Traveling with W. A. and Brenda Robison

Every good home page should be built around a central theme. We will be developing and updating this page as a site for those interested in European travel at a moderate cost--something that lies somewhere between the backpacking and hosteling favored by college students and the pampered tours favored by those whose income far exceeds ours. This page is designed especially for the beginner who has always wanted to go to Europe but has been a little reluctant to take the initial step.
Warning--Our interests and experiences have been limited, and this site will reflect those limits. (1) We will emphasize travel in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, France, the Benelux countries, and the United Kingdom. Information on Scandinavia, Eastern Europe, and Ireland will also be included but will be based on fewer trips.  (2) We prefer to travel by rail (and other public transportation) and will emphasize that mode of travel. [Note: We have rented a car on only two trips to Europe; therefore, our recommendations for automobile travelers will be meager and limited. ] (3) Accommodations we recommend are simple but not austere. In general the places we stay offer double rooms with toilet and shower for prices ranging from $60-$150 per night (at 2003 exchange rates).
This site will be built around the Travel Album section, reports and photos from our trips to Europe during the past twenty years, but it will also include our own travel stories and photographs as well as links to other travel sites both on and off the World Wide Web. Much of our philosophy about travel is derived from the following sources:

Travel Influences

John Bermont: How to Europe - 2003 (4th ed.)
Twenty years ago, the 2nd ed. of How to Europe became our main textbook that we studied carefully before each of our trips, and even though much of the details of the materials for many of the chapters  had changed substatially over the years, I continued to use it some before every trip.  So, I was thrilled  recently to discover the new fourth edition and have been spending all my spare time poring over the material.  This is definitely not the book to take to Europe with you, the author tells us; for one reason, it's much to heavy.  But it should be the homework for every new traveler in the weeks before the trip, and certain chapters should be required reading for even the most experienced traveler.  John Bermont is the pen name of a writer who has spent a lot of time in Europe during the last 20 years, both as a resident worker and as a tourist.  He uses the insights he has gained while living in Europe to aid the traveler, and he presents it in a straightforward, easy to understand format.  This one is well worth your investment.  The old 2nd ed. had a "Yellow Pages" of practical information that has been expanded into a useful web-page companion in the new book.  On that web page, you'll find information for ordering the book through  I strongly suggest that you use the purchasing alternative called "murbro" to get a great price and personal contact directly from the publisher.

Rick Steves:  "Europe through the Back Door"-- Travel Guides, Videos, Travel Gear
The "Europe Through the Back Door" philosophy has become familiar to many American travelers through Rick's books and his PBS travel series.   All the shows shown on PBS are available as Video Tapes.  Each of the tapes gives a decent overview of the city or region and offers practical travel advice ranging from purchasing tickets, to packing, to seeing the pharmacist.  The books give practical advice about places to sleep, places to eat, and sights to see.  Many travelers like to take the books along to help with the sightseeing and with finding accommodations.   Over the years, as Rick has grown older with the rest of us, he has tried to maintain some of his "back door" philosophy, but he has expanded his recommedations to include places that are a little more comfortable to the older crowd than the dorm rooms and tents of his earliest books.  Rick Steves gets a lot of praise from a faithful following, so there will be many Americans staying in the places he recommends.  He also gets some criticism for being a little bit corny at times and for going a little overboard on his politics.  But for the most part, we've not been disappointed in the directions he has led us; and I can honestly say that I enjoyed Paris MUCH more after I finally took his advice about the rue Cler area in the 7th.  Today, we'll change the date of our travel rather than stay somewhere else in the city.

Durant and Cheryl Imboden's Travel Pages:
The "Europe for Visitors" link above is one of several pages maintained by Durant and Cheryl Imboden (including sites for Switzerland, Austria, Paris, and Venice).  This valuable resource includes hundreds of travel articles on European destinations and practical advice on many topics ranging from money and travel insurance to passports and packing.  In addition, they maintain one of the best collections of travel links anywhere on the Internet.  Over the years, we have enjoyed many hours browsing through these pages, both in planning for our trips and in dreaming about new possibilities.

The Travelzine:
Don and Linda Freedman, a retired couple from Toronto, have made TheTravelzine one of the best non-commercial, personal travel sites on the Internet.  Well-maintained and always up-to-date, the site is made up of stories and photographs from the Freedmans' extensive travels during the last ten years or so.   

Bavaria Ben:
On the homepage of this site, we are told that "This website is for anyone who loves vacationing in and near Germany."  Designed for the independent traveler who knows that great travel doesn't have to be expensive, the site is chock full of trip reports, photos, travel tips, and links.  If you don't know what the Stammtisch is, drop by Bavaria Ben's to find out.  If you're anything like us, one visit definitely will not be enough.

International Travel News:
ITN describes itself as a "medium for business and/or pleasure travelers to foreign destinations outside of North America and the Caribbean." Therefore, much of the information included goes far beyond the scope of our travel interests. However, this magazine cannot be beat for down-to-earth information about all elements of travel. About 90% of each issue is written by the subscribers. It is not available on newstands. A subscription is $18 dollars per year (with reductions for longer term commitments.)  Send subscription requests to 2224 Beaumont Street, Ste.D, Sacramento, CA 95815, or telephone 1-800-ITN-4-YOU.  I have been subscribing for eighteen years and I still have all my back issues.  It's fun to read about a trip to a certain country fifteen years ago and then compare how things have changed..

Forsyth Travel:
When we first started traveling, Forsyth Travel Library was an important part of our planning, because it provided just about the only source for the Thomas Cook European Timetable.  We still order many of our railpasses from Forsyth because if the order is large enough, we get a free copy of the timetable.  Although one can get much more detail about  the trains from or from individual country train sites (especially Germany's excellent or Switzerland's, thumbing through the Cook's gives a kind of retro pleasure that is fast disappearing.

Travel Articles

There are three travel articles listed here.  The first of them, the most recent, was written in the spring of 2003 as I was recuperating from a broken arm suffered in Cairo.  Entitled "Disarmed in Egypt," it was first written for our local newspaper and then expanded for this web site.  In it, we talk about the misadventures of hospital confinement in an unfamiliar setting, but we also discovered a lot about ourselves and how we see the world.  

The next two articles were orignially published in the i-travel 'zine, one of the first internet travelzines in existence, in mid-1995. Published in Canada, i-travel 'zine switched to a French language zine, Vacances, for a short period of time, before finally going the way of so many of the early internet enterprises.  The two articles were later published on another travel site that also too soon disappeared.  I finally decided that the only place that I could guarantee that they were available was to put them on my own page with no need for advertisement to keep them in print.  The two short articles follow:

Neuschwanstein :   The first one tells about Neuschwanstein, the fantasy castle constructed by King Ludwing II of  Bavaria.
Berchtesgadenerland: The second article describes a bus trip from Salzburg into Berchtesgadenerland in the German Alps.

A good source for stories about Europe is   European Visits: The Online Magazine of European Travel..  I don't have any articles here; I just enjoy reading them.

Traveling Our Way:  The Three A's

When we first began this site eight or nine years ago, we had great hopes for this section where we could  include some of our favorite  Advice, reveiw our favorite Accommodations, and relate a few travel Anecdotes.  Much of what was originally intended for this section has become incorporated into the main body of the site, the "Travel Album."  The archival material that remains here does so only until all the files have been cleaned up as the site is updated and refined.

Travel Photography Archive

In this section we will archive many of our favorite photographs from some of our past trips until we have had a chance to place them in the proper "Travel Album." An effort will be made to identify and date each of the photos. Note:  This archive has not been maintained and will probably be removed as the "Travel Album" section is expanded.

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Copyright 1995, 2005 by W. A. Robison.  All rights reserved.