Heading Back Home

Trip Start Jun 15, 2005
Trip End Jul 03, 2005

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Where I stayed
Hotel Flora-Lucerne
Tie-Mecenate Palace
Grand Hotel Dino

Flag of United States  , Ohio
Sunday, July 3, 2005

We arrive back in the USA and it feels good to be home. We start to talk about our trip during the layover and start making lists of what we had seen and done. I start recording them in my travel journal.

Here is a sampling:

Favorite City: no contest-Rome, although Venice and Lucerne were high on the list
Favorite Excursion: The Swiss Alps and Moulon Rouge in Paris
Favorite Restauranr: Gioia Mia-Rome
Biggest dissappoinment: not enough time at some of the sites (St Marks, St Peters)
Favorite Hotel: Tie-Mecenate Palace-Rome, Grand Hotel Dino-Baveno, Italy
Worst Hotel: Hotel Flora-Lucerne, Switzerland. No AC and temps near 100 (40 year high)
Scariest Moment: Changing trains in Ariaye, Spain
Types of transportation we were on during our 18 day trip: airplane, train, subway, bus, shuttle (large van), water taxi, gondola, arial tram, mountain railroad, airport tram
Rivers we saw: Tiber-Rome, Seine-Paris, Thames-London, Arno-Florence
Biggest surprise: people in France were actually friendly
Countries represented by people on our tour bus: United States, Australia, England, South Africa, Canada, Italy

Things unique to Europe:

You have to pay to use most public bathrooms, anywhere from .2 to .5 euros (25 to 63 cents) and you usually need exact change

Many public bathrooms are co-ed. This made for some interesting moments

All hotel bathrooms have a toilet AND a bidet (see next item)

Europeans don't use washrags. You must use the bidet to clean certain parts of your body.

Some of the cars in Europe are so small, they come with a shoe horn as standard equipment.

European men don't wear short pants but do wear Capri's.

I thought the drivers in Rome were crazy until I witnessed the traffic circling around the Arc de Triumphe

People in Rome will park anywhere

Dont complain about gas prices, the Europeans pay $5-6/gallon and have for a long time. Of course, there cars are so small they get 978 miles to the gallon. We didnt see a single Hummer the entire time we were there. Go figure.

Who shops at Gucci? I couldnt afford to buy a roll of toilet paper from the restroom.

We paid as high as 5 euros for a small bottle of Coke ($6.25)

Wine in Spain is cheap. $6-7 per bottle IN A RESTAURANT!

Grappa tastes like gasoline

All the food in Spain tastes like Grappa

Every book and website that I read about Europe said to pack light. I should have listened.

I didnt taste a bad Chianti the entire time I was in Rome, and I sampled quite a few.

I was impressed with the cleanliness of every city we visited.

You can get "Paris 2012" signs real cheap

If you are in a city with good public transportation and a good map, you can get anywhere fairly cheaply, even in a foriegn country. We rode the subways in Rome, Paris, and London and trains all over Spain, France, and Italy and never got lost once(although there were a few anxious moments)

I think everyone should take the opportunity to experience Europe. The history, culture, food, language, sites, art, etc, make it a truly unique place. Deb, the kids , and myself just had the experience of a lifetime. We saw things we thought we would never see. I am anxiously looking forward to a time when we can return and use what we learned on this trip to make our next one even more enjoyable. I wish the same for all of you.
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