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Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Italy - Joining PART of a tour. what's the BEST part?

Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Italy - Joining PART of a tour. what's the BEST part?

Old Sep 4th, 2000, 06:13 AM
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Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Italy - Joining PART of a tour. what's the BEST part?

OK. This is a bit complicated. Our two sons are part of a boys' choir that's going on a 17-day tour next summer. My wife and I can only spare a week or so, and we're trying to decide which segment of the tour to overlap.
The tour starts with a 4-night stay in Rotterdam. (It's the longest in one place since the choir has several events with the Rotterdam Boys' Choir and will be staying with host families. Then there's a boat trip down the Rhine to Rothenburg, with a couple nights in Bavaria. Then 4 nights in Austria (Salzburg and Vienna). Then an overnight sleeper train to Venice (but only one full day and a night there). Then a rather quick bus across Italy to Rome, staying there 3 nights (singing for vespers at St. Peter's!!).

Any thoughts? Besides the attractions of the location (none of which we have yet been to) the considerations would include air access from and back to Baltimore, Maryland.

Of course, one option would be to have our entire 7 days at ONE place, regardless of how long or short a time we would overlap the choir (Austria? Venice? Rome?)
Old Sep 4th, 2000, 06:54 AM
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How about the Italy segment? You could *easily* combine Venice and Rome. I'm sure flights wouldn't be a problem from the Baltimore/DC area. You could fly into Venice with a short lay-over/plane change in Europe BritishAir, Air France, Luftansa, SwissAir, etc and I'm sure US airlines with a codeshare also. I would get an "open-jawed" ticket, fly into Venice and out of Rome. Arrive in Venice before your sons and when they take the bus to Rome you just hop on a hi-speed direct Eurostar train and you'll beat them to Rome (the train takes 4:21min). HTH Regards, Walter
Old Sep 4th, 2000, 11:12 AM
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Personally, I would meet the choir in Bavaria or Salzburg and continue on from there. You didn't say where in Bavaria, so I don't know how handy it is to the airport, which most likely would be Munich or Salzburg. Salzburg of course, has it's own airport, and so that might be handier. I believe both Lufthansa and Delta fly there. You then might continue on to Rome, skipping Venice. That would give you the best of both worlds. Vienna is old world charming, filled with sights to see. Whatever you choose, it sounds like a marvelous short trip, and aren't your sons haing a great experience!
Old Sep 4th, 2000, 01:13 PM
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Hi Nickie -
To clarify, per your question: After night 4 in Rotterdam, there's a boat trip on the Rhine and a bus to Rothenburg (an old walled town in western Bavaria, I think) for night 5. Night 6 in Oberammergau. Next day a visit to Neuschwanstein Castle and late arrival in Salzburg. Nights 7 and 8 in Salzburg. Nights 9 and 10 in Vienna. Night 11 on the train to Venice. Night 12 in Venice. Nights 13, 14, and 15 in Rome. I get exhaused just thinking about it!
The boys are very much looking forward to the trip. Their ages will be 11 and 15, and we're a little concerned about the 11 year-old getting homesick. Joining them in Salburg might be just right on the timing.
This will be the choir's first time overseas. The usual summer tour for them is 10 days traveling around the US or Canada by bus.
These boys can sing an impromtu concert at the drop of the hat - they have sung on the sidewlks of NYC, Chicago, and Toronto and gotten a pretty good crowd each time. The tour company says that some of the European tourist attactions welcome short informal concerts to entertain the tourists (the salt mines of Salzburg, the Abbey of Melk, etc.). Most of the formal concerts and church services will be in cathedrals. There will also be a number of free days for just tourist activity. We thought it would be fun to do some of the tourist activity with them, listen to them sing a couple time, but not be stuck like glue. After all, 30 boys (ages 9 - 18) are not ideal travel companions.
Old Sep 4th, 2000, 09:34 PM
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THose are all wonderful locations, so you really can't go wrong. Vienna has an airport also, I should have mentioned. It's about three and a half hours from Salzburg by train. You didn't mention if you'd be driving or not, but you can't drive in most of Salzburg,and Vienna is awfully confusing - but they do have excellent public transportation. The old town of Salzburg is pretty easy to walk around. Both cities also have fun horse and buggies - it can almost take you back in time. If there are other questions, feel free to e-mail me direct, as your post may get buried. It sounds like a lot of fun, but fewer locations might be more fun for you!
Old Sep 4th, 2000, 10:24 PM
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Hi Bill:

Your sons are going to have a great time. We just came back from 3 weeks in Germany and had a Rhine cruise and stays in Salzburg and Vienna about 4 years ago. We loved it all.

Since you only have seven days, here's my suggestions:

1. Arrive at Munich and stay one night (make sure you go to the Hofbrauhaus for dinner and beer).

2. Next day, take the train to Fussen and then a taxi to Hohenschwangau village where the Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau Castles are located. If possible, stay at the Hotel Lisl, which is owned by the Bavarian royal family. It's a bit pricey, but well worth it -- they also get you the admission tickets to the castles without your waiting in line with the hordes of tourists coming from outside the village. This is worth staying one or two nights. From Fussen you can get bus service to Oberammergau if you wish.

3. From Hohenschwangau, go to Salzburg by train (Fussen - Munich - Salzburg), staying for 2 nights. I recommend the Hotel Stein, which is along the river just across the historic part of town. It also has a roof garden cafe with great views. For sightseeing, I recommend the Sound of Music (half-day) and Eagle's Nest/Berchtesgarten (half-day) tours run by Panorama Tours. A must is dinner and beer at the Augustine Beer Hall in the basement of the Muln Monastery, about 10 minutes' walk north of the old town along the river.

4. From Salzburg, you can take the train to Vienna -- which is very expensive, but very worth seeing. To save money, eat Viennese hot dogs from the roadside stalls - they're great, with real hot rolls!

One week isn't really enough to do it all! If you had more time, you should do the Rhine as well!

By the way, train travel in Germany is quite inexpensive and 2nd class is good enough. You could save money by getting round trip tickets from Munich to Vienna. Otherwise, I believe Lufthansa would let you fly to Munich and return from Vienna without an extra charge.

Enjoy your planning and your trip. By the way, I suggest you get your boys to take this opportunity to learn some German. It helps, especially in the smaller towns - and also in figuring out the menus!
Old Sep 5th, 2000, 08:30 AM
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Sounds as though the Austria segment is the best bet if you only have 7 days and really want to get a feel for one place in a short time. From BWI airport, your best bet would be to fly to London, then get a connection to Salzburg. Get there a couple days before your sons arrive and get settled. See the beautiful countryside. Maybe meet them at Neuschwanstein Castle, which is not very far away. Take the train (or rent a car if you are adventurous) for the link from Salzburg to Vienna. Fly back to London from Vienna.
Your boys are very fortunate to have this experience!
Old Sep 5th, 2000, 05:59 PM
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I said that Neuschwanstein Castle wasn't far from Salzburg. When I got home and thought about it, I realized we had actually traveled there from Innsbruck. (We were in Austria about 10 years ago.) I'm not sure how far it is from Salzburg. sorry!
Old Sep 5th, 2000, 10:01 PM
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About five hours, two transfers, by train.
Old Sep 11th, 2000, 10:02 PM
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Old Sep 12th, 2000, 05:32 AM
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Very odd! Where did this "City Guide Berlin" post come from? Spam I guess, since the thread has nothing to do with Berlin.

- Bill

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