Review: The Flowers of Holland & Springtime Belgium
Escorted Tour - Coach
Double Dutch Interpreters!
131 people found this review helpful
The title refers to our team name for the coach's quiz when we won a box of Belgian chocolates. We were delighted with that and most of the rest of the trip, particularly the organization.
We were collected from an overnight hotel ( Ashford Holiday Inn) punctually and driven to Dover where we transferred to our Silver Service tour coach to drive onto the ferry. We appreciated the extra leg room that Silver Service gave us, along with the flip top tables, footrests, good priced drinks service, sat nav display which became TV screening, ear phones with music channels and the reassuring facility of a toilet. The drivers shared driving and host duties and were very efficient in both. The ages of people on the trip ranged from about 45 to 70 at a guess.
The only blot on theoutward journey was that the transit area in Dover docks leaked water through the roof in a downpour, but I guess that was not Leger's fault.
Reaching the Holiday Inn Express Antwerp in little over three hours, we were pleased to find we had a room ( 608) with a view through the opposite buildings of a little Marina and the iconic MAS museum. There were nice walks around the marina and restaurants too. Breakfast at the hotel was pleasant with plenty of fresh fruit. Wifi was available at a charge but we didn't bother as we were on holiday! Rooms had air con and were comfortable with BBC1 available on TV!
Antwerp was a compact city with a nice square. Rubens lived in Antwerp & we saw some of his paintings in St Marks Cathedral. We walked to see Ruebens house but had no time to go in as we were meeting up to go to Brussels. There were river boat cruisers moored not far from the centre so we made a mental note that if we ever went on one, we could visit Ruben's house then.
Brussels was a fabulous city from both the point of it's architecture and having so many parks and museums. We were also shown the amazingly photogenic Atonium structure – another mental note to visit Brussels by Eurostar one day and go inside. A little way from the famous square, we found the Mannikin Pis who had just been given a little navy coat to wear. Apparently he has a whole wardrobe. The Belgian waffle with caramel and cream that we devoured there was delicious and we took chocolates back for the family.
The day trip to the Dutch Keukenhof Gardens was the tour's highlight as they were so beautiful – not just all the coloutful flowers, but the parkland with mature trees, streams and lake complete with swans.
We had plenty of time wandering the gardens and eating in a nice restaturant before going on an optional trip to a Clog and cheese factory in the afternoon. This proved fascinating. We learnt that clogs are made from Poplar wood and that pointy turned up toed ones were for Roman Catholics, while rounded toed glogs were for Protestants! After the initial chopping of a rough shape, the craftsman used a machine to cut out the clog in about five minutes. By hand, it used to take two hours. We saw the processes involved in making Gouda cheese and got to taste many varieties too.
Arriving back at Keukenhof to collect the people who had stayed all day, we had time for another colourful wander using the same day ticket.
The homeward journey went smoothly but once again, the transitional place for the changover left a little to be desired as it needed mroe seating and better toilets.
We were very satisfied with this trip on the whole and used it to see if we would like that style of coach holiday as a change from flying or cruising. One very good aspect was that we did not handle our lugguage from the time we gave it in until we lifted it out of our boot at home! ( Leger supplied a taxi for us from Ashford town centre to our hotel where our car was parked for free, and the driver even put the case in the boot for us.)
131 people found this review helpful
This review is solely based on the opinion of a Silver Travel Advisor member and not of Silver Travel Advisor Ltd.