VBT 40th Anniversary Vacation to Holland and Belgium with Chris Skilling

At VBT we’re gearing up for our special 40th Anniversary Vacation to Holland and Belgium on October 5th.  In honor of our anniversary, we’re offering up the perfect balance between exhilarating bike rides and leisurely exploration, and enjoying it all amidst the effortless beauty of the Dutch and Flemish countryside.  Unpacking just once, we’ll be treated to a mobile diorama of scenery and impeccable service aboard our home for the week, The Iris.

We will be joined aboard The Iris by special guest, VBT Director of Worldwide Product, Chris Skilling.  With 29 years in the travel industry including former residences in Europe, Asia, and the United States, and having visited 96 countries, Chris draws on a wealth of experience when it comes to interacting with new landscapes.  Yet, perhaps in spite of his breadth of cultural encounters, the prospect of seeing Holland and Belgium by boat for the first time seems to have sparked Chris’ sense of discovery.  “Many of the homes that lie along the rivers and waterways of Holland and Belgium were built to face the water.  Traveling through the countryside by water really allows us to arrive at the front door of each destination.”

Enjoy the chance to talk travel and adventure over a waffle or a beer with one of VBT’s most passionate travelers.  Recount your own tales from the road, your favorite destinations, and your fondest memories abroad as we discover Holland and Belgium from a unique perspective, away from the crowds and among a small group of new friends.  Join Chris on our Holland and Belgium Bike & Barge 40th Anniversary Vacation and celebrate this special departure filled with surprises and exciting extras, culminating with the drawing for a brand-new custom VBT bicycle.

Tour de France

The 98th Tour de France came to a close this past weekend as the competition had reached fever pitch.  Despite the much hyped matchup between Alberto Contador, winner of the past two TdF’s, and Andy Schleck, runner-up in past years of the Tour, Frenchman Thomas Voeckler looked to be the man to beat for the Yellow Jersey at the start of stage 19.

This year’s Tour was markedly turbulent early on.  The first 9 stages saw a number of alarming crashes resulting in some very serious injuries.  However, calamity had steadily dissipated as the competition rose.

The leader board in this year’s event featured several surprise contenders for the GC competition for the overall best time, adding even more excitement to cycling’s most celebrated tour.  Thomas Voeckler remained in contention for the Yellow Jersey much longer than most had expected.  Fans also saw a second place appearance by Andy’s brother, Frank Schleck.  Frank gave up his second place spot to his brother, but he remained close to the top, as he finished in third, two and a half minutes behind the Australian leader, Cadel Evans.

By the end of stage 19 on Friday, both Andy Schleck and Cadel Evans of Australia managed to overtake Voeckler, with Evans in first and Schleck following in second.  Alberto Contador made several surprise moves uphill over the course of the Tour, but managed to finish no higher than fifth place in the competition for the Yellow Jersey.

With no shortage of twists and turns, this year’s Tour de France certainly delivered the intense competition that the race is known for.  Congratulations to Cadel Evans who took the GC competition, Samuel Sanchez who won King of the Mountains, Mark Cavendish who took the Sprinter’s Green Jersey, Pierre Rolland who was this year’s best young rider, and Team Garmin-Cervelo who won the team competition.