Dream Destination LogoDream Destinations       Your journey begins here!
Dream Destinations Newsletter # 9
February 2013 
In This Issue
Two March Travel Dates
Cruising Europe's Waterways
Feature Photo
Hank's Europe Geo Quiz # 6
Why Use Us?
My Top 10 Lesson Learned in 41 Years of Traveling to Europe
Answers to Geo Quiz # 6
Hank & Anne Cron Castle Ireland
Dear Travel Friends

We hope you like our new newsletter!  For 17 years Anne & I have been proud to help our friends visit the wonderful DREAM DESTINATIONS of this world.  As you know, we specialize in cruises and European travel. Your journey begins here! 
Don't hesitate to call us for more information at 713-397-0188 (Hank) or 832-244-0215 (Anne).
We are happy to help!

Anne Schrader

 Certified Travel Consultant
 Accredited Cruise Counselor


Hank Schrader, USMA '71

Certified Western European Destination Specialist

Dream Destinations

Your journey begins here!

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Pearland, Texas 77584


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Both Anne & Hank are  Western Europe Destinations Specialists conferred by The Travel Institute



Eiffel Tower 
The Eiffel Tower at night 1990
This photo was taken on a night time cruise on the Seine River 
Photo Anne Schrader
Two March Travel Dates   


As I was helping Anne plan a client's 25th Anniversary Trip to the British Iles, I started thinking about 2 key dates in European history that happen in March. The first is St. Patrick's Day--March 17. The second date is March 31. On this date, in 1889, The Eiffel Tower opened. Both of these dates offer visitors a great chance to see Europe at its best!



St. Patrick's Day Parade--a true Irish Experience!
St. Patrick's Day, celebrated on March 17th, is the cultural and religious holiday of Ireland. St. Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland. He is credited with introducing Christianity to Ireland. On this public holiday in Ireland, celebrations usually include church services, parades and the lifting of Lenten restrictions on eating and drinking alcohol.


I must admit, one of the most memorable experiences I think Anne & I have experienced in Europe, was the chance to march in the Sligo, Ireland St. Paddy's Day Parade. In 2009, we had a chance, as part of a travel group, to march in the Sligo, Ireland St. Patrick's Day Parade. We dressed up as Disney characters and marched for over a mile to cheers from a great crowd along the whole route. It was awesome--the lively Irish, always ready for a good party, are at their best on this day. It is a true celebration of life, as the pride these folks have in their country was never more evident as it was on this day.
In my opinion, either marching in a St. Patrick's Day Parade or seeing one in person  is an experience all should try to do in their lifetime. 


The Eiffel Tower-the symbol of a city and a nation.


On March 31, 1899, engineer Gustave Eiffel, led a group of government officials and press reporters to the top of the tower. The ascent was made on foot and took over an hour. The original plan was to let the tower stand for 20 years and then it was to be dismantled; but it was so popular that plan was quickly abandoned.
The Eiffel Tower is one of the most recognized structures in the world. Designed as the centerpiece for a world's fair, the tower stands 1050 ft tall and has 3 levels for visitors. For 41 years, it was the tallest man-made structure on earth. The first and second levels have restaurants. According to Wikipedia, it is the most visited, paid monument in the world with over 7.1 million visitors in 2011.
Ah, Paris-Anne's favorite European city-everyone should get to experience the city of lights!


So why are these dates important to you? Anniversaries mark the passage of another year and I think European landmarks and cultural experiences should be on everyone's travel list of things to do. So lift a pint on the 17th, toast the wearing of the green and dream of European trips.


We would like to help you plan your next European adventure.


Call on us to help you find your Dream Destinations!




Europe River Map   

Central Europe's Rivers

 Photo AMA Waterways 



Cruising Europe's Rivers

Do you love flowers? We are going to visit the Netherlands this springtime, when spectacular carpets of colorful tulips are in full bloom on a Tulip Time River Cruise.  Throw in lush green countryside adorned with picturesque windmills and add delicious cheeses and already the trip sounds awesome-but that is just the start. We will be on our favorite river cruise line, AMA Waterways. This will be our cruise number four. If you can swing it, the best times to visit Europe are either Spring or Fall (or both)-prices are better and there are less crowds.


So where are the typical 7 day river cruises in Europe?


Rhine and Mosel-there are three main routes. The first is our Tulip Time route on the lower Rhine and canals in the Netherlands and Belgium. The second is usually from Amsterdam to Basel Switzerland on the Rhine, (or from Basel to Amsterdam on the next 7 day cruise), using both the lower Rhine and the upper Rhine (defined as from Koblenz to its source in Lake Constance). This cruise begins with legendary canals and the colorful surroundings of Amsterdam, past the majestic Cologne Cathedral and on to the Black Forest region of Germany. The third route is usually from Trier, Germany to Nuremberg, Germany or the reverse route, using the Mosel (covers about 150 miles of the 340 miles of this river), the Rhine and the Main tributary and part of the Main Canal from Bamburg to Nuremberg. This is vineyard and castle country on the most beautiful stretch of the Rhine River dotted with picturesque castles--see below.

Rhine River Castle  Rhine Rivers Castles


Danube and Main-Danube Canal-there are 2 routes here. The first is from Nuremberg to Budapest, Hungary (or the reverse route), using the Main-Danube Canal (106 miles long with 16 locks) and the upper Danube (the Danube is 1,170 miles, making it the second longest river in Europe after the Volga River in Russia). This area has rolling hillsides, lush vineyards, and medieval castles, as the cruise allows you to visit four different countries. The second segment is Budapest to near the Black Sea. This segment begins with the rolling hills and vine-clad slopes of the Pecs in Hungary; then moves to the boundary waters that separate Serbia and Croatia; then traverses the narrow gorges of the Iron Gates, a stunning passage that divides the Balkan and Carpathian mountains and either ends in Bucharest, Romania or at the Black Sea (or the reverse route). 


 Durnstein on the Danube River


Seine-this is a 7 day round trip cruise into Normandy, starting and ending in Paris. The cruise highlights are Monet's village of Honfleur, Rouen, the historic capital of Normandy, as well as a chance to visit the medieval towns along this scenic route and visit the D-Day Normandy beaches.


Douro-this is a Portugal round trip adventure, usually starting and ending in Porto, PortugalThe Douro is an unspoiled river decorated with deep gorges, lush vineyards and sleepy fishing villages.


Rhone this cruise goes from Lyon to Arles.  
 Starting in Lyon, the gastronomical capital of France, you cruise through France's legendary wine growing regions of Beaujolais and Cote du Rhone, observe medieval villages in the Provence region of France; then on to the Papal town of Avignon and finish in Arles, where Vincent Van Gough spent much of his time.  The cruise then changes direction from Arles to Lyon for the next 7 day cruise.
Volga-Baltic Waterway-this cruise goes from Moscow to St. Petersburg. This spectacular voyage along the Volga, Europe's longest river, features the two cities which served as the capitals of Russia and a chance to visit the enchanting Golden Ring cities of Uglich and Yaroslavi, along with sailing on the lakes of Onega and Ledoga.  It also reverses route for the next 7-day cruise.

Why not let us plan your next river cruise?





Sligo Parade Ireland     
  Feature Photo 

Anne (AKA Jessie) & Hank (AKA Buzz Lightyear), the Toy Story Characters,  prepare to march in Sligo's St. Patrick's Day Parade March 17, 2009 


Hank's Europe Geo Quiz 
# 6 

I am a former high school world geography and AP human geography teacher. Ok, class is in session--Good Luck!


1)      One famous English King, Henry VIII, did not live in London after 1529. What is the name of the palace that Henry VIII lived in after 1529 (by the way, it's a great day trip from London)?

2)      What two European Cities, located on the Danube River, were united and became the capital of Hungary? (10 points) What is the name of the bridge that united these two cities (the English nickname is okay)?

3)      What city in Italy is most associated with the Renaissance? (10 points) Why should you never visit this city on Monday if you want to visit its impressive art museums? (10 points)

4)      Over 9 million people a year visit this popular museum in Paris (it's number 1!). What is the name of this museum?

5)      What is the name of the capital of Spain before it became Madrid in 1561? (Hint-it is located on a bend of the Tagus River and is a famous walled city that was often painted by El Greco; it's also famous for sword making.)


Each question is worth 20 points.  For Questions 2 & 3 each answer is worth 10 points. Scoring



90-100    You are a smart Europe Geo genius!

70-85      You know a lot!

60 or less  You spent too much time in the     Pub with Hank, but this quiz will boost your Geo IQ!


Answers are at the bottom of this newsletter!

Why Use Us?
Anne & Hank on the Celebrity Silhouette 2011
The value we add to our customers:
1. It costs you nothing for us to plan your travel.
2. We have 17 years experience--we help you get the best value for your dollar --saves you time & money!
3.  Book it yourself & you are on your own--we can help you avoid problems & help resolve disputes.
4.  We are small enough to give you personalized service, yet big & experienced enough to get you the right trip.
5.  We are honest, hard working with one goal--to serve you--we will do what is best for you not us.


 My Top 10 Lessons Learned in 41 Years of Traveling to Europe

      Luggage  We can carry this for 3 weeks in Europe--two 22" suitcases and 2 backpacks--sure makes travel a little easier!

  1. Know exactly what you want to see and how to get there.  This may sound silly but many key places you may want to visit are often very hard to visit without several transfers. Let me give you an example. Several years ago, we had a Eurorail pass with limited days. Prior to start of using our 15 days, we had one extra day. We were in France & I wanted to see Mt. St. Michel in Normandy. Without doing my homework, I got us to Le Havre, about 100 miles north of my desired attraction. We never made it to Mt. St. Michel. Turns out it is very difficult to go by train alone to Mt. St. Michel. The point is simple-you must plan your connections & have a clear idea of how to get there.
  2. Protect your money-carry a money belt and always zip it shut. Even though we always carry money belts, on one Paris trip, forgot to zip mine one night & dropped all my credit cards & IDs along with $230 US dollars. We realized the mistake after only 30 minutes & after a brief search determined the cards were gone. We called & cancelled the cards within one hour of our loss. We also learned that because Anne had different cards, our trip was not ruined. We reported the loss to the police and unbelievably when we went to the local Paris police station, someone had turned in all my lost items, to include the cash.
  3. Change your money before you go. There is always a fee to exchange money. Banks usually offer the best exchange rates. You will not get the prime published  exchange rate-that is only for banks or large currency exchanges. Foreign coins cannot be changed in banks or at currency exchanges-they only accept folding money. Try to use them before you leave the country or prepare to keep them as mementos. We carry a minimum of $200.00 US dollars. Depending upon the trip, we have carried as much as $1000.00. The two best places to get foreign currency-your bank or American Express. Banks are usually cheaper. We usually only carry Euros or Pounds prior to a European trip. We carry $ 200-1000 depending on the length of the trip. Of course, if our trip is only to Russia, we get rubles. We always split our cash money in half, and each of us carries our portion in our money belts.
  4. Pack light-one rolling suitcase and 1 backpack.
    Anne & I try to take one suitcase and one carry-on each. The size of the suitcase depends on the length of the trip. We think a spinner suitcase is best (4 wheels) so that it will not fall over (I accidently let Anne's 2 wheel case fall over on one trip & it cracked our netbook screen). Most airlines will charge you steep fees for a bag that weights more than 50 pounds. Try to take clothes that match together so you can wear an item at least twice or three times. Wash and wear clothing helps limit the amount clothes you need. Rolling our clothes helps us get more in less space. Laundry services are available in Europe, but we often just do a small in room wash. We both use packing cubes to help organize our items. Even when I unpack, I just throw the packing cube in the drawer-less to pack later. You may want to take a picture of any high dollar item you are taking or make a detailed packing list with specific description (an example, Blue Microfiber Travel Smith Blazer). 
  5. Never take a night train to save money.  We once took a night train from Paris to Amsterdam with what we thought was a night couchette private compartment. Turns out it was a compartment for 4, we had two strangers in our room and it was so hot in August it took us 2 days to recover. Sometimes spending a little more is worth it, especially as you age.
  6. Learn how to use public transportation especially, the subway.
    Figure out how to get to the attraction that fits your style of travel. Ask at the hotel you are staying for help to get to where you want to go. Taxis are some time essential & your hotel can often keep you from being ripped off. Our preferred method is to walk, then subway, maybe bus, finally cab or private limo (from Rome to cruise port of Civitavecchia for example).
  7. Don't spend $3000 to go on a trip and then balk at an entrance fee of $10-$20 for something you want to see
    Know what you want to see and budget for entrance fees. I once missed a beautiful church with a wood carved altar because I wouldn't spend $5.00-it's not very cost effective after spending $3000 to get there.
  8. Organize your sightseeing in a city by grouping sites that are close together.
    Grouping will save you hours of time. Plan time to see things in the area, then move to the next area of town-it is just smart travel.
  9. Know when key sites are closed. Know what days certain sites are closed-the Louvre is closed on Tuesday and in Florence most key art galleries are closed on Mondays.
  10. Carry the right electronics and adapters. 
    Traveling with electronics in Europe is a given in today's world. Europe uses 240 volts instead of the 110volts in the US. Bring only electronic devices that are 100-240 volts compliant. You will also need adapter plugs to fit into the outlets. England & Ireland use a different plug than is used on the continent of Europe. Also expect few places in your room to plug in your appliance to
    recharge during your trip. My experience with converter devices is poor-they often just do not work or destroy your costly electronic device.

 Dream Destinations-your journey begins here!


Answers to Hank's Geo Quiz # 6
    1. Hampton Court Palace
    2. Buda and Pest united to become Budapest. They are united by the Széchenyi Chain Bridge.
    3. Florence, Italy is known as the home of the Renaissance. Many art galleries are closed, to include the Accademia (David statue) and Uffizi, which contains the greatest collection of Italian paintings in the world.
    4. The Louvre (by the way it is closed on Tuesdays). 
    5. Toledo was the capital of Spain.


90-100        You are a smart Europe genius!

70-85          You know a lot!

60 or less   You spent too much time in the Pub with Hank, but this quiz will boost your Geo IQ!


A Travel


Anyone who books a trip  with us before Febuary 28 2013, has their choice of one of 2 great gifts.  One gift is the Richard Solo Smart Back up Battery for iPhones or iPods (certain models).  The second gift is the WineHug, a protective travel case for a wine bottle.  These gifts will be provided to our clients upon final  non-refundable payment for their trip.  This is just one way Dream Destinations goes the extra mile just for you!
Offer Expires: Febrary 28, 2013 while supplies last