Monday, April 27, 2015

europe trip 2014 intro.

Mere and I have had traveling to Europe on our list ever since we started dating. I was very fortunate to have had the prior experience of traveling with my parents through Europe, but Mere had never been before. My trip back in 2006 was amazing, and took me to Italy, Monaco, France, Spain, Tunisia, and Belgium.  This time, we were looking to make our way through the Swiss Alps and end up in Paris. It’s tough trying to pick a target for such an time and money intensive trip, but this seemed to be a good mix of mountains and a major city.

It’s been a while since I have posted, but most that know me know that I am very frugal. The thought of taking on a trip to Europe instantly brings on money anxiety. My initial idea of backpacking and sleeping in hostels was quickly scratched. After coming to terms with it being something that we should do in 2014, I started coming up with a budget. My Mom was a big help with suggestions and hooking us up with Bucher Travel for the Switzerland portion. Since Paris is her city at heart, we leaned on her for that location. While I had to whittle down some of the original options, we got the pricing down to a manageable number. In the meantime, Mere and I were busy working on one of my favorite things. The goal thermometer....

August 29th- Houston to Zurich, Switzerland via Washington D.C.
August 30th- Arrival in Zurich with direct train to Lucerne – Hotel Waldstatterhof
August 31st- Day trip to Mt. Pilatus
September 1st- Train to Interlaken – Hotel Beau Rivage
September 2nd- Cruise on Lake Brienze
September 3rd- Train to Murren – Hotel Eiger
September 4th- Day trip to Junfraujoch
September 5th- Private car to Montreux via Gruyere – Le Fairmont Palace
September 6th- TGV to Paris via Geneva – Hotel Le A
September 9th- Fly back to Houston, TX from Paris, France via Washington D.C.

As you can tell, holy rails Batman, there is going to be a lot of miles traveled. My concerns immediately turned to luggage. This is what I was picturing in my head. “Honey, you have my luggage, right?”

So, as the man…what was my goal? For each of us to take only a backpack and a carry on suitcase. Why? Because it’s totes easy to totes. Mere was not so thrilled about idea, but she was sure a trooper. My family argued (just a little bit too much) about us needing to take more, but I was adamant. Thank God we stuck to the plan. We saw some fools on their honeymoon in Murren trying to get on a narrow gauge train struggling with a full size suitcases, carry on suitcases, and backpacks. Let’s just say, this movie came to mind. 

Here is the picture of our 11 day cold weather packing success! Mere's suitcase might have been busting at the seems, but United Airlines let it fly.

With all of the saving, planning, packing, and excitement, we are off and on our way to Zurich, Switzerland via Washington, D.C. I did learn one lesson about short connection times....and that is to never do them when you are needing to make a very important flight. With all of the traveling I  do for work, I have never had a problem thanks to the places I fly to and from. When traveling for leisure, and with plans depending on you arriving at a certain time, I would highly suggest against cutting it close.  Our connection only allowed 38 minutes between flights, which I thought was fine since the gates were not far apart. Then, the storms rolled into Houston before taking off. We were delayed about 15 minutes getting off the ground, and to make matters worse, we were also delayed being allowed off of the plan at Dulles International. For our arrival, they happened to be training a new gate crew, and could not get us off the plane until the exact time that the boarding for our next flight was ending. I don't think Mere and I have ever ran as fast as we did that day with luggage and all. In the end, we did make our flight, but it was more stress than we needed on our travel day. Once in the air and headed to Zurich, we had to toast the beginning of our trip and Mere's first journey across the Atlantic. Cheers!

See you in Switzerland!


Cynthia said...

I can't wait to see and hear about Switzerland! Love

Amy in Austin said...

So glad y'all are finally posting these!!! Love the thermometer. I think we're going to have to start one for a Holland House 2016 adventure.