodhpur and Agra with Taj Mahal. The service onboard was immaculate, the food excellent and the Indian wine surprisingly delicious. Most important of all, however, no one got sick! The food preparation onboard had the highest standard of hygiene. No doubt, travel in India can be hazardous – Palace on Wheel, not so. After all, it is a journey fit for a King – which is what a Maharaja really is, a region’s local king. A similar tour is planned for March/April 2018.
The Canary Islands a la Carte
This group celeb consisting of ten, flew on one of the very first Norwegian flights into Marrakech. After a couple of exciting days in the pink desert city, the group headed to the Atlantic Coast and the legendary city of Casablanca. Here we boarded the Fred Olsen ship Balmoral and started the cruise that would take us to the majority of the seven Canary islands: Lanzarote, Tenerife, La Gomera, Grand Canaria and La Palma – the westernmost and most lush of the islands. The last of the islands was the Portuguese Madeira, where we sampled the delicious Madeira wines – Trond even bought a vintage one for the Desderi Cantina – as this wine is called Malmsey Madeira. From here, across the capricious Bay of Biscay through the English Channel to Southampton. Norwegian from Gatwick to Norway to celebrate Christmas. (The itinerary was interesting, the ship was, however, far from interesting, so the cruise will not be repeated. But another tour including the Wines of Lanzarote, Tenerife and La Gomera will be organized with Trond as guide).
Thousand and One Night in Marrakech
The desert town of Marrakech is the most exotic and Moorish city in Europe’s immediate proximity. When disembarking the plane – being Norwegian or Binter Canarias – the dry desert air is thrown upon you with all its smells and odors. Marrakech is like a fairytale… and if you stay at the super elegant and exquisite La Mamounia Hotel, you enter into Thousand and One Nigh the second you cross the threshold. This hotel, owned by Morocco’s King Abdullah, is by many ranked as Africa’s very best hotel. The group had decided to stay here, and not at a Riad (“a grand house or palace with an inner garden or courtyard normally situated inside the souk”), as all the facilities of a five star resort was tempting during a short New Years’ fairytale stay in Marrakech. This long weekend included a private tour of the souk, a visit to a genuine hammam in a “secret” corner of the souk where each member of the group was shed and washed according to Berber etiquette. New Years’ Eve was a fairytale adventure of food and festivities and “Champagne”… but surprise, surprise! The only wine consumed was Moroccan, surprisingly good and delicious – the Chardonnay was even exquisite. The big surprise was the bubbly from Les Celliers de Meknes; La Perle du Sud. The first day of 2013 saw the little group high up in the Atlas Mountains, enjoying a Berber lunch by the riverbanks of Ourika – with cascading waters only feet away. The following day, the group dispersed in all direction – La Gomera, Malaga, France and Norway. This tour will be arranged again, in the not too distant future. Maybe combined with the wine tour of the Canarias.
An Italian Gourmet- and Wine Cruise
Just as April turned into May, a group of 50 festive people met in Civitavecchia for a gourmet cruise through three counties: Italy with Sicily, Greece and Croatia. Desderi Travel Club had arranged everything aboard the stylish and exquisite cruise ship M/S Riviera of Oceania Cruises. Numerous dinners included Desderi-wines and all the shore excursions had been preplanned and arranged by DTC, the majority of them with Trond as guide. An extensive and interesting itinerary comprising: Roma/Civitavecchia – Amalfi (with private cruise to Capri) – Taormina – Zakynthos – Corfu – Dubrovnik – Venice. At the harbor in Venice, we were met by our very special guide, the authoress Kristin Flood, who invited the group on a unique visit to un palazzo veneziano. At this Venetian Palace she gave an unforgettable lecture on the history of Venice while her good friend, the Princess of the palace, served Italian antipasti and sumptuous petirfour. Another unique Desderi Travel Club treat! The cruise ended the next day, some guests continued touring in Italy while others extended at Cascina Desderi, while the majority returned home – each and every one wishing that the group would meet again on another cruise or tour, it could simply not be the last. Three years later, it was indeed repeated – on another ship and under different skies…
The Far East – from Singapore to Hong Kong
A group of thirty flew from Oslo to Singapore via Doha and landed in the “Garden City” early Saturday morning. Trond and Roald, who had already arrived previously, waited in the arrival hall and invited everybody on an introductory tour of Singapore – with ice cold water and mints (no chewing gum…) served in the bus. The group had a pre-boarding agreement with the cruise line, and was all onboard by lunch. During the day, the last ten participants turned up and joined the group. Desderi Travel Club had arranged so that every guest of the group qualified for «A Classic Beverage Package», a package that turned out to be extremely valuable: All beverage onboard were free with and between meals, water, tea, coffee, wine and beer – and not to forget cocktails and long-drinks. DTC had arranged that every participant that paid a deposit one and a half year in advance, would get the «Classic Beverage Package» for free – gratis! It comprised more than anyone had anticipated. DTC had also preplanned and arranged all shore excursions in advance, at rates less than half of the ship’s. In every port, a coach waited for the group and took the discerned guests on unique tours all through Asia. The itinerary comprised of: Bangkok, Saigon, Danang with Hue’, Hanoi and Halong Bay to be concluded with an interesting city tour of hectic Hong Kong. On the 26th of February the entire group celebrated a festive dinner where Desderi’s Amici per Sempre Spumante was served – accompanied by Odd Riisnæs on the grand piano. To the special gourmet dinner, Desderi’s Barbera Superiore Oro 2007 was served – a celebration dinner the entire group will remember forever. The last evening was spent dockside in Hong Kong, and before the group dispersed in all directions, the prevailing consensus in the group was: “Wow, we got a lot of bang for the buck… where and when is the next tour?”