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Trip Report Amsterdam, Switzerland, Germany, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia Trip

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We started off our trip with a stopover in Amsterdam. We had 7 hours and forty five minutes total, but by the time we got off the plane and exchanged money in the airport ( I think this was right before passport control) and got out, we only had about 6 and something hours. We took the train from the airport to the central station, then took a tram that stops close to Anne Frank's house. The line was pretty long at 9 in the morning and took about 45 minutes to an hour (we couldn't get prepaid tickets, they were sold out online). Tour was interesting, but crowded and the steps were steep. We then took a tram back to the central station and took an hour long canal boat ride which was ok, but we were too tired to really listen to the audio narration.

Then we flew to Zurich. We stayed in the easyhotel zurich, but we would never stay there again, because there was no a/c in the room, no elevator for us, and although the windows could be opened the bar next door was noisy all night even though we were on the 3rd floor. (No alarm clock, chair, or phone in the room either, and the walls were super thin, you hear everything. And the lady at the information desk in the airport, warned us it was a bad neighborhood and that we shouldn't take our money and passport with us when we go out. However, the immediate area and the way to the train station was ok- safety wise). What was good was that there were 2 computers for our use in the basement of the hotel with internet.

The next day we took a gray line/ hans meier tour- which is about a 15 minute walk from our hotel to where the bus leaves from the sihlquai bus station in zurich- right behind the main train station-HB. Our first day we took a tour to the black forest, which was really nice, we stopped by a cuckoo clock factory, and later that day visited the Rhine Falls, which are magnificent. We took an optional boat ride all the way up to the falls which I would recommend.

The next day we took another gray line tour to Mt. Titlis which was impressive and beautiful. We had to take about 4 cable cars, plus an elevator to get to the top. The last cable car rotated 360 degrees so everyone got to see it from all angles. Because of the strong winds, the ice flyer, and cliff walk were closed that day, but we were able to go into the ice cave which was really cold! but amazing with ice sculptures on the sides. After that we drove to Lucern, had about 45 minutes to ourselves. We walked to the lion monument- commemorating the fallen soldiers. (I have to comment on the public bathrooms there which looked like portable toilets from the outside, but really had everything contained inside: toilet, paper, sink, soap, electric hand dryer and were clean.) Then we walked through the chapel bridge and along the water.

The next day we took a train from zurich hb, the main station, to milan and then from there to venice. It was about 6 and a half hours plus stopover time. We got to Venezia St. Lucia in the early afternoon and our hotel was about a 2 minute walk from the train station. We stayed at Universo E Nord Hotel. Room was clean and great, we had a fridge and a/c, but got bitten from all the mosquitos which had come into the bathroom through the window. It was interesting that the keys were regular, not electronic key cards, and yet the outside door to the hotel was automatic with a sensor.

The next day we walked around and relaxed. The day after that we took a bus boat from near the train station till the doge's palace in st marks square. We passed the famous rialto bridge along the way and got off at the doge's palace, but because it was still early it wasn't going to open for a few hours. We walked around, and went into the nearby garden. We took a bus boat back, checked out of our hotel, and then took a train from Venezia Lucia to Venezia Mestre.

We got out of the train station and took an inexpensive DRD shuttle, which we had arranged beforehand, from outside the hotel across the street ( I think it was called hotel plaza) to Ljubljana, Slovenia. It was a 2 hour ride, and when we arrived at the main train station, we walked to our hotel: Park Hotel- which was about a 15 minute walk. The Park Hotel was great. The only thing we didn't like was the hallway lights which weren't continually lit, and only when we walked down half the hallway in the dark to our room, would the sensor lights go on. They even had a laundry room on the top floor (which also houses a hostel) which we used. The lobby had 2 computers with internet access for our use too.

The next day we took the "Alpine Fairytale Tour" with Roundabout. It took us to Lake Bled which was gorgeous, a beautiful turquoise blue, with a castle that was optional to tour, and had magnificent views of the Lake. The castle had a museum and "printing press" model. We then went on the optional Bled Vintgar Gorge walk which was stunning- the water, the rocks, the waterfalls, but it was raining so hard, we got soaked along the way. If it hadn't rained it would have been even more beautiful. Then we went to another Lake: Bohinj in Triglav National Park which was scenice, but not as pretty as Lake Bled. We had some time to hike around the Lake and then stopped in Skofja Loka, an old medieval town for a short walking tour- but it wasn't that interesting.

The next day we took a private tour with roundabout of Plitvice National Park in Croatia-- also unimaginably beautiful. Our tour guide walked with us through the park. We went to some of the lower falls and lakes. We then took a boat ride to the upper part, then a bus/tram to the upper falls, walked around a bit--not as impressive as the lower falls and then took the bus/tram back to a spot close to the entrance- and then walked back to the parking lot.

We toured Ljubljana ourselves the next morning: we walked from the hotel along the water to the dragon bridge and triple bridge and then toured the Ljubljana Castle- which was ok, had some nice views of the city, but since we saw so many castles on this trip, I would skip it next time. That afternoon we took a half day (5 hour) tour with Roundabout, of Predjama Castle and Postojna Cave-where we took a 10-15 minute train ride deep into the cave-which was cold, and then took a one hour walking tour through the massive cave formations with stalactites and stalagmites--also impressive.

The following day we relaxed and flew home.
All together it was a beautiful trip; we really liked Lake Bled in Slovenia, Plitvice in Croatia, and Mt Titlis in Switzerland, and the Rhine Falls in Northern Switzerland- they were all so scenic. I wanted to go to Dubrovnik because we heard it was beautiful and very different from Ljubljana, but we didn't have time on this trip. Roundabout was good for transportation between places, and they took us to beautiful places, but the tours always started late--even the private tour when they had no one else to pick up, they showed up half an hour late. They also didn't give some general tour info on our way to all the places, for example they didn't tell us about Ljubljana or Slovenia, or Croatia, which most other tour companies in different parts of the world do. It felt more like a taxi/transport service than a tour company. Zurich Gray Line Tours were great and on time and did give history and other tour info about Zurich as we drove through it on our way elsewhere.

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