S: European Vacation 2012
BC: Images courtesy of: Bruce, Joan, Gillian, & Maribeth Written by M 2012
FC: Europe 2012
1: On the train again....... | Netherlands, France, Italy, Germany | Europe 2012
2: Land of Heineken... Beer is one of the many indulgences one can partake in...... Our first activity....beer and a sandwich... :) | Amsterdam, Netherlands July 5-6 We are tired, directions yikes...40 min. later we finally found our hotel !
3: Amsterdam is a great city! It feels charming and romantic too. I love the row houses. | Hot, sweat dripping down our backs....as we walk and walk and walk...
4: Candlelight Canal Tour Excellent value! Unlimited wine and great sights...... our guide was a blast! | We have two days for this city......
5: Here we go.... a trip which even includes the Red Light district
10: Bikes, bikes everywhere Windmills, cheese & canals too
12: Rum and coke premixed.... brilliant | Amsterdam | Anne Frank's house, Vincent Van Gogh Museum Hop On Hop Off Bus Tour
13: Tour of Anne Frank's house A horrible part of history......
14: Our hotel... with the nearby wine cellar | Bakeries.... a bit of shopping... a lot of strolling
16: The menu at a sidewalk cafe | Croquettes and more......
17: The Cheese Museum | Grand Marnier Crepes | Bad News - Good News We ordered beef croquettes... They forgot to put in the order.... We got a free round of Mojitos! They were delicious
20: Surprise: First Class | Free wine..... | Started with free wine, then ham and cheese on a baguette, then cantaloupe and honeydew melon with mint and finally Salad Nicoise with French bread. | On the train to Paris, France
21: One fast train....... nice countryside......
22: A little more than 24 hours.... Tour and then a little time on our own.... | Train station Novotel Paris Gare de Lyon Upgrade to the Executive Room Free mini-bar, newly renovated transparent shower wall......unique...
23: Off to find our tour bus....Eiffel Tower tour and dinner, Seine River cruise, Moulin Rouge Show...... We got home at 2:45... Sleepy! | All dressed up on the metro !
24: A great dinner!
25: Dinner at 58 Restaurant (It is 58 m off the ground) 1st course- Duck pate with fruit sauce 2nd course- Chicken with scalloped potatoes with foam 3rd course- Coconut Tart with a creme brulee crust
28: Sights of Paris
30: Hotel de Paris July 8-9 | Dijon, France
31: Delicious food........
32: At the market! | July 10-12 Avignon, France | Avignon Grand Hotel
33: Pont d'Avignon Famous French song about the bridge
34: We win........ It is the Avignon Film Festival while we are there........ lots of free entertainment ! | The famous chitterlings.. | Steak Tartar ..artistic or what? | Beef Kabob, peppers, onions
35: Live Theatre Galore...
40: Nice, France | July 12-13 | Love the egg cooker
41: July 12-13 Nice, France | Great balcony 37 C HOT | The only topless fille Rocky beach......
42: My favourite French pastry Strawberry Cream Tart | Rabbit with mustard sauce | Savoury crepes
43: Monterosso, Italy July 14-18
45: Display of herbs | Our beach
47: Easy walk today...... Riomaggiore and Manarola | It is known as the path of love...... 'Via dell'Amore' | 1 km of paved path... Weather is hot....over 30 C Little cafe halfway..... beer stop!
52: From Monterosso to Vernazza
54: Took us three hours to do the two hour hike.... really hot.....but we made it.... shopping along the way and accordion music at the end! | Shopping part way on the hike... fresh water pearls
55: The beer tasted great...... as did the lunch...... Maureen ordered a fruit salad..... how unique- a do it your- selfer !
56: HOT HOT HOT HOT HOT HOT
57: Calabrese Salad Mussels & more mussels Shrimp, avocado, corn salad | Regional Pasta Trofie with Pesto
58: Our last morning in Monterosso Market Day Great shopping!
60: Pisa, Italy July 19 The Leaning Tower of Pisa
62: Florence, Italy July 19-20 | The sights..... Hop On Hop Off City Tour, Golden Bridge, Date with 'David'
64: Our hotel....very nice! | Not the real David.... He is inside....... Many replicas around!
66: Venice, Italy July 21-24
68: Our hotel.... Our room very tiny, but Maureen, Gillian, and Christian's room smelled of sewer :( which won us 4 tickets on a Gondola. It was in a great location...
70: Murray's spirit lives on...... | Venetian glass...........
71: People and more people....... | Piazzo San Marco
72: The almost 'never ending walk' for dinner with Christian..... | Venetian Plate Octopus Salad, Potato/fish, Sardine & onion | Fish Lasagna Seafood Risotto Mussels 50 E /person
74: Off to the island of Murano Known for its blown glass
75: Off to the island of Burano Known for its brightly coloured houses This is so the fishermen could find their house easily through the fog......
77: Great restaurant on the island.... Yellowfin Tuna and Pasta Delicious 69 E
78: Harry's Bar Had to have a Bellini at Hemingway's stompin' ground
81: Porter Service 20 E for all three bags.... What a deal! We are relieved...... Too many steps and canals for us!!
84: Mainz, Germany July 25-26 | We took the overnight train from Venice to Mainz...
87: Castles castles and more castles.....
90: St. Gorg for lunch Pork strips & spaetzle , Purple cabbage and dumplings
91: Land of the beer ! | The Rhine... A perfect spot for Murray's spirit...
92: Itinerary/Hotels July 4- Saskatoon/Toronto/Philadelphia/Amsterdam July 5- Amsterdam Rokin Hotel $140 Cdn July 6- Amsterdam July 7- Paris Novotel Paris Gare de Lyon $280 Cdn July 8- Dijon Hotel De Paris $70 Cdn July 9- Dijon July 10- Avignon Avignon Grand Hotel $200 Cdn July 11- Avignon July 12- Nice Grand Hotel Le Florence $133.00 July 13- Nice July 14- Monterosso B & B I Corelli $110 Cdn July 15- Monterosso July 16- Monterosso July 17- Monterosso July 18- Monterosso July 19- Florence Hotel City $150 Cdn July 20- Florence July 21- Venice Ateneo Hotel $200 Cdn July 22- Venice July 23- Venice July 24- Venice July 25- Mainz Best Western Mainz Hotel $75 Cdn July 26- Mainz July 27- Frankfurt/Munich/Toronto/Saskatoon
93: Blog | July 5, 2012 Canada/US/ Europe We made it! Our flights were OK I miss First Class :( We landed early and Joan met us without an issue. We made it to the city and within an hour found our hotel. Then we spent the day drinking and eating appetizers and wAlking about. We stopped at a place and had a peach Bellini and marinated olives. We found a bathroom at a place that had clear doors but when you locked the door it turned murky. Cool! We have a Candlelight Canal Tour booked for 9 tonight. We already went to the Van Gogh museum. We are having happy hour and are feeling a bit tired or maybe too many rums :) July 6, 2012 Amsterdam We had an exhausting first day. We bought the 48 hr hop on hop off bus pass. So we hopped on and went to the Van Gogh museum. Four floors of paintings. Then we came back to our hotel and checked in. We had booked the Candlelight Canal tour. It started at 9 pm We headed out after showering. The tour was great. We saw a lot of Amsterdam including a guided tour throughout the Red Light district. Good thing Bruce had his own eye candy so he couldn't stray! We had three bottles of wine on the boat after having one too many runs in the room and after a mojito. So we either passed out from booze or the 18 hr trip..... We had croquettes and a sausage roll from supper. Mmmmm We woke up this morning after nine. Had a nice breakfast included in the hotel price. Eggs, bacon,buns,fruit,meat,cheese and so on. We are back in the room and Bruce and Joan are napping and it is almost noon. We want to see Anne Frank's house and then just wander around. We left at 12:10 strolling and then catching the bus to head towards Anne Frank's house. It took us a little over an hour to get there. We had to wait about thirty minutes to get in. It was a good tour! We found a nice outside cafe and had some snacks: spring rolls, tortilla chips and guacamole, cheese sticks, samosas, and bitterballen. Also had a Bavaria beer. Time to shop.... Stroll and shop. Found lots of cool things. Bruce went for a 90 minute massage. We shopped. Then we went for supper at The Grasshopper. It was a restaurant at the end of the canal at the start of the red Light district. I had to take the coasters! I had peanut satays with red wine. Then our waiter made us a special dessert: pancake with ice and whip cream with a grand Marnier strawberry sauce mmmm good. A little bizarre sitting on a deck eating and watching people roll and smoke joints. We finished the night with a walk through the Red Light district lots of interesting sights.
94: July 7, 2012 Paris, France What a good day! We got on the train and found out we were in first class which meant free drinks and food...and we are talking- non-stop food! We got to Paris and the hotel was just beside the station and we were upgraded to an executive room. The shower wall is milky glass when you turn on the light so in the living space you can’t see the person showering. Our tour was excellent .... Amazing Eiffel Tower supper and view, river tour was good despite a few showers. While waiting to get into the theatre we witnessed a couple guys fighting outside a bar. The Moulin Rouge was amazing, Bruce and the other guys at our table were glad we brought binoculars. Got home at 2:00 am. Wow, getting to bed at 3 a.m. means tired big people. We all slept in until after nine. We found a nice outside cafe and had coffee and an omelet with ham and potatoes and cheese. It came with a side salad. Delicious! We then took the subway to the Louvre area. Joan went to the Louvre while Bruce and I went on the ferris wheel (great view of Paris) as well as shopped the touristy shops. It was Sunday so not many places open. We then returned to the hotel gathered up our bags and headed off to the train station. We had a three hour train ride to Dijon. July 8-9, 2012 Dijon, France The train ride from Paris to Dijon was uneventful. We got to Dijon and checked in. Our room is old but unique. We walked for awhile and found an outside cafe. The food was delicious. I had Brushchetta (like a salad with bread and ham), chicken with cumin and scalloped potatoes, followed by creme brulee. Bruce had 12 escargots and beef bourigine. In the morning we decided not to leave the city but instead to stroll around. We found many mustard shops and of course bought a couple very unique ones- mango with Thai herbs. We had supper at a very interesting place- huge portions. I was stuffed, so stuffed that I barely slept from cramps. I was a wreck the next day on the train. Our hotel was easy to find. our room is nice with a great shower and toilet. We walked around town and then went to a traditional restaurant for supper. I had the three course plats du jour. Bruschetta to start, roasted chicken with cumin, followed by creme brulee. We had a bottle of the house wine (we are in Burgundy region) very nice quite light. July 10-11 Avignon, France We arrived in Avignon at 12:30. I felt crappy .... The train ride was too eventful. We just about didn't get off at the right time and almost didn't find the right car on the next train quick enough. We had two minutes to spare. We were too early to check in so we went for lunch. Well at least Joan had lunch. I had water and Bruce had a beer. I stayed at the hotel while Bruce went for a massage and Joan looked around. This morning I am feeling much better. We had breakfast at the hotel and it was good. Eggs, croissants, sausages, fruit etc We then went exploring to the Pont Avignon. After that we walked and shopped. It is theatre festival time here like the Fringe in Saskatoon. Quite the sites people dressed in costume advertising their plays. We had people tap dancing beside our table at lunch quite loud! First it was at a little cafe which had three guys singing and playing mostly English soft rock. He ordered Chitterling rolled in sausage Lyonnaise. Joan had had sausage Lyonnaise before and it was spectacular. His wasn't! For once he couldn't quite force himself to eat it.
95: The parts that looked sort of like calamari. We looked it up later and he was eating one of Granny's from the Beverley Hillbillies .... chitterlings are pig intestines.... yuck! Joan and I opted for the beef kabobs, peppers and onion with salad and French fries. Yum! July 12-13 Nice, France We were up and at em at 6:30. We had breakfast and then headed to the bus which was directly across the street which shuttled us to the train station.The train gave us great views of the sea and buildings built into the rock. We also started to see palm trees. we found our hotel without too much issue but lots of sweat dripping down our backs. We were able to check in so enjoyed the AC for awhile. Then we went to the cafe next door. I had a pizza with artichokes mushrooms tomato and mozza on a campfire (meaning wood fire) hee hee Then we walked to the sea so beautiful feel rich and famous just being here. Bruce saw his first topless beauty of the trip! We stopped and bought a bottle of wine for 3.20 E not bad could like the life. We have a great terrace just off the shopping street and 500 m from the beach. We found a great little alley with restaurants. Chose one.... Joan and I shared rabbit with mustard sauce and mushrooms. It was delicious. Laundry day- Found it and after three hours it was done....well some things still needed drying on our terrace. But we have a huge one....and it is awesome...so no worries. For lunch we ordered savory crepes- ham, cheese, mushroom, and egg with salad with white wine for 10 E. Delicious. Had to go home to cool off- temp today 37 C. Around 6 pm we were off to the Supermarket...bought a couple of bottles of wine for 3 E each and some chips. Had mussels and fries and garlic dip... mmm. Shared paella- not the best. For dessert share rum, raisin, and banana crepe. Walked along the water edge....like the malecon in PV. July 14 Monterosso, Italy We are up early and walked to the train station. I stopped and bought a strawberry tart for breakfast. First train ride- Nice to Ventimiglia no problem except lots of steps. Ventimiglia-Genova only steps and lots of people. Joan gets pickpocketed....luckily only her wallet with some cash. Genova-Monterosso...we thought we were going to La Spezia but the train stopped at Monterosso. We walk down the staircase and directly opposite us....are Maribeth, Gillian, and Maureen. Unbelievable! We stopped at a cafe for pizza and wine. Our house is very cute the two suites are up about 20 marble steep steps. It is worth the climb! Terrace VS balcony? Our room has two balconies- this means windows that open. G and J have a terrace which is our kind of balcony built for one. The town is as pretty as ever. So far no hiking just r and r and e (eating). July 15 We tried to rent beach chairs but with no luck. So we spent the day exploring. We had reservations at Ciak. I had the ravioli shrimp.... very good. July 16 Bruce and Joan are getting massages today. We are off on a boat cruise to the last village today for lunch and to do the short easiest walk. (Riomaggiore) The path is known as the love path. All kinds of padlocks along the way as well as sculptures. Having great food lots of wine and daily Gelato! mmmmm We had supper at Miky. Awesome food! I had spaghetti with lobster and Bruce had spaghetti with breaded mussels.
96: July 17 This is the big walk day. It took us three hours to do the two hour hike. We spread some ashes by the railing that Murray stood by when he did this walk. Had lunch in Vernazza... spaghetti bolognese and beer. YUM! For supper, I had the veal escalope with lemon sauce, roasted potatoes, grilled zucchini, eggplant and tomato. Bruce was in a tizzy of sharing his red wine...or not.... so I had to order my own bottle. Go figure! July 18 Today is our last day in the Cinque Terre. We started the day with breakfast at the cafe down the street from our room. Joan and I shared the yogurt and granola as well as a small pizza bun and croissant. We then went to the beach. Bruce went down and rented two chairs,an umbrella. It was great to read while listening to the waves crash against the shore. We headed to the cafe on the hill for lunch. Bruce had the steamed mussels and I had the avocado and shrimp salad. yum The afternoon was spent resting and shopping and drinking wine. What a life! July 19 Good-bye Monterosso Hello Pisa and Firenze Wouldn't you know it the weekly market was today in Monterosso and practically out our front door. So we sauntered over to take a look. So many awesome things- I settled for a long fish dish for olives and a bracelet. Bruce bought a belt. Maribeth and I took a taxi to the train station less sweat and energy. The train ride to Pisa was just under 1.5 hours. In Pisa we checked our luggage for 3 E for each bag. We walked for a good 25 min get to the tower. It is awesome- Italian marble and leaning too :) We stopped nearby and I had a burger and a couple of beer. It is in the 30's here hot and sweaty. We then got our luggage and back on the train for another 1.5 hrs. We arrived in Florence (Firenze) and our hotel is only 200 m from the station. It is really old and nice. Great Italian marble bathroom and a king size bed. Tonight is a relax night ..... tomorrow morning at 10 we have a date with David. July 20 Florence We woke up this morning and headed for breakfast. This hotel is gorgeous if you like history. The ceilings are amazing.... The breakfast had outstanding pastries and then the usual fruit, juice, hard boiled eggs, various breads and coffee etc. We then decided to head for our time with 'David'. It was close to our hotel only a ten minute or so walk. It is an amazing piece of art- the mystery is he isn't circumcised (as Bruce pointed out). No one is quite sure why. We went into a gallery that had broken mirror tile as the floor- my advice don't wear a skirt.
97: Then we walked and found a bus tour of the city- perfect picture op! Two hours of commentary on an open roofed bus. A zillion pics later and dying for beer. We stopped for lunch near the golden bridge. The spaghetti with fresh tomatoes and herbs was delicious. We then walked towards home browsing and shopping. I found a charm for my bracelet. We stopped for a glass of wine and had free appies. We got back to the hotel and showered as the temp is in the mid thirties. Then Bruce and I went searching for a new suitcase as one of ours broke when we landed. We found a new large one and carry on one for 35 E. We are now ready to fill them up. There is great shopping here lovely leather. We had supper at a lovely traditional restaurant. I had mixed salad, Spaghetti Restica (bacon, spinach, onion, white wine, and tomato, mine was 25 E, but I shared with Joan. For supper Bruce had the set dinner- steak about eight ounces with no spice but tasted good. He also had cold cuts and pate and stuffed mushrooms and a mixed salad and a glass of red wine for 25 Euros. Yep we would return to Florence! Tomorrow afternoon we head for Venice- two hours on the train. We are hoping for cooler weather. July 23 Venice, Italy It is one of those good thing bad thing. The train ride was fine but the stop was one too early. This caused a 30 E taxi ride followed by a water taxi ride and then a good ten minute walk up and down steps of two bridges. We had to stop before the walk and have a drink. We walked for at least 30 min before we came to the selected Venetian restaurant. We had fish you name it- Octopus salad, potato salad, sardines and onion, fish pate followed by seafood lasagna and risotto. Then we had deep fried fish and veggies. Of course a couple of bottles of nice wine too. The next day we wandered around San Marco Square and then took the water taxi to Murano. We spent the afternoon browsing the glass shops. We ate close to home and then went back to the Square. We spread some of Murray's ashes in the canal. Maribeth had brought little votives which added a nice touch. Today we are off to a museum and then maybe to Burano. July 25 Mainz, Germany We are on our last adventure. We took the night train to Mainz,Germany. We had a new train but of course the area was still small. We took a cab to our hotel which turned out to be a suite but no AC. It has been and is very hot here.... in the 30's. We walked to old town and browsed. Bruce found a deli that sold pig rind and smoked pork hocks. He was pretty excited. I had delicious chicken curry. Today we are off on a boat cruise along the Rhine to see the many castles. So we are sunscreened to the hilt and the hat will get a workout. We got off the boat around lunch time. We had two hours to enjoy a great German lunch and to spread some of Murray’s ashes in the Rhine River. Mission accomplished. We got back on the boat for the several hour ride back to Mainz. It is a great thing to do for a day....great sites of the castles.....and a beautiful day to boot. We found a nice outdoor restaurant in a ‘square’ downtown. We enjoyed our last meal....and need to get back to the hotel to pack...... and get ready for the journey home.