The trip report will be continued over the rest of the week and next weekend. In three weeks, we covered 5 countries, just shy of 2000 miles, many cathedrals, churches, castles, roman ruins, old towns, 4 theme parks, 2 Expo areas, and several themed hotels that put Disney to shame. We are exhausted, but really enjoyed it.
Week 1 - Travel from Bedford, England to Disneyland Paris via Channel Tunnel. Many days in DLP, but also a day in Paris including a Seine Cruise, Dinner on the Seine, a walk to the Arc de Triumph and then the Louvre. some chill time on resort. OVerall DLP is improving dramatically, but there is still a long way to go, and after visiting Europa Park and Phantasialand later in the week, there are a number of things the German parks do in a more "Disney" way than DLP. When I heard of the accident on Big Thunder Mountain, I was very saddened, but not entirely surprised. Perhaps this could be a wake up call to accellerate the refurbs. But overall, we had a great time at DLP (not so much due to this year's campaign and entertainment which are poor, but the cast and refurbs are majorly improved, including some of the meals).
Week 2 - Medieval Metz on the French part of the Moselle, then a night in a Jr Suite in Holiday Inn Strasbourg (free). A day exploring the wonderful Alsatian City of Strasbourg including the trams, a cruise, the medieval and Baroque sites, as well as the European Commission and the Court of Human Rights. To me, Strasbourg was a real highlight of the trip, a real treasure.
Next three nights were at the wonderful Europa Park Hotel Colloseo (Disney should visit to learn how to do family Deluxe right). More to write up, but we fell in love with Europa Park, an amazing park. My kids prefer it to DLP, and for me, it does challenge DLP in many ways.
A day exploring Frieberg (including Trams), the world's largest cuckoo clocks, and the Black Forest. Overnight in the Crowne Plaza Heidelberg (free).
After Exploring Heidelberg, it was off for 5 nights in a 16th centiry German Weinkelter on the Mosel (note the different spelling). It as during this time we chilled, explored the wineries, Roman/Medieval/Buroque Trier - another highlight (including supposedly seeing Jesus' robe) - including Karl Marx's birthplace, travelled the Rhein, popped into Luxembourg, visited the 10-15th century Burg Elz castle, and bbqed in the winery on our wedding anniversary.
Then we moved on up to Cologne, with a night in the wonderful Chinese Themed Ling Bao at Phantasialand theme park (again, a much better hotel than any of the Disney hotels). we had a great day in the park too, more to come, but in short, full of fantastic surprises).
Then we spent the night in Brussels, exploring the Expo sites the next morning and making our way to Gent for the evening.
On the 30th April, we went to the UNESCO city of Brugges on a little canal cruise and enjoyed seeing a Michelangelo sculpture that was the only one he oversaw the installation outside of Italy. We then drove the car onto the Channel Tunnel Train and arrived home a in the early evening.
A full write up and pics to come.