Day 0. Monday. 17 October Fly from USA
Day 1. Tuesday. 18 October Upon arrival at the Brussels Airport, clear customs and pick up your luggage. Continue to the airport train station which is located below the terminal (Basement Level -1). There are up to 4 trains an hour connecting the airport to the town of Brussels. Take the train into Brussels, making double sure that you get off at Brussels Central! (There are two other stations, Midi & North.) Upon arrival, walk up to street level, exit and look across the street–there you will see the Royal Windsor Hotel, Grand Place (Toll free from USA) 1 800 203 3232, local:+3225055555 in central Brussels. Hopefully you will have some free time to take a shower and perhaps a short nap. Meet Dr. Thomson in the lobby at 5:00 p.m. for talk and short walking tour. Dinner and overnight in Brussels. (Internet: Free WiFi in all rooms)
Day 2. Wednesday. 19 October: Breakfast in hotel (every morning on tour.) Check out of hotel. 9:00 a.m. departure for Aachen. Upon arrival (11:00 approximately), check in and leave bags at the Hotel Am Marschiertor(rooms may not be ready.) Tel:(+49) 241 31941 After 45 minutes for freshening up, I’ll have the coach take us to the center for a short walking tour, then lunch on your own. At 2:15 we have a guided visit of the stunning Cathedral which contains the coronation throne of Charlemagne, where he was crowned Holy Roman Emperor in 800 AD. Half of the cathedral is from 800 (octagonal, based on San Vitale in Ravenna), half Gothic; to Cathedral Treasury. We will arrange for the bus to pick us up at a specific place at 4:00 p.m. (Option to stay in the center, about 15 minutes from the hotel.) 7:15, depart by coach for dinner at Aachener Brauhaus. (Order whatever you want to eat and drink.) Overnight in the Hotel Am Marschietor, Aachen (Internet: 1 euro for 24h WiFi in all rooms)
Day 3. Thursday. 20 October: 9:00 a.m. departure for excursion to the nearby Netherlands – short walk in park to stand at the ‘Drielandenpunt’, the 3-countries marker stone where Belgium, the Netherlands & Germany meet; coffee available here. Then we go on a short drive across the hilly (!) south-easternmost part of the Netherlands – the Limburg; visit the US Netherlands Military Cemetery at Margraten (WWII). Into Maastricht for a group LUNCH by the river at Brasserie Bonhomme (pre-ordered), walking tour, free time: Maastricht is a delightful old fortress town on the River Maas (the Meuse), waterways, walls, old buildings. Return to Aachen. Evening free, dinner on your own. Overnight in the Hotel am Marschiertor, Aachen.
Day 4. Friday. 21 October: Check out of hotel. 9:00 a.m. departure for Bastogne. En route: ‘Battle of the Bulge’ tour – the 16 December 1944 German attack. Coach 1 hr south into the Eiffel/Ardennes hills: see the tracks down which the Germans attacked and traces of the Siegfried Line ‘dragon’s teeth’ anti-tank defenses. Follow the German attack route into Belgium (coffee right on the German/Belgian border): the American defensive actions in the ‘twin villages’ of Rocherath & Krinkelt; the Malmedy Massacre memorial. Follow the route of SS Col. Peiper and his lead Panzer force – see Tiger II (the largest tank of WWII) and Panther tanks. Continue south for 1 hr to Bastogne and the Hotel Collin. Tel: 061/21 43 58 Dinner in Cafe 1900 (fixed menu), overnight in Bastogne. (Internet: Free WiFi in all rooms)
Day 5. Saturday. 22 October: 9:00 a.m., depart hotel for continuation of ‘Battle of the Bulge’ tour – the Bastogne story. Morning tour of the perimeter defended by US troops in December 1944 when the town was surrounded: ‘Band of Brothers’ memorial in the Bois Jacques, villages of Foy and Recogne (German cemetery), the American Memorial. Afternoon visit to La Roche en Ardennes, pretty riverside town – options of castle, war museum, free time. Return to Bastogne. Dinner in Cafe 1900 (fixed menu), overnight in the Hotel Collin, Bastogne.
Day 6. Sunday. 23 October: Check out of hotel, 9:00 a.m. departure. Continue ‘Battle of the Bulge’ tour – the ‘southern shoulder’. Across the nearby border into Luxembourg – see the German attack zone around Clairvaux and Diekirch; Luxembourg Military Museum (the best ‘Bulge’ museum) – lunch in town. Exit the battle area by the pretty Our Valley, the charming town of Echternach. 1 hr east across the German border to the Aldstadt Hotel, Trier. Tel. +49(651) 9770200 Dinner at Zum Domstein (pre-ordered), overnight in Trier. (Internet: Free WiFi in all rooms)
Day 7. Monday. 24 October: 9:00 a.m. departure for excursion, first 45 minutes west to Luxembourg City: visit the US Military Cemetery containing Gen Patton’s grave; morning walking tour of city; free time. Return to Trier in afternoon via Schengen and the Mosel Valley. Time permitting we will stop at one of the many wineries. Dinner at Ratskeller zur Steipe (pre-oredered), overnight in Aldstadt Hotel, Trier.
Day 8. Tuesday. 25 October: Morning walking tour of Trier taking in the romanesque cathedral, the large Roman Gate, Constantine’s basilica (a huge building from C. 300 AD!) and the Roman amphitheater. Trier has the most Roman remains north of the Alps. Free afternoon for the city and its museums–the Rheinisches-Landesmuseum looks particularly interesting. Dinner at hotel restaurant across the street (pre-ordered) , overnight in Aldstadt Hotel, Trier.
Day 9. Wednesday. 26 October: Check out of hotel, 9:00 a.m. departure for Bonn. Drive 2.5 hours east to the Rhine – visit the remains of the Bridge at Remagen where US troops became the first across the Rhine, 7 March 1945. Small museum in the bridge supports. Riverside lunch (on your own) stop in Remagen town. 30 minutes north to Bonn – visit Konrad Adenaeur’s house (outside town), see the government buildings (Chancellery, etc.) from when Bonn was the capital of West Germany. Dinner (pre-ordered) and overnight in the Hotel Bristol, Bonn. Tel: + 49 (0) 228 – 26 98-0 (Internet: Free WiFi in all rooms.)
Day 10. Thursday. 27 October: Two choices: Morning free in Bonn or go with Dr. Thomson to visit the German Museum of Contemporary History (the story of postwar Germany). Check out of hotel, 11:00 a.m. departure for Brussels with stop in Köln to visit famous cathedral and have time for snack lunch. Three hour drive to Brussels. Dinner in town, overnight in the Royal Windsor Hotel, Brussels
Day 11. Friday. 28 October Return flight to USA or . . . .
Brussels Extension Stay on in Brussels for one more night for $135@ or two nights for $265@. Prices are per person in double room and include bed, breakfast and group dinner(s) in a typical local restaurant.
Sunday. 30 October Return flight to USA for those of you who extended.
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|Joe & Diane Dondero|