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21 Day Best of Europe Tour- May 6, 2018

Greetings!
My sister, cousin and I will be on the Best of Europe 21 Days tour beginning on May 6, 2018. It does not appear that anyone has started a thread, so I am doing so now. This will be the first time that my sister and cousin have been to Europe. I took this exact same tour in 2015. I could not find a better first tour for them to take of Europe, so I booked this tour again for the three of us. I did want to repeat it again at some point anyway. If anyone has already signed up for this tour on the same date as we did, I would love to hear from you! But if anyone needs any information regarding the tour, feel free to contact me by private message. I suppose we can chat on this forum as well.

Happy Travels!
Herb

Posted by
333 posts

Best tour EVER! You will have so much fun! (as you already know)

Lisa

Posted by
4065 posts

Chatting on the Forum is better, because other people can chime in. We all learn from each other.

Even if only your future tour mates post, it's easier to share information here, rather than forwarding PMs to everyone.

Besides, we want to hear what's going on, too! DH and I are taking this tour for the second time next spring, as well, but we're not on your tour. We're going earlier.

Posted by
30 posts

Hi Jane,
It is good to know that I am not the only one who thinks the tour is worth doing twice. When you took the tour the first time did you visit the Anne Frank house? We did. But I don't see it on the itinerary for this trip. What time of year did you take your tour the first time? What year?

Herb

Posted by
4065 posts

Hi, Herb: We did visit the Anne Frank house the first time; it was in late May - early June of 2011.

The 21 Day BOE was my husband's favorite tour, and he suggested we take it again in 2018 to celebrate a milestone anniversary. Our actual anniversary isn't until September, but for various reasons we're not going to have enough free time then. So we're taking one of the first tours, in April.

I think there's enough free time in Amsterdam that you could slip into the Anne Frank house if you wanted. Call the office, and they'll let you know. I've seen it twice (once on the Best of Belgium and Holland tour,) so I'm not planning to see it again.

Or if you go a few days early (highly recommended) you can pop over to Amsterdam from Haarlem for an afternoon, and visite AF.

I'm getting psyched up for the tour. We've reserved a Haarlem hotel for three nights before the tour, and the Paris hotel for two nights after the tour, then we're heading back to the Netherlands for four nights, basing ourselves in Leiden.

How about you?

Posted by
333 posts

Jane- have you been to the Corrie Ten Boom house in Haarlem? Its such a lovely compliment to the Anne Frank house as it gives the perspective of the people who risked everything to help the ones in need. And seeing the tiny "closet" space that people were often forced to hide in (as opposed to a small apartment) really brings to light the difficulties for everybody involved. Amsterdam is one of my favorite cities, but I love Haarlem even more. If I were to ever move to Europe, it would probably be to Haarlem. For a small town, it offers a ton of wonder for locals and tourists alike.

I met Herb on the 2015 BOE tour and he and I have become really great friends since- another testament to the positives of group touring! Because I had so much fun on the 21 BOE, it was an easy choice to take the My Way 14 BOE in Sept of this year. That tour visits most of the same cities as the 21 BOE and it was wonderful to revisit such great places. I went to Germany (with Herb) a week before my tour started in Paris, so we could visit Berlin, take a day trip to Wittenberg/Lutherstadt for the reformation anniversary and then head to Munich for the start of Oktoberfest- what fun! In Germany we were joined by another friend, that I met here on the RS forum. The three of us then went to Paris for three days. Herb left us there when the RS tour left for Beaune, and went solo to London.

I had a point and lost it... lol! What I think I was trying to say is that traveling is wonderful and the 21 BOE and the 14 BOEs really do take you to such great places. Even talking about it makes me anxious to go back. They truly are trips of a lifetime- even when you're fortunate enough to repeat them! There will be new experiences and great people to meet. I'm so happy for Herb that he will return and get to enjoy the trip again- as well as enjoy seeing it through the eyes of his sister and cousin. I'm happy for you as well. I'd have no trouble taking the 21 BOE again.

Lisa

Posted by
4065 posts

Lisa, we haven't been to the Ten Boom house, but after our first time in Haarlem I went home and read her book. Loved it!

We, too, have made good friends on RS tours. We keep in touch with a couple we met on a 2012 tour (and by sheer chance shared another tour with them 4 years later!)

This will be the second tour we will have taken twice. We did the Best of Sicily twice, but that was when the Off-Season tour was a different itinerary. I'd gladly do the Best of Florence again, if they ever bring it back. Also the Villages of South England would be worth repeating.

Posted by
30 posts

Jane,

We are arriving to AMS on May 3rd and I have a hotel already booked in Amsterdam. That was expensive! I guess May is a very popular time to visit Amsterdam. The 3rd will be a minimal activity day for us so that we can recover from jetlag. On the 4th I have a day excursion already set up for us to visit Zaanse Schans Windmills, Marken and Volendam using another tour company. I have not finalized plans for the 5th, but if RS is not going to do the AF house then I want to take my sister and cousin there for sure. I just had AF's book sent to my sister to read before the trip. I will find another activity to compliment the AF. Maybe the Resistance museum. I will call RS on Monday to verify if we will be visiting AF or not. We will be flying home from Paris the day after the tour ends. I probably should have stayed an extra day there as well, but I also have to think about my employer. As it is I will be gone just under a month. Thank God I have a cool employer. :) All I know now is that I am excited to go and it is going to be a loooong Winter!

Posted by
4065 posts

Herb, the Resistance Museum is great. I recommend it highly. We also enjoyed Rembrandt's House, and the Amsterdam branch of the Hermitage. Also NEMO, and the Maritime Museum.

And there are some great things in Haarlem, as well, should you have time (Hah!): The Frans Hals Museum, Teyler's Museum...

Not that much time left now. It'll fly by.

Posted by
684 posts

Hi Herb. I'm not on this tour either but husband and I took it April/May of 2015. We DID go to the Anne Frank house then and I'm a little surprised it isn't included anymore. I felt fairly shuffled through this museum and would definitely go again if given the opportunity. This is a tour that is definitely worth doing a repeat of! It was our first experience traveling to Europe and it sure did leave a feather in our caps!

Posted by
7736 posts

Oh!! You are Lisa’s Herb?? Oktoberfest Herb?

I’ll just add I thought the Resistance Museum was a good adjunct to the Anne Frank house, particularly if it’s been a while since someone has read The Diary of Anne Frank. I think it also helps to set up the Dachau visit later in the tour.

I know your sis and cousin will have a great time!

Posted by
4065 posts

Pam's suggestion to read (or reread) Anne Frank's diary is a good one. I reread it before our last visit, and found I had forgotten a lot of it. I also recommend Corrie Ten Boom's book, "The Hiding Place," for another view. Both are well worth studying.

Posted by
46 posts

Hi, Herb! I feel like I know you from Lisa's trip lol.
My husband and I are going on our first RS tour this May as well. We are taking the May 13th BOE in 14 days tour.

If the tours overlap at all, you can be sure that I will be yelling your name in Europe like a nutcase :).

Enjoy your planning!

Posted by
30 posts

I just bought the AF book for my sister. I have never read it, but I am going to try to before I go. I work a lot of hours per week so finding the time to read can be a challenge. I am Lisa's friend. I met her on the first RS tour that I ever took. She is a good egg. We may do a eastern European trip together in the Spring of 2019. Lisa was just telling me that she read that RS no longer does the AF house as part of the tour. So I will book it for one of the days before we start the tour. Unfortunately I can't book the tour yet as the tickets are not available.

Posted by
30 posts

I checked today and it appears that this tour has sold out already. Now if a few of the peeps taking the tour would find this thread, it would be nice.

Posted by
30 posts

Thanks for the info. The only way I would visit the AF house is with advanced tickets. The lines are crazy long.

Posted by
30 posts

Well as we get neared to the start of our tour date, I am still looking for fellow tour mates. Anyone out there?

Posted by
4065 posts

Not quite - we'll be finishing up about the time you are starting out.

Posted by
4065 posts

No, we also did this one in 2011. It was great, and was my DH's favorite trip ever. He wanted to do it again this year.

Posted by
30 posts

I went on this same tour in 2015. I am taking my sister and cousin to Europe and this is their first time there. I looked around and I could not find anything in the way of tour companies that offered anything comparable to the RS tour. So here I am again. :)

Posted by
30 posts

Well I am still looking for anyone taking this tour. I thought as it was getting closer maybe a tour mate or two might be poking around here. I just ended up paying for the single supplement as I was informed that I was going to have a roommate. So if there was only one more single person on the tour, they got very lucky. I decided that I didn't want to be roomed with a person that I didn't know for three weeks.

Posted by
7736 posts

Herb, I think that is a good plan with the single supp. Did you do a single supp last time you did this tour?

When you get your complete list of hotels I'd be interested to know where you are staying in Switzerland. On my trip in 2014 and I think on your 2015 trip it was in Stechelberg. I had heard that for this year they were going to lodge people in Muerren so I'm just curious.

I've never had many people on any of the tours who were aware of the forums so I think it's more unusual to find tour mates on here than not.

Are you packed yet?

Posted by
30 posts

Pam,
Last time I went, I went with a friend and we roomed together. I was kind of hoping that this time I would not have to pay the single supplement and still have a room to myself. But when I called RS they told me that I was set up with another person. There was still a single supplement available so I grabbed it.

Lisa (Rankster) was just in Switzerland with RS so she might know already about the hotel that is used now.

I will not be surprised if I don't find one of our tour mates on here, but I figured I will keep trying every so often. One never knows...

I am packed. I have a suitcase and travel clothes that are always packed and ready. I may throw a couple pair of Levis in, but other then that everything is all packed.

Posted by
30 posts

Well so far no has chimed in here that is going to be on the tour we are taking. I am anxiously waiting to get the member, and hotel list. I am also looking forward to seeing whom it is that will guiding us on the tour. I anticipate that the list should come out anytime. Woot, woot!

Posted by
7736 posts

Herb, you should sign in to your tour portal. Recently some others found the lists posted there before they got official notice!! Let us know who your guide is! To bad they do list the bus driver, lol.

Posted by
30 posts

I've been signing into the portal every day as well. Rick Steves it's making me wait till the last minute. LOL.

Posted by
524 posts

When you check for the information in your portal make sure to click on the itinerary section. This is where all the PDF links are located. Hope you enjoy your tour, I took this many years ago and it is still one of my favorites.

Posted by
30 posts

Today I received notice of our hotel list as well as the list of the tourmates that are attending the May 6th tour. It looks like there are going to be twenty four of us. Three single men including myself and one single lady from Cali. Everybody else looks to be coupled up. I got the single supplement so I will have my own room. If one of the other single men got a single supplement as well, the remaining guy will have lucked out and got a free single room. It is getting close to tour time now! Woot, woot!

Posted by
7736 posts

Who'd you get for your guide?

Posted by
30 posts

Well we are getting down closer to the wire! I wonder if anyone out there has had Stephanie Bergman as a tour guide?

Posted by
112 posts

We had Stephanie in Sicily last year. I must admit I’m not sure about her last name. She also does the BOE tour—I saw her in a scrapbook this year for that tour. I enjoyed her in Sicily—very knowledgeable. We did this tour in early May in 2016 and enjoyed it. I purchased tulip bulbs at the Khukenhoff Gardens. They mailed them in the fall. I’m enjoying now! Have a great trip.

Posted by
30 posts

Thanks for the info Patty. I was looking for a pic of her but I was not able to find one.