Cotswolds

The Cotswolds is an area in south central England, of predominantly rural landscape with rolling hills and picturesque small towns and villages built of cotswold stone, a type of yellow jurassic limestone.

Popular cotswolds towns consisting of historical stone-built villages, stately homes and gardens include Burford, Bourton-on-the-water, Stow-on-the-wold, Chipping, Moreton-in-marsh and various others.

We joined a day tour with VIATOR, departing from Victoria Coach Station, London at about 8.30am. The tour includes lunch and visits to the market towns of Burford, Bourton-on-the-water and Stow-on-the-wold.

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Volendam & Haarlem

VOLENDAM

Volendam – is a seaside town about an hours drive from Amsterdam. There is a ferry service between Volendam and a nearby island (peninsula). Along the waterfront are many souvenir shops, cafes, restaurants and even a cheese factory. There are also a few stores selling seafood such as herrings (my favourite seafood in the Netherlands).

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Strasbourg

Strasbourg is situated on the eastern border of France and Germany and is the official seat of the European Parliament. After a relaxing less than two hours drive from Sembach (Germany), with our car parked at Strasbourg Railway Station and a quick lunch there, we were ready to explore this beautiful town.

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Sembach

Whoever have heard of Sembach? Very few people have I am sure. But this is where we went, to catch up with an old friend who married a local german girl and had stayed there for more than forty years. It is about a five and a half hours drive from Amsterdam.

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Budapest

Budapest, the capital of Hungary, has a history of more than a thousand years. It came into being at the end of the 19th century when the three cities Pest, Buda and Óbuda merged.

Apart for being known for its thermal baths, there are also plenty of other attractions such as the expansive Buda Castle, the majestic Charles Bridge, the Jewish quarters, the Fisherman’s Bastion and of course the Danube river.

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Amsterdam

Amsterdam, the largest city and capital of the Netherlands, is also the country’s biggest tourist-draw. However, neither the Dutch government nor the head of state resides in Amsterdam.

Amsterdam was a financial and political powerhouse in the 17th century and most of the city’s famous canals and architecture are from this era. Not only are the canals beautiful, there are also a great means of transport around the city.

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Vienna

Vienna is the capital of Austria and has been the heart of the Habsburg Empire for centuries. It has left behind an impressive number of palaces, monuments and other landmarks.

We arrived in Vienna Haupbanhof in the mid afternoon and our pre-booked taxi driver was already there waiting for us. The drive to our hotel, Hotel Rathaus – Wein and Design took only about 30 minutes. The location of our hotel is quite convenient as it is only about a 20 minutes walk to the Austrian Parliament Building.

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