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A Return to the Past (Europe)

Author: Dickscar
Date of Trip: October 2009



This trip was for us a return to where we had been stationed in the 70's during my husband's military career.

We flew to Frankfurt, Germany, and met our friends in the airport there on Sept 13, 2009. Keep in mind when planning a trip to Europe that the strength of the Euro against the dollar has made this much more expensive. We reviewed and booked all our hotels online prior to the trip, and the friends with whom we traveled did the same with the car rental. We booked only hotels with baths in the room and all but one of them included breakfast in the price of the room.We also tried to get hotels with elevators (lifts)whenever possible we would definitely recommend driving yourself if it's within your budget versus an escorted tour. The flexibility and convenience of being on your own schedule makes a much more pleasant trip. You drive on the same side of the road, and the roads are excellent with the autobahns being just like our freeways. There are many rest areas with restaurants and gas along the way. Gas is expensive. We found prices from .98 euros to 1.35 euros per liter and a gallon is about 3.7 liters. We had brought our Garmin 7750 GPS with us, which is pre loaded with European maps and it proved indispensable

We traveled from Wiesbaden,Germany through Cologne to Amsterdam. Then on to Delft and into France to Bayeaux and the Normandy coast. From there we went to Paris, Bastogne, Belgium, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Neustadt on der Wald Nab and the crystal road into Salzburg, Austria. Our trip then went to Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Mulhouse, France by way of Switzerland, Heidelberg Castle and back into Wiesbaden before flying home.

In Wiesbaden we stayed at the Hotel am Schloss Biebrich. This is next to the Biebricher Schloss and right across from the Rhine River. it's a small, no frills hotel with clean comfortable rooms and a tasty substantial continental breakfast included in the room cost. We had lunch at the Schloss Cafe and found the menu to be more of a high end tea. We finally settles on soup and a dish with a crust and toppings much like pizza, very good but pricey. We did little sightseeing knowing we were returning to the area at the end of the trip again We had dinner at a wonderful Italian restaurant two doors down from the hotel, La Casa Toscana. Excellent food, great service also abit pricey, but worth it!

We drove the next morning toward Amsterdam stopping along the way at Cologne (Koln) to see the Magnificent Cologne Cathedral. This a must see with it's twin spires and wonderful Domplatte. We spent a couple of hours there and could easily have spent a whole day. There are mimes who gather on the platte, shops, a museum and shop.

Then we were on to The Hampshire Waterland Hotel in Purmerend just north of Amsterdam for two nights. Yet another great hotel, very modern with three golf courses. From there we toured Amsterdam, taking a glass top boat on the canal, went to the BOS, the rowing lake from the Olympics, visited Zanseschans with it's working windmills and had dinner at De Passage in Zaandam. A wonderful small place right on the waterway. We could watch them kayaking as we ate dinner.

Next came the drive to Normandy by way of Delft, the wonderful Dutch porcelain town. Follow the factory signs and you will come to the De Delftse Pauw where you can take a tour, see how the porcelain is made and on the top floor shop for real Delft pottery.There's much more from cheese to churches to be seen in Delft, but we were booked into a hotel into Bayeux, France, so it was back into the car and on the road. We arrived at Bayeux about 7:00 PM and checked into the Hotel Churchill, a wonderful small hotel in the heart of the town. We asked about dinner and they offered to make a reservation for at at La Fringale. What a wonderful choice. Great food, good service,Beef Bourguignon and Creme Brulee to die for.

The next morning we went to the Normandy Coast and spent a day reliving the invasion of World War II. From Vierville Sur Mer and the Omaha and Utah Beaches to the American Cemetery at Colleville Sur Mer it is a magnificent story and can be relived there. In the afternoon we left and headed for Paris. I'll do another review of that part of the trip another time.

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