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Old April 7th, 2004, 04:10 PM
Suzie
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Default Suggestions for excursions in Spain,Portugal and Italy

Dear Everyone,
We are going on the HAL Westerdam July 30th. Harwich to Athens, 13 nights. We really prefer to avoid the huge cruiseline shore excursions whenever possible.

I need your experienced advice on how to book on-line private tours or guides for the following ports:
1. Rotterdam (we want to go to Amsterdam)
2. Le Harve (we want to go to Giverny.Will be docked on a Sunday)
3. Lisbon
4. Vigo, Spain
5.Malaga, Spain
6. Palermo, Sicily
7. Sardinia

With the current terrorist activity in Spain, I think I'd like to avoid public trains, and maybe go for a guide with a car? What do you think?

If you have any help to give me on these ports I would greatly appreciate it!
Thanks,
Suzie
suziepro@comcast.net
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Old April 7th, 2004, 06:24 PM
clo
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Default Re: Suggestions for excursions in Spain,Portugal and Italy

Re Malaga, my husband and I spent three weeks on the Costa del Sol - Torremolinos to be precise. We took the bus into Malaga one day and were quite disappointed in it. Even with our little guide book, there just didn't seem to be much there there. Perhaps others will wildly disagree with me but that was our take on it. We were so pleased when we saw that our upcoming cruise - Rome to Dover - doesn't stop there. You can alway just walk ashore, have some tapas, wine, etc. If I were going to hire a driver, I believe I'd have him take us west along the Costa del Sol. It IS beautiful. Sevilla is fabulous but probably too far for a single day. Or perhaps Granada. We didn't make it there. Hopefully some others will put in their two cents worth also. You will, however, LOVE the Spanish people. Just wonderful. Have a great trip.
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Old April 18th, 2004, 07:00 AM
Jeanny
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Default Re: Suggestions for excursions in Spain,Portugal and Italy

I suggest using public transport in Europe: it's cheaper than a guided tour, you can go wherever you want whenever you want and you'll avoid huge crowds. Also, there's a chance not everybody will realise you're from the cruise ship and leave you alone.

Especially in the Netherlands I'd use public transport, best way to get from Rotterdam to Amsterdam. You'll find information about Amsterdam (transport and everything else) at: www.amsterdam.nl -> "English site".

Jeanny
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Old April 19th, 2004, 09:09 AM
DJoslin
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Default Re: Suggestions for excursions in Spain,Portugal and Italy

My wife and I spent two weeks in Portugal last fall. Lisbon is vibrant, latin city with good public transportation. For a day in Lisbon I suggest a walk through the Baixa (Low) area out to the Praca Rossio (active plaza with cafes). Walk into the next plaza (Restaudores) and take the funicular cable car up to the Barrio Alto (high neighborhood). At the upper stop is the Porto Instituto (have a good Port wine). Walk back towards the river (Tagus) into the Chiado shopping district.

After this take a tram, or cab, over to the Alfama area and see the old cathedral (Se), abd up the the hill to the Castello de Sao Jorge (St George). Just enjoy the city, and have a snack of sardinias asadas (Roast sardines) . Buy a nice portuguese wine , and a bottle of Port.
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Old April 21st, 2004, 06:48 PM
Stevesan
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Default Re: Suggestions for excursions in Spain,Portugal and Italy

Vigo: Santiago de la Compostela. Santiago is, of course, the Cathedral of St. James, and is located near the port of Vigo. For centuries pilgrims have walked across the breadth of Europe to visit the burial place of St. James. His remains rest in a silver sepulcher located in the cathedral’s lower burial chamber. The cathedral is the quintessential example of gothic architecture. The effect of the interior sculptures, paintings and carvings was so overwhelming that I experienced near sensory overload.

Malaga: The Alhambra, adjacent to Granada, is a Muslim-Hispano complex of palaces, buildings and gardens dating to the 14th century. The beauty of the detailed mosaics and architecture is spectacular, especially the marvelous Court of the Lions.
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Old April 21st, 2004, 10:01 PM
aussiegal's Avatar
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Default Re: Suggestions for excursions in Spain,Portugal and Italy

We went to Santiago last year when our ship - the Noordam - docked in Vigo.

It is a 90 minute drive on a freeway by cab. We shared the cab with another couple and it cost us about 70Euros each couple. The ship's excurison was going to be near $200 each.

He dropped us off near to the Cathedral and he returned about 3 and a half hours later. Santiago is a lovely city and we probably could have spent longer there.

We paid our driver when he dropped us back at the ship in Vigo. It was well worth the trip.

Lisbon is another easy city to get around. The Hop on, hop off bus is great and takes you to all the well known sights. We have been to Lisbon before but just for fun we used the bus and it was great.

Enjoy your lovely cruise.

Jennie



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