European Whirlwind

This will be a narrative of my 17-day whirlwind tour of the U.K., France, Switzerland, and Italy. It was a great ride!


European Whirlwind

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by Whiterabbit79 on May 18, 2003

With 4 different countries and numerous cities/towns, everything was a highlight. Especially so since this was my first trip out of the US. ${QuickSuggestions} Tours are great for the first visit to any country. I learned a lot while on this tour which came in handy for other planned trips.${BestWay} For our tour, we spent much of our time on the bus which was nice. Walking was also key.

Hotel Mohren Huttwil

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by Whiterabbit79 on May 18, 2003

Perfect!! Goose down beds, wooden everything, great views, great staff, and pretty good breakfast. Even though it was out of the way, it was fantastic. I have a picture however it's too large to put on the server....sorry.
Hotel Mohren Huttwil
Marktgasse 5
Huttwil, 4950
062 962 20 10

Majestic Hotel

Member Rating 2 out of 5 by Whiterabbit79 on May 18, 2003

Clean, somewhat comfortable (not to me but to many on the tour), staff was cordial, good continental breakfast. A plus to the location is that it is just one block from a grocery store and about four blocks from the tube station. Overall a C grade.

Grand Hotel De Turin

Member Rating 2 out of 5 by Whiterabbit79 on June 19, 2004

The hotel overall was very nice for a tourist oriented place. The location of the hotel on the other hand was not the best. It was located very close to the "red light" district. There's a pub located across the street that seemed very lively. The rooms very comfortable and clean. Overall ~C

St. Paul's Cathedral

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by Whiterabbit79 on May 18, 2003

Awesome! Speechless! Overall mesmerizing. St. Paul's is one of the most brilliant churches I have stepped into. The atmosphere inside and out are out of this world. A must see!!
St Paul's Cathedral
The Chapter House
London, England, EC4M 8AD
+44 (20 7) 236 4128

Our own "Magical Mystery Tour"

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by Whiterabbit79 on May 18, 2003

There are a few guided tours of Beatles sights but a small group of my tour decided to do our own version. First we found the EMI building where the Beatles played their last live concert (the roof top concert). It was odd because there were workers out front while we were taking pictures and they asked why we were taking pictures. I guess they don't know their Beatles history.


Then from there we walked to Abbey Road Studios and left our signatures on the wall out front. Even a few did the famous walk across the street.


Stonehenge

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by Whiterabbit79 on May 18, 2003

Very interesting, I have to say. However, being there once takes all the fun out of going again. The group was able to walk around the stones (at a distance of 100ft). Audio tours are available. Great gift shop.
Stonehenge
2 miles west of Amesbury
Salisbury, England
01980 624 715

Salsbury Cathedral

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by Whiterabbit79 on May 18, 2003

This cathedral is great. It costs to get in the cathedral but the outside was so grand (plus we didn't have time). This small town is located on the way back from Stonehenge and is a great stop for lunch. Many small pubs and resturants to be found around the church. Small town...big cathedral.
Salisbury Cathedral
The Close
Salisbury, England, SP1 2EF
01722 555113

Canterbury Cathedral & White Cliffs of Dover

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by Whiterabbit79 on May 18, 2003

Our tour stopped at these 2 places on our way to Paris. Canterbury is a highly touristed area. The cathedral is spectacular. It does cost to go in though. The interesting thing to me was the fact that there was a Starbucks right next to the entrance.

As for the White Cliffs of Dover, very beautiful and larger than I expected. I got a few good pictures while leaving to go to Paris via hovercraft.

Canterbury Cathedral
11 The Precincts
Canterbury, England, CT1 2EH
01227 762 862

Changing of the Guards

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by Whiterabbit79 on May 18, 2003

This is a great thing to see. Note: Be there early so you can get a good place to stand and check the times as they change depending on the time of year. The pagentry of it all is grand.
Buckingham Palace
Buckingham Palace Road Pall Mall
London, England, SW1A 1AA
+44 (207) 321 2233

Notre Dame Cathedral

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by Whiterabbit79 on May 18, 2003

Notre Dame Cathedral was the main reason why I didn't totally dislike Paris. The architecture, the statues, and the stained glass windows were amazing. NOTE: When visiting, remember to watch for pick-pockets and take as many pictures as possible.
Cathédrale Notre-Dame
6, place du Parvis-de-Notre-Dame
Paris, France, 75004
+33 (1) 42 34 56 10

Palace at Versailles

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by Whiterabbit79 on May 18, 2003

Absolutely gigantic. Everything was so grand and opulent. Art works were everywhere, the Hall of Mirrors was beautiful, the gardens where meticulous. A must see for a history lover.
Palace of Versailles (Chateau de Versailles)
20 Km Sw Of Paris
Versailles, France
01 30 83 78 00

Pere LaChaise Cemetery

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by Whiterabbit79 on May 18, 2003

Any diehard Jim Morrison fan will visit here. This ccemetery holds the graves of the great Jim Morrison, Sarah Bernhard, Chopin, and Oscar Wilde, just to name a few. It also holds a great memorial to the German Concentration Camps victims.
Pere Lachaise Cemetery
16, Rue Du Repos
Paris, France, 75020
33 1 55 25 82 10

The Louve

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by Whiterabbit79 on May 18, 2003

The Louve is a grand museum that holds the art and history worlds greatests treasures inside. Unfortunately, you can get lost easily inside even with a map...be warned. What items we were able to see were beautiful but one would need a lifetime to see everything.
Musée du Louvre
99, rue de Rivoli
Paris, France, 75001
+33 (1) 40 20 51 51

The Alps

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by Whiterabbit79 on May 18, 2003

I unfortunately opted out of going to Mt Pilatus (I am not fond of heights) but the Alps are everywhere. You can see them from pretty much every point in Lucerne and they are always outstanding.

The Vatican

Member Rating 2 out of 5 by Whiterabbit79 on May 19, 2003

Now, I found the Vatican great and all but I guess my expectations were bigger. The art, the atmosphere, the history was great. The standing for 3 hours to get in wasn't. The guy standing in the Sistine Chapel "sshh" was kinda funny but not that fun. Overall I enjoyed my visit but it could have been better.
Vatican
Vatican City
Rome, Italy

Roman Forum & Colloseum

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by Whiterabbit79 on May 19, 2003

Being able to walk where people lived and died is spellbinding. Our group was able to walk in (well special areas) the Roman Forum and Colliseum. A must see for anyone in Rome. The disastrous beauty of it all... breathtaking.
Roman Forum
Largo Romolo e Remo
Rome, Italy, 00186
+39 066990110

City Walk of Florence

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by Whiterabbit79 on May 19, 2003

Florence is a beautiful city. Full of life and beauty. It holds art such as "David" and architecture in the Duomo. The Duomo up close is outstanding. The detail...just great. The large square in Florence is a great spot to relax. There are resturants and shops all along the insides.

San Gimignano Winery

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by Whiterabbit79 on May 19, 2003

It was a small group of 10 that went on this wine tasting. And was it a blast. The wine was great. Some sweet, some dry, a little bit for everyone. The family that lives there were more than friendly and so were their cats. As you sit there tasting your different wines, you are able to look out over the acres of wine and olive oil vineyards that cover the lands. They also have a store on site so if you want to buy you can or they will ship it to your home. Delivery takes a few weeks though.

Leaning Tower of Pisa

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by Whiterabbit79 on June 13, 2003

Pisa was a great day stop. The cathedral, baptistry, and tower are all very beautiful and a must see. The only downfall is that because it is so well known, there are many tourists, but a must see none-the-less.
Leaning Tower of Pisa
Campo del Miracoli
Pisa, Italy

Isle of Capri and Ana Capri

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by Whiterabbit79 on June 13, 2003

Oh my goodness . . . if you are in Southern Italy, Capri and Ana Capri are a must. I found this island so beautiful. Our group took a ferry over from Sorrento (where our hotel was located) and from there, the island "magic" took over. The beautiful water, cool breezes, and the look over the Ana Capri peak. Portions of the island are very touristy, but overall a relaxing and enjoyable place.

Ruins of Pompeii

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by Whiterabbit79 on June 13, 2003

All I can say about Pompeii is that it was the work of God to save all these beautiful artifacts. Some of the areas in the ancient city of Pompeii (the modern city is spelled Pompei) are tongue and cheek, but you can really see how they lived. On an odd note, I found it really weird that there are so many stray dogs. Adds even more character.

Burcherer

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by Whiterabbit79 on January 9, 2005

All I can say is that I LOVE THIS STORE. This store had everything one could imagine in luxury. They have Rolexes and Swatches, Swiss chocolates, diamonds and gold, and even an entire floor of clocks (cuckoo clocks, of course) and army knives. Right around the corner are some lovely restaurants and one of the oldest (if not the oldest) bridge in Switzerland.
Bucherer
Schwanenplatz 5
Lucerne, Switzerland

Guided Tour via Bus

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by Whiterabbit79 on May 18, 2003

On our first day in London, we were able to do a bus tour of the sights. We did a "drive-by" of Parliament, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey and then headed for a tour of St Paul's Cathedral. Overall good time.

Paris

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by Whiterabbit79 on May 18, 2003

Well, Paris was our second major city stop, and it was interesting, to say the least. The UK, Switzerland, and even Italy I could understand the language, but I was totally lost with French. Thankfully, the people there were understanding and kind. NOTE: Even if you don't know the language, at least try to attempt it and they will be happy.

London

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by Whiterabbit79 on May 18, 2003

This was the first major city stop of our 17-day trip. And personally, it was my favorite. The people were kind, the sights were amazing, and I felt safe there. I was able to walk alone for a few hours without being looked at as a tourist and without being totally confused.

Switzerland

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by Whiterabbit79 on May 18, 2003

Well, it's the third of our four countries visited, and Switzerland is my second favorite behind the UK. The people were great. The hotel was unbelievable. I would go back in a heartbeat to that hotel just for its goose-down beds. The main store in Lucerne (where we stayed) is called Bucherer's. It's famous for Rolexes and clocks. Great store! The most famous thing in Lucerne is the Weeping Lion which is carved out of the rock. Beautiful!!!

Italy

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by Whiterabbit79 on May 19, 2003

Well, this is our final country of the four-country, 17-day tour of Europe. In Italy, our group visits Florence, Assisi, Rome, The Vatican, Pisa, Pompeii, Capri, and Sorrento. A small group was able to do some wine tasting at San Gimignano in Tuscany. Italy overall was great. Rome wasn't the best...great sights, but the atmosphere wasn't friendly (to me, that is).

http://www.igougo.com/journal-j20327-Italy-European_Whirlwind.html

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