Thanks for a lovely and informative report! Bathrooms were often smaller than what we are use to in the US and always there was something interesting, like a hair dryer that looked like a vacuum cleaner, a bidet which came in handy for me to soak my tired feet in one night, and warm towel drying racks in every place we stayed at. We were spoiled by being able to have these wonderful fresh pastries at every hotel we stayed at during this trip. Germany’s famous Black Forest disappoints more people than it excites. We did not stay in Rue Cler area, because it was a first time trip for them and we wanted to be close to the museums. Thank you all for your kind words. And by the way not just for those who live in the U.S. (especially those who Don’t get paid by govt.) Nope! The one exception was when we were in Rome for the 1st Sunday of the month when most of the sites we were going to see were free. After all my travels in England, Germany, Austria, Australia, Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, New Zealand, Canada, U.S. and Netherlands I just feel Europe is overly gushed about. With Rick Steves’ Best of Europe 2007, travelers can experience the best of everything Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Great B. I think the whole experience detracted from me being able to enjoy the beautiful ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. I often felt in awe of places I was in, particularly visiting the Colosseum and the Forum in Rome,and Venice oh my! Garden clearing, yard work, getting ready for the next growing season, etc - expending physical energy can be a great antidote for feeling sorry for oneself. We were all so excited to be there and make the most of our time. As far as trip let down goes - yes, I've experienced it after each of the three RS tours we've taken. Table for 2 became table for 4 (or 8) pretty quickly. Walked and Wall and the Nightwatchman’s tour very interesting Beaune was a rare one night stand and based on the hotel we stayed at it, it was hardly worth it. The British are masters at milking every conceivable tourist attraction for all it’s worth. Hike above town is really special, go up to the hostel at the top of the hill. My favorite hotels of all were the Hotel Belvedere in Wengen, where we had a great balcony and view high in the Alps, and also Hotel Serenissima in the heart of Venice, which was most charming with a very welcoming staff, in the heart of it all. Wish we could have stayed an extra day here to really relax. The falls were spectacular and unique and not to be missed! Sure, scenery is scenery and you do find similarities in that everywhere. My favorite churches were St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice with its gilded mosaic ceiling, and Sainte Chapelle with it’s beautiful stained glass windows. I had envisioned it to be much more crowded and maybe even more brown, with not many trees compared to where we live in Oregon. It was the right thing to do for us. Also, several of the hotels did not have elevators, or if they did, they were small and slow so it was easier to just walk up the stairs with your luggage. Great historic pub across the street worth visiting. Trip to St. Goar and the Rheinfels Castle, and the river cruise back. We also keep our trips alive by talking about them with each other and sharing our experiences with friends and neighbors - we are one of the older couples on our block (60 and 70) and our younger neighbors are always eager to hear about our experiences. I felt I got a good workout each time just from that part of the trip alone! Our group was very active and participated in all planned activities and even optional activities with gusto. Last year I introduced five friends to Europe with Steve’s help and my past experiences and they were amazed at how fabulous driving free through Europe is. Also, what about those "My Way Tours" which are certainly less expensive? Limoncello and Grappa again! Our tour guide Dimitri was born in Greece but lived in Belgium, so he knew Europe as a local and maneuvered us around each town with experience and finesse. On a couple other trips driving through Italy was awesome and I can’t wait to go again. Dachau Memorial- We had an amazing tour guide here, from Ireland I believe. In fact it would be interesting to know how many on RS tours are beneficiaries of govt. Galloway was one of my favourite places in Scotland when I lived in the UK. Museums and Galleries- While visiting museums and galleries, we were able to “skip the line”, which was wonderful and saved us a lot of time and extra standing around. Rick Steves' Europe's Best Three Weeks. One thing I’ve never understood though is the attraction to Rue Cler. The second time I hardly used the break at all and the ride was much more thrilling. And before you say you don’t want to, consider Broadway, Museum of Modern Art, Museum of Art, Lincoln Center etc etc. Having seen RS shows on PBS and listen to him give some talks in person, I decided that I would sign up for one of his tours. Tune out the hype around Ireland’s Blarney Stone (slobbered on by countless tourists to get the “gift of gab”), Spain’s Costa del Sol resorts, and the French Riviera in July and August. 10 days later my husband and I talk about this trip everyday, savoring the memories, and wanting to keep them alive. Your Rick Steves guide will surround you with the art treasures of Paris, followed by a hearty taste of Burgundy, a hike in the majestic Swiss Alps, festive Bavaria, the romantic canals of Venice, Renaissance Florence, a countryside stay in Tuscany, the must-see sights of Rome — and chances to connect with Europeans like you never thought possible. I really enjoyed reading about all your experiences. Munich can be pleasant too. Create custom playlists with more than 400 educational clips featuring the best of European history, art, culture, and experiences (plus topics beyond Europe). I had to laugh at this because it was my first reaction too. Ok, I’m going to be THAT person: Have you ever been to Buffalo? The group camaraderie- This is probably one of the best things of this trip. I have to say I disagree with you about the Borders of Scotland. We had ACs in most rooms but sometimes they did not work well and at least one place said they were turned off for the season. But I did not want to miss anything and kept going and figured I could rest up on the long trip home and when it was over. We want to stay in Rue Clar for our New Years Eve stay. I cannot say enough about what a wonderful tour this was. I don’t know if it is just that they don’t get cleaned as regularly or that some countries do not provide toilet seats so women tend to squat more, thus splatter more. I'm so glad you had such a good time on your tour. Germany- If Heidi is alive, she's in this sky-high corner of the Swiss Alps, with cowbells ringing on breathtaking ridges. This year I introduced my friends to Paris with Rick Steves. The views were beyond belief up there and I can hardly wait to go back someday and hike more. We usually travel in later September/first half of October because I prefer the cooler weather, so when we get home to Minneapolis we know what is in store for us and we dig in. Best Sellers Today's Deals Electronics Gift Ideas Customer Service Books New Releases Home Computers Gift Cards Coupons Sell. Orvieto- the hilltown we visited in Umbria for a few hours on way to Cinque Terra. Rick Steves: The best and worst of Europe. Rick Steves ( www.ricksteves.com ) writes European guidebooks, hosts travel shows on … Download Rick Steves Best of Europe 2008 Books now!Available in PDF, EPUB, Mobi Format. Warning...it will be long :-), A few comments about our Rick Steve’s 21 Day Best of Europe Tour-. It was heavenly! You asked about the camaraderie regarding the MyWay Tours compared to the guided tours. We lived in Paris for three years, and have visited many times – and I’m afraid we just don’t get it. What a wonderful time you had!! My 71 year old husband did not get as tired as I did. ): the ultimate medieval walled town in Germany (Rothenburg), prehistoric stone fortress in Ireland (Dún Aenghus), Italian Riviera port town (Vernazza), hike in England’s Lake District (Catbells above Keswick), neighborhood pub in London (The Anglesea Arms), castle in North Wales (nope, I still can’t pick just one)…and pedestrian market street in Paris (Rue Cler). Thank you for taking such great notes and sharing them with us. It's hard not to get bit by the Europe travel bug after such a memorable trip. After all is said and done, I give credit to Steves for trying to stay ahead of the curve. Of course I knew this being a history major in I think this was because the person before them had put on their brakes too much and the person coming up from behind came up to fast. We loved Haarlem and would love to return there someday. Driving along the Mosel River, through the Black Forest, the Bodensee, Oerammerau, down to Switzerlands Interlaken, Luzern and Zermatt, Austria’s Salzburg and Vienna all in three weeks they were in awe. (I would get a grande espresso and add a little milk to it) I usually drink decaffeinated coffee at home and it was hard to find so I just drank the regular and I seemed to do just fine. Since our Best of Europe in 21 Days tour happened to be passing through Munich, we guides made it a point to drop in with our group (as we do whenever there’s a festival nearby). We count on you to do all this foot work to save us the time. I had heard someone report on this forum before we went on this trip, that someone had run into another rider in their car (not sure which luge it was ) and had injured themself. The show is produced by Back Door Productions and Oregon Public Broadcasting and distributed by American Public Television. I found it kind of unbelievable really, but I guess it was not long ago that one could do that in the US and even smoke on an airplane. Bucharest, Romania’s capital, has little to offer. It was the only hotel the entire time that seemed sub standard (Hotel Athanor) compared to all of the others we stayed at. This tour is VERY active. Since 1973, Rick Steves has spent about four months a year exploring Europe. … Thank you for your very enthusiastic trip report! It was nice to be rested and also to be able to see more of Holland outside of Amsterdam and Haarlem. We are heading on our first RS tour in May 2020 - the 21 BOE, so I appreciate any feedback regarding your experience. His mission: to empower Americans to have European trips that are fun, affordable, and culturally broadening. Download for offline reading, highlight, bookmark or take notes while you read Rick Steves Best of Europe: Edition 2. ... After Prague, Kraków (Poland) and Budapest (Hungary) are Eastern Europe's best cities. And thank you lizthemadhatter for your feedback as well. I always wonder if I'm going to be the one who goes off the side on a curve? Just two years ago I sat in some of those same chairs in the Tuileries, feet propped up on the edge of the pond, enjoying the warm sunshine and just being in Paris. Our driver Peter got us around like a pro. After settling into a traditional village where locals scythe hay by hand, we hike and bike. It would have been better to have a quick stop in this town and get on to Paris to have more time there. Rick Steves, America's leading authority on European travel, returns to transport viewers to the continent's bustling cities, quaint villages and picturesque countryside. It was interesting that you noted your Swiss stay in Wengen rather than Stechelberg. If you can, take an extra day or more here to relax and unwind and just enjoy being there. (would like that at home!) We usually walked out the door and we were a block or two from a major attraction with many sidewalk cafes to choose from. Thank you for your feedback. Bucharest, Romania's capital, has little to offer. It is safe and fun, unless you happen to be behind a slow person. If you want a Swiss city, see Bern or Luzern instead. I take time to weed out the prints I want and take time in manually cropping and placing the prints on colorful paper sheets that go into album sleeves. But I’m glad “w” likes Canada a lot. I was so excited about each day it was hard to turn it all off, and if I awoke in the middle of the night I would have similar problems. Smoking - All throughout Europe I found that Europeons still are allowed to smoke in public, and at restaurants it was quite common to be sitting down to eat a great meal and the people right next to you are lighting up and creating a cloud of smoke around you. You really can't appreciate it if you've only seen one or the other (European visitors often have no real concept of distances in the US until they actually come here, and as you say, it's hard to have a real concept of how old Europe is compared to the US until you visit). By the time I got the Louvre at the end of our trip I was feeling a little “museumed out” and the same could be said for all of the churches as well. I took the Villages of South England trip this year and have been working on the album little by little since this summer. Now, I have to make sure I get this album done before my next RS trip. Rothenberg felt like Disneyland, so crowded and touristy the day we were there. Rick Steves Eastern Europe offers select coverage of Rick's favorite destinations in the most enjoyable and accessible countries of the former Communist Bloc. I felt sad when our tour was ending and we had to say goodbye. We Americans get the shortest vacations in the industrial world. I am on the BOE21 next October. We arrived 3 days early so that we could acclimate and get over the jet lag, and spend a couple of days with some local Dutch friends. Although it is nice to be home in many ways (ie back to own comfy bed, not having to live out of a suitcase, having my own simple healthy breakfast, cleaner public bathrooms, and seeing my kids and grandkids ) I am a little melancholy that the trip is over. Aspect and I thought it would be more relaxing for me to have someone else handle the details so I could just enjoy time with my child ( and I was right ), Yes , near end of tour I did feel sad to think I’d never see any of the other members again . Most of us were first time Europe visitors so that made it even more special I think. It is fun to “re-live” the trip this way. He did a great job on the bus between towns to inform us of the history and politics of an area, as well as quick language lessons. I think the 21 day tour should be 22 with an extra day here to unwind, or give up Rothenburg as an overnight. Will be my second RS event after Scotland earlier this year. Great view of the city if you do not do the Eiffel. Thanks for taking the time to post these details of your impressions. But don’t skip Hadrian’s Wall; it covers history buffs like me with goose bumps (or goose pimples, as the English say). I am happy to hear from each of you some similar feelings. fun, unless you happen to be behind a slow person. Loved your report. That to us was priceless! About Rick Steves Guidebook author and travel TV host Rick Steves is America's most respected authority on European travel. I won’t say too much so you can be surprised at it’s grandeur too. Also, I have stayed in touch with a couple of ladies from the trip. This article was adapted from Rick’s new book, For the Love of Europe. Of course I knew this being a history major in college, but it is hard to comprehend how old it feels and is until you get there. The most pleasing French château is Vaux-le-Vicomte, near Paris. It felt a bit surreal on last night when 14 of the kids on our tour all sat at one big table , all laughing and chatting , boy and girls aged 8-17 - all having been very friendly and welcoming to all other kids ( we had an amazing group , seeing kids from all different places and ages all mixing together , no bullying or sulking , it was amazing ) and thinking “ we will never see any of these people again that we’ve shared so many firsts with . Thank you Carole for your scrapbooking idea. Tip- Let it go at the top to get the best ride, don’t worry about braking too early. But those prices, “argh” They are enough to make you want to go on your own. The history of Sicily is breathtaking, our guide (Karen Kibby) was wonderful and our tour group was fabulous and very inclusive. They usually had something like cornflakes and coco rice cereal. Also great balconies with our first look at the Alps...wow! The twinkling lights went off on the hour which I was not expecting so it was a nice bonus when we found ourselves in front at that time. I am not sure why they picked it. Especially liked the Orsay, Montmartre, and climbing the Arc de Triomphe. I thought what if someone started to push too much, or there was some kind of emergency, that we could have been seriously hurt. In Canada you can drive for miles through forest which is pristine and calming but also often dull. We saw so many galleries and museums but my favorite was probably the Orsay since I really love Impressionism, and I really enjoyed my first museums The Mauritius and the Rijksmuseum in Holland with the early Dutch Masters. I’ve been traveling with your books since 1986. A few we had were Antoinela in Rome, Elizabeth in Paris, Thomas in Bacharach, and two other great women in Florence and in Venice. Oxford pales next to Cambridge, and Stratford-upon-Avon is little more than Shakespeare’s house — and that’s as dead as he is. Very interesting and very useful for others. I loved Dimitri. Really? We just returned a few days ago from our first RS tours, and my first time to Europe. It’s one of my favorite places to stay, I can tell you that you could not be disappointed there. I think this was a very interesting post thanks for writing it! We had to wait outside of the Coliseum for well over an hour before we got in, even though we arrived 30 minutes before opening. Enough said. I would guess that we averaged 6-8 miles a day, some days more, a few days maybe less.Lots of hills and lots of stairs. For Europeans, any large forest is understandably a popular attraction. Thanks for the fun speed tour through best & worst of Europe. Having stuck my neck out to say all this, I must add that it’s always fun — and necessary — to reassess opinions (mine have certainly changed over the years). Lisbon, Oslo, Stockholm, Brussels, and Budapest are Europe’s most underrated big cities. I selected the 21 day ETBD tour, had a great time and have returned to Europe 16 times in the last 18 year where I have taken 16 other RS tours. If we had stayed much longer I would have gained even more weight than I did. . We lived in Germany 20 + years ago, and managed to do all traveling we could fit in for the four years we were there. I did 3 weeks in Italy in 2015. Reply Subscribe . (and I will probably never do a trip of such breath and magnitude as this one again either. Lyon, France: City of Capitals. Europe’s most underrated sight is Rome’s ancient seaport, Ostia Antica, and its most misunderstood wine is Portugal’s vinho verde (green wine). 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