2018 European Discovery Tour

European Discovery Tour - private tour
visiting Italy & France - following in the footsteps of the 100 and the 442
12 days: Sept 5 - 16, 2018

Travel to the heart of Europe and experience some of the most spectacular cities and scenery in the world. Along the way, we’ll visit several of the sites where brave Nisei soldiers fought in World War II.  Join us on a wonderful and informative journey.

Day one – Wednesday, September 5, 2018 – overnight flight to Rome
Today you will board an overnight flight to Europe.

Day two – Thursday, Sept 6 - Rome - overnight Monte Cassino area
This morning we will arrive in the bustling Italian capital, Rome. You’ll be able to sit back and rest as we travel about an hour and a half southward to the region of Monte Cassino where a comfortable little hotel awaits. This afternoon, you’ll be able to rest and freshen up from your travel. You’ll enjoy a nice welcome dinner at our hotel.
 (Light luncheon, Early dinner)

Day three – Friday, Sept 7 – visit Monte Cassino region
This morning we will meet a local historian who will give you an overview of the story of the arrival of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team in Italy. You’ll learn about the Nisei soldier’s first battle experiences of the war in the autumn of 1943 as they fought their way up the boot of Italy to liberate Rome. We will follow in the footsteps
of the “Go for Broke” Regimental Combat Team, visiting the fascinating war sites and the amazing Benedictine Abbey of Monte Cassino. The Abbey which dates from the 6th century, was a key site in the story of the American and Allied liberation of Italy. After visiting the area we will proceed to a small villa in the countryside where a nice dinner
awaits. (B, L, D)

Day four – Saturday, Sept 8 – Rome
An amazing day of sightseeing today begins bright and early as we travel northward to Rome. Upon arrival in the Eternal City, you’ll enjoy a tour where you will see all of the highlights of this fascinating city. You’ll view the Roman Forum; the site where Julius Caesar was assassinated; the Colosseum and many other legendary monuments and sites. Later this afternoon, you’ll enjoy a tour of the Vatican Museum including a visit to the Sistine Chapel and Saint Peter’s Basilica. Afterwards you’ll enjoy a nice dinner at a typical local restaurant. (B, L, D)

Day five – Sunday, Sept 9 – travel to Siena and onto Florence
Rise and Shine! Today is a busy day of travel as we head northward to the legendary region of Tuscany. At noon, we’ll
arrive in Siena where a wonderful Italian lunch awaits.  Afterwards we’ll enjoy a walk in the remarkable gothic town of Siena with a local guide. We’ll explore it’s medieval streets and also tour it’s ancient cathedral. Later today, we’ll travel to nearby Florence, one of Europe’s most beautiful cities and our home for the next two nights.  (B, L)

Day six – Monday, Sept 10 – at day exploring Tuscany with a visit to Pisa (overnight in Florence)
A fine day of sightseeing and adventure begins today as we head for the hills on a scenic drive through the Tuscan countryside. We’ll travel to nearby San Gimignano an ancient hillside town which is crowned by 14 towers, once the homes of wealthy merchants. You can roam the maze of cobbled streets and small squares and enjoy of bit of free time in this fascinating village. We’ll travel further into the Tuscan countryside to the Sienese hills where chianti wines are produced.  You’ll enjoy a traditional Tuscan lunch at a local winery. Later today we’ll travel to
Pisa where you will visit the Campo dei Miracoli (Field of Miracles) with a local guide. You’ll see the famous Leaning Tower and the Baptistry. We’ll tour the interior of the Duomo, Pisa’s stunning medieval cathedral and we’ll also see the Campo Santo, which is a monumental cemetery dating from the middle ages. In Pisa you will discover the heavy toll which Allied bombing took on some of Italy’s (and humanity’s) irreplaceable cultural treasures. You’ll begin to truly understand the significance of the Nisei soldier’s contribution to the liberation of Europe. Tonight enjoy a simple Italian dinner tonight with locals at a typical neighbourhood restaurant. (B, L, D)

Day seven - Tuesday, Sept 11 - falling in love with Florence (overnight in Parma)
Today we’ll visit Florence, one of Europe’s most beautiful cities. We’ll take a walking tour with a local guide in the heart of the historic district. You’ll learn that Florence is one of the greatest art centers that the world has ever seen (geniuses like Michelangelo and Leonardo Da Vinci worked here and left an indelible mark on society and culture). Our walking tour will include all of the important highlights and will end at the impressive Duomo, Florence’s most iconic landmark. Your morning visit will end with a guided tour at the Academmia where you will be able to admire Michelangelo’s David in person. You will be able to enjoy lunch on your own in the heart of the city. An afternoon tour to the Uffizi Gallery for more amazing Renaissance art, or leisure and shopping time are possible. We’ll
leave Florence in mid-afternoon for nearby Parma where a comfortable hotel and a good meal await. (B, D)

Day eight - Wednesday, Sept 12 - travel through Switzerland to rural France
A busy day of travel today as we shift from the story of the 442nd’s Italian military campaign, to the story of the liberation of France and the legendary tale of the Lost Battalion. To do so, we have a lot of territory to cross! You’ll likely enjoy the scenery along the way as we’ll be crossing some of the prettiest areas in Europe. We’ll stop at a Swiss truck stop en-route to France for dinner. Tonight we will arrive in a charming French town where we will spend the next two nights. (B, L, D)

Day nine - Thursday, Sept 13 - Visit Bruyeres region - Lost Battalion
Today we will explore the French region of the Vosges around the historic towns of Bruyeres and Biffontaine where the 442nd fought valiantly against Hitler’s troops in October and November of 1944. You’ll learn all about the exploits of the Nisei in France as well as the famous Lost Battalion. It is remarkable to imagine how these young Japanese-American soldiers must have felt, thousands of miles away from home - battling at the very doorstep of the German Reich - facing a formidable German foe, in the cold of November! Aside from historical interest, the region is very scenic to visit. Even people who are not military history buffs enjoy this day greatly. Tonight you’ll enjoy a nice rustic French meal. (B, L, D)

Day ten - Friday, Sept 14 - Visit Champagne Region, travel to Paris.
An exciting day as we leave the Vosges early this morning for the French region of Champagne. After an interesting visit to a fine Champagne-maker, we travel to nearby Belleau Wood a WWI American Cemetary and historic site. Afterwards, we’ll travel eastward to the French Capital, Paris. After the dark stories of a difficult war campaign,
the happy, glittering lights of Paris, Europe’s “City of Light” will be a wonderful change of pace. Tonight we’ll enjoy a wonderful dinner together in the heart of the city. (B, L, D)

Day eleven - Saturday, Sept 15 - Paris
A fine day of sightseeing begins today as you explore the city with Philippe on foot and by Paris’ famous Metro (subway) system. You’ll see all of the major highlights of the French Capital, including the Arc-de-Triomphe, Notre-Dame, The Champs-Elysees and more! This afternoon, you’ll have free time for shopping or exploring any aspect of the city that interest you. As always, Philippe will be on hand to help you find whatever you are looking for during your free time. This afternoon you’ll enjoy a wonderful farewell dinner in a typical French bistro. evening, you’ll experience a classical music concert in a spectacular setting before (B, D)

Day twelve - Sunday, Sept 16 - Paris, return flights home
This morning, after a hearty French breakfast, Philippe will take you to Paris’ Charles-de-Gaulle Airport where you will board a return flight home. (B)

(this tour itinerary is subject to change)

This tour includes:
- land transportation within Europe as described in the itinerary
- comfortable accommodations at carefully selected hotels and inns
- most of your meals: 9 dinners; 8 lunches; breakfast each day
- entrance fees to all of the activities described in the itinerary
- local tours with local guides in Montecassino, Rome, Florence and Paris
- a no tipping required policy

$ 6450 per person in double occupancy
$ 8000 per person in single occupancy

Your tour begins in Rome, Italy (airport code FCO Leonardo da Vinci–Fiumicino Airport) and ends in Paris, France (airport code CDG Charles-de-Gaulle airport).

Activity Level
This tour is rated activity level: 4

Activity Level 1 - A very easy tour. Minimal physical activity such as climbing some stairs, boarding
your motorcoach, and walking from the hotel lobby area to your hotel rooms and dinning areas.

Activity Level 2 - An average physical ability tour. You should be in good health, able to climb stairs
and walk reasonable distances, possibly over uneven ground and cobblestone streets.

Activity Level 3 - A moderate physical activity tour. The itinerary features a mix of a few longer days
with shorter days (and more leisure time). You should be in good health, able to participate in walking
tours as well as walking slightly longer distances, up stairs or on uneven walking surfaces.

Activity Level 4 - A moderate physical activity tour with longer days and a potential for heat. Some of
the touring days (though not all) may be longer, with a few activities occurring later in the evening
(meals are served late in the day in Italy and France). You should be in good health, able to participate in walking tours as well as walking slightly longer distances, up stairs or on uneven walking surfaces.

Activity Level 5 - A very active tour. Participants must be physically fit to fully experience this tour.
This itinerary has more strenuous activities such as extensive walking tours, a few bumpy roads, high
altitudes, early morning departures, late night activities, or extreme temperatures. This tour is not
appropriate for individuals who require the use of a walker or a wheelchair. Not every day will be
strenuous - please read the itinerary carefully and speak with a Philippe if you have any concerns
about the physical ability required to undertake this tour.

What to Expect
Italy and France are more physically challenging to visit than most places in North America. Although many aspects of life in both of these countries are remarkably modern and advanced, many areas you will be visiting will not provide the comfort you’re accustomed to in America. The tour will require a significant amount of walking, and much of this walking will be over cobble-stone streets and will require your attention and patience. Other factors that may affect your comfort on this tour include the air conditioning (which may not be as strong in public places, hotels and the motor coach). Dinner times create a challenge for us in Italy and France. Dinner is never served before 7:00 or 8:00 pm and service is always leisurely which makes dinnertime drag on to 9:00 or 10:00 pm on many evenings.
Guests must be able to carry their own baggage (and carry-ons) through busy airports and train stations on their own. Make sure you pack lightly - not only will it help you to navigate train stations better, it will make your life easier once you have reached your hotel rooms - as most of these are quite small by American standards.
Neither walkers nor wheelchairs can be used on this tour as most activities are only accessible to persons who can walk well without assistance.
Please speak to Philippe if you have any concerns about the physical ability required to undertake this tour.

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