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Mary Ann Oct 4th, 1999 05:18 AM

TRIP REPORT: Driving tour of Rothenburg, Praha, Budapest, Venice, Vienna, & France
Just got back from a wonderful 21 day driving trip with another couple. Our frist night was in Rothenburg, a repeat for me in a town I love staying at a 600 year old pub. Then it was off to Praha for 3 nights at the cloister Inn, including St. Vitus, the jewish quarter and Wenselas Square. A coworker who grew up there showed up who helped us get our bearings. Then it was off to Budapest. My sister in law spoke hungarian which really helped. We stayed on Castle hill at the Kulturinov which was the best location for 3 nights. The city does look better at night and the Danube cruise was truly enjoyable. Then off to Vienna staying on the pedestrian graben before heading to Venice. There we stayed in the Accademia district at a small hotel next to the bridge on the grand canal. Next we were off to Villefranche sur mer on the Riviera with a terrace overlooking the harbor, and good bus service to Nice and Monaco. Then it was up to Chamonix and the Aiguille du Midi, next Annecy, then Beaune for the wine tasting and finally in Paris for 3 nights near Rue Cler and la tour Eifel. <BR> <BR>General Observations: <BR>We had no problems with pick pocketers, border crossings, or hotels (we had advance reservations everywhere and generally used money belts). Shortchanging only occurred once in Italy buying Vaporetto tickets and we did not realize the 5000 lire shortage until we walked away (it is hard to get use to such big denominatios). I went back and he gave me the Lire. <BR> <BR>Got lost driving a couple times for brief periods. Driving in Vienna and Praha was the biggest challenges, although Italien drivers were the biggest headaches. Rental car was reasonable. Tolls became interesting when they would not accept credit cards or we did not have the right currency but no major hassels. CWlease travel trip tics, city maps and the Michelin Europe Atlas got us every where. <BR> <BR>Our ATMs worked great, the other couple had problems with Germany and France and had to go inside the banks. <BR> <BR>Prepaid phone cards did not work. Instead, use each countries own or what worked for us, we set up a yahoo e-mail address and located cyber cafes (some you can get listings of before you leave). <BR> <BR>Tourist boards are most useful for getting city maps before you go to help navigate and when you are there to get posters of the city(In Budapest, they were free). <BR> <BR>Everywhere we went the people were nice. But in reality the French were the best and the Italians the least. <BR> <BR>Hope this did not run too long. If anyone has questions I would be happy to respond, reality is setting in as I do laundry and mail. <BR> <BR> <BR>

Patty Oct 4th, 1999 06:00 AM

Hello Mary <BR>My questions are what car rental co. did you use and was there a drop off fee? <BR>What was the weather like in Venice when you were there and how long did it take to drive from Vienna to Venice? Thanx..Patty

Mary Ann Oct 4th, 1999 06:15 AM

Just checking back and realized I forgot to thank all of you who helped with suggestions and ideas for the trip. Things really were smooth except for one small problem in Paris with the car battery, which was quickly resolved by rounding up french men to help push the car (thnkfully we had a manual shift)! Happy travels everyone! <BR> <BR>Patty: The trip tic from cwlease said about 600 kilometers in 6 and 1/2 hours without stops and that was a little high (I think my husband drove faster on the autostrada). We had no problems finding the directions. We left Vienna in rain between 9 and 9:30 in the morning and arrived at sunny Tronchetto the car park at about 3:30pm when most tourists were exiting the city. We were there September 21 -23 and had upper 70s low 80s during the day and upper 50s low 60s at night. I would suggest checking yahoo weather predictions (4 day forcast) before you go and on the road through cyber cafes. We found their forcasts fairly accurate.

Julia Oct 4th, 1999 11:22 AM

What was the name of your hotel in Venice?

Mary Ann Oct 4th, 1999 02:12 PM

Julia: <BR>We stayed at the Galleria Hotel. Small but very clean rooms with a grand canal view. Email is [email protected]. Breakfast was in the room and they also had discount coupons for parking at the car park in Tronchetto. They were very helpful. hope this helps.

Karen Oct 7th, 1999 04:18 AM

Considering Budapest for our trip next year. Was just wondering what you enjoyed most on your visit? Thanks for any suggestions.

Mary Ann Oct 8th, 1999 03:47 AM

I think we enjoyed most staying in castle hill. There are only 2 hotels we know of there, the Hilton and the Kulturinov. The cheapest hilton room without a view was $193 without breakfast. We stayed at the Kulturinov in the government building across the street for $75 with breakfast for a double. By staying there you are accross the street from Matthias Church and have all the wonderful streets and views to explore. When you want, the Casino is in the hilton and even though we were not staying there, for a small charge we could use their computer for internet access to email home. There are great restaurants and views day and night. The other thing we really enjoyed was the nighttime Danube cruise. They have ear phones for each language and the trip was really great. Budapest was actually more beautiful at night. We went to a concert in Matthias Church too that was very good. Castle hill has really a small town atmosphere that was nice especially in the evening. Be careful if you decide to go to the baths. We took the train to the hotel only to find out they were under construction, which hopefully should be done by the time you go but others seem to indicate that hours are sometimes random. Also we used Frommers walking tour of Pest which was very hard to follow with some spots that are just no longer there!!! And one of us spoke good hungarian so that was not the problem. Have an enjoyable time, if I can help with anything else just ask. <BR>

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