Details

Start date:01 June 2019
End date:11 June 2019
  • Duration:11 Days
  • Departs:Amsterdam
  • Ends:Bruges (Belgium)

Price

  • $4500 per person, twin share
  • Single supplement Not Available
More booking details

Inclusions

Travel, accommodation, most meals, attractions, guides, bus tours and ferries as per the itinerary.

Not included; Optional activities, electric bike hire, gratuities

What our guests say

Thank you Bruno & Christine for a wonderful tour. In a few word “Buonissimo” our Northern Italian walking tour was a smorgasbord of breathtaking scenery, compelling history, cultural insights, fine Italian cuisine and wines and many captivating Italian characters all superbly packaged and led by you both.

– Ellis & Bronwyn

A big thank you for taking us on such an adventure as our Italian Viaggo. Every day was amazing and every walk had its “oh my goodness” effect, we just loved it. Walking gave us such a sense of achievement and of really being in Italy.

– Sandra

Many thanks, what a fantastic adventure in a country I would never have explored had it not been for you. I admire your organisation, hospitality and breadth of knowledge.

– Gillian

Many thanks for a wonderful trip. Somehow you organised perfect weather, magnificent wilderness trips, a bus full of congenial people and good accommodation and food. Your warmth and friendliness made the whole time especially enjoyable. Looking forward to our next trip.

– Bill & Helen

Thank you so much for the great trip. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. The standard of the tour was excellent, the accommodation was great as were the extra activities. We really enjoyed the morning teas and picnic lunches and most of all we enjoyed your friendship and care for the comfort of your passengers.

– Ian & Rona

Join Bruce & Lindy Bishop along with 22 fellow travellers on this once in a lifetime tour through Western Europe. Avoid crowded European highways by travelling aboard the comfortable “floating hotel” canal barge ‘Quo Vadis’. Follow the network of historic canals winding through beautiful rural landscapes and stroll or cycle the cobbled streets of quaint villages along the way.

We cruise from Amsterdam to Bruges on the historic canal system. You can choose to do the easy optional cycling excursions along tow paths, cycle ways and village streets or spend leisurely days in the lounge or on deck watching the scenery pass by from our comfortable barge.

A newly added feature this year is that we have added a mini-bus option or electric bikes for the non-cyclists. Some other days we spend visiting local sights and attractions by bus. Itineraries are leisurely with time to stop for a coffee or beer and to really soak up the experiences along the way.

Our itinerary also gives a wonderful opportunity to visit some of the main WW1 battle sites and to learn more about and honour those who served on the Western Front.

Unpack once, settle in to the homely facilities, enjoy varied and quality meals, interact with the small group of travellers and crew and watch the beautiful European scenery pass by.

Itinerary

Day 1: Sat 1st June - ARRIVE AMSTERDAM

Individual arrival in Amsterdam. The MS Quo Vadis awaits you in the Amsterdam harbour in the city centre. Embarkation and check-in between 3:00-5:00pm where Bruce and Lindy Bishop and the barge crew will meet and settle you in. Enjoy pre-dinner drinks and dinner on board before taking a guided walk through the city.

Dinner included.

Day 2: Sun 2nd June - AMSTERDAM – ALPHEN - GOUDA (Cycle 34kms)

During breakfast the Quo Vadis sails the old Amsterdam canals on the impressive route to Ouderkerk. From here we cycle alongside the River Amstel to Alphen aan de Rijn and on to historic Gouda, famous for cheese and its City Hall built in the 1400’s. We see the market place and historic cheese weighing station and museum.

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner included

Day 3: Mon 3rd June - GOUDA - DORDRECHT (Cycle 40km)

From here it is just a short sail to Kinderdijk which is famous for its impressive row of 19 Windmills classified as a World Heritage site. They were constructed in the 18th century to pump water from low lying tracts of land or polder surrounded by embankments. From here we cycle to Alblasserdam and with our bikes on the fast ferry then take the short ride to Dordrecht, one of the oldest cities in the Netherlands.

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner included

 

 

 

Day 4: Tues 4th June - DORDRECHT - ANTWERP (Cycle 34kms)

We cycle from Dordrecht to Tholen, a former fishing village in the Dutch province of Zeeland and see the impressive Volkerak lock system. The Quo Vadis will then cruise along the Schede- Rhine Canal and over the huge Kreekrak lock system to the harbour city of Antwerp. After dinner you may wish to take a taxi into the city where 80% of the World’s rough cast diamonds are handled and the flood lighting highlights the beautiful Renaissance buildings that surround the city square.

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner included

Day 5: Wed 5th June - ANTWERP – TEMSE – St AMANDS (Cycle 42kms)

The cycle route takes us over the Brussels-Rupel Canal, on past a factory where bricks have been made since the Middle Ages then through the countryside via Rupelmonde & Hemiksem to St Amands.

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner included

Day 6: Thurs 6th June - St AMANDS – DENDERMONDE - GHENT (Cycle 48kms)

On the barge we cruise along one of the most beautiful and winding parts of the route along the River Schelde from St Amands. We get back onto the bikes and ride through diverse landscapes to Dendermonde at the mouth of the Dender River where it flows into the River Schelde. Here you can enjoy some time off the bike with a coffee at the beautiful Flemish Grote Market Square.

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner included

Day 7: Fri 7th June - GHENT – AMIENS – WERVIK

Today we are met by a bus and experienced battlefield guide for our big day touring the famous WW1 battlefields in the Somme region of Northern France. We visit Villers Bretonneux, Le Hamel and Amiens plus many other sites. Late in the day we are taken to Wervik in Belgium on the Leie river (border between Belgium and France) where our floating hotel has re-located to during the day.

Breakfast & Dinner included

Day 8: Sat 8th June - WERVIK

Today we spend exploring by coach the English Channel coast where the “miracle of Dunkirk” happened in May 1944. 330,000 British and French troops were evacuated over the 4 days of operation Dynamo. We see the beaches, ports, shipwrecks and memorials along the channel coast and are given a great insight into the evacuation by our on-board guide.

Breakfast & Dinner included

Day 9: Sun 9th June - WERVIK - KORTRIJK

See the places where our Aussie troops saw service such as Polygon Woods, Passchendaele and Menin Road in Belgium and nearby Armentieres and Fromelles in France. Tonight, at the Menin Gate in Ypres we experience the Last Post Ceremony. This has taken place every night since 1928 except during the German occupation of WW11. Afterwards the bus will take us back to the Quo Vadis where it is tied-up in Kortrijk.

Breakfast & Lunch included

Day 10: Mon 10th June -KORTRIJK on the LEIE RIVER - BRUGES (Cycle 15kms)

The day commences by cruising along the Leie River and after joining the Ghent–Oostende canal we get back on the bikes for the ride into Bruges. Along the way we see the many well-preserved German WW11 pill boxes built to guard this strategic waterway. On arrival we cycle around the UNESCO World Heritage listed city known as the “Venice of the North” because of the many canals. Medieval buildings dating back to the 14th century line its narrow cobbled stoned streets. We enjoy a special “last night on tour” dinner aboard the Quo Vadis.

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 11: Tues 11th June - DEPART FROM TOUR

Disembarkation after breakfast by 9:30am

Breakfast included

Travel Notes

CANAL BARGE FACILITIES;
Our home for this tour is a beautifully refurbished canal barge ‘Quo Vadis’ with comfortable air-conditioned twin share en-suite cabins for 22 passengers plus crew. It has spacious lounge/dining areas and outside sundeck. Meals are beautifully prepared and presented and the bar is well stocked and prices are very reasonable. Wi-fi is limited but free. The vessel is skippered by the owner who involves himself with his passengers and ensures that everything is “ship shape”. Because the barge is small with a retractable wheelhouse it can access some of the narrower canals and can fit under some of the lower bridges.

CYCLING;
Cycle touring is a major part of this itinerary and is the best way to really experience and enjoy the flat lowland countries we will travel through. Daily rides are led by a guide at a steady pace allowing ample time for coffee/lunch stops and a quiet beer here and there etc. The rides are varied passing through farmlands, forests, pretty villages and towns, along canals and levy banks of rivers with windmills etc. They can be from 20-50kms in length. Bikes and helmets can be hired on board and some electric bikes are available for the less regular riders. Each bike is equipped with weatherproof saddle bags, water bottle and holder and have chain gears.

Getting to Amsterdam/Departing from Bruge (Belgium);
Amsterdam & Bruges are easily accessible by rail from almost anywhere in Europe. London is about 3.5hrs by fast train from Bruges with one change (Brussells) and costs approx $100. Other cities within a similar range include Paris and Frankfurt.

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Highlights

  • Evening guided walk along the cobbled streets of Amsterdam
  • Historic cheese weighing house  & the 15th cent. city hall in Gouda
  • 18th cent. Windmills of Kinderdijk
  • Overnight tie-ups in interesting towns and villages allowing evening walks
  • Cycle tour of the medieval port city of Ghent
  • Cycle the tow paths of the Bruges-Ghent canal and see WW11 relics
  • Visit the new Sir John Monash Centre at the Villers-Bretonneux Military Cemetery & the school made famous by Australian Troops
  • Tour WW1 battlefields of Polygon Woods, Passchendaele & Fromelles in France
  • Join the moving evening ceremony at Menin Gate in Ypres
  • Enjoy the company of your fellow travellers and crew