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It was the best of times&#59; it was the worst of times.....

I just returned from almost a month in Europe. My time in Austria, Switzerland, and northern Italy was wonderful.I would especially like to share two names of B&Bs that I loved. The Ballwein Family in Saltzberg and the B&B IA in Ponte Tresa, Italy ( two blocks from the Swiss border).In both places you will be treated warmly. Although Ponte Tresa is a busy little border town, you will enjoy a whole suite at the B&B IA for the price of a room, delicios, varied breakfasts, and the very sweet and helpful Giancarlo and his wife.They will guide you in how to enjoy the lake region which is beautiful. Now, for the bad news. I would honestly advise you to skip Paius. It was crowded and dangaerous. We were hassled by Romanian gypsies and various scam artiststhroughout the city.I could not wait to get out of there.We traveled south and west and found a wonderful B&B in the MT.St.Michel area called Les Blotteries. Jean-Malo will take good care of you in his fabulous stone manor house on a farm. The huge rooms are cool , clean, and lovely.Hi9s address reads Juilly but he is actually in a small town called St.James.We also went to Brugge in Belgium and stayed at a castle built in the 1100s, Kasteel ten berghe. Very nice, like staying in Hogwarts. But we fouindmany of the shop keepers in Brugge to be unfriendly and suspicious.Also found some employees in little cafes very curt and unfriendly. We are experienced travelers, very careful to be polite and patient and we did not deserve this treatment at all.It really leaves you with a bad feeling about the town despite its beautiful canals and architecture.Lastly, if you are flying out of Charles DeGaul airport in Paris, be sure you know your terminal number. It is a huge confusing place, especially if you are returning a rental car there.
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Posted by
2297 posts

Hi Chris, I'm a bit confused with your itinerary. It might help to add some paragraphs to the text and check for typos to make it easier to read. It would also be easier to find your post if somebody looks up a certain place in the search or simply wants to find the places you loved and recommend. Misspelled names won't show up. I don't know of any place called Saltzberg, did you mean Salzburg in Austria? Where is "Paius" or is that a typo for Paris? Then you travelled south but Mt St Michel is north of Paris ...

Posted by
15 posts

I was typing very late at night and I also don't have good vision for proofreading on a laptop. My regular computer, which I have set on larger print, was not in working order. Yes, I meant Saltzburg and Paris.Our itinerary was not thought out clearly. We went from Paris to Giverny, to Mt.St.Michel, then up to Brugge and back to Paris for the airport. I underestimated the time all of that would take.

Posted by
4 posts

Chris, I also just returned from Paris. There 6/5-6/9. Are you aware that there was a roundup of gypsies by the French authorities last year? I have experienced my share of problems with the Roma affliction on my trips to Paris. Not so this time. I was not hassled in any way by a gypsy. This for the first time I twenty years. Allow me to add, that I punched a male gypsy in the mouth in Germany 20 years ago after he attempted to enter he Velcro pouch on the front of my jacket. Not a friend of gypsies here! I begin my wandering of the Paris streets about 10am each day and return to my room after a late dinner about 11:30pm. Again no crime, gypsies or anything unusual! Sorry to hear about your experience. Yes, and a salute to the French authorities for taking this problem in hand!

Posted by
9363 posts

Mike, it seems to me that the "roundup" last year must not have been very successful, since Chris encountered them recently. Or are you implying that he is lying, since you say you had no problem? Wherever there are tourists there are likely to be beggars and gypsies. Best just to walk past them without response.

Posted by
11503 posts

skipping Paris would be a shame, so would skipping Rome, or Barcelona.. they are all big cities, and yes, they all have their issues with beggers etc. One just learns how to ignore them. Its easy, and its safe to visit those cities. I have visited both Rome and Paris as a solo woman and with my children,, and I would return( and will be) in a few weeks!
Sorry you found it intimidating,,it can be overwhelming if not prepared.