Some Final Comments...

Trip Start Sep 21, 2009
1
19
Trip End Oct 04, 2009


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Flag of United States  , South Carolina
Sunday, October 4, 2009

We each wanted to write a short summary of our great adventure and pass on our feelings about the least and most favorite things about the trip, including tips for future travelers:

Keith:

"I didn't have a least favorite city, I enjoyed every city and the history behind them were so cool!! My favorite city was Amsterdam because the government respects the fact that people are human and are gonna do as they wish so why not put clean healthy laws on it and make a lil revenue while they're at it!! My favorite hostel was in Amsterdam even tho it was kinda a hotel and my least fave was Belgium...favorite food was the Indian food in Amsterdam but close second was all the schnitzel, especially in Heidelburg!! The Heineken experience was a blast!! And never start a car while in first without the clutch in...u could run over your family!!"

Shelby:

"I really enjoyed Vienna, though I don't really have a favorite. I'd need to visit Salzburg and Munich again to have a better opinion. I liked the hostel most in Heidelberg (actually part of a pub so it was like a real gasthaus! plus good food and nice people), and none of the hostels were too bad. The worst part about any of the cities was the amount of tourists, but I guess I can't complain since I was one of them. Black Light theatre was nifty. MMMmmmm schnitzel. and lots of pastries and coffee and chocolate. Amsterdam was nifty but not as wild as people in the states make it out to be. and I personally would've gone to more museums, but that's alright. Tips for travellers: it's extremely difficult traveling in a group of five with such varying interests. Just remember to keep an open mind and if  people totally disregard what you planned, then to hell with them--just go do it anyway and leave them to flounder. Just kidding! Be nice to your family and just encourage them politely to keep times in mind. Otherwise you'll just barely miss things, like what happened to us so often. Cough cough. Wink wink. Thumbs up!"

Mike:

It was a tie for me between Prague, Heidelberg, Brugge and Cambridge.  The beautiful architecture in these cities, along with the fun outdoor cafes made for such an enjoyable and memorable experience.  I'd have to say, I liked Amsterdam the least (with the exception of the really fun time we had at Heineken).  It was just kind of dirty and the oriental people at the hostel didn't speak much English (or French or Dutch or German).  The leaning buildings along the canals were cute, though.  All the hostels were much more enjoyable than I expected.  I liked the one in Vienna the best.  In my opinion it had the best overall sleeping and bathroom arrangements and the common area/bar seemed the most comfortable.  The hostel in Brugge was the worst...sharing a room with 14 other people who were all coughing and snoring wasn't much fun.  And the shower room was barely usable.  We did want to pass along that most everywhere you went out into the cites, public toilets cost a coin or two.  But it was well worth it as all the public toilets were very clean.  My most memorable experience (must be because I keep telling everybody about it) was driving 102 mph on the autobahn.  I was in the middle lane and everybody was going that speed while the right lane was an assembly line of truckers going 65 mph (because that's the most they can go and by law must be in the right lane - something the US should require) while the left (speed) lane saw one car after another, including family minivans, doing 120-130mph...wheeeeee!  Tips:  Remember to take your 26-year old son with you so he can constantly remind you to put the car in fifth gear (hey, I haven't driven a straight-drive in 30 years...and yeah, I did start it up a couple times in gear without my foot on the clutch...oops!)  Also, try the hostels in Europe, they're really not that bad and if you think your kids might be staying in them someday, it'll give you a peace of mind.  And the food?  Well, if you know me you know I loved it all!

Maggie:

"The trip was such a whirlwind! But here are some of my thoughts.

Favorite country: Austria because the countryside was just beautiful, the cities we visited were clean, people were friendly.  The countryside especially around Rottenmann was absolutely gorgeous.

Favorite castle (although we didn't get to go into it because of time contraints): Saltzberg.
Favorite hostel: Vienna.  Although small, we had our own room and bath, a common area and a bar. 
Favorite City:  Can't decide but I would like to return to London

Favorite dark beer:  Prague
Favorite architecture:  Prague
Favorite schnitzel:  Heidelberg
Favorite fish and chips:  Cambridge
Favorite pastries and bread:  Heidelberg
Favorite chocolates:  Brugge
Favorite cathedral:  Toss up between Salzberg and Brugge

Favorite tourist event:  Tour the Heineken brewery
Least favorite country:  Germany
Least favorite castle:  Prague because Shelby purposely lost me (well, probably not purposely)
Least favorite hostel:  Brugge (too many people in one room)

Least favorite thing of all:  stairs

Comments:  I would not cram so much stuff in such a short amount of time, but that is a Switzer trait.  If you travel Europe, remember that the service charge on the bill is the tip.  We probably way overtipped.

All the cities except for Prague had dual flushers!

All in all it was a great trip.  A family of five (all A type personalities) survived 14 days with each other and could still say it was a trip of a lifetime!
"

Grandma:

"First of all I enjoyed every city and country we were in.  In Munich the viktualienmarkt was a sensual revelation-a real culinary seduction.  Salzburg-Mozart and the fact this city was nestled in the mountains-it was so incredible. The German Pharmacy Museum in Heidelberg (at the old castle) -the beautiful faience earthen ware and apothercary jars-I love my handmade blueberry soap-I loved strolling at the world famous castle where writers, poets and thinkers have strolled along the Philosophers walk and enjoyed the view of town...AH! Romantic Heidelberg. Such a passion and zest for life. In Vienna, at the State Opera House - the Mayerling Ballet-I loved act 2-a scene set in a seedy club-the feathered plume hat wearing can-can girls with their lacy pantaloons and trampish ways-it is fun to see ballerinas play the part of a tart. What more could I ask for but to see wonderful ballet dancers tell the story of the tragic love affair between the mentally ill crown Prince Rudolf and his 17 year old mistress, while Michael And Maggie danced behind us and Keith snored and slept on the velvet chaise. Of course I loved it-all of this set to a score by my favorite Franz Liszt-I SCREAM BRAVO! Prague is time's magpie surviving the bombs and the burnings-the beautiful mosaic sidewalks which led to beautiful barogue and Renaissance houses and gothic towers-Prague has stockpiled ten centuries of history.Then you see the graffiti-spray paint spreading across beautiful old buildings-freed from the communist hold the entire city seems to be wrapped in graffiti mold. In spite of this I loved the beauty of Prague's youth actually the European youth-what beautiful sculpted creatures-long supple limbs-they sip slow drinks in cafes and spill into the streets wearing their American jeans-oh my god the vibrant youth.  I wish we could have seen the cathederal that took 600 years to build but the Pope took priority. In Amsterdam I loved the Red Light DISTRICT IT IS A BEAUTIFUL PART OF TOWN WITH NARROW BRICK HOUSES DATING BACK TO  THE1600S and I loved the emerging fashion designers studios next to the prostitutes-the designers can live and work in the spaces rent free for one year. What a deal-I love turning this neighborhood of the world's oldest profession into a fashion hot-spot. The Van Gogh Museum-the public elephant art project over 100 hundred elephants to be auctioned off to benefit elephants in Asia.The Sacher Torte-schnitzel-cordon blu-fish and chips-beer-the incredible coffee everywhere. Oh MY GOD! I loved Brugge and the mystery of the Basilica of the HOLY BLOOD.  I loved the reliquary and the beautiful oil paintings of the stations of the cross and of course the chocolate-chocolate-chocolate. I always wondered what it would be like to stay in hostels and for the most part I enjoyed it. I appreciate all the hard work Shelby put into this trip and for being kind enough to invite me. I think some of us might want to read The Ugly American maybe all of us should. Thank You-Shelby-Michael-Maggie."

Well, there you are...we're all looking forward to our next trip to Europe with Shelby...maybe next is Scandinavia?


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