Tour: Oct. 11-31, 2015
We flew to Amsterdam and spent a week there before moving to Haarlem, two days prior to our tour beginning. Two reports for that time period are titled, "Nance in Amsterdam", and "Nance in Amsterdam and Haarlem".
Our guide was Martin and his expertise as a guide made this a wonderful tour. Lots of science, social customs, social issues, history, art history, his fabulous Welsh accent, and his great sense of humor made for a fun-filled 21 days. He was generous and quick to provide little treats and niceties to the group. Our bus driver was Matt, and he and his wife were a blast to spend time with.
Haarlem: A beautiful, walkable small town with several good museums, and many good places to eat. Our hotel room remained the same so we did not have to check out and check back in at The Ambassador. Our room was so-so; although we had plenty of space, it was steamy from the lack of a fan in the bath and I had trouble drying clothes here, even with using a hair dryer on them.
Tips: 1] check out the rooftop restaurant at the V&D dept. store where La Place has a soup, salad, and dessert cafeteria on the floor below.
2] Pizza Pasta Al Dente had excellent pizzas. We stopped for some wine and dinner. We each ordered a pizza at 7,5e each but could have shared one pizza between us. I had the Popeye which had plenty of fresh spinach and two oven fried eggs atop the pizza - delicious! Total bill was about 25e.
3] Do not discount eating at a McDonald's at least once. If you are American you will be astounded at how much better a Big Mac tastes.
Amsterdam: All in all, the day was packed FULL and even with the tram ride from Centraal to Anne Frank Huis we walked A LOT! As much as people rave about the AFH I found myself severely disappointed after having toured the Corrie Ten Boom Huis in Haarlem (for free!). The lack of human interaction left me wanting and I was simply unable to make a connection. Even though we had spent 11 days walking our tails off around Amsterdam and Haarlem we were exhausted and glad to get back to our hotel room and chill.
Bacharach: Weather turned cool with a few drizzles; wishing for that sweatshirt I left at home! Informative walking tour with Thomas. Short stretch of strenuous climbing up into the vineyards and steep hills to climb up to Reinfels where we enjoyed Federweiser. Plant this into your brain: Federweiser. Trust me, you are going to want to more than sample this fruity newly made wine. Room was okay with radiators to dry dry clothes on and above.
Dinner: Stubers Restaurant. Four of us ate a 5 star dining experience for a little more than 60e. Wine, fresh bread with dill yogurt for dipping, pork medallions, creme brulee, fresh sorbets, simply outstanding! Everyone else on the tour ate at other places and there were lots of complaints about their service, poor meals, and outright rudeness.
Rothenburg: So wishing we had been HERE for two nights rather than Bacharach. Instead of dinner we went outside of the walls and found a small mall across from the train station and I was able to buy a high necked sweatshirt. Warm at last. Note - european sizes are much smaller.
Hotel was charming with lovely bed and nice bath!
Nightwatchman's Tour was the highlight of a fairy tale day. Do not miss it no matter the weather!
Ruette: Nice room and bath. We had a balcony which was nice for husband to step out to smoke. Nice bar and good beer. Our dinners here were excellent! Did one load of our laundry for 14e - self serve.
Hike to Neuschwantstein needed multiple resting breaks. One mile up steep hills - whew! Very good lunch of sandwich and banana provided at the bus. Hohenschwangau had lots of stairs up to the castle but I liked this castle better.
Tour: Oct. 11-31, 2015