First, thank you to those who answered my post concerning how best to file a trip report. This is my first report so I appreciate your help in its preparation. To the extent that my long-windedness permits, I shall try to break it up according to the above headings so that you can easily find the parts that interest you.
This was our 32nd trip to Europe. It did not start out as planned and it shrunk to 25 days rather than 30, but like all our trips it was wonderful. It was scheduled to run from Sept. 11 to October 11. We were in the airport lounge awaiting a boarding call for our flight from MSP to Newark when we noticed people beginning to queue up in front of the television sets. Approximately a half hour from our scheduled departure time we watched in horror as the second plane hit the WTC. My husband immediately raced with others to the ticketing counter as flights to New York and then all flights were canceled. We were rebooked for a flight on the following day, returned home by cab, drove again to the airport for the anticipated noon reopening on the 12th, and returned home again to wait until Sunday the 16th when we were rebooked a fifth time for the flight that finally did take us to Rome. I used the waiting time to send e-mails canceling our hotel reservations for the first part of the trip. When my sister, who was to join us for the first part of the trip, watched her 15 day first ever European vacation melt to 9 days, she threw in the towel and reluctantly canceled completely. We then rerouted our itinerary, dropping stops in Rome, Camogli and Lake Como which we have been to several times but were seeing again for her benefit, and adding time in Tuscany (6 days total) in line with the wonderful reports of this area I’ve read on this site. When we were finally airborne on Sept. 16, I was amazed to find that bad airplane food was just the meal I’d been waiting for.
As usual, I had done extensive preparation for this trip and had it planned carefully day by day complete with hotel reservations for all but one night, 4 or 5 lunch or dinner reservations for “the biggies” I simply had to get to, suggestions for possible lunch and dinner spots at anticipated stops enroute from place to place or while near the major tourist spots in larger cities, etc. Besides the red Michelin guide to Italy, I carried Access guide pages for Venice and Tuscan hill towns, menu translators for French (from Patricia Wells’ guide to France), Italian, and German menus, Wine guides to Alsace and Tuscany and pages from various guidebooks and magazine articles for all the other spots we’d selected, carefully sorted into files that occupied one large accordian pleated masterfile. I was also armed with Michelin and Kummerly and Frey maps of Germany, Tuscany, etc. as well as MapQuest routes from place to place. Some of the most helpful information I found was taken from Wine Spectator issues on the various wine regions we traversed. While we didn’t follow my plan slavishly, all of the research proved useful and even the weight of the files I carried was worth it
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Trip report in 21 parts: Tuscany, Venice, Lake Garda, Garmisch, Octoberfest, Lucerne, Alsatian Wine Road, the Rhine