Tour: HWE - 2014 (HWE) - 2014 / 2015

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Itinerary

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)

Amsterdam is the capital and largest city of the Netherlands Amsterdam is the largest city and the capital of the Netherlands Amsterdam became one of the most important ports in the world during the Dutch Golden Age Enjoy the lovely canals of Amsterdam 
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DAY 2Amsterdam

Your discovery of Holland features a morning sightseeing tour of the capital with a Local Guide. Enjoy a CANAL CRUISE past gabled merchant houses, arched drawbridges reminiscent of the Golden Age, and the strikingly modern buildings of a young-at-heart city. Next, visit the fabulous RIJKSMUSEUM with priceless paintings by Rembrandt and other Dutch masters. Then, time to explore Dam Square and the city center on your own, or to join your Tour Director for a visit to a major DIAMOND CENTER to appreciate how a rough mineral is transformed into a sparkling jewel. Afternoon at leisure. An optional excursion is available to a cheese farm, a clog maker, a working windmill, and dinner in the fishing village of Volendam at the former Zuiderzee. (Breakfast)

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DAY 3Amsterdam. Excursion To Aalsmeer (or Keukenhof), Delft & The Hague

Start with an early highlight visit to the impressive AALSMEER FLOWER AUCTION (departures May 24-September 27), where more than 17 million flowers and two million plants are sold each day. (Departures April 5-May 17 visit the famous bulbfields of South Holland and the extraordinary flower park of KEUKENHOF instead.) Next, continue to the world-renowned ROYAL DELFT POTTERY FACTORY with its magnificent collection of hand-painted earthenware pieces, and see skilled craftsmen at work. After an orientation drive of The Hague, seat of the Dutch government and the International Court of Justice, return to Amsterdam and Globus Local FavoriteGlobus Local Favorite visit the ANNE FRANK HOUSE. (Breakfast)

Keukenhof is the worlds largest flower garden and is known as the Garden of Europe Meander through the beautiful Keukenhof gardens Approximately 7,000,000 flower bulbs are planted annually in Keukenhof Boats along the beautiful canals of Amsterdam 
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DAY 4Amsterdam–Maastricht–Bastogne, Belgium–Luxembourg

Drive south to Maastricht, where the famous treaty for a stronger unified Europe was signed, the set-up of today’s European Union. Time to stroll around this delightful city, or to join the locals for lunch at one of the quaint cafés flanking Vrijthof Square. Cross the Belgium border and stop in Bastogne at the AMERICAN MEMORIAL of the Battle of the Bulge, where thousands of soldiers and civilians died during the winter of 1944-1945. Late-afternoon arrival in Luxembourg, the capital of one of Europe’s smallest sovereign states. (Breakfast, Dinner)

Enjoy the beautiful views of Luxembourg 
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DAY 5Luxembourg

Morning sightseeing with your Local Guide covers the city’s past and present—from the fortifications and the Old Town, perched high atop a sandstone outcrop with striking views of the Alzette and Pétrusse Gorges, to the modern administrative center of European institutions. Visit the CATHEDRAL OF OUR LADY, see the turreted Grand Ducal Palace, take a stroll along the panoramic cliff path known as “the most beautiful balcony in Europe,” and see the GRAVE OF GENERAL PATTON. An optional excursion to Trier in Germany can be arranged. (Breakfast)

Visit the Porta Nigra in Trier, the oldest city in Germany 
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DAY 6Luxembourg–Waterloo, Belgium–Brussels

A highlight visit today: drive through the Belgian Ardennes to Flanders and arrive in WATERLOO, where Napoleon was defeated and European history changed course. Your Lion Hamlet Pass gives you access to the Visitor’s Center, where the Lion Mound, the films, and the Panorama help you relive the famous Battle of Waterloo. Globus Local FavoriteGlobus Local Favorite Enjoy lunch with local specialties and Belgian beer at the Wellington Café. Arrive in Brussels, the thriving capital, where your orientation features the Rue Royale, the Parliament Buildings, the Royal Palace, and St. Michael Cathedral. Continue on foot and enter GRAND’PLACE to admire its baroque guild houses and the gothic Town Hall. You cannot leave Brussels without touching the statue of Everard ‘t Serclaes, a 14th-century hero, for good luck, and taking pictures of the tiny but world-famous statue of Manneken Pis. (Breakfast, Lunch)

View the magnificent Gothic and Baroque architecture on the Grand Place in Brussels 
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DAY 7Brussels. Excursion to Bruges

Focus on Bruges, one of Western Europe’s most perfectly preserved medieval towns. Globus Local FavoriteGlobus Local Favorite A CANAL CRUISE (weather permitting), during which you can try Belgian CHOCOLATE BONBONS, will give you a first taste of this delightful town. The Local Guide will show you the Madonna of Bruges by Michelangelo in the CHURCH OF OUR LADY and the famous MARKET SQUARE. Also enjoy a traditional LACE DEMONSTRATION, a reminder of Bruges’ history of cloth-making. Time for souvenir hunting and exploring on your own before returning to Brussels. (Breakfast)

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DAY 8At Leisure in Brussels

This morning is your chance to join a half-day optional excursion to Antwerp, the second-largest Belgian city and one of the world’s most important ancient seaports. Tonight, an Globus Local FavoriteGlobus Local Favorite included farewell dinner with wine at the lively Chez Léon restaurant, specializing in moules & frites (mussels & fries), is the perfect way to celebrate the success of your vacation. (Breakfast, Dinner)

Antwerp’s Grote Markt is still the heart of the old city 
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DAY 9Brussels–Paris, France

You will be transferred by high-speed THALYS TRAIN to Paris, arriving at lunchtime. The remainder of the day is at leisure. (Breakfast)

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DAY 10Paris

Morning sightseeing features Paris’ most famous highlights, including gothic NOTRE DAME CATHEDRAL, the LOUVRE, and a photo stop at the Eiffel Tower. (Breakfast)

The Eiffel Tower in Paris 
Notre Dame Cathedral

Notre Dame Cathedral


Europe’s most famous cathedral, whose twin Gothic towers loom above France’s most beloved river, the Seine, actually owes a lot of its international success to the author Victor Hugo. Back in 1831, when Hugo wrote his classic novel about a hunchbacked bell-ringer at Notre Dame who falls in love with a beautiful gypsy, the medieval cathedral had fallen on hard times. During the Revolution in 1789, it had been seized, looted of its treasures and converted into an atheistic “Temple of Reason.” Even worse, after the monarchy was restored in 1815, Notre Dame was used as riverside warehouse – its once-splendid glass windows now dimmed and its facades decaying pathetically above the Île de la Cité. But Parisian’s indifference to their landmark ended suddenly in 1831, when Victor Hugo published his romantic novel the “Hunchback of Notre Dame,” (called “Notre-Dame de Paris” in French). The book was an international bestseller and lured armies of tourists to Paris in search of its Gothic cathedral setting. Hugo used this groundswell of public interest to lobby the French government for renovations of his beloved Notre Dame. From 1845 to 1864, repairs were indeed carried out – the clogged medieval streets nearby were cleared, revealing the marvelous edifice we see today.
Louvre

Louvre


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.
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DAY 11At Leisure in Paris

Full day at leisure. Ask your Local Host for suggestions. (Breakfast)

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DAY 12Paris

Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (Breakfast)

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