The perfect vacation for those who wish to see all major highlights of Europe. Start in Amsterdam, and enjoy a canal cruise, the only way to see the 17th-century city. In Germany, a romantic Rhine cruise to see the medieval castles, a picture stop at Heidelberg Castle, and a stop in the Black Forest, to learn all about woodcarving, have been included. Admire the Rhine Falls, the Lion Monument and Chapel Bridge in Lucerne, and the Golden Roof in Innsbruck. In Italy, a private boat ride to St. Mark’s Square in Venice, and a highlight dinner at a local restaurant; guided visits to the Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel, St. Peter’s Square and Basilica, the Colosseum and the Roman Forum in Rome; a lunch with local specialties and wine in Florence; see also the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Stay two nights on the French Riviera and enjoy a highlight visit to the artist town of St. Paul de Vence with the opportunity to try the traditional pastis. Ride the high-speed TGV train to Paris, where during your sightseeing tour a visit to the second floor of the Eiffel Tower, followed by dinner with local specialties awaits. You’ll see it all! Transfer to London by Eurostar train and enjoy two nights, Host service, and guided sightseeing with a visit to St. Paul’s Cathedral and the Changing of the Guard, if held.
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DAY 1Arrive in Amsterdam, Holland
Welcome to Amsterdam! At 6 pm, meet your Tour Director and traveling companions for a welcome dinner at your hotel. (Dinner)
A Local Guide shows you the 700-year-old capital, including Dam Square with the Royal Palace, and the Rijksmuseum. The highlight is a CANAL CRUISE to see the patrician mansions and gabled façades. Next, visit a major DIAMOND CENTER. You may wish to join an optional excursion to visit a cheese farm, a clog maker, and a working windmill, followed by dinner in the pretty fishing village of Volendam. (Breakfast)
DAY 3Amsterdam–Heidelberg, Germany–Rhineland
On the way to Germany, pass the Dutch region best known as the locale of A Bridge Too Far. Highlight of the day is a romantic RHINE CRUISE past castle-crested cliffs, terraced vineyards, and half-timbered towns. Stop in Heidelberg and take pictures of the famous red-walled ruins of the castle before continuing to Karlsruhe for your overnight stay. (Breakfast, Dinner)
A Short Wine Guide
"Historically, Germany’s wine has suffered with an “inferiority complex” fueled by the reputation of wine powerhouses France and Italy. And in modern times, they’ve tacked of “how to compete with a Bordeaux or a Chianti” by improving quality, while keep prices reasonable. Finally, German vintners are starting to reap the rewards. The world famous Riesling region, centered on the Rhine and its tributaries and in eastern Germany near Dresden, is the biggest success story to come out of Germany’s 13 wine growing regions. White grapes form 80 percent of the harvest, but reds are on the rise, as well as the general reputation of German wines."
Mark Twain's Heidelberg
"“One thinks Heidelberg by day – with its surroundings – is the last possibility of the beautiful; but when he sees Heidelberg by night, a fallen Milky Way, with that glittering railway constellation pinned to the border, he requires time to consider upon the verdict.” Mark Twain wrote this ode to Heidelberg in his humorous travel book, “A Tramp Abroad” (1880). During the three months that Twain spent in the city in 1878, many of his recorded experiences aren’t entirely dissimilar from activities that travelers and residents still enjoy today. He gazed out over the Nektar River; strolled across the Old Bridge; and watched university students dueling in a tavern."
DAY 4Rhineland–Black Forest–Rhine Falls–Lucerne, Switzerland
Stop in the lush valleys and pine-clad hills of the BLACK FOREST, renowned for its cuckoo clocks. Hear about the art of WOODCARVING from a local woodcarver, Adolf Herr. On the Swiss border, admire the thundering RHINE FALLS, then continue to picture-book Lucerne. Tonight is your chance to enjoy an optional Swiss Folklore Party. (Breakfast)
DAY 5Lucerne–Liechtenstein–Innsbruck, Austria
Admire Thorwaldsen’s LION MONUMENT, walk through the Old Town, and cross the famous covered CHAPEL BRIDGE to the Jesuit Church. Time to shop for Swiss watches or climb lofty Mount Pilatus. On your way to Austria, stop in the Principality of Liechtenstein, then drive through Austria’s most famous ski area. In Innsbruck, walk through the Old Town and take pictures of Emperor Maximilian’s GOLDEN ROOF. (Breakfast, Dinner)
“The Lion of Lucerne” (Lowendenkmal) is a compelling statue in the north section of Old Town dedicated to the 42 members of the Swiss Guard who were assigned to protect Louis the XVI, Maria Antoinette and their family at the Royal Palace. When the Tuileries was stormed on August 10, 1792 by rioting Parisians at the start of the French Revolution, the king ordered the soldiers to lay down their arms. They were subsequently slaughtered by the crowd and the royal family was captured. Louis had made a big mistake. In 1821 Danish sculpture Berthel Thorwaldsen finished the sculpture, a 30-foot likeness of a wounded and dying lion with a broken lance in its heart and his paw resting atop the fleur-de-lys shield of the Bourbon king. The Latin inscription translated “To the bravery and fidelity of the Swiss.”
DAY 6Innsbruck–Venice, Italy
Across spectacular Brenner Pass to Italy. Enter Venice in style by PRIVATE BOAT to ST. MARK’S SQUARE and admire the byzantine basilica, lavish Doges’ Palace with its Bridge of Sighs, and watch skilled GLASSBLOWERS fashion their delicate objects. You may wish to join an optional gondola ride, and later, a special dinner with wine awaits you at Rossopomodoro restaurant. (Breakfast, Dinner)
Bridge of Sighs
"The world’s most poetically-named bridge, Il Ponte dei Sospiri, the Bridge of Sighs, was built in 1614 so that prisoners of the Venetian state could be transferred in secret from the Doge’s Palace to the so-called Nuovi Prigioni, or New Prisons. The wistful name was actually conceived by the English poet Lord Byron in the early 1800s that imagined the horror of prisoners taking their last glimpse of Venice before going underground to captivity. "
A scenic drive across the Apennine Hills and through vine- and olive-clad Tuscany brings you to the “Eternal City.” (Breakfast)
Enjoy Globus’ unique guided sightseeing, including inside visits to all highlights of religious and ancient Rome: the VATICAN MUSEUMS and SISTINE CHAPEL with Michelangelo’s ceiling paintings and The Last Judgment, monumental ST. PETER’S SQUARE and BASILICA to admire Michelangelo’s Pietà, the amazing COLOSSEUM, and the ROMAN FORUM, where Roman legions marched in triumph. To make the most of your stay, join our optional Roman Highlights excursion and see the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, and the sites and squares of medieval Rome made famous in the movie Angels & Demons. (Breakfast)
The Roman Forum
"Visitors can be a little confused by the Roman Forum; at first glance, it is a rather lifeless array of marble fragments. But we must remember that in ancient times, this space was far more than the temples and monuments whose ruins we can explore today. It was filled with bustling, noisy life as the popular crossroads of the city – the predecessor, in fact, of the modern Italian piazza. Every morning at dawn, average Romans would escape their cramped, dark apartment blocks (called insulae, or “islands”) and spent their days outdoors. "
"In the early 1500s, Rome was full of neglected ruins from the days of the ancient Empire, which still contained artworks buried amongst the rubble. The Renaissance had seen a sudden growth of interest in all things classical, and the popes – cultivated men who were in touch with the intellectual currents of the day – were the richest art collectors in Italy. They began offering substantial cash rewards for any sculptures, until Rome was scoured by freelance treasure hunters on the hunt for pagan masterpieces. The most dramatic discovery occurred in 1506, when a Roman father-and-son team of excavators reported a promising find near the ruined Baths of Titus. The artist Michelangelo himself excitedly hurried over to help with the work, followed by the pope’s official agent, Guiliano da Sangallo. When the excavators brushed away the dirt of 1,000 years, they found an enormous marble sculpture, perfectly intact, of a muscular Trojan hero being attacked by giant snakes. Guilano cried out in amazement, “This is the very Laocoön described by (the ancient Roman author) Pliny!” The sculpture was carted off to the Vatican Museum."
"Rome is one of the most filmed cities on earth, with its signature set location being the Fontana di Trevi, or Trevi Fountain, a romantic, 85-foot-high baroque masterpiece depicting the god of the sea, Neptune, and his Tritons. Not surprisingly, the best time to visit Fontana di Trevi is late at night, when the crowds have gone, the din of Rome’s traffic has died and floodlights dance magically on the water. In fact, the whole centro storico takes on a calm, timeless aspect after dark, and it is well worth stretching your legs after dinner on your own Fellini-esque promenade."
Arrive in Florence, and follow your Local Guide for a pleasant walk to admire the magnificent cathedral, Giotto’s Bell Tower, the Baptistry’s heavy bronze “Gate of Paradise,” and sculpture-studded SIGNORIA SQUARE. End in PIAZZA SANTA CROCE and enjoy a light lunch with bruschetta and local specialties, accompanied by various local wines in Casa Toscana restaurant. Time to shop for gold and leather before continuing to the peaceful spa resort of Montecatini for your overnight stay. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
La Piazza Della Signoria
"What’s the best vantage point to ponder the most illustrious town square in Florence, the Signoria? An outdoor table in the venerable Caffè Rivoire – preferably over a delicious, if not painfully expensive cioccolata con pane, a dark and mud-thick hot chocolate. Late at night, when the crowds have gone, you can search the long shadows and imagine that very little has changed here since the 1400s. The Signoria is the most elegant sculpture garden in Europe. Masterpieces include the splendid Neptune Fountain by Ammannati, Hercules and Cacus by Bandinelli and a precise copy of Michelangelo’s David, all strategically poised in front of the Palazzo Vecchio. This grand public space has been the centerpiece of Florence since the 15th Century, the golden age when the city was established as the most beautiful in Europe. Eminent merchants in their ostentatious finery met here to discuss business in the midst of Florence’s raucous daily life."
DAY 10Tuscany–Pisa–Nice, France
In Pisa, marvel at the amazing Leaning Tower, 180 feet high and 12 feet out of the perpendicular. Then, enjoy spectacular views of Italian and French Riviera resorts. Leave the highway for the panoramic Moyenne Corniche and stop in Èze to visit the Fragonard PERFUME FACTORY before arriving in Nice. (Breakfast)
"It was the most perfect experiment in the history of science. Holding both a cannon ball and a small musket ball, the 30-something Pisa native Galileo Galilei scaled the steps of his city’s famous Leaning Tower, and held them dramatically over the edge. Eight stories below, the town’s most learned scholars and priests were gathered as observers. They watched as the two balls dropped to the ground at the same speed – disproving, with a single stroke, the ancient idea that objects fall at different rates depending on their weight and size. This archaic concept, which had been espoused by the ancient Greek author Aristotle, had been accepted without question for more than 2,000 years, Galileo’s great innovation was to put it to a practical test of observation. Unfortunately, this famous story is probably not true. Galileo never wrote about it himself – it was recounted in a late biography penned by his secretary, Vincenzo Viviani. Most historians now believe that it was Galileo’s imaginative disciples who invented the Leaning Tower tale in order to make the theory so clear that even a child could understand it. "
DAY 11Nice. Excursion to St. Paul de Vence
A highlight visit this morning to the picturesque hilltop town of St. Paul de Vence. Marvel at the many art galleries, and relax with a glass of Pastis at a local café, where you may see the locals play pétanque (lawn bowling). Return to Nice for a lazy afternoon to dabble in the blue Mediterranean or to stroll along the elegant Promenade des Anglais. An optional outing is available tonight to Monte Carlo. (Breakfast)
Transfer to the railway station and board the high-speed TGV TRAIN to Paris. Meet your Local Guide and take the elevator to the second floor of Paris’ most famous landmark: the EIFFEL TOWER. This evening, a special dinner with wine has been included at a local restaurant where you can try out local specialties like escargots (snails), soupe à l’oignon (onion soup), boeuf bourguignon (beef Burgundy), and others. Afterwards, why not join an optional drive through the “City of Light?” (Breakfast, Dinner)
Discover the world capital of chic and style with a Local Guide and admire its most famous sights: the Opéra, Arc de Triomphe, Champs-Elysées, and more. Optional excursions are available to the magnificent Louvre Museum to admire the Mona Lisa, and the lavish baroque Palace and Gardens of Versailles. Tonight, a lively cabaret show might be the best way to say, “Au revoir, Paris.” (Breakfast)
There’s more than one way to conquer the world. The flabby, charismatic “Sun King,” Louis XIV, knew that he could impress the French people with his insanely lavish royal lifestyle, but he also wanted to make his mark on Europe. Throughout his 55 year rule in the 17th Century, he campaigned vigorously to establish Paris as the continent’s capital of style, promoting its gourmet food and wine, haute couture, cutting-edge perfumes, opulent furnishings and exquisite jewelry. Every new innovation required Louis’ personal imprimatur, making him the world’s first fashion dictator. Author Joan DeJean claimed in “The Essence of Style” that Louis’ devotion to elegance has shaped the culture of indulgence today – “Without the Sun King’s program for defining France as the land of luxury in glamour, there would never have been a Stork Club, a Bergdorf Goodman, a Chez Panisse or a Christophe of Beverly Hills.”
Today, a thick pane of bullet-proof security glass keeps artlovers a safe distance from the most famous painting in the world, Leonardo da Vinci’s “Portrait of Lisa Gherardini, Wife of Francesco Giacondo,” known in French as “La Joconde” and English as the “Mona Lisa.” But back in 1911, it was simply hung on the walls of the Musée du Louvre like any other canvas. That was until a former museum employee named Vincenzo Perrugia strolled into the gallery before opening hours on August 21, noticed the room was empty, took down the Mona Lisa and walked out of the Louvre with it under a painting smock. When the loss was finally noticed, the police were mystified. For two years, the whereabouts of the masterpiece was unknown, while French detectives made various wild guesses. (It had been stolen by the Germans. By anarchists. By evil geniuses. By lunatics.) They actually arrested the country’s top art critic, Guillame Apollinaire, then let him free. Then, out of the blue in 1913, an Italian art dealer in Florence was contacted by a man calling himself “Leonardo” who claimed to have the Mona Lisa and wanted to see it hang in the Uffizi, Italy’s top art museum. Although he found it hard to believe that the thief could be so reckless, the dealer tipped off the police and agreed to meet the strange Leonardo in a Milan hotel room. There, the nondescript fellow opened his suitcase, emptied out his socks and underwear, opened up a false bottom in the case to reveal the Mona Lisa – and was immediately arrested.
DAY 14Paris–London, England
After breakfast this morning you will be transferred by high-speed EUROSTAR TRAIN to London, arriving in the afternoon. (Breakfast)
Sightseeing with a Local Guide includes the most famous landmarks, a visit to ST. PAUL’S CATHEDRAL, and the Changing of the Guard, if held. Optional afternoon excursions to Windsor Castle or the Tower of London are available. And tonight, maybe a leisurely cruise on the River Thames? (Breakfast)
Changing of the Guard
"Changing the Guard dates to Henry VII (reigned 1485-1509) and was designed to show military discipline as well as ceremony. The tall bearskin hats were introduced in the 18th century to make the soldiers look taller and thus more frightening, and they were adopted for ceremonial use in 1832. The ceremony we know today started in the late 1800s and involves real soldiers who fulfill all military duties, guarding the Queen being just part of their service."
Tower of London
"Since its founding in the 11th century, the Tower of London has served many roles: impregnable fortress, royal residence, armory, treasury, home of the famed Crown Jewels, and a prison for those who offended the monarchy. To this day it is guarded by the “Beefeaters,” a name that likely originates from when Tower guards were paid part of their salary with chunks of beef, a practice that continued until the 1800s."
Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (Breakfast)
Motorcoach with free Wi-Fi; canal cruise in Amsterdam; Rhine River cruise; private boat ride in Venice; high-speed TGV train (first-class); high-speed Eurostar train
Full buffet breakfast daily; 1 special lunch with wine tasting in Florence; 6 three-course dinners, including special dinners in Venice and Paris
With Globus, there’s no better way to get to know your destination than through the eyes of your Tour Director. Averaging over a decade... we’d like you to meet a Tour Director, who is representative of the type of expert that will be with you on your vacation.
BRIGITTE MAIER KARALL
Years of Experience: 31 years
Traveling is my passion, and I see Europe as my doorstep. I get the opportunity to help you experience different cultures, languages, and various lifestyles on one vacation. My goal is to ensure each person has a unique and personal experience.
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