Looking for any fellow travelers scheduled for the 12 May 2018 Germany, Austria, Switzerland Tour. This will be our (my wife and I) first Rick Steves Tour. I have used his guidebooks and videos extensively over the years in planning several other trips. We are looking forward to this tour and the opportunity to travel and enjoy these places with others. Bill and Lorrie
Hi Bill! Myself, husband Brett, and MIL Deb will be on that tour. Hubby and I have been on one other RS tour, Greece, and we absolutely loved it! We are very much looking forward to this one as well. We will be spending 2 nights in Bacharach before the tour, and 3 nights in Prague after. Other plans in addition to the tour?
Thanks for reaching out, good to know we will have fellow travelers with us. We will be flying from Rhode Island in to Paris and spending a couple of days prior to training over to Trier. Our return will be through CDG once again, spending a few days in Provins. If I may, we would like to draw upon your prior experience with a tour. At the end of the tour will our tour guide have information on transfers to the airport in Vienna? In addition, we are interested in attending concerts in Salzburg and Vienna - is it likely our guide will have information on these opportunities? On our free day in the Alps we would like to do the Schilthorn Gondola - is it likely our guide will have information on this or should we continue our independent research into these opportunities? We look forward to meeting you all soon. Bill
Yes, our guide and the hotel in Vienna will be able to help you with arranging transportation to the airport. It is likely others will need help as well. Our guide should be able to help with concert options, but doing a little research on your own is always good too. This is also true for hiking in the Swiss Alps.
You both will really enjoy this tour! So varied and lots of fun. I took it in 2016.
"At the end of the tour will our tour guide have information on transfers to the airport in Vienna?"
--->Yes. Our guide organized transport for everyone who was flying out based on departure time, then grouped folks together in taxis to share the expense. This worked really well.
"In addition, we are interested in attending concerts in Salzburg and Vienna - is it likely our guide will have information on these opportunities?"
-->Do your reserarch but my guide made reservations for people to do the dinner/Mozart concert in Salzburg. I think he charged it then we repaid him. Do be aware that there was a dress code for the Mozart concert in Salzburg - no athletic shoes and no jeans. There are also other concerts available. Some of the folks went to venues that were just concerts with no meal and they made those arrangements on their own. Reviews from our group were mixed on the meal. The guide did not organize any concerts in Vienna but maybe that is because the ones that wanted to go had already made arrangements themselves.
"On our free day in the Alps we would like to do the Schilthorn Gondola - is it likely our guide will have information on this or should we continue our independent research into these opportunities?"
-->The guide will probably organize a trip up the Schilthorn on the free day. On my trip we went up the Schilthorn first thing, then came down on our own (some stopped in Birg to do the activity there at the gondola station), then he offered to meet anyone who wanted to go up the Almendhubel funicular and hike. He went with us, got everyone started on the hikes they chose, then headed back down to the hotel. The guide and the hotel will have information on what the trail conditions are for your time of year as well. I went in September so all trails were open.
-->On the day we did Truemmelbach Falls we wound up more or less going as a group to do the Mannlichen to Kleine Scheidegg walk. After Truemmelbach, Richard, the bus driver, drove us to Lauterbrunnen and most of us purchased round trip tickets to Mannlichen and back from Kleine Scheidegg. The tour covered the cost of the ticket from Lauterbrunnen back to Muerren and the guide showed us exactly where to go and how to find the gondola up to Grutschalp to get the cog train back to Muerren.
-->I would not worry too much about this part. I had been to the Lauterbrunnen Valley before on a previous RS tour so knew the lay out. I did decide what hike I wanted to do on the free afternoon but the guides are very knowledgeable about trails, access, transportation so don't stress too much about plans here. IF you decide you want to do Jungfraujoch you'll want to talk with your guide before you get to Muerren about fitting this in.
Have an awesome time!
Thanks for the information. It is greatly appreciated. I suspected that anything associated with Rick Steves would be well planned out with attention to detail. The information you all have provided is of great assistance as this old educator attends to the details of our trip.
"I suspected that anything associated with Rick Steves would be well planned out with attention to detail."
Oh yes, this is so very true. You'll likely be impressed with the depth and width of knowledge of your guide as well.
I had Carlos who has a PhD in History. His Mom was a Costa Rican diplomat and his Dad is German. I learned so much about German history from him on this tour and it's always interesting to see history from another viewpoint.
I DO actively research most of my destinations on a tour particularly when we have free time scheduled so I can have an idea of what I want to see. Sometime, though, the guide will mention something I had not thought of and I'll change my plan! I hope you all will arrive in Trier ahead of time to enjoy this university town. I particularly like Roman ruins and was fascinated that there were so many this far north. I see you are spending time in Paris first which is what I did. It was a very easy train journey to Trier. Do keep up with the status of French train strikes during May.
There are generally a number of educators on the RS tours.