Thank you both so much for all the attention to detail and help planning the trip. We all had a great time! We had a very relaxing and at the same time action packed time - - all the pre-arranged train tickets, transfers and great hotels really helped me (and everyone) make the most of our time there despite my health challenges.
Also, thank you so much for dealing with the hotel in Como so quickly when I contacted you - - I was so relieved to get a beautiful room after just 1 day instead of waiting a few days like they were fully expecting me to do... It was hotter than usual in Como so having a room with a view when I was stuck in bed was a huge relief.
In case this helps:
Cruise - - no issues at all. Easy boarding and departure, rooms were good.
Transfer to Cambridge and London - - the driver was about 40 minutes late and did not know the area very well but we did have a good time with him - - very personable and pleasant company.
Melia White House Hotel - - this is the only hotel I will use when we go to London in the future. They were terrific. Rooms were great, breakfast was yummy and the concierge was truly terrific. He arranged to have a couple of our suitcases sent back to the US (we didn't need our cruise clothes in Europe) - he contacted the courier service and called me when I was in Europe to let me know the cost and that the bags were safely on their way back home. I highly recommend this hotel.
Hotel La Manufacture - - cute little boutique hotel. Love the lobby and the front desk staff were extremely friendly and helpful. Great location on the west bank. Rooms were a little sparse but ok for a one night stay. The teenagers all loved the hotel.
Hotel Wellenberg, Zurich - - my second stay there. Still love the hotel and the location. Will stay there again if we are fortunate enough to get back to Switzerland. Highly recommend this hotel. And the rooms are roomy, nice views and really beautiful contemporary decor - - so a nice change from all the gold and glitz in other European hotels.
Hotel Metropole Suisse in Como - - except for my initial frustration regarding the dungeon room they gave me day 1, wonderful location, breakfast and decor. Room 42 (the room they gave me day 2) is lovely. We probably would stay at this hotel again but would want to know for sure what rooms... The hotel I stayed at a few years ago was under construction so am really glad we decided to go for the Metropole hotel. Plus the location is right in the center of all the action so this time we had no 30 min walk required to get to the boats, restaurants etc.
Bauer Hotel in Venice. Wow. Expensive but well worth it if you can afford it. We did not have a view from our rooms but the rooms are huge, luxurious - - staff is very helpful and breakfast on the patio beside the Grand Canal and a side canal are truly wonderful. I also tried the hotel spa across the lagoon. Amazing. Really hope to get back to Venice and this hotel but might consider a room with a view if I can afford it.
All other transfers except Venice - - no issues. The driver in Paris was not friendly or helpful with bags but that is pretty much my experience in Paris anyway so was not surprised. Venice - - had a bit of an issue finding the contact when we arrived (he was late) but taxi etc. was wonderful.
Eurail passes are still the best - - love the ease of travel with them. We got discounts on our trip from Lucerne to the top of Mt. Rigi as well as a benefit of the eurail passes.
Thank you also for forwarding me the phone info for the driver in Rome. We didn't need it since we found him easily but was very nice to have the number just in case.
Anyway, thank you again for all your help before and during the trip!
Now, next year I hope to do another trip - - cruise across to Europe again then spend a couple of weeks in a couple of countries. I will contact you for help when I get a better idea of when (maybe late April/early May) and what countries. We spent 1 day in Lisbon and loved it - - I know in your email you mentioned you had recently been there. Any suggestions or ideas if we decided to spend a few days there next time? I think on our next trip we will choose 2 - 3 cities as a home base for maybe 5 days each - - then take little day trips from each of those home bases. (Kind of what we did in Zurich - - our day in Lucerne and Mt. Rigi worked out perfectly).
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