Europe Sept/Oct 2011
This is my report on our 20 day trip to Europe.
We have been to Europe several times before but usually with
Trafalgar Tours. After having been to Venice, Florence and Rome,
we felt we needed to return and spend more time in these cities.
Seeing airfare is the biggest part of the expense we decided to
add some other cities to our itinerary, hopefully cheaper
cities. So we started by going to Prague, Vienna and Budapest,
followed by Venice, Florence and Rome.
This report is going to be so big that I have decided to break
it into six parts each dealing with one of the cities.
Debbie has created a Shutterfly book which you can peruse. You
don't need to sign in or join to see it just click on "View
Photo Book". Here is the link - Deb's
We decided to avoid some problems, and adding others, by using
public transportation. We flew in then used Metros, trams, buses
and occasionally taxis.
A large part of our trip was planned using Rick Steves
recommendations. When I refer to RS it means Rick Steves. More
comments on RS later.
We were taken to SFO by our friend Frances.
We are so happy she did this for us. We owe her a big favor.
Maybe I'll paint her living room or something.
Prague - Prague, Czech
Republic is quite a beautiful city with a Castle and Cathedral
on a hill. Other attractions were the Charles bridge, the Old
Town Square and the millennium clock. We pretty much did it all.
Vienna - Of course a
beautiful city. We did what we could but missed a couple things.
Budapest - We sort of
errored on our timing and only spent two nights here. At least
we arrived fairly early the first day and were able to cover
most of what we wanted to see.
Venice - Still the most
beautiful city. The canals are interesting. It's also expensive
Florence - We stayed
practically on the famous Ponte Vecchio. We visited many museums
and climbed the Duomo.
Rome - Rome was too big and there
was a Metro strike the last day so we didn't see all we wanted
Fun stuff -
- A tabacchi is a tobacco shop which seems to have a critical
role in Europe. They sell many small items including stamps.
They also sell various tickets including transportation tickets.
They tended to be very helpful.
- We bought a rather expensive Eurail pass. I suspect we didn't
save anything and might have been better off just buying
tickets. Especially since we usually stood in line to make or
check our reservations anyway.
- Quite a lot of smoking in Eastern Europe. Many young girls
walking down the sidewalk smoking. Apparently no smoking inside
- The low flow toilets everywhere except Prague were a problem.
- Our Visa card charged 3% for a foreign transaction. Our Credit
Union debit card charged 1%. Exchange rates were exactly when
the transaction happened. We used ATM's exclusively for cash.
- Some hotels will give a discount for cash.
I hope you enjoyed my reports. They were written mostly for my
use so I can recall our trip. We took about 3600 pictures so
picking the best to put here has been an interesting job.