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Ten week trip report for Germany, Austria, Italy (5 weeks), France, and Spain

Ten week trip report for Germany, Austria, Italy (5 weeks), France, and Spain

Oct 5th, 2004, 04:04 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 135
Ten week trip report for Germany, Austria, Italy (5 weeks), France, and Spain

Trip report for fodors

Well we are back from 10 weeks of traveling to Germany, Austria, Italy (5 weeks), France, and Spain. I've decided to focus my report on our accommodations. I did journal everyday, but I am afraid it would be way too boring for everyone.

We flew into Frankfurt Germany and picked up our mini van from Renault. It was a 7 seater for the 4 of us, my husband, myself and our kids, Aaron 14, and Megan 13. My husband and I are 43 years old, and I give you this information, because I find it helpful to compare experiences knowing someone?s age.

We originally thought we would forgo a car full time, take the train for most of the trip and only rent a car in certain towns here and there. At the last minute, we decided that a car for the entire journey would be better for us. After taking the train 3 times in certain cities, I believe that we made the right decision. We found we always had to wait for a train, sometimes had difficulty finding a seat together or even at all. Some trains didn't have air conditioning, and frankly, I didn?t enjoy the train experience. I was grateful for the car, and being able to come and go anytime we wanted without adhering to a schedule. We could pack as much as we wanted without having to haul everything into each hotel. The down side of the car was that it was very expensive, $3500 for the 10 weeks, and gas was 65-70euros every time we filled up. Then you have to take into consideration the tolls. Toll after toll after toll. (I might add that we got one speeding ticket, and had one pretty major scrape across the entire length of the car. My fault of course.)

We spent the first 3 nights in Bamberg Germany at the Residenzschloss hotel. Very lovely 4 star hotel, wonderful breakfast, clean modern nice rooms, and free internet in the lobby. Good location. We enjoyed the small town.

Next stop was in Oberstaufen Germany. We stayed at a time share there for 4 nights at the OBerstaufen Ferienclub. I thought it was old and run down, the condos were small and ugly. They did have a nice pool, a variety of planned activities, and the people in the office were very nice.

Munich Germany?We stayed at the Haberstock Hotelissimo right next to the Marianplatz. We got two rooms for 88euros each a night, and although it was noisy and they did not have a/c, the rooms were very clean and modern, great location, free internet access in your room if you had a laptop, which I did, and nice breakfast included. This was the best deal by far the entire trip. We all liked Munich. Great shopping, great food, and lots of people spoke English.

Grundlsee Austria- 4 nights at the Grundlsee Ferienclub, another RCI timeshare. Very nice, clean resort, directly on a beautiful lake. The condos were newer and clean and nice.

Innsbruck Austria The Penz hotel downtown. Amazing hotel, Brand new 4 star. 300 euros a night for 2 rooms. Loved this hotel. Very clean, hardwood floors, soft sheets, a/c, flat panel TV, and the very best part was it was adjacent to an indoor mall with shopping indoor and out. Best breakfast by far! Free internet café in the mall, and lots of restaurants?

Verona Italy- Best Western hotel. Teeny, tiny old ugly, smelly hotel for 290euros per night for two rooms. Worst deal of the trip. Only stayed one night, but did get to see the opera ?Madame butterfly? in the magnificent coliseum. That was fun and interesting.

Lake Como Italy- Huge house directly on the lake with 8 balconies, and 3 huge decks with tables and sun loungers for only 800 euros for the week. Great spot. We enjoyed it here. You can access the house through www.colbyinternational.com. Ask for Darren.

Venice ? hotel Laconda Ca zose. Hotel was just OK, not the best location. I would have preferred to stay near the Rialto Bridge near shopping and restaurants, but the vaporetto does make it easy to get around. Hotel was fairly clean, but very old and dated. The bedspreads looked to be very old. You could hear everybody and everything around you. They advertised internet, but actually didn?t have it. People at the desk were very nice. I didn?t think it was a good value at 300euros per night for two rooms. Breakfast was the worst of any place we stayed.

Cinque Terre - Hotel Pasquale

Excellent location. Couldn?t have picked a better spot. Hotel was bare bones. Clean as it could be, but half way up the wall in the shower was covered with mold. Towels were like sheets. Spent about 220euros for a quad room. Did not think the people at the reception were nice at all. We still had a good time. Loved it here!

Rome- Nice, clean, very large apartment near Spanish steps through Real Rome. Spagna. Had washing machine, a/c, full kitchen. I would definitely recommend this place. Cost was reasonable. We all Loved Rome!!!

Sorrento-- Biggest disappointment of the whole trip was Hotel Il Nido. I had read so many reports about how nice the owner was. I had such high expectations. As it turned out we were there for 5 nights, ate dinner at the hotel 4 nights, and never once did any of those people even smile. They were not nice at all. I was starting to take it personally, but then we met a nice couple from the WA staying next door. They also stayed there based on Fodor?s recommendations, and they too were shocked at how unfriendly the brothers were who own the place. In addition, the drawers in the rooms were broken, the sink wouldn?t drain, the bathroom smelled like urine, and you were too far from town. The shuttle did not run all of the time at all. If you took the shuttle in the morning, you had to wait until 3:00pm to catch it back. I would not recommend this place.

Tuscany, near Arezzo in a country house called Casa Cornacchi. Beautiful, beautiful place, newly restored with everything you could want. The outdoor pool was lovely, the rooms were spacious, and the manager was gracious and friendly. My only complaint is that the manager said that the internet access in our room would cost about 1 1/2 to two euros an hour, but when we got our bill for 120 euros, it actually was 4 euros an hour. His explanation was that different times of the day cost more. I would have appreciated that information ahead of time. We stayed there a week, and visitied all of the surrounding towns.

I'll write more later.

breathe is offline  
Oct 5th, 2004, 04:22 PM
Join Date: Mar 2003
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I just checked the prices which Renault posted. It would have been cheaper to lease a station wagon, assuming that you luggage would have fit in the back. I am mentioning this for those who are thinking of renting or leasing. BTW, did you get a gas or a diesel car? The latter would have been cheaper to run.
Michael is online now  
Oct 5th, 2004, 05:19 PM
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Well any car would have been cheaper, but this was a brand new van, (we wanted the room for our kids and our luggage) fully loaded, including a navigation system, which was so helpful, and it included all insurance. We scraped it pretty badly, twice, and they didn't even blink when we turned it in.
breathe is offline  
Oct 5th, 2004, 05:27 PM
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Breathe - Nice report! I'm a 33 year old travel addict. Spending 10 weeks in Europe would be a dream....all in due time I suppose. Thanks again for the information.
mjz is offline  
Dec 20th, 2004, 09:11 AM
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breathe I would love to hear more. How did you manage 10 weeks away?
yeadonite is offline  
Apr 9th, 2005, 04:30 PM
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My husband has been in commercial real estate for 20 years. He was feeling burned out and tired. He gave all of his clients plenty of advance notice that he was taking the summer off, had his full time assistant take over his responsibilities and had his partners be there in case of an emergency.
Almost everyone he told said that they wished they could do the same thing, so people were actually proud of him for having the courage to do it.

He didn't contact work the entire trip and was actually excited to get back upon our return. He didn't have a single client fire him off a deal, and his assistant handled every problem that arose. And really it is amazing how quickly time flew for everyone.

I have a 21 page trip report in case anyone is interested, but I didn't want to post for obvious reasons. I never did finish the rest of the trip report for this forum for France and Spain, but I'd be happy to give any hotel or city recommendations.
breathe is offline  
Apr 10th, 2005, 08:35 AM
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breathe- that's it--in and out, slowly and often.

Hi--can you please post the webaddress for your apartment in Roma and the house in Tuscany? We plan Italy in 2006.

Also, can ID with your "scraps" in rental unit. Same happened to me--one was "sort of" my fault and second was definitely NOT my fault. But, lucky for me (and you) rental companies are very kind and do seem to overlook minor scrapes.

travlintoes is offline  
Apr 10th, 2005, 11:31 AM
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Good advice for everyone. Luckily it is automatic or I wouldn't take the time to Breathe!

The Rome website is www.realrome.com and the apartment is Spagna Babuino.

The website for the Tuscany farmhouse is www.tuscany.net. Type in Casa Cornachhi.

The other two websites that I used frequently were www.venere.com and www.Italyby.com. You can see pics and read many reviews. And of course all of the advice from the the fodorite "peeps" was a big help. Good luck with your planning!
breathe is offline  
Apr 10th, 2005, 11:35 AM
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who did you rent the van from?
bigtyke is online now  
Apr 10th, 2005, 02:39 PM
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I rented from renault.com, but check with Peugeot.com, Kemwel.com and autoeurope.com for the best deal.
breathe is offline  
Apr 10th, 2005, 03:39 PM
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Breathe, I'd be interested in the names and your opinions of your France and Spain accommodations.

BowenLinda is offline  
Apr 10th, 2005, 07:00 PM
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Breathe--Thanks for your prompt reply. My nimble fingers will soon be hoping to those two sites.

travlintoes is offline  
Apr 10th, 2005, 07:02 PM
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Sorry--that was supposed to be hopping--as in a bunny hop
travlintoes is offline  
Apr 10th, 2005, 08:59 PM
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I'll start with Spain. My absolute favorite hotel of the entire 10 weeks was in Barcelona called Hotel Montecarlo, right in the center of town in the Las Ramblas area. The rooms were clean, hardwood floors, remote controlled beds and soft cotton duvets over down comforters, robes in the beautiful bathrooms, free internet in the rooms. The staff was warm and friendly. You only had to walk outside and you had your choice of shops and restaurants. It was quiet at night though.

In Madrid we stayed at the Tryp Reina Victoria on Plaza de Santa Anna. I would not recommend this hotel. The rooms were a nice size, but the furniture and bedding were old and tired. The absolute worst part was we faced the square and drunk loud people were out all night long. They wouldn't change our rooms, so we bought ear plugs, but it was bad. The staff was very unpleasant. I also got pick pocketed walking around on the street. I felt a guy bump into me, but never suspected, even though I had been warned. Still we had a great time in Madrid. The museums, shops, restaurants, bull fights...I'll continue with France tomorrow.
breathe is offline  
Apr 11th, 2005, 08:53 AM
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France..Rented a house for a week in Biot right between Nice and Cannes. To be honest, this was my second time in France, and it was my least favorite country. My kids are both fluent in French, because they went to the French American School in our city from k-5. They learned to read in French before they learned to read in english, so we wanted to like France. My favorite place in France is Paris. This trip we went to Cannes, Nice, MonteCarlo, Monoco, then went further south to St. Tropez, and spent another week on the beach in Lelavendou, a small beach town. It was a great location, but I got the apartment on line and it was disgustingly filthy. France was the most difficult country to make reservations for. If I were to go again, I'd just show up and find a place to stay. doing that worked well for us everywhere but Cinque Terre. You definately need reservations there!
breathe is offline  

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