Europe (Paris, Germany, Austria, Switzerland)

 

 July 7-17 2013

Our big Summer vacation in 2013 was a trip to Europe. I picked the destination for an odd reason, I had a couple of hotels that I wanted to stay at and could stay for free using points.

Sunday, July 7, 2103
We flew on AA the whole way. Sunday morning, we flew to Chicago and had 7 hours before our next flight. We couldn’t just sit in the airport, so we took the train in to town. First stop was some deep dish at Giordano’s Pizza. After that, we walked around Millineum Park and then walked around the city. Of course we bought a big bag of Garrett’s Popcorn before we went to the airport. Our next flight left at 6 pm and landed in Paris at 9 am. We were in Main Cabin Extra. Susan and Natalie had an empty seat in between them so they got lots of sleep.

IMG_1937 IMG_1938 IMG_1940 IMG_1941 IMG_1948 IMG_1950 IMG_1952

Monday, July 8
We arrived at CDG in the morning and took a train to Versailles. We would be staying at the Trianon Palace Versailles Waldorf. I was able to use points for this room. The interesting thing about this hotel is that it overlooks the Versailles Palace and grounds. In WWII, the US Military used this hotel as its command center. We got to the hotel early and had to kill time before our room was ready. When we finally got to the room, around noon, we were so tired that we layed down and took a nap. When we got up, went to a small grocery store and bought baguettes and cheese and cookies. Then we walked around the Versailles grounds and found a good spot to picnic, one of our favorite things to do in Paris. Back at the hotel, we went swimming in the large indoor pool.

102_8355 102_8356 102_8358 IMG_1958 IMG_1960

IMG_1963

IMG_1965 IMG_1968 IMG_1970 IMG_1971 IMG_1972  IMG_1991IMG_1980IMG_1979

Tuesday, July 9
We woke up early the next day and found a street cafe that made crepes. After breakfast we toured the Versailles Palace. When finished with the tour, we checked out of the hotel and took the Metro into Paris. We checked in to the Park Hyatt Vendome. This was the main reason for our trip. We had 2 free nights, from a credit card bonus, and because we were Diamond Guests, we were upgraded to a suite. The hotel was amazing and would have cost over $1,000 per night. We explored the hotel and then took another nap. For some reason, we
walked to LaFayette Galleries to do some shopping. Then walked around the Louver and Jardin des Tuileries and made our way to the Eiffel Tower. It was getting dark and lot’s of people were hanging out on the lawn to watch the tower light up. We grabbed a spot on the lawn and got to see it light up.

102_8371

IMG_1994

IMG_2073 IMG_2003

IMG_2007 IMG_2008 IMG_2015  IMG_2020 IMG_2006 IMG_2029 IMG_2031 IMG_2039

102_8407IMG_2048

102_8420

102_8424

102_8434

IMG_2082

Wednesday, July 10
The next morning, Susan and I had breakfast in the restaurant at the hotel. It was amazing. Breakfast was included in our hotel stay, but would have cost over $100 each. After breakfast, we toured more of Paris. We the sights on St. Louis island including, Point Neuf, Notre Dame and Berthillon Ice Cream. We saw a really funny street performer who was riding a tiny bicycle. That evening, we had more crepes and baguettes and hung out at Luxembourg Gardens. We returned to the hotel and Susan and I spent some time in the spa. It was pretty amazing.

102_8450

102_8468

102_8482

IMG_2086 IMG_2096 IMG_2105 IMG_2106 IMG_2116 IMG_2117

Thursday, July 11
Our last morning at the Park Hyatt, we ordered room service, as it was also included in our rate. It was a large, fancy breakfast. We walked up the champs elysees, then we caught a train to Munich Germany. The train ride was 6 hours long. I paid for First Class seats. We had our own little seating area with a table. We brought plenty of snack and movies to watch. We arrived in Munich at 9:30 and took a cab to our hotel. We were staying at the Hilton Munich on points. It was my birthday, so they gave me a cake at check in. Our room overlooked the Olympic Park. It was late, but we left the hotel to see a Biergarten. The walk was dark, but we eventually found our way.

IMG_2120 IMG_2124 IMG_2129 IMG_2133

Friday, July 12
We got up early and had our complementary breakfast at the buffet. We walked through Munich. First we saw the river surfers, then we walked through the old town and to the main square with the Glockenspiel. We then shopped in the stores and outdoor market. We got some lunch at the outdoor food stalls and then went to get our rental car. We would have a souped up Peugeot Station Wagon to drive around for the rest of our trip. We drove to Auschwitz and did a tour of the former concentration camp. I think it scared Trey. We then left and drove to Berchtesgaden We would be staying at the Intercontinental Berchtesgaden on points. This is a beautiful hotel on a mountain. You can see Hitlers Eagles Nest from the hotel. We had time to explore the grounds and swim in the indoor/outdoor heated pool. It is one of the best pools I’ve ever been in and probably had the best view. The town of Berchtesgaden is small and beautiful. We explored the town and had a German meal at an outdoor cafe.

IMG_5292IMG_2190 IMG_2158 IMG_2160 IMG_2161

IMG_2164

IMG_2987

IMG_2170 IMG_2171 IMG_2177 IMG_2179 IMG_2187 102_8495 102_8510
Saturday, July 13
Breakfast was not included in our rate, but we were able to by a “to go” breakfast. Basically, they gave us a bag and let us add whatever we wanted from the buffet. We then took the bus up to the Eagles Nest. It is such a beautiful place with the best view ever. It was also interesting that it played such a big part in history. After our tour, we drove towards Salzburg, Austria. We made a stop on the way to take a tour of a salt mine. We stayed at the Radisson Blu Hotel using points. The hotel was really old, but was in a fantastic location. We had some time to explore the city and we walked to the big park, where the Sound of Music was filmed. Salzburg is beautiful and was one of my favorite cities. There are lots of small streets that are closed to cars and have old buildings and shops everywhere.

102_8606 IMG_3038 102_8548IMG_3045 IMG_3049 IMG_3059 IMG_3065 IMG_3078 IMG_3081 IMG_3085 102_8592IMG_3092 IMG_2224 102_8616102_8624102_8628102_8639102_8641

Sunday, July 14
We didn’t get breakfast at this hotel either, so I got out early and found a bakery. I bought an assortment of pastries. We then explored the town some more. We went up to the old castle which had gorgeous views of the town. Trey wanted a German alpine hat for his souvenir, so we bought him one. He looked a like a cross between Tom Landry and Peter Pan. We loaded up our car and drove to Fussen, Germany. The drive was beautiful as we passed lakes, mountains, forests and small towns. We stopped at one of Mad King Ludwig’s castles, Linderhof. We were staying at a bed and breakfast type place called the Hotel Maximilian. There weren’t a lot of hotel choices in this area. The hotel room had bunk beds for the kids, so the were excited. We went into Fussen and had weiner schnitzel and other German fare at an outdoor cafe. Then we found an ice cream place. Susan ordered the ice cream that looked like a plate of spaghetti, but was really ice cream.

102_8650

102_8652

102_8654

102_8686

102_8701

102_8702

102_8711 IMG_2213 IMG_2217 IMG_2220 IMG_2222

102_8688

IMG_2223 IMG_2226

IMG_5328

IMG_2229
Monday, July 15
The next morning we toured another of Ludwig’s castles, Neuschwanstein. This castle is the one that Disney used to model Cinderella castle. It was set high up on a hill and we walked instead of waiting a long time for a bus. After our tour, we drove to Lucerne and checked into the Radisson Blu Hotel. We were given an upgrade and had an awesome suite overlooking Lake Lucerne. We walked the town and walked across Capel Bridge. We had fondue for dinner at a street cafe.

102_8718 102_8722 102_8731 102_8736 102_8725 IMG_2236 IMG_2239 IMG_2241

102_8738

102_8740

102_8741 102_8756   IMG_2247 IMG_2256 IMG_2259 IMG_5336 IMG_2266 IMG_5347 IMG_5364

102_8776

IMG_5342

Tuesday, July 16
The next morning, we took a gondola to the top of Mount Titlis. There was lots of snow on the mountain. We went tubing, played in the snow, walked over a suspension bridge, went in an ice cave, and enjoyed the gorgeous views. On the way up and down, we could see the Swiss cows and hear their bells. After we got down, we drove on to Zurich. We were staying at the airport Radisson Blu. I also returned the car at the airport. We took the train in to Zurich and walked around. Zurich is beautiful even though it is a very expensive city full of expensive shops. We ate at McDonalds and paid over $50 for 3 meals.

102_8789 102_8800 IMG_2282IMG_2284  IMG_2286   102_8820IMG_2292 102_8827 102_8828 102_8834 102_8836IMG_2300 102_8842 102_8844 102_8845 102_8848 102_8858 102_8861 102_8862 102_8865 102_8870  IMG_2308 IMG_2311 IMG_2320 IMG_2322 IMG_2329IMG_2306  IMG_2333IMG_2344 IMG_2274 IMG_2276 IMG_2280  IMG_2346 IMG_2347 IMG_2348 IMG_2350 IMG_2351

Wednesday, July 17

We started our journey home on Wednesday. We’d fly into JFK and fly out of Laguardia. We took this opportunity to do some things in New York. We went to the Westin Times Square and checked our bags with the bell boys. We walked around New York and ate for a few hours, then returned to get our bags and go to the airport.

IMG_2359 IMG_3126 IMG_3127

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s