A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: woodymy

Tour Bus

Although I say I hate them...

You know how it is when your on a tour bus with 20-30 strangers. There's the person who is constantly late and holds the bus up, there's the person who always has to use the bathroom, there's the loud talker, and probably the worst, the one who always raises his hand with questions!

So, as a rule, the Woodyears try to avoid tours. But now I'm thinking, if we rail around Europe, how are we going to see the windmills and wineries? Should we dare take a tour?

Does anyone know anything about these tours?

Posted by woodymy 07:23 Archived in Netherlands Tagged bus windmills tour wineries Comments (0)

It's all in the Planning

Hotels are all booked


This weekend my husband and I spent several hours finalizing the itinerary. We are still undecided about train vs. car rental, but we are leaning toward the train. Only issue is having to deal with suitcases after checking out of hotels, but hopefully we will pack VERY light!

We booked all of our hotels and even a house boat in Amsterdam. We used www.booking.com and www.airbnb.com to do all the arrangements. Of course, we looked for recommendations from Rick Steve's Guidebooks. I also finally figured out how to get to Chamonix from Switzerland! It's so very close, but good luck finding a train to get there. Thanks to another travel blog, I discovered the MontBlanc Express train that leaves from Martigny, Switzerland and ends up in Chamonix, France. It is also supposed to be a gorgeous ride, BONUS!

We decided not to spend to much time in Brussels, maybe just an afternoon and dinner. I hope this isn't a mistake, any suggestions?

We also decided on Colmar, France instead of Paris. It was a really tough decision, but we went to Paris in 2008 and Colmar looks so dang cute. Not sure we won't waffle on this decision, because there is a nice night train from Chamonix to Paris and we've always wanted to try that out. Does anyone know if night trains are included on the France Rail Pass?

Posted by woodymy 06:31 Archived in Switzerland Tagged boat amsterdam house chamonix express montblanc martigny Comments (0)

Figuring out Swiss Trains

Best Website

Have you tried to figure out trains in Europe? This is our fourth trip to Europe and I finally feel like we are getting better at public transportation. Every time something goes wrong, you learn a valuable lesson. For instance, in 2011, we planned to travel via train from Prague to Nuremberg. I researched it in advance and I found a train/bus combo that took a few hours. But, being Woodyear's, we got up late missed the optimal train/bus combo and ended up on what can only be described as the HELL TRAIN. Picture this, 98 degrees, no AC, packed to standing room only, stops at every tiny town along the way, no food or drinks, 6 hours long, about 200 miles. It was awful. Then we transferred to an ICE train from Nuremberg to Munich. Train covered same distance, in about 30 minutes, with cold beer and AC. Not crowded, not smelly, not hot!!! Key learning, pay attention to the KIND of TRAIN you are getting on!!!!

The best spot to figure out the Swiss Trains is http://www.sbb.ch/en/. We are travelling with a 15 year old child, and she is FREE with the SWISS FAMILY PASS. This is great news. But would never have known that if I used the Rail Europe Website. Although the Rail Europe site was super helpful when trying to figure out what pass, if any, would work for our itinerary (see previous post).

Posted by woodymy 10:58 Comments (0)

Deciding on an Itinerary

Planes, Trains, Rental Cars, and Cable Cars

Well, we know for sure that we are heading to Berner Oberland, Bruges, and Amsterdam. But we need to plan how many nights in each place and how we are going to get from one place to another. Time for research! One of my favorite planning resources is Rick Steves. We use his website, books, and tour itineraries to pick out the best places to visit and stay. On our last trip to Hungary, Austria, Czech Republic, and Germany his recommendation to visit Shopron, Hungary was the highlight of the trip. I'm hoping his suggestions for Switzerland are just as wonderful.

Here's our best guess so far:

  • Zurich - Arrive at 10:45 AM

Zurich - Luzern- Get over jetlag - Train

  • Luzern (2 nights)

Interlaken - Lautenbrunner - Stechelberg - Gimmelwald - Train/Bus/Tram

  • Gimmelwald ( 3 nights)

Gimmelwald - Montreaux - Golden Pass Train Ride

  • Montreaux (1 night)

Montreaux - Martigny- Chamonix - MontBlanc Express Train

  • Chamonix (2 night)

Chamonix - St Gervais - Lyon - Colmar Train

  • Colmar (2 nights)

Colmar - Brussels Train, Brussels siteseeing
Brussels - Bruges Train

  • Bruges (2 nights)

Bruges - Antwerp - Amsterdam

  • Amsterdam (3 nights)

On a houseboat!

I am pretty sure the Swiss Pass is the way to go for ease and price for the first week in Switzerland. I am still wondering if we should rent a car on the French Side of the Geneva airport and drop it off in Amsterdam? Or should we just get a Eurail BeNeLux + France pass?

Decisions, Decisions!

Posted by woodymy 09:15 Archived in Switzerland Tagged amsterdam houseboat chamonix zurich gimmelwald luzern bruges interlaken colmar montreaux martigny brussles Comments (0)

Where to go??

Frequent Flier Miles help determine our destination

Since we have a ton of FF miles, we decided we would go to Europe again this summer. Where to go? I have been dying to go to Amsterdam, so we are going to focus on that region this time. We learned after our very first trip to Europe in 2007 that trying to do too many countries at once just leaves you exhausted! We also learned that three weeks is too long for us.

So after a few hours on the Continental website we landed on tickets arriving in Zurich and departing from Amsterdam. We were able to get decent connections and three free round-trip tickets for 180,000 miles!

We also hope that our friends, The DeStout's will meet up with us for a few days. They are planning a different overall itinerary, but we think it would be a blast to meet up with them in Germany or Paris.

Next step? Figuring out where we will visit during our 15 day trip.

Posted by woodymy 08:59 Comments (0)

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