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Two Weeks and Five European Cities Done Right

Author: Matt K.
Date of Trip: June 2006

We like to pack all we can into our trips and I always research them to the hilt so we’ll know exactly what we want to do, then just let it all happen how it happens and enjoy it. Our trip this year was our best yet, from home in San Francisco we went to London, Venice, Lake Como, Budapest and Berlin. They were all fantastic in their own ways and it went off, if not without a hitch, then certainly in an exciting and fun way.

As opposed to a running narrative, I’ll just list the best things we did in each city and the best way to get around, etc.

As for airlines, I’d recommend Virgin Atlantic to fly to London. Their in flight entertainment system is second to none. Makes the times fly. Leaving London take EasyJet to wherever you need to go. It’s amazingly cheap and very decent considering.

As to hotels, I am a huge fan of designer boutique hotels. We love them and stay in one whenever and wherever we can. The best ones were the Chaming House DD724 in Venice, ultra modern hotel in an ancient city, great contrast, the Arto’tel in Budapest and Moevenipick Hotel in Berlin. All great.

In London: The best things we did there this time were the London Eye (huge space age ferris wheel thing) and a cruise on the River Thames. Both so fun. We also saw We Will Rock You, the musical based on Queen’s music. Get the cd and skip the show.

In Venice: Just walk the city. Gorgeous at every turn. You can get around with big water taxi vaporettos, which is fun to do just to be on the water, but really, walking is best. And if you have a small group, rent your own private water taxi. It is just really cool, and about the same price as the huge, mobbed ones and you feel like a celebrity.

In Bellagio (Lake Como): This quaint picturesque city is so relaxing and peaceful and is all about the water and the views. Visit Villa Carlotta, lush gardens, big mansion, fun boat ride over. Look for George Clooney, he lives nearby.

In Budapest: Also, walk the city. It was the biggest surprise for us. So much to see, so beautifully preserved and so huge. At night all the buildings are lit so gorgeously. Go to the Szehczi (or however you spell it) Baths. It’s an incomparable experience when you hang out with the locals in the huge mineral bath complex that has all kinds of stuff and all kinds of people. Just something you will never forget. We also took a Segway Tour of Budapest which was hilarious and worth it just to get to ride those things alone. People look at you like you are from Mars. Some of the most fun you’ll have anywhere. And go to Goa to eat dinner. Fantastic, chic, and not too expensive considering.

In Berlin: Walk the Unter Den Linden (the East) and Ku’Dam (the west) streets. They are the main thoroughfares of the city and just give you the vibe of Berlin. Top site: the Reichstag, Brandenburg Gate, Pergamon Museum and Holocaust Memorial. You could spend weeks in Berlin and never see it all. Exciting.

E-mail me if you have any questions, I love helping out!

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