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Raileurope.com: See Europe by train
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Old 11-27-2003, 05:33 PM   #1
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Ok Guys, starting to get into doing some proper planning for my trip next Feb. I'll be cashed up as of the 23rd December and am raring to go.

At this point here are my general plans:

1. Fly out of Sydney into Lisbon (not direct unfortunately but hey its the end result that counts) around the end of Feb
2. Travel around Portugal before heading to Spain, maybe a quick trip over to Morrocco
3. On to Southern France, through Monaco into Italy
4. Head over to Greece from Italy(Plane, Ferry - any ideas?)

Now, this is where I'm at a loss. Where to from Greece? Being an Aussie I can spend 3 months in most Western European coutnries as per the Schengen Visa agreement so I want to maximise my time in these countries over the first 3 months. Should I fly back into France (Paris??) then head into Belgium, Amsterdam, Germany and then Austria?

After this I plan to go to Czech Republic (need a Visa), Poland (again need a Visa), Lithuania or Estonia to get a Russian Visa, then onto Russia. Then I'll head to London, onto Ireland and Scotland before eventually taking off to the US, Canada, maybe Mexico, then see what the cash situation is like before heading to Japan and heading down through East Asia on my way home. Yes its going to be a mamoth journey but will be a blast!!!

With the Schengen Visa, does anyone know for sure how long you have to leave a Schengen country before being allowed to re-enter for another 3 months? I think it works on a 3 month in, 3 months out situation but am not 100% on that.

Most of you have probably given up reading this long-ass post by now :D but any suggestions or comments on my plans will be greatly appreciated. Bear in mind time is my friend, money won't be that much of a problem (I'm allowing AUS$40,000 at the most for the entire trip but would prefer to do it on much less and am sure I can). Oh, I plan on buying a 3 month consecutive Eurail pass before I get to Europe to take care of most of the transport issues.

Thanks in advance guys and girls - Tpunkers rule!!!
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Old 11-27-2003, 06:50 PM   #2
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I believe the ferry from Brindisi, Italy to Greece is an overnight ferry. So it might be worthwhile just to get a cheap nights sleep. I haven't looked much into air travel in europe. If you are still using your rail pass when leaving Greece then a flight might be the best bet, ortherwise a train trip may take a while to get to Paris. Like many other have suggested... Ryan Air.

Any ideas of where to go in the U.S.?
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Old 11-27-2003, 10:08 PM   #3
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Thanks for the ferry info Sijuki, much appreciated. As for where I'm going in the US, i've got a mate that lives in New york and at this point in time he's planning a road trip for us from New York to LA. Whether that happens depends whether he can score the time off to do it.

If he can't get the time off work I'll just wander around and go where-ever I end up. No concrete plans for that far in my trip as yet. I'm not so much interested in the usual 'touristy' things like Disneyland and such but more hanging out in a place and doing what everyone else that lives there does.

Any suggestions of must-see sights in the US?
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Old 11-28-2003, 04:03 AM   #4
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Once you're done in Greece, why not loop north? Bulgaria is great, and quite inexpensive. Then, you can begin your Eastern Europe swing, on into Germany and on over to Britain.

Not sure what time you'd be hitting E. Europe, but it can get pretty cold in the Winter. I've been to Poland in November and it was pretty raw weather, and in the Baltics, Winter had arrived already. I've been told that from about halfway up Bulgaria and north, you get real Winter in E. Europe -- not the mildly chilly rainy season you get in the Mediterranean.

Sounds like a heck of a trip, Cliffo. The Aussies and Kiwis know what they're doing when they decide to travel -- they go for a year!

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Old 11-28-2003, 02:57 PM   #5
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Cliffo,

I've taken the overnight ferry from Greece to Italy, and it was the best way to go. It's pretty inexpensive if you share a room. But it's still not to expensive to get your own. I looked into getting my own room for my next trip and it was about $90 US.
As for when you are in the US, I would definitely recommend going to the Grand Canyon. I was there a few summers ago with a friend and we had a blast walking along the trails and enjoying the scenery. We even got a small cabin within walking distance to the ledge for pretty cheap.
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Old 11-28-2003, 03:30 PM   #6
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Cliffo, I took the bus from Bulgaria to Greece, it cost me about 70 Leva (I'd say about 50CAN$)...And it took about 12 hours from Sofia (Bulgaria's capital) to Athenes...I agree with WWM, Bulgaria is pretty nice and very inexpensive...

Do you know what you want to visit in Canada?!
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Old 11-28-2003, 04:01 PM   #7
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Well thats two thumbs up for Bulgaria so I might have to pay it a visit. Only problem I have is the whole Schengen Visa thing - 90 days in most Western European countries (still not 100% how that works but) - so was planning to do Western Europe first then hit the Eastern countries then maybe head back into France or somewhere once I been out of W. Europe for 90 days.

WWM, us Aussie have to go for year long trips - the airfares to Europe kill us so we gotta cram in as much as we can in one trip :D

Moc, what do I want to visit in Candada...Hmmmm... I guess you and Dio are on the top of my list but i'm open to any suggestions you might have

Thanks for the ideas guys, keep em coming. Might turn this trip into a 2 year journey at this rate...if only
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Old 11-28-2003, 06:04 PM   #8
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wow so this is how it works eh... I'm going to aus. next year and cliffo won't be there and when cliffo comes to canada i won't be here. I guess it wasn't meant to be bro
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Old 11-28-2003, 06:16 PM   #9
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totally my loss Dio We'll probably pass each other at the airport as I'm coming home and you're on your way back to Canada...hehe..
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Old 11-30-2003, 04:08 AM   #10
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I have to vote for the Grand Canyon, as well. If you've got the time, I hear hiking down into the canyone and spending a night at the lodge there on the canyon floor is supposed to be awesome. Course, then you gotta hike back up...but at least you can rest up!

As a matter of fact, the National Parks out west are pretty amazing. I've been promising myself to go to Monument Valley in Utah some time, too. It is the place they filmed a lot of those Westerns at, with soaring mesas, "painted desert" and rocky scenery.

But there are tons of National Parks...Zion, Bryce, the list goes on and on...

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Old 11-30-2003, 07:30 AM   #11
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I went to Death Valley. It was beautiful, grandiose! We got to walk on sand dunes and we camped. We walked into a canyon. We took amazing pictures at Zabriski point. It was february and just the right weather (sunny but not too hot) and almost no tourists.
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Old 11-30-2003, 06:31 PM   #12
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When I read your post Cliffo, the first words outta my mouth were Daaaaam, and She-Ite, and Lucky Bastard!!!

That is one hell of a adventure my friend and I do not get get jealous very often in life, BUT ( as I crawl on my hands an knees) PLEASE TAKE ME WITH YOU!!!!!!!

So yor visa is valid in these countries and for a time period of 3 months: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Greece, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain and Sweden.

I will give my vote for heading into Eastern Europe as well, this is where you will save the most $$$, as it is much cheaper to travel through the old Eastern Block countries.

Leave Greece through Macedonia ( Visit the Canadian Peace Keepers stationed there on the border ) take the train north into Skopje the capital city, this place dates back as far as the 4th centery BC, so there should be plenty to see.

From Macedonia head into Bugaria, and as WWM would proob agree with me, Bosnia and Serbia would be great places to see.
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Old 11-30-2003, 07:09 PM   #13
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VWhat avout vvisiting Transylvania....in Romainia.......It vwould be very interistinc.....( Dracula)

Definately hit up Prague.....maybe head over to Istanbul.....
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Old 12-01-2003, 05:43 AM   #14
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Actually, I haven't been to either Serbia or Bosnia...I was just posting for a friend, who had an offer to visit some people who live there. Can't recommend yes or no on them, especially as far as safety goes...

I have to echo the vote for Prague, though. All-time best "Old Town" I've ever been to -- virtually the whole city is "old town" type buildings and scenery.

Hey Mocsy! February in the Dakotas was nice...? That is a surprise. That is high desert plain and usually has brutal winters...

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Old 12-01-2003, 05:54 AM   #15
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It was perfect!
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Old 12-01-2003, 09:35 AM   #16
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death valley is in california, last i heard..........unless they moved it----no one tells me anything!!!!!!!! blah.......wwm i think your thinking of the badlands?
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Old 12-01-2003, 10:04 AM   #17
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I know, I didn't want to argue with the All Might WWM!
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Old 12-01-2003, 12:54 PM   #18
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CD, i could use you as a tour guide man....if i could afford it i'd take all of you with me. I'll probably go check out Macedonia as I've got a heap of friends who's parents/grandparent came here from Macedonia so it would be good to check out the country of their ancestory.

Prague is on my 'must see' list for sure...gotta get a visa which is a bit of a hassle but i'm sure it'll be worth the paper work.

Adam, I plan to be in Turkey for 25th April and head to Gallipoli for ANZAC Day . Thats the plan anyway as I would like to commemerate the day at the place the day was born from.

Oh CD, the Schengen Visa, is it 3 months in total for all those countries or can you stay for 3 months in each? From what i've read i think its a 3 month in total thing.
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Old 12-01-2003, 04:34 PM   #19
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It looks like the visa is valid for 90 days in total? here is a a link for you with info on the Schengen Visa

I am curious though, why get this visa is your regular passport allows you up to 3 months stay in EU countries anyway??? What are the pro's and con's of having this visa??? I have not heard of it before you mentioned it here? Maybe I did not read enough into it??? Fill me cliffo, I CRAVE information!!!!
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Old 12-01-2003, 05:25 PM   #20
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Thats one of the things I don't get either CD. As far as I can tell all i need is my passport and i'm set. No need to do anything other than rock up, show my passport and enter the country.

Maybe some nationalities are required to apply for a Schengen Visa but from my reading being an Aussie I don't require one. At least thats how i read it...might have to look into it a bit more me thinks....
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