Anne K

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Anne K

Anne K

USA

Nov072011

Tour/Activity

Sintra Day Trip from Lisbon

Lisbon, Portugal

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review

This is an excellent day trip from Lisbon, although it does not match the Viator description. You start at Pena Palace, a fascinating combination of 16th-century monastery and 19-century palace, and continue to Sintra for an excellent lunch, with time to tour Sintra Palace on your own.

The drive back along the coast is gorgeous, even in November, with a couple of short sightseeing stops, most notably at Cabo da Roca, westernmost point in Europe.

I would definitely recommend this trip.

My Photos

  • Vew from Cabo da Roca
  • Pena Palace Gateway
  • Pena Palace from below

May012011

Tour/Activity

Luxembourg Day Trip from Brussels: Two Countries in One Day

Brussels, Belgium

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review

This was a well-run, well-guided trip, led by a knowledgeable guide who deftly juggled 4 languages. The first stop was a 1-hour sojourn in Dinant, a town of brick and stone buildings sprawled along the river Meuse. Its main claim to fame is that it was the lifetime home of Adolphe Sax and birthplace of his eponymous instrument, and saxophones are found everywhere.

A journey through the lovely Ardennes, a landscape of forests and fields, takes you to Luxembourg, a city of many high, long bridges, spanning the river and several deep chasms. The low spots are full of buildings and parks, linked by lots of steps and steep roadways. We had only 3 hours there, but we got a very comprehensive walking tour, a chance to explore a few buildings, and 1 hour of free time to prowl. The ruins of the original 10th-century castle that founded Luxembourg are still in evidence, and there's a cathedral with an enormous crypt. Guarding the tombs of the grand dukes are a particularly impressive pair of bronze lions.

My Photos

  • LUXEMBOURG02
  • LUXEMBOURG01
  • Meuse River, Dinant, Belgium
  • DINANT01_SAX

Apr282011

Tour/Activity

The Brussels Card

Brussels, Belgium

My Rating
4 star rating: Recommended

My Review

Even if you end up spending more on the card than you would have on admissions, it's a bargain. Clutching the card in your hot little hand allows you to bypass the pesky lines at the major museums, and lets you into a lot of the small ones. You also get unlimited transportation on all metro, trams, and buses, saving the hassle of buying individual tickets.

My Photos

  • BRUSSELS02_SWAN
  • BRUSSELS01_GRAND PLACE

Apr242011

Tour/Activity

Keukenhof Gardens and Tulip Fields Tour from Amsterdam

Amsterdam, Netherlands

My Rating
3 star rating: Worth doing

My Review

First, the gardens themselves are every bit as fabulous as described. Seemingly limitless beds, not only of tulips, but also daffodils, amaryllis, hyacinths, daisies, and any other flower you can imagine that blooms in the spring. In addition, I was lucky to be there on a day when all the trees were in bloom as well. The gardens really are a "must see".

However, I didn't think the trip itself offered a good value. I have no idea why the company charges more for the 3/4 and full-day tours, as you get exactly the same thing as for the 1/2-day tour. No matter what you pay, you get transportation there, admission, and transportation back. That's it. There was also supposed to be a drive through the tulip fields, but this didn't happen because "the fields were a parking lot". If I want to do this again, I would research public transportation to the gardens and try to go on my own.

My Photos

  • KEUKENHOF02_DAFFODILS
  • KEUKENHOF05_TULIPS

Apr222011

Tour/Activity

I amsterdam Card - City Pass for Amsterdam

Amsterdam, Netherlands

My Rating
4 star rating: Recommended

My Review

Even if you end up spending more on the card than you would have on admissions, it's a bargain. Clutching the card in your hot little hand allows you to bypass the pesky lines at the major museums (particularly the Rijksmuseum), and lets you into a lot of the small ones. You also get unlimited transportation on all trams and buses (and the somewhat limited metro), saving the hassle of buying individual tickets.

Oct102010

Tour/Activity

Godollo Castle Day Trip from Budapest

Budapest, Hungary

My Rating
4 star rating: Recommended

My Review
If your time in Budapest is limited, this is a great way to see a little of the countryside. It's a pleasant half-day jaunt to a lovely and interesting castle with a knowledgeable guide. The castle itself is beautifully restored, although the outbuildings are in pretty sad shape (interesting to see the contrast). The main drawback to the trip is that there's a lot more to see at Godollo than the time allows -- gardens, theater, outbuildings, etc.

Oct072010

Tour/Activity

Danube Bend Day Trip from Budapest

Budapest, Hungary

My Rating
2 star rating: It was OK, but could have been better

My Review
Do not take this trip after September 30! Before then, the trip is by boat and is probably a wonderful trip. After that, it's strictly a bus trip. You do see some of the gorgeous scenery and get partial views of the Danube bend, but too much is obscured by trees and buildings, leaving you disappointed and wanting more. The other major drawback is that two of the three stops are just shopping stops. A 1-1/2 hour stay in Szentendre for craft browsing could have been far better spent on a castle tour. The redeeming factors were a tour of the basilica in Esztergom, an enthusiastic and knowledgeable guide, and a great lunch at a beautiful country restaurant.

Sep302010

Tour/Activity

Vienna Woods and Mayerling Half Day Trip

Vienna, Austria

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review
This is a great use of a half day in Vienna. In a fairly short time, you get a feeling for the local landscape and towns. It's true that there's not enough time to really see the two monasteries, but there's plenty of time for the really unusual part of the trip -- the underground lake. In addition to the lake itself, there is an extensive tour of the mine, which was used by the Germans during World War II to construct aircraft, a bit of important history you don't normally see. I must also compliment the guide, who skillfully juggled 4 languages during the tour.

Oct022009

Tour/Activity

Tropical Coast and Caves of Nerja Day Trip from Granada

Granada, Spain

My Rating
5 star rating: Highly Recommended

My Review
You get more with this trip than the description indicates. You see all that is described and more. The cave and tropical coast portion is actually in the morning, followed by a nice included paella lunch by the sea. On the way back to Granada, you get a bonus in the form of a stop at a 4th-century processing plant for salt fish. The plant is set in a marvelous park containing about 30 truly stunning sandstone sculptures by the same artist, all set among unusual tropical trees from all over the world.

Oct022008

Tour/Activity

Capri Day Trip with Lunch from Naples

Naples, Italy

My Rating
2 star rating: It was OK, but could have been better

My Review
Capri itself is spectacular, but the trip could have been better. Our guide was friendly, pleasant, spoke English well, and took care of our tickets and getting us around the island. The included lunch was also reasonably good, not always the case on day trips I have taken. However, beyond transportation and lunch, little was provided. The funicular ride listed on the voucher was not actually included. The guide first dropped us at Anacapri and advised us we could at our expense a take a lift to the top of the mountain and back, b go to a museum, or c shop. I chose the museum, which is well worth seeing. We then had lunch and were dropped in the town of Capri, again with the option at our own expense of a taking the Blue Grotto cruise, b taking the around-island cruise, or c shopping for about 2-12 hours!. The Blue Grotto cruise was not available, so I chose the around island cruise 13 euros, and I highly recommend it. The net result was that I had an almost perfect day, but this was mostly due to my selecting the best options offered best for me, anyway tastes differ, rather than the tour as packaged.

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