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June 14, 2011


Kaela Dark

Ok this might be a mess because I am sending you info from my notes, but here are some things I suggest:
Besides Eiffel Tower, The Louvre, and the Notre Dame de Paris Cathedral- I cannot say enough times, 1st day you are there DO Mike's Bikes/Fat Tire Bike Tours. It is the BEST way to see the entire city, it is SO much fun, and they will give you helpful tips/ways to save money/skip lines, etc. at all of the other places you want to go in Paris. It is the BEST thing we did in Paris. By far. Stay north of the city, by a metro station, unless you have a WHOLE lot of money saved up and want to stay in the middle of the city as we did, and look up Velib bikes for transportation around the city for CHEAP, unless you want to walk 20+ miles in a day. Get a big huge map ahead of time.

Baden-Baden- If you are driving, I highly suggest stopping at this town for a night... it is a good midway point in the drive from Paris to Munich. And gorgeous. Exactly what I imagine when I think of small German towns. Look up Caracalla Spa for a traditional German spa, although you could go next door to the other spa in Baden-Baden if you don't mind going nude. =) One of the best hotels we stayed at was here and the restaurant there was amazing. It is really small, but it is called Rathausglöckel.

Fussen- Must stop here. Inbetween Munich and Austria. Neuschwanstein Castle. Cannot miss this.

Munich- Hofbrauhaus Beer Hall, just be prepared to squeeze in whereever you fit and yes, you will be sharing a table with random people who likely won't speak English, but it's good. Viktualienmarkt (outdoor food market) and Brotzeitstuberl (beer garden). Marienplatz (town square). And if you are in the mood for something a little heavier... Dachau Concentration Camp is right outside Munich and is something I really am glad that we visited. Hotel Blauer Bock was close to EVERYTHING we wanted to do in Munich and it was amazing, and a yummy breakfast for free.

If you can- get into Edelweiss (it was really lucky for us because we also didn't know when we would be there, taking Space A, but somehow it worked out), at least for a night, it is amazing. I also have a good friend working there right now if you do end up getting there, I'm sure she'd be glad to show you around and help you plan some cool things to do there.

Hope this helps, sorry it's so long!

Angela Noelle

That's great stuff, Kaela! I actually have a couple of Fat Tire bike tours that we're hoping to do--one in Paris and one at Versailles, so now I'm really excited about that :) I don't think we're going to do the Edelweiss thing, just because we'd rather stay in Munich and then head to Austria instead of staying another night in Bavaria, but I have heard great things about it. The plan is to stop in Fussen on the way back to Ramstein from Austria for a couple hours at the castle. And we're definitely going to visit Dachau. Thanks so much!!


It's always fun to dream! I hope you get to see all the places you want (and more!). I am a planner too and usually will schedule "free" time when we go anywhere. It just makes so much sense to plan ahead. If you can, why wouldn't you?
I have been to France twice. The first time I was 14/15 and went with my highschool french club through EF tours. I am so excited for you to see Monet's home in Giverny. We toured through his home and the grounds. His garden was enchanting! I have a picture I took that looks just like the one you used above. It obviously made a big impression on me if I can still remember it 14 years later! Of course it was fabulous finally being in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower! The group and I took a twilight cruise down the Seine and we had spectacular views of the Eiffel Tower (glittering-seriously, like it was sparkling and alternately lighting up normally)and Notre Dame. Though I didn't go up the tower then I did make it all the way up on my second trip out there after college graduation when I backpacked with some girl friends. You will love it!
I don't remember any of the food when I was 14 and I caught a bad stomach bug (on my second trip)in Geneva on our way into France so I didn't get to eat what I would normally have. I spent most of the time in our hotel :( Fortunately I had already done the Louvre, Notre Dame, and Sacre Coeur tours before so I didn't miss out on too much.
Before meeting my friends for my leg of our backpacking expedition they had gone to Hallstat and said it was the best part of their trip. The food was to die for and the scenery exquisite. I hope to make it there myself someday.
I hope it all works out!!!

Angela Noelle

I'm so sorry you were sick the second time you were in France! I have a tendency to pick up bugs while on vacation, and it is no fun at all. I saw that now you can buy tickets in advance to go up the Eiffel tower, so I think we'll probably do that and just eat the cost if we can't make it. Sounds like it would definitely be worth it to avoid the long lines!


What a fun trip! I've never been out of the country and wonder if that will ever happen honestly. :\ We can save money, sure, but vacation time is so short we'd get there and have to come home! Very cool and enjoy and I look forward to the recaps---you guys have been everywhere!!!


That's so exciting! I'll keep my fingers crossed for you that everything works out. The last time I was in Europe was in 99 (a looooong time ago) but I did go to a few of the places on your list. Giverny is gorgeous and if you're a Monet/impressionist fan, you'll love it. I did. Munich is fun (I don't remember much about it other than the marienplatz and the hofbrauhaus) and Salsburg, while historical, was a little boring (at least to my 16 year old sensibilities....I have a feeling I'd get more out of it as an adult).

Kaela Dark

I think you should consider doing the stair climb up the Eiffel Tower. It really isn't that bad. Promise. We did it. Plus, the lines were outrageous waiting for the elevator. Seriously. Insane. Just something to consider if you do buy the tickets online. A lot cheaper to climb, too. =)


I wonder if you might be in Paris the same time I will? I'm going to be there for 5 or 6 days in mid-August. If so, we should meet up for lunch or something. (That is if you want, of course!)

Salzburg was fantastic. I must say that after visiting a lot of pretty European cities, it was one of the prettiest and was awesome. Make sure you take the Sound of Music Bike Tour while you're there!

Kate P

My cousins have been to Austria a few times to visit friends--they think it's a great trip, so I'm glad it's on your itinerary! My sister liked Paris (liked Italy more) but the one thing she found was that they eat a lot of red meat over there--not her thing. But when she got home she missed having croissants for breakfast!

I'm looking forward to a little trip to north Jersey to see my Pop-Pop, and maybe if I'm lucky I can make it to the shore. L.A. might have been my only big trip for now.


So exciting! I have no travel tips as I have never been, but I know it will be amazing!


Oh my gosh, how wonderful! Keep us posted! I've only been to the UK, not mainland Europe, so I don't have much to offer advice-wise, but I would say just keep your mind open to doing anything, exploring more unknown areas, and being spontaneous.


i am right there with you on "not getting my hopes up." it's such a ridiculous saying but i hate getting too excited for anything until it's actually happening. but yay germany, hope the trip works out swimmingly and you have a most fabulous trip, woo wee!!


Paris--Versailles is a must, along with climbing to the top of Notre Dame to see the gargoyles up close. Lots of great street artists along the river to buy souvenirs from too!

Munich--The Residenz Palace was pretty cool, and I agree with going to Dachau--very sobering. Hofbrauhaus (eat some dampfnudel there and your dessert loving heart won't be sorry). Also Neuschwanstein Castle if you're driving around at all, for the Disney-lover in you ;)

You may want to check out Luzern, Switzerland just for fun, even if you don't wind up actually going. That was one of my favorite town's during my study abroad adventures in 2001!

Angela Noelle

I hope you make it soon!! Sometimes you can find really good deal on flights in the off season, but yes, time off is the hardest. We rarely travelled when we lived in WA, just because I was always working.

Angela Noelle

Oh yay, I love hearing that about Giverny! My sister is the one who got me interested in impressionism, and I think Monet's paintings of Giverny are just stunning. I can't wait!

Angela Noelle

I'll check my dates and send you an email--I would LOVE to get together! I've heard such wonderful things about Salzburg, and I'm definitely looking into that bike tour :)

Angela Noelle

Visiting family is great too--I'd love to visit my grandmother some time in the next year. I hope you have a wonderful time!

Angela Noelle

Thanks my wonderful friend :)

Angela Noelle

Yes!! I think the forced spontaneity will be VERY good for me!

Angela Noelle

Thanks, Katelin! I'm really trying, but it's just not working. I'll definitely be crying a river on here if things don't work out ;)

Angela Noelle

Thanks for the tips, I love buying one of a kind souvenirs from artists, so that's a must-do. And dessert!! Unfortunately, I don't think Switzerland will happen this time, but it is VERY high on the list for a trip down the road a ways :)


Giverny is an easy day trip from Paris and 100% worth it. Climb the Eiffel Tower! If you don't, you'll regret it. If you can make it to the south of France, visit a perfume factory. I toured a Fragonard factory on my high school trip and brought home a collection of heavenly perfumes that aren't sold in the US.

Angela Noelle

I will definitely be making another trip to France some day to focus more on the central and southern regions. It sounds like such a magical country--I wish we could fit more into 2 weeks!!

A Super Girl

Oooh how fun! And I think your approach of gathering all of the necessary information is the right way to go. You'll be armed and ready to hit the ground running if and when you get there.

garden state prep

I just started planning a trip for next summer with a friend and am doing the same "we're thinking of this but it isn't final yet so I'm trying not to get too excited" dance, but it's so hard! I went to Paris years ago and it was amazing - Notre Dame was everything I hoped it would be. We also went to Versailles which was gorgeous.

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