We traveled to Europe this past September to have a look and visit some family. Our travels included Amsterdam, Hannover, Bremen, Vienna and Paris.

First rule of thumb… Bring LOTS of money! Expensive is the keyword for Europe. No, make that VERY expensive. Just be prepared to spend $300 a day for bare necessities. While Europe is full of interesting places and great food, the value to cost ratio traveling Europe is about up-side down now. There are no bargains to be had. The jet lag is no problem, but it will take you a few days to forget about the expenses and move on to enjoying the sights.

We landed in Amsterdam to transfer onto Hannover. Thanks to KLM Airlines, they had cancelled our flight to Hannover and forced us to spend a night in Amsterdam. Avoid this dump like to plague. Rude people, crowded, bad food and lots of dodgy people everywhere. The few interesting places to see here are far outweighed by the general look and feel of this city. It has changed since I was here 10 years ago. As a tourist, one feels very un-welcome here. It is strictly a “give me your money and get lost” attitude wherever you go. The city is filled with people from everywhere else living here. Most poor backpacker types looking for ways to rip you off. They are attracted here by the legal drugs and prostitution scene.

Next we traveled to Bremen to visit more family and tour around the city. Bremen is quite a nice place to explore. We enjoyed our visit and made plans for our trip to Vienna.

When we arrived in Vienna, Madonna was in concert that evening. The hotel people thought we came there for the concert. Not hardly! Our hotel was located right at the old city and we even had only a 2 block walk to the best ice cream parlor in Austria. Needless to say we visited it several times a day. It is open 24 hrs to boot. The second night I found out that Leonard Cohen was doing a concert there! I can’t believe we missed that. Bummed me out. We spend several days in Vienna and celebrated my Dad,s birthday. It was a great time involving lots of good wine and food.

The next day after returning to Hannover, we were off for Paris. I had warned Mia to prepare for rude people which Paris is known for. To my surprise, it never happened. Everyone we met went out of their way to help us about. Paris has really changed. The buildings were all restored and sandblasted clean. Paris is truly a beautiful city and a must visit. Prepare to really ramp up with the expenses there. It is certainly the most expensive city in Europe. But here you get a lot of bang for your buck. I picked up some good Absynthe to take back to China.

All in all it was a great experience showing Mia some of Europe. The highlight for us was visiting with family and celebrating my dad’s 86th birthday in Vienna. Also for me to see Jim Morrison’s grave in Paris was quite interesting.