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My 2019 Grand Europe Trip

Discussion in 'Trip Reports, Planning, & Questions' started by Donald Razorduck, Sep 14, 2018.

  1. Donald Razorduck

    Donald Razorduck Member

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    Approved off from Memorial Day weekend to the Monday after July 4th.

    Basic outline
    May 25th, Virgin Altantic to Man Prem Econ on points.
    Manchester (Alton towers)to Stonehenge to London

    Jun 2 Flight to Madrid

    Madrid
    Drive to Toledo/Consegura/Port Aventura
    Barcelona
    June 8th- 6 nite Disney Cruise to Rome
    Will hit up , Eze, Cinque Terre, Pisa/Lucca/San Gig, Naplea/Pompeii on the Cruise.
    Rome
    Train to Florence for day and then train to Venice
    Venice.
    Drive through Alps to Fussen
    Fussen to Rhine Falls to Europa
    Three nights at Europa(booked New Hotel Kronosar Today) pray the water park is done.
    (Will see Black Forrest and Strasbourg while based there)
    Flight to either Bordeuex or Nantes(volotea)
    Pu du fou for two nights.
    D a-day
    Bayeux Tapestry /Caen Memorial Museum day then to Rouen for the night
    Rouen to Monet's Garden to Paris
    Days in Paris(visit Disney)
    On to Efteling and Phantasialand routing undecided along with stops TBD.
    I figure a day in AMS
    Like to get to Vimy Ridge or other WWI site
    Somehow get in Bastongne and Related Battle of Bulge stuff like Malmedy and Patton's Grave in Luxembourg City at the American Cementary. Possibly Dunkirk. Windmills, Toverland and maybe another small park or two. Brugges for at least an afternoon.
    Flight out of Franfurt back go the states.

    Dunkirk and Plopsa are right there together.
    The Walibis are appealing but may save them for when there are done with the all the additions. I appears we will drive right by Gardaland and not stop. Will have plenty of other ops for Similar coasters. I want to get in Expedition Gee Force if I can.

    We want to save Rothenburg to visit for Christmas Markets and Munich for Octoberfest.

    May incorporate Copenhagen in for at least a day on the way back for Tivoli.

    Drawback, appears Alton Towers will. E hit during a Bank holiday. Will have to cough up fast pass money. Got to be on my toes get the coveted Stonehenge Circle early or late admission slots to go inside the stones.

    Open to suggestions , places to visit ideas, ect.
    May put Paris before Puy du Fou.

    All the airfare and lots of the hotels are coming from points hording. I'M not rich, been budgeting and ratholing for three years.

    Next big one after this is Japan and China come 2022.
     
  2. UK-Trigg

    UK-Trigg Veteran Member

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    Sounds awesome, let me know nearer the time and id be happy to show you around Alton Towers, my local park
     
  3. Mad Dog

    Mad Dog Premium Member

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    UK Trigg lives in Derby, just about an hour or so from Manchester. You should try to do a meet up with him at Alton Towers, as you'll have the perfect guide. ...There's a great cathedral near Stonehedge in Salisbury. Salisbury, with it's medieval charm, is a great place to visit. When we visited Stonehedge we were able to get up right next to the monoliths, but they no longer let you near them. ...Fussen is tremendous with the three Ludwig castles. Allow yourself two days there if you can. No way can you do all three castles in half a day. The one on the lake is at a very considerable walking distance from the other two....Rothenburg, and the entire Romantic road are terrific throwbacks to the Middle Ages. Save it for a Christmas visit if you want, but I'd suggest the time of year you are going since you will be able to immerse yourself in the charm of that ancient town better in good weather and the countryside is quite beautiful in non winter. Whenever you go, get a room right in the town near the town center. Rothenburg has to be experienced that way. It's just about exactly the same as it was in medieval times. Also consider going to and staying in the 'old town' area of Heidelberg if you can. Strassbourg is nothing special. I would recommend Garmish Partierkierchen at the foot of the alps (Zugspiel overlooks it) and Heidelberg instead. Innsbruck in the Alps, kind of on the way to Fussen depending on your route, is a beautiful city.......and, we expect a trip report from this fabulous vacation to be. :)
     
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  4. Teebin

    Teebin Legendary Member

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    Geeeawd... the way you people vacation and go go go! I am the type that would go and spend three days pondering the corner stone of a great building, and then fly home all tuckered out. :look:
     
  5. UK-Trigg

    UK-Trigg Veteran Member

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    I like to get my monies worth, or bang for my buck in US speak
     
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  6. Donald Razorduck

    Donald Razorduck Member

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    The main objective of this trip was to 'introduce' our teens to Europe. We aren't stay in any one place long but are hitting what I call the greatest hits. The Wife and I will taking it all in and looking for places we'd like to go back and do them proper.
    We'll not visit all the Castles at Fussen, we'll pick one, take pics of the others. I don't want them to get 'Castled' out. If the weather is clear on our drive to Fussen, we'd like to take the brief detour to see the peaks in the Funes Valley at Vilnoss. I toyed

    I've not pulled any triggers on the flights as that could change I make those decisions at the 6 month window but out plan was to drive to Atlanta from Memphis and cat h the old Virgin 747 across the pond. Doing and flying Premium economy is less than connecting via Delta feom Memphis in plain old coach. United is offering nice flight in coach with some compelling layovers but I'm afraid my kids will hit the wall. I wouldn't but them might.
    One would give us a day in Toronto a redeye to Dublin and a day there and a flight across at 8pm to MAN.

    Another, parks us at Newark for the day, redeye on Scandinavian to CPH for a whole day there and then to Man in the evening. I can sleep on planes but my wife stuggles and the kids have never been on one for more than 4 hrs much less red eyes.

    AA is currently offering the shortest one stops but United usually loosens up on those at the 6 months so we'll see. But, I really want one last rodeo on a 747 before their gone. A Virgin bird wouldn't be bad at all.

    Flying home will be in Lufthansa or Singapore metal good old coach but their coach product is heads and shoulders better than the US carriers except maybe some newer Delta birds.

    You would have died on our Great Southwest Expedtion that covered Mesa Verde, Arches, Zion, Grand Canyon, White Sands, Carlsbad, San Antonio,and Austin and lots of stuff in between then.

    I will flat out admit, that we'll be glossing over some stuff. The wife and I without kids plan on going back and doing some of these places proper when the nest is empty. Right now we are giving crash courses of the world and playi g them the Greatest hits.

    My favorite coldplay song is Amsterdam but you never hear that on the radio.:grin:

    In Paris, it'll just be the Eiffel, Arc, one of the major art Museums(the Louvre, duh), the catacombs (they are teens) let them just wander in a trendy area for a few hours and Mom and Daughter do the Champs while the son and I go credit grabbing at Jardin D'aclimation(spelling I know) and Versailles. And...there's Disney just because I want to do their Big Thunder mostly.
     
  7. Donald Razorduck

    Donald Razorduck Member

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    A Question for Trigg....
    Two of the possible flights to Manchester get there in the morning on Sun the 26th. We'll surely be out of the airport and in our car rental by 10am. I'm sure we'll be bursting with the awe of being there regardless of lack of sleep and it being some time away from check in, I was knocking about the idea of driving up to Blackpool to "squeeze in" another park but that seems to make the drive back toward Alton Towers a wee bit long at around two hours.

    Suggestions on what to do? Should we just get on to Alton Towers and get time some in there. Till the room opens up or go to Blackpool and hit it up for 4 to 5 hrs and then head back down , check in and crash and just spend the whole day at Alton Tower on Monday. I believe the hours at like 11 to 6 both days. I believe we'll get on down the road a bit to Stratford onMondon evening to get a better jump on Tue.

    On the Tuesday, we had planned on a driving tour through Stratford upon Avon and the Cotswolds heading to Stongehenge. Any must eat places, preferred scenic routes. Just a few stops are planned as we can't really accumulate lots of stuff shopping.

    Seriously, looking for neat places to eat and stop. Is Cadbury chocolate worth the time?
     
  8. Mad Dog

    Mad Dog Premium Member

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    Trigg is on his Disney Cruise until Saturday, and without wifi, so he's essentially blacked out. I'd suggest you send this again at the end of the week so he notices, otherwise it might get lost in the shuffle of a week's zillion posts.
     
  9. tielo

    tielo Veteran Member

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    I would skip Toverland and DLP.
    You can get all the Mickey you want at home and as someone from the Netherlands I can honestly say that Toverland is quite underwhelming. Efteling on the other hand is a must.
    But take a breather, sit down and watch people. Don't fill your days with tourist traps but just get lost in Paris, London or Amsterdam. Find a bakery, buy some food and have a picnic in a park. Also include the jetlag for the first few days. I rather do a hand full of highs than a ton of nothing but that is just me.
     
  10. Donald Razorduck

    Donald Razorduck Member

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    London is just that, we'll start with something planned for each day but not a whole list of stuff. For example, I have a London Tower and Bridge tour day. We'll go at opening and when done, the day and evening is open to how and what we are feeling, whether it be a museum in the afternoon or browsing some market area.

    We plan on actually operating on euro time a week before the trip. The Wife teaches, so she'll have a week along with the kids to do it before we leave. I can push through it rather easily as I already keep irregular hours during hunting season and what not.
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2018
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  11. Donald Razorduck

    Donald Razorduck Member

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    I'm now booked for three nights at Europa in their new Kronosar hotel for the stop. I know I'm going to be SOL but I hope they have the waterpark open when there. We totally love well done water parks.

    My only real regret is this trip is outside of season for the top draw leagues. I'd love to have taken in a game at one of the big boys. I eon't have a favorite team I just watch them all, following Leicester City on their run got me hooked.

    And... my Razorbacks have decided to become nonexistent on the gridiron. They are a true embarrassment for our small but proud state at the moment.
     
  12. Donald Razorduck

    Donald Razorduck Member

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    Got two nights/days booked for Puy du Fou today as 2019 went on sale.

    Went for preferred seating for Cinescenie and the upgraded ticket for show seating. This is in the 3rd week of June. Our room is a cottage over water at Les Iles de Clovis Ochose it over staying at the Citadel because of King size vs. Double. I almost sprung for the best accommodation they had but it was 400 euros more. I hope like hell next year isn't as hot as this year was as their a accommodations aren't really air conditioned. They do require upfront payment. Cancellation is a pair and requires you to buy cancellation insurance at 40 bucks to do so. Oh well.

    I did book a fall back stay at Europa after Puy du Fou. It would be our last Theme park stop then on to Munich via the Alps(Fussen) as there is another iternerary we may do and it would have us stay in Italy a bit longer and we'd fly Venice to Nantes or Bordeaux instead of Europa then Strastsbourg to Nantes. Whatever we do, it's basically circular. There's no avioding Disneland Paris though. The wife demands it. Love that Europa doesn't require upfront payment and good cancellation terms. As I can play with thos dates if need be.

    We'll be flying home from Frankfurt or Munich pretty much no matter how I do this.
     
  13. Donald Razorduck

    Donald Razorduck Member

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    Got my provisional booking for the special access Stone Circle tour Not the best date I wanted but a month ago it wasn't bookable, I forgot to check every week and boom just like that, I finally did and there they were, picked over pretty good already with mostly the early morning tours left. I wanted and got a evening one. I'm just off a day or two from my original routing.
     
  14. tielo

    tielo Veteran Member

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    All from I hear is that summer will be as bad as this year was but it's weather so things probably change and we could get the coldest, wettest summer ever or something in between.
    I would love to visit Puy du Fou one day but you know, The France...
    London is great to walk around, eat something at a pub (not the touristy one, just pick one of the beaten path).

    Regarding Efteling:
    - Eat at Polles Keuken, how the Dutch eat pancakes. Polles Keuken pancake restaurant - Efteling
    - Buy Stroopwafels (Dutch Treat)
    - Eat Poffetjes 't Poffertje restaurant - Efteling
     
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  15. Donald Razorduck

    Donald Razorduck Member

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    Well, I booked my flight. XNA-LHR via a nice, long layover in Chicago. Arrive in Chicago at 8:30AM will get to London at 11:20 on Sunday. Why would I want a 13hr layover layover in Chi-town on a Sat Memorial Day weekend. Upgraded the Wife and I to Economy Plus and the kids to a prefered economy directly behind us.

    Cubs, Wrigley Field, first pitch 1:20PM and Geno's pizza. Ifnthat doesn't get them to sleep on the red eye, I don't know what will.
     
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  16. agentj

    agentj Rookie

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    Location:
    Rhode Island
    Europa Park is fantastic. Some ideas....
    Eat at the Food Loop. Foods good but the experience is fantastic.
    Have coffee and pastry at the pastry shop in Iceland
    Do the VR coaster. Do "Wodan" their wooden coaster
    There is a great Irish Pub in the back of Ireland. Go upstairs to the Bar. "O"Mackays"
    Don"t miss "Arthur" the ride
    Eat in town at least one night. "The Grill" in Rust is our not to miss.(near Bell Rock Hotel)

    also, Mad Dogs suggestion of going up the Zugspitze is right on. Taking the Cog Railroad to the top is a fun trip(not quite the top, still need to
    go up to the very top by cable car. Some of the best Pizza we ever had was on the top of that mountain. Have a great time.
     
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  17. JoeCamel

    JoeCamel Premium Member

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    Geno's? Well, I differ
     
  18. Donald Razorduck

    Donald Razorduck Member

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    I'm open to suggestions, it needs to flow easily with transit options
     
  19. Donald Razorduck

    Donald Razorduck Member

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    We are coming up on my drop dead date on final payment for my cruise and to be able to get a full refund. This was to be a centerpiece of our trip but life happened.

    My 15yo son had got a couple of nasty looking bruises from out if the blue so we took him in and had him looked over on a Monday after school. His blood test showed very low platelet counts(40k) We immediately got refered to a hemotologist and we parents were freaking over it possibly being leukemia. Wed morning at the Hemotologist, the count was even lower (25k) and near hospital admission and transfusion time. His white blood cells did not show as abnormal, a tell tell sign of leukemia, which relieved us. They said he has ITP and started him on a round Prednisone at 60mg a day(thats a big dose for a steriod) that follwing Monday he responded by going up to 80k, then he went up to 91k that Friday. Monday came around and the Dr and us were expecting over 100k and to start tapering down the Prednisone dosage but we got a gut punch andbit went back down onto the 75k range. We for in this afternoon for the latest test and if not back up he'll get a bone marrow biopsy. They still don't rhink it is leukemia, they said he would not have responded to the Prednisone at all if it was. There is still the uncertainty of the root cause and getting his numers managed and possibly outright cleared up. But... this really puts us in a bind on booking thing were you take a major hit monitarily if you have to cancel. I was going to get the insurance but witj it now neing post event I fear thau would balk at the claim if we had to cancel. We also don't know how long between blood tests he'll be able to go and this was nearly a 6 week trek.
     
  20. tielo

    tielo Veteran Member

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    That is some terrible news but in the end it is only a trip, there is always the next time. First figure out what is going on with your son and how to treat it and when everything is stable take that trip. Health quality here in Europe is great so no problem there but first find out what it is.
     

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