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Old 10-24-2015, 07:50 AM   #2421
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Wow, stunning pics Dawg!
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Old 10-24-2015, 08:35 AM   #2422
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For us, Amsterdam is the place in Europe most like the US. People are laid back and dress casually. They speak outstanding English, and often with an American accent. It's slightly more technologically oriented than other European cities - and actually than many US cities.
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We stayed in a "boutique" hostel in Amsterdam - really just a hostel that offered a few private nicer rooms with bathrooms for those who didn't want to share their entire space with strangers. But we were able to enjoy meeting travelers from around the world in the community kitchen/living areas, buy food at a grocery store and cook whenever we wanted, and hang out with the resident hostel cat. It was a very unique experience, especially as we never had a chance to do the whole backpacker thing as youngsters. FUN!
We are in the early stages of planning our next trip to Europe. It is an 8 day bike/barge trip on the Moselle from Metz. We plan to fly into Amsterdam and then spend some time making our way through Bruges/Brussels/Luxembourg to Metz. The barge trip ends in Koblenz so was also have some time at the end.
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Old 10-24-2015, 09:28 AM   #2423
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The bicyclists are insane, indeed, but we loved that aspect! There were parking garages for the bicycles! Hubby kept trying to talk me into renting bikes...I kept saying no, as I didn't want to die on vacation. He's much more adventurous than me.

We stayed in a "boutique" hostel in Amsterdam - really just a hostel that offered a few private nicer rooms with bathrooms for those who didn't want to share their entire space with strangers. But we were able to enjoy meeting travelers from around the world in the community kitchen/living areas, buy food at a grocery store and cook whenever we wanted, and hang out with the resident hostel cat. It was a very unique experience, especially as we never had a chance to do the whole backpacker thing as youngsters. FUN!

I did agree to rent bicycles in Paris and had a FABULOUS time, even though I was scared to death to try it. We took a leisurely afternoon and biked from the Latin Quarter over to the Eiffel Tower. There were only a few scary moments - we tried to stay on the smaller back roads. It was a great way to see the city. And then we got a bottle of wine and cheese at a local grocery store and set up camp on the lawn with everyone else. Wonderful memories!
My SIL took us on a great bike ride all the way to and through the "Amsterdam Forest" to a little goat farm that my small nephews enjoy. Once we were out of the immediate neighborhood, we were totally on bike/walking trails - no roads or traffic. It was quite a long ride, and the forest was amazing. The airport was near it - so it was as if we biked on the way to Schipol without traffic!

Vondelpark is another great place.
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Old 10-24-2015, 09:39 AM   #2424
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My SIL took us on a great bike ride all the way to and through the "Amsterdam Forest" to a little goat farm that my small nephews enjoy. Once we were out of the immediate neighborhood, we were totally on bike/walking trails - no roads or traffic. It was quite a long ride, and the forest was amazing. The airport was near it - so it was as if we biked on the way to Schipol without traffic!

Vondelpark is another great place.
Awesome! We considered Vondelpark, but never made it out there to bike for some reason. Limited time! Just one more reason to go back again!

Hubby really wanted to bike around the main parts of town, where it is crazy with traffic, etc. He's a much better multitasker than me. My luck I would get run over in all that traffic. i'd be fine with the off-road/only bike/walking trails. That forest ride sounds really amazing and that is indeed a long ride!
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Old 10-24-2015, 09:45 AM   #2425
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We are in the early stages of planning our next trip to Europe. It is an 8 day bike/barge trip on the Moselle from Metz. We plan to fly into Amsterdam and then spend some time making our way through Bruges/Brussels/Luxembourg to Metz. The barge trip ends in Koblenz so was also have some time at the end.
I have some friends who recently did this trip or one very similar to it. They found that there was more emphasis on the biking than on the sightseeing and that the guides were not well informed about points of interest.
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Old 10-25-2015, 09:53 AM   #2426
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I have some friends who recently did this trip or one very similar to it. They found that there was more emphasis on the biking than on the sightseeing and that the guides were not well informed about points of interest.
Did they use VBT?

There are only 10 couples and many of us already know one another so we will find our way around I thnik. But I would appreciate your feedback.
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Old 10-25-2015, 10:05 AM   #2427
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Did they use VBT?

There are only 10 couples and many of us already know one another so we will find our way around I thnik. But I would appreciate your feedback.
I don't know, but I will ask and get back to you.
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Old 10-25-2015, 11:01 AM   #2428
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So happy to hear that! My Rick Steves Amsterdam book just came in the mail and I'm having a wonderful time reading through it and jotting down ideas.
Be aware of the long lines to get into the Anne Frank house. I hoped for a shorter line by showing up before it opened on a very rainy day.... Nope. Still waiting almost 90 minutes to get in. I observed the line was shorter in the late afternoon... so perhaps everyone else had the same idea as me - to get there early in hopes of avoiding the line.

There were also VERY long lines for the Van Gogh museum, even though we'd pre-purchased tickets.

That said - I highly recommend both the Anne Frank house and the Van Gogh museum. Worth the lines.
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Old 10-25-2015, 12:32 PM   #2429
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Be aware of the long lines to get into the Anne Frank house. I hoped for a shorter line by showing up before it opened on a very rainy day.... Nope. Still waiting almost 90 minutes to get in.

I observed the line was shorter in the late afternoon... so perhaps everyone else had the same idea as me - to get there early in hopes of avoiding the line.
Yep, I read this, so we showed up late in the afternoon - I think around 6 pm. or something like that. Most people were at dinner. Minimal line.

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There were also VERY long lines for the Van Gogh museum, even though we'd pre-purchased tickets.
Not sure how we missed the long lines there, too...good luck I guess.


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That said - I highly recommend both the Anne Frank house and the Van Gogh museum. Worth the lines.

I concur, both great experiences!
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(49, married; DH 53. I am fully retired as of 2015 (well ok, I still work part-time but only because I love the job and have complete freedom to call off if I want to travel with hubby for work), DH hopes to fully retire 2018 when he turns 55 to access 401K penalty-free...although he may decide to do part-time consulting)
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Old 10-25-2015, 07:44 PM   #2430
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Awesome! We considered Vondelpark, but never made it out there to bike for some reason. Limited time! Just one more reason to go back again!

Hubby really wanted to bike around the main parts of town, where it is crazy with traffic, etc. He's a much better multitasker than me. My luck I would get run over in all that traffic. i'd be fine with the off-road/only bike/walking trails. That forest ride sounds really amazing and that is indeed a long ride!
The Rijksmuseum is close to one end of Vondelpark. On the first day we walked through Vondelpark we walked on to the Rijksmuseum and then took the team back.
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Old 10-26-2015, 05:37 AM   #2431
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We are in the early stages of planning our next trip to Europe. It is an 8 day bike/barge trip on the Moselle from Metz. We plan to fly into Amsterdam and then spend some time making our way through Bruges/Brussels/Luxembourg to Metz. The barge trip ends in Koblenz so was also have some time at the end.
We have done several VBT trips but not in holland nor a bike and barge. The guides have always been local so are very familiar with local sites, customs, and food. I think those trips are highly rated and the typical VBT customer tends to be a little less avid cyclist than some groups. Have fun and let us know how it goes.
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Old 10-26-2015, 06:49 AM   #2432
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We plan to fly into Amsterdam and then spend some time making our way through Bruges/Brussels/Luxembourg to Metz.
Consider swapping out Bruges for Gent. Gent is more lively and just as historic as Bruges. Also not as many tour buses with huge crowds.
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Old 10-26-2015, 06:51 AM   #2433
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Yep, I read this, so we showed up late in the afternoon - I think around 6 pm. or something like that. Most people were at dinner. Minimal line.
You can also buy your ticket upfront and bypass the waiting line.
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Old 10-26-2015, 06:52 AM   #2434
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Gearing up for New Zealand in a few weeks. Hoping to stay there two months.

Start in Christchurch, buy a car and go on the grand tour. Camping / airbnb, whatever comes my way.

Finish up in Auckland, sell the car.
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Old 10-26-2015, 07:45 AM   #2435
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We have done several VBT trips but not in holland nor a bike and barge. The guides have always been local so are very familiar with local sites, customs, and food. I think those trips are highly rated and the typical VBT customer tends to be a little less avid cyclist than some groups. Have fun and let us know how it goes.
I did the VBT Holland Bike and Barge trip and loved it. The guides were good and familiar with local sites and customs. VBT always includes visits to notable sites on their routes and plans routes to include such sites. That said, these are bike tours so the emphasis is more on riding than culture or history. I agree with jabba that VBT is oriented to recreational cycling - great accommodations, food, wine, and easy to moderate rides in the 20-40 mile range. The longest day of riding I have done with VBT is 60 miles and that was unusual.
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Old 10-27-2015, 08:45 PM   #2436
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I want to retire so I can take this road trip.
Top Brewery Road Trip, Routed Algorithmically | FlowingData
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Old 10-27-2015, 08:57 PM   #2437
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We are in the early stages of planning our next trip to Europe. It is an 8 day bike/barge trip on the Moselle from Metz. We plan to fly into Amsterdam and then spend some time making our way through Bruges/Brussels/Luxembourg to Metz. The barge trip ends in Koblenz so was also have some time at the end.
I've stayed around Koblenz and Bacharach three times over the years. When the weather's nice, nothing is better than sitting at the Konisbacher beer garden, south of Koblenz, watching tour boats going up and down the Rhine River.

Ben's Bauernhof (Tips for Travel in Germany) is a great place to read about tourism in the Mosel River and Rhine River region. He has covered all the places to stay in Bacharach, too. It's a small city with great B&B's to stay in.
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Old 10-28-2015, 08:14 AM   #2438
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I want to retire so I can take this road trip.
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Love the concept!

But...no brewery stops in New Mexico??

NM is quickly becoming well reputed as the brewery capital of the SW.
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Old 10-30-2015, 07:53 PM   #2439
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Thinking about Vietnam in early Feb or late March as the first or last stop on an Asian trip. Anyone been there?


Concerned about the cool weather in Feb. Tentative plan to fly to Hanoi, then make our way south. Failing that, start in Thailand and work north to Vietnam in March. Hope to spend two weeks in this country.
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Old 10-31-2015, 06:32 AM   #2440
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Thinking about Vietnam in early Feb or late March as the first or last stop on an Asian trip. Anyone been there?
A very long time ago.

We had friends who went there for their honeymoon a few years ago and loved it. Flew into Hanoi and ended up in Bangkok a week later.
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