As usual - I want to thank everyone in advance for all of your willingness to share knowledge and experience!
I am planning my 2nd trip to Europe (last year was solo, 2 weeks, Italy only, Venice-Brescia-Positano-Rome). It was the perfect trip for me. This year will be a little different as I will be traveling with my great aunt. I will be 29 and she will be 72. We get along great and are really looking forward to sharing this experience. I love history, she hates it, neither of us are into art, I love crazy outdoor things, she does not but doesn't mind watching me...we both love good food and wine and laughing together.
If it were just me, I would be planning this entire trip in June, but she likes to be very early. We will be buying our flights next week and would like to start booking hotels immediately.
Our trip is planned for July 26 - August 16, 2014 and is tentatively as follows:
Land in Venice
Venice - 2 Nights
Train to Brescia, Car to Garda
Garda - 3 Nights
Car to Brescia
Brescia - 3 Nights
Train to Riviera
Camogli or Portofino (opinions?) - 3 Nights
Train to Alba
Alba - 3 Nights (Do we need to rent a car here?)
Train to Zermatt w/lunch in Milan
Zermatt - 2 Nights
Train to Lucerne
Lucerne - 3 Nights
Train to Zurich
Zurich - 1 Night
Depart from Zurich
Things we know we have/want:
Westin Hotel in Venice (paid with timeshare points)
Garda - birth and resting place of family
Brescia - Visting living family
Riviera - we both love the ocean and spend much of the summer in Newport, RI. We would also like maybe a day trip to Monaco?
Alba - we would both LOVE to take a cooking class - any recommendations?
Zermatt - See the Matterhorn and ski and paraglide here, should weather be a concern?
Lucerne - final relaxation destination after the craziness
Zurich - the new Sheraton not far from the airport to fly home.
Also just a note, we both were looking forward to including the French Riviera but are just worried we don't have time and don't want our trip ruined because we are rushing everywhere.
Just about everything else is up in the air. I am looking specifically for the questions above, critique of above, as well as what else to do/see in these places, as well as where to stay (hotels are probably our priority right now) and where to eat.
Our budget is flexible but on the budget end - obviously some of these locations are more than others and we understand that, but as a teacher and a retiree we would obviously like to save where we can without skimping on the experience.
Please let me know if there is anything else I can tell you that will help with recommendations and I thank you for all of your help!
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