I’m alive!

I’m alive and in London! Unfortunately, I’m using a kiosk with limited time, so I can’t really write a full post. However, the flight was relatively uneventful and I woke up bright and early at 6 AM local (GMT) after about 11 hours of sleep. Today will consist of a three-hour walking tour of London followed by free time (we’ll probably go to the Tower of London, the London Eye, Abbey Road, and the British Museum.

I’m most-easily reachable by email (though even that will be intermittent).

UCLA Alumni 12th Annual Graduation Tour Itinerary

Below is the itinerary I’ll be following for my trip through Europe.

Day 1: Travel to London

The Essential Europe begins with an overnight flight to “Merry Old England.”

Day 2: London

Enjoy a free afternoon to relax and unwind. In the evening we’ll have our welcome orientation followed by a fun London Pub Crawl.

Day 3: London

Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, and Piccadilly Circus: these familiar names become familiar places on our morning tour. Afternoon at leisure, take in the city’s monuments or embark on a Harrods’ shopping spree. Explore the British Museum, the National Gallery or the London Dungeons. After dusk, you may want to take in some Shakespeare at the Globe Theater by the Thames River.

Day 4: London, English Channel, Paris

Travel to southeast England today and board our ship to the continent. Motor through northern France and arrive in Paris, “City of Lights.” We’ll dine together at our French Bistro dinner, and then enjoy our romantic Seine River cruise.

Day 5: Paris

Morning tour of Paris, see the hunchback “Quasimodo’s” Notre Dame Cathedral, Place de la Concorde, where the guillotine once stood, and the Eiffel Tower’s steel lacework. Free time in the afternoon – visit Mona Lisa at the Louvre Museum, or shop the chic boutiques of Paris. Consider joining our optional can-can Cabaret Show tonight.

Optional Excursion: Cabaret Show

Day 6: Paris

A full day at leisure to browse at Left Bank bookstalls, have your portrait done by Place du Tertre artists or sample sinful French pastries. Your free evening may find you watching the world go by from a sidewalk café on the Champs Elysées

Day 7: Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam

Motor to Belgium and Brussels, and see the Grand’ Place, a perfect medieval square and the statue of naughty Mennekin-Pis. Continue to Amsterdam and enjoy the remainder of the day at your leisure

Day 8: Dutch Countryside

Go biking through 13th-century Dutch fishing villages along the Ijssel Lake beaches today, watch wooden shoes being carved and sample Edam cheese at a cheese farm. Free time this afternoon in Amsterdam to tour the Van Gogh or Rijksmuseum, or visit Anne Frank’s house. This evening we invite you on a boat cruise on the canals of Amsterdam followed by our Dutch-Indonesian “Rice Table” dinner.

Day 9: Cologne, Rhine River, Heidelberg

Cross the German border into Cologne, famous for the world’s largest Gothic cathedral. Embark on a cruise along the fabled Rhine River, passing steeply sloped vineyards, ancient castles, and the legendary Lorelei Rock. Continue to Heidelberg, the “City of the Student Prince” and climb to the ruins of the Castle of the Palatine Elector for a bird’s-eye view of the city and the Neckar River.

Day 10: Black Forest, Rhine Falls, Swiss Alps

Journey south into the mysterious Black Forest. Stop deep in the forest, with free time to watch cuckoo clocks being made, enjoy lunch or try some delicious Black Forest cake. The Rhine Falls, Europe’s largest waterfall, comes into view as we cross the Swiss border. Our route through Zurich brings us to William Tell Country and the world-famous resort areas surrounding Lucerne.

Optional Excursion: Swiss Folklore Party & Dinner

Day 11: Lucerne, Liechtenstein, Munich

Roam the picturesque old town of Lucerne this morning and catch up on your Swiss watch and chocolate shopping or consider taking an excursion up on one of the highest mountains in central Switzerland to enjoy panoramic Alpine views. Drive to the tiny Principality of Liechtenstein, then on to the fun-filled Oktoberfest city of Munich. After our authentic Bavarian dinner,  check out the oompah-pah bands at the famous Hofbräuhaus.

Optional Excursion: Mount Pilatus Excursion

Day 12: Munich

Enjoy a full day at your leisure. Why not visit the BMW museum, the 1972 Olympic Village or shopping for Bavarian beer steins and lederhosen on Maximillianstrasse. Consider joining an optional excursion to the Dachau concentration camp this afternoon.

Optional Excursion: Dachau Excursion

Day 13: Munich, Salzburg, Alpine Center

This morning, we continue to Salzburg, Mozart’s birthplace and site where the classic movie, “Sound of Music” was filmed. Explore the narrow streets lined with colorful wrought iron signs and shops before we continue our journey to Europe’s largest alpine sports region. Be our pampered guest for two nights of fitness and fun while nestled in the snow-capped Austrian mountains at our Alpine Center.

Day 14: Alpine Center

All day today is at our leisure; go for a hike in the Alps, take a ride on horseback through alpine meadows or join the fun and excitement of whitewater rafting. A hearty Austrian dinner awaits after all that activity.

Optional Excursions: Horseback Riding and Whitewater Rafting

Day 15: Austrian Lake District, Venice, Italy

The picturesque landscape of the Austrian Lake District brings us to sunny Italy’s Venice—“Sinking City in the Sea.” Walk to
St. Mark’s Square, stop at a Murano glass-blowing workshop and watch famous Venetian glass being made. Consider a romantic gondola ride this evening gliding through the intricate maze of canals beneath arched bridges passing 12th and 8th-century marble palaces.

Day 16: Venice, Florence

Through the fertile Po Valley we approach Florence, Golden City of the Renaissance and birthplace of Michelangelo. Our Florence art tour includes the Gates of Paradise, the marble Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral and Giotto’s bell tower. There’s free time for shopping and museums, before our dinner of traditional Florentine fare.

Day 17: Florence, Rome

Travel past Chianti vineyards along the Highway of the Sun to the Eternal City of Rome. After check-in we have time to relax or explore baroque Rome: Stop to toss three coins in Trevi Fountain, see the Pantheon and sample the famous “gelati” ice cream at Piazza Navona.

Day 18: Rome, Vatican City

Today’s city tour takes us to the Colosseum, where gladiators were thrown to the lions, and the historic ruins of Caesar’s Forum. Then on to Vatican City – the world’s smallest state. Visit St. Peter’s Basilica housing Michelangelo’s magnificent “Pieta.” Our dinner tonight is a mouth-watering Roman Banquet complete with Italian specialties.

Day 19: Rome, Travel Home

The celebratory tour of Europe ends in Rome this morning. Bid farewell to friends and ‘arrivederci’ to Italy before jetting back home with memories to last a lifetime.