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Everything posted by djh1959

  1. Really great report and I am loving the humour too, although slightly hard to understand as an Australian. I have never heard of a volksmarcher. The museum in Basel sounds fantastic, unfortunately we only have one day in Basel after our cruise in October and it is a Monday when the museums are all closed. What a shame you didn't have more time in Strasbourg. We spent five nights there back in January and loved every minute, there was so much to see and do and fantastic food. TALAalum, we did a day trip to Riquewihr, wow what a gorgeous village, you will love it. Looking forward to the next instalment.
  2. Thanks for a fantastic review. I love your blog and am saving it to read of your other travels. I should really be finishing my own blog, but would much rather read yours. That trip sounds fantastic incorporating three of my favourite things - wine, cheese and France. We will definitely have to look into Croisie Europe for a future trip. I am also interested in how you fared with the language. I can speak a very little French, but my husband can speak none at all.
  3. Wow, we were so lucky. We were there in January 2019 and it was totally finished and really nice to see. The modern part really could have been my home, Melbourne, or any other city in the world, but the Romer was exactly the type of thing that we love to see when travelling to Europe.
  4. Moo_cruiser, we are also doing our first river cruise in October, from Amsterdam to Basel with Scenic then doing our own thing by train and spending a further two weeks in Vienna and Budapest. I obviously cannot give you any tips as we haven't been yet, but after a year of research it seems that most lines allow you to bring on your own wine and so on. I think Emerald is Scenic's little brother. As far as hotels go, we have been to Amsterdam before and loved it. You will find that hotels are very, very expensive so you should book a cancellable rate asap. We stayed at Banks Mansion last time and loved it, so much so that we have booked it again for three nights before our cruise. Their rate includes breakfast and a free bar with wine, spirits and so on, so we really get our money's worth. Generally you will get a cheaper deal booking things yourself, but you need to work out what Emerald are offering. With Scenic, if we don't take their precruise, which is didn't, we don't get transfers. Cabs are fairly cheap from Amsterdam airport to town though so that isn't a problem. You can also get the train. We haven't been to Budapest before but we are currently booked into the Budapest Marriott with a club lounge room which have stunning views. We also have a reservation at the Sofitel Budapest, but I will cancel that and stick with the Marriott. If you follow these forums, as well as others on Trip Advisor and so on you will get lots of information. Have fun planning.
  5. My photo isn't as pretty as jpalbny's night time shot, but we did take quite a nice one back in January during our few days in Frankfurt. It does show the skyscraper skyline though. We walked from our hotel (Sofitel Opera) through the city to Sachsenhausen. We had lunch at one of the apfelwein taverns named Strewwelpeter, delicious pork schnitzels and a glass of the apfelwein. The schnitzel was great, but the apple wine was awful, sorry notamermain. It was a great experience though. We then walked back to the Römer and later the hotel via Eiserner Steg.
  6. We always fly Emirates. If we are lucky enough to go business you are allowed two pieces of carry on but only one in economy: Economy Class Economy Class passengers are permitted one piece of carry-on baggage, subject to the following size and weight limitations: Carry-on baggage: 55 x 38 x 20cm (22 x 15 x 8 inches)Carry-on baggage: 55 by 38 by 20 centimeters (22 by 15 by 8 inches) Weight must not exceed 7kg kilograms (15lb pounds). Duty free purchases of liquor, cigarettes and perfume in reasonable quantities are also permitted in addition to the above. To be fair, I have never had mine weighed, but the point is you cannot risk having more or they won't let you take it on and it needs to be checked. I have heard of many people having theirs weighed and the one piece rule being enforced, we have just been lucky so far, but I do obey their rules.
  7. Those of you extolling the virtues of carry-on only must be from the US. Here in Australia we are only allowed 7kg carry on, anything over must be checked. While I am quite a light packer, there is no way I can pack for a three week European holiday in the winter with a total of 7kg - and that is including my handbag, which I think you call a purse.
  8. I have every intention of wearing good quality black jeans for dinner! I will dress them up with a nice top, but it is what is worn to virtually every restaurant here in Melbourne, and perfectly fits the "smart casual" brief that Scenic says we should wear. I will also have black pants for anything slightly more formal, but after a long day of touring, I certainly couldn't be bothered dressing up any more than that.
  9. Couldn't you have sat on your balcony for outside space?
  10. We rarely use the trains to and from European airports, preferring a taxi, but when we stayed in Lucerne a couple of years ago, we did use the excellent train service to Zurich airport. It is just as described above, and quite easy if you have luggage that rolls. We were only 2nd class, I think, but there was plenty of room for luggage and the train stopped directly under the airport. It was a simple walk with a few escalators up to the hall with the check in desks. We wouldn't hesitate to do it again.
  11. We too are on a river cruise in October and can't wait! We visited Lucerne back in 2014 and stayed at Hotel des Alpes in a river view room with a balcony. The views were spectacular! Worth every penny, although I am sure we paid more than that - is that US dollars or something else? The rooms hadn't been renovated back then, although they were clean. Hopefully five years on they will be renovated. The hotel was great though. Location is perfect, with a wonderful food market outside on Tuesdays and Saturdays. The restaurant was good too, for breakfast and dinner, although expensive as is everywhere in Switzerland.
  12. We are booked with Scenic in October this year. We aren't flying home for a couple of weeks after we get to Basel, but if I look at Manage by Booking on the Scenic site, it tells you the earliest that you can plan flights for.
  13. We were in Lucerne a couple of years ago. We found it incredibly expensive compared to other European cities, so it is possible that you will struggle with your budget, particularly for dinner. Does that amount include wine? One restaurant that we loved there was the Old Swiss House. Best schnitzels we have ever eaten and all crumbed and cooked at the table, it was a real show stopper. This is their website: https://www.oldswisshouse.ch/en/ We have eaten at a few places in Amsterdam. We particularly enjoyed Lucius, which was a seafood restaurant recommended by our hotel and it was delicious. This is their website https://lucius.nl/en/. In Amsterdam you could also try a rijsttafel, which is an Indonesian rice table. There are a number of them in Amsterdam, we tried Indra Pura which was quite nice. Can't help with breakfast as ours was included with our hotel and cannot remember where we ate lunches. Enjoy your trip.
  14. DougK, that is wonderful information. We are having our first Scenic cruise in October, Amsterdam to Basel and I hate organised tours. It is nice to know that we can just use the bus to get into town, or walk would be even better, and then just do our own thing.
  15. We were in Edinburgh in January 2018 and purchased an Explorer Pass. We did not have to book a time for Edinburgh Castle, we just showed up. It was of course the off season, so it might be different in summer. We went their first thing, but not particularly early, and went straight in.
  16. Just like Ine above, we stayed at Banks Mansion and loved it. So much so that when we return in October, we will stay there again.
  17. We had our first trip to Scotland last year and like the poster above, we spent five nights at the Hilton Carlton near the Royal Mile. We loved our time in Edinburgh and visited the Royal Yacht, Stirling Castle and the Wallace Monument by ourselves on train and bus. We also hired a private driver for a day trip throughout the West Highlands which was fantastic. The driver then dropped us in Glasgow, where we spent a further three nights. Really one longish day would have been plenty for Glasgow. We really didn't enjoy the city that much and ended up quite bored by the last day. We would have been much better spending the extra time in Edinburgh and simply doing a day trip to Glasgow. I hope I haven't offended any Glaswegians here, but that was our personal opinion. Having said that, we found lots of great restaurants in Glasgow, lots of shopping (but I hate shopping!), and the people were lovely and friendly.
  18. djh1959


    Thanks for a great link. We are hoping to visit Bordeaux on our next trip (not a river cruise), so this was really helpful.
  19. We visit Europe most years in winter, and I am closer to 60 than 40. I always wear jeans, often black, but denim too. Have never felt out of place.
  20. I totally agree with the above posters - you can't control the weather so just have fun. We tend to travel to Europe in their winter as that is when it is easiest to get leave, plus I get to leave Australia's heat, which I don't really like. We have been snowed in in Glasgow and Washington DC, rained out in Thailand, and pretty well everything in between. Have loved every one of our holidays and wouldn't change a thing.
  21. Hi acwmom, I am the original poster. Thanks so much for the photos and the map! That is wonderful. We are pretty fit and active, but I just prefer the easier, wider path. Will definitely wear hiking shoes and the correct clothes. We will not be part of a group as we will be travelling to Durnstein by train and hopefully bus or taxi from Vienna, via Krems. We are doing a river cruise, which is why I am on these forums. We are doing Scenic's Rhine Highlights from Amsterdam to Basel, but are then staying on for a further 12 nights meeting friends in Vienna for a week, then onto Budapest. Thanks again, and thanks also to everyone who commented.
  22. Surely Scenic did not weigh your bags? I know it mentions 23kg in their FAQ, but we are flying independently of Scenic, on Emirates, where we are allowed 42kg! (No idea who takes that much!). We have four days before our cruise and two weeks after, so will need a bit of stuff. To be honest though, I rarely have more than 18kg when we travel for 3-4 weeks, but I can't see any reason that I shouldn't be able to have more, so long as it fits in my one medium size suitcase.
  23. We are planning a day trip to Durnstein during our six nights in Vienna later this year. I would be interested in anyone who has done the climb up. I believe that there are two routes, and I want to make sure I get the easier one! We climbed to a castle in Varenna on Lake Como once, and it was seriously a goat track with no rails whatsoever, with a sheer drop to rocks in the lake below. I have no desire to repeat that this time lol.
  24. We are planning something similar for next year (after our first river cruise this year). Unlike you though, we hate to drive on holidays so tend to use trains. Our plan is Bordeaux for a few days, train to San Sebastian for five days or so incorporating a visit to La Rioja, train to Madrid for three days, train to Lisbon for five days, ending in Porto for four or five days. From Porto we will do at least a day trip to the Douro, either by train or a private driver. We too will see lots more than on a cruise for half the price.
  25. We will be in Budapest for five nights in October and plan to visit this market. I love the idea of eating from the local stalls but is there any seating for them? We always try to eat at markets where travelling, but I really hate eating (and drinking wine) standing up.
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