This trip was outstanding! We started the adventure in Brussels, Belgium on August 20. We spent 3 nights at the Ibis Styles Stephanie. It was a great start. The hotel was in a great location and a good price. There was a tram stop right outside the front door, but we chose to walk everywhere. It was easy to get around and everyone was willing to help us out if we asked. This city has a lot to offer any visitor. Grand Place, the central square, is definitely a spot to add to your list. You’ll find a ton of restaurants and shops in that area. Public transportation is very easy to use in Brussels. We took the time to head out to the Atomium. This structure was built for the 1958 Brussels World’s Fair, and was definitely worth visiting.
August 23-30…Rhomantic Rhine River Cruise. This was certainly a great way to travel. We boarded in the afternoon, and were able to unpack for an entire week! The ship was the Avalon Felicity. River cruising is definitely something I’ll do again. The ships are small compared to the ocean cruises. There is so much included as well. It may seem like a high price when first booking, but once you’re there, you’ll wonder why you didn’t pay more. Like most cruises, you never have to worry about food. 3 meals a day, plus snacks are included. Also, wine and beer with dinner. Plus most of the tours in each port are included. Knowledgeable guides took us through various cities. We learned a lot about every place we stopped. Some of our favorite highlights were Heidelberg Castle, Cologne, the Maginot Line, Black Forest. There was so much to see and do. If you felt like doing nothing, that was also possible. You could hang out on the ship and just relax.
August 30 – September 1.. Basel, Switzerland. We stayed at the Alexander hotel here in Basel. It worked well for what we needed. It was clean, included breakfast and was close to everything. The public transportation was free here, so we could easily get to the old town area either by tram, or walking. A highlight here was the Old Town Hall. A beautiful building!
September 1 – 3.. Frankfurt, Germany. We traveled by train from Basel and arrived into Frankfurt about 2 hours later. Our hotel, the Excelsior, was across the street from the train station. Very convenient! The hotel was quite large, and the rooms were some of the biggest we’d seen on our trip so far. They even include a free mini bar! Our day in Frankfurt consisted of walking along the Main river to the Aldstadt (old town). From there we wandered to The Zeil. This is a pedestrian shopping area. We walked to the end and continued past the Opera House and through the financial district back to our hotel.
September 3-5.. Amsterdam, Netherlands. Once again we boarded a train and relaxed for the 4 hour trip to Amsterdam. I had set up a ride from the train station to our Amsterdam hotel (The Prinsen). Our driver was fantastic. He took us through the canal area and gave us some ideas of what to experience. The hotel, once again, was in a great location. We could easily walk to all of the highlights. On the first day we stopped in a Hoppe. This bar was established in 1670. It is obviously very popular based on the crowds that were there. The city was very easy to get around on foot. The one thing you must watch for are the cyclists. They are everywhere, and go very fast. Always look both ways for cars, and bikes!! The Van Gogh Museum would definitely be on my list when I return to Amsterdam. It was closed while we were there.
September 5-10.. Denmark. We flew from Amsterdam to Copenhagen. I’m very fortunate to have friends in Denmark who made this part of our trip easy and outstanding! They toured us all over. Tivoli Gardens is a must if you’re in Copenhagen. It is the second oldest amusement park in the world. We also made a stop at the Little Mermaid statue, toured 3 castles, the Louisiana Museum and tried the herring.
All in all, it was an amazing trip! I think that if you’re heading to Europe, cover as much as you can. Some places would need more time, and some less. When you’re ready to plan your European adventure, keep me in mind.