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    by mkataoka Fodor's Editor | Posted on Nov 28, 16 at 01:31 PM
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Month long self drive Europe trip report!

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My husband and two sons(18) &(12) left Canada on March 17 for Germany, Switzerland, Italy & France. We flew with Air Canada with new problems into Frankfurt. Our first night was spent at the Sheraton hotel airport as we had to pick up our rental car the next morning. The hotel is quiet and we found it fine for our one night stay before we started our one month journey. We picked up our rental car at the Europcar counter the next morning. I highly recommend bring your own Garmin navigation system(or similar) as the navigation system in the car we rented was useless. We relied on ours(which we named Daniel) immensely!! I don't know how people travelled around Europe with out a Nav. System...lol. We drove down the Autobahn to our first stop at the beautiful Baden Baden. We stayed at the Brenner's Park Hotel & Spa. I highly recommend this hotel as we were treated very well and the location is great for stepping out to eat or check out all the shops. We went on a day trip into Stuttgart to check out the Mercedes Museum. Okay, not my favorite but I'm travelling with three males...lol. The museum was actually very interesting. But the drive on the highway was not. Being that it was the Easter weekend coming up the Autobahn was a mess. But once we made it made it back to our beautiful hotel in Baden Baden all was forgotten.

After a two night stay in Baden Baden we headed to Switzerland. Our destination...Lucerne. The drive was slow as it started to snow. Somewhat disappointing as we couldn't see the mountains. We arrived in Lucerne and found our destination easily. Thank you Daniel! We stayed at the Hotel Scheizerhof. Pros: Location! Location! Cons: The stinkiest hotel we've ever encountered. They allow smoking everywhere! It smelled so bad of cigarette smoke that we had to put towels at the base of our hotel room door. It actually seeped through the walls and we had to moved one night at midnight as there was a "Salsa Party" below us. It really ruined a beautiful hotel. The food was not fantastic either. Luckily the weather cleared the next morning and we awoke to the most amazing, breathtaking view! Clear blue skies with the snow capped mountains and glistening lake with hundreds of swans swimming. Breathtaking!! We walked around the city and walked on the Kapellbrucke bridge. We visited the transport museum and the glacier museum. Did some shopping. Bought Swiss Army knives...of course.

We found Switzerland to be our least favorite country that we travelled through. The people were not as friendly as I expected then to be. We found Italian's and the French much more friendly and we had thought the opposite would be true. Sales people were the rudest of all. You know how you place your purchases on the counter while you wait to pay. Well that must have been a no no in this store as she actually shoved my purchases off the counter. We also encountered a rude sales person while my husband tried to buy cigars. We were informed "not to touch anything" like we're two years old. All in all our memories of Switzerland is they smoke a lot. I also found it strange that we would buy something with Euros and they would give us Francs back as change ripping us off every time! I would tell others to come to West provinces of Canada to see breathtaking mountains, lakes and scenery before recommending Switzerland. Along with friendly people that don't smoke everywere. My opinion! A note on the driving. We drove through the tunnels with absolutely no problems. No waits. This was a worry of mine as I've heard you can wait for hours to go through. I'm also claustrophobic but this didn't bother me either in case anyone else worries about this.

Next report will be on my home land of Italy as we head to Lake Como.

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