The rewards of international trade

Join the friendly folks here at Frugal-Chic Tours Inc. on this once-in-a-lifetime-trip as we discover how our European garden colleagues live, work and play. Forget your problems with weeds, slugs and digging, and join other friendly folks who also love to till the soil and surround their property with beauty, beauty, beauty! Here’s your chance to bring home idea after idea — not only for transforming your own garden but for sharing with your neighbors and all those fun members of your local garden club who weren’t able to tag along on this whirlwind garden extravaganza.

Day 1: Your nonstop adventure begins!

Our group of happy gardeners will assemble at the airport in Kansas City for our nonstop flight to Amsterdam. After checking in, we will board a KLM Royal Dutch Airlines jumbo jetliner and settle back for a delicious dinner served by our friendly flight attendants, followed by an in-flight movie (we’re showing The Life of Van Gogh, plus a bonus slide show of assorted garden views sent in by previous vacation travelers). It’s a chance to introduce ourselves and relax, so we’ll be ready to enjoy the fun-filled days ahead.

Day 2: A day to remember!

As the sun rises to meet us through the windows of our airliner, we continue to wind our way through the final leg of our flight. Right after breakfast, we will land at Holland’s Schiphol Airport, where we’ll collect our baggage and, after meeting our Tour Guide (who speaks excellent English), board a bus for the trip to our Hotel, located 125 miles away in Velp, a charming town close to the onion fields of Eerbeck. After checking into the Hotel, we will board a glass-topped bus for a lively tour of the fields, stopping for a late-afternoon snack at the new McDonald’s near the hotel, built as part of a cultural exchange. While in Eerbeck, we will visit the Mayor’s Garden, a charming attraction (shaped like a giant wooden shoe) which features the world’s largest collection of petunia hybrids, all in colors of purple and yellow. Dinner will be at the Hans Brinker Room of the Hotel (dress optional).

Day 3: Today will be fabulous!

At 6:30 a.m., we will board a bus for Amsterdam to visit a diamond factory and watch Dutch craftsmen cut and polish sparkling gems. Then we will visit the Rijksmuseum where, after seeing the paintings, we will lunch in the museum snack bar (a great time-saver) before driving to the quaint city of Weesp to view the cactus gardens of Hans Putter, the Wooden Shoe King. There we will see over 600 species of cactus planted in 600 wooden shoes. After a stop at the Annual Cheese Fair in the town of Loon op Zand, we will visit the largest indoor covered market in the Netherlands devoted entirely to household appliances, then head back to the Hotel for dinner and a night out at the local nightclub to hear the hit rock band, the Gothic Vaporizers.

Day 4: What a picnic!

At 7 a.m., it’s back to Aalsmeer to visit the world’s largest flower auction, where we’ll see over 38 acres of freshly cut flowers under one gigantic roof. You will thrill to all the sounds of commerce surrounding us as bunches of valuable flowers are bid on (imagine the excitement as 7 million flowers change hands before your eyes, in less than six hours!). You’ll also be delighted by the afternoon visit (lunch will be served on the tour bus) to the quaint village of Volendam on the Zuider Zee, where everyone will wear wooden shoes while touring the cobbled streets and visiting the swamp-reclamation district near the town’s state-of-the-art landfill. For dinner, we will visit a true Dutch fast-food restaurant — the largest truck stop in Holland — and then make it be back to the Hotel before midnight.

Day 5: The wonders of Germany!

At 6 a.m., we board the bus for the happy jaunt to Germany, where we will travel through the Ruhr Valley, marveling at the factories that have once again given Germany eminence in the new scheme of things. At one of the quaint villages, we will stop for what is sure to be a firsthand look at the Rhine River. A fantastic photo opportunity awaits when we visit the owner of a small chemical factory who has a garden made entirely of antique coat hangers in the shape of dinosaurs (including a pregnant T-Rex and three pterodactyls) and planted with an unusual variety of members of the vast cabbage family. Passing a number of historic castles, we will stop for wine beside the famous Lorelei Rock and stop at the Knuspern Family Rosinpfalz, the world’s largest collection of petrified raisins (we will marvel at a portrait of Elvis Presley done entirely in multicolored raisins). Our hotel that night will be Hans and Fritz’s Palace of Perfection, located just outside Upper-Gravenbroche, a small town some 40 miles from Nohm, the Gourd Capital of Europe.

Day 6: A gaga time!

This morning we will travel to the famous city of Heidelberg, where we will take time to visit the oldest college in Germany and see the fantastic gardens of the world-famous Huffelberg Castle. We will marvel at the thick walls of the castle and the incredible forest of stumps (much of the landscape is being cleared to make way for what will be one of the largest convention centers in Europe), plus the Mayor’s tomato garden, a spectacular acre featuring over 150 different types of the love apple. Soon we will be driving along a mountain back road, passing spic-and-span villages divided by deep spruce woods in neatly packed rows, in a world straight out of the Brothers Grimm. Our ever-present tour guide will answer all your questions, and we will also visit a typical German family who actually live in the Black Forest, operating a small hotel next door to the world’s largest manufacturer of concrete gnomes and small garden sculptures depicting celebrities of today. The trio of Willie Nelson, Minnie Pearl and Garth Brooks is said to be absolutely lifelike, and the Gertrude Jekyll Boot (planted with dwarf crepe myrtles) makes a fitting centerpiece for the Garden.

Day 7: Never to be forgotten!

Then it’s on to Spain via a nonscheduled flight from Merzigtraum. At the fabulous Hotel Sordide, we’ll explore their world-famous maze (modeled after the face of the legendary Gen. Francisco Franco). Here we will laugh and frolic amid the largest collection of ivy topiaries in Europe, all depicting famous heroes of the Spanish labor movement. That night at the hotel, we’ll join up with the international conclave of the Zipper Entrepreneurs of Europe and Portugal (ZEEP), who will be crowning Miss Zipper from a host of contestants flown in from around the world. Later that night, after an orgy of dancing amid the convention’s colored lights, we will board a plane for our flight back home, carrying the memories of a lifetime.

To learn more about this fabulous travel opportunity, fill out the coupon below for your No Obligation/No Strings travel packet, which includes special offers from the Franklin Mint (including the Sara Ferguson mug), 20 free coupons to the new Pyramid Hotel in Las Vegas, and a complimentary celebrity map of Holland. Send Today!

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