Posted on by Stewart
Our Amazing Road Trip
We finally got home last night after an amazing road adventure across Europe. We traveled over 4000 km from Rome to Sarajevo to Geneva, then flying on to Amsterdam. Hope that you all watched our videos that we posted on the site documenting what we found and who we met. More will be posted shortly. Our travel group came from 3 continents and was as diverse as the places we visited.
Although I am quite exhausted today, I wanted to briefly share with you all my opinions and thoughts of the countries we visited and the airlines we used. BTW, we traveled in a 9-passenger Renault van which was quite comfortable, sturdy and got us through windy mountain roads, places where there were no roads at all and was very economical in fuel. Of course, they do not sell that model in the US.
OK, so here are my thoughts:
Italy- Excellent road system with amazing food places at each fuel stop. They actually make fresh, pure food for you while you are using the facilities. People were friendly and the weather was great. The scenery is gorgeous in most areas. I think that it is one of the few countries where you can see so many incredible sites. You have everything from the Roman ruins to the leaning tower of Pisa to the art in Florence to the canals and festivals in Venice. Trieste is a hidden secret. What a fantastic city. It is more Austrian that Italian. The Shroud of Turin church and the Palace of the Duke of Savoy are in Torino, which is a beautiful city. The Waldensian region in the Northern Piedmonts is incredible and filled with unknown history, which I will be writing about soon. Of course, the gelato and cheese are beyond human expression.
Slovenia- Most people never heard of it. It is part of the former Yugoslavia. Quite a beautiful and green country. Very small but filled with great food, kind and friendly people and over 10,000 caves. We took a small train into a deep cave and walked a couple of km in there. Very fascinating place. We stayed at a wonderful farm that grew its own organic food. We definitely want to come back here!
Croatia- Surprisingly modern and friendly. Zagreb had a great hotel and the roads were good all the way tot he border. We also stay in the coastal city of Split, which was hot, but had good souvenir deals. Not much of a beach since the coast is mostly rocky. But, there are interesting Medieval buildings and castles. Some highways are under construction and not paved.
Bosnia- What a wonderful surprise! Even though parts of the country show the remnants of the long war, with destroyed houses and buildings, the landscape is gorgeous and green. I have never seen so many beautiful flowers in one place. The new houses could rival anything in Malibu or the Riviera. The pyramid complex was mind-blowing. We climbed t the top and visited the tunnels under the other locations. We met the discoverer who happened to be there and we will be teaming up with him in the near future. This country is a treasure that needs to be discovered. It still needs a lot of work, but in the end, it will become one of the most visited destinations on Earth.
France- Well, what can I say. It is France, complete with its attitudes, apathy and good wine. Driving through the tunnel under Mount Blanc was an experience. The deep vehicle tunnel is 11km long and totally controlled. BTW–we flew over Corsica on the way to Rome and saw snow-covered mountains in the Mediterranean in June!
Switzerland- What happened here? It was the worst part of the trip. The French-Swiss are rude, nasty, inconsiderate and snobby. Perhaps it is the influence of CERN or the UN in this part of the country, but everyone there was a giant mess. The prices of everything is astronomical and even the smallest snack costs an arm and a leg. Geneva and Lausanne were somewhat hostile and all the food and rooms had flies on them. We went to Bern, the capitol of the country and in the German-speaking part. Here, things were better. However, I recommend tourists to avoid Switzerland for now until they become more considerate of others. Even the chocolate was not that good.
Holland- Very nice! The canals in Amsterdam seem to have been cleaned up. The heavy feeling I used to sense there is gone now. The Dutch were extremely friendly and courteous. The countryside of Holland was very pastoral and even the coast was calm and pleasant. Schiphol Airport was very congested as more people are using Amsterdam as a transfer point. I would rank this airport right up there with Singapore and Hong Kong.
As far as airlines go, Alitalia was friendly and helpful, but the amenities were not perfect and the lounge and aircraft had issues. KLM was absolutely super on all levels. Amazing aircraft, perfect service and wonderful staff.
It is interesting that smoking areas exist in all European airports and hotels. Security is not as strict or ridiculous as in the US. Border crossings are easy and fast. Basically, Europe still has more humanistic qualities and people do resist the imposition of restrictions and suppressive laws. Not one person believes that Osama was killed as reported. They all realize that we are being manipulated by government and they seem to have a good sense of world situations.
Overall, this was the BEST trip we have ever made anywhere. The participants were terrific and the people we met were intriguing. We came upon festivals everywhere. This will be remembered for a lifetime.