Posted on May 28, 2019 in Alumni News and News
KU Alumni’s own Joy Maxwell recent hosted a group of Flying Jayhawks on a trip through Spain, France and more. Enjoy the trip through the eyes of the host.
There’s something quite special about seeing places you’ve heard about your entire life alongside Jayhawks who share your passion for KU. Don’t ask me to name the best stop on the trip, because every destination on the Flying Jayhawks: Mediterranean Collage was amazing.
Our group of 30 Flying Jayhawk passengers came from all across the United States – Oregon, California, Arizona, Colorado, Minnesota, Florida, the KC area and beyond. Our first chance to meet each other came at the welcome reception as the Riviera set sail from Barcelona. Such a treat to swap travel stories and talk about what we looked forward to most in the week to come.
What a great spot to start. The island of Mallorca boasts history, charm and gorgeous countryside filled with olive and citrus trees. I would have loved to spend more time here. With so many incredible excursions to choose from, it’s hard to pick just one! We’ll definitely take time to experience the exquisite Cathedral of Santa Maria of Palma on our next trip to Mallorca. Our experience at Els Calderers and the Castell de Bellver kept our group of Jayhawks busy exploring and taking in amazing weather that would last the duration of the trip. It was fun to “cheers” at end the day at the Captains Reception that evening!
• What to eat/drink: fresh fish
• What to buy: a ticket on the Soller Vintage Train Ride — our Flying Jayhawks passengers had great things to say about this excursion — or maybe a ticket to tour the Rafa Nadal Tennis Academy where you can drink and eat with a view of Rafael Nadal’s own center court.
• What to see: Els Calderers – the benefit of driving past the grandeur of the Cathedral was getting out into the Spanish countryside and getting to experience Els Calderers. We could have spent the whole day at this 1700s rural manor. It was charming and beautiful – the perfect location. Also be sure to put the Castell de Bellver on your list as it provides a breathtaking view of Palma.
Our time in Provence lived up to my every expectation. It’s easy to see why artists, including Van Gogh, looked no further than the rolling hills of Provence. The light when it meets the landscape is breathtaking. Our hours melted away as we experienced the fairytale charm of this part of the world. The Rock Chalk chant could be heard at the end of the day from the KU private reception.
• What to eat/drink: a warm baguette and chocolat chaud (hot chocolate)
• What to buy: more time, so much more time — a day is not close to enough in Provence
• What to see: Stop at the amazing hilltop city of Les Baux-de-Provence on your way to St Remy de Provence, and then allow yourself time to get lost in its charming streets before you follow the footsteps of Van Gogh to see the exact spots where he painted The Starry Night and Irises.
Monaco is flat-out splendid and glamorous. It’s easy to navigate and see in a day, and it’s fascinating to learn how such a tiny country has managed to survive and thrive. Don’t let your jaw drop when you see the luxe hairpin curves of the Grand Prix or when your guide tells you that the top two floors of the newest blue glass building sold for 300 million euro. This country is the second smallest in the world, but absolutely over the top.
• What to eat/drink: a cup of coffee at the Café de Paris
• What to buy: a small bag of patisseries to munch on as you stroll around the cliff-side gardens near Saint Nicholas Cathedral and oceanographic museum
• What to see: See it all in a day! That’s part of what makes this tiny country so incredible.
Arrive into Antibes, France and be prepared to open your eyes and see white-capped mountains above the blue of the Mediterranean. The best part? Getting back to the ship and seeing the KU flag perched above the deck. We put on our KU finest and met on the grand staircase for a photo followed by dinner at the end of our day.
• What to eat/drink: fresh fruit — the oranges and strawberries burst with flavor — buy as much as you can carry and treat yourself before you go through security at the airport — this beats airport food
• What to buy: the bottled up scents (lotions, soaps, perfumes) of the Cote d’Azur
• What to see: Walk through the open market and narrow bustling shop-filled streets of Cannes before you arrive onto the red carpet at the venue for the Cannes Film Festival.
Napoleon had it all wrong. I see little reason to leave the island of Corsica. The port of Ajaccio is gorgeous, and beautiful coastal lines give way to a mountainous island. Perfect for our group of Jayhawks, who all seemed to love the outdoors.
• What to eat/drink: the veal stew (trust me – it was to die for)
• What to buy: real estate (you won’t want to leave)
• What to see: It would be easy to stay put in Ajaccio, but do yourself a huge favor and see the Calanche of Piana and the Spelunca Gorges. What a gorgeous island.
Port of Liverno, Italy
Land in Liverno, and you have a hard decision to make. Our Flying Jayhawks spent time in the Tuscan countryside, strolling through Florence, holding up the leaning tower of Pisa and exploring the amazing coastal towns of Cinque Terre. We capped off our last night on board with karaoke in between bouts of packing to disembark.
• What to eat/drink: lemon drops (there is something next level about these)
• What to buy: just about anything in the quaint little shops that line the streets of Vernazza in Cinque Terre
• What to see: just the tip of the iceberg – you need two weeks to experience all there is to see in this region of Italy
Last stop meant farewell to our beautiful ship – the Riviera – and the amazing Flying Jayhawks passengers with whom we spent the week sightseeing. We had great weather on our trip and incredible dining aboard the Riviera. Now for a day in Roma!
• What to eat/drink: all the pizza and pasta you can absolutely manage plus ice cream regardless of how full you are
• What to buy: a ticket on the hop-on hop-off bus — SO WORTH IT
• What to see: the highlights of Rome (the Colosseum, the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain and Vatican City) are easy to visit with the convenience of a bus pass. Walk and eat your way through this city, and don’t leave until you absolutely must. Ciao!
If you are considering a Flying Jayhawks trip, an itinerary like the Mediterranean Collage would be a great way to get your feet wet. Our flock of Jayhawks got to see so much, enjoy remarkable cuisine, return to the comfort of their rooms every night and greet each other with “Rock Chalk” every morning. It’s such a fun way to see the world. What are you waiting for? Pack up your crimson and blue and set sail. Bon Voyage!
The Flying Jayhawks trip “Mediterranean Collage” took place April 25-May 3 2019. The trip was hosted by Joy Maxwell, director of legacy relations. View more photos from the trip; pictures may be downloaded for personal use. Find more information about Flying Jayhawks trips, including a schedule, or sign up for travel emails.