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Trip Report Europe Trip Report

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Trip Plan- Left Houston on Sept. 6 flying Lufthansa to Frankfurt (using United miles-economy). Then train from the airport to Wurzburg. 3 nights at the Wurzburger Hof hotel. Then train to Regensburg for 2 nights at the ACHAT Plaza Herzog am Dom, then train to Vienna for 2 nights at the Hilton Plaza (using Hilton points), then train to Budapest for 3 nights at the Marriott Danube (using Marriott points) then fly home on Lufthansa to Munich and on to Houston with United.

I used the services of Karen Murphy of Euraid to secure our train tickets. We did point to point and not rail passes and had first class tickets on all trains with seat assignments. Yes you can book train tickets on line but I prefer to use Karen. For a small booking fee she arranges all tickets and secures the best discounts and ensures we get the right type of seating we want – open salon, seats across from each other, etc.

Flight over- I had us booked on an Airbus 380 and was able to secure economy seats on the upper deck and got the two seat configuration. The economy section is about 5 rows of 2 x 4 x 2 and is in the back of the upper deck. You board the plane and walk all the way to the back of the aircraft and then climb the stair to the upper deck. There is one flight attendant that serves this section of the plane. As we were on the right side in the second row of this 5 row section, we were served first. The service was good, the food was very good for economy and all in all it was a great flight. Very good entertainment system, got the hot towel treatment, the flight attendant did not disappear like some do on United.

Flight landed on time and we had about 2 hours before our train was to depart. Now in looking at the map of the Frankfurt airport it was not clear where the Fernbahnhof train station was located? Was it underground? I had asked Fodors about this and was told to just follow the signs. Ok as you exit immigration and get you baggage you leave the building and walk across the street to the rail terminal.

You go up the escalator to where you can see shops, restaurants and the main departure board. Now for the uninformed there is a lot to know about taking trains in Europe. You must know what station you train leaves from (not an issue here as we were leaving from the airport station, but there are two types of trains from the airport so you do need to know which type you are on). In a number of large cities there are several train stations. Next you must know your train number, destination, wagon number, and seat number and track number that it will arrive on. Your ticket gives you all this information however the track number may change just like it sometimes does at the airport. So its important to watch the main train board for the latest info on where your train will arrive. Do not go to the track too early as the track number may change and you may find your self running to reach the right track. Now you know what track it arrives on its important to know where on the platform to stand. Why is that important you ask? Well these trains pull in and stay only for a few minutes and then pull out. On the platform there is a poster board with diagrams of all the trains that arrive on that track all during the day. It will show your train number and show the arrangement of cars- first class, second class , and a restaurant car on some. There are also letters associated with the position of the cars and these letters correspond to the letters on the platform. You find your train on this board, look for your wagon number and class of service and determine where on the platform you should stand so that when the train pulls in you can board quickly. Now I made a rookie mistake on this our first train ride ( I say rookie mistake as we have ridden European trains many times in the past). As a validation of the poster board information there is an electronic sign above the platform that gives real time info on what train will arrive next and- this is most important-it shows a simple diagram of where on the platform the first and second class cards will arrive. Trains sometimes arrive not as they appear in the poster board. That was my mistake. I did not check the electronic signage. I relied on the poster board and as such the train arrived and we were on the opposite side of the platform from where we should have been standing. Realizing my mistake I with two large suitcases and my wife with one carry bag started running like bats outta hell for the first class cars way down the platform, dodging a lot of people in the process. I gotr to the first class car and jumped on. Looking down the platform the train appeared ready to take off and Olive was stile about 5 cars back trying to catch up. Now this train ain’t going nowhere until she gets aboard! I and a conductor motioned to het to just jump aboard where she was in the second class cars.

She did and off we went. I went inside and looked for our seats found them and parked my bags at the back of the car behind the last row of seats. As we were getting comfortable another couple appeared and indicated we were in their seats. Well it was my second rookie mistake. In my haste to get aboard I failed to remember that yes we had these seat numbers but we were in the first- first class car, not the second- first class car. Oh well we moved and our journey was on for Wurzburg.

Arriving in Wurzburg we took a taxi to our hotel- the Wurzburger Hof. The taxi cost about 8 Euros, and I gave the driver 10. It was about 5-10 minutes to the hotel and yes you can walk it, but we were tired, jet lagged, and dragging suitcases over cobblestone streets no matter how far simply was not going to happen!

We booked a suite thru Booking.com. It cost 573 Euros for 3 nights. I wanted a suite as it would give us more room and allow us to unwind better and the rate was reasonable. The hotel is old as is much of Wurzburg hotels. Small lobby, small elevator. In the lobby they have complementary wine for their guests, but as we are not wine drinkers I cannot comment on that. Our suite was on the 4th floor and faced the main street where a number of trams and buses have stops. It can be a bit noisy as a result.

The suite is large, the main room is 35 feet long by 15 feet wide and has a sofa, daybed, desk, drawers, and some lamps. Some of the furnishings are appropriate for the vintage of building but some were clearly out of place. Plastric lamp and plastic chair seem tacky. Strange décor for one of the lamps as well.Three windows in the main room that opened to give fresh air. Old time heating system – water radiator type. For nice chandeliers in the main room however. The bathroom was separate and apart from the bedroom. It had a very nice modern walk in shower. The toilet was in a separate closet. The amenities was very basic, nothing to write home about. They used body wash gel containers in the sink and shower area so not bars of soap or shampoos. This lighting was poor in the bathroom as it cast a showdown when one would try to put on make up. There was a makeup mirror but the lights was so poor that I put a lamp from the main room into the bathroom to help. There is a window in the bathroom as well that can be opened. The phone was located on the window sill away from the desk area.

The bedroom was standard size, two matress es with duvets. Lighting was fine. No clock or radio in the room. But plenty of closet space and hangers. The suite had several closets all over so you have plenty of places to hang and store your clothes.

No electronic key system, just an old fashioned key entry, with a twist. In order to lock the door from the inside you have to do it with the key and leave it in! Also when leaving the suite you have to lock the door with the key as well.

Breakfast was provided on the first floor (not the lobby level) We did not partake of their breakfast but the breakfast room looked nice but where the food is arranged is a bit small. I did not see what was on offer. When we travel we do not bring phones or Ipads, etc. We don’t need them and not having them is one less thing to worry about. We asked the hotel if they had a computer that we could use to check email. The front desk person gave me a laptop to use, which I took to our room only to discover that try as I might I could get out of the German screens. Oh well .

Is it worth it to stay at this hotel in this suite? I was satisfied overall- large rooms, great location, reasonable cost, minor issues that maybe would not be a problem for most.

Stopping for now, until I have the time to add the next part.
Billt

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