World War II Private Guided Tour in Europe
(Paris, Normandy, Amsterdam, Maastricht, Liege, Berlin)
May 11, 2015, to May 23 with Gregg, Maureen, Coleen and Donald. This World War II private guided tour was personally designed and personally hosted by myself. This was a very special private tour and request. Coleen and Maureen wished to visit the places and follow in their father’s footsteps during WWII. He was a member of the Allied Airborne Army in the 82nd Airborne Division. All private tours are custom-designed and personally hosted by Audrey.
3 days in Paris (May 11 to 14)
Private tour started in Paris, where the guests, after checking in to their hotel on their first day, joined me on an orientation walk in Paris including a visit to the Eiffel Tower. Services booked with our local wonderful guide Stephanie, for a private tour with entrances to Notre-Dame, the Louvre museum and Versailles (State Apartments of the King and Queen, Hall of Mirrors, King’s Chamber and walked through the gardens).
3 days in Sainte-Mère-Église (May 14 to 17)
Traveled by train to Sainte-Mère-Église where a private tour was arranged of the WWII landing sites, Utah and Omaha beaches, Pointe du Hoc (Operation Overlord). Guests also enjoyed a full day private tour to Mont-Saint-Michel. In Sainte-Mère-Église visits to the Airborne museum and of course the church where a mannequin representing John Steele hangs to remember his story were included.
May 17 – Train travel day and orientation walk in Amsterdam
Off to Amsterdam by train via Paris (where we were transferred by private vehicle between the two train stations Gare Sainte Lazare and Gare du Nord). In the evening I introduced them to the delicious RIJSTTAFEL.
What is Rijsttafel? Dutch for “rice table,” rijsttafel is a by-product of Dutch colonialism in Indonesia, which, if we count the days of the Dutch East India Company, stretched for more than three centuries, formally concluding in 1949. When the Dutch returned home, they brought with them an undying affection for satay (spicy peanut) sauce; a handful of Indonesian stir-fry standards; and this practice of serving many small Indonesian dishes, revolving around rice, at once to best show off the archipelago’s flavorful cuisine (it’s likely the Dutch were inspired by a similar Sumatran manner of feasting, called nasi padang). Modern-day rijsttafel is the same exact idea: Cram every inch of your table with anywhere from eight to 40 small plates—a variety of meats, vegetables, and condiments, like sambals and pickled dishes—and eat them with steamed white rice. It’s a tradition that is relatively unique to the Netherlands today, where it’s considered nearly as indigenous as ‘stamppot’, and it adds some much-appreciated exotic spiciness to Amsterdam’s culinary scene. If you crave a change from those hearty Dutch classics you’ve been filling up on, rijsttafel is your answer. Just show up hungry!
May 18 – Private tour booked for clients with their guide Murk for the battlefields of WWII for Operation Market Garden
May 19 – Train travel to Maastricht
Here we spent two nights. On May 20, we traveled down to Liege by train to meet up with their private guide Emile Lacroix for a full day tour of the Battle of the Ardennes.
May 21 – Travel to Berlin
From Maastricht a private transfer was arranged to take us to Cologne for our Air Berlin flight to Berlin, where we spent 2 nights touring the city. Guests enjoyed a private walking tour of Berlin with our guide Wolfgang.
May 23 – Departure Day
International flight home
Just want to say thank you once again for a most fabulous tour. The fact that you designed it to suit our very specific interests was phenomenal. Everything went very smoothly. You knew just what arrangements were necessary to accomplish everything in the time we had available. We were very pleased with the transportation, restaurants, sites, guides, etc. The whole trip could not have gone better. Our tour realized the dream my wife and sister in law wanted to fulfill: following the footsteps of their father as a paratrooper during the 2nd World War. We met many great people and have wonderful memories. I will always cherish the “down” times when Maureen and I had a sandwich and a beer at a sidewalk café in Paris and a beer at a sidewalk café in Berlin with Frau Vogel. Looking forward to future travels!