Sunday, August 19, 2012

Itinerary for the Trip

Tues, Aug 21 - Depart Houston
Fly to Amsterdam UA58, Business Class.

Wed, Aug 22 - Arrive Amsterdam
Arrive 10AM.
Hotel Estherea, Singel 305, NL 1012WJ, +31-206-245146, Canal view, 3 nights.
Canal ride to see town.
Brouwersgracht (Brewers' Canal) - Magere Brug (Skinny Bridge) -
Look for last remaining windmills. Amsterdam windmills are: Rukumolen at De Boreht 10, 1083AC;Water Mil at 1200 Roe Haarlemmerweg 701, 1063 LE; Wind mill van Sloten 1847, Akersluis 1066EZ, only one open to public.

Thurs, Aug 23 - Amsterdam
10AM - WWII History walk with Peter. 2 to 3 hours. Reserved
Ann Frank House meet at door to the left of main entrance at 4:15 for 4:20 PM, Reserved

Fri, Aug 24 - Amsterdam
Albert Cuypmarkt (Albert Cuypstraat Market) - More than 100 years old, the Albert Cuypmarkt is one of the biggest and busiest street markets in Europe.
Flower Market, open from 9am to 6pm every day but Sundays. Located on a full block along the Singel Canal, between Dam Square and Rembrandtplein.
Dam Square, Royal Palace the heart of the city.
Visit the "Church in the Attic"
Visit the Resistance Museum
Free Ferry on the River IJ - Have dinner at one of the restaurants, across the busy harbor - from the other side of the water you get a neat view of Amsterdam - a very different, neat view!
Terraces on the River IJ, Ride on free ferry across River IJ...Wine and Cheese Evening 2hr canal ride to see the lights.
Kinderdijk - the largest conglomeration of windmills in Holland.

Sat, Aug 25 - Drive to Ghent.
Pick up rental car ~10AM
Hertz - Renault Scenic manual UNL. Overtoom 333, 206122441, pick up 10AM / drop at 4PM at Carousel du Louvre.
Drive scenic route down to Ghent. By way of Gouda and Delft to see famous pottery.
Ghent Marriott, Drabstraat, 9000, +33 92 339393, river view king with breakfast.
Afternoon canal tour to see sites.
Vrijdagmarkt - The largest market is the attractive and historic Vrijdagmarkt, held Friday 7-1 and Saturday 1-6.
Gravensteen - Surrounded by a moat, the Castle of the Counts of Flanders resembles an enormous battleship steaming down the sedate Lieve Canal.
Graslei - This magnificent row of guild houses in the original port area is best seen from across the river Leie on the Korenlei (Corn Quay).
Sint-Baafskathedraal - St. Bavo's Cathedral, begun in the austere 13th century but finished in the 16th century in the ornate Brabantine Gothic style, dramatically rises from a low, unimposing entryway. It contains one of the greatest treasures in Christendom: Deaanbidding van het Lam Gods (The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb). Painted by brothers Jan and Hubert van Eyk, this altarpiece is one of the most beautiful and influential paintings of the Middle Ages.
Belfor - Begun in 1314, the 300-foot belfry tower symbolizes the power of the guilds and used to serve as Gent's watchtower. Since 1377, the structure has been crowned with a gilded copper weather vane shaped into a dragon, the city's symbol of freedom.

Sun, Aug 26 - Drive to Verdun.
Visit the Medieval battlefields at Agincourt and Crecy.
At Agincourt see the Museum and explore the battlefield where King Henry V defeated the French 69 years later on 25th October 1415, a battlefield where once again the English Longbow proved decisive.
At Crecy spend time in Museum learning of Edward III's victory over Philip VI of France on 26th August 1346, a victory that saw the rise to prominence of the English Longbow.
Off one side of the road, a lovely observation tower allows an excellent view of the battlefield. There’s a diagram of the battle layout at the top – sadly covered in graffiti. From the top of the tower, one can see that the countryside isn’t quite as flat as it appears on the ground. At the base of the observation tower one can see these faded coats of arms and an information plaque
Drive through the Somme area and on to Verdun.
Bourevilles N55G548, Gites de France, 9 nights, 2 bedrooms, 1 bath, free standing fully equipped cottage DW,W & D, country outside of Verdun.

Mon, Aug 27 - Verdun

Tues, Aug 28 - Verdun
One or two days in the Verdun area battlefields, Forts Vaux and Douaumont, the Ossuaire, Tranchée des Baïonettes, Mort-Homme, Butte-de-Montfaucon, and the American cemetery at Meuse-Argonne.

Wed, Aug 29 - Day trip to Strasbourg
Strasbourg’s boat trip provider Batorama tours, offers 70-minute city tours all year round.
Petite France - With gingerbread half-timber houses that seem to lean precariously over the canals of the Ill, old-fashioned shops, and inviting little restaurants, "Little France" is the most magical neighborhood in Strasbourg.
Cathdrale Notre-Dame - Dark pink, ornately carved Vosges sandstone masonry covers the facade of this most novel and Germanic of French cathedrals, a triumph of Gothic art begun in 1176.
Barr is Surrounded by vineyards that harvest some of the finest vintages of Sylvaner and Gewürztraminer wines.
Obernai begin by sauntering down the Route du Vin at Obernai, a thriving, colorful Renaissance market town named for the patron saint of Alsace. Head to the central town enclosed by the ramparts to find some particularly Nikon-friendly sites, including a medieval belfry, Renaissance well, and late-19th-century church.

Thurs, Aug 30 - Day Trip to Epernay or/and Reims
The famous vineyards of Champagne lie on the chalky hills to the south west of Reims, and around the town of Epernay. Apart from the former regional capital Reims, the Champagne region is not a particularly busy tourist destination.; the old city is dominated by the 13th century cathedral, one of the great gothic cathedrals of northern France, and a UNESCO world heritage site. Badly damaged in the first world war, the cathedral has been painstakingly restored to its true glory. The city is also home to some of the major Champagne producers, such as Taittinger, and cellar tours are available. However, for perhaps the most enjoyable cellar visits and champagne tasting, many visitors will prefer to visit the smaller town of Epernay, fifteen miles south of Reims. Lying in the heart of "champagne country", Epernay is home to many of the most famous champagne producers, including Moët & Chandon or Perrier-Jouët. The town being small, it is easy to visit a number of champagne houses or cellars on foot.
Château-Thierry - Built along the Marne River beneath the ruins of a hilltop castle that dates from the time of Joan of Arc, and within sight of the American Belleau Wood War Cemetery (open daily 9-5), commemorating the 2,300 American soldiers slain here in 1918, Château-Thierry is best known as the birthplace of the French fabulist Jean de La Fontaine (1621-95).

Fri, Aug 31 - Verdun
Second day seeing rest of area battlefields
Sat, Sept 1 - Day trip to Bouillon
Famous tourist town of Bouillon close to the French border, deep in the south of the Belgian province of Luxembourg. Already worth a visit for its beautiful surroundings around the river Semois, the town is most known for its fortified castle. This castle was once owned by Godfry of Bouillon, leader of the first crusade to Jerusalem in the year 1096. In the local tourist office information can be obtained about different walking routes in the Bouillon area.

Sun, Sept 2 - Verdun

Mon, Sept 3 - Verdun
Relax and check out anything else we have found.

Tues, Sept 4 - Drive to Paris.
Drop Car ~4PM. Carrousel du Louvre, 99 Rue de Rivoli 1st District, 14034912, near Ille St Louis, 4PM.
Hotel de Lutece, 65 rue Saint Louis-en-I’lle, 75004 P, +33 14 32 62352,on Ile St Louis, B& B, 2 nights.
Restaurant I’llot Vache. 35 rue Saint Louis en I’ile, 75004: 01 46 33 55 16. Reservation confirmed 7:30.
Eat: crêpes caramel beurre salés on the Ile St Louis, at the Salon de Thé Pain d'Epices.

Wed, Sept 5 - Paris.
Visit Sainte-Chapelle - Conciergerie - Much of Ile de la Cité's medieval buildings fell victim to wunderkind planner Baron Haussmann's ambitious rebuilding program of the 1860s. Among the rare survivors are the jewel-like Sainte-Chapelle, a vision of shimmering stained glass, and the Conciergerie, the former prison where Marie-Antoinette and other victims of the French Revolution spent their last days.
Take the Metro to Abbesses (rain take an Umbrella) or shine (sun-glasses)) and walk upwards to the Sacre-Coeur (follow the Fodor's Exploring Paris Walk)
Sacré-Coeur - It's hard to not feel as though you're climbing up to heaven when you visit Sacré-Coeur, the white castle in the sky, perched atop Montmartre.
In late afternoon visit The Louvre
Eating options close - Le Petit Chalelet, 39 rue de la Bucherie; Sens’o (Italian) 81 rue SaintLouis en Iile; Le Tournebievre 65 Quai de la Tournelle; Bakery-Eric Kayser 8 rue Monge.

Thurs, Sept 6 - Channel Train to London
EuroStar 9023, 11:13AM to 12:30PM, 2hrs 17 mins. Paris Nord to London St Pancras.
Arrive at station 45 mins ahead departure.
London Marriott County Hall Marriott, Westminister Bridge Road, SE1 7PB,
+0044(0)2030272884. River view,B&B, 2 nights.

Fri, Sept 7 - London
Buckingham Palace State Rooms timed visit 11:45, be early. Allow ~2hrs,
Mews, one hour audio tour guide.

Sat, Sept 8 - Drive to Bath.
Pick up rent car ~10AM.
Hertz Gold - Skoda Octavia, manual UNL, 2 days, pick up 10AM, Victoria Station, 200A Buckingham Palace Road, 448433093078 / drop off Southampton West Quay by 10AM.
On the way to Bath visit Salisbury - visit in the afternoon. Walk from Salisbury to Old Sarum via the path along the river and enjoy the magnificent views from the outer bailey. Stroll around Salisbury's medieval city centre or Cathedral Close and admire the huge variety of architecture.
Salisbury Charter Market
Salisbury Cathedral Salisbury is unique amongst medieval English cathedrals having been built in just 38 years (1220 - 1258) in a single architectural style, early English Gothic.
Oldfields House 102 Wells Road, BA2 3A, +44 122 531 7984, B & B, 2 nights.

Sun, Sept 9 - Bath
Explore Bath with free Audio Tour, a walking guide that takes you on a fascinating journey through the city's history and architecture. This tour takes you around the historical highlights of the city: The Roman Baths, Bath Abby, The Royal Crescent, the Circus and Pulteney Bridge. Down load audio and a free route map to accompany the tour, which shows the location of various museums and points of interest.
Dive over to Wells.
The Bishop's Eye gate leading from Market Place takes you to the magnificent, moat-ringed Bishop's Palace, which retains parts of the original 13th-century residence.
Cathedral Church of St. Andrew
Vicar's Close is to the north of the cathedral is one of Europe's oldest streets, has terraces of handsome 14th-century houses with strange, tall chimneys.

Mon, Sept 10 - Drive to Southampton.
Drive by Stonehenge
Drop car ~12PM at Hertz West Quay Ind. Estate, West Quay Road, 448433093070, near mcruise terminal.
Seabourn Sojourn - Board after 12:30PM for lunch in the Grill
Tues, September 11 - At Sea

Wed, September 12, Dublin, Ireland 7 to 5
Dock at Alexandra Quay, about 1.5 miles (2.4km) from the city center, may have shuttle service into town.

Thurs, September 13, Greenock (Glasgow), Scotland 8 to 6
Rent car. Europcar - Corsa, 9 to 5. Ocean Terminal, Patrick Street PA168UU, Greenock, Phone: +44 0141 2041072.
Stirling, Loch Lomond, Brig o' Turk, Loch Achray, Loch Katrine, Loch Venachar
Stirling Castle, Its magnificent strategic position on a steep-sided crag made Stirling Castle the grandest prize in the Scots Wars of Independence in the late 13th and early 14th centuries. The Battle of Bannockburn in 1314 was fought within sight of its walls.

Fri, September 14 - At Sea

Sat, September 15 - Torshavn, Faroe Islands 8 to 5
Taxi Tour reserved for tour of the island meet driver on dock at 9:30AM.

Sun, September 16 - At Sea

Mon, September 17 - Reykjavik, Iceland 8 to 10
Rent car use ship’s tour and Hertz CD/map as guide. Visit the Gold Circle.
Hertz - Toyota Yaris EDMN, +3455224400, Flugvarvegur 5, 101, 8:30 to 5:30, Hertz will pick up at harbour, CD and marked maps for route provided.

Tues, September 18 - Grundarfjordur, Iceland 8 to 6
Ship’s tour: Highlights of Snaefellnes 8:30, 6hrs.

Wed, September 19 - At Sea

Thurs, September 20 - Cruising Prince Christian Sund

Fri, September 21 - Nanortalik, Greenland 8 to 6
Explore the little picturesque, colorful village on our own.

Sat, September 22 - At Sea

Sun, September 23 - At Sea

Mon, September 24 - Red Bay, Labrador, Canada 8 to 5
Explore quaint historical whaling town do a ~two hour walking tour through the small village of Red Bay, visiting local buildings, the Parks Canada Visitor Center, and the Red Bay National Historic Site.

Tues, September 25 - Corner Brook, Newfound, Canada 10 to 8
Enterprise - Ford Focus,, 10:30-6, will pick up at dock, call 709 634 6633. 1 Mount Bernard Ave, Valley Mall, A2H6G1. Drive out to Gros Morne NP. Have lunch.

Wed, September 26 - At Sea (Gulf of St. Lawrence)

Thurs, September 27 - Saguenay, Canada 8 to 6
Do HOHO buses, both routes.

Fri, September 28 - Quebec City, Quebec, Canada 8 to 6
Disembark after lunch on ship ~2PM. Taxi to Hotel.
Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac, 1Rue Des Carrienes, G1R4P5, 1-418-6923861, Deluxe river view king, B&B, 1 night,, 4PM check out.
Afternoon Carriage ride. Explore old town.
Dinner at hotel. Use hotel food credit.

Sat, September 29 - Quebec in morning. Drive to La Malbaie.
Do a walking tour of the Old City include a walk on the old walls.
Pick up rent car and take advantage of late check out.
Hertz Compact Quebec 4 Cote Du Palais, 4186941224, 2-3 PM, 2 day.
Drive up the north side of the St Lawrence River ~2hours to La Malbaie.
La Manior Richeliue Fairmont Hotel. River view king, B&B, 2 nights.

Sun, Sept 30 - La Malbaie
Explore the area, maybe drive to Tadoussac which was very quaint and full of local charm and do a whale watching tour.

Mon, Oct 1 - Drive to Montreal.
Drive to Montreal via the I’ll d’Orleans for lunch ~5 hours.
Drop car Montreal Hertz, 1476 Aylmer Street, 5148428537, 2PM.
Fairmont Queen Elizabeth on top of Gare Centrale, 900 Rene Levesque Blvd West,
King B&B, 1 night.

Tues, Oct 2 - Train to Albany
68 Adirondack (Amtrack) 9:30AM to 5:40 Montreal to Albany Rensselear, 8hrs 10mins.
Hampton Inn Downtown, 25 Chapel Street, 1518 432 7000, king studio, B&B, I night.

Wed, Oct 3 - Loop down to West Point.
Pick up rent car ~10AM.
~150 mis. Loop down to West Point do visitors tour.
Hertz - Chevrolet Maibu, Crown Plaza 30 Lodge Street #518 434 6911, drop Cypress TX Oct 12, 3PM.

Thurs, Oct 4, Drive to Saratoga NP/ Keeseville, NY.
~150 miles. Saratoga National Park tour and Ticonderoga on up to Lake Champlain area.

Fri, Oct 5, Drive to Rome, NY.
~190 miles, ~41/2 hrs. Drive parts of three scenic by-ways westward through the Adirondacks.

Sat, Oct 6, Drive to Niagara Falls, NY.
~250 Miles, 6 ½ hrs. By way of Ithica and Geneva through part of Finger Lakes to Niagara Falls.

Sun, Oct 7, Drive to Pittsburg, PA.
~235 Miles. 5 hrs. Visit Cousin.

Mon, Oct 8, Drive through Amish country to Hallowed Groung NP route.

215 Miles, 5 ½ hrs. to Anthidium, Gettysburg and Sharpsburg, Northern VA.

Tues, Oct 9, Drive to Spartanburg, SC.
458 Miles, 8 hrs. Visit Cousin.

Wed, Oct 10, Drive to Batton Rouge, LA.

Thurs, Oct 11, Drive Home.
~6hrs Return Car to Cypress area 2PM.

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