Thank you to our travel planner and her company for helping us plan and schedule an amazing trip to Europe for our grand daughter’s graduation from high school. This was a multi-generational tour - grandchildren, parents and grandparents.The trip was a year in the making to see the highlights and do some of the not to ordinary experiences in London and Paris, plus an extension to Budapest, Salzburg and Munich for the grandparents. Our travel planner was attentive to our desires to do and see certain attractions, but also she suggested sights and activities unique to the places we were to visit. She located condos in center city which were accessed by walking or public transportation to the major sites on our itinerary ( We purchased Oyster Cards in London to make for quick and easy access on public transportation.)
Upon arriving in London we settled into our condo and then took off on our first adventure to ride on the Coca-Cola London Eye with beautiful views of the city and then do a thrilling ride on the River Thames. To highlight the activities in London: (the parents had previously visited London and Paris two times and the grandparents three times) tour of Westminster Abbey and St. Paul’s Cathedral; in the evening of the second day it was a dark, cold and rainy setting the stage for our Jack the Ripper Tour. It made the walk on the cobbled alleyways eerie and thrilling reminding us of days gone by. On our second full day we visited Wimbledon with behind the scenes visits of facilities used by the press, broadcasters and the world’s best tennis players. Our grand daughters and their mother play tennis so it was very exciting for them to see the grass courts and to envision the championship players on center court. Back to center city to visit the Tower of London to see the royal jewels and to hear the history of the castle and of those who were executed there. Day three we were able to see the various stages of the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace,. We didn’t have to stand in line for hours, as we had done in the past, but instead were able to see the inspection, Old Guard, New Guard, Palaces and were even able to march alongside the Guard and the Ceremonial Bands.
Leaving London, we arrived in Paris and were met and transferred to our centrally located condo. On our first full day in France we traveled to Normandy via train. We visited the Caen War Memorial, the Normandy Landing Beaches walking on the beaches where so many lost their lives fighting for our freedom and for those in other countries. After lunch we visited the American Military Cemetery to remind us of the human sacrifice.
We purchased 4-day Museum Passes in Paris in order to visit the museums on our own time frame: the Louvre, the d’Orsay, the Rodin and the Palace of Versailles. We put on our walking shoes and walked to the museums and other major sites: Notre Dame, the Eifel Tower, the Arc of Triumph and the Cimetiere du Pere Lachaise over the next four days. In the evening of our second full day in Paris we did a Gourmet Food Tour walking in the Les Halles-Montorqueil section of Paris. We sampled wonderful pastries, cheese, sausage, wines and candies from this famous area.After seeing Versailles three times before we were excited about the unique visit our travel planner had arranged for us. We did a bike tour in the town of Versailles, purchased items for a picnic lunch and then pedaled out to the Palace grounds. We explored Marie Antoinette’s Hamlet, and the Petit and Grand Trianons, picnicked at the end of the Grand Canal and skipped the lines to tour the Palace.
To end our tour in Paris and to send the grand daughters and their parents off to home, we highlighted the last night with a dinner cruise. We all enjoyed the fine cuisine and the beautiful night time views of Paris along the River Seine.
We as grandparents continued our journey to Budapest, Salzburg, and Munich. Staying in centrally located hotels we were able to walk to main attractions and to easily meet our guides for our tours. In Budapest we did a walking tour of Pest learning about the history, legends and myths while visiting the major sites. Our second day we took a market tour in one of Europe’s finest halls while sampling several foods and drinks. Leaving the city we visited a winery-owned restaurant in Etyek for lunch and then drove to a family run winery for a wine tasting.Leaving Budapest we went by train to Salzburg via train. (We found the trains comfortable, clean and an easy way to move from city to city and country to country.
Doing the “Sound of Music” Tour was a highlight for us after enjoying the movie over the last fifty years. We also visited the Fortress of Hohensalzberg, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s birthplace, did a Mozart concert at the Fortress and toured the beautiful Salzkammergut area.
Onto Munich for three days. We enjoyed a walking/driving tour of the city with stops at the Bavarian monarchs palace, the 1972 Summer Olympic Park, the BMW Plant and the famous Hofbrauhaus. On day two we went outside the city by train to the see King Ludwig‘s castles. We marveled at the natural beauty of the Alps and villages and the magnificence of the Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau Castles. To complete our stay we took a five hour tour to the Dachau Concentration Camp. Our guide gave us a detailed tour of the camp and the memorials. A sobering experience and “lest we forget” all those who lost their lives.
The total trip was remarkable and a special thank you goes out to our tour designer for her expertise and diligence in making everything work together in our time frame. Her attention to detail was awesome: we had a detailed itinerary, all necessary vouchers for attractions and travel, excellent guides and accommodations. We highly recommend this company and our outstanding agent.
To be able to have one more day in London and Paris. We did a lot in a short time.
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