Post Number: 193
Posted From: 184.108.40.206
|Posted on Wednesday, June 09, 2010 - 05:19 pm: |
Great trip report Barbara. I thought you would have a good trip. I remember you spent a lot of time planning and asked a lot of questions before the trip. Looks like the preparation paid off. Thanks for sharing.
Post Number: 8
Posted From: 220.127.116.11
|Posted on Wednesday, June 09, 2010 - 02:15 pm: |
Thank you for the great trip report.
We will be returning to Italy this Oct/Nov (last trip was two years ago, BEFORE we discovered space-a). We were planning to visit Venice (wife wants a gondola ride) and then back to Pisa and Lucca (Gombitelli) to visit relatives. Your report will be very helpful for planning accommodations at some of the bases.
John R Garrison
Post Number: 2714
Posted From: 18.104.22.168
|Posted on Tuesday, June 08, 2010 - 01:08 pm: |
Great trip report! Very detailed and informative. Thanks for taking the time to write it up and to share it with us.
Happy Travels, John
Post Number: 1453
Posted From: 22.214.171.124
|Posted on Tuesday, June 08, 2010 - 03:01 am: |
Barbara, a great report. Thanks for taking the time to let us all know how much fun you had. Our next trip, I hope, will be Croatia...sounds like you had a fantastic time...
Post Number: 53
Posted From: 126.96.36.199
|Posted on Tuesday, June 08, 2010 - 01:11 am: |
Ralph and Barbara’s fabulous adventure to Germany, Croatia, and Italy from April 5 – May 1, 2010.
SPACE-A FLIGHT: We drove the 9 hours from our home to Jackson, MS to catch the C-17 to Ramstein. It’s our fourth ride with them and we like their “customer service” and the sleeping arrangements. There were only about 10 passengers for the 50 seats.
RAMSTEIN: Arrived Ramstein around 9 a.m. on Tuesday and called Avis (I reserved the car online) for a pick-up at the terminal. We had a confirmed reservation through Ramstein Lodging at Vogelweh but visited the Lodging Office in the lobby of the “hotel” and luckily got a room in the hotel for 3 nights (sweet). This brand new facility is beautiful, nice kitchen, wifi, and some of the rooms have a German washer/dryer (better to go down the hall). On base, we enjoyed the golf course restaurant for breakfast, the German Restaurant (open M-F), and the Macaroni Grill at the Mall.
LUXEMBOURG & BASTOGNE: This time we drove to Luxembourg, the Bastogne Museum, and the American Cemetery. Also, explored Landstuhl and looked into how to catch the free Medevac bus that goes twice weekly to Vicenza, IT. Drove over to Rothenberg aub der Taber and explored that wonderful walled city.
CROATIA/DUBROVNIK: On Friday, we drove ourselves, turned in the car, and caught the Ryanair to Zadar, Croatia (new service with very affordable fares ($150/r.t./2 – just weight restrictions). Our kids and grandkids, who live in Split, picked us up and we spent 10 days at their home. This time we drove to Dubrovnik for the weekend – fabulous city – a “must see”!
BLUELINE FERRY/ANCONA, ITALY: Because of the Iceland Volcano Ryanair refunded our return to Germany, so we bought one-way overnight Blueline Ferry tickets ($178/2 with senior discount) from Split to Ancona, IT. Since it was last minute, we could only get a room with bunk beds and a sink (bathroom down the hall).
CAMP EDERLE/VICENZA: Arriving in Ancona, we walked (yes, dragging 2 bags each) about a mile to the Hertz car rental (across from the train station). Drove about 4 hours north on the toll road to Camp Ederle/Vicenza (not far from Venice) where we stayed 2 nights at the Caserma Ederle – very nice and convenient, free laundry down the hall, free continental breakfast, wifi in the room. We turned in the Hertz rental in downtown Vicenza and bussed back to the base because I had found a really good deal for a week from Europcar on base.
CAMP DARBY: Off again we headed toward the Tuscany area using toll roads and south of Modena went over the Alpi Apuana Mountains and down to Lucca. This route took twice as long but it was interesting seeing the ski resorts, which were closed for the season. Took a short walk around Lucca and arrived about an hour later at Camp Darby, just south of Pisa. Since it was so late when we arrived everything on base was closed, so we snacked from my “suitcase food”.
PISA: Next morning we enjoyed a great breakfast at the Community Center, next door to the Toscana. We had a relaxing morning, explored the base finding the cabins and camping area, and then drove over to Pisa and then 20 min. west to the seaside town of Tirennia, which was quiet this time of year.
CINQUE DE TERRE: On Friday, we drove about an hour to La Spezia and took the train through the Cinque de Terre to Monteroso. It was a fun day trip and the scenery was outstanding even though it was raining – I would definitely do this trip again but maybe not drive to La Spezia (no parking and very crowded city).
FLORENCE: On Saturday we drove to the Pisa Airport, parked and took the train to Florence (1 ½ hr for about $10/one-way/2. We had bought On-and-Off Bus tickets from ITT at Darby so we boarded our bus just across from the Florence train station. Our favorite part of Florence was the Piazza de Michelangelo. The plaza sits high on a hill overlooking the Arno River and all of Florence – a magnificent place to take pictures and people-watch. There is lots of free parking and several vendors for shopping.
We missed the last train back to the Pisa parking so we had to get off in Pisa, take a cab over to the airport and also pay $30 to park all day. Next time, drive to Pisa and park free at the Piazza.
TIRENNIA: We dined at a wonderful restaurant in Tirennia recommended by the folks at Toscana called Lo Squato – fell in love with the creamy ravioli. We had a 3-night reservation there at the Casa Toscana, but upon arrival since there was availability they extended us one night. This is a wonderful base really close to so many things to see and do.
MILAN: Sunday we left Darby and headed for Milan via the toll road which was an easy 3 plus hour drive but $28 (ouch). We parked on the street which someone told us was free on Sundays and walked (with our GPS) to the church of St. Maria delle Grasse where Michelangelo’s “Last Supper” may be seen – that is, if you ordered tickets ahead of time, which we didn’t. So, a quick (is there such a thing?) drive through the Milan city centre and northward to Lake Como.
LAKE COMO: Lots and lots of Sunday evening traffic – most harrowing drive of all along the narrow cliffsides around the lake! The views (if you could take your eyes off the road) were fabulous so we pulled into a hotel, the GLAJV, booked a room overlooking the lake for the night, and enjoyed a lovely dinner and evening there, great breakfast all for $140 (more during season) – well worth it, we thought.
BELLAGIO: A few miles from the hotel we found Bellagio – a beautiful city right on the lake – reminded me a little of Monte Carlo. We parked, walked around a bit, and met some Americans who got there by train from Milan and were staying in Veranna – a short ferry ride across the lake. Sounds like a better way to get to this lake than driving. Back in the car we drove along the lake to Lecco, then at Beragamo where we got back on the toll road toward Vicenza.
EDERLE (again): Spent the night here again even though we didn’t have a reservation.
AVIANO: On Tuesday we drove one hour to Aviano AFB arriving early afternoon and checked into lodging (we had a 3-day reservation). The lodging here is very large, full kitchen, 2 bedrooms, TV’s and slow wifi in the room. The PAX terminal is about a mile from lodging, PX, etc. and the Europcar return is at the PX or the laundry (next door), so we really didn’t know how we were going to return the car rental and get to the terminal the next day. At the terminal we found that the Patriot Express was scheduled to depart the next day for BWI, showtime 7:45 am, and we were officially signed up to ride.
AVIANO/BWI: Returned the car to the Shoppette and for a small “donation” got a ride over to the terminal by 7:30. Enjoyed 2 other space-a couples while we waited and waited, finally boarding mid-afternoon. The flight was very full, mostly active duty and a few families. Arrived Ramstein where we picked up even more passengers and left for the USA around 6 p.m.
BWI/RICHMOND: We were packed like sardines but had 2 movies and a nice meal, certainly different from the C-17. Arrived in Baltimore around 7 pm, picked up our Hertz rental and made the 3-hour drive to Richmond VA to stay with our son’s family.
ANDREWS: On Friday we drove to Andrews, turned in the Hertz car and caught the Jackson flight, found our car and were on our way home.
What an amazing adventure! We loved all the base accommodations but will be a little more adventuresome next time and try staying in local places. Tuscany is definitely worth another visit. I would like to NOT drive – maybe try taking the train and the buses, or maybe even a guided tour, for a change.
For questions or even more information as I have lots of notes in my journal, contact me by email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Happy travels – if we can do it, so can you!