Reptiles of the Galapagos Islands

Reptiles of the Galapagos Islands

For avid nature lovers, a small group wildlife cruise in Galapagos affords a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to encounter a wide range of unique animals, including a host of fascinating reptiles.
The local habitat is extremely favourable for reptiles and the original arrivals were more than likely washed up on the shores attached to driftwood or vegetation that came from mainland South America. Because they can subsist on very little water, many more of them would have survived the journey than their mammal compatriots. Over the ensuing millennia, they evolved to adapt to their habitat in many ways – so much so that they are virtually unrecognisable from their ancient ancestors.


The Giant Tortoise

Needing little introduction, Giant Tortoises are probably the most sought-after sighting for visitors on a wildlife cruise in Galapagos. While they have no natural predators and were free to live extended lives and evolve to their massive proportions, at one stage human intervention (from pirates and whalers) decimated their numbers. Today, however, they can be observed in their natural habitat (predominantly in the cool, lush highlands of Santa Cruz), and also in the breeding stations on Santa Cruz, Isabela and San Cristobal. True to their name they can grow to weigh up to 250kg.

The Marine Iguana

These remarkably adapted animals are the only sea-going lizard in the world. Their ability to dive for food to depths of 15m sets them apart as a unique endemic species. They’re able to regulate their own body temperature and are quite often seen sunning themselves on the rocky shoreline in order to bring their temperature back to normal after oceanic dives. They can be found throughout the coastal habitat of the archipelago and, like the majority of the wildlife here, are not concerned by the presence of humans.

The Land Iguana

Land Iguanas are larger than their marine counterparts and are not seen as prolifically. They tend to be quite solitary in nature and prefer to forage alone for their food source (vegetation) in a grassy scrubland habitat. Their preferred delicacy is spiky cactus plants, which the hardened, coarse skin around their mouth allows them to devour, spines and all. A new Pink Iguana has recently been discovered on the volcanic slopes of Isabela, although due to the nature of their very small population it’s not possible for visitors to see them.

The Lava Lizard

Lava Lizards can be seen scurrying around everywhere, seemingly always in a hurry to be somewhere else. They subsist on a diet of small insects and grow anywhere up to 30cm in length. The seven endemic sub-species of the lizard all have unique adapted characteristics, depending on where they’re found. Experienced naturalists can tell at a glance from which island they come.

Reptiles Unique to the Region

Some of the other reptiles that might be seen are any of the nine species of geckos and the four sub-species of small, harmless snakes. Most of the reptiles of the region are now considered endemic, which means that those who explore these fascinating islands on a wildlife cruise in Galapagos will see animals that cannot be found anywhere else on the planet.

Man vs Wildlife – Creating a Sustainable Society on Galapagos

Man vs Wildlife – Creating a Sustainable Society on Galapagos

The Galapagos Islands are primarily known for their abundance of unique wildlife and as the place in which Charles Darwin’s conducted the research that led to his Theory of Evolution. For those who explore the area on a Galapagos wildlife cruise, a visit to this fragile, fascinating chain of islands is a once-in-a-lifetime experience; but for more than 25,000 people, the archipelago is home.
A Growing Population


Since the 1970s the population has increased greatly, with more than 75% of the current number having migrated from the mainland. Human occupation is restricted to an area that encompasses just 3% of the total land, with the vast majority living in the coastal towns on Santa Cruz, Floreana, San Cristobal and Isabela. A far smaller proportion (around 15%) lives in the more rural areas.

Most of the migration occurred for economic reasons, with a rapidly growing tourism industry and a declining standard of living on the Ecuadorian mainland. Before the implementation of the special immigration protocols in 1998, it was estimated that at the then-current rate, the population of the archipelago could double every decade. Since then, stricter controls have been put in place by the Ecuadorean government, which include a system of Transit Control Cards for all visitors coming into the area on Galapagos wildlife cruise itineraries.

Creating a Sustainable Society

Creating a sustainable society in a conservation area is not without its challenges, but the Conservancy of the islands is dedicated to the ongoing education of residents to “become champions of conservation”. The aim is to encourage locals to look at subsistence through a different lens to that of mainland living. Rather than trying to recreate a lifestyle that relies heavily on imported produce, machinery and techniques that are at odds with the environment, it encourages locals to consider themselves “stewards of the archipelago”, and live within a system more compatible with biodiverse preservation.

Education: the Key to the Future

Along with the Charles Darwin Foundation and the Ministry of Education, the Conservancy is working towards education reform designed to foster a strong sense of values and engagement. Their focus is on demonstrating examples of “best practice” to teachers and administrators first, with a view to transferring this to classrooms.

Sustainable Practices in the Community

Another area in which the Conservancy is active is in increasing the capacity of sustainable agriculture throughout the archipelago, by demonstrating alternative methods of farming and environmental management.

Introduced domestic pets present a grave danger to the local wildlife; the Conservancy’s Humane Pet Management promotes responsible pet ownership and sterilisation in partnership with the Animal Balance organisation.


The local Foundation for Responsible Alternative Development (FUNDAR) believes the establishment of a strong civil society is imperative to the base of any social change in the archipelago. “Citizens must act together with a common goal in order for change to happen.” While only a very small percentage of locals oppose the concept of sustainable development, in reality not much is understood about what it entails. They say it is an inter-generational process, which involves allowing residents to benefit in the “now”, but in a way that also assures that future generations can benefit too.

The Responsibility of All

While there is still some way to go until the region becomes a truly sustainable society, everybody who visits can do their part to ensure that the values are upheld. For anyone visiting on a Galapagos wildlife cruise, this means respecting the National Park Code of Conduct at all times and not doing anything to upset the balance of the ecosystem.

Life on Galapagos: The Invertebrates

Life on Galapagos: The Invertebrates


The unique flora and fauna of the Galapagos Archipelago attract nature lovers from all over the world to explore the region. The best way to do it is on a Galapagos wildlife cruise, which affords participants the opportunity to experience the astounding diversity of the island’s habitats and encounter a wide range of animals.
The mammals, reptiles, birds and marine animals of the archipelago are fairly well known by visitors, and many of the high-profile species can be seen on a Galapagos wildlife cruise. Surprisingly, though, the largest group of organisms is often overlooked.


The Invertebrates

Invertebrates have no backbone and are officially classified as animals that “neither possess nor develop a vertebral column”. They include insects, spiders, snails, worms, centipedes and many others. Like all the wildlife, this group had to arrive at the islands either on the ocean currents, with birds, or attached to vegetation or driftwood washed up on the shoreline.

The terrestrial invertebrates exist in every habitat and account for around 51% of the archipelago’s total biodiversity. While they may be small in size, they are absolutely crucial to the delicate balance of the ecosystem. Not only do they act as pollinators, they contribute to the formation of soils by recycling organic matter, and they also feature as an important link in the food chain as part of the diet for birds and small mammals.

The marine invertebrates include the molluscs, sponges, annelids (segmented marine worms), cnidarians (including corals), echinoderms (sea cucumbers and urchins) and many others.

Unique and Imbalanced

While many are still identical to their ancestors on the South American mainland, due to the remoteness of the region and the diversity of habitat just as many have adapted in order to survive. It’s estimated that around 52% of them are endemic. This means that some groups are represented in greater proportion than others, so they are considered to be “imbalanced”.

It is not known exactly how many invertebrate species are found throughout the archipelago, although in 2001 the number was estimated to be well over 2,000 (just for terrestrial ones), with the insects the most diverse and numerous. Some of the insects that may be seen on a Galapagos wildlife cruise include butterflies, dragonflies, moths, wasps, grasshoppers, spiders and flies.

Giant Snails and Colourful Crabs

The giant land snails are a distinctive group comprising around 60 species. They are similar to Darwin’s Finches in that they appear to have made specific adaptations to survive in particular habitats.

While most invertebrates don’t enjoy the glamorous status of some of the mammals and reptiles seen on a Galapagos wildlife cruise, one certainly attracts attention. The delightfully skittish Sally Lightfoot Crab can be seen scurrying between rocks on the shoreline, and its vibrant red and blue shell makes it a favourite with nature lovers.

While at first glance this group may not be as impressive as the Giant Tortoise or have the character of the quirky Blue-footed Booby, they are no less interesting and just as important to maintaining the status quo of archipelago’s ecosystem.

We Can Cater To Your Specific Needs From A Charity Venue

We Can Cater To Your Specific Needs From A Charity Venue

The main objective of your charity event may be to fundraise for your charity rather than give your guests an impressive venue to marvel at, but that doesn’t mean the venue isn’t important. Indeed, it is precisely because your event is what matters most that when you come to choose a Charity Events Venue In The Uk, you should ensure yours ticks all of the essential boxes.


Vast Experience And Capability In Holding Special Events

Here at Manor of Groves, we have a level of experience in holding special events that is unmatched by almost any comparable venue in Hertfordshire. We are continually hosting such events as traditional afternoon teas, hen parties, prom or graduation parties, celebrations of life and – of course – weddings, which is one of our very greatest specialities.

As a consequence, we have also accumulated considerable experience of catering to the most specific requests made by those booking our well-appointed and spacious suites.

If you are holding a relatively modest charity event, for example, there may be enough room in our Colonnade Suite, with its capacity of as many as 150 people. Alternatively, it may be the Manor Suite, with its air-conditioned adaptable space that can accommodate up to 500 guests, that provides the perfect backdrop for your event, not least as it also features such amenities as an exclusive bar, cloakroom, entrance hall and toilets.

Talk To Manor Of Groves About Your Requirements Today

Would you like to provide your charity event’s guests with the benefit of succulent and varied cuisine in one of our elegant banqueting suites? What about even giving them to chance to book a spacious bedroom in which to stay overnight, if the event is likely to end late and they may not be able to easily drive home? There’s even a par 71, 6,237-yard golf course at which they may wish to tee off during the day ahead of your event – yes, it’s open to visitors and not just hotel residents.

Whatever you want, need or expect from your charity’s next event, our seasoned and capable coordinators can oversee every aspect of it to help ensure its success. It’s just one more reason why Manor of Groves is such an enduringly popular charity events venue in the UK.

3 Factors Separating The Best Birthday Party Venues In Berkshire From The Rest

3 Factors Separating The Best Birthday Party Venues In Berkshire From The Rest

It’s difficult to think of a more quintessentially English county than Berkshire. It is, after all, more properly known as the Royal County of Berkshire, due to the presence here of Windsor Castle. What you may not know, however, is that there are also many fine Birthday Party Venues In Berkshire, showing that the grand old county certainly has a fun side.


But if there’s a downside to the broad choice of such venues across the region, it’s the difficulty of choosing between them – so what are some of the characteristics that you should consider when you are perusing birthday party venues in Berkshire?

1 Location

This is definitely a key factor if you want to attract as many people as possible to your birthday party, as well as enjoy the celebrations once they are underway.

Here at Regency Park Hotel, for example, not only are we located in a peaceful and tranquil setting between Thatcham and Newbury, but we are also just 10 minutes away from the M4 and A339, and offer excellent rail links with Newbury and London Paddington.

2 Suites

We’re sure you’ll agree with us that the space within the venue in which your birthday party takes place needs to be a pleasant and well-equipped one.

Again, that’s a need to which we are pleased to cater here at Regency Park Hotel, with our Parkland and Paris Suites accommodating as many as 140 and 70 guests respectively, while also each having their own bar and no shortage of modern style.

3 Experience

The finest birthday party venues in Berkshire also offer a little something that may be intangible, but which nonetheless makes a big difference to how well a party goes ‘on the day’ – considerable experience and a strong track record in the hosting of such events.

Choose the right birthday party venue in Berkshire, and there will be a team on hand to help ensure that everything goes like clockwork – from the start of your party until the end.

Whatever your own most pressing priorities as far as birthday party venues in Berkshire are concerned, when you get in touch with Regency Park Hotel, you may be surprised to learn just how capable we are of fulfilling each and every one of them.

Enquire now about what makes our chic and contemporary hotel the perfect place to hold your next birthday party in Berkshire, as well as to book our venue for a good price, well in advance.

Why Should We Be Your Choice For Charity Venue Hire In The Uk?


Why Should We Be Your Choice For Charity Venue Hire In The Uk?

With so many fine options for Charity Venue Hire In The Uk, you can be forgiven for feeling a little overwhelmed when attempting to choose one for your next big fundraising event. It’s a public event, so should you opt for somewhere that is visually spectacular, even if it is less than well-equipped and difficult for many of your attendees to reach? Or perhaps somewhere a little more ‘cheap and cheerful’ might make more sense for what is, after all, a charity event?


Here at Shendish Manor, we don’t think that you should feel bound by such contradictions. We think it’s possible for you to choose a venue for your charity event that appeals to both your head and your heart, and that appeals to all of your fantasies for what your charity event could be, without neglecting the basic practicalities.

What’s more, we believe that Shendish Manor is that venue. Allow us to explain…

We Can Certainly Do The Mundane Stuff…

Central to whether your next charity event turns out to be a success or failure is good preparation and organisation – and you can be assured of the highest standard of both when you make Shendish Manor your preference for charity venue hire in the UK.

We have hosted all manner of special events down the years, including the likes of traditional afternoon teas, wedding fayres, hen parties, graduations and celebrations of life, so we are more than capable of assisting you to ensure that your big fundraising event goes without a hitch.

…but We’ll Also Get Your Pulse Racing

Who wants to hold an all-important charity event in a soulless concrete box? Yes, we know that the worthy causes that your charity exists to support need to be the principal focus of your event. But the evening’s activities will also be much more memorable – for the very best reasons – when they take place in a stunning, but not too overwhelming setting.

Shendish Manor provides precisely that setting. On the outside, our building is a masterpiece of Victorian splendour… while on the inside, our suites are similarly resplendent. There’s a good reason why we are such a popular choice of venue for weddings, for example – Shendish Manor is definitely a place that captures the heart, and not just the head.

Do you like the sound of all of these things in your choice of charity venue hire in the UK? If so, simply get in touch with our special events team now for more information about the availability and prices of our sought-after events spaces.

12 tips for flea market shopping

12 tips for flea market shopping

Endless stalls of invaluable heirlooms, modern gadgets and vintage clothing await you at a flea market but it’s so easy to miss out on these really treasured items. You could end up spending hours in one market stall and then have to speed through the rest, or you could get lost, wandering around in circles visiting the same stalls endlessly. It’s important to plan for the ultimate flea market shopping experience, and here are some ways to get the most out of your day.
Great tips for flea market shopping


1. Get a map
It’s not unheard of to get lost at a flea market which means missing out on some really great stalls so try source a map of the market ahead of time and plan your route accordingly. Get a feel for the market’s layout because most markets will generally place similar stalls in the same vicinity so you can decide where to go first. If you’re really diligent you can take note of the stalls you enjoyed or where you purchased items for a return visit another time.

2. Get there early
It’s always best to get to a market before the crowds arrive and while the stalls are still full and you can broswe the stalls and view the mehandise. Once your shopping is done you can enjoy the live enetrtainment or a bite to eat.

3. Make a day of it
A day at the flea market is a fantastic experience for the whole family so, rather than rushing through the stalls, make a day of it. Get in early for breakfast, take your time perusing the stalls while the children enjoy the fresh air and fun kids activities on offer. There are usually great discounts at the end of the day, so if you stick around, you’re bound to get some great deals.

4. Check out the entertainment
Flea markets often provide local musicians and entertainers with a really worthwhile platform to break into a new audience. It’s always encouraging to support the local talent and you might tap into an artist you’d never heard of before. Enhance your shopping experience with the day’s entertainment!

5. Take cash
Although there may be ATMs on site, the queues could be long and these portable ATMs often run out of cash. Added to this, some sellers won’t accept debit or credit cards so it’s worth taking cash – particularly smaller bills – to the market. Be sure to keep this in a secure bag which isn’t easily evident.

6. Wear comfortable shoes
Flea market shopping is not the time to break into your latest pair of high heels. Opt for a comfortable pair of walking shoes as you don’t want your market experience cut short because of painful feet.

7. Ask about pick-up policies
If you buy a big item, make sure you ask the seller about the pick-up policy. If you can only collect it in a day or two, make sure they will hold the item for you.

8. Choose your haggles
Don’t waste your, or the seller’s time haggling over a price if you’re actually not serious about buying. If you really do love the item and feel it’s somewhat overpriced, then a market is certainly the place to negotiate a price. Don’t be scared to try out your haggling skills but be courteous about it.

9. Go with an open mind
A flea market is not a retail store so don’t expect to find exactly what you want in mint condition. A market is the perfect place to find items with real potential so go in thinking of ways to re-purpose interesting finds, rather than passing them by. Cosmetic repairs are easy fixes so do some haggling and come away with a great bargain.

10. Don’t miss a good opportunity
If you find something you really love, it’s fine to take some time to consider whether it’s worth the price and haggle for the best deal, but if it’s something you really want, don’t walk away. Chances are, there will be a few people who visit the stall later and snatch it up.

11. Take a collapsible cart
If you’re going to take this market shopping seriously, then it’s worth taking a collapsible cart – or similar trolley device – with you. This frees up your hands, allowing you to browse easily and also means you won’t have aching arms carrying items just one hour in.

12. Check whether the market is pet friendly
If you couldn’t consider market shopping without your four-legged friend, then just check ahead if the market allows for pets. Many do cater for pets – on a lead – but make sure you clean up after your beloved pup.

Cruising the Highlands in Style: The Caledonian Canal

Cruising the Highlands in Style: The Caledonian Canal

There’s no beauty in the world quite like that of the Scottish Highlands. The rugged landscape will take your breath away and make you eager to see more. One of the best ways to explore the wild side of Scotland is by water, and the Caledonian Canal is the finest route of all.
At 60 miles long, this waterway features 29 lochs, 10 bridges, 4 aqueducts and more incredible scenes of nature than you can count. The route connects the south-east of the country to the north-west, reaching from the charming town of Fort William all the way to Inverness. There’s plenty to do and see when you cruise Scotland: the awe-inspiring castles and famous whisky distilleries are sure to catch your attention.


You can sail in the shadow of royalty here. In 1873, Queen Victoria travelled on the canal, which has been extremely popular ever since. The canal’s stunning route makes it easy to see why Queen Victoria loved to cruise Scotland so much!

Thanks to James Watt, the inventor of the Watt steam engine, the idea of constructing the Caledonian Canal first surfaced in 1773. It aimed to connect the eastern and western sides of Scotland, providing work for locals and reducing the need to make a dangerous journey around the coast. The canal would enable all key lochs of the Great Glen could be connected, including Loch Ness, Loch Lochy and Loch Oich.

30 years later, the project was approved by the Scottish government and was led by Thomas Telford, a Scottish engineer. It was designed to run in an incredibly straight line along a geographical fault, and was supposedly a master class in engineering. However, the project missed its deadline by 12 years, taking 19 years to build in total, and also exceeded its budget.

This caused problems for ships that were previously designed to navigate the canal: by the time that it was finished, the ships’ designs were outdated and unsuitable. Although steamer ships with iron hulls were capable of sailing around the Scottish coast, these were too big for the waterway. As a result, while the project was visually impressive, it wasn’t quite the huge success that designers had hoped for.

Despite this, cruising along the Caledonian Canal is an amazing experience from start to finish. Among its many highlights is Neptune’s Staircase: as the longest stair lock in the UK, it takes an impressive 90 minutes for a barge to travel the distance of 500 yards, passing through 8 different locks and rising 70 feet in the process.

If rugged natural beauty, astounding industrial skill and authentic local history sounds like your idea of the perfect cruise, Scotland is the destination for you.

Paul Newman is the Marketing and E-Systems Executive for European Waterways, the UK’s most respected provider of all-inclusive, luxury canal holidays across Europe. Part of a team of experienced barging aficionados, Paul is first in line to endorse the perks of a slow-paced barge holiday, whether you’re looking to cruise Scotland, France or Italy.

The Military Might of Burgundy: Château de Bazoches

The Military Might of Burgundy: Château de Bazoches

One of the best but frequently overlooked ways to see Europe’s sights is by water. There’s nothing like cruising in a hotel barge and immersing yourself in the local scenery and culture, especially when there’s so much to see all around you. Join us aboard L’Art de Vivre on a journey through Burgundy, and soak up some of the finest attractions that France has to offer.
For lovers of France and military history alike, L’Art de Vivre will take you exactly where you’d like to go. The Château de Bazoches is a treasure trove of historical interest, military prowess and elegant architecture.


Back in Time

Dating back to the twelfth century, the grand château was originally built on a Roman site, overlooking the Morvan landscape. The estate itself originates from the fashionable antiquity of the seventeenth century, as evidenced by its magnificent architecture. Walking through its halls, you can easily imagine the courtiers of King Louis XIV strolling past you.

A True Genius

The most famous owner of the château is Sébastien Le Prestre de Vauban, widely renowned for his military genius. He purchased the estate following his enormous success in the siege of Maastricht, for which Louis XIV rewarded him with a large sum of money. His home became the headquarters for his strategic and fortification designs, which were widely respected and used by many French cities for over a century.

Ahead of his time, Vauban understood modern advances in technology and weaponry, making him a master of military planning. He would use intricate miniature ravelins, bastions and moats to further his ideas, and became a pioneer of the bayonet rifle, the iron-barrelled cannon and the mortar. His prowess in military engineering and strategy was unparalleled, so it’s no surprise that over 300 cities in France feature his designs, including Lille, Dunkirk and Bayonne.

Luxury Libraries

Château de Bazoches is also home to an extensive library, which contains over 5,000 books and is a must-see for literature enthusiasts. Vauban himself had a passion for literature, and penned his famous Royal Tithe during his time there. Unfortunately, his written criticism of the upper classes and the inequalities of the taxation system cost him his royal favour, causing him to fall from grace for the rest of his life.

Further Information

If the rich and varied history of this grand Burgundian house sounds too good to be true, what are you waiting for? European Waterways will take you on a luxury hotel barge cruise and ensure that you take in all of France’s best sights. For more information, don’t hesitate to explore our website or get in touch with our friendly team of experts.

Paul Newman is the Marketing and E-Systems Executive for European Waterways, the UK’s most respected provider of all-inclusive, luxury hotel barge holidays in France. Part of a team of experienced barging aficionados, Paul is first in line to endorse the perks of a slow-paced barge cruise to anyone looking for a unique holiday experience.

Lose Yourself in Delft’s World Famous Pottery and Painting

Lose Yourself in Delft’s World Famous Pottery and Painting

One thing is for certain: there is nothing in the world quite like Dutch art and craftsmanship. It’s no wonder, then, that Delft, a 750-year-old town, is so famous for its painting and pottery, which is why it makes the perfect final stop on the tour aboard Panache when you’re barging in Holland.
When you lay your eyes on Delft’s historic streets and picturesque canals, you’ll understand why so many great painters and crafters were inspired to recreate them in their masterpieces. The town gave its name to the Delft School, which saw artists such as Pieter de Hoogh, Carel Fabritius and Nicolaes Maes pass through its doors. But perhaps the town’s most famous son was Johannes Vermeer, whose paintings can be found all over the world.


Johannes Vermeer

Vermeer’s paintings offer an extraordinary glimpse into what life was like for the people of Delft in the seventeenth century. While Vermeer’s greatest creation is widely considered to be the Girl with a Pearl Earring, it is also awe-inspiring to see the scenery that inspired his portrayals of everyday life firsthand.

Potter About Delft’s History

The Netherlands’ history is rich with arts and culture, and Delft’s is no different. The local pottery industry reaches back more than three centuries to the country’s prosperous trade relationship with China. The activities of the Dutch East India Trading Company brought valuable Chinese porcelain back to Dutch shores, which sparked a love affair with the craft.

However, trading fell off with the death of the Wanli Emperor in 1620. Dutch potters began to experiment with techniques that would imitate the highly desirable porcelain. They developed thin earthenware that they first covered with a white glaze, followed by a clear one. The beautiful blue surfaces that were produced looked similar to Chinese porcelain, and the brilliant colour came to be known as ‘Delft blue’.

A huge disaster in the town resulted in the decline of the brewing industry, but strengthened that of local pottery. In 1654, The Thunderclap, a gunpowder explosion that destroyed large parts of the town and killed and wounded many people, meant that potters were able to take advantage of the breweries that had been left empty to expand their factories and output.

Over the next 100 years, the Delft pottery grew and grew to the legacy it still holds today. On your visit, be sure to stop by the Royal Delft Pottery, which is the town’s last remaining earthenware factory. Here potters lovingly handcraft everything you see. Why not take home the perfect memento of your time barging in Holland?

Final Stop

For all of these reasons and many more, Delft is the ideal final destination on board Panache. There is arguably no better way to experience the local heritage and culture than by barging in Holland.

Paul Newman is the Marketing and E-Systems Executive for European Waterways, the UK’s most respected provider of luxury all-inclusive barge holidays. If you’re looking for a unique holiday experience, European Waterways can take you barging in Holland, France, Italy and other wonderful destinations in Europe. Part of a team of experienced barging aficionados, Paul is first in line to endorse the perks of a slow-paced barge cruise to anyone looking for a unique holiday experience.