We are t minus 7 days from the start of our Rick Steves trip to Eastern Europe. Yes, we’re going on an organized tour. We had talked to my sister and brother-in-law for a while about going to Eastern Europe but I had been a little off put by the complications – language issues, getting from point a to point b. I was looking at the Rick Steves site for information and happened to look at their tour schedules and found their 14-day Eastern Europe tour and it was an almost perfect fit for the places we wanted to see. Chuck and my brother-in-law needed a little convincing at the idea of a tour (fearing, I think, a loss of their independence and control) but after reading reviews online and talking to people who had been on tours, they came around. Chuck and I are flying to Zurich then taking a night train to Prague, where the tour starts. We used an awesome website, Seat 61, to make the train arrangements. It’s a site developed by a train buff who works for Brit Rail. It is so amazingly full of information you need to explore it to see how great it is. We know, for instance, that we need to take food with us on the train (no dining car) thanks to Seat 61.
After the 14-day Eastern Europe tour, we are taking an extra week and heading to Switzerland. Neither of us have been there, so this will be, like Eastern Europe, an all new experience for us. The Rick Steves tour ends in Ljubljana, Slovenia and we found a pretty decent airfare from there back to Zurich (taking a train from Ljubljana to Zurich was going to take a ridiculously long time so we opted to spring for the airfare). We are visiting Zermatt, Lucerne, and the Interlaken area (staying in Murren).
Since most of the trip will be on a Rick Steves tour, and they’re all about traveling light, we have a bit a of a competition being waged as to who has the lightest suitcase. I’m clocking in around 16 pounds right now so am feeling good about my chances of winning. I am taking my laptop – after the incident involving the volcano, I don’t mess around. Okay, being “trapped” in Paris was actually pretty amazing – but seriously the laptop thing really did suck.
Anyway, I’ll be posting updates as we travel, so stay tuned!