Preparations & Explanations

So, I’m taking my First trip to Europe. I’m going with my mom, dad, aunt & uncle. It’s not exactly the backpacking trip I had wanted to do years ago with my girlfriends. This, however, is a start. We’re going with a tour company. The rest of my family is not nearly as adventurous as I am. So, the thought of just “winging it” and just going on a trip without a tour guide completely escapes them. I have nightmares about the last trip I took with my family where I spent an ENTIRE vacation in Hawaii on a tour bus. In this instance, I’m told that being with a tour company makes museum visits and language barriers that much less of a hassle… We shall see…

Here’s an overview of the trip.

Here’s the pretty little map that the tour group provides.

And here’s my itinerary… They make it all sound so exciting….

Day 1

Depart USA. Overnight transatlantic flight to London.

Day 2

Arrive London (2nights). Time to relax after checking into your Trafalgar hotel.

Day 3

London at leisure. Enjoy a full day at leisure to explore Britain’s exciting capital. (Continental breakfast)

Day 4

London – Amsterdam. A warm welcome from our Tour Diector as we drive to Dover bidding farewell to the White Cliffs on our sea crossing to Calais in France. Here we continue through Belgium to Amsterdam. (Continental breakfast)

Day 5

Amsterdam – Mannheim. Our morning orientation tour reveals its canals, bridges and we stop to visit a diamond-cutting factory. Then via Arnhem to the German border stopping in Cologne to see its Cathedral. We enjoy a Rhine cruise, disembarking in St. Goar before stopping to view Heidelberg castle and continuing to our hotel. (Continental breakfast / Dinner)

Day 6

Mannheim -Innsbruck. After breakfast we drive to Munich where an orientation tour shows us the Olympic Stadium and Marienplatz. Next a scenic drive brings us into Austria as we head to Innsbruck. (Continental breakfast / Dinner)

Day 7

Innsbruck – Venice (Marghera). Morning orientation includes the famous Golden Roof. Then we cross the Europa Bridge to the Brenner Pass. We cross into Italy via the foothills of the Dolomites to Venice. (Continental breakfast / Dinner)

Day 8
Venice (Marghera)- Florence (Incisa). This morning we cruise along the canals and visit a glass- blowing factory. Then there time at leisure, perhaps enjoy a cruise to the islands of the Venetian Lagoon, before we drive to Renaissance Florence for the night.(Continental breakfast / Dinner)

Day 9

Florence (Incisa) – Italian Lakes. In the morning there is time to shop or explore further. As we leave Florence we gain a scenic view from Piazzale Michelangelo, before setting off for the Italian and Swiss Lake Districts. Later, we reach our hotel in the Italian Lake District. (Continental breakfast / Dinner)

Day 10

Italian Lakes – Lucerne. Today’s drive takes us via Lugano in Switzerland and on St. Gotthard highway. From here we descend to lakeside Lucerne, where orientation includes the Lion Monument. (Continental breakfast / Dinner)

Day 11

Lucerne – Paris (2nights). After breakfast this morning we will drive to Basel and cross the French border to the wine-producing area of Burgundy. Then we continue en route to romantic Paris. (Continental breakfast)

Day 12

Paris sightseeing & at leisure. This morning’s sightseeing tour includes views of the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, Champs Elysées and of course Notre Dame. Your afternoon is at leisure in this fabulous city.(Continental breakfast)

Day 13

Paris – London Today we pass the Battlefields of two World Wars as we make our way to Calais. Here we board the ferry to Dover and continue on by coach to London. (Continental breakfast)

Day 14

London – USA. This morning there’s time to bid farewell to Britian on your return flight to the USA. (Continental breakfast)

—–

Day 14… Did you catch that? That’s two whole weeks on the road. Did I mention that I have done absolutely nothing to prepare? I really had hoped to read some nice guide books, pick up a few language phrasebooks, & shop for a great wardrobe. I really didn’t want to be one of those obnoxious Americans that stumbles around foreign countries speaking English loudly in the hopes that I would be understood… Nada… Not a chance. Got nothing ready… I guess I’m going to have to resort to gesticulating wildly with my hands. After all, body language is universal, right?

I’m leaving in two days and I have nothing prepared. Somehow, I had started a new job & moved into a new rental all within about a month of my leaving for this trip. I had it all perfectly planned… And all those plans went to hell in basket… Work became hectic & the move did not go smoothly at all… In fact, I’m going to have to unpack my boxes only to have to repack all my clothes into my suitcase. Not to mention, I’m going to spend the next two days scrambling to buy all the appropriate clothing, shoes (heaven only knows I do NOT want to look like an American tourist), & suitcase for my two week adventure… Wish me luck… I think surviving the next two days will be an adventure….

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