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Old 4th November 2009, 12:25   #46
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Arrow Black Forest, lake Titisee, Germany

1130: We drive on, reach border of Germany at 1145, no photography here too, the road is narrow but beautiful country side. We reach the German border, the road visibly deteriorates hereafter, see bearutiful German farming communities and head towards Black Forest around the Titisee Lake.
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The most famous of resorts, expensive German tourist centre, you'd find most cars have campers hitched, area is peppered with camping grounds. We reach the parking lot of Titisee around 1215, we're in for the demonstration of how the Cuckoo clocks are made and what makes it tick. Salve leads the way to a shop where they demonstrate how this is made and how the counter weight drives the mechanism, those who have money burning their pockets buy the clocks, price starts for a decent clock around 50E, another rip-off, IMO. Me and wife quietly slip out to see the lake and sights around. You can see the black forest all around, what is left of it, the setting is dramatic. The forest is so thick no lights can get in and when it snows, it cannot reach the ground, we can see ghosts of the forest in our own Black Forest cakes with snow on top. The souvaneer shops here are the best, you can pick up decent looking quartz watches from 5E onwards, all of us did, Omax costs 10E and looked a bargain. What's more you get a VAT refund form too, the VAT you pay in Europe is refunded at the Airport of your departure, looked great compared to the rape at Lucerne. German costs are lesser than Swiss ones, you can stretch you money if you stay in the border and travel to Switzerland, see the place and come back in the night, many tourists do that. You can grab a quick lunch here, lots of options, none Indian. My suggestion for others is to reduce one day in Switzerland, stay the night here, and spend one whole
day, its one of the most beautiful and economic lake towns you can visit.
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practically no crowd, in season this would be full of people......
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Old 4th November 2009, 15:41   #47
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Arrow Heidelberg, romantic city, Germany.

I am plugging away systematically, hoping this would come in handy to someone travelling to Europe, wondering if I should drop the story and just upload only the pictures, then it would become a little bland..


3 PM: We start back to Heidelberg, on river Neckar, quaint romantic city in Germany at 6 PM, and reach the Carl Theodar Bridge, immortalized by many poets and writers. The view from the bridge of the town is most alluring and the view to the castle stunning in the setting sun, the statue of Theodar is anothere photo stop there. We walked to the old city, Altstadt, with the town hall, a church and shopping areas, got 1 hour free time to do shopping / walkink / shooting or sittting on a bench and gaping at people. WE did all that and head to the only Indian restaurant there, owned by a Mumbaiker. Reportedly, many big-wig political hanchos are close to this owner, he handles lots of off-shore accounts and you're likely to bump into powerful people here!!!! More........not for a public forum. The place was packed, the food was the best we had in the entire trip. We head to NM Hotels, Mennheim, around 8, again the rooms were classy and comfy.
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Last edited by ramkya1 : 4th November 2009 at 15:42.
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Old 4th November 2009, 16:39   #48
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11-10-2009: Up at 7, Great breakfast spread at 8, leave at 0830 on a very cold day outside, not before shooting the Merc with a wiper on its headlight, Ist picture.

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Take NH38 towards Stuttgard, RT on 67 towards Hannovar and Frankfurt and again into 6, signages are poor compapred to Switzerland, 0940AM reach the Rhine valley. 1320 kms long, Rhine is the life-blood of Europe, starts from Lake Constantine, splits into many, goes past Rotterdam and up to North Sea. It's navigable from North Sea to Basel, Switzerland, 800 KMs, a rare thing for many global rivers, and has great influence in European indusrial prosperity.

The 70 KM stretch of the Rhine Valley is a World Heritage site with many castles, vineyards and traditional towns with architecture still intact. Both sides of this is mostly connected with rail and road, one can spend 10 days exploring towns, soaking in the atmosphone or on river cruises. This was notorious too, historically, the castle owners used to extort toll from passing ships. Rhine Wine, one of the best in the world, not sold, only for private consumption is a sought after item.

We take the 11 AM cruise, cutting wind, temp drops to 7, everyone runs for black coffee on the deck; I've done many river / sea cruises, this would rate as one of the best and a must do item. Both sides you can also see camping grounds, caravans of Germans relaxing and doing nothing, most places were full!!!! The Germans are known for their precision engineering & beer, I think they are great campers too, never saw so many campers throughout our trip than there. Way to go.....

Driver Chiro waiting at a red signal, nobody in sight for 5 minutes, but still waiting for it to turn green....

Was very happy to see a huge barge being named "Ganges", practically every Indian waved at it and the crew waved back!!!!

You'd find the camping site with 555, we saw at least 10 of them on the cruise.
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Last edited by ramkya1 : 4th November 2009 at 16:46.
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Old 4th November 2009, 16:43   #49
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Reminds me of the train ride I took on the same track that you have photographed, from Frankfurt to Bonn! One of the loveliest rail journeys too.

Where did you take the boat cruise from - Mainz or Koblenz?
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Old 4th November 2009, 16:54   #50
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Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
Reminds me of the train ride I took on the same track that you have photographed, from Frankfurt to Bonn! One of the loveliest rail journeys too.

Where did you take the boat cruise from - Mainz or Koblenz?
Don't remember where we got on and off, must have been Mainz, it was about 1 hour cruise, one way, so it must have done about 10 -15 kms, will try to find out tonight from my notes and the cruise leaflet.

It terminated at St.Goar, a small river town, across the river you'd find Burg Katz castle, you'd see it in the background of the Coach.

Happy to see the thread being followed

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Old 4th November 2009, 17:36   #51
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Default Cologne Cathedral, Germany.

0100: Cologne Cathedral, Gothic World Heritage Site, took 600 years to build, one of the tallest church spires in the world, in 2nd world war it was bombed 50+ times but not destroyed as pilots used the spires to navigate deep into Germany for raids. We had time till 3 pm to see it and have lunch opposite at Mac Donalds; one can spend a full day inside the cathedral, go to the top on a lift or just walk around it. We found some of the glass mosaics exquisite and the vaulted domes gigantic.

You'd find spiderman statue in front, you throw in money, it would spring to life and you can take photos with it, the ability of this guy to stand like a statue is amazing!!!!!!!

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Eu de Cologue originated from here, the house 4711 from where it was originally made in cologne, still markets it, you'd find varieties here, a citrus perfume launched by an Italian in 1700, later was produced from Cologue, by a French franchisee of the Italians, still the original perfume is produced from here, a secret to this day!!!!

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Old 4th November 2009, 18:32   #52
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Default Brussels and a Peeing Fountain!!!! Gross!!!!

Caught another biker in one of the pit-stops.

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0315 PM: Drive to Brussels, reach there by 0550 PM. The de facto capital of European Union, NATO HQ, French and Dutch spoken, 10L population, famous for Tin-Tin & Godiva Chocalates; national landmanrk named bronze statue of a Boy Pissing!!!!! It was an anti-climax seeing this statue, we had to brave the 5 degree cold and drizzle to troop down the alleys, couldn't understand what the buzz was about. A non-discrete statue of a boy pissing in the middle of a street!!! Story has it that a boy saved the country by pissing into the fuse of a bomb and saved the city, many versions of it are afloat. He is dressed in 100's of costumes of many nations, some Indian too on a schedule published. On another schedule, the fountain spews beer and everybody drinks from that, imagine that!!!!!
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The central square and town hall, in contrast was one of the most beautiful and enchanting visits in the fading light.
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Whoever touches the golden figure's leg will become rich, so we kept touching it for a long time.

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Old 4th November 2009, 23:25   #53
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Great Travelogue, Sir. The pictures of Florence and Venice brought back old memories from my trip to those cities 20 years ago. It was start of February and it was cold. I remember that in Venice we had to order for coffee ( cost a few thousand liras in those days) at the cafes just to go for a leak. And they kept a srict eye that only people who ordered, entered. There were no public toilets we could find. But it was the annual carnival time and the masqueraders in magnificent flowing robes were a treat to watch. A bad memory from the trip was that my camera slipped out of my hands on one of the bridges and went straight into the canal. Fortunately, it was a cheap one.

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national landmanrk named bronze statue of a Boy Pissing!!!!! It was an anti-climax seeing this statue, we had to brave the 5 degree cold and drizzle to troop down the alleys, couldn't understand what the buzz was about. A non-discrete statue of a boy pissing in the middle of a street!!! Story has it that a boy saved the country by pissing into the fuse of a bomb and saved the city, ...
And I am sure they make a fortune selling miniature versions of it!
You get a similar feeling when you go all the way out of the city to see the statue of the Little Mermaid in Copenhagen.

Waiting for your next update. Guess it will be Paris next? I did some studies there. You pictures will bring back lots of good memories.

Last edited by Roameo : 4th November 2009 at 23:26.
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Old 5th November 2009, 00:55   #54
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I did the other way around, entered from France, Calais to UK by the Le Shuttle, the coach-train and crossed the channel from under to Folkstone, left by air from UK back to Ahmedabad.

====
I'd crossed the english channel on a ferry. I did that once in a bus that went in the train in the tunnel. But the one I enjoyed most was the eurostar! your travelogue is getting back fond memories in me.
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Old 5th November 2009, 01:36   #55
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Awesome Trip log ramkya. Great photos and a good narrative style.

Please do keep the installments coming.

Once again, reminds me of my first Europe trip. Was in 1984. Great trip. However now the tours do skimp out a lot for example we did the Rhine cruise while travelling, had a traveling kitchen in a double decker bus.

Cheers and way to go.

Regards

M M
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Old 5th November 2009, 12:33   #56
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Love the fall colours in the scenery pics. This thread deserves a five star rating.
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Old 5th November 2009, 12:46   #57
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Well not only is it going to be an ultimate research doc but it is also going to be the doc that will give many of us new ideas ..... i just hate the way my mind works

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I can see this thread is going to be the ultimate research documents, one-stop tour for those going to Europe herafter.

Ramky, your coverage of UK is amazing!
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Old 5th November 2009, 18:08   #58
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Default Belgium - Sodium On Water Tour!!!!

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Love the fall colours in the scenery pics. This thread deserves a five star rating.
@Decky, thanks for the rating. Just the dope I needed to upload another instalment.

@Roameo, KSM-Vtek, mmmjgm, MX6, thanks.

======


12-10-2009: NH Hotels was one of the best we got; we're out early, 0815 AM, lots of distance to cover today..

Tour Manager supervising loading operations, tight dead-lines to keep
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Friendly Police regulating traffic around the coach, very busy junction, mouth of a one-way street, they are friendly to tourists in general, tram stop and signals nearby the loading area.
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Chiro our cool Pilot from Nepoli, Italy.
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Stop at the Atomium at 0845 for a photo stop. The Big Ben of Belgium, gigantic structure of an iron molecule with 9 atoms, blown up 165 BILLION times, 335 feet tall structure, built for World Fair in 1958, has restaurants, museums, curio shots and an observation deck on top!!!! Gross, man this this a gross tribute to an iron molecule, but awe-inspiting and mammoth. We move on towards Paris at 9 AM.

A Belgian Beauty at the Atomium.......
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There are so many sights in Brussels, Autoworld with automotive history has 300 vehicles, Museum of Military History, Grote market with Menekkin-pis museum dedicated to the rascal who has been pissing here from 1690, Norte Dam Chappel and The Palace of Justice are some of them. Justic Palace is a gigantic architectural monument, bigger than the St.Peter's Basilica of Rome. Adolf Hitlar loved this building, built many offices in Germany on this model. So you would need 2 whole days to touch all these or to see some of these thoroughly.

At 945 we pass thro Waterloo area where Nepolean was defeated by Duke of Wellington on 18th 1815, we would not have noticed if the guide had not told us, reportedly its just a small town with a Lion on top of a hill. Anyone who has been there, can give some details.

We crosss the French border without fuss, not even a check post and settled down for the 4 hour drive and reach Paris around 0130 PM. We crawl thro the thick traffic of ring road and reach Charls De Gulle airport and drop off the Goa Gang as they have already seen Paris and London, the crowd thins and the din goes down in the coach.

============

Last edited by ramkya1 : 5th November 2009 at 18:25.
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Old 5th November 2009, 18:30   #59
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The belgium beauty looks more like a Polish Beauty actually. the ear stud is also interesting to see! good going Ramkya1. I'm eagerly waiting to see your Paris snaps. Paris and Amsterdam were two places I never felt like leaving. Didn't go to Italy during many of my european trips. I've reserved a long vacation in Austria and Italy separately down the line, in say 10 years! You are inspiring to put up travelogues of my trips around UK and EU too. holding it for a while now.
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Old 5th November 2009, 18:51   #60
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The belgium beauty looks more like a Polish Beauty actually. the ear stud is also interesting to see! good going Ramkya1. I'm eagerly waiting to see your Paris snaps. Paris and Amsterdam were two places I never felt like leaving. Didn't go to Italy during many of my european trips. I've reserved a long vacation in Austria and Italy separately down the line, in say 10 years! You are inspiring to put up travelogues of my trips around UK and EU too. holding it for a while now.
This girl was near the fountain with her father, I took his permission to shoot, took many and showed it to him. Could not understand what he said, he was French or was he Flemish? He shook hands with me and wife warmly for the photographs and said merci.

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