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Our Amazing European Christmas & New Years; 5 Weeks!

Our Amazing European Christmas & New Years; 5 Weeks!

Jan 25th, 2013, 04:09 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 2,105
Our Amazing European Christmas & New Years; 5 Weeks!

We’ve been back a week from a really fantastic 5 week trip to Europe over the Christmas New Year period. As usual I got so much help from you all and even despite some ‘negative’ feedback on our plans; it was a truly memorable trip. I do like to do a really thorough trip report but this is the first time I didn’t keep a journal, I did ‘jot’ notes on our map, so with that, photos and receipts, I will try to be as helpful as possible.

We are a 50 year old (oh god, that’s the first time I’ve had to write that…..), I’m retired, Dh is back at work after a couple of years travelling but has managed to secure plenty of holiday leave in his new role  . We’ve been to Europe several (6 we think) times, so the time in London, Paris & Amsterdam, were really just little ‘treats’, to revisit some favourite places. The planning was based around wanting a white Christmas with our two grown daughters (24 & 26) and their two partners (now fiancées……sure was an exciting trip). Early last year we secured a really great package deal, through a coupon website for a hotel/resort in Mayrhofen, Austria. So with that booked, we planned around that.

This is our itinerary and I will go into more detail shortly;

The 4 young ones flew out with Malaysian Airlines on the Friday night for London.
Dh & I departed on the Saturday morning with Singapore Airlines, B/class booked with points.
3 Nights in London with the ‘kids’
Eurostar to Paris, for a really special dinner
Train to Munich, two nights with the kids.
Picked up 2 cars (included in the Hotel package)
Drove to Mayrhofen
5 nights over Xmas, skiing
Back to Munich, kids flew back to London
Dh & I flew to Madrid for one night
Collected small Motorhome (this is where I got a lot of negative feedback)
17 nights exploring Spain & Portugal
2 nights Madrid
1 night Amsterdam for the meal of the trip & our flights home
aussiedreamer is offline  
Jan 25th, 2013, 04:11 PM
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Okay theres obviously a 'glitch' in the system. I reposted to include Spain, again I hit preview and it posted, this time without the UK........I'll just stick with this one as it has the main countries tagged.
aussiedreamer is offline  
Jan 25th, 2013, 08:08 PM
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Hi Aussiedreamer. I have enjoyed your reports in the past and look forward to reading this one. Merci...
latedaytraveler is offline  
Jan 25th, 2013, 09:22 PM
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Happy Australia Day aussiedreamer, bring on your report........ I really enjoyed the last one and I'm glad you had a great trip.
cathies is online now  
Jan 26th, 2013, 06:41 AM
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Jan 26th, 2013, 06:59 AM
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annhig is offline  
Jan 26th, 2013, 11:03 PM
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It’s the Australia day long weekend here in Brisbane. The rain is relentless and the wind is near cyclonic, so I feel a TR coming on. This will mostly be done from ‘memory’ so won’t be as thorough as previous reports but will do my best.

The flight from Brisbane to Singapore was good but the 10 hour layover was dreadful. It was not by choice, it was the only flights available to us using points. We had some dinner in the lounge and a wonder around, even went to the butterfly enclosure this time, never done that before! Then we joined in on the free city tour, what a great service. We have been to Singapore a few times but we’ve never done this, it was great, about 1.5 hours. Then utilised the lounges to shower and await the next flight which didn’t leave ‘till 1.30am....YUCK. If this were to happen again I would definitely book a room in the airport hotel, we did try to check in but they were full. So by the time we boarded we were shattered, so slept a lot of the way to London.

Arrived into London about 7am, for the first time it took quite a while to get through customs, the line was really long, even the B/C express. Nice to have the car service waiting for us, I booked justairports.com I’d won a hotel through priceline.co.uk and had been a bit disappointed that it was at Chelsea, but it ended up being really great. And the guys enjoyed having a look around the Chelsea Football club. http://www.millenniumhotels.co.uk/mi...hornechelseafc

I’d booked it from the night before as the kids arrived before us, so we could get into our room straight away. DD2 Bec + fiancé Dave (they got engaged just before we left home ) had used our room for the night, so they were up and on their way to stay at a friend’s place for a couple of days & DD1 Sam+bf Sam (yes, they are both Sam)stayed at the hotel with us. DH was pretty tired, so bfsam & I headed for an explore. He’d never been before so was really keen, we caught the tube getting off at Piccadilly, then we just walked & walked, The Mall, Horses Guard, Downing St, Trafalgar Squ etc, it was so nice to see his excitement at seeing all these things for the first time.

We headed back with Bf sam getting off a few stops before me to explore on his own, which was code for, buying an engagement ring for dd2 Sam!! We all then met back up again at a lovely pub right across the road from our hotel, The Butchers Hook. We’d arranged to catch up with some friends we’d kept in touch with after meeting them on a previous trip about 5 years ago, they been really helpful when Bec & Dave moved to London for 2 years. It was a lovely get together, they own a villa in Portugal and suggested that we might meet up there if the timing worked (it did ;-)) By now we were shattered, so tired.

The next day was Bec’s birthday, so after a morning shopping on Oxford & Regent st (such fun) us three ‘ladies’ headed off to the The Ritz, I’d booked a special Xmas High Tea. So lovely, the atmosphere, service & of course the yummy food. We then met up with the ‘boys’ and all caught the DLR to Canary Wharf, Bec & Dave lived here for 2 years and we wanted to show her sister where she’d lived and we all went to dinner at La Tasca. Now it is just a chain Spanish restaurant but we had the yummiest meal, Bec’s former house mate met us there and a great night was had by all.

The next day was just a wondering day, had a great look around Harrods and met the Sam’s there for lunch at the Pizzeria, YUM. Bf Sam & Dh did the tour of Lords, while Sam & I shopped. Dh & I found our way to the Borough Markets and really enjoyed looking around all the wonderful Xmas food, even heard some children singing Xmas carols. Unfortunately I was starting to feel really yuk, as it happened we all fell victim to the flu at different stages, so after catching a bus back to the hotel, an early night was had by all.

Next; our train ride to Munich via one night in Paris......for dinner.
aussiedreamer is offline  
Jan 27th, 2013, 12:52 AM
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great first day, aussie, and at least you were able to sleep on the 2nd leg of your journey.

shame about the 'flu though!
annhig is offline  
Jan 30th, 2013, 09:42 AM
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I hope there will be more...
ParisAmsterdam is offline  
Jan 30th, 2013, 03:31 PM
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There will be........today hopefully. Brisbane has experienced yet another major flood event, so things have been a bit crazy.
aussiedreamer is offline  
Jan 30th, 2013, 04:31 PM
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Hi aussiedreamer!

Hope you aer keeping safe and sad to hear what happened there in BNE. My sister is there and hear the stories, all the time.

This is so nice, can't wait to ready your blog.

As we too are planning to make 2 x week trip with my daughter, to spend at least 3-4 days in one city and cover limited affordable towns/countries in our frist trip to Europe (in April with my daughter 15 yr old for 2 x weeks ) possibly London / Paris / Amsterdam and if possible Hamburg (as we got a friend there too). Let us know your thougths suggestions to plan this trip Pls.

And as our plan B in August, as we have been offered a house to stay in Strasbourg for 3 x weeks in August , so both my husband and I like spending there around and explore the other bit of Europe perhaps few towns/cities/ countries sight seeing that we couldn't make it before covered here. How do you think/suggest / a possible travel plan for us?

Or as Plan C, after readign your post, am wondering putting those 2 x together aren't we better off, having a longer trip in December 13 / January 14 for 6 weeks or so, all 4 x of us together , including our son, to explore many cities/towns/countries, and have 'white christmas' there. We are not adventurous love landscapes / museums / architecture and hiking. You did this in European Winter ( we didn't look forward to it as it was told it is difficult to travel in Europe, in Winter )We love motorhome trips and this will be a lot more fun, we did a one to South Island December last yr and enjoyed it to bits.

Heare from you soon!


nzsl is offline  
Jan 30th, 2013, 06:16 PM
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We decided not to ‘drag our bags’ on the tube and caught a cab to St Pancras, to catch the Eurostar to Paris. Such a great way to travel and we love arriving in the centre of the city instead of at the airport and having to deal with waiting and transfers etc. We’ve been to Paris a couple of times before, so this was just a fun stopover on the way to Munich to see Paris at Xmas and I’d booked a restaurant for dinner.

As we arrived at Gare du Nord in the afternoon & were leaving from Gare de l’Est the next morning, I booked the Holiday Inn which was right across the road from Gare de l’Est. We dropped our bags and headed back to Gare du Nord as we’d remembered that Bus #42 which originates there, is a great way to see the city.

We got off near the Eifel Tower and went for a wander, it was bitterly cold & it had started to rain. Didn’t bother us too much as we were just meandering around. We stopped off at a cafe, which was just near the Paris Perfect apartment we’d stayed in on our first trip to Paris years ago, for our ‘compulsory’ pastry!

Got the #42 back getting off a little closer to our hotel and got ready for dinner, caught a cab to Verjusparis.com for an unforgettable meal. I’ll post what we ate for all the foodies out there; it really was a stunningly beautiful meal, made all the more special by the phone call during dinner to tell us that our second daughter had just got engaged in London, very excited.

roseval espuma,
bacon jam, pickled shallots, chives

shaved foie gras,
candied hazelnuts, baby spinach, pickled grapes,
champignon de paris

line caught sea bass,
beetroot, savoy cabbage, preserved lemon,
lentils, apples, horseradish

duck breast from pomarez,
red onion ravioli, orange, rye,
smoked celery root skin

grass fed basque beef,
chanterelle mushroom, almond, cardamon,
heirloom carrots, marrow crumbs

guanaja chocolate ganache,
salted peanut butter mousse,
baked grapes, whipped cream

pumpkin cake,
chai ice cream, carrot jelly, whipped marscapone,
walnut meringue, caramel

tasting menu 60€

It was just a wonderful night, we wandered back in the rain, eventually giving up and jumping in a cab.
It was so easy to wake the next morning and just walk across the road to the station. A really easy transfer in Stutgart and onto Munich, we actually had a compartment to ourselves on this leg, which was nice. I'd booked these train tickets from home about 3 months in advance to take advantage of a good rate.

We were also starting to see our first signs of snow, arrived into the main train station and walked a short distance to our hotel, Kings Center Hotel, which was a great find, spacious, great location, good breakfast awesome staff and really reasonably priced at $195 total for two nights.

Next Munich with the ‘kids’...................
aussiedreamer is offline  
Jan 30th, 2013, 09:28 PM
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Hi Aussiedreamer

Sounds like you holiday is everything you dreamed it would be, love reading it. My family and I are heading to London Nov 2013 and thinking of Canary Wharf, what's your opinion of the area, is it far from say London Eye etc.
Jill2013 is offline  
Jan 30th, 2013, 10:33 PM
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Oh yes, its a long way out, its not on the tube line you have to catch the DLR. I think if its your first visit, its too far away from 'everything'. Its the banking district, so high rise office buildings is all you'll see.
aussiedreamer is offline  
Jan 31st, 2013, 06:47 AM
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Thanks for taking the time to post this. I am looking forward to your chapter on Spain!
knwolf is offline  
Jan 31st, 2013, 10:51 AM
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wow, great menu for €60.

just adding Verjusparis.com to my favourites!
annhig is offline  
Jan 31st, 2013, 11:57 AM
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More please! Hopefully over the weekend......

The menu sounds great.
cathies is online now  
Jan 31st, 2013, 03:18 PM
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I'll be back later I promise..............
aussiedreamer is offline  
Jan 31st, 2013, 03:49 PM
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i know I will be in over in the summer but I still am enjoying your report!
crazyfamilyof4 is offline  
Feb 1st, 2013, 09:52 AM
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Great start, aussie!

How far in advance did you book Verjus? A friend of mine tried a month out and they were full already. As a former Hidden Kitchen patron, Verjus has been on the top of my list since it opened.

Looking forward to more...
YankyGal is offline  

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