Claudia was under our wing for 3 years while Covid played havoc with our Alps vacation. Finally getting to take the trip, we were overly excited and found the wonderful locations, hotels and food options which were planned for us to be even more than we hoped. We hit the alps just as most of the hotels, restaurants and store were closing for nearly 2 months before the winter ski season rush. Everything was quiet and quite a few places were not even open. If you go in fall…plan it in August (mid to late) cause after the beginning of Sept. everything shuts down. Claudia was prompt, pleasant to work with, and provided everything I dreamed of for this trip. Plus, when we did run into issues on the trip, she was right on it and found resolutions very very quickly.
PANDEMIC TRAVEL We have just returned from a spectacular 2 ½ week trip to Germany. We were not sure what to expect, but we found a beautiful, diverse country with friendly people and an interesting but complex history.
Our August 22 trip was planned by WOW List Germany expert Claudia Schwenger in Toronto. Claudia was a pro every step of the way. She listened to our needs and desires and addressed them admirably. She contributed great ideas which immeasurably increased our pleasure. She arranged outstanding driver/guides and hotels. She recommended wonderful restaurants for every evening. Throughout out trip, Claudia connected with our guides almost daily to ensure all was well. She quickly addressed and resolved several challenging personal hiccups which occurred along the way. We can’t say enough about Claudia.
Great guides can make or break a trip. Aaron and Sue in Berlin, Uli in the Rhine Valley, Black Forest and Alsace, and Andreas in the Bavarian Alps and Munich were among the best we have ever had. They were highly experienced, unusually knowledgeable about sights, culture, and history, communicated well, were flexible, and patient. They had been well-briefed by Claudia. In short, they were a joy to know and be with. They went out of their way to make our trip special. For example, Uli brought a scooter for me to facilitate long center-city walks. Andreas put remarkable effort into helping Lynn trace her family roots.
Without exception, Claudia’s recommended hotels were amazing. To cover a broad swath of Germany in the time available, we moved every third day. Each time, we regretted leaving our wonderful hotel. The locations were ideal, our rooms perfect, the staffs friendly and responsive, and the breakfasts terrific. Especially memorable were our room in a real castle with a patio overlooking the Rhine River and our balcony overlooking Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau Castles in the Alps.
A variety of special experiences planned by Claudia enhanced our trip. They included visits to the Berlin Wall and Potsdam, castle visits, boat trips on the Rhine and Lake Constance, and a side trip to Strasbourg, France. In Berlin, we had the joy of our surprise WOW Moment, earned after two Wendy Perrin trips. It was a special riverside gourmet dinner followed by a wonderful nighttime cruise on the Spree River. This cruise, with all the city lights and activity, gave us a whole new perspective of Berlin. We were hugely appreciative.
I could go on and on because we can’t stop talking about this trip. We thank Claudia, her colleague Saskia, and our exceptional guides for making it successful and truly memorable.
PANDEMIC TRAVEL Claudia provided a highly personalized Germany itinerary that exceeded all expectations. It was flawless. We traversed Germany both in geography and local culture from Bavaria in the South to Hamburg in the North. We experienced the highs and lows of Germany’s history from visiting Dachau concentration camp to the revelry of sharing a bier with locals in Munich during Oktober. We had a Porsche Carrera convertible with detailed maps and itinerary to visit many quaint villages, castles and churches as we drove from the Alps through the Black Forest and north along the Rhine River Valley. We had a private tour of Neuschwanstein where along with the guide, were the only 3 individuals with the keys to the Disney castle. We ate five star cuisine. We took a ride to the highest point in Germany at Zugspitze. We slept in castles and strolled a university town. We even spent a day biking with locals in Hamburg. So much to see and do and memories made. Very exquisite.
Our trip was wonderful from beginning to end. We worked with Claudia. Having grown up in Germany she had first hand experience of the cities we planned to visit and was very knowledgeable in all aspects of our travel. She was available to discuss plans and ideas throughout the planning process and communicate by email during the trip and follow up after the trip. I highly recommend Claudia.
Claudia Schwenger was terrific. She built an itinerary that was well suited for our interests. She found guides in Berlin who were just outstanding. As we were planning the trip, Claudia took the time to understand our goals for the trip and she chose guides, hotels and other items that allowed our goals to be achieved.
Claudia was just extraordinary. From the initial planning call, to the fine details of the trip in the TripPiglet, to the beautiful hotel recommendations, to the guides, everything exceeded my expectations. Having worked with several WOW List agents in the past Claudia and her team just out did themselves. Her knowledge of Germany enabled her to design a 12 day trip that allowed us to see many cities, meet lots of people, learn so much about the complex history, and still relax. I strongly recommend using Claudia for future travels to Germany.
Claudia and the folks on her team managed quite a few things that I could not have arranged on my own, or at least not easily. Transport to and from the airports, local guides that handled small groups and worked with us to see what we wanted, not just following a script. Interesting places to eat we might not have found on our own. Train tickets. Amazing hotels with an attention to detail. All this while keeping an eye on what we wanted to do (not easy when you want to do everything).
I cannot say enough about Claudia Schwenger and her assistant Merium Iqbal. Our trip to Stockholm, Copenhagen, Berlin and Oslo couldn’t have been better. We enjoyed each and every guide. Claudia made sure we had plenty of time to ourselves to explore, plus contacting the most fun and knowledgeable guides. We flew, took a train and also had a wonderful self drive to the country. Claudia covered all the bases, plus the best hotels and dining experiences.
We were very impressed with Claudia Schwenger. We had some concerns before we left for Paris because of the protests there, but Claudia coordinated a call with someone on the ground and got us comfortable that our trip would not be disrupted. The guides, tours, hotels and restaurants selected by Claudia were outstanding. Thank you for connecting us with her. We plan to work with Claudia for our next trip. She was great!
When I reached out to Claudia and Mirium to help plan a once-in-a-lifetime trip for my Mother, I had high expectations. Not only did they knock it out of the park, but they made this trip to Austria and northern Italy truly a lifetime memory for which we will always be grateful. The hotels were hand-picked and exceptional, the guides were knowledgeable and personable, and the activities were well-timed and exactly what we asked for. We were working with specific cruise dates and were looking for a 10-day pre-cruise trip that would give us mountains, water, beautiful scenery and culture in destinations that were easy to get around. When I contacted them two weeks prior to the departure to let them know that Mom had a medical issue that could limit some of her mobility, they were immediately responsive. They discretely shared this information with the guides such that they were able to route the day trips and tours for routes requiring less walking without sacrificing the original itinerary and plan (and without Mom knowing!). The hotel in Lago d’Iseo was a hidden gem, literally. The apple strudel cooking class in Salzburg was super fun and engaging. The Piglet they provided was a thoroughly detailed day to day guide that covered every potential question. Mom is still smiling from ear to ear and already talking about planning her next adventure. I cannot say enough great things about Claudia and her team and would hire them again. Not only because they are clearly experts in this region, but because they cared about our experience from the minute I sent them the email to initiate the trip to the minute Mom returned home where she found a beautiful floral arrangement thanking her for letting them be part of her trip. 10-star service every step of the way.
Claudia and her team created an amazing vacation for myself, my husband and our 12-year-old son. We contacted Claudia to help us create an itinerary for our trip to Germany. This would be the tail end of our vacation; we began our time in Provence, France with friends. We were impressed with Claudia’s ability to hone in on what we wanted to do and see in Germany, the pace we wanted to set for our daily itineraries and provide excellent choices for accommodations, restaurants, tour guides, and drivers.
Claudia reached out to her colleagues in France and was able to find the perfect hotel for one night in Paris as well as provide transportation (drivers and trains) to our Provence destination. Leaving Provence, she also arranged a driver to take us to the airport. Upon arrival in Munich, we were so pleased with the Cortina Hotel. The size of the suite was impressive and the location was ideal for us. It was centrally located yet never felt like we were in the middle of a big city. We enjoyed our morning breakfast buffets and the hotel staff couldn’t have been more friendly and professional. We were delighted with our private guides showing us Munich, Nuremberg, and Bavaria. They were able to balance my need to see and understand the history of the city and cater to our 12-year-olds attention span. He is interested in World War II history, and the guides were able to really help him see so much of that history.
Our day in Bavaria was scheduled to be our WOW moment. And WOW it was. Our guide tailored a day that was perfect for us. We got a quintessential Bavarian experience and so much more. We took the cable car to the top of Zugspitze, Germanys highest peak. Our son was happy to say that he ate a Bratwurst in the clouds. And then to snow sled – an unexpected treat in June! Our lunch spot in Garmish-Parkenkirchen was a great find. I loved my raspberry cake. We had a great time racing down the mountain on the Alpine slide. By touring Linderhof Palace we were able to check off a Ludwig castle from our bucket list. The final stop in Ettal to see the monastery was icing on the cake.
Claudia arranged our transportation to Berlin. Here we enjoyed another great hotel choice – The Mandala Suites. Again, a very comfortable suite, excellent breakfast buffets, and wonderful staff. Our guides for the city were top notch. We did a tour of East Berlin seeing how life was before the Wall came down. Another day we toured Berlins South and Potsdam. We really enjoyed the variety of restaurants in Berlin. We spent much of our time walking the city. There is so much to see!
We were so impressed with all that Claudia and her team provided for us. It is a vacation we will never forget.
We traveled to Amsterdam, The Hague, Antwerp, and Brussels. Claudia and her assistant Merium were lovely to deal and booked us on some terrific experiences: we went on a surprising wide-ranging food tour and an absolutely fabulous bike tour in Amsterdam and a fun, educational chocolate and beer tour in Brussels. She got us a tour of the International Court of Justice/Peace Palace which was a highlight of our trip and which we learned occurs one weekend a month.
I also found that her suggestions required a lot of scrutinizing, e.g., said museums are closed Monday but said the best time to go to a certain museum was Monday; some unrealistic time frames so we had to forfeit tickets to a concert we booked; suggested a restaurant one night adjacent to a museum but suggested a restaurant across town the day we were going to be at the museum; and we found her itinerary required a lot of page flipping. She checked in while we were away to offer help.
Response from Trusted Travel Expert Claudia Schwenger:
In my experience, most travelers prefer an in-depth and detailed itinerary; I’m sorry that Dorian apparently found it to be too much. Allow me to address her points:
First, regarding the days when museums are open: In the very first itinerary draft I sent Dorian, while I was still getting to know her and her son, I included a variety of museum suggestions in Antwerp, to find out which ones appealed to them most and thus should be included in the final itinerary. Since most museums are closed on Mondays, I originally listed those possible museum visits for a Sunday. The itinerary had to be rejiggered a few times to accommodate experiences that became available only shortly before the travelers departed (the tour of the Peace Palace, as one example). At that point, I moved every museum visit in the itinerary to the best day for it. Since Mauritshuis is open on Monday afternoons, I moved that visit to Monday, so they’d have more time for the other museums on Sunday. Dorian’s final itinerary suggested the best day for visiting each museum that interested her.
Second, regarding the concert time: Dorian had indicated she wanted a lot of activity and walking. I made a 6:30 pm dinner reservation at a restaurant that is a 20-minute walk from their hotel, en route to the concert venue that was another 25-minute walk from the restaurant. The concert was at 8:30 pm, and 1 hour 15 minutes is more than enough time for the restaurant I sent them to. It’s not clear to me why they had to miss the concert. We spoke frequently while she was on the road, and this is the first I’ve heard of this.
Third, regarding the restaurant adjacent to a museum: The only restaurant on the itinerary that was adjacent to a museum is Brasserie Berlage at the Gemeentemuseum in The Hague. I did indeed book Dorian a table at that restaurant for the day of that museum visit.
I’m sorry if the itinerary was so long as to require “page flipping.” Again, I’ve found that most of the travelers who contact me prefer more detail rather than less.
We wanted to extend a trip to Germany after attending a meeting in Mainz in August. Claudia proposed two interesting itineraries. We chose to explore the Moselle Valley and had a delightful week in that region. Claudia arranged for a guide/driver who was most knowledgeable about this area. Through his eyes, we learned about the history, culture and food and wine of the valley. He was responsive to our interests and planned each day accordingly. The hotels that Claudia suggested were wonderful. We were especially surprised to find some special touches to help us celebrate our wedding anniversary at one of them. And her restaurant recommendations were also perfect. In fact, one meal tops our list of best meals this year. Claudia introduced us to an area we would not have considered on our own but that we enjoyed immensely. It was a memorable trip planned easily and flawlessly.
Claudia and her team arranged a wonderful weekend in Amsterdam for us! First off, her hotel recommendation was right on point for our travel preferences. A small boutique hotel with a memorable dining experience and within walking distance of everything. Most memorable was our private breakfast cruise on the canals, a private tour of the tulip gardens and a great group bike ride! We loved it and Claudia and her team made everything so simple and carefree.
We were very pleased with Claudia’s services all the way around. The hotel was excellent and we were upgraded on our room. We liked our guides, and all the arrangements worked out fine. We liked the booklet they sent of all arrangements. Thanks so much–we had a wonderful trip and loved Amsterdam!
In February/ March of 2017 my husband and I had 6 days to explore some highlights of southern Germany. We were interested in seeing historical areas, castles, palaces and many of the quaint half-timbered small towns and villages. I also asked that our hotels have charm and character. Our agent Claudia set us up with a fantastic driver/guide who was very knowledgeable and accommodating and made sure we experienced more than we asked for. Our hotels included a castle, a 900 year old home, a riverfront small inn, all very lovely. I felt comfortable and had great correspondence with the Claudia all along.
Claudia Schwenger helped us plan our 2.5 week long trip to Prague, Croatia, and Amsterdam. She was extremely responsive during the planning process. There were a few days where we just couldn’t decide from the options Claudia presented for where to stay, what to do, or where to eat, but Claudia really came through for us and provided excellent recommendations that ended up working out quite well. The trip went very smoothly, and during our travels Claudia checked in with us to make sure that was the case.
My wife and I were very pleased with Claudia Schwenger’s planning of our recent trip to Germany (June 2016). We enjoyed our stay in Berlin, Bavaria, the Bavarian Alps and the Black Forest region. The personal guides Ms. Schwenger set us up with were excellent, They were most accommodating, exceptionally knowledgeable and patient. The hotel accommodations, restaurant reservations she had arranged for us were excellent and she was always available by email, phone when ever the need arose. Overall, our trip was more than we hoped for; we had seen more castles than the Neuschwanstein Castle my wife wanted to see. Our private tour of Neuschwanstein Castle arranged by Ms. Schwenger was exceptional. The only way one should see it. We purchased cuckoo clocks from the shop, (Robert Herr Kuckucksuhren-Unikate) she suggested we stop at in Schonach. And our appointments at the Caracalla Spa in Baden-Baden were the perfect ending before heading back home the following day. Next time in Germany, we would consider staying longer in some places and less time in others. Thank you so much.
I was looking for tickets and transportation/day-trip support from Amsterdam to the sold-out Bosch 500 exhibit in Den Bosch, Netherlands, in April 2016, and Wendy sent me to Claudia. We wanted three different days of touring with an expert guide. One of the days we wanted to go was King’s Day, a national holiday in the Netherlands, and the cost of a driver and guide on that day were exorbitant. Claudia looked into alternatives—trains, rental cars, overnighting outside Amsterdam…Ultimately she was able to confirm a driver/guide (one person) she had worked with before who could do the two days for $2,900. The driver/guide was excellent, and we had two wonderful days of touring. I would definitely use Claudia again. She provided extraordinary service and worked hard to give us a great travel experience. Thank you for the referral.