Riviera Travel and the sinuosity of Rivers

An intriguing title for a blog I think you’ll agree? Who or what is Riviera and what does sinuosity (in the context of rivers) mean and more importantly, what is the connection between the two?

The Riviera in question is neither the French nor Italian coastlines made famous by generations of rich playboys but the UK-owned travel company that trades as Riviera Travel which is celebrating its 33rd year in business, having been founded back in 1984. Its areas of specialisation are in escorted tours and river cruising — hence the reference in the headline. They are the largest river cruise operator in the UK & Irish market and cater exclusively for a UK/Irish clientele. Riviera won yet another ‘recommended provider’ award with Which? Consumer magazine last month, having previously been the recipient of the same accolade for four years in a row between 2012 and 2015 so they be doing something right. One of the things that they do right is keeping their prices as low as possible without compromising on quality — something I can personally attest to, having recently been invited to the christening of two new ships, the ‘Emily Bronte’ and the ‘Thomas Hardy. Two further ships are already on order.

These vessels exude contemporary five-star luxury without you having to pay five-star prices. The food, in presentation, refinement and taste is the equal of what you would expect in any Michelin-starred restaurant ashore, with staterooms and service to match!

Unlike cruise ships that sail on the high seas, the emphasis here is not on loads of facilities since guests typically spend a lot of their time ashore each day when the river cruisers dock right in the city centres of places like Cologne, Vienna or Budapest. Rather, the focus is on being pampered and ‘chilling out’ between river stops. Think luxury escorted coach tours — to the power of 10! No packing and unpacking. No early starts each morning in case you sleep it out for your transport! In short, it is arguably the most civilised way to travel and both see and experience the treasures for which Europe is justifiably renowned around the world.

So, back to that mysterious title again. What is sinuosity exactly? Sinuosity is the technical term to describe the ‘bendiness of rivers’. Whilst some rivers can be more or less straight, others tend to be quite bendy, depending on the topographical conditions they have to deal with as they wend their way from their source to their eventual outflow into the sea. The strange thing about river sinuosity is that some mathematicians believe that there is a direct correlation between the ‘bendiness’ of rivers generally and the value of Pi, which all of you who were paying attention in class know is approximately 3.14. Specifically, the theory is that the distance between the source of a river and its mouth, when measured exactly, based on the physical path that it takes is roughly 3.14 times the distance from its source to its mouth, if you drew the proverbial straight line between the two! Obviously, not every river exhibits this ratio but on average, when the sample taken is big enough, that’s what you tend to find. Yet another example of fractals manifesting themselves in nature.

What do the two things have in common? Nothing other than the fact that they enabled me to write a blog about Riviera Travel in a somewhat meandering manner and not in the usual BLAH, BLAH, BLAH way that some travel blogs behave.

Hopefully it will encourage you to check out Riviera Travel and their river cruise product because it really is fantastic and who knows, you may even enjoy it 3.14 times more than your last holiday!

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