Updated: Jan 15
Every great trip should start with a glass of Prosecco while sitting in a business class seat.
About two years ago, I remembered that I had accumulated a bunch of miles on United and decided to try and use them for tickets to Europe. But every time I did a search, they wanted 155,000 miles for a one way ticket to Paris and I only had 269,000 miles total. So I googled "how to score business class seats to Europe for the least amount of miles possible. I got some very helpful tips like, "don't try to book nonstop tickets to Paris." I tried out some of the recommendations and scored 2 roundtrip saver fares in business.
After securing the to and from portion of our trip, we had to decide where to spend the 3 weeks between arrival and departure. So we picked Paris, Rouen, Lisbon, Porto, Florence and Venice. A few people thought it was a bad idea to go to those places in the middle of winter. But we know that there is no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing. Plus it's way less crowded and hotels are a lot cheaper!
Since Dave and I are bad at taking photos and I never remember details like "where did you stay?" or what was your favorite restaurant?" we decided to start this blog to document our trip. We thought this might come in handy if we ever decide to take the exact same trip again in the future. Others might find useful tips and inspiration for planning their own trip to someplace completely different. Or, you might just enjoy seeing the photos and learning little-known facts about places you've already been or have no plans to visit
In any case, we hope you enjoy the journey!
Part 1: Travel Day
This was a very long day. We left Denver at 7:30 AM and after a 3 hour layover in Chicago we were off to Frankfurt. From there, we took the airport train to the main train station in Frankfurt and at that point we had 6 hours before another train would take us to Paris. So we found a locker for our bags and set out to do a little sight-seeing in Frankfurt. However, we had landed at 5:15 am and it took about 45 seconds to get through customs so by the time we got through the airport and to the main part of town it was only 6:30. Sunrise was at 8:40 and no one leaves for work or school before 9:15 at the earliest.
After touring around the empty old town where everything was closed we decided to go back to the station to get some coffee. As we walked in, I spotted a Deutsch Bahn lounge and thought maybe our Class 1 tickets would get us in. Sadly, when they scanned our tickets we got the red light (no go). But then the guy gives us the shhhh sign and signals us to go inside. We killed another 2 hours drinking lattes while sitting in chairs that weren't all that comfortable but that were way better than benches in the cold.
With only two hours to go before our train, we found a gluten-free pizza place 10 minutes from the station and went there for lunch. Then it was back to the station and onto the train for the 3 hour trip to Paris. Which took 4 1/2 hours because we stopped about halfway so they could fix something on the track up ahead.
But, we finally made it, got settled into our Airbnb in Montmartre and headed out for dinner. We had crepes at Crêperie Brocéliande and they were unbelievably delicious. So far, this is my favorite restaurant of all time.
It was a very long day but we're glad to be here and look forward to the days ahead.
Here are 10 tips that we think will help you make the most of your travel day:
Don't watch any movies before you go because you'll have about 11 hours to watch them on the plane.
Drink lots of water.
Buy some travel slippers so you can take your boots off and not have to put them back on every time you have to go to the bathroom which will be a lot because you drank so much water.
Save the muffin from breakfast for in case your train gets delayed by a problem on the track up ahead and you get hungry but don't want to buy a €4 bag of nuts from the bar.
Keep drinking water.
If you are going to have six hours between when your flight lands and when your train leaves, get €5 in change for the lockers so you don't have to drag your luggage around with you all day.
If you can avoid it, do not schedule your train to Paris six hours after you land in Frankfurt.
If you forgot to pack Advil, pick some up at the pharmacy before you get to your Airbnb.
Make sure to take a portable charger. And also make sure that the portable charger is charged.
Get a good night's sleep. This will be especially easy to do if you've been up for 30 hours straight.