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France, Germany, Austria & Amsterdam - 13 cities in 16 days with Rick Steves audio tours

My husband & I walked over 150 miles in Europe
I want to start this blog by thanking my husband Mike for his months of planning this outstanding European vacation. And I want to thank Rick Steves for his wonderful audio tours. We saw the sights, tasted the best Bavarian beer ever, and drank some of the most outstanding wines in France, Germany, Austria & Amsterdam. I talked to wine experts in Paris and in Rudesheim where I enjoyed tasting some of the best Riesling wines the Rhine valley produces. We visited over 13 cities in 16 days. The idea of visiting so many places in such a short time where I didn’t know the languages frightened me a little. Now that the trip is over I can let you know that most of the people we encountered spoke some English and we didn’t have any problems communicating.

My head is still spinning from all the amazing places we visited, so to keep myself straight on all these experiences I’ve created a snapshot of our journey including; a brief description of where we went each day.

We knew this trip to Europe would be a whirlwind because of the chocked full itinerary. Prior to this trip we both wanted to get in better shape, loose around 20 pounds, and this trip was a catalyst for us. We worked out at our nearby health club, walked a lot to get in shape, and went on a high protein diet with lots of vegetables and no sugar or flour diet. We went off our diet in Europe, the food over there is amazing. I admit it, I’m a carb addict and I can’t resist fresh homemade bread, pastries or macaroons when placed in front of me. In Germany all the hotels came with a full breakfast of fruit, eggs, meats and cheeses, bread and some hotels additionally offered slaws and veggie salads. We usually took a couple of apples and had them for lunch while we were sightseeing. This helped with our diet and budget.

Here is a link to a Google photo slide show of our vacation

Daily Snapshots

Travel Day to Paris
We took two evening flights from the US and arrived in Paris the next morning. We had a full day planned for our first day in Paris so I wanted to be as rested as possible. To help avoid jet lag I wore comfy clothes, a sleep mask and took melatonin. These things worked and I was able to get a little sleep. We stored our luggage at the hotel and then went sightseeing on foot.

Day 1 – Paris France
Our trip started in Paris where we took the Rick Steves Historic City Walk audio tour which included visits to Notre Dame (look for the Point Zero marker in front, indicating the center of Paris), St. Chapell with the beautiful stained glass, the Conciergerie where prisioners were tortured at one point and the Latin Quarter. After going back to the hotel for check-in and a brief nap, we walked the Champs-Elysees and then up the steps of the Arc de Triomphe. This is a view of Paris that is well worth the climb. We finished the evening by stopping at a little cafe on the way back to the hotel at around 9pm. We were surprised how late it stayed light there.

Day 2 – Paris
Day 2 started with a tour of the Louvre Museum and another Rick Steves audio tour. Having the Paris Museum pass allowed us to walk right in, no lines. After the Louvre we headed to the L’Orangerie, which had been closed the previous day before we could enter. The Monet’s there are great, but I actually like the paintings down stairs better. The plan for lunch was a picnic in front of the Eiffel Tower. We then headed to Rue Cler, a quintessential market street, where there are awesome shops selling bread, wine, meats, cheeses, desserts and other delicious foods. Our Eiffel Tower picnic included some of each with flan for dessert and a Spanish wine to wash it all down.

If you would like to read my whole blog here is the link

Cheers – Carrie Wall
I'm a retired and living in Va Beach, Va. I enjoy blogging on wine, life, and Virginia Beach VA.
Also I do not sell anything

Posted by
85 posts

sounds like you had a great time! I'll have to check out your blog. looking at traveling to London, Paris & Amsterdam next year w/husband & kids. can't wait to see what else you did!


Posted by
985 posts

Very nice review with some handy info! It looks like y'all had a great time!

Posted by
2 posts

We had a wonderful time and my husbands planning made all the difference. We highly recommend the Rick Steves audio guides. I wish they had a little more direction in them. In Versailles we were a little disoriented but we saw everything and went with the flow of people. I'm enjoying watching Rick's TV shows on the places we visited now that we are back, it's bringing back some really great memories. Enjoy your trip!

Posted by
1056 posts

Thank you for sharing your trip on the travel form. It looks like all your husbands organizing paid off! Although your trip moved locations quite a bit more than I would have personally chosen, it looks like you got the best of each area you were in, which is always a good introduction when your time is short. I enjoyed reading about your adventures.

Posted by
567 posts

Incredible work your husband did on the planning. It was an interesting blog and as you said, you hit the highlights. It's amazing all you both did in the 16 days. Too bad about the weather in Bavaria. Our plans's for Eagle's Nest were cancelled due to an electrical fire in the elevator back in 2008. Glad you had a safe and fun travel. Thanks for sharing.

Posted by
2252 posts

Nicely done, Carrie. It sounds as if it was a wonderful trip and kudos to your husband for doing the planning. I, too, have used and enjoyed the RS audio guides. I'm looking forward to reading your blog.

Posted by
193 posts

Very nice review & blog! Thank you for sharing! We are doing a fast-paced, multi-destination trip starting one week from tomorrow! I've been doing all the reading, research & question-asking I can to help us be prepared (although our itinerary is set by our tour group, we do have some free time options).

In addition to recently asking about tips for writing reviews (yours' is one of my favorites now btw); I've also been trying to decide on international phone plans. On your tip section, you said you bought a prepaid international travel phone for calls and texts. Can you provide more info on that (name, where you bought, etc).

Looks like a fabulous adventure! Thanks for sharing!! Your husband did an amazing job at putting all those details together!