S: Discovering Europe in 2012
BC: A phenomenal holiday filled with breathtaking sights, wonderful experiences, tasty food and lasting memories.
FC: Discovery Europe September 2012 | Paris Lucrence Pisa Florence Florence Rome Rome Rome visit the museums museums, Rome Rome Rome Sistine Chapelthe exiciting St. Peter's Square n Basilica, Colosseum and Roman Forum. | France Switzerland Italy Austria Germany Netherlands
1: EUROPE | PARIS | ARRIVED 8 SEPT 2012 | FRANCE | SWITZERLAND | ITALY | AUSTRIA | GERMANY | HOLLAND | Dwayne, Marlene, Paul and Shelly set out to take the trip of a lifetime. We chose Globus Europe Continental Introduction Tour - from Paris to Amsterdam, and it turned out to be a great choice. It was an amazing experience for us. We could not believe that in just two weeks we found ourselves awestruck with the views from the Eiffel Tower, an alpine horn playing “Amazing Grace” on a mountain peak in the Swiss Alps (thanks Grandma), strolling through picturesque towns that looked like they had been taken right out of the fairy tales, walking in the footsteps of ancient Romans in the Colosseum, admiring the Statue David and many other beautiful artworks and interesting architecture in Italy, cruising down Venice's Grand Canal in a gondola, and sailing past castle-crested hills on the Rhine River. It was truly unbelievable all the incredible sights we saw!
2: Day 1 Arrive in Paris, France The day is free to start exploring the splendid French capital. Day 2 Paris Sightseeing the Arc de Triomphe, Opéra, Madeleine, Louvre, Notre Dame Cathedral, and Champs-Elysées. For a panoramic view,from the Eiffel Tower and an excursion to the Palace of Versailles. Day 3 Paris–Lucerne, Switzerland A comfortable ride skirting Fontainebleau Forest and through the vineyards of Burgundy to the Swiss border. Enjoy vistas of the Alps as you arrive in picture-book Lucerne. Day 4 Lucerne–Lugano Admire Thorwaldsen’s Lion Monumnet and walk through the Old Town, then cross the famous covered Chapel Bridge to the Jesuit Church. Admire the towering majesty of the Swiss Alps and St. Gotthard on the way to Lake Lugano. A boatride followed by dinner on spectacular Lake Lugano. Day 5 Lugano–Pisa, Italy–Florence Past Italy’s commercial capital of Milan, reach Pisa, amazing Leaning Tower. Arrive in Florence, the “Cradle of the Renaissance.” Day 6 Florence–Rome Waking tour and visit Michelangelo’s celebrated David in the Academy of Fine Arts. Admire the magnificent cathedral, Giotto’s Bell Tower, and the Baptistry’s heavy bronze “Gate of Paradise.” Also visit sculpture-studded Signoria Square Day 7 Rome Sightseeing starts with a visit to the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel, world famous for Michelangelo’s ceiling paintings. Continue to monumental St. Peter's Square and Basilica. Cross the Tiber and visit the Colosseum and the Roman Forum, where Roman legions marched in triumph. | Europe Continental Itinerary
3: Day 8 Rome–Ferrara–Venice Walk along the impressive Este Castle to the marble cathedral. Browse through the attractive little shops before continuing to Venice on the Adriatic coast. Day 9 Venice Enter Venice in style by private boat. Highlights of your walking tour of St. Mark’s Square and its basilica, lavish Doges’ Palace and the Bridge of Sigh. Also watch skilled glassblowers fashion their delicate objects. Day 10 Venice–Innsbruck, Austria–Munich, Germany Leave Italy on spectacular Brenner Pass, which leads through the barrier of the Tyrolean Alps to Austria. In Innsbruck, enjoy a pleasant stroll through quaint medieval lanes to Emperor Maximilian’s Golden Roof before continuing through the Bavarian Alps to Munich, Germany’s “Secret Capital.” Day 11 Munich–Rothenburg–Rhineland Your orientation drive features Munich’s most famous landmarks: Olympic Stadium, 1,000-foot-high Television Tower, and the 17th-century Nymphenburg Palace. Then, continue through the Swabian Jura to Rothenburg for a walking tour of this walled town. Day 12 Rhineland–Cologne–Amsterdam, Holland This morning’s highlight is a romantic Rhine Cruise past castle-crested hills, terraced vineyards, and the Lorelei rock. Then, continue to Cologne and visit the awesome twin-spired gothic cathedral before traveling through the Dutch region best known as the locale of A Bridge Too Far on the way to Amsterdam, capital of Holland. Day 13 Amsterdam Tour the 700-year-old city, including Dam Square with the Royal Palace, and the Rijksmuseum. The highlight is a canal cruise past patrician mansions, gabled faades, and humpback bridges. Next, visit a major diamond Centre. Day 14 Amsterdam Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning.
5: Paris | France
6: After checking into our hotel we met up with our tour director, Marieka then the four of us left to explore Paris. We strolled by amazing old buildings with intricate architecture. Our walk took us past the Eiffel Tower with all it's grandeur and over bridges that were adorned with beautiful statues. The Seine River divides Paris into the Left and Right Banks. | Outside our hotel in Paris
8: Locks of Love
9: Our first taste of European dining on outdoor patios. The meal started with a huge bowl of french fries and ended with amazing desserts. We dined across from the Military Academy and enjoyed the antics of the Parisians.
10: Arc de Triomphe commissioned by Napoleon in 1806 to honor the French soldiers. Inside is the eternal flame on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
11: Arc Triomphe de Carrousel | Alexander III Bridge
12: Nortre Dame Cathedral | Alexander Bridge
13: Louvre | Vendome Column crafted from cannons and guns and crowned with Napoleon.
14: Palace of Versailles | The palace started out as a hunting castle of Louis the XIII in the 17th century. It took another 49 years to complete the expansion done by Louis the XIV. Just the gardens alone cover over 250 acres. It is an incredible sight with its golden gates elaborate architecture, huge paintings, magnificent ceilings with gold trim and statues. The opulence and extravagance is more then the mind and eye can take in!
16: We strolled through the Hall of Mirrors with its dazzling chandeliers and golden statues. It served as a daily passage way and a waiting and meeting place.
17: King Louis XV, his wife Marie Antoinette and their three children were the last monarchy to live in the palace. During the French Revolution they were imprisoned and later the King and Queen were beheaded.
19: The view the king and queen had during church service.
21: The gardens were amazing with the pristine waters and numerous elaborate fountains. The intricate garden mazes with the beautiful flowers and the countless ornate statues were breathtaking. | Palace of Versailles Gardens
23: Versailles Gardens
24: The Eiffel Tower, this 320m. metal lattice structure, was built by Gustave Eiffel in 1889 for the World's Fair. This famous landmark was at first a controversial issue with the Parisians and they wanted it taken down.
25: A Bird's Eye View of Paris From the Eiffel Tower
26: Lucerne is a quaint Swiss town. We toured the Chapel Bridge and Tower that was built in 1333. The Lion Monument. was carved in 1820 to honor the Swiss guards who died protecting the French royalty during the Revolution.
29: .............................................. | This 660 foot bridge is the oldest truss bridge in the world. Inside its gables you can find 158 paintings. The tower beside the bridge was used in the 14th century for a prison and torture chamber.
30: Mount Pilatus
31: As we traveled up the 7000 ft. we were treated to a picturesque view of alpine homes nestled in the mountainside with cattle ringing their bells as they grazed. On the summit we enjoyed the sounds of an alpine horn as the notes of Amazing Grace echoed through the mountains. We came down on a 100 year old clog wheel railtrain and were delighted by still more spectacular scenery.
32: Lake Lugano is nestled between Switzerland and Italy
34: We traveled to Pisa to the central square which was the original walled town built in the 11th century. The square contains the Leaning Tower of Pisa, a church and an observation tower which were all made from marble. This is where Galileo lived and carried out his experiments.
36: Florence, Italy
37: We toured the Art Academy which houses many of Michael Angelo's famous works including the original statue of David.
39: The Basilica of St. Mary of the Flower was the world's largest church prior to St. Petersburg. The exterior of both the church and baptistery is faced with green and pink marble panels. The huge bronze doors are etched with scenes from the Bible.
43: The dinners with our touring companions were always entertaining and sometimes included a kiss. | A view of St. Peter's Basilica
45: The inside of St. Peter's Basilica and the Vatican Museum
47: The Roman Colosseum constructed in 72 AD. The design of this Colosseum is still being used in our modern stadiums. Each archway was numbered to assist the spectators in locating their seats. | Below the floor were the rooms that housed the exotic animals and where the gladiators prepared. During the inaugural games about 5000 animals were killed.
49: The ingenious retractable roof covering (valorium)was an enormous linen tarp that was hung by a system of ropes, winches and wooden poles. It was used to provide protection to the spectators from the sun | The Forum The Roman Forum was the commercial, religious, political and legal center of life in ancient Rome. It was here that Caesar Augustus was killed in 14 B.C.
51: The Trevi Fountain, also known as the Fountain of Love. It is at the end of an aqueduct that was constructed in 19 BC. The fountain was commissioned in 1732. The water for this fountain travels 20 km from Salone Springs. Legend has it you will return to Rome if you toss a coin over your shoulder into the fountain. | The Victor Emmanuel II Monument. He was the first King of a unified Italy. It was nicknamed "The Wedding Cake" Monument
52: Built in 120 AD as a temple to the Roman pagan Gods, it is the oldest standing building in Rome. The huge 60 tonne pillars were transported from Egypt using barges and vessels. The building was preserved because it had been converted to a church in 609 AD. To this day masses are still held here. It also houses the tombs of the artist Raphael and several Italian kings. | The Patheon
57: A moat surrounds Castle Estense in Ferrara, Italy | This medieval hill town of Tivoli was built over 3000 years ago.
59: Views of Italy's Landscape From The Bus
61: It's the moments I spend with you that build the memories which last a lifetime. -M Gutierrez | Our boat ride view into Venice
64: GLASSBLOWING He demonstrated how a few twirls, and pinches with pliers could turn the glob of hot glass into vases or horses or whatever your imagination desired.
65: Vecchia Murano Glass Factory
67: Doge's Palace in Venice | For 700 years the Doge's Palace had three fundamental roles. It was the Doge's residence, the seat of government and the palace of justice. The Palace was connected to the prison by the "Bridge of Sighs".
68: Bridge of Sighs | The prisoners last view before they were incarcerated. They frequently died of disease or decapitation.
69: They frequently died of disease or decapitation.
70: City of Water
74: Emperor Maximilian Golden Roof
76: Munich Germany Hofbrauhaus House This is where Hitler gave many of his speeches. But we just listened to music, drank beer and ate.
77: An evening of 1 liter beers, huge pretzels and Bavarian music.
78: The Munich town square buildings with it's intricate architecture and the beautiful sounds of the glockenspiel.
81: Nymphenburg Palace The center part of the palace was built in 1664 for the royal family of Bavaria.
82: Rothenburg, Germany
85: We enjoyed hearing the tale of how the mayor saved the town from General Tilly by drinking of wine. This event is portrayed every hour in the town clock tower.
86: Rothenburg with it's medieval wall is the best preserved walled town in Germany.
91: Sailing down the Rhine River past castle-crested hills, terraced vineyards and quaint villages.
94: Cologne, Germany The building of this gothic cathedral began in 1248 . The enormous stained glass windows of the church cover an area of 110,000 sq feet. They allow floods of natural light into the building. During WW II 1500 tonnes of bombs fell on the city of Cologne, yet the cathedral remained standing. The monks rescued many of the stained glass windows by removing them from the building.
95: Cologne, Germany The building of this gothic cathedral began in 1248 . The enormous stained glass windows of the church cover an area of 110,000 sq feet. They allow floods of natural light into the building. During WW II 1500 tonnes of bombs fell on the city of Cologne, yet the cathedral remained standing. The monks rescued many of the stained glass windows by removing them from the building.
98: Amsterdam | smile
99: The city of bikes and its bike parkades. Every year 30,000 bikes are pulled out of the canals.
102: A visit to a dutch cheese farm and a wooden shoe carving demonstration.
104: We visited a 362 year old windmill that was used to regulate water levels in the canals. Every minute it could move enough water to fill a swimming pool. The top of the windmill rotates so the blades are in the right direction to catch the wind. Sails are added to the blades to increase the speed.
111: Our long trek home: Amsterdam to Frankfurt to London to Edmonton | Frankfurt | Frankfurt | London