Euro2019 Trip | Leg Five | Zurich, Switzerland & Innsbruck, Austria

On our last night in Lisbon, we were going to have dinner at midnight and chill on a patio and taxi to the airport for a 6AM TAP flight and maximize our Lisbon time and save some money by not getting a room for a couple of hours.  But when looking at flight options, we found it was better to try and leave on TAP in the evening.  Why?…  If we ended up not getting on the plane we would be “airside” and through security making it easier to sleep in the airport overnight and we would then be going for the 6AM flight to Zurich.  Also, if we make the flight, we will land at 11:30pm and our goal is to sleep “airside” in the Zurich Airport and leave in the morning.  This keeps 200CAD in my pocket since places in Zurich are quite expensive with last minute accommodation options.  Plus, who wants to book a room if you don’t know if you will make it on the flight.  So, by doing this, it will give us the full day tomorrow in Zurich and I found a place by the water for 131CAD for the night when planning the trip.

Zurich was just used as a gateway to the mountains.  Our goal was to take a train to Innsbruck to spend three nights in the mountains and the famous mountain coasters.  Video above shows us landing in Zurich and sleeping in the airport.  My daughter had no idea who “Bernie” was 😉

Zurich tip: Don’t buy anything from Starbucks or even pop which is crazy expensive.  TripAdvisor recommended eating at Manora which is a rooftop restaurant which had excellent food at a great price.  Also, we picked up the 24hr transit pass that allowed us to get into the city from the airport by train and all the trams and also the water shuttle that we used as a free river cruise.  Zurich was a quick stop for us and we had just the one full day.



The video above covers our train from Zurich to Innsbruck, Austria (23CAD pp).  We would spend three nights in a cool little AirBnB apartment for $62CAD per night.  Kids loved taking a train through the mountains.  Noah slept.  We had a little compartment all to ourselves, so Drizzy made it 4 of us.  After arriving in Innsbruck, we decided to get the Innsbruck Card that you can buy for 1, 2 or 3 days.  We decided to get the two day pass (65CAD pp) that gave us all trains and buses in the city and also the gondola for about 8 mountains to go up and a whack of museums and a free 3 hour bike rental.  You can google what the card will give you and show you what the normal price is.  To go up the mountain you see in the video above.  The cost of that alone would have been more than the cost of the Innsbruck card.

My Son was scared to go up the mountain.  We told him it was like winter up there and I packed him a jacket and long pants to change at the top to scare him.  I made him pack his sleeping bag in case we get stuck up there and would have to sleep overnight hugging the side of the mountain.  My Daughter was in on it with me.

Innsbruck is sweet.  It’s about a hour south of Munich by train.  The mountains are incredible.  In the video below you can see us going down the Mieders Alpine Slide (14CAD per ride) and the ride itself takes about 7 minutes to go down.  We bought 15 trips.  This trip was built around going to Austria to ride on these coasters.  My kids loved it and worth the money.  If you watch the video below… you will see that I almost was not allowed to ride it.

After three nights in Innsbruck, we had “train day” back to Prague to fly home.  We took a train to Vienna (4hrs + 30CAD pp) to stop and have a short 3hr layover for lunch.  Then we took another train (4hrs + 19CAD pp) to Prague to spend a night at the same hostel we stayed previously to start the trip.  We were sad to head back to Canada with our backpacks.  Our phones were full of photos and videos.  We went over “our story” of what we would tell the “Mom”.  She wouldn’t like us sleeping in airports.  40 open spots on Air Canada Rouge and they upgraded us to a row with more room.

We also talked about our next trip next year to Thailand and Vietnam to rent motorcycles and ride the countryside.

Don’t Tell Mom Summer Europe Trip 2019 | #shesaidyes #timetoplan

Time to plan.  She said yes.  She has said no to Europe in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018.

I’ve lost deposits on things when she said caved in 2016 and 2017 with a simple trip to Lisbon.  That didn’t work… so we were listed as a “no show” in 2017 at a pretty wicked Waterpark in Germany that has been on our bucket-list.  Who would not want to sleep over inside a Waterpark!!

Will this summer be different and it all happens?  Will we finally fly to Europe from Canada and visit some neat cities & Tropical Islands just south of Berlin?

(below: Chantal asking since she never replied to my email asking…)

(Above: Chantal telling me it’s a go!  Karen also emailed me the next day with a “Yes”.)

So time to plan.  I work at Lufthansa, and that provides me and the kids with flight benefits.  There is so many great websites and apps for your phone to help you plan a trip to get away.  All our trip information is going into Evernote now that my Daughter also has access to.


Time to use Evernote, Google Earth, Trip Advisor, Couchsurfing, Hostelworld and see what our options are.  I have 16 days to plan out since the kids are at a cottage till the evening of July 28th.  We are using Google Sheets to track and plan how much money we need.  We are creating a google cal that will track some of the basics of the general timelines to show the kids the blocks of time.

I really wish the Canadian dollar was strong against the Euro.

When you start to look at the logistics on how to travel to hop from city to city… it’s kind of nuts and also equally hard to plan out.

Here are the basic details of the trip:

Right now, we have decided to fly Air Canada into Prague in the Czech Republic since it’s a little east of Munich and South of Berlin.  We are flying standby so if we don’t fit on Air Canada Monday night, we will have a backup ticket towards Munich, Germany so we can easily catch up and get to Prague.

AC1922 departs Toronto (YYZ) at 4:50pm on July 29th and arrives next day into Prague (PRG) at 6:55AM on July 30th.  We will have two full days in Prague before moving north.

After the two days in Prague we will get on a Train and head north to Krausnick, Germany that is about a hour south of Berlin.  We will be staying inside Tropical Islands Theme Park in a little tent.  We will have access to the water park for a crazy amount of time so I’m sure we will be pale Canadian prunes by the end of it.

After checking out of the park we will jump on a train north to Berlin Germany… where the next day we will have a full day exploring the really interesting city.

The next morning we will make our way to the airport and jump on Lufthansa to zip southwest to Lisbon Portugal by the ocean for four days.  The city of 7 hills and we can get lost in the streets of Lisbon and also hop on a train and hit two beaches along the coast.  Will update this blog post soon with more information since we are looking at places to explore to roughly block off some time to do and explore.

After Portugal, it’s on a plane North East towards Zurich and into the mountains of Switzerland and Austria as we make our way back to Prague.  TAP Portugal will fly us to Zurich since it’s a gateway into the Alps.  This will be a short stay and we will have the second part of the day to taste some food and hopefully jump into the river for a swim and a late night to try and see a bit of the city before bed.

The next morning it’s on a train through the mountains to Innsbruck to spend 3 days in this small city in the valley of the mountains.  The reason we wanted to go here is the huge steep mountain coasters and do some hiking in the mountains with the help of the gondola to get up there.  😉  Below is two of the rides that we hopefully not hit the breaks on.

After the the days of going hard… it’s rest day on a train as we travel from Innsbruck to Vienna to stop for lunch for a couple of hours before getting on another train to hop back to Prague for a last night of spending any money we have left on some food we can’t spell.  I’m sure I will be editing videos on the train.

The next day it’s off to the Airport in Prague to hop on a plane and fly back with Air Canada back to Toronto where we will be back in the same day and the kids should be home by about 8pm local time and off to bed to sleep for 4 days.


More info to follow.  Please don’t share with the Mom if you know her.


Couchsurfing in Innsbruck, Austria | Can We Tent In Your Backyard?

I’ve been a member of couchsurfing since splitting up with my wife in 2012.  I hosted Ben from England who was staring out with his trip all across North America.

I’m in the process of planning a 16 day trip around a little bit of Europe and we have 3.5 days in Innsbruck Austria.  Some of the details on the trip is here.

We are excited about Innsbruck with the mountains and the many alpine coasters.  We will be coming from Lisbon, Portugal and we will fly into Zurich and spend a half day there.  The morning of Aug 9th we will take a train to Innsbruck.  I’m shocked by the cost of hotels in Innsbruck and the surrounding areas.  Some are $250-$350CAD per night.  I found one on that is about 2km from the city for nights 2 and 3.  Don’t have something for night 1 yet.

We are thinking of getting a tent in Lisbon to camp in.  I’m sure we can do some stealth camping and find the edge of a forest and set up a tent at 11pm when it’s dark and wake up in the morning to pack up.

It would be great to use Couchsurfing to find a backyard to pitch a tent for 3 nights just to crash each night around 11pm quietly.  Then we will cancel our hotel and use that money for adventures in Innsbruck more.

3 nice Canadians below.  My Daughter Chantal is 18 and will be off to post secondary school this fall.  My Son, Noah is 12 and all three of us are super excited to travel by plane, train and explore some cities.  We are looking forward to meeting new people, eating new food and learning different european cultures and exploring cities!

The three of us have a blast together.  Just don’t tell the “Mom”  😉

We are arriving in the afternoon on the 9th of August and we are departing just after 7am on the 12th by train to Vienna, then Prague to fly home.  This would be a huge help for us.

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