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Trip Report Trip report from Germany, Austria, Switzerland, & Italy

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I planned my trip using this forum and thought I should pay it forward and hopefully help someone else out there who is planning a trip. We had 18 days to travel and wanted to cover as much ground as possible. We had a great time and wouldn't have changed a thing (maybe more time).

Time of year: We traveled in January - cold, rainy, windy & maybe snow. But this is slow season. Expect things to be closed (restaurants - call to verify). But easier to get around and great rates on hotel. Best time to travel to Europe especially Italy is March, Oct , & Nov. Better weather than we had and maybe still great rates. Some of the places we seen was covered in snow and would have been a great scenery to see spring flowers planted. I didn't know that to view "The Last Supper" in Milan has to be booked in advanced. Booking a tour gave us skip the line and they did all the booking. La Scala Opera is another thing that needs to be done in advance. Due to the season we traveled we got in last minute. Rome is a busy city even during this season so I couldn't imagine being there over the summer. Book tours so you can skip the line.

Length of time in each city:

Munich (3 nights)
Salzburg, Austria (day trip from Munich)
Zurich (1 night)
Stopped in Bern during day on way to Zermatt
Zermatt (1 night)
Milan (5 nights)
Did a day trip to Lake Como from Milan
Florence (3 nights)
Rome (3 nights)

I booked tours in each of the cities to see main attractions.

Hotels: I will never book hotels with no cancellation policy. I would have loved to stay another night in Zermatt plus needed a day of rest when we go there but we needed to move on.

Restaurants: I'm a foodie and look to eat at must eat restaurants. I should have done more research and picked out the restaurant in advance. most of the restaurants were closed due to the season. But I found some good restaurants.

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    Our first stop is Munich. We flew into Munich and then caught a train to our hotel which was in the city center. It wasn't too bad figuring out how to catch the train. When we got to our stop we walked it to our hotel. It was walking distance from train station to our hotel. We stayed at a Courtyard Marriott. Several blocks away from train station and it was walking distance to Marienplatz.

    Our first day we had the day to walk around the city and we surely did walk. Lots of walking. This was the only day for us to see the city. We definitely made it to Hofbrauhaus (the beer house).

    We ended up eating more at the train station. I really enjoyed the donakebab (gyro). The bread they use tasted fresh. Crispy on the outside like it was just toasted. And I tried the currywurst and came with different spicy and it was really spicy for me. Good but spicy. I could only go to level 3 and believe there were like 5 or 7 levels of spicy.

    Things we did not plan to see and should have: BMW museum and olympic park (both located near each other) but it would have been a train ride to these places from where we were staying.

    The next day we had a tour planned to see the Neuschwanstein Castle. The tour included seeing couple of King Lugwig II castles and a stop in Oberammergau. I liked taking this tour since we rode a bus. If we had planned to visit the Newschwanstein castle we would have taken a train to Fussen and then had to catch a bus to get to the castle. The walk doesn't stop there. You have to walk up the mountain to get to the door of the castle. Then when you get into castle they tell you that you have lots of stairs to climb. . if you climb up you have to come back down. The exit was pretty long . . .once they tell you the guided tour was over in the castle . . it was a maze out of the castle.

    It was a great experience and great pictures.

    The next day we had a tour in Salzburg, Austria. We met our tour group in the train station and rode the train to Salzburg then a bus into the city where our walking tour started. Great tour and had some free time but wish we got to see more of a sound of music tour. And we could have definitely enjoyed staying in Salzburg for couple of nights. We had should great pictures taken at the fortress?

    On our return from Salzburg was wanting something asian so I found a sushi restaurant that had 1 euro sushi deals. So we went there. Loved it. Ordered ramen also that was perfect after a cold rainy day. Restaurant was called Sushi Sano and it was walking distance from hotel.

    Moving on to Zurich. . .

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    Waiting to hear about the rest of your trip!

    I am hoping to get to Munich later this year. How did you find the process of clearing Passport Control in Munich, and do you have any idea of how long it was between the time you got off the plane and when you arrived at the city center?

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    Sorry It has been so long . . .It was fast process to get through customs. They just check your passport. . stamp it and ask you purpose of visit and your in. Then your baggage is literally right there. Then you need to walk over to train and it wasn't that bad. I feel like it took 2 hours to get to city center after we dropped off our bags.

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    So I thought it was a great idea to save a few bucks to travel through Switzerland pre-purchasing our train tickets. But since I didn't know how long our travel was during each city. . .we ended up waiting around for our train time. BUT my best booking was traveling by bus from Munich to Zurich. The bus was pretty new and clean. Take a cab to the Bus station in Munich cause its pretty confusing asking direction. Glad we did. They take your bags to store under the bus then you get on. They have clean bathrooms and coffee and vending machine on board. The best thing was WI-FI! FREE and no signing up. Very comfortable ride. The bus is through SBB. It was also much cheaper than train. It was direct from Munich to Zurich. Customs was easy. They just got on board and checked everyones passport and then we were on our way.

    We stayed at a hotel right across from the bus station. It was good and so convenient. Since the next day we were going to take the train to Bern. Train station was across the street the other way. Everything was walking distance. Once we arrived we dropped our bags and walked around then had lunch before we went on a bus tour of the city. Glad we did the half day tour. Got to see things that wasn't walking distance like the Zurich of Beverly Hills. Great views if the weather was clear. Once we left the tour we went shopping. Shops close early to my standard. I think around 6 or 7pm. We didn't get to the strip till 3pm or 4pm. I think I would have loved to have shopped more on the strip. ;-) Zurich has my favorite chocolate of all times. . . Tesucher. You can get them in NYC, LA and some other places. But it was a treat to pick some up while in Zurich.

    For dinner we went to a place a local friend recommended. Hotel Helvetia. It's the restaurant in this hotel. It was a great atmosphere and the food was good. I can't remember what I ordered. For soup I tried there oxtail soup. My husband like it too! I do know we enjoyed our meal there. Walking distance from our hotel too! So we were able to walk off what we ate.

    Next morning we started our journey to Zermatt with a stop over in Bern. Bern is a small city and was told we can tour it in one day. So we thought we would walk around and then have lunch in Bern. It was cold, wet and rainy day. We were able to get some good pictures. We were done walking around in couple hours. The bears were hibernating so we could see them. We then walked back to get some lunch. From another recommendation we went to Kornhaus Keller. We were the first ones in for lunch. The place was really nice. The meal was huge. I didnt understand when ordering the Chateaubriand that is was literally the center cut so both of us had to have it for lunch. My husband is easy going and was okay with it. They came out to show us the meat when it was cooked and then said that they will cut it up and bring it back. We get our plates with 3 thinly sliced steak. We looked at each other and said where is the rest that they showed us? When we finished our plates they said are you ready for the next plate? LOL. We took the leftover steak and had it for dinner. Made some expensive steak sandwich. Steak was ok. I'm really bias to a steak house in Florida (Charley's) - only steak I have found I would eat without A1 sauce. Always order the Chateaubriand. But we enjoyed the meal in Bern and the place was amazing. So romantic. Of course we had to take some pictures.

    We were finished touring Bern about 1 hour before our train since I pre booked my train times. I asked if we could get on an earlier train and they said ok but when we were on the train we had to get off at one of the stops and wait for our train. So we did. Took some pictures and had some snacks in the shops.

    The journey to Zermatt was amazing. The time of year was just unbelieveable. We couldn't have picked a better time to travel. Snow was everywhere (Never lived in snow). upon arrival we took a cab to the hotel (I didn't realize the hotel had its own car and would have been much cheaper to call for it).

    The view from our room was just amazing. Great view to see the Matterhorn. I went down to the sauna to see if the steam would help my sinus. But the next morning I woke up feeling sick. Glad to have gotten sick in Germany vs Italy (which was where we were headed that afternoon). Saw the doc and spoke perfect english. Got all the meds I needed and it helped. I still wasn't feeling all that great but the sun had come out for such great views that we had to go up the gornergrat. Our pictures seem we were on top of the mountain all by ourselves. We took pictures. ..lots of them and had lunch. Order some of the swiss specialties and we were not disappointed. Got some great ideas of meals. Rosti is pretty much hashbrown and they put eggs overeasy on it and ham? Then had some like of sliced pickles. It was so good we had it for dinner before we left Zermatt. This was our last day in Switzerland. We found a restaurant by the train station that has rosti and had an onion gravy. It was so delicious. The waitress was great she brought it on the side just in case it was too strong of a taste but we loved it! We also got some Rivella drinks to go. They had 3 varieties of them and it was on my list to must try. I wish we drank them when we entered switzerland. we loved the green tea flavor one (green). I don't think it tasted like green tea but has carbonation. So hard to explain. Just try all of it when you first arrive because you can't get any once you leave. ;-) Headed to Milan on the train - expected to arrive around 10 pm ish?

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