On visiting Amsterdam, via Eurostar, we were unaware that it is customary in Amsterdam to pay to go to the loo in a bar/night club, as I and probably many other Brits discovered when I barged past a Filipino lady stood near the entrance to the toilet with her hand held out.
These ladies of the toilette actually rent the toilets from the bar owner and for cleaning them charge you.
For those of you with weak bladders, this could prove expensive!
Take the kids on 5th December for the arrival of "Sinter Klaas" by boat into the city.
The big Dutch Christmas celebrations are on St. Nicholas Day. A unique experience for all the family with street celebrations, treasure hunts, sweeties from Black Pete and clogs filled with carrots!
If you want to see one of the best and most memorable art collections in Europe come to Amsterdam and catch a train or bus to Otterloo to make a visit to the Kröller-Müller Museum.
It has a remarkable collection of the best of a variety of great artists. The choice of the original collection was made by a very discerning art collector. The best Van Goghs are there which you can compare with those in the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam.
And there are many other artist’s works and sculptures in the park set in open countryside.
If you plan to travel using Swiss trains (and I would recommend this) then you could consider buying something called a 'halb-tax' before you purchase any tickets.
It costs around 200chf (that might be a year or so out of date) but once you have it you can purchase train tickets - first or second class - at half price.
So, for example, a trip from Zurich to Milan in first-class would drop from around 300 to 150 chf.
So, if you plan to travel, say, more than three times it pays for itself. I have another tip of a similar nature: Swiss trains are a lot cleaner, newer and better serviced than Italian ones, so if you are travelling from Switzerland to Italy (which is a great journey) then either ask at the ticket counter who is the operator, try to get 'SBB' trains (the Swiss ones) rather than TrenItalia.
Another good operator is CISAlpino which I believe is some kind of joint operation.
Still relatively undiscovered in comparison with Krakow. Take the slow train from Warsaw and arrive several hours later having passed through gentle central polish landscapes.
The city itself has an exhilarating buzz and is great for simply walking around the Rynek (central square) or along the river Odra.
So many historic buildings remind you of the citys traumatic past, but one stand out attraction is the Panorama of the Battle of Raclawice depicting the victorious peoples militia overcoming Russian invaders, before the third partition of Poland.
If you fly into Vienna's airport and are staying centrally then forget taxis and walk straight on to the CAT (City-Airport Train) not forgetting to buy a 16 Euro return ticket valid for a month.
The CAT whisks you without stopping, in just 16 minutes to the centre of Vienna. From plane to CAT is just 400 yards and from CAT to Vienna Hilton just 200 yards. So convenient!
Having trekked about 400 miles around Heathrow it shows you why more, smaller airports are the answer rather than bigger airports that you can't get to because of congestion.
My family, that is myself, my wife and three grown up children took the overnight sleeper from Paris Bercy to Verona for the remarkable price of £26 each.
You have to book in advance for this and there are limited places at this price. Whist the accommodation is somewhat basic, we had a six berth-compartment, its hard to imagine getting any sort of accommodation at that rate in Paris, let alone one that allows you to wake the next morning in the land of Romeo and Juliet.
A second tip, take your own butties and drink onto the train- those sold on board are expensive.
Venice by train is the ultimate arrival. Across the lagoon and then out of the station onto the Grand Canal.
Don't take too many bags, because your next destination has to be reached by vaporetto (waterbus), motoscafo (watertaxi) or gondola!
Anatomist Honoré Fragonard flayed the skin off his subjects, soaked them in alcohol, and preserved them with a secret-recipe varnish.
But his best ingredient was a bizarre sense of humour. In the Musée Fragonard, you meet a trio of dancing foetuses, ‘Sansom’ - a toothless man waving a jawbone, and a horseback rider with veins of brightly coloured wax.
Until the 1990s it was only open to those with a ‘specialist interest’.
Fragonard was deemed insane and lost his job. But perhaps he was only trying to bring a human face to medicine – a leering, monstrous, pop-eyed one at that.
cole Nationale Vétérinaire de Maisons-Alfort
7 avenue du Général de Gaulle
94704 MAISONS-ALFORT Cedex
tel: 01 43 96 71 72
fax: 01 43 96 31 62
The Terrass Hotel in Montmatre is a fantastic hotel - service, food and staff are all superb in this beautiful region of this most romantic city.
Take the lift up to the 7th floor and onto the roof terrace in the evening and watch the Tour Eiffel light up in the evening surrounded by stunning panoramic views of the Parisian skyline.
On a relaxed & warm summers evening, there's nothing better!
A guided tour of Les Egouts (the sewers) is an unusual and surprisingly enjoyable way to learn some fascinating history of Paris.
English speaking guides have some great anecdotes as they guide you through the underground tunnels.
The smell is not offensive! Tours take place Saturday to Wednesday between 11 a.m and 5p.m. The entrance is near the Eiffel Tower at 93 Quai d'Orsay.
Le Lys is a unique B&B in a 17th century house in the atmospheric Marais district, a stone’s throw from Notre Dame and the Centre Pompidou.
Stéphane and Jean’s elegant home is stuffed with antiques and paintings, and the generous breakfast is a delight, but it is the warmth of their welcome that impresses the most.
By the time you leave, you will be firm friends, and your experience of Paris will be all the richer for it.
Le Lys is on Rue Quincampoix, w, and the telephone number is +33 (0)6 7741 2913/(0)1 4704 2880
Rue Quincampoix, 75004 Paris. +33 1 4704 2880
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