Monday, January 18, 2010

Since I *am* striving to update this blog, I have decided to not have my other (unread) travel blog going as well. One is plenty. So, here is info (mostly) copied from that blog, with, of course a few updates.

Nearly 6 months away, but my mind is FILLED with thoughts of Europe!!
I get all involved with finding a hotel to stay in in Paris, then I get all interested in which river town to stay in while in Germany. Then thoughts of Roman ruins run through my head and I am all about Italy. I really cannot say which part of our upcoming trip excites me the most.

All together, we will be in Europe for about 340 hours....and I am sure I will spend at LEAST that much time either on the computer planning this trip, talking about options with Ethan, or reading guidebooks.

So far, I am using the Rick Steves books--I have the 2010 versions for Rome, Paris and Amsterdam, and older versions of his Europe through the back door and Best of Europe. I am trying to NOT do a cookie cutter trip following his advice to the dot--sounds like many people do, and they miss out on a lot!

At this point, this is what we have done:

We booked tickets from Seattle to Frankfurt and from Rome back to Seattle using airline miles. Because our trip puts us in Amsterdam during Koninginnedag, which is a national holiday celebrating the Queen's official birthday, we booked that hotel first.

We will be staying at Hotel Aspen in Amsterdam--located really close to the Anne Frank House and the Jordaan neighborhood, and only a few blocks from Dam Square, right in the heart of the city.

Nothing else is booked yet...but that is mostly because we are too far out to book them!

In Paris, I am pretty confident that we will be staying at The Tourisme Hotel, which is located very near the Eiffel Tower. There are a couple hotels in this area I am considering, but this is my favorite right now...

In Rome, we are staying at The Beehive, located a few blocks from the main Termini train station. Great rate, wonderful location....and free wifi, which is a must for all our hotels. We are bringing the laptop with us so I can download pictures off my memory cards for my cameras, and Ethan can stay updated with work issues.

In Germany.....we are still deciding. I really want to go here, but it is not located very conveniently to any of the small towns we are thinking of staying in--we land in Frankfurt, then will take a train to the Rhine river and stay in either Bacharach or Sankt Goar...or maybe somewhere else??? Rick Steves suggests staying in Bacharach, which looks just beautiful--bit it *is* the furthest south/farthest away from other sites. Such dilemmas.....

Overal plans:
Arrive in Germany, see lots of castles, taste wine and cheese, relax. We will be here for 3 nights, but as I mentioned--we are not yet sure where we will be staying. We will do at least 2 castle tours--probably Rheinfels and Marksburg. Definitely taking a K-D river cruise at some point. We shall see if Burg Eltz makes it into our plans..

We are here for 4 nights. So far, we know we want to do a bike tour, and go to the Anne Frank House. Not sure what will be happening on the big celebration on April 30th...but we will go with the flow.

We are in Paris for 3 nights. We arrive on Labour Day, so we are crossing our fingers that the French do not have a notorious strike on that day, and our train arrives on time.. We get here on a Saturday, and the next day (Sunday) is the first Sunday of the month, so many museums are free. We are not overly museum-y we will take advantage of the free-ness. I definitely want to check out the Louvre, and the Orsay, maybe l'Orangerie to see Monet's famous water lilies....
We are absolutely doing this tour--it is one of the things I am most looking forward to! Probably do that our first evening in Paris. I want to see everything there is to see architecturally--Notre Dame, the Arc de Triomphe, St. Chapelle, etc. And, of course, the Eiffel Tower....

Rome is going to be awesome--3 nights here. We will definitely see the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel and St Peter's Basilica one day...gotta do the Colosseum/Forum/Capitol Hill/Pantheon...maybe check out some catacombs...Rick Steves has some do-it-yourself walks past some great areas--Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, Piazza Navona, etc. I also want to do the Borghese Gallery and the National Museum of Rome. So much to do, so little time....

So, here we are!! The next thing I will probably be doing is book a flight from Paris to Rome. THey are about 36 euros each through for a mid-day/mid-week flight. Can't book our train tickets until we are 90 days or less out, and can't book the hotels for another few more planning and looking and dreaming for me!

Written in early NOvember...

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