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Raileurope.com: See Europe by train
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Old 05-05-2008, 10:38 PM   #1
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Default Ahh I booked it!

Well, after waiting a year for others to join me, I finally did it. I booked my trip to Europe....ALONE. I found an awesome deal leaving May 8 and the crazy in me said just do it... and I did! I feel exhilarated and sick all at once. 3 days to get a pack, and figure out what the hell I'm going to do. I'm meeting a friend who lives in Paris for a couple of days but after that... no plans. Purely impulsive... mental notes throughout the years but no set plan.

I leave May 8 and will be returning the the US on June 18. Flying out of Miami into Paris and then I opted to fly out of London back home. (It was $150 cheaper than round-trip and I figured I'd only spend about $100 going from Paris to London and capitalize on some time in London before I go for the same flight price)

I would like to see a bit of Italy in that time (Rome, Florence, Venice) and perhaps a bit of Spain. Any suggestions?

I must say reading about the solo travelers on here was a big motivator. This is an awesome forum!

-Di
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Old 05-06-2008, 02:24 AM   #2
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Holy shiznit! Congrats on pulling the trigger! 3 days to do everything is crazy spontaneous.... I love it! So much for research and preparation, so might as well go with the momentum you've created.

Do you have a railpass? That would be a great thing for you to have gotten with the cities you mentioned, especially if you'll be doing Spain too.

Hopefully money is no issue for you, since I'd venture to say that you have no rail pass and haven't booked any hostels online(still time, though...)

Whatever you do, don't rush it.

You've spent a year to get to this point, where you finally get to see Europe and the last thing you want to do is make it all all a blurrrrr.

Embrace the moments of loneliness...in foreign countries. You won't have the comfort of knowing that friends are close by (other than Paris).

Spending 2 hrs at a park in Madrid all by myself observing, thinking, being grateful, dreaming, smiling, praying, chilling, writing in my journal, taking pics, etc...Being "in the moment" ultimately led to a girl sitting down on the park bench next to me, to put on her roller blades which, allowed me to say hello and begin an awesome friendship that changed the course of my life forever.

So, my advice is, leave the ratrace in Florida. Don't take it with you on your trip (mentally).

See all the places you want to, but do not rush it.

Of course, if your objective is to do the "Europe Party Trip 2008 with a Vengeance" then forget about what I said and party hard !

Make sure to give us a play by play of your trip! Have a great time !

Welcome to the boards !
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Old 05-06-2008, 03:06 AM   #3
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feeling exhilarated and sick-ahhh the feelings of a first time traveler
Nah man you'll have a blast and Europe is a great place for a traveler especially a first one.
Hey don't worry about not having a mental plan-some of my best trips have been the one with the least amount of planing.
I agree with the G Daddy- leave the rat race at home and by rat race I mean most things in your life. This is your trip its not a work day or a day to worry about the things in life this is a day to see explore and live as much as possible.
I have never been to Italy except for Sardinia but Spain is very nice especially northern Spain. When in Paris I would walk down the Sein river-sometimes at night you can see fire jugglers. I find a walk down the Sein is enjoyed more with a crepe myself.
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Old 05-06-2008, 03:32 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by expatben View Post
feeling exhilarated and sick-ahhh the feelings of a first time traveler
Nah man you'll have a blast and Europe is a great place for a traveler especially a first one.
Hey don't worry about not having a mental plan-some of my best trips have been the one with the least amount of planing.
I agree with the G Daddy- leave the rat race at home and by rat race I mean most things in your life. This is your trip its not a work day or a day to worry about the things in life this is a day to see explore and live as much as possible.
I have never been to Italy except for Sardinia but Spain is very nice especially northern Spain. When in Paris I would walk down the Sein river-sometimes at night you can see fire jugglers. I find a walk down the Sein is enjoyed more with a crepe myself.

Here here on traveling on the fly! Create a flow and go with it.

Ahhh...Those nutella crepes are da bomb !
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Old 05-06-2008, 03:59 AM   #5
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Congrats! Don't worry, all will work itself out. Europe is a great, easy way to travel for the first timer, you're guaranteed to meet tons of people and you'll never be alone. Africa, especially Gisenyi, Rwanda on the other hand...can be a little difficult. I had to physically force myself to go on a "muzungu" (white person) search yesterday, because I hadn't seen one since I arrived and I was sick of meeting men who all want to marry a rich white woman...and the women tend not to be able to speak English as well. Hopefully I'll be able to get good enough at french/Kinyarwandan before I leave to have some meaningful convos with a native woman...ok I just realised I hijacked your thread on a small tangent. Disregard hijack, lol. Congrats again!
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Old 05-06-2008, 06:18 AM   #6
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welcome aboard, and good luck
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Old 05-06-2008, 12:03 PM   #7
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Congrats...you'll have a great time and if you're staying in hostels there's no such thing as being alone!
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Old 05-06-2008, 04:19 PM   #8
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Definitely want to take my time wherever I decide to go after Paris. The sick feeling comes and goes in waves.

I'm considering jumping on a tour for either Italy or Spain if a spot is still available just to kinda give me a little structure for the lesser planned part of my trip lol

I'll keep you all updated as I go along
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Old 05-06-2008, 09:19 PM   #9
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I plugged this thread on the mainsite as I found it to be very inspirational.

located here

Have a rawkin time !
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Old 05-07-2008, 08:34 PM   #10
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Down to the wire now... I have to be at the airport in 12 hrs and I haven't packed yet I've been running around getting last minute errands done, informing all interested parties of my departure, buying a pack, arrangements for rent payment.... and the list goes on......

The more I explained it to my loved ones, the better I felt about going. I thought my mom was going to freak out (very overprotective) but although shocked initially, she took it rather well and is wishing me luck. My sister said I'm crazy she is baffled at the idea of going to a foreign country alone. The bf and I are in a quip now also because although I've mentioned it for months, he doesn't want me to go for so long. Still trying to smooth that over. At least he was fair warned unlike my family so it wasn't a shock but disappointment because he only wanted me to go for two weeks. We'll see how that ends I guess.

So, here I am thinking what the hell do I pack into my bag that although seems like a perfect size will likely initially be filled to the brim instantly. I definitely believe in that whole pack, then repack because you knoooow you packed way too much!

Long post I know, just thought the family reaction was interesting and unexpected... you never know!

Thanks to all for the input! I am so glad this site is around because I sure as hell will need some advice on the road.

-Di
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Old 05-07-2008, 09:29 PM   #11
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Have a safe flight! I'm eager to hear your updates.

I ADMIRE your spontaneity!
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Old 05-08-2008, 01:34 AM   #12
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Wow! This is a serious nail biter of a thread !

I took a May through June trip once and packed

-1 pair of jeans
-1 pair of khakis (for semi casual dining, clubs, etc...) They're lighter in fabric too, so it's good for hot days.
- 2 pair of shorts
- about 5-7 pairs of socks
- 7 pairs of skivvy's
-3 tshirts
-1 denim type button up shirt (the kind you find at the Gap)
-1 light weight jacket
-1 pair of flip-flops for wearing around hostels and hot days or the beach
- adapter/converter
-hiking/cross trainers for comfort. You'll be walking a lot!
-a pillow case. I laid the pillow case over every pillow at every hostel that I stayed at (some hostels skimped on cleaning, so my pillow case gave me peace of mind). Mark one side with a dot or something so you know which side touches your face and the other faces the pillow.

-several plastic bags (one for dirty clothes, one to put all the clean socks and underwear, one for putting you flip flops in so they don't dirty up your clean clothes in your backpack)

These plastic bags help to create different compartments, by separateing you clothes and things, if you will.

Have a great time and keep us in the mix !
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Old 05-08-2008, 01:43 AM   #13
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The last day is always the worst because its when it all comes to ahead and its like you're REALLY doing this. But you know what is the best? When you're sitting on the plane thats just touched down and you set foot on a new land thinking to your self you've really DONE this!
Its the best
As for your sis, I'm sure most of us have family like that.
Happy trails my friend, happy trails
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Old 05-09-2008, 03:04 AM   #14
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I did it! I'm here! Just checked into the Hostel St. Christopher in Paris an getting ready to plan out what to do until 2pm. I also want to try and get booked for a cheaper hostel but last minute this was the cheapest thing not-booked online. Advice on this, should I just go to another Hostel (based on online prices) and try and book in person for the next few days or is online the same thing???

Or any recommended hostels/cheap hotels to walk in to book? I wanted a private room for tomorrow night to kinda recoup a bit on my own. So if you know of any places that have cheap privates share the wealth of info!

No more sick feeling lol
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Old 05-09-2008, 04:57 AM   #15
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Congrats on getting there safely! I love Paris!

You can definitely spend part of the day walking up to some hostels and asking them if they have the kind of availability that you are looking for.

If the city is buzzing with lots of tourists and backpackers right now, then take what you can get, whether online or in person.

There was an earlier report that hostels in Paris were all booked up.

Read this post of mine from a few years ago. It might help you with a couple of hostels that were under the radar at the time.

Maybe your friend can help you find these two that I mentioned.

Prices will be different today, but the a single room to myself is usually how I roll...and those places did the job at the time .

Good luck !
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Old 05-13-2008, 03:59 PM   #16
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Just an update for anyone interested. I've been in Paris 5 days now and I'll tell you, I think I have become a strong advocate of going at it solo. I was petrified of doing this, but honestly, you get the chance to do things your way and meet cool people along the way. I met a great group of people that I spent 2 days with at my first hostel (St. Christopher). Hostel was clean and comfortable and very conducive to meeting people having a bar right downstairs. I tried the hotel you recommended travelpunk (Hotel Printemps 31 rue commerce), but they had a 2am lockout and i was going to be back later :/ the room was pretty good though for those that don't mind the curfew. I booked another hotel through booking.net and just my luck, the reservation was not there. After 45 minutes of fighting with the dude, I went two hotels down the road to Hotel Eiffel Capitol. It was pricey, but it was late at night and I needed a room so i splurged. St. Christopher's was great but pricey and far from the city center so i booked two nights at the young and happy hostel in latin quarter. Although not as clean, presentable, and amiable, it was cheap and had decent conditions. the bathrooms however were always a bit yuck, but manageable. Tonight I am staying at the Hotel de Lausanne for a few nights of having a single room and the accommodations are great. Clean smells good and the receptionist speaks 4 different languages.

I've seen a lot of the sights already even a leisurely pace. I may leave earlier than the 2 weeks originally planned.

Sights to date:

The Lourve
The Eiffel Tower - day and night sparkles
Notre Dame
Sacre Couer
The Pantheon
Jardin du Luxumbourg
Jadin des Plantes
Moulin Rouge -day time
Chateau Versailles
Opera Garnier (outside)
The Seine
Cemetiere du Pere Lachaise

I have been sleeping in the last couple of days because i hit the ground running the first 3 days hehe.

Also, finding WiFi isn't as easy as people make it out to be!!! Hotels have it sometimes and hardly ever completely free.

So that is my report to date. Also to the solo women travelers, Paris isn't so dangerous. I've had the unfortunate necessity to walk after dark and you get only a couple of cat calls. Ignoring and continuing quickly will suffice, in my experience.

Signing off,

-Di
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Old 05-13-2008, 05:04 PM   #17
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Wow awesome adventures so far! I feel ur excitement...I leave Sat for Dublin and hey if ur still in Paris around the 24th maybe we can meet up since I am also traveling alone for the first time.
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Old 05-13-2008, 06:37 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BedtimeontheMoon View Post
Just an update for anyone interested. I've been in Paris 5 days now and I'll tell you, I think I have become a strong advocate of going at it solo. I was petrified of doing this, but honestly, you get the chance to do things your way and meet cool people along the way. I met a great group of people that I spent 2 days with at my first hostel (St. Christopher). Hostel was clean and comfortable and very conducive to meeting people having a bar right downstairs. I tried the hotel you recommended travelpunk (Hotel Printemps 31 rue commerce), but they had a 2am lockout and i was going to be back later :/ the room was pretty good though for those that don't mind the curfew. I booked another hotel through booking.net and just my luck, the reservation was not there. After 45 minutes of fighting with the dude, I went two hotels down the road to Hotel Eiffel Capitol. It was pricey, but it was late at night and I needed a room so i splurged. St. Christopher's was great but pricey and far from the city center so i booked two nights at the young and happy hostel in latin quarter. Although not as clean, presentable, and amiable, it was cheap and had decent conditions. the bathrooms however were always a bit yuck, but manageable. Tonight I am staying at the Hotel de Lausanne for a few nights of having a single room and the accommodations are great. Clean smells good and the receptionist speaks 4 different languages.

I've seen a lot of the sights already even a leisurely pace. I may leave earlier than the 2 weeks originally planned.

Sights to date:

The Lourve
The Eiffel Tower - day and night sparkles
Notre Dame
Sacre Couer
The Pantheon
Jardin du Luxumbourg
Jadin des Plantes
Moulin Rouge -day time
Chateau Versailles
Opera Garnier (outside)
The Seine
Cemetiere du Pere Lachaise

I have been sleeping in the last couple of days because i hit the ground running the first 3 days hehe.

Also, finding WiFi isn't as easy as people make it out to be!!! Hotels have it sometimes and hardly ever completely free.

So that is my report to date. Also to the solo women travelers, Paris isn't so dangerous. I've had the unfortunate necessity to walk after dark and you get only a couple of cat calls. Ignoring and continuing quickly will suffice, in my experience.

Signing off,

-Di
Awesome, Di!

I know exactly what you mean about traveling solo and I, for one, love it !

Sorry, I didn't know about the Printemp's curfew but glad you found something to replace it with. They had nice private rooms overlooking the street below and made for a nice little private hangout in Paris.

I liked the vibe of that zone as well.

Great job on days of relaxation! I was just writing an article on that. You need it.

In general, I am of the opinion that if you can't get to stuff that you wanted to see or do on your first trip, no worries...better to relax "in the now" and save it for when you come back next time (to Paris or whatever city at the time).

Believe me, after going through the pangs, procrastinations, and mental struggles, to finally get up and running for your first trip, ramping up for the second trip is just a walk in the park. You will go back someday .

Thanks for the update, Di! Keep on keeping on !
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Old 05-14-2008, 01:02 PM   #19
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Sounds great! So, where are you thinking of heading to next? I love Provence in France, and it must be pretty nice there in the Spring, I imagine...

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Old 05-17-2008, 05:00 PM   #20
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ok all, I booked the next part of my trip! I think I overstayed Paris but i'd say it was still worth it. Spent the last couple of days just walking around the different areas, checking out the local shops. Very chill and now I am ready to hit the ground running again for ..... ITALY! Monday morning May 19th I am flying out of Paris via CDG to Venice via Marco Polo. Booked through EasyJet.com (it was about 15 euro more than ryanair but it used the main airports as opposed to those on the outskirts of both cities) total with baggage fees, booking fees, blah blah was 130 euro :/ a bit more than i planned but it's convenient to have the main airports and i didnt want to wait an extra day to save another 15 euro.

So I have about 10-11 days in Italy and I want to see Venice, Florence, day trip to Pisa, and Rome.

Any suggestions on time frames? Am I being too zealous with the 3 cities in this time frame ? I could probably extend a couple days out also.

Also what mode of Inter-Italy transport are recommended? I didn't get a Eurail pass because I'm not whirlwinding Europe, so any other suggestions ?

I got very comfortable with Paris and I am sad to leave, but the show must go on!
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