Although our trip started off a little rocky, my husband and I really enjoyed our travels in Holland, Germany, Switzerland and ending in Italy. This was the first time we decided to travel out the country doing more of a self guided tour rather than a tour with a guide and 40 other people.
I was a little nervous about how it would all work out and my husband and I were both stressed when we left because we were hit by Hurricane Irma one week before we were scheduled to leave. We were without power for 5 days and did not get it back until 2 days before our departure date. I wasn't sure if we were going to have to cancel at the last minute and that made for some unwanted stress. However we were able to leave without much of a hitch.
When we arrived in Amsterdam, our itinerary told us we were to be greeted by a driver at the airport who would then take us to our hotel. After searching for our driver for about 45 minutes and not finding him or her, we gave up and ended up taking a hotel shuttle to our hotel. Unfortunately, when you are stressed to begin with and you have just gotten off of an 8 hour overnight flight, this can cause some anxiety and angry feelings. Needless to say, it did not start out well. Our travel agent contacted me as soon as he found out what happened and made every effort to get out trip back on a positive track. Our time in Amsterdam could have been better had we been more relaxed, but because of the rocky start, we were so unsure about how the rest of the trip was going to go. There was some miscommunication and confusion with our itinerary, but eventually we did get things figured out and our second day in Amsterdam was much better.
We left Amsterdam by train to Cologne the evening of our second day. Again, there was some confusion at the train station as instructions were not very clear, but we did make it. We spent the night in Cologne and the next morning we were picked up at our hotel and driven to the Rhine River where we were to take a two hour cruise. When we arrived at the pier we waited for another guide who was to meet us to take our luggage and meet us at the end of our River Cruise. We were greeted by a wonderful guide who we then spent the next 3 days traveling around the Black Forest Region and having a wonderful time. On our third day with our guide, we headed to Munich where he took us to the BMW World Headquarters for a tour and then dropped us off at our hotel.
The next morning in Munich we met another guide who was also very nice and brought us to see some of the iconic castles in Bavaria. He also surprised us by taking us to see the Pilgrimage Church of the Weis, which was magnificent. From Munich, we took a short flight to Zurich and then a train to Lucerne. Not sure I liked this part of our tour. Too much time in airports and train stations.
We followed our itinerary to the letter when we arrived in Lucerne and enjoyed our time in Alps. From Lucerne we took the train to Milan where we had about a day before we left to go home.
There were a few glitches along the way, but our travel agent did the right thing and offered us a small refund for our troubles. The true gage of a good business is how they handle things when they don't go as planned and when the customer is dissatisfied. In our case, our travel agent did the right thing by us and made us whole. Although I'm not sure if my husband and I will be able to travel like this again in the future, I may consider using this travel agent and his company again.
The Black Forest Region, Bavaria and Lucerne were probably our favorite parts of the trip. Our guides were very knowledgable and accommodating. It was also really cool that we were able to experience Octoberfest in Munich. Very memorable.
I think I would probably not try to get so many different countries in such a short time span. 10 days, including travel days, was definitely not enough to enjoy and get the most out of four countries.
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