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Trip of a lifetime!! A big WOW!!

30 May 2019

Liz and Paul Egan

I am an artist and wanted a special trip for my husband and I now that we are retired. I wanted to see a lot of the great Dutch art and also have time to capture scenes by painting along the way. My husband and I traveled on the boat Flora on the Green Heart of Holland Tour. It was by far the best trip we have ever taken. Berthuis and Jonne were amazing hosts and Elles was a delightful person and fantastic chef. They recently purchased the boat 6 months before our trip and updated everything! There were 20 passengers on our trip and it was terrific to be able to get to know everyone, even though we were the only Americans (everyone was so nice and we crossed language boundaries!). A new fleet of bikes and the exceptional maps and daily itineraries as well as the audible app on our phone made traveling unguided each day a pleasure! Our meals were delicious and there was plenty and great variety of food. I am lactose intolerant and Elles made me special desserts every day! Each day when we got back from our biking there were fresh cookies and treats! We had never taken such a trip. Now we are hooked! This is an amazing way to see a country! We have been on group tours before and spent most of our time in a tour bus. With the bike tour, we left the boat at 9:00 am each day and had time to explore many different sites along the route at our own pace and still have plenty of time to make it back to the boat for dinner. I painted almost every day! Each day we made our lunch from the expansive breakfast. The reusable containers that were provided helped store it safely until we ate. Water bottles were provided as well as a super cool strap to hold our phones to the handle bars and a pump and bike repair kits (that we never used). Every detail was taken care of. The captain was able to answer all our questions and provided exceptional local knowledge – he spoke Dutch, German, and English and provided announcements and directions in multiple languages. Our state room was clean and comfortable. We could help ourselves from a basket of extra toiletries as needed. There was delicious coffee, teas of all types, decaf, and water available at all times. An abundance of other beverages were available for a price, on an honor system. We didn’t use them much, but I saw that the captain accommodated special requests from other passengers and stocked the bar as requested. We loved the fact that the boat was docked for the night. We got a chance to take a nice relaxing exploratory walk before or after dinner. I booked this trip 8 months in advance and it far exceeded our expectations. While we used regular bikes and had no problem with the daily mileage, other passengers chose the e-bike option. We are already planning which bike trip we can take next year! The Boat Bike Tours Company is great. Petra, who handled our reservation was terrific and in regular e-mail communication answering my many questions. The itinerary on the website was precisely what we encountered on the trip. The pre-trip information package detailed every aspect of the trip and was so helpful. It even included a suggested packing list. We feel like we have made new friends in Berthuis and Jonne. We have awesome memories that will last a lifetime!

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