On my first full day in Amsterdam, I took part in this city bike tour. I was originally supposed to do the "historical" tour that morning, but due to problems getting into Amsterdam (from Rotterdam, where I was staying), I had to call Viatour and hope that they could reschedule my tour to the afternoon. I am pleased that they were able to accommodate me and so I actually did a "culinary" bike tour with a small group of six + guide via the Orange Bike shop. The tour was a 3-hour leisurely excursion through the city with frequent stops for food tastings (e.g., pickled raw herring, award-winning Dutch cheeses, Dutch ales and spirits) and historical landmarks. We rode just like the natives sans helmet through this most interesting city carved by canals and dominated by bicycles of all styles, sizes, and colors. It was great! Our well-informed tour guide, a delightful young woman in her 20s, who was also a kindergarten teacher and musician/artist led our small group for the afternoon. It was a great tour and gave us a little glimpse of the food, culture, history, and people of Amsterdam. Very interesting tour - highly recommend seeing Amsterdam by bike (with a guide)!
I took the cruise by myself since I was traveling solo, so this might be why I found it a little long at 4 hours. Two hours would've been enough. The weather was mostly cloudy and cool, making it cold to be out on deck in the open air and not great lighting for photos Lot of cigarette smokers, as well, which was unpleasant for a non-smoker. Inside in the middle deck would've been nice and cozy if traveling with a partner; try to get near the big section of windows near the bow of the ship.
I really enjoyed visiting Giverny/Monet's Garden. It was a beautiful, sunny, crisp morning - perfect to be in the French countryside. Lunch was lovely at the auberge in the country where our guides took us... After lunch, was Versailles and the Palace. I did not enjoy this so much. It was crazy-busy and we were packed like sardines sometimes in the rooms of the palace. Not relaxing, as we were also warned about pickpockets. Palace was a little over-the-top ostentatious for me, though the hall of mirrors was nonetheless impressive. Gardens were expansive and beautiful, but it was very hot that afternoon and since the gardens are open (i.e., no trees for shade), you really needed a parasol to protect you from the heat and sun's rays... Would've preferred spending more time in the French countryside, to be honest.
London, United Kingdom
I found this pass not cost-effectiveness. The top-tier sites I wanted to visit required transportation and timing to run perfectly in order to make the pass worthwhile (i.e., Westiminster Abbey, St. Pauls, Tower of London). I was unable to visit all three in one day, making this pass a losing proposition for me. Would not have purchased it, had I known about the logistical challenges that lay ahead; better to be more spontaneous in this case.
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