Germany-Italy-Ireland: Successful trip!

My wife and I have just returned from a 15-day, 40th Anniversary trip to Europe. It was our first trip there on our own, i.e., without a cruise or tour group. It was great. The trip was inspired by RS videos and books, and the hook was set last February when we went to Edmonds to attend a couple of ETBD lectures and a personal consult with Pat O'Connor. We started with three days in Diessen am Ammersee, an off-the-tourist-grid Bavarian lakeside town, about 40 km southwest of Munich. We picked that destination because I had visited there on a student tour 'way back in 1968. I loved it then, and love it more now. We were probably the only North Americans in town. When people heard us speaking English, they assumed we were from the UK. From Munich we took the train through the Alps to Venice for two days; then hung out for five days in the wonderful town of Assisi (you don't "do" Assisi, you "be" there); then two days in Rome before finishing up with two days in Dublin on the way home. The cheapest flights from Rome to Portland were on Aer Lingus through DUB, and a two-day layover cost no more. We limited ourselves to one carry-on bag apiece, which was amazingly liberating. And I managed all photography on the trip with only a cheap Samsung point-and-shoot, a tiny GoPro Hero 2 and the iPhone. All three have both video and still modes. Here are the results: https://picasaweb.google.com/103837507532952449461/Europe2013 (If that doesn't work, try this:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/100100955@N03 ) Many thanks to ETBD and the many contributors to this board for the encouragement and helpful advice.

Posted by Dawn
Denver, CO
257 posts

Thanks Jeff - great pictures!! Looks like you had a wonderful anniversary trip. Are you already planning your next one?? :)

Posted by Jeff
Vancouver, WA, USA
66 posts

Some random thoughts after the trip: We did not go to any museums and we stood in no lines. None. Nada. Instead we spent our time walking around, meeting people and getting the vibe of the area we were in. We got up early and hit places like Trevi Fountain, Piazza San Marco and the Pantheon early in the morning before the hordes of tourists arrived. At 8 AM we had Piazza San Marco all to ourselves, other than the pigeons and a young couple having their wedding photos taken. Instead of just visiting Basilica San Francesco (Assisi) and St. Patrick's Cathedral (Dublin), we attended scheduled services there. It really enhanced the experience. We might have saved a few Euro by taking the Leonardo Express from Roma Termini to Fiumicino, but we would have missed the cab ride with a friendly driver whose English was only slightly worse than my Italian. We had a great chat, and we wished the ride had gone on longer. My Rick Steves backpack carry-on came in handy to encourage a "helpful" scammer to move out of the way as I used the Trenitalia ticket kiosk in Florence. A Trenitalia kiosk at Assisi did not accept cash. Fortunately my US Visa debit/ATM card with 4-digit PIN (no chip) worked fine. Short hairstyles for both men and women are conducive to packing light and ease of grooming while on the trip. We're not too proud to admit that we dove into Starbucks a couple of times (Munich HBf and in Dublin); and even one McDonalds (a block from Trevi Fountain). The extreme wide-angle lens of the little GoPro Hero camera really came in handy for interior shots. That's the camera often used for video recording extreme outdoor sports, but it takes nice still shots, too, and its tiny size is ideal for travel.

Posted by Fred
San Francisco
2685 posts

Among the various sites that can serve as a meeting/rendezvous point at Munch Hbf., the Starbucks is one of the singular places due to its location.

Posted by tim
phoenix
32 posts

Great pics Jeff. Thank you for sharing.

You make me all the more excited when I visit Rome and a little concerned I may be making a mistake skipping Venice. Love your hints about early am in Rome. I totally intend to be on the streets at 7am every morning to wake up with working Romans and before the tourists who sleep in and have their included in the room rate breakfast til 10am.

Your comments about no lines and no museums and instead meeting people is great. I am going to London, Paris and Rome and keep reminding myself it's not about how many sights can I see each day but to experience the people and way of life in each place and have more than just pictures when I return.

Thanks again.

Posted by Sarah
Chicago (formerly St. Louis), IL, USA
1311 posts

What beautiful pictures, Jeff! They made me feel like I was really there (and I relived my visits to Venice and Rome). Looks like you had nearly perfect weather except for some rain.