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Everything posted by djh1959

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. I think that laundry list comes from the US site. I have looked and never been able to find one on the Australian site.
  7. Oh that is so nice to hear. We are doing Amsterdam to Basel on 14th October. I hate hot weather (and crowds), so prefer it coolish. Nice to know that we will see autumn colours.
  8. Thanks very much. Looking forward to reading it.
  9. I am pretty new to Cruise Critic and we have been thinking of an Azamara cruise down the track. I tried to find your reviews but couldn't. Could you please provide a link or explain how to find it. Thanks in advance.
  10. I too am in Australia, but have been following cruise boards closely for the last twelve months, since we decided to do a cruise. There was so much information on line, but there is no way of warning everyone, and of course the cruise companies don't want you to know. At least you will be prepared for next time.
  11. Teeming sounds like it would suit us too. We are booked on Scenic, but don't plan on doing many of the tours so it will be a bit of a waste of money. We really are not tour people, plus the planning to me is the best part of a holiday. As far as your costings are concerned, they are all in dollars. What sort of dollars? AUD, CAD, or USD? Thanks for an interesting review.
  12. We are booked on a Scenic River Cruise from Amsterdam to Basel in October. We are booked into the Hotel Krafft, which is right on the river with a balcony overlooking the Rhine. It is only a short walk to the old town, so the river view suits us. I was also recommended Des Trois Rois, but the price was eyewatering for a quick one night stay! We too have stayed in Zurich for one night and two full days and agree with jpalbny that it is very underrated. It is expensive, but so is all of Switzerland, but there was plenty to do and see in our time there. Lucerne is an excellent option, we had five nights there and it was beautiful, especially the mountain excursions.
  13. Can't wait to read all about a Teeming Cruise. We are currently booked on a Scenic cruise in October (our first) - Rhine Highlights. However, Scenic are ridiculously expensive and I seriously doubt we could afford to do very many of them. Like you, I don't expect to do all of the included tours, because we really aren't group tour people and are very used to touring European towns and cities on our own, so in that sense the Scenic inclusions will be a little wasted. The included drinks however will not be! I am really interested in how a Teeming cruise works out, and I haven't seen many reviews, so looking forward to yours. Enjoy.
  14. We have travelled to Europe every year for over a decade, and I rarely have to pay for a restroom, even though I have the world's worst bladder lol. If we are ready for a coffee or drink, we go to a cafe, but otherwise I will walk into a cafe or bistro and simply ask to use the toilets. No-one has ever said no. I wouldn't try to use them without asking though, that would be quite rude. The big hotels always have toilets in the foyer area, so if there are no cafes, just stroll into the hotel as if you are staying there. Having said that, I wish we had more paid toilets here in Australia, because generally they are clean, well stocked with toilet paper and soap etc. and there is usually an attendant which makes you feel a lot safer. You will have no language problems, but I strongly advise learning a few phrases, particularly hello, goodbye, please and thankyou. Saying hello to the shopkeeper in Europe, particularly France, is a vital part of their culture and it is not appreciated if you don't do it.
  15. That is a fabulous photo! We visited Pont du Gard on an independent visit to Avignon a couple of years ago. It is an amazing site to see. Really enjoying your report.
  16. There is lots to do in Munich. Many excellent museums and palaces, the Englischer Garten, the Viktualenmarkt, Dachau Concentration Camp. The day trip to Neuschwanstein is very worthwhile, as is Salzburg for a day.
  17. Hi, we weren't on a river cruise, but we did spend a few days in Avignon a couple of years ago. We were staying very central, right near the Pope's Palace. We had a driver who drove us to Avignon TGV station and it took around 20 minutes. She suggested driving us rather than a taxi, as she said it could be difficult getting a taxi so early in the morning - our train was at about the same time as yours. So on that basis, allow as much time as possible.
  18. We are booked on Scenic, Amsterdam to Basel on 14th October. Very excited!
  19. This is why I hate using a travel agent, which there is another post about. We booked direct with Scenic and they are happy to tell me anything I need to know.
  20. As I mentioned on another post of yours, I would call Scenic and check. I haven't done a river cruise with them yet, not til October, but my parents have done quite a few. Mum said that there was a toilet on all their buses, and unlike a lot of bus toilets, they were able to be used. She said it was fairly small, and a bit difficult while the bus is moving, but it could certainly be used and she did use it.
  21. Why don't you call Scenic and ask them. We are booked on Rhine Highlights in October, and I have called with a few questions, which they have been happy to answer, regarding various tours.
  22. I would think you could just as easily do Lucerne and Zurich by yourselves. We did a four week train tour of Germany a few years ago, with two teenage boys in tow, and managed easily, without any German. Well none at the beginning, lots at the end. We will be disembarking in Basel later this year too, and it is a very easy train trip from Basel to Zurich and/or Lucerne. Swiss trains literally run like clockwork and everyone we met at the stations appeared to speak English. Lucerne is a very walkable city, with a great tourist office and you can easily buy all required day trips to Pilatus, Titlis or Rigi yourself. The same applies in Zurich, so easy to buy tickets to the Rheinfall or the airport and simply do it yourself. Generally tour hotels aren't the best and you can often do better. An example is the Hilton in Amsterdam that a lot of river tour companies use. Very handy for the boat and station admittedly but that's about it. So many nicer hotels on the canals that I would choose. I imagine it would also be a lot cheaper to do it yourself too, although "cheap" isn't really a word associated with Switzerland.
  23. Well it got to 43.7 here today which was quite hot enough for me. I was at the shops and reached into my bag to find I still had a pair of gloves in there! Don't think I will need them for quite a while. Maybe you could try on your cashmere and wool in front of the air conditioner. At least you don't have long to wait until cooler weather, March will be here before we know it.
  24. We just got back from Alsace last week! We had a lovely gentle snow on the morning that we spent in Riquewihr. A really pretty village! After we got back we discovered that Alsace is where my husband's family apparently originally comes from.
  25. Hi, I feel a little the same as you, as we are booked for a one week cruise in October. I have tossed up cancelling, but don't want to lose the $2000 AUD deposit! I have done a heap of reading on Scenic, both on here, on Tripadvisor and on various Facebook groups. While they don't seem to have handled the low water (and previous high water) issues well, neither it seems did many of the other companies. It seems that when things go well, which they obviously do most of the time, then the reviews are extremely good. I booked for us because my parents have done four trips with them. They totally rave over everything and have assured me that the food is excellent. I see no reason for them to make that up so I am ignoring the food comments. I am in Australia, and one thing that I have noticed is that most of the poor food comments come from America. I am not sure that this isn't a cultural issue - I know that when we visit the States I rarely like the food, it just doesn't seem as good as we have here (sorry!). The only places I have enjoyed most food in the US have been Boston and San Franciso, and they are smaller cities, much more like Melbourne, where I live. It stands to reason that it is possible that Americans and Australians may not have the same food tastes, so maybe that is part of the poor reviews. I am not sure what sort of deposit structure you had, because it seems that each country is treated differently, but if, like us, your deposit was substantial, it becomes very costly to cancel. My plan is to watch and read very closely and if things with the water levels occur again, I will invoke my plan b which is is already organised. This means that I will pretty well follow the Rhine but by train. I already have hotels chosen in the towns that we will stay in so it will be very easy to organise. I will worry about refunds then once I get home. I do hope that things go well for you, and for us, and feel confident, strangely, that they will next year.
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