Wednesday, May 10, 2017

European Adventure 1 - Final Thoughts

I had been wanting to do a solo trip to Europe for a while, and I hope this is one of many that I will take. I enjoyed my trip, the pace was perfect for me. I did my entire planning, searched for the hotels and tours and made my daily tours. I think I may have over-planned it a little bit. I did not walk on the routes I had planned and in the order I planned. I also overestimated my food expense.

The major problem I encountered in Austria and Germany was that all the street names were different than what was in the Google maps. For this reason I could not follow my walking routes I had made. I missed the names of a lot of the buildings.

I did not carry a tour book with me, which I saw a lot of people doing. I walked by so many beautiful buildings and parks, and for most part I could not tell what place it was. I would look at my Google maps to try to identify the buildings. Not very good way to keep notes if I wanted to keep track of all the buildings with my photos, which I like to do.

The trains were all amazing, and ran perfectly on time. I did not need to get a schedule as most metro-trains ran frequently. What I did have a problem with was again some of names of the stations. I had a hard time getting to the main station from the airport because I could not really tell the name from it - I thought it would say "Main Station" (hehe!). I used the bus only in Salzburg, that too because they did not have metro. It's a small city. I was also a little confused about the bus routes, even though there were some clear markings, but I did not feel adventurous enough and neither had the time to find out.

The food was the pleasant surprise. There were so many places to eat, such diverse availability (Indian, Italian, Middle Eastern etc). So many coffee places that also had sandwiches and pastries. And all was affordable. I could have eaten well in E-20 per day, keeping in mind breakfast is included in all hotels in Europe.

The hotels were okay.  Most were about E-80 for the smallest single bed room. The rooms were comfortable but the bathrooms were tiny! Service was okay. Breakfast was repetitive but sufficient. I selected the locations close to main station or a train station as I was not planning on taking a cab anywhere. For most part I was okay with my choices. I would not recommend my hotel in Munich - it seemed a little run down and the one in Vienna had the most tiny bathroom. One can never tell from pictures how small a bathroom would be. Anyhow - next time I will upgrade a bit on hotels. The only problem I feel with that is I don't spend time in the hotel :-)

There was a LOT of walking involved. I really regretted not having my shoes. And I checked the weather only at the last minute otherwise I would have noted that I would need a jacket and umbrella. I usually carry the latter, but since this trip was a layover on route to USA from India, I did not have my large luggage with me which is another reason why I planned this trip. I could leave my luggage at Munich airport. So essentially I had a small carry on with 9 days of clothes. For the same reason, I could not shop for souvenirs also (which may not have been such a bad thing!)

Lastly - the money. I used my credit card everywhere. It helped a lot. I took out only E-300 and used barely 200 of that. I needed it for the food/coffee, for small time shopping. All hotels and shops take credit card.

Overall, I am happy with my trip I took. I will plan another one soon!

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