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Fall 2000 - Switzerland and Italy

Pauline and Steve from NM, Switzerland and Italy, September 28 - October 12, 2000

This was a last minute trip to Switzerland and Italy. We booked the flight just 3 weeks before the day we left (and chose dates according to when we could get first class upgrades - we had upgrade coupons that were about to expire!) and then scrambled to fill in the itinerary. We left for Switzerland on September 28 and left Switzerland for Italy on October 12.

Booking the Trip

Since we were traveling to Switzerland in the off-season, lots of places were available. We chose the town we wanted to stay in by reading a few different Switzerland hiking books. We wanted to try a new place. We chose Kandersteg, a small town at the end of a long valley in the Berner Oberland, south of Interlaken and not that far from Grindelwald. We had driven through this area a couple of years ago, but had not seen the town. The hiking books said the hiking was excellent, with lots of easier, lower level hikes.

We went to the Kandersteg web site and filled out the form requesting vacation rental information.

Several people with vacation rentals available contacted us by fax, phone (in the middle of the night) and email. Maybe next time I would not give my phone number. We chose a place and booked it through their web site.

Italy, October 12 - 23, 2000

We had intended to spend 2 weeks in Switzerland and 4 weeks in Italy, but we got called home (for a happy reason) during the trip and left Italy after only 1 1/2 weeks.

Booking the Trip

I used my web site to help with the Italy bookings! We are staying in some familiar places and some new places.

I used Sally Watkins, the travel agent, to help me find a hotel in Positano, because the ones that I knew about were full or closed.

Again, using my own web site, I booked our current favorite hotel in Rome (Albergo del Sole al Pantheon). When I phoned and asked for reservations, they just said "September all booked!" and were about to hang up, when I said "November, I want to book in November!".

Itinerary

FLIGHT: Thursday, September 28, Albuquerque to Zurich, Switzerland
Delta ABQ-CVG-JFK-ZRH, bad routing, but we have first class upgrades the whole way! Leave home Thursday morning. Arrive Zurich Friday morning. Taxi to Zurich.

HOTEL: Hotel Glockenhof (Best Western), Zurich, 2 nights
Booked through the Best Western web site.

Some time to recover from the time change and jet lag. Zurich has a vegetarian restaurant that we love. We might check into our apartment in Kandersteg one day late and drive up to southern Germany to visit some friends on Sunday.

CAR: Sunday, October 1, AutoEurope
Volkswagon Golf sized car, automatic (isn't that much more expensive in Switzerland), will be dropped off at Rome airport.

APARTMENT: October 1 - 11, 1 1/2 weeks in Adams Alpine Eden in Kandersteg (Berner Oberland region). If the weather and hiking are good, we will stay until the end of the second week. If not, we will spend a few days traveling in northern Italy (maybe Piedmonte, maybe Liguria, maybe Ravenna). Found this apartment through the Kandersteg Tourist Office, but they have a web page.

Italy, October 12 - 23, 2000

DROVE INTO ITALY FROM SWITZERLAND

HOTEL: October 12, 2 nights, Hotel Bisanzo in Ravenna

APARTMENT: October 14 - 21, 1 week in a small apartment in the Umbrian town of Spello (near Assisi). We loved Spello when we spent the day there on our 1999 trip. This will give us a chance to see more of the art in the towns in that area. Booked through Gorgacce Vacation Rentals.

HOUSE: October 21 - November 4, 2 weeks in La Vigna, near Palazzone in southern Tuscany. This is a small house on a farm at the edge of a vineyard, in the same area where we spent 2 weeks last June (near Cetona and San Casciano dei Bagni). Booked through TuscanHouse. Because part of the trip was cancelled, we only stayed 2 nights in this charming house.

CAR: Return car to Rome airport, taxi into Rome. Was originally booked to return November 6, but we returned it October 23 and contacted AutoEurope from home to arrange for a refund.

FLIGHT: Monday, October 23, Rome to Albuquerque
Delta FCO-JFK-DFW-ABQ. Leave Rome at 12:30pm, arrive Albuquerque 10:00pm (we got first class upgrades even with changing the flight, but we had to take a worse routing). Was originally booked for Wednesday, November 8, FCO-ATL-ABQ.

CANCELLED  HOTEL: November 3 - 6, 3 nights in a hotel in Positano on the Amalfi coast. Either Le Sirenuse or Hotel Poseidon (if we don't get off the wait list for the first choice). We will leave La Vigna one day early in order to have 3 nights in Positano. Originally we were going to have 3 nights in Positano and 1 night near the Rome airport, but we decided to just have our last 2 nights in Rome (we thought we might feel as if we were missing out, being so close to Rome and not having a day there, even though we were just there in June).

CANCELLED  HOTEL: November 6 - 8, 2 nights in Albergo del Sole al Pantheon in Rome. This is the hotel we stayed in last June.

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