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Before and after your tour: what are your plans?

We've gone (very enjoyably!) off topic in the Lorch/Bacharach thread, so I thought I might start a new thread where those of us with upcoming tours can talk about our pre- and post-tour plans!

We're coming from Australia, so we really wanted to make our trip as long as possible to get the value out of the flight costs and time (24 hour flights!). We start with 5 days in Morocco, during which time we take a camel ride into the Sahara Desert and sleep in tents for a night, 3 days in Barcelona, and 3 days in Aix en Provence, one of which will be a day trip up the Riviera. We have a half day in Amsterdam before our tour starts. (We're doing the 21 day BOE.) After the tour, we'll have three more days based in Paris. We're doing a day trip out to the Loire Valley to see the chateaux and Leonardo da Vinci's house.

What has everyone else got planned?

Posted by
129 posts

Sounds like a marvelous trip! Am doing My Way Italy in the fall - plan on coming into Venice 5 or 6 days before the tour group arrives - have rented an apartment instead of the hotel. Living like a local for a few days. May add on a day or two after Rome in order to visit Pompeii. Cannot wait!! Love reading all the posts from fellow travelers and adventurers!!

Posted by
1020 posts

My husband and I will be participating in Village Italy in the fall. Not our first RS trip nor our first time in Italy. We arrive two weeks ahead. Will be spending four days in an agriturismo in the Val d'Orcia in Tuscany and six days in a different agriturismo in Umbria near Orvieto. During that time we will have a rental car and will be exploring the many villages near each agriturismo. We also plan massages under the olive trees, cooking classes, wine tastings and anything else we happen upon. Then it's off to Venice, where we will spend three days for free at the Hilton, courtesy of my Diamond status. We have signed up with Row Venice for gondola rowing lessons on one day, as well as a chicetti (appetizer) tour with the gondola folks. Then we join the RS tour. Afterwards we are staying at the lake where the tour ends for an extra day, spending one day in Milan to get ready to fly home, and then it's back to reality in the USA. This trip is a last hurrah to celebrate my retirement, which happens immediately after we return. We figure the trip will help me get used to the rhythm of "la dolce far niente," the sweetness of doing nothing.

Posted by
2007 posts

emsharp-thank you-a good topic and I envy you your lovely long vacation. You are going to be visiting a lot of great places! My family and I are doing practically the same trip as you, Patricia. Taking the Village Italy (in early June) tour with a pre-tour visit to Venice for a few days. Staying a couple days afterwards at Lake Orta. Really looking forward to this tour; it sounds amazing. Many congratulations on your retirement!

Posted by
80 posts

My husband and I are going on the Best of England Tour this July. The tour ends in London, and we are staying an extra week to see more of this great city. We have splurged on a nice hotel in Covent Garden and plan to see Parliament, the Churchill War Rooms, take in a play at the Globe, go to Highclere Castle (Downton Abbey) and have tea in the Carriage House. I have tickets for a candlelight concert at St. Martin in the Fields. I want to see St. Paul's and the British Museum. The rest of my itinerary is open, want to walk through the parks and relax in some historic pub or two. We are also going to visit my husband's friend near Hastings and see his small working farm and the sights nearby. It's a packed few weeks and I will probably want to laze on a beach back home for a few days...Thank goodness I have summers off.

Posted by
9579 posts

Patricia and Andi - I did Village Italy last Fall and also stayed an extra night in Orta San Giulio. It was very rainy which might have had some impact on our enjoyment, but really, we found that after we walked the loop at Sacro Monte ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sacro_Monte_di_Orta ), had a lovely lunch at one of the waterfront cafes followed by really, really, really excellent sorbet at Gelateria Artiginale Eliot on the piazza ( http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g187854-d4883009-r235456131-Gelateria_artigianale_Eliot-Orta_San_Giulio_Province_of_Novara_Piedmont.html ) there was not much left to do. My SIL and I are not huge shoppers but there were some boutiques mostly with articles that were way out of our price range, and other than that not much. You may want to plan to leave for Milan or your next destination late in the afternoon of the day the tour ends. We did have Trina, our guide, arrange for a taxi for us to travel into Milan on the day after the tour ended. Since it was pouring rain that day, the hotel owner called and changed the pick-up time to earlier in the morning for us which was just great.

Also, know that if you stay at the Hotel La Bussola, the owners are Swiss, so the atmosphere is more Swiss than Italian. The hotel is very nice and the views are just gorgeous. We ate in the dining room on our extra night and it was very, very good. Lovely service as well. What I mean about it being more Swiss, is that the owner is more rigid, I guess would be the description. I asked for the wifi code as we were waiting to go on our orientation walk and she looked at me and said No. You are going on a walk and you will lose it. I was sort of shocked because I am a senior with no apparent memory loss, but I walked away. In retrospect, it was quite funny, but very different from the rest of the hotels we had dealt with. She was actually very nice to deal with and helpful in changing the taxi time.

BTW, This was a wonderful tour. I know the thread is not about that, but can't help it. Really some fun, hands on activities. Loved the truffle hunt including the truffle dog, the farmer and his wonderful wife and friends who cooked dinner, drank wine and then serenaded us!

Posted by
333 posts

Great thread, em!

I'm on the 21 Day BOE in May. I'll be flying into Amsterdam four days pre-tour. I've rented a studio room on a houseboat, so I'll have a livingroom with TV and a lovely picture window overlooking the canal (in the Jordaan), a kitchenette and a nice bathroom. I'll be about a ten minute walk from the Anne Frank house. So I'll stay 3 nights at the houseboat. Day one (flying in day) I arrive in the morning, so I plan to walk, explore and shop for toiletries in the afternoon, and I'm hoping to convince my houseboat lady to give me a canal ride in her boat, so I can cruise like the locals in an open air boat. On day two I want to see the Dutch Resistance Museum and see the play ANNE at the Amsterdam Theater. On day three I'm taking a day trip to Bruges, Belguim. I expect to take a canal ride, eat lots of chocolate, hopefully watch some little old ladies tat some lace and then buy it, and go to the church that has the vial of Christ's blood- and then eat a Belgian waffle while washing it down with a Belgian beer. More chocolate for the way home. I'll transfer to our tour hotel in Haarlem on Saturday morning. I'll go to the Corrie Ten Boom house, visit St Bavokirk, and see all that I can see. I also hope to go to church in Haarlem on Sunday morning before the tour.

After the tour, I'm planning extra days in Paris. I'm changing hotels and moving to the Hotel Sublim Eiffel, which seems really quirky and interesting, and I'll have a view of the Eiffel from my room. I'm planning a tour of Versailles on that Saturday. On the next two days a friend is joining me and we're going to see the Catacombs, visit the Pere Lachaise Cemetery, Monmartre, and possibly the Le Musee des Arts Forains (Carnival Museum) and Musee de l'Orangerie and Musee Rodin. THEN I'm off to Scotland (where my friend is from) for 5 more days! We'll stay two nights on the Isle of Arran, visit Loch Ness for a day, see Stirling Castle, and spend a day exploring Edinburgh and Glasgow.

You can bet I'll need extra memory cards for the camera! If I took 6000 pictures in three weeks back in '12, then I can only imagine the damage I'll do in 5 weeks over the month of May!
Lisa

Posted by
952 posts

Emsharp - what a great topic. Camels in the desert - oh my! Your trip sounds like quite an adventure! As a double retirement celebration we are signed up for the last BOE of the season. We decided there is much more we want to see in Amsterdam so we're going early. We'll have an apartment on the Herengracht for a week and then spend two days in Haarlem prior to the tour. I'm working on a flexible itinerary that includes the Stedliik, Van Gogh museums along with Van Loon, Geelvinck Hinlopen Huis, Cat Cabinet, Willet-Holthuysen, and Jewish Resistance Museums in Amsterdam interspersed with canal walks, markets, and a day trip to Zaanse Schans so we don't get museum worn. Artis Zoo is also a possibility. The Corrie Ten Boom house is of interest in Haarlem along with Teylers and Frans Hals and possibly a bike/picnic ride and canal tour. I will be purchasing Museumkaarts for each of us as that looks like a much better deal than the IAmsterdam card. I'm still undecided about what (if any) OV-chipkaarts to buy at this time. We will fly home directly when the tour ends in Paris and leave further adventure for our next tour. Yes, already thinking about where we would like to explore next!

Posted by
8 posts

My wife and I are on the 21 day BOE (7 June - 27 June) tour. We will be arriving in Haarlem mid afternoon via Frankfort on the 4th of June after an overnight flight from Seattle, the few remaining hours of the first day will be dedicated to fighting off the jetlag. On our first full day we plan to visit local museums (Corrie Ten Boom, Frans Hals etc) and just take in the reality that we really are on our first trip to Europe. Our second day will be an adventurous trip into Amsterdam exploring sites not covered by the BOE tour. Sunday morning will be bike rentals and exploring the canals outside of Haarlem, then meeting up with the tour group after lunch. After the tour ends (Saturday, 27 June) we will be staying in Paris for two additional nights, one for additional sites including the Fat Tire sunset tour of the Eiffel Tour. The second day is an full eight hour Fat Tire bike tour of Versailles. The following morning ( Monday, 29 June) we will be traveling via Thalys train to Brussels then on to Brugge (Bruges). We have two nights in Brugge for beer and chocolate tasting, canal cruising, bike riding and anything else that looks interesting. The third morning we will then travel to Amsterdam (Schiphol airport) via train to spend the night at the Schiphol Airport Hampton Inn before our 10 AM flight back to Seattle via Frankfort. This is our first RS tour and our first trip to the European continent. This will be our 30th wedding anniversary trip along with my 50th Birthday (in Venice) We are so excited counting the days until we start our grand European adventure!

Posted by
724 posts

What a smart topic to start, Em!

We are in the 21 day BOE tour starting 19 April - 9 May. We will arrive at Schiphol at 11 am on 17 April and will be spending two nights at Hotel Brouwer on the Singel. Plan to take in the Dutch Resistance Museum that afternoon then enjoy taking in Amsterdam sights and food and finishing the day with a Van Gogh museum visit. Next day we have a combo tour planned. First half is visiting Zaans Schans, Marken, and Volendam......second part of type is going to Delft where we will visit the Delftware museum then go on to The Hague. That will be a very long day (11 hours). We'll crash that night then wake up early enough to move over to Haarlem in the morning. We'll there's until our tour meets up at 2pm.

After our tour we will move hotels (Hotel Eber Mars) and stay two more nights. After breakfast on our last tour day we plan to visit the Arc de Triumph, the Orsay and Orangerie (spend a little time in both of these), then either the bus 69 tour or just do the walking tour of Montmartre. The next day we plan to tour Versailles as soon as they open then have 4:30 eiffel tower tickets. I'd like to head over to Trocadero sometime close to sunset to view the tower in all her glory and eat at an outdoor cafe! We fly out the next day at 11 am.

I'll get one day of rest then back to ŕeality (work).

Posted by
37 posts

I am doing the Rick Steves Best of Sicily Tour 11 days starting 13 April and decided to have 3 days in Palermo beforehand. I booked early to stay in the same hotel as where the tour starts from. I am joining the tour as a single, and then meeting my friend in Rome afterwards to travel for another 5 weeks through Italy, then Budapest- where my friend was born. After Budapest we fly to Berlin, then Paris. Then by train to Barcelona, then Madrid. My friend is an artist and art teacher so we have a full itinerary of art galleries and museums. I am walking and stair climbing as I will need to be fit to keep up a cracking pace.
I always go on a late flight departure to ensure I get a decent sleep.

Posted by
37 posts

I forgot to mention that I am traveling with 7kg - backpack and cross body bag. I am ruthless after traveling with my sister who brings half her wardrobe.

Posted by
177 posts

As everyone has already said what a great topic. We are doing the BOE 21 day starting April 19th. We will be arriving in Amsterdam on the morning of the 17th. We will be staying in Haarlem at a cute little loft which we are very excited about. We will check out the Corrie Ten Boom House and the Grote Kerk Church before heading over to Amsterdam. We plan on checking out the Dutch Resistance Museum then if at all possible go to the Van Gogh Museum since it is open late that night. We have a 1/2 day tour to Zaanse Schans on Saturday. Not sure what to see when we get back from Zaanse Schans before heading back to Haarlem for the night. Will hang around Haarlem before meeting up with the group at 2:00. After the tour ends on the 9th of May we are going to Bayeux for two nights then returning to Paris for our last two nights. We have a lot planned for Bayeux, city walking tour (9th), All day D-Day tour (10th) then a bus tour to Mont Saint Michel (11th). Going to do the Eiffel Tower on our last day in Europe (already have tickets for 4:00) but still trying to figure out what else to do. It just depends on what we get in during our free time on the tour. It could be a day of hanging around and watching people you just never know. Leaving in 38 1/2 more days but then who is counting.

Posted by
971 posts

We are doing the eastern France tour (2nd time for me, 1st time for my husband). We will fly into Paris two nights early for a decompress time. After the tour we always like to chill out before we head home, so this year we are staying for five nights on the Côte d' Azur in Eze Village. It's a quiet place away from the village and has breathtaking views. We kind of adore that environment to absorb everything that we have just experienced in the previous couple of weeks.

Posted by
608 posts

To celebrate our 10th Anniversary, we are taking the Germany, Austria and Switzerland tour in May and decided to spend 4 days in Paris before the tour begins. We've never been to mainland Europe before, and we've always wanted to see Paris. We are taking a day trip to the Loire Valley to see some chateaux, which has been a big dream of mine. We are not huge museum people, so we plan to spend the other three days in Paris walking the city, having picnics and stopping to see some of the highlights such as Notre Dame and St. Chapelle. We have train tickets on the day of our tour to Trier and should arrive several hours before the tour starts. Can't wait!

Posted by
588 posts

This is a great topic. We are doing the 10Day Venice, Florence, Rome RS Tour in October & we want to spend another 7-10 days on our own, but we have no idea what we plan on doing. We've considered Rome to Orvieto to Florence as a base & day trips from Florence to Siena, SanG, CT, Bologna. We've also thought of going farther south (Naples, Capri), but that may should be saved for a another trip (South Italy).

Posted by
2 posts

I am getting so many good ideas for future trips! We are spending a couple of days in Amsterdam prior to our BOE 21 day tour and wrapping up the trip with a visit to Normandy. We missed the D-day beaches when we did the Paris in 7 day RS tour a few years ago and promised ourselves that wouldn't happen again. We will be taking the train from Paris to Caen and renting a car where will will travel to Bayeaux. We'll spend three nights in a chateau outside Bayeaux and have reservations for the all-day Band of Brothers tour through Overlord. We also plan to do a lot of exploring on our own and will visit Mont St Michel as well as Saint Malo...my husband's 4th great-grandmother's home before returning to Paris for our flight home.

*emsharp...based upon other threads, I think you and I may be on the same BOE 21 day tour! I look forward to meeting you!

Posted by
177 posts

Jill what day are you going on the Band of Brothers Overlord Tour? We are scheduled for 5/10/2015. Maybe we are on the same tour. We are on the BOE 21 day that starts 4/19/15. So excited it is almost here. Leaving for Europe one month from tomorrow.

Posted by
724 posts

I've been immersed in WWII history of late and am disappointed I didn't allow more time after our tour to visit the D Day sites. .....looks like we'll have to plan another visit soon!

Posted by
62 posts

We are doing the 14 BOE tour starting on June 8th (our first RS tour btw). We're arriving in Paris on the 5th an going straight to Normandy, spending 2 nights in Bayeux and visiting the D-Day beaches, other Normandy sights, and Mont St. Michel, returning to Paris on the 7th, then meeting up with our tour on the 8th. Unfortunately, once the tour is over, we've got to head straight home from Rome (only so much time off from work) - but looking forward to it.