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The Final Countdown...

As the days to my flight grow leaner, my heart grows bigger (kinda like the Grinch before his heart busts the frame?) and the champagne giggles in my tummy increase. I'm not a wealthy woman by any stretch of the imagination, yet here I am, contemplating my 3rd trip to Europe- my 2nd Rick Steves tour. It's amazing how those change jars, garage sales and miscellaneous windfalls; such as birthday money or the kids paying back that $40 they borrowed can quickly add up to a trip! I am beyond blessed.

My first Rick Steves tour was a solo adventure in the spring of 2015 and I went straight for the gold with the 21BOE. The experience was incredible, not only because of the amazing trip itself and the friends I made, but also because of the wonderful people I met on this message board who gave advice and suggestions as I planned, who gave encouragement by following my blogs while I was traveling and who also read and critiqued my scrapbook entry months later (Pam! And others). I am still friendly with a good number of people from that trip and this board through social media. As a matter of fact... this time around I will be traveling with one of my tour-mates from that 21BOE as well as a friend I made here on the message boards! I'm no longer solo!

This time around I'm doing the 14 Day Europe My Way tour. I'm so excited to get to see some of my favorite places from last time as well as some new places. My friends and I will be flying to Germany a week early, visiting Berlin, Wittenburg-Lutherstadt and Munich and partaking of Oktoberfest before taking the train to Paris for the start of the tour. Another perk is that my friend in Switzerland will be able to meet up with us and be our personal guide for a day when we get to Lauterbrunnen. I was also a bit sneaky and looked up our guide online. I was able to send him a message, introducing myself and saying "Hello" and probably making him wonder just what the heck he's getting himself into, ha ha! (He was very friendly and gracious)

I've had so much fun researching different independent tours and excursions for the various places we will be. The fact that I'm traveling with others this time means (of course) that we had to try to please three different personalities and traveling styles. In the end it meant a few compromises, but the exciting part about that is stepping outside of our usual habits and doing some new things. Something I never would have booked on my own, is a bicycling cultural food tour in Berlin. It's supposedly easy biking as we travel to 3-4 different food places over 3 hours, stopping, sightseeing and learning history along the way, especially about how the city has become so diverse and how that has influenced their food culture. Again, never would have chosen that myself, but I'm actually pretty excited about it! Now I just need to get through the tediousness of determining what to pack...

What's your favorite part of planning and preparing for your adventures?

Posted by
311 posts

I think it's great you are doing the My Way BOE! We did that two years ago and revisiting some of the places(on your own) that you saw from your first trip will be great. I know there is a lot more to see but we are thinking of doing the My Way for a second time to see what we missed! It is such a variety of sites!
We just got back from a very short trip to Australia for a friend's 70th birthday. I am in the doldrums right now. I planned that trip for a year and a half, checked the flight almost everyday and did my research. It's my' happy place' hobby to plan and prepare for a trip. My husband and I need to regroup and save some $$ but I NEED to start thinking about another trip. It's for my mental health for heaven's sake!!!!! Have a wonderful trip!!!!!!!!!!! Chriss

Posted by
1224 posts

The excitement of all the possible things we could see and do! I love trip planning and never stop thinking about my next one.

Posted by
11613 posts

My favorite part is choosing the cities I will visit, I try to mix some new ones with familiar ones.

Posted by
50 posts

Wow, good for you!

My way RS tours are great. I did the Alpine tour last May 2016 and still reflect on it fondly. When you are in Lauterbrunnen, think about walking from Murren to Grimmelwald. Don't take the lift, walk it, and stay to the mountain side of the path. It is not well marked and you need to be in good shape. Good not great. After 7 trips to Europe in a row, 2012 thru this year, This hike still thrills!

Good Luck and have a great time!!

Posted by
1068 posts

Sounds like a wonderful trip. Have a great time. My favorite part of planning and preparing (as opposed to actually being there) is: 1) deciding on a place or places to visit and 2) having everything ready (flights, hotels, tours if applicable etc.)

Posted by
985 posts

Whoo-hoo, Lisa! This is going to be such a fun trip with friends, and the bicycling food tour sounds like a good time. I'm so happy that you are soon to be in Lauterbrunnen again - my idea of heaven on earth. I'm just a lot of bit jealous. Have a ball on this fabulous trip and don't forget to look down. I'll be looking forward to your trip report -


Posted by
6360 posts

Lisa, just know that we are all happy and excited for you, and maybe just a little bit (alright, a lot) envious.

Have a wonderful time, and touch base with us when you get back. When are you leaving?

Posted by
7389 posts

Enjoy your trip!

We took a 3-hour bike trip in Munich a few years ago and liked it so much that we did one in Honolulu last year. We're signed up for one in Seville, Spain. They are a fun way to hear about the history, get some local insights, and enjoy riding a bike in a new town. Also, we're usually the oldest people (60), so fun to be with 20's - 40's. They stop at places briefly, so we like to go during the first full day at a location. In Munich we ate lunch together at the beer garden in the English park. In Honolulu, we stopped for refreshments at a local Saturday Market.

Posted by
14156 posts

Awwww...💕✈️ I was so glad you loved your 21 BOE as much as I did!!

You know I love to plan! I love figuring out my daily itineraries-which days museums are open/closed, which days what walks are on and how I can fit in everyhing I want to do! It's a big jigsaw calendar!!

This is going to be such a fun trip!

Posted by
333 posts

Thanks everybody for your great responses/comments/suggestions!

To answer a few questions... I leave in 10 daysI Each day I'm reminded of all the things I need to get done so I can leave guilt free, ha ha! I am the bill payer and appointment maker, so that all must needs be done. I have an 18 year old son with autism, who does quite well at home independently, but doesnt deal with change well. So I need to make sure all of his important things are written down so he can be confident and reliable. He'll be chief doggie caregiver while I'm away...

I'm very much looking forward to Lauterbrunnen! I stayed in Stechelberg last time, so this will give me the same beauty but from a different perspective. I remember calling my husband at home and describing the mountains and waterfalls as I stuck my head right out the window of our little chalet. I told him it was a good thing we were married as otherwise I think I would have purposely missed the bus the next day (a la "Under the Tuscan Sun") and bought myself a wee little chalet of my own! I don't think we'll be hiking much this time (I went to the top of the Shilthorn last time and even got to "drive" the gondola partway up the mountain, thanks to the sweet operator named Mary Lou!). I also did a little geocaching at the tippy-top. Later saw Trummelbach Falls and then hiked from Birg to Murren. So this time, my friends Marina and Christian plan to take us to the town of Thun (pronounced Tune) for part of the day. Then we'll have some fondue...

I will definitely enter a scrapbook in the next contest! I've also received several inquiries as to whether I will have a blog again this time around. Yes, I will be blogging via a private FB page. If anybody wants to follow along they can message me and I will give out the link. :-)


Posted by
362 posts

That period where you're in final countdown mode before your trip always seems to go too slowly AND too quickly for me. It's too slow because I want to be there already! But it's also too fast, because I also want to make sure that everything which needs to be done prior to departure is properly completed.

I hope you have a wonderful time, and I hope you post here about your adventures when you return!

Posted by
529 posts

We, my husband and I, now have 14 days left till our trip! So, I know how you are feeling, hurry up!! Exciting that you are revisiting some of your favorites and now have friends along. I am sure you will have a marvelous time. You might want to check out the bike ride in Amsterdam with Joy Ride Tours. We took this bike tour and loved it. It goes out of the city, and includes a visit to a cheese/wooden shoe maker. We enjoy bike tours so much, I try to include one for each of our trips. We plan to ride in Munich while we are there.

Posted by
54 posts

I am so excited for your trip!
My husband and I love to travel and I've been a big Rick fan for years. I turn 50 this year and I've been planning on taking one of his trips for my birthday present for about 5 years now lol.
I love ALL the parts of planning, hard to pick just one thing. It's like experiencing the trip over and over before you even go.
Our first RS trip will be the 14 day BOE next May. I will PM you as I'd like to get to see your blog.

Have an awesome trip!!!!

Posted by
1097 posts

We took the BOE My Way in 2013. We loved the independence and the locations. Landed in Paris on my birthday! Are you extending in Rome when it's over? That's our only regret, we didn't stay in Rome longer, but it was so hot and we were tired. We'll be back (but not in July)!
I hope you have a wonderful time!

Posted by
333 posts

Thanks so much for all the fun comments!

Pam~ What's NOT to love about the 21BOE? I'd easily take that tour again if time/finances ever allow. The hubs and I are taking a Caribbean cruise next spring. Then my overseas travels are most likely on hold a while as we have a bunch of remodeling we want to do on the house and that won't be cheap! When money allows, I think Ireland (possibly with England, Scotland and Wales) will be next. I'd love to follow that up with S. America; Machu Picchu and Easter Island, Panama Canal and then perhaps China.

Debra~ I won't be in Amsterdam this time around, unfortunately. I've been there twice and absolutely love it there! But this time is Germany, Austria, France, Switzerland and Italy.

Deb K~ I'll look forward to your PM!

Celeste~ How exciting to be in Paris on your birthday! This trip is a bit of an early birthday for me. I'll get home 2 weeks before my birthday. We have one extra day in Rome which we are actually using to go to Pompeii.


Posted by
733 posts

How fun, Lisa! I'll be following you! We leave for our Best of London tour in mid October and have scheduled the Village Italy tour for early next May 2018. That will be our last tour for a while as the kids are getting older and we will be expecting grandchildren to occupy our free time sometime in the future! Not yet......but in the future!

Posted by
3 posts

Just found this post. You may be close to the end of your trip now. We are considering the Europe My Way in the future.....would love to read your blog. Also for anyone else out there who has done the My Way Europe did the hotels compare to guided Rick Steves tours? Did you like the My Way format better than the guided tours or not?