CP Travel Ambassador Therese LeGrow recently went on a river cruise with Avalon Waterways Expression ship for their Storyteller Series and what a story she has to tell! Join her as she takes us to Europe and what to look for when you visit.
What specific cities and /or countries did you visit? Germany and The Netherlands
What was your favorite memory?
- Floating down the Rhine river listening to our favorite band, Sister Hazel, perform on board our boat.
- Wine tasting in Old Town Eltville.
- Seeing a portion of the Berlin Wall in Koblenz.
- The castles, vineyards and villages dotting the banks along the Rhine River Gorge.
- Visiting the picturesque village of Zaanse Schans and touring the working windmills.
- Renting a pedal boat in Amsterdam and spending a couple hours exploring the canals.
Top excursions and landmarks/sites to visit:
- Frankfurt - The Main Tower was phenomenal.
- Koblenz - The Ehrenbreitsten Fortress and cable car ride.
- Cologne - The Cologne Cathedral and also the chocolate museum.
- Dusseldorf - We enjoyed an alt-bier tour thoroughly.
- Amsterdam - We rented a paddle boat and toured the canals. day trip to Zaanse Schans.
Standout restaurants or foodie must-haves? If you travel to Rudesheim make sure you try a Rüdesheimer Kaffee. For those who may be unfamiliar, it is a traditional German coffee made with Asbach Uralt brandy and topped with whipped cream. It's typically served in a special Rudesheimer coffee cup, which is designed with a small receptacle in the base to hold the brandy.
One of the dishes we really enjoyed was Maultaschen or "Swabian" ravioli. It consists large pasta pockets filled with meat, spinach and onions, served in broth or with potato salad.
The other is a well known specialty, Spätzle, a type of egg noodles that is served as a side dish or mixed with cheese and fried onion. In the Netherlands a beloved snack is Bitterballen. It is typically served as an appetizer or side dish. It consists of small balls of mashed potatoes mixed with beef or veal ragout, and then breaded and deep fried. It's crispy on the outside and soft and creamy inside. And is often served with mustard for dipping.
What is something people would be surprised to learn about this destination? Germany: Despite being famous for its beer culture, Germany is also home to over 1,000 vineyards and produces some excellent wines, particularly in the regions of Mosel and Rheingau.
The Netherlands: The Netherlands is the world's second-largest exporter of agricultural products behind the United States. The country is well known for its innovative agricultural practices, including greenhouse agriculture, which allows crops to be grown year-round.
Top 5 Tips and recommendations for this trip:
- Book your excursions in advance. They tend to fill up quickly.
- Try the local cuisine! One of the benefits of a river cruise is the chance to taste local cuisine at one of the many ports.
- Pack appropriately. Pack light layers to accommodate warm and cooler weather. Don't forget to pack comfortable walking shoes.
- If you are traveling from a country that uses a different voltage or plug design (e.g. North America or the UK), you may need a converter or adapter to use your appliances or electronics onboard the ship.
Did you travel via cruise ship? If so, please describe the experience and some of the standout features that you ere excited about. This cruise was part of Avalon Waterways' Storyteller Series. We were on the Avalon Expression with the band Sister Hazel and about 100 fans, or Hazelnuts, as we call ourselves! The band hosted a reception the first night, performed on board 3 times and hosted a meet and greet with everyone on board. The meet and greet theme was Tacky Tourist and it was fun to see how everyone dressed.
One evening Avalon arranged a private classical music performance for the passengers by two highly gifted young students who attend the Villa Musika which has residence in the 250 year old never-destroyed Engers Castle. It was truly something special to experience this caliber of musical talent in such a unique setting!
What makes this destination a must-see in your opinion? The Netherlands has charming cities, picturesque countryside, bicycles everywhere, rich culture, and history. Germany has rich culture and history, scenic landscapes, Modern vibrant cities and many festivals and celebrations.
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