Saturday 23 August 2014

European Adventure: Day Twenty-Five - Travelling Home

Since our flight was at 10:30am we arranged for a taxi to pick us up at 7:00am from the hotel. Because of the waterways we had about a 5 minute walk and had to cross a bridge to get to where the car was parked – this was a bit of a struggle with my bags but we managed. Something I had heard about Venice is that many residents are opting to move out of the area because of the hassles with getting around, the upkeep of the buildings and the high costs of goods/services in town.

The airport was about 30 minutes away and the check in process was quick and easy. Because we had upgraded with dad’s points we had access to the lounge so we headed straight for that. It was a nice lounge serving drinks and pastries with free wifi. It also had an observation deck that you could walk out on and see the planes taking off. I left a bit earlier to head to the gate so that I could pop into a few shops and buy some final souvenirs. Since there were no direct flights to Toronto we had to fly to Frankfurt and take another flight. Our flight was a little over an hour and wasn’t that bad – it was very quick and not turbulent.

Upon landing in Frankfurt we had to walk through the airport and cross into another terminal. Then we had to go through a passport control area as well as re-do security. We had about two hours between flights but we cut it close, arriving at the lounge just as they were starting to board the plane. It was unfortunate as this lounge was awesome! You could actually board the plane from it which was convenient and a cool feature. It saved us from having to rush downstairs and wait in line giving us a few minutes to grab a drink from the lounge.

Our plane tickets confused us at first as we had a row in the high 80’s. When I went onto SeatGuru I learned that the plane had two levels and that we were on the top level. That was an awesome experience! It was strange to climb up stairs and to even be on a plane that large. We had the same seats as we did going to Europe – the ones that reclined into a bed.

The flight was okay – it was long and often turbulent – but it wasn’t terrible.
Lufthansa was just as amazing as it had been every other time! The service was friendly, the food/drinks were awesome and the seats very comfortable. It definitely made a difference in travelling and helped calm my nerves.

We arrived in Toronto just before 5:00pm and quickly went through customs and baggage. By 6:30 we were back at home where Mom, Nanny and Pappy were all waiting. We had a quick dinner and it was great to be home. I had a wonderful, unforgettable and fun European adventure but there truly is no place like home!

Final Trip Wrap-Up

Best Hotels: Budapest Marriott & Hotel Papadopoli Venezia were both great in terms of luxury and location. The Marriott had an incredible view, amazing amenities, a fantastic breakfast and awesome room. The Papadopoli was close to the train station, had a great room that was very pretty! The service wasn’t the most friendly and one of the guys behind the desk was actually quite rude but it was still a great hotel. Clarion Hotel Old Town Prague was excellent for location and service – the rooms were older and not the greatest but the location and staff made up for that.

Worst Hotel: Club Dobogomajor was awful. The staff were rude (this includes housekeeping, guest services, maintenance and wait staff – pretty much everyone I had contact with) the room was disgusting (remember I had to re-make the bed as there were hairs on the sheets) and the amenities were laughable.  Austria Trend Hotel Astoria Wien was also one I wouldn’t return to. While the location was excellent the service was rude/unfriendly and the rooms very small and uncomfortable.

Best Restaurants:
  • Zagreb – Didov San
  • Maria Alm - Almer Bauernkastn
  • Venice – Al Bacco Felice 

Worst Restaurant:
  • Venice – Kori Grill

Best Tourist Attractions:
  • Prague – Toy Museum
  • Budapest – Parliament Building
  • Heviz – Thermal Lake
  • Vienna - Schönbrunn Palace

Strangest Attractions:
  • Zagreb – Museum of Broken Relationships
  • Innsbruck – Swarovski Crystal Worlds

Best Tours:

Worst Tour:
  • Viator – Best of Florence

Favorite City

Prague was a place that I loved – beautiful buildings, a lot to see and do, friendly people and the best Starbucks ever!  I also loved the Mountains of Austria (Maria Alm, Innsbruck, Salzburg) and would go back in a heartbeat! Florence and Tuscany were also great and an area I would also revisit. Budapest was another city I loved and would recommend visiting.

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