Travel stories: Gardens in Europe - Overview

My husband Bill and I just returned from a wonderful trip to Europe. Over the course of 17 days, we visited six countries: Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany, France, Switzerland and England. I know that sounds a little crazy and hectic but actually it turned out just right because we didn't try to see or do too much in that time.

On Oct. 7, we flew from Spokane to Seattle to London and finally to Brussels, Belgium. That made for a long travel day-and-a-half! But as we flew over Belgium, I was enthralled with how green and gorgeous it was (photo at right). We spent three days in Brussels and visited a marvelous garden called the Van Buuren garden, which was recommended to us by our host at the bed-and-breakfast where we stayed. I'll be writing about it shortly.
Next, we took a 2-hour train ride up to Amsterdam, The Netherlands. I enjoyed watching the scenery from the train windows and was surprised to learn that the train was traveling at about 120 mph! Yikes. But it was very smooth and efficient. Unfortunately, it was a very rainy, chilly day but we still had fun exploring Amsterdam for a few hours.

Later that day, we boarded a Viking River Cruises longship for an 8-day cruise down the Rhine River. That was awesome! Gorgeous scenery, shore excursions to Kinderdijk (top photo) to see a UNESCO windmills site; Cologne, Koblenz, Rudesheim, Heidelburg, Speyer and Breisach, Germany; and Strasbourg, France. We disembarked in Basel, Switzerland, where we stayed for three days. 

On our first day in Basel, we took a train up to Lucerne, which takes about an hour. What a beautiful city and what gorgeous countryside we saw during the train ride! While in Basel, we visited an amazing botanical garden right across the street from our hotel.

Then we flew back to London and had a few hours to explore some gardens before boarding our plane to head back home. You wouldn't think a person could cram in so much sightseeing in just a few hours but we did and it was great fun.

That's the overview of our trip. For the purposes of this blog and my Facebook page, my plan is to focus on the gardens we visited, as well as anything garden-related I saw along the way that I thought you would be interested in seeing. So stay tuned for the next several days as I relate all of this to you!