Our whole trip to Germany was designed with my son and I in mind. I told my agent why I was going to Germany (high school graduation for my son), what was important to me (safety and not having to worry about driving) and our budget. I didn't want a tour with other people because Ryan and I can be anywhere and we will have fun regardless of what's around us. Also, I didn't want to be told that we had 45 minutes to look at something and meet back at the bus. As someone very interested in WW II, my only request was that we visit the Eagle's Nest. My agent arranged a private guide to take us which was fabulous. He gave us suggestions on where to eat, what to see and the highlights of each city, but it was entirely up to us to decide. We did take many of his suggestions and each one was excellent. Like experience has proved time and time again, my son and I had a great time doing what we wanted without a timeframe. Our hotel location at each city put us in the best possible spot to see and do everything the city had to offer.
What my agent did exceptionally well was put together the details that were important to me as a mom traveling with her son. The hotels we stayed at in the beginning of the trip and the end were high end, Americanized hotels. This was perfect for me. While getting adjusted to my surroundings, I had all the luxuries to make me feel at home. At the end of my trip, I was able to have reliable transportation that the hotel set up to the airport. It may not seem like a big deal, but when your German is spotty and you are in a foreign country, these small things really put your mind at ease. He thought of things that I hadn't and made sure I was comfortable. The hotels that we stayed at in the middle of our trip were spectacular and reminded me exactly of what I thought European hotel should be. Charming, stylish and unique. I could not have been more pleased with the hotel selections. I told my son that I felt like Cinderella! My son commented several times about the remarkable job that Jonny did in selecting the hotels. This was the ultimate compliment from an 18 year old who has stayed at some of the best resorts in the US.
The transportation our agent arranged from the airport to the hotel and to the Eagle's Nest was unbelievable. Each driver was there on time to meet me, which eased one of my big fears on how to get from the airport to the hotel. The drivers were clean, well dressed, friendly, spoke perfect English and pointed out the highlights of the city as we drove past. The cars were top of the line, clean, comfortable and stocked with bottled water. Our private guide at the Eagle's Nest was a highlight of our trip. She was friendly, energetic, spoke perfect English, very intelligent, asked questions to get conversations going and was a wealth of information about Austria. We went to the Eagle's Nest with our German friends and she was able to keep the conversation lively, stopped at the scenic points for us to take pictures and bounced effortlessly between German and English. It was a day I didn't want to end!
To sum things up, it was a perfectly planned vacation and what impressed me the most was our agent's ability to understand what I was looking for, present it to me and add in a few things I didn't know to ask for that made my trip more enjoyable. I also forgot to mention that he came in slightly under budget. It doesn't get much better than that!
Each city that we stayed in had highlights that I will never forget. In Berlin, it was shopping for a Gucci wallet for my son and drinking beer in Charlottenburg. In Munich, it was the spectacular churches, city library and people watching. In Salzburg, it was spending time with our German friends, the Konigssee, visiting the Eagle's Nest, the Kasererbraeu hotel and the soap shop directly across the street from the hotel. In Venice it was seeing my son and his friend taking in all the sights Venice had to offer. The food in every city was so good! It was hard to come back home!
Because I was traveling with an 18 year old boy, museums and what you would expect to do while in Germany were not on the list. That didn't stop our agent from putting together an alternate type of trip that stayed away from the tourist traps, museums, etc. He was able to put together a very personalized, relaxing and some of the best things about a trip are unplanned type of holiday. While we may not have hit all the city's attractions, our agent did exactly as I asked.
Throughout this whole trip there was not one problem, mix up or hiccup. Everything that my agent arranged was like clock-work.
If I could take my trip again, I would stay longer in each city. The hardest part was packing up and moving every 2 days. While this is exactly what I asked for given my time frame and list of cities, it would have been nice to spend 2 full days in each city instead of a day and a half.
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