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European Tours






As well as our long-distance holidays and short trips to Germany, we like to simply jump in the car and look around Europe, taking in all those places we used to just drive past.  However, this page starts with our first, and last, European tour by coach.



Our outward journey took us to Brussels (just overrnight near the airport - no pictures) Vienna, Budapest, and Krakow.


Not far from Krakow, we visited the concentration camps at Auschwitz and Birkenau.  Shocking and horrible.  Everyone should visit and FEEL the revulsion and true horror of these places.  Something never to be forgotten.


On the return leg of our tour, we visited Prague, Nuremberg, and Heidelberg.  Overall, the whole tour was interesting, taking us to a few places we might not otherwise have seen.  On the down side, there were too many early starts, and some long drives without comfort or food breaks.  An experience neither of us really wants to repeat.



Our 2005 tour is divided into three parts, the first taking us to see family in Hohenlimburg, Germany.  Our visit coincided with the Hohenlimburger Stadtfest.  Then, with friends, we came across a town parade featuring lots of old costumes.  Finally we stayed in Düsseldorf.

2005 Tour 1

Part 2 took us into Holland.  In trying to follow the coast, we found a super hotel near a deserted beach at Elzenduin.  We also found some Japanese Gardens, and visited the Delft Porcelain factory.  At the suggestion of the hotel staff, we visited the ‘model village’ at Madurodam, near The Hague.  Heading South, we stayed in Sluis near the Belgian border, and visited an Ostrich Farm and the the railway centre at Maldegem.

2005 Tour 2

Part 3 is more-or-less our homeward journey, taking in the Sea Life Centre at Blankenberge, and St’ Joseph’s Village - a delightful little place about 10 minutes outside Calais.

2005 Tour 3



Our 2006 tour is also in three parts.  Our first stay was in Valkenburg, with its castle, caves, and, of course, restaurants.  From there we drove South along the Moselle, stopping at a delightful hotel where our room’s balcony overlooked the river.  Their restaurant, too, was on a terrace overlooking the river.

2006 Tour 1

We continued South with a one night stop in Nancy, before turning West towards Troyes.  Another delightful place with lots of half-timbered buildings in the city centre.  Continuing West, we stopped in the small town of Montargis.  A pretty town, but not much to do there apart from looking at canals and bridges.  The hotel was a former post house, and the restaurant was on the front terrace overlooking the pretty town square.

2006 Tour 2

The last leg of our tour took us to Giverny, where we went to visit Monet’s garden, followed by a brief visit to the nearby old town of Vernon.

2006 Tour 3


We returned to France in 2010.  The first leg took us via The Channel Tunnel from Folkestone to our usual overnight stop in Calais.  From there, we moved on to Abbeville, making a couple of ‘tourist’ stops on the way.  La Coupole was an underground bunker built to house and launch V1 rockets at London, and in the afternoon we visited The Underground City Of Naours.


From Abbeville, we went inland to Fourmies, but first we stopped at, and took a trip on, the Chemin de Fer de la Baie de Somme.


At Fourmies, our hotel was surrounded by woodland and lakes.  From there, after a walk around one of the lakes, we headed back to the coast to Dieppe.  The next day, as well as being market day, there was also an international kite festival.


Our next hotel was in St. Quentin Sur L’Homme, near Avranches - a good base to check out the bay of Mont St. Michel, and the nearby Alligator Bay.  We also visited the Church of Notre-Dame-des-Champs in Avranches.

Mont St Michel

St. Nazaire was our next stop, where we found a really good safari park, Planete Sauvage.  The hotel pool was nice to sit by with an evening beer, but too cold for actual swimming.

St Nazaire

Our last overnight stop was in Honfleur.  We’d been here before on a flying visit, but this time we lingered a little longer, enjoying lunch overlooking the harbour, and an evening meal on the other side of the harbour - with a few beers, of course.



In 2011, the first leg of our French tour took us, as usual, via The Channel Tunnel from Folkestone to our overnight stop in Calais.  The next day, we drove to Falaise, where we found the Chateau Guillaume-le-Conquerant.


From Falaise, we headed for St. Nazaire, stopping on the way at a small, but nicely landscaped zoo in Jurques.


In the Trignac suburb of St. Nazaire, we stayed in the same hotel as last year.  Again, the pool was nice to sit by with an evening beer, but too cold for actual swimming.  From here, we visited a blockhouse of the Atlantic defences at Batz-sur-Mer, followed by a drive along the Cote Sauvage.  It was a dull and misty day.

St Nazaire

Continuing South, we spent a couple of nights in Saintes.  From here, we visited Les Grottes de Régulus on the coast at Meschers-sur-Gironde.


Still based in Saintes, we had a day out on the holiday island of Ile d’Oleron.


Still going South, we spent 3 nights in Montauban.  From there, we visited Albi with its immensely impressive Basilica de Saint Cecile, claimed to the world’s largest brick construction.


Another full day out: In the morning we went to the mediaeval village of Penne, with its imposing ruined castle, la Forteresse Royale de Penne d’Albigeois.  After a really good lunch at a dowdy looking roadside café, we moved on to Le Petiit-Paris in Vaissac - a model of that city.


From Montauban, we headed East to Aubenas for one night, and from there we visited Dijon, which we’d first visited in 2006.  Then, we drove North to Chalon-sur-Saone for a couple of nights, and another night in Troyes, also first visited in 2006, before the last leg back to Calais.

Last Leg


The M25 made us miss our booked train at Folkestone.  Fortunately, we got one less than an hour later, and we followed our usual practice of overnighting in Calais.  Our first leg was a relatively short drive to Liège, so we made a short stop at the quirky St. Joseph’s Village that we first visited on our 2005 Tour.  In Liège we saw the first of many cathedrals on this tour.  We also revisited the railway station that I was so impressed with on my Interrail tour last August.


Next, it was just a short drive into Germany, and along the Rhine to Bonn, our next base for a couple of days.  I’ve often passed through on the train, but never stopped to have a look around.  But before our day of looking around the city, we spent an afternoon in Königswinter, firstly to go up to the Drachenfels (Dragon’s Rock) on the rack-railway for some great views of the Rhine and to visit the castle, which, previously I’d by-passed.  Later we had ice-creams by the river.


On our way to Metz, before crossing into France, we took an unscheduled detour along the Moselle and stopped in Bernkastel, where we had lunch overlooking the river in one of our favourite restaurants.


Next stop, Reims.  The last time I was here was on an Eddie & The Hot Rods tour, so I didn’t get a chance to look around then.  We made up for it this time, and enjoyed the city centre.


Our final stay, before returning to Calais, was in Chartres for 4 nights.  It seemed that on our way on the tour,  every cathedral city, Liège, Bonn, Metz, Reims, and Chartres had a cathedral larger than that of the previous city.  So, in Chartres, theirs was massive.
bout 20km from Chartres, we found a moated palace at Maintenon, then a little 13th century church in the back roads on the way back to Chartres.



Ignoring the usual outward and return stopovers in Calais, this year’s tour started in Reims,  We liked it last year (see above), and decided to have another look.  This album is a complementary update to last year’s.


It was a long drive to our next stop, Bourg en Bresse.   We hadn’t been there before, and although it was an interesting town/city, there didn’t seem to be a great deal going on, especially as many of the restaurants were closed on the day we arrived.  The last picture in the album shows a chart of some of the horse-heads we saw whilst walking around.


Parc des Oiseaux, Villars-les-Dombes. I first found this bird park back in 2011 on a brief visit and lunch stop between venues whilst following part of The Great British Pub Rock Tour with Eddie & The Hot Rods, Dr. Feelgood, and Nine Below Zero.  I wanted to go back for a proper visit ever since.


Before this tour, we’d never heard of Colmar.  One of the reasons we went there was because it was en-route to the Moselle, and the Novotel had a swimming pool.  As it turned out, the city centre was possibly one of the most beautiful we’ve ever come across.  The second part of this album features the toy museum.


Our next stop was in Ediger-Eller on the Moselle.  We’d stayed at the Moselromantik-Hotel Zum Löwen once before, many years ago, having found it by chance, just driving by on another tour.  This time, it was to be a base for visiting both Bernkastel and Cochem - a couple of our favourite places.


We were going to spend a few days in Hohenlimburg, and while we were there, we had arranged to meet my cousin, Claudia, and her husband in the neighbouring town of Letmathe.  It just so happened that a travelling funfair, the Kilian Kirmes was in town, too.  The Letmathe Kirmes has been an annual event (third weekend in July) for as long as I can remember.


So, this is it.  The last leg of our 2015 tour.  Sadly, like all similar towns, fings ain’t what they used to be, and Hohenlimburg seems to be a shadow of what it once was.  The town centre was mostly empty, and some of the shops were closed - even Kaiser’s café.  All that’s left are memories.



In 2016, we were to join Cheryl, Sunil, and Sophie in a Hotel near the Moselle.  Firstly, though, we started our tour with our usual overnight stop in Calais.  We stopped there on the way back, too, and had our, by now tradditional, saucisses et frites on the sea front at we watched the ferries coming in and going out.


While the others were visiting Euro Disney, Ann and I spent a couple of nights in the delightful old town of Mons in Belgium.  I first visited here on my Interrail tour of 2013.  The new railway station was still under construction.  Before meeting the others, we stopped in Bernkastel and, of course, had lunch in one of our favourite restaurants as we watched the Moselle flow by.


We then moved on to the charming Waldesblick (wood view) Ferienhof (holiday centre) where Cheryl, Sunil, and Sophie joined us, and we were based for a couple of nights.  From here, we were able to drive along by the Moselle and visit Burg Eltz and Cochem.


On, then, to the Romantik Hotel Neuhaus on the outskirts of Iserlohn.  Based here, we had a brief look at Hohelimburg and its Schloss.  Then, while the others went off to find the Möhnesee and dam,  Ann and I found a café by the river Lenne as it flowed through Altena under the shadow of the Burg.  For our last night, we met our good friends Gudrun, Gerold, Samira, and Amy for a super meal at the Cafe Del Sol on the outskirts of Iserlohn (on the other side of Iserlohn to the hotel).


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