A Little Extra
"To travel is to live." ― Hans Christian Andersen
This page covers our pre-tour and post-tour stops in Luxembourg & Slovakia!
We knew early on we wanted to make a real trip out of our vacation. After some research we decided to add a couple extra days to the beginning and end of our tour. The real motivation... to visit more countries we had never been to! Both turned out to be excellent choices for different reasons.
Luxembourg City was an obvious choice for us given its proximity to Trier. It also happened to be the city where we had to change trains anyway (we flew into Paris). The train ride from Gare de l'Est was very easy and our hotel was right across the street from the station. We were able to check in early, get in a quick nap then head out to see the city! We walked around, explored a few churches, grabbed something to eat then went back to the hotel to crash! The next morning we slept in a bit, got ready and left for Trier a tad earlier than planned.
Kristin's Take: Luxembourg City was the perfect place to begin this journey. It is small enough we could find our way around without our phones. We also didn't plan too much for ourselves. This meant we could explore more without any set schedule. We got a bit turned around at times, but we were never too far from where we meant to be.
John's Tip: Check out the Chemin de la Corniche! We used it as a shortcut of sorts and it provided some of the best pictures we took in Luxembourg City.
Barbara's Tip: For a sweet treat after a long day of travel, I recommend chocolates from Leonidas! The shop was near our hotel and these sweets were so good.
At the end of our tour we decided to stay one extra night to check out Bratislava, Slovakia! It's just an hour train ride away from Vienna...meaning very easy to get to. There is a direct train line (double check which station you book because there are two in Bratislava) from Wien Hauptbahnhof. I can't remember the exact cost, but it was around €10 per person round trip.
Bratislava - Just the Basics:
- Hotel: One extra night at Pension Nossek
- Notable Stops: Devin Castle, Main Square
- Overall Impression: Capitalism vs. post-communism create an interesting city on the verge of economic explosion
Barbara's Take: Bratislava is a city on the move. This was the first city I visited that was a former communist country. It was fascinating to see the dichotomy of the city - the obvious former Soviet part and the revitalized capitalist part. Bratislava is becoming a visually exciting and vibrant city!
Kristin's Tip: I splurged (a lot) and hired a local tour guide to surprise my parents. It was worth every penny! I did a couple internet searches, and kept coming back to the name Martin Sloboda. He's actually worked with Rick Steves and got a recommendation in one of the Europe tour books. If he's good enough for RS, he's great for me! I chose one of the more expensive guided tours, but it was phenomenal! Martin picked us up from the train station, drove us all over the city and provided an insight we could only dream of getting on our own. He knew everything and answered all our questions from life before and after the Cold War to the renaissance this city seems to be having right now. Simply said, we hit the jackpot. Oh, and the tour lasted about an hour longer than we expected!