|Subject: London, Amsterdam, Germany, Vienna and possibly Budapest|
Hi Edna - I just returned from a trip that encompassed
Vienna and London among other cities in Europe. Some
quick suggestions for Vienna:
1. A day trip to Baden. Baden is a spa town about an hour via public transportation from Vienna. There is a great spa right next to the tourist info center in town that is brand new and caters to an adult crowd looking for relaxation in thermal springs, saunas, massages etc. If you are there with children or prefer a livelier atmosphere there are spas that have fake beaches, volleyball, and waterslides as well. The tourist office should be able to give you a map and info on all of them. This was a great day trip to rejuvenate us after a few weeks of travelling.
2. The Jewish Museum in the old town. There are many Jewish Museums throughout Europe but this one is unique in that it made the decision to not focus primarily on the atrocities of WWII but to focus on where the Jews in Vienna have gone and where they have come. There is currently a fascinating exhibit on Jews in Vienna who immigrated to New York before, during and after WWII and what they are doing now. We saw many museums throughout Europe and this was amongst the best.
Suggestions for London: 1. The London Eye. Yes, it is a bit touristy but taking a trip on the giant ferris wheel definitely allows you to see London in a whole new light. I currently have 5 friends who live in London and I am friendly with a few London natives all of whom said we had to take a trip on The Eye and they were right... it was a lovely start to an evening.
2. The Tate Modern is a fantastic Museum of Modern Art. However, it is amongst the most crowded tourist attractions in London and I would recommend going mid-week as close to the opening time as possible. There is currently a Picasso / Matisse exhibit there and I believe tickets are sold out. I also think they are changing exhibits this week or next and I would suggest buying tickets before you leave so that you won't be shut out as we were.
3. Notting Hill is amongst the nicest neighborhoods in London and is not frequently explored by tourists. If it is a lovely day outside take the train to Notting Hill and head towards Portobello Road. There is a cafe called The Lazy Daisy Cafe that was a little slice of heaven on earth. We had brunch there and it was delicious and did not cause us to refinance our house! I love London but I am constantly amazed by the cost.
4. The Haywood Gallery currently has a nice retrospective on Ansel Adams. If you enjoy his photography the exhibit would be a nice stop along the way. The Gallery is on the same river walk as the Tate Modern (as is a fascinating Design Museum).
If you are up for any changes in itinerary I would strongly recommend trying to get a couple of days in Slovenia. You can train there from Vienna or drive from Austria. It is without a doubt amongst the most beautiful countries in Europe I have seen. The people are extremely friendly, the geographical diversity amazing, and yet the country remains undiscovered by Americans. If you are outdoorsy at all, Slovenia is not to be missed. I was just there for 10 days and got there via train from Vienna if you would like any further info.
Other than that I hope you have a great trip to Europe and I hope some of my suggestions are helpful.