uk to europe

Newsletter - April 2005

to the April issue of our newsletter and a special welcome to all our new suscribers.
What a month it has been! All the car rental and leasing Earlybird deals ended 31 March which kept us at the office until 10.30pm for the 3 days prior to the end of the month. We are still busy 'mopping up' and things are slowly getting back to normal.

Thank you for the suggestions which have been coming in. Next month we will endeavour to get up the road signs for Europe as well as the essential translations when you are motorhoming in Europe.

Our contact email address is: for all correspondence . To unsubscribe, please just send us an email with the word "Unsubscribe" in the subject line.

Until next month, take care

In this issue:

Car leasing Spring deal in Europe with Renault: Up to 9 free days + subsidised or free deliveries!
Stay safe on your travels - Scams to watch out for
Highly recommended hostels in Europe
City sightseeing: Hop on / Hop off Sightseeing - great for independent travellers
Fixed price attraction passes - Good value - especially for 'planners'
Motorhomes: Timely advice
Hotel trains
Benefits of booking with us
Lingo - translations when driving in Europe
Holiday Cooking
Want a Cruising bargain? Up to 75% off...
Our quarterly competion:
Canal & River Boat Specials in UK and Europe
Travelling to Canada?
Great to see and do - dont miss ....
The Free things in to see and do.


To celebrate the start of Spring in Europe, we have a short terms special...Valid if you book by 29 April 2005.
Book any model (except Modus) and get 7 free days.
Book a Scenic and get 9 free days!
Book an air-conditioned car and receive a $245 subsidy on your total Delivery and Return fees. This means you can use France for one sector and then the following cities free of charge:
Amsterdam, Brussels, Zurich, Barcelona and Frankfurt. See full details on: Renault Leasing

STOP PRESS: We have just been advised that the Peugeot leasing earlybird deal has been extended until 29April05.


There have been a few cases of break ins into motorhomes of late. So please people, be aware. Some people suggest leaving the curtains open as thieves do not like to be observed, others prefer to leave the curtains closed and a small portable radio playing. I even know of one family who took a wig and a cap and make it look like someone was sleeping in the vehicle! Do not leave valuables in the vehicles, perhaps even leave your air tickets locked up in the safe of the motorhome company whilst you are travelling. Just remember to get them back when you leave!
Now there are a few scams out there. Please don't be paranoid but forwarned is forarmed...Just be careful and aware and you will be fine.

1. Be careful of groups of gypsies. Age old trick when a lot of gypsy kids surround you, begging, perhaps holding cardboard of them could be rifling your pockets. You will also get women breastfeeding/carrying their babies - trying to distract you. Or a bunch of them crowding you...when one will lift your wallet and pass it through the crowd, never to be seen again.
2. Try and avoid purses and wallets. We suggest you keep your money/passport in one of these wallets which you hang around your neck and under your clothes.
3. Be very aware of people who ask for directions to the airport and then offer to sell you 'samples' of goods. They may purport to be brand name sales reps on their way home and they dont want to have to carry excess stock with them. The goods are fake! Even if they have business cards....
4. Be aware of people who ask you to go into a brand name shop like Cartier etc and buy something for them. They will use excuses like "There is a limit to the number of items we can purchase". They could be giving you counterfeit money.
5. Fake bottled water: When you order bottled water - make sure the seal is sealed. It some instances, tap water is substituted into mineral water bottles!
6. In Paris and in Rome be aware of people making small talk and then trying to put a friendship bracelet around your wrist. They then try and embarass you into paying for it...
7. Count your money! When handing over large amounts, count it out in front of the person. When getting your change, make sure you count it!
8. Keep refueling receipt when returning cars. When you fill the car before you return it. Make sure you pay by credit card/or get a receipt so that should the car company charge you a refueling charge, you can dispute it - with proof!
9. When eating at a restaurant, dont let the waiter take your credit card away to charge. Walk over with him...don't let the card out of your sight as it could be charged twice or the numbers copied.
10. When staying in a hotel, dont think you can hide your passport/money etc away whilst you go out. Thieves know ALL the usual hiding places...
11. Taxi scams - take 'official' taxis from the rank, even if you have to wait as unofficial taxi's often overcharge you and check that the meter is at zero before you start.
12. When travelling in a train, especially when overnight, sleep on your bag and make sure it is locked and your valuables under your clothes. Don't even trust the people in your compartment.
13. If you are taking photo' aware of your bag. Don't put it on the ground as someone could grab it and run off. Also be careful of whom you ask to take a photo using your camera! Ask other 'family' types !
14. When paying by credit card, check that the amount on the charge slip matches what you are actually paying. 15. Commission free changing of travellers cheques!! Yup, sure but check the lousy exchange rate that they use! If you have American Express trav cheques, try and go to American Express Travel office and change or go to one or two banks. Be wary, some banks charge to cash cheques, others don't.

The Flying Pig in Amsterdam:    Located at Vossiusstraat 46, 1071 AJ Amsterdam
Euro Youth  Hostel, Bad Gastein in Austria:  Great location, 100m from the train station

Kabul Youth Hostel, Barcelona:   Great location...
Circus Hostel, Berlin:  2 locations.  All you can eat buffet breakfast...
Bauhaus International Youth Hostel, Bruges, Belgium

Maybe you don't have much time or you don't know what to see or how to get there. Easily solved.
Consider the Open top double decker sightseeing buses. Tickets are valid for 24 hours and include pre-recorded English commentary or live guide or multi-lingual commentary depending upon the location. Plus you just pre-purchase your ticket from us - and pitch up! No pre-booking is necessary. It is a great opportunity to see all the attractions and you can hop off at the ones you want to see and then re-board and continue. We actually used these tours on our last trip. In Paris, it is particularly good value as the 2 day ticket is only a couple of dollars more than the 1 day ticket - so on the first day we covered all the themed routes and hopped off at a couple and went back to the sites we really wanted to see on the second day. In Madrid, there was so much to see, that we would never have been able to find all the places the bus was really good for us. The prices are very reasonable too... Paris 2 day ticket only $49 per person, Florence $36 per person, Rome $34 per person including a cruise, Naples $30 per person, London $39 per person including a Thames Cruise etc. They are available in many popular cities including Berlin, Brussels, Cambridge, Copenhagen, Dublin, Edinburgh , Glasgow, Istanbul, Malaga, Munich, Oxford, York, San Francisco etc We can book these for you - just ask. .


If you know that there are quite a few attractions you want to visit and then gasp when you see the price....there is a solution. In quite a few countries they have come out with a set price Travel card where for one price you get free admission to many attractions as well as savings at shops and restaurants. For example in San Francisco, you can get a One day card for Australian Dollars $65 and a two day card for Australian $103. The price includes a 132 page full colour pocket guidebook with map to help you plan. Some cities offer discounts for kids.
In New York you can choose from a 1, 2, 3 or 6 day pass starting at $70 for adults and $57 for kids for a one day pass and you get free entry into over 40 of New York's most popular attractions including the Empire State Building, Statue of Lierty and Ellis Island and the Gugenheim Museiu. You'll also receive discounts at more than 25 retailers including Macy's, Bloomingdales and the Hard Rock cafe. Preferred access ie. no queueing at many attractions when you use the card and you get a 140page guide book too.

Lets look at London : A one day pass is $69... But you could visit these places free of charge - normal entry fee in brackets - Windsor Castle ($30), The Tower of London ($34) , London Zoo ($30), ride a free bike from the London Bicycle Tour Company, London Aquarium ($22), Hampton Court Palace ($28), Chelsea FC Stadium Tour, Catamaran Cruisers, Sherlock Holmes Museum ($15) plus heaps of other attractions and discounts.

Tell us the cities you're visiting and we'll show you how to get great value from your pass...

This is not sales talk... If you want a motorhome in Europe this summer - book something quickly - even if you book with someone else! We are already struggling with availability - especially in Germany, France and UK.
In the USA and Canada - save heaps of money - often up to 50% and more if you book in advance using the Flex rates...or take advantage of the re-location specials at up to 80% OFF...

If you are planning on travelling to the World Cup Soccer in Germany next year - it is NOT too early to book. Earlybirders will catch the worm. Ask about our discount packages.

If you don't want to miss a thing on your trip to Europe, be sure to take one of the Overnight Trains. Traveling overnight gives you plenty of daytime opportunity to explore some of the major cities of Europe. Leave from Paris and wake up in Madrid on the Train Hotel Elipsos - Also know as the Talgo Night, these hotel trains give a new dimension to travel. Overnight journeys through Spain, France, Switzerland and Italy are a breeze on Train Hotel Elipsos. Take the Francisco de Goya from Paris to Madrid, the Joan Miro from Paris to Barcelona, the Pau Casals from Barcelona to Zurich or the Salvador Dali from Barcelona to Milan. From Paris to Madrid takes approximately 13h20. Or what about the Artesia - : Travel from Paris to Milan in 10hrs 30 minutes and continue to Florence or Venice.
If you are heading to Germany try the high speed Paris-Berlin-Hamburg Night train. Along this beautiful countryside, the train passes through such prominent cities as Paris, Hamburg, Hannover, Bremen, and Berlin. Specifically designed to accommodate travelers throughout the night with a variety of sleeping accommodations, this night train makes it possible to arrive at your destination having had a good night's sleep and refreshed for the next day. Reservations are compulsory. Eurail Passholders are welcome, however a supplement is required. We can book these trains for you. To give you some ideas of duration: Paris-Berlin take 11 hrs, Paris to Hannover - 9 hours.

In Canada, why not try the famous Rocky Mountaineer train between Vancouver to Banff or Jasper or vice versa. The train only travels in daylight. This world renowned two day adventure winds through more than 1000kms of breathtaking scenery in temperature controlled comfort with huge picutre windows . The tour includes one nights accommodation at Kamloops, onboard meals, transfers between train station and accommodation in Kamloops.
The price is just CAD$529 one way for travel in April, CAD$579 in May and CAD$699 between June and October. GST must be added to these prices but Book during the month of April and we will pay the GST for you and throw in a Nike day bag for the first 10 bookings.

In the USA, what about The Southwest Chief? Amtrak's fastest trip from Chicago to the Pacific is along part of the Santa Fe Trail first used by Native Americans then by Spanish conquistadors, mule caravans, wagon trains and stage-coaches. You travel 2,230 miles through eight states, passing wheat fields, ranches, missions, pueblos, mountains and deserts. Sometimes the canyons you go through are only a few feet wider than the train. Perhaps stop at theGrand Canyon. If you are travelling from East to West consider The Sunset Limited. From Orlando head west past the swamps of bayou country, skirt the Mexican border crossing mountains, deserts until you reach sunny California.

We can book all these great train journeys for you...just let us know your details.

Benefits of Booking with us...
Besides our great service guarantee and discounted travel insurance - we will help you with touring info pertinent to your destination, offer you a helpful travel pack with hints and tips AND now we offer you great discount vouchers from specially selected suppliers. For example - 10% discount on Columbia Clothing, 10% when you order maps or guides, 50% off the book "Europe by Van and Motorhome", and free membership to the Travel Doctor Walkabout Club and 10% off vaccines and products.... (good idea to take a small first aid kit)...
Details in our travel pack which you receive with your receipt once you have booked.


Essential driving translations
English Dutch French German Italian Spanish
entrance ingang entree eingang entrata entrada
exit uitgang sortie ausgang uscita salida
forbidden verboden defense d entree verboten proibito a prohibido
no parking geen parkeren aucun stationnement parken verboten nessun parcheggio ningun estacionamiento
one way een manier sens unique einbahn unidirezionale unidireccional
snow chains sneewkettingen chaines de neige schneeketten catene da neve cadenas para la nieve

Essential Everyday translations
English Dutch French German Italian Spanish
Please alstublieft sil vous plait bitte per favore por favor
Thank You dank u merci danke grazie gracias
Excuse me excuseer excusez moi entschildigen mich scusi excuseme
Toilet toilet toilette toilette toletta tocador
yes ja oui ja si si
No nee non nein no no
How much hoeveel combien wievel quanto cuanto

Next issue: Motorhome translations....

Crispy Potato Galette
2 or 3 grated potatoes, season with salt and pepper
1 finely diced onion
some finely chopped parsley if handy or any other herb
2 tablespoons grated cheese (optional)
some finely chopped mushroom (optional)
1 egg
Mix all ingredients. Heat olive oil in pan, spread in pan and cook until golden on each side.
Serve with anything!! Or just add bacon and then you have a tasty meal.

Chicken breasts served with.... so many things.
A personal favourite - quick and easy.
A large chicken breast per person
Seasoned flour
Wash the chicken and whilst damp press into the flour.
Heat oil in pan and fry. Can then be served with hot, buttered and parmesanned pasta or just a simple salad and crusty bread or boiled potatoes or the recipe above or take away hot chips!! Yum.

Want a Cruising Bargain? Up to 75% off...We have been able to access very specials rates for cruise lines who within 90 days of sailing have not sold all their rooms. Rather than offer "sale" prices to the public and thus undercut their full-fare business with traditional travel agents, top cruise lines prefer to discount unsold cabins to certain exclusive agencies with whom we will be working.

So if you are flexible and want a bargain - find the cruise you want from well known companies like: Carnival , Celebrity, Clipper, Crystal, Cunard, Delta Queen, Disney, Holland America, MSC Cruises, Norwegian, Oceania Cruises, Orient, Peter Deilmann, Princess, Radisson, Seven Seas, Royal Caribbean, Seabourn, SeaDream Yacht Club, Silversea etc. and ask us for a quote. You will be surprised!!

Tell us about your best travel memory .... happy, sad, 50 years ago...  whatever.  What sticks out for you?  The best memory, in our humble opinion, will win a $100 travel voucher,  a  portable discman,  a wheelie suitcase and travel bag.   By entering you do allow us the right to publish your story on our website.  We will just refer to your initials if requested. 

Take the kids!! In periods D&E travel with 1 child under 18 and get a 5% reduction and travel with 2 children under 18 and get a 10% discount.
Crown Blue: For all departures up to 6 May 2005 and from 16 September for boats hired in Ireland, Germany and in Aquitaine/Burgundy regions of France - pay for 7 days and get a 10 day holiday.
Nicols: Get 15% discount off your second week or get 10% off if you rent 2 or more boats
France Passion Plaisance: If you are a couple, get 10% discount on selected boats or get 3 weeks for the price of two on selected boats and regions.
Black Prince in the UK: Cruise between 02April and 09 July, get a 2nd week at half price or if you are flexible about your start base - get 20% discount and at least, 2 weeks notice of your cruising base.
European Waterways - luxury, catered and crewed. Book by 30 April and pay 2005 rates for 2006 and a 5% discount.
Amadeus Waterways - River boat cruising in Europe. All catered. 5% off all cruises.

The second largest country in the world so as you can imagine there is so much to see and do.
The country is divided into 7 distinct regions. Each region will delight you with its natural beauty and attractions. The individual regions do a fantastic job when it comes to promoting their regions and have great websites so I dont see the need to repeat that info here - so we will give you the websites for you to peruse. Each month we will then take a more in-depth look at each region

Canada's North: Canada's highest mountains, midnight sun and Northwest Passage all belong in Canada's North. The Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut combine to offer an unmatched wilderness experience. Polar bears, grizzly bears, buffalo, icebergs, gold rush history, hiking, Inuit culture and arctic islands. Share in this amazing part of the world. See: ,,

British Columbia: Mighty nature reigns, but cities are cosmopolitan and towns are welcoming. Cruise majestic fjords or drive on modern highways to every corner of this diverse and beautiful province. Home to Whistler - famous for skiing. Fantastic website: (I have to just add a personal favourite - Please visit Butchart Gardens on Victoria Island. Absolutely stunning and even non-flower lovers will be impressed! )

Alberta: Some of the worlds most photographed landscapes make Alberta the ultimate destination for outdoor enthusiasts and adventure seekers. Home to The Rocky Mountains, Banff, Jasper, Calgary and Edmonton.

Atlantic Canada: From rugged crags to soft pink beaches, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island call you to the sea. Shrelines dotted with colourful villages. The thrill of seeing a breaching whale. The lifestyle and cuisine of the Acadian. The golden age of sail and famed lobster suppers. A region of festivals and pure joy! See: , or

Quebec: The crade of North American civilisation and exhiarating joie de vivre. From the charming villages and resorts of the Laurentians and Eastern Townships to the cosmopolitan sparkle of Monreal with its kilometres of under-ground shopping and glittering casino...and thehistoric romance of Quebec City with its cobblestone streets, picturesque 17th century homes and colourful artistes. It all says 'Bienvenue' - Welcome!

Ontario: The retion with some of the biggest, tallest, longest, most unusual, most exciting of everything! The world's third largest English speaking theatre centre and a stadium with the world's first retractable roof. Hop aboard a train called the 'Polar Bear Express'. Paddle the world's largest network of canoe routes...See the world's largest tulip display (come on Holland!!) ...Read more at

Saskatchewan and Manitoba: The pioneer and explorer spirit is alive in Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Canada's hritage-laden Heratland offers you the glories of the Northern Lights, the richness of a farm vacation, fishing legendary rivers and lakes and is also the home of the Royal Canadian Mounted police. Find more info at and

Canadian National Holidays: Most banks, post offices and businesses are closed on these days:
Victoria Day 24 May , Canada Day 01 July, Labor Day 06 September, Thanksgiving Day 11 Oct, Remembrance Day 11 November and of course, Christmas and Boxing Day 25&26 December.

USA Chattanooga, Tennessee.
  For fantastic view across 7 states, in good weather, take the "Incline' -  up Lookout Mountain.    Built by John Crass and the Lookout Mountain Includine Railway Co. this technical marvel boasts an incline of 72.7% at one point, making it the steepest passenger incline in the world.

San Francisco:  Get a 3 day transport pass for this great city. Approx USD$10 It allows trips on all bus,  subways AND the cable cars (which normally costs USD$2 per trip).

San Francisco:  Visit the Farmers Market on Sat, Sun, Tue and Thrusday at the Ferry Building, Market Street.  Great cafes and coffee shops abound.

Porta Saragozza, Bologna, Italy:    Visit the longest portico in the world.  With its  666 arches it winds its way into the foothilss of the Apennines. At the top is the Santuario della Madonna di San Luca.  Fantastic views.   Walkable or there is a bus from Meloncello to the city centre.

Canada: Vancouver -
Hire a bike and ride around Stanley Park and visit the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre, train ride through the forest and a guided horse-drawn carriage tour or children can enjoy the educational Science Work on False Creek

Canada: Calgary - See the 'Greatest Outdoor show on Earth' - The Calgary Stampede between 08-17 July 05

Canada: Ontario - Home to over 270 Provincial parks and 6 National Parks including Polar Bear Provincial Park - Home to plar bears, beluga whales and hundreds of birds.

Canada: Quebec- Don't miss the Quebec-Canada Ice Hotel. Built every year with ceilings as high as 16feet and furniture carved in ice blacks.

New York:  The Rooftop Garden at the Metropolitan Museum of Art :
   Visit between May and October and see the magnificent sculpture garden.  Great views from all sides including great views of Central Park.

Monaco, France.    Visit the Le Jardin Exotique and see the magnificent cactus garden and the underground caverns with spectacular stalagtites and stalagmites.

Budapest:  Take the tram at Elizabeth Bridge and you will ride along the Danube River and get a beautiful view of the Buda Castle district.  The tram passes under the Chain Bridge and passes through this UN  Heritiage listed area and the Hungarian Parliament Building.  This costs less than  AUD$1

Czech Republic:  In Prague take the funicular up Petrin Hill.  Great views and great coffee from the cafe up top...

Barcelona:  For 360 degree views, have lunch or a hot chocolate  & churro at the El Corte Ingles department store in the city centre when you come off  Las Ramblos strip..

Milan:  Bar Brera - where all the students eat..  Fresh sandwiches made to your specs -  for 5 Euros or go between 1700 and 2100hrs and have their buffet antipasti which is free when you buy a drink!! 


USA -  The Staten Island Ferry is free for foot passengers..  Departs every half hour from Battery Park.   Great viewsof the Statue of Liberty.  See for timetable.
USA:  Los Angeles:  The Getty Museum is free.  Nice views from a nice garden. 
USA:  Denver - Visit Hammonds Candies.  Take a factory candy.
Denver - Coors Golden Brewery Tour in Golden, just outside Denver.    Walking tour with taste tests and sampling...(kids get cordial!).  You must be over 21 years of age.
USA:  California, San Francisco:  The Intel Museum located  2200 Mission College Blvd, Palo Alto, San Francisco.  Birth and development of the computer industry.
Los Angeles:  Los Angeles Times Builder,  202 West 1st Street, Downtown LA.
See the workings of the the largest daily newspaper in Western North America.

Italy:  Sagra del Pesce - Harbour Camogli.  Fancy a free lunch?  On the 2nd Sunday of May this town offers a free bbq'd fish lunch down at the harbour.
Milan, Italy:  Civica Galleria - Modern Art Museum.  Napoleon once lived here.  Now  a modern art museum.  Closed on Mondays.
Rome:   On the last Sunday of the month the Vatican Museum is free (normally Euro 10 pp)...

Spain:   Museo de Bellas Artes, Iturriza Park, Bilbao.
Tue-Sun.  This museum contains the most important collection of paintings in Northern Spain.
Both classical and modern are on display.
  Basilica San Francisco el Grande.  Located south of the city.  See one of Goya's earlier fresco's.
Malaga:  Casa Natal de Picasso.  Home of the Picasso Foundation.  Where Picasso did live at one stage. 
Valencia:  The Fallas Festival takes place on the 19th of March - the Feast of St Joseph.
Figurines that are made of paper mache get accumulated and displayed throughout the year are burnt on this day.
San Sebastian:  International Fireworks Competition held  11-18August.  Every night a display. 
Haro:  Batalla de Vino.  On the 29th June you can drink as much wine as you like.  You can even throw it at one another...well this is a festival promoting this  as one of Spain's top wine producing areas.
France:  Paris.  Visit the store Samaritaine or Galleries Lafayette (where they have all those great free fashion shows)  and take the lift to the top floor and steps to the roof terrace.  Fantastic views over Paris.
France:  In the southwest of france - in Hendaye at the Bar Socoa, you can listen to free jazz every  Friday night after 1030pm.
Nice, France:  Musee d' Art Moderne et Contemporain. See work by Warhol, Lichtenstein and  Gilbert and George.Fee entry on the first and third Sunday of every month. 
St Jean de Luz:  Maison Louis XIV.  This house was built is 1643 and King Louis XIV lived here before he was married.   
Menton, France:  Musee de Prehistoire Regionale.  This museum features exhibits pertaining to early life.
Tours:  Flea Market every Wed and Saturday.  Located at Place de la Victoire.  Great Bargains.
Marseille:  Notre-Dame de la Garen.  See the huge landmark to the gold virgin that can be seen for miles around
Marseille, Preau des Accoules.  Free on Wednesdays only.  Great museum especially for kids.
Caves de Chartreuse:  St Pierre en Chartreuse.  Free tasting of liquers.  Need we say more?
Palais des Ducs et des Etats de Bourgongne, Dijon.
>Ths palace was the residences of the Dukes of Burgundy.  Now the Museum of Fine Arts.
Thuir in the Pyrenees.  South East of Millas, the lower Tet.
Visit this winery which is the main producer of the red aperetif wine called Byrhh.  Free tastings and a tour.
Source Cachat, Evian.  The source of the Evian Water company.  Help yourself to free spring water.

Dublin, Ireland:  Visit the Guinness Hop Store.  Free entry, nice pint of Guinness and a great view of the City.

Copenhagen, Denmark :  Visit the Carlsberg Brewery and the exhibition.  You get vouchers for free drinks in the bar.  Incidentally, bikes can be used free of charge.  Just a deposit is required and returned when you return the bike

Chicago, USA: 
Visit the John Hancock Tower,  take the lift to the Signature Lounge on the 96th floor and have a snack or a drink.  This way you dont pay the $8 entry to the observation deck and you've had a drink or lunch.

Volunteer work in Britain:  A range of conservation jobs on offer.  Work with rare birds and wildlife, repair ancient buildings, cut grass or pull out weeds.
Accommodation is generally free.  Meals are usually self catering. Some offer a low rate and include food.  see: or  or

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