Whirlwind tour of Venice, Rome, Paris, Amsterdam

Recently back from a (too short) vacation from Bavaria to Venice to
Rome to Amsterdam with my teenage son. I can not overstress the value of the advice I got from RS guidebooks, this site and questions I posted here. Travel tips (like the Roma Pass and Paris Museum pass, where to find tourist offices, safety, packing), booking our trains/planes and a thousand details were all based on above. As I love to do when I travel, I chat with other tourists I meet. Over and over I was amazed at how little some knew: from transit systems (how to buy tickets or passes), to musuem passes to how tips are included already in the restaurant bills (yes, they were tipping 20% on top of the bill in France). I felt well-prepared by my RS planning. I ripped out the sections of the books for the cities we were visiting and referred to them frequently as we traveled. I booked all my hotels based on RS Europe or RS Italy books. I loved them all and would return to each or recommend them in a second. Loconda al Leon (Venice) was a charming small hotel just 5 minutes walk from the Rive or Saint Mark's Square. Hotel Muguet (near Rue Cler) in Paris was another gem. I took on the RS philosophy of adopting the neighborhood and loved feeling like I was part of the city life and not trapped in a tourist-only part of the city. Same with the neighborhood in Rome where we stayed at Casa per Ferie Santa Maria alle Fornaci. These accomodation were rather basic (think a college dorm room) but the air conditioning worked great (which was key for Rome in July) and the breakfast was just the same as the hotel in Venice that cost 50% more. For me, being about 7 minutes walk to St Peter's and right off the #64 bus and near Trastavere was perfect. (BEST PIZZA IN THE WORLD ALERT: Dar Poeta. Really, it was amazing.)

Posted by Cindy
Chalfont, PA, USA
30 posts

In Amsterdam we stayed at Sunhead 1617, which is a b&b in an actual canal house right on one of the main canals in the old part of the city. Again, in a quiet residential neighborhood (5 minute walk to Anne Frank house and same to trams to main train station or Rijks Musuem, Van Gogh Museum) Carlos, our host, and the lovely rooms (with the tiniest and steepest spiral staircase you will ever see) were perfection. Thanks RS and all of your staff for steering me so well as I navigated my first trip to Europe in 20 years. Thanks also to those that helped me with specific questions I asked on these boards. Before we even left Europe, my son and I were plotting and planning our next trip!!! There is still so much to see, and yes, we did throw our coins into the Trevi Fountain.

Posted by Susan
Sausalito, California
3203 posts

Enjoyed reading your trip report Cindy, thanks! Glad you had such a good time and want to return. I can never get enough of Europe, so fun!

Posted by Ms. Jo
Frankfurt, Germany
4758 posts

Great trip report. One small disagreement though, tips are NOT included in restaurant bills. A service charge is included, but this is not a tip and your server will never get this money, as it goes straight to the business owner. This is a popular fallacy in many guidebooks and on many travel forums. A 20% tip is too high, but 5-10% is ok and very welcomed by the servers.

Posted by Claudia
Land of La
2010 posts

Your report made me smile. Pleased to hear you had a lovely visit and are already planning another!

Posted by Marilyn
Mentor on the Lake, OH, USA
251 posts

Great report, thanks for taking the time share.