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Trip Report: Edinburgh, London, Paris, Venice, Assisi and Rome

Trip Report: Edinburgh, London, Paris, Venice, Assisi and Rome

May 12th, 2003, 09:40 AM
  #1  
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Trip Report: Edinburgh, London, Paris, Venice, Assisi and Rome

Well, we are back from our honeymoon in Europe?sigh. Back to work. Time to write my trip report. Thank you to all you Fodorites who helped make our trip so amazing.

I thought I would do this a bit differently, rather than list all the things we did in 25 days, I thought I would break it down by topic:

Hotels:

Edinburgh?our B&B was amazing. We stayed at www.26abercrombyplace.co.uk . We had originally booked a room at their B&B, but were upgraded to one of their apartments. It was nothing short of amazing?14 foot ceilings, a huge bathroom, victorian decorating?beautiful. And a wonderful location, just a few short blocks from Princes Street. I would highly recommend them!

London?stayed with friends, so cant really help out!

Paris?we stayed at Hotel les Argonauts. It is found 1 block from Notre Dame in the heart of the Latin Quarter. We had room 307. We had our own bathroom, and found them to be super pleasant. It is definitely a 2 start. For 69 Euros a night we had a very small room, but a great breakfast of coffee or hot chocolate, croisants, and french bread. It was awesome to be right in the centre of things. We walked everywhere, and the Metro from the airport stopped at the end of our street. Very convenient. It was small and noisy however.

Venice?we stayed at Hotel Galleria, room 4. It didn?t look out onto the canal, but we had a great view of the Accademia Bridge and the restaurants below..perfect for people watching while having a glass of wine in our room. We did share a bathroom, but it was super clean and there were no problems. People were great, had breakfast served in our room every morning. We paid 95 Euro a night.

Assisi?we stayed at Hotel Umbra, room 35. It was wonderful. Clean, great staff, excellent restaurant. It has a wonderful location off the piazza commune (sp? Sorry I don?t have my maps with me) our room was huge, beautiful bathroom and wonderful continental breakfast each morning, with included eggs! We paid 95 Euros a night.

Rome?we stayed at www.itettidiroma.it It was 63 Euros a night. Good location off the Metro line A, stop Re di Roma. We could walk to the Roman Forum, San Giovanni etc. Clean, pleasant owners.

I will continue with more shortly?.

Jamie
jamikins is offline  
May 12th, 2003, 09:48 AM
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Actvities:

Edinburghywe were only there for 2 nights, but talk about an amazing city! We loved it and are already planning a 2 week tour of Scotland in a couple of years. We had a picnic dinner on a bench overlooking the castle the first night. The second day we walked to Waverley Bridge and got on the Hop On Hop Off buses and took that to the castle. It was a nice way to get around and learn more about the area. Iyd recommend it. We toured the Whiskey Cultural Centre, which was ok, but could be done betteryit was alright, although I wouldnyt do it again. The castle was wonderful, the line ups werent too bad. We just missed the guided tours. I would recommend waiting and doing one of those, as we didnyt really know the significance of some of the things in the castle. The views were unbelieveable and we took a ton of pics.

After that, we had a quick sandwich for lunch at a small place outside the castle. Not the best lunch, but what can you do. We then caught the bus again, and did the full circuit. Our guide was excellent. Holyrood Palace was closed due to Easter, so we unfortunately didnyt get to see that. We had a wonderful dinner, made at our hotel.

That night, we walked back up to the castle and went on a ghost walk. I think it was run by the Witchery Restaurant. It was great, one of the highlights of our trips. Definitely worth it!

Sadly, that is all the time we had in Edinburgh. We left the next morning on our Easyjet flight for London.

London to comey

Jamie
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May 12th, 2003, 09:49 AM
  #3  
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I just noticed some things are converting weirdly when I cut and paste, I will try to correct that...sorry!
jamikins is offline  
May 12th, 2003, 10:03 AM
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London

We stayed with friends in London, so when we arrived we took the Tube to meet them. We had no trouble using the tube with our baggage. We arrived into the Luton airport and took the Greenline bus to central London, which was convenient, no trouble at all.

My friend is an actor in the West End, so we ended up going to an actors only bar in West End after his show finished that night (he is in Rag Time). Had a great time. The next day we spent most of the day at a pub, enjoying the beer. We did manage to leave the beer for a few hours and ventured to Covent Gardens. Not what I expected, but very interesting to visit and experience. Didnyt end up buying anything though. We then left our friends, and went on a walk down the Thames River. Beautiful sights, Big Ben looked gorgeous as always. It was a wonderful way to end the day.

Next day, we ventured out to the London Museum, as it was raining. Great Museum if you like history, which my husband loves. Spent most of the day there. We met our friends after lunch, in Islington, where they live. Had coffee and watched the people, then took the tube to James Park and walked through the beautiful park. After that, we went to the Cabinet War Rooms, which are fascinating if you are interested in World War history. That night we saw my friends show, Rag Time. It was unbelievable. A wonderful show with great music.

Tuesday, we took the Astral tour of Bath and Stonehenge. It was a beautiful day, and we had a great time. The driver was funny and informative. We stopped in the small town of Lacock, and then headed to Bath. The baths are amazing. He took us around town first on a tour, which was great. Then we spent 3.5 hours wandering around the beautiful town and the baths. Could have used a bit more time, but it was ok. Then we headed to Stonehenge, which was smaller than I expected. Very eery. We only got to spend an hour, could have used another 15-30 minutes though. All in all, it was a great day, great tour, and definitely worth it.

Wednesday, we did the Tower of London. Took a Beefeater tour, which was fantastic, as always. My husband is a history buff, so we went to all the exhibits, and saw the ancient graffiti etc. Great day. We also saw the Crown Jewels. The lines were long, but moved quickly. It was spring break so there were a lot more kids than we expected.

Thursday, we did the Big Bus Tour. We should have done this first, but due to weather and other stuff we didnyt get around to it. Did the Globe Theatre tour, which was neat to see, but not really worth it in my opinion. That night, we had dinner with friends and got ready for Paris!
jamikins is offline  
May 12th, 2003, 10:34 AM
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Paris. I love Paris, it is my favorite city! We took the Metro to our hotel in the Latin Quarter. Arrived just about at dinner time. We got settled, then headed out for our first Parisian dinner. We went to a restaurant on the corner of the street, overlooking the Seine. Had a wonderful dinner, and got to practice our French. We then went on a walk from Notre Dame, through the Tuileries Park, sorry for the spelling. We walked past the Louvre, through the Park up to Place de la Concorde. We sat in some chairs around the fountains and just stolled. Then we sat and watched the crazy traffic around the Place. It was wonderful.

Next day we had cooking lessons with Frances Muener. It was a 3 hour cooking lesson where we made terrine, salmon and curried mangoes. Fabulous. We had a great time. It was a good day to do the lesson as well, because we hit our first rain storm. It was over by the time we finished, and we headed to the Opera. What a gorgeous building. We then walked down the Opera Boulevard back to our hotel. We just window shopped etc. We had another wonderful meal in the Latin Quarter. My hubby had a raclette, and I had a cheese fondue. Wonderful! After dinner we visited Ste Chappelle and Notre Dame, both beautiful.

The next day we went to the Louvre. It was ok, but not what I expected. We did get to see the Mona Lisa, but with the crowds we headed out fairly quickly. I know all you museum lovers will shudder at that, but we just couldnyt fight the crowds. After that we walked to Les Invalades and went to the museums, and saw Napoleans tomb. From there we walked to the Champs de Mars and went up the Eiffel Tower. Talk about amazing views. After that we called it a night, took the Metro back to our hotel and had a wonderful Greek meal at our hotels restaurant. We didnyt get a visitors pass for the Metro, and found the carents were perfect, we only needed 2 each, which saved us a bundle. Londons visitor pass was awesome though!

Monday, we headed to the Arch de Triomphe, and they were doing a memorial there. We watched and then went under the road and sat at the base and watched the crazy traffic. INSANE! After that we went window shopping down the Champs dyElyses. Bought some amazing chocolate at a chocolate store. Also bought some great wine for our hotel later (we liked to go back at the end of the day and polish off more wine). After a great picnic in the park, we went on a night cruise of the Seine. Wonderful. We used Les Vedettes de Pont Neuf and found it great.

Tuesday we went out to Versaille. It was beautiful, but sooo crowded. We didnyt get to really spend time in any room because the crowd was literally pushing us along. We bought out tix at the Metro stop when we first headed out. It was great, saved us 11 Euros, and we got to walkl into everythingyno waiting in lines! We really liked the Dophins suites because we got the audio tour. Versaille was super expensive though, they charge you to see everything separately, so you could really spend a fortune! That night we headed back to Paris and sat on Pont Neuf and watched the most beautiful sunset I have ever seen. Very romantic.

Wednesday was our last day, so we headed out to see Sacre Couer and Pere Lachaise cemetary. Both were great. I was not expecting Sacre Couer to be so amazing. They have been doing continuous prayer there for centuries, which is amazing! Of course we had to find Jim Morrisons grave, which was quite hidden behind other graves. What a quaint graveyard. I would have liked to walk around more, but my husband had a cold. We went back, had more wine in a cafy, and then headed to the train station for our overnight trian to Venice.
jamikins is offline  
May 12th, 2003, 10:43 AM
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great info,and thanks for posting it all together

Don't worry about not liking the Louvre much, it's a pretty overwhelming place.
I didn't like the Uffizi in Florence myself, despite the treasures it contains. In fact, couldn't wait to leave--crowds, heat, poor lighting, stairs, no captions to speak of, etc etc. I love Renaissance art, so not liking that one is a little embarrassing.
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May 12th, 2003, 10:46 AM
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Thanks Elaine...I must admit, we felt a bit guilty about not liking it!

Venice:

I was so excited about Venice, because the last time I was there it poured rain and I didnyt get to see what I wanted. This time the weather was perfect. We arrived around 7:30 am. Overnight train was actually really good. I was concerned at first when they took our passports, but they returned them before we got off the train in Venice. We arrived and headed to the vaprettos. There is nothing more beautiful than seeing the Grand Canal for the first time. We got off at our hotel, and left our luggage. Our room wasnyt ready, so we headed out, wandering around and ended up at San Marco square. It was early, so the lines werent too bad. We went up the tower. What a gorgeous view, took my breath away. We wandered around window shopping. Nothing is more fascinating than looking at all the glass shops. We went for lunch at the restaurant in front of Hotel Galleria. Another gorgeous view. Had ok pizza, and wine.

Spent the rest of the day exploring Venice. Headed to Rialto bridge and the markets. What struck me most was how Venice could be soo crowded in the tourist areas, but just around the corner it was silent. We found a great bar where you could get y litre of red wine for 2 Euro 60! We spent a lot more time there! Had a wonderful dinner, we just wandered from place to place, having appys in one place, pizza at another, pasta at yet another, and of course wine at them all. After dark we took a gondola ride, another highlight of my trip. It was silent and romantic and soo beautiful.

The next day we headed back to San Marco square to go in the bascilica. That was awesome, just beautiful. Being in Venice is like being in a post card. We spent most of the day wandering around, taking it all in, and drinking wine. Bliss. We had another amazing meal overlooking the lagoon. Wonderful, next was on to Assisi.


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May 12th, 2003, 10:53 AM
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Assisi:

Assisi was amazing. We took the train (which we had no problem booking once we were there.) I quite like train travel, but cant figure out why air travel is so secure, and there are no security checks for trains????? Anyway, the train stopped in all the small towns between Florence and Assisi, so we got to see the beautiful countryside. I cant wait to go back and do a tour of the smaller towns. Assisi is pink, and beautiful with the friendliest people. We would go back in a heartbeat. The first night we ate at the hotel Umbra?s restaurant, which had amazing food. My fish was just perfect.

The next day we went to find St Francis?s tomb, and see the churhces. They were unbelievable. St Francis?s tomb is more moving than anything I have seen. After that, we had lunch and tried to adjust to the heat. There was not a cloud in the sky, and it was HOT! Love it! We ate more gelato than I care to think about, sooo delicious. Funnily enough, Venice was the cheapest gelato we had!

We decided to walk up to the castle, in the middle of the heat. Worth it for the amazing views. Italy does need to work on their safety guidelines though. There were no safety rails, just a hole in the floor leading to stairs to the next room. Pretty scary actually. We wandered around the city, sat in the piazzas and watched the people. It was wonderful. Probably my favorite place after Paris.

We had dinner at a pizzeria and had the best meal. The next day we headed out on the trains again for Rome.
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May 12th, 2003, 11:10 AM
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Rome:

Rome was quite a shock after Assisi. I had been there, but didnyt remember how loud it was. Traffic went all night. And the way people drive is INSANE!

We spent the first night walking between the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain and the Pantheon. The Pantheon became our favorite place to hang out. We watched the sunset at the Spanish Steps, and watched the guys try to pick up all the girlsyhilarious. No one tried to pick me up, although I am assuming its because I was with my hubby. Hehehe.

The next day we did a walking tour with Rome Walks, to the Coloseum, Palantine and the Forum. It was one of the highlights of our trip. The guide was amazing, only 7 people in the group. It was well worth it. We paid 25 Euro. The week we were in Rome was cultural week, so all the museums etc were free. We walked around and found the Mouth of Truth, took a cheesy picture. We tried to find the secret keyhole, but couldnyt, so we walked around a bunch more and had dinner in front of the Pantheon.

The next day we spent window shopping and drinking wine. We went to Vatican city in the morning, saw the Sistine Chapel and the museums. Wonderful experience. I donyt think anything prepares you for the Sistine Chapel. Then we climbed to the top of St Peters to see the viewygreat hike up! After that, we went out of Vatican and saw the castle. The castle was sort of a let down. We found a great restaurant just outside of the castleywe actually had to walk through the kitchen to sit downybut they had the BEST pasta.

Thursday we went to see the Capuchin monks, which were just crazy. All the alters made of bones, very worth seeing. Then we walked to the Borghese gardens. They were definitely a let down after the parks in Paris. We ended up walking throught them to the other side, and ended up back at the Spanish Steps. We had lunch at a great restaurant at the Pantheon again. The rest of the day we spent sipping wine and relaxing different cafes and visiting churches.

Friday we headed back to London. In the morning we went to see San Clemente, where they have done excavations under the church. You have to see them to believe them!

We headed back to London and then left the next day. Phew!

I think thatys it, feel free to ask any questions! Thank you all so much for helping us plan such an unforgettable honeymoon!

Jamie
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May 12th, 2003, 03:25 PM
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Great report jamikins..Truly Enjoyed!!!!
kismetchimera is offline  
May 12th, 2003, 04:38 PM
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No matter how many times you have been to Europe, there are always places people write about where you have not been.

I certainly enjoyed your report and got ideas from it. Thanks for taking the time to write up your trip and post it! You were sure lucky to have had such a long holiday!
LaurenSKahn is offline  
May 13th, 2003, 12:29 PM
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I am planning a trip next year to Edinburgh, London and Paris with perhaps a stop in Ireland. I was wondering how you traveled between the cities, trains or planes?
BarbaraS is offline  

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