As Peter wrote the blog I felt I needed to share my views on our wonderful trip,even though we had similar opinions.
Many people had told us that France could be dirty and unfriendly. We found quite the opposite. Of the 8 days we spent in Paris and the north of France people were only too happy to assist if they saw you with a map looking a little confused,which was often. Also I didn't find the Metro particularly easy to use but assistance was never too far away. Making purchases from local shops for meats,cheeses and bread was made easier when the schoolgirl French was attempted.
We were very lucky to be joined by two of my sisters to Northern France and Belgium retracing our Great Uncles footsteps of WW1. The company we employed to take us on that journey more than qualified and we shared an emotional,memory filled experience.
At this point, after 8 wonderful days together we say goodbye to Kerry and Katrina. Thank you both for your company,it will stay with me always. Oh God, who's going to help us with public transport now??
On to Czech Republic. Prague,what a great city. Very arty,romantic which makes it Bohemian, which is what the whole region is known as. Home of Bohemian crystal,good cheap beer and fabulous food.
Vienna was memorable for the concert recital,I was floating as I left the performance,it was more than I could have imagined. Also Vienna reminded us of Melbourne with wide tree-lined boulevards,trams and more good food.
Slovenia being the third most forested country in the world was very green. We had the benefit of seeing it by car and were able to get to a lot of beautiful areas with the Austrian Alps shadowing us.
We drove to Croatia via Plitvice Lakes,which were incredible and magnificent and where walking and hiking was a pleasure.
Once we arrived in Split our island hopping down the Dalmation coast started. Wow,wow,wow seemed to be all we were able to say,beautiful. Our European leg finished in Dubrovnic.
Now sitting in Langkawi the day before going home I can reflect and say that this trip was more than I had anticipated. Europe is affordable, we did not exceed our budget,in fact we didn't come near to spending it. Almost all things are cheaper than Australia,from food,drinks and all touring things.
I think as Australians we need to be careful not to out price ourselves from the tourism market.....although I fear we already have,with many Asians opting for Europe instead.
Langkawi is a fitting end to our trip.Just the rest we needed to gather our thoughts and reflect before going back to the grind.
TIPS = If you plan on driving ensure you have a Sat Nav,this eased my fears once in place. Use side streets for restaurants,always cheaper. When packing half it cos there's sooooo many stairs.
Finally choose your travelling companion carefully. I lucked out, thankyou to my patient,caring,loving husband who was there for me in the case of a meltdown and managed my suitcase up narrow step stairs and shared the experience of a lifetime.