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Old 12-03-2006, 01:03 PM   #1
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Hi there. I would like to thank all the members for giving me such a place to read and plan my trip. I am reading as much as I can, but would also like a place for those who wish to help me and my travel mate out.

We are both 22, male, and looking to have fun, but not too much debauchery. I will outline where we are so far, and like I said, if you are willing to help with anything, please do.

What I would like most, is to be able to start putting the pieces together as to exactly where we plan to stop and for how long, and where we are going to stay and get there if reservations are required, etc... At this point we had planned on getting the 3 month unlimited Eurail pass, but Ryanair looks cheap and maybe an option for some legs, and combine this with a limited Eurail pass. Suggestions?

OK, so we are flying into Frankfurt, plan to go to Prague, Berlin, Amsterdam, Paris, Normandy, Spain (Majorca? was recommended), South of France and then into Italy, Rome, Greece (which islands?), then back up to Frankfurt to leave and try to fit in Austria somewhere.

As I said, making this route more feasible based on time and more effective/efficient would be great. And of course, where in this broad outline should we go. Once that is determined, where should we stay and how should we get there?

Cheers,

Matt
Eurotrip 2007 planning committee

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Old 12-03-2006, 01:33 PM   #2
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wow, i hope you have more planned out than just the city ideas. I would start with a Eurail map, and start connecting the cities you want to visit with how long you want to be there. Personally, I need atleast 2-3 days per city to feel like I was there, to have the chance to see and feel the culture of the city. Some legs may be better served by Ryan air, comes down to how much time you want to be on trains. With 3 months, you have a lot of time to play with. Getting online and researching all your destinations will give you a game plan for the cities when you get there. Go to hostelworld.com to start your bookings, it you have a time line, you could go ahead and reserve the beds, if you don't have a time line, you could atleast have the address and phone #'s for the hostels in all the different cities etc...]
I have been to several places on your list - Amsterdam, Paris, Italy, South of France. And will be in the Greek Isles in June. There we are going to Santorini, Mykonos, Naxos. If you are going to the isles, do your research, and make sure that there are connecting ferries to and from the islands you want to go to. Not all islands are connected by ferries, and then some of the connections are on different days of the week, etc... Do your research on this, don't want to get stuck somewhere, and have to take a ferry all the way back to Athens and then catch another ferry to the next island. Check out www.greektravel.com/greekislands/. There is soooooooo much info there. Great place to start planning for that leg. So I've said enough for now, any other questions please ask!!!
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Old 12-03-2006, 01:43 PM   #3
 
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RyanAir sucks in my opinion. It's really uncomfortable and has exorbitant prices for even water. And they have strict limits on weight so be careful. It was a good $80 flight from Dublin to Karlsruhe and then Eindhoven to Dublin but i dunno... I probably wouldn't do it again. There's too much of a hassle involved in getting to the airport and such. And I love trains. They're fun.
On your list I've only been to Amsterdam, but I'm going to some of the other places in a couple of weeks. Be careful about the prices. They will be really high. Especially really touristy areas like where you're going. Try and head out to see osme of the smaller towns. It's worth it.
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Old 12-03-2006, 03:43 PM   #4
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We certainly want to go to more places than where I mentioned, but what we are having trouble with is a place to start researching, really. I have no clue, for example, where we are going to want to go in Spain, or South of France. Ideas that I can then read about is really the point of this thread. I know it is so cliche, and have tried pretty hard not to do this, but, what are the must go to places for two young guys wanting to relax and experience some new things. We definately error on the side of adventure and fun vs conservative and touristy/sights only. We both ski raced together, and have been to many places to ski, but now what are the places to visit and things to do in the summer.

Thank you for the replies thus far.
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Old 12-03-2006, 04:46 PM   #5
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I can tell you that Amsterdam is one of the cheapest airports in EU to fly into. Not a bad place to start, might not remember it haha, but great place. As for the south of France, Nice is a must as well as Monaco. As for Italy, hit the Almalfi coast, Start in Napoli and work you way south. Maybe take a ferrie out to Capri or Iscia Island before heading south. I know a couple really cool hostels in that area. By starting in the North, you could possibly head south from there, taking a ferrie from Italy to the Greek Isles, then make your way back north through eastern Europe, maybe stop in Istanbul on the way, you can say that you have been on two continents by going there. Cruise through Romania, Bulgaria, Chezh Republic, etc.... The options are all over the place with 3 months to play with. Take your time, and don't be in too big a hurry, you want to be able to take it all in, not fly through it. Hope that helps.
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Old 12-03-2006, 05:30 PM   #6
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spain is amazing! what types of things are you interested in? art? architecture? food? etc...
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Old 12-03-2006, 07:33 PM   #7
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<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Brookers13 @ Dec 3 2006, 05:30 PM) [snapback]146051[/snapback]</div>
Quote:
spain is amazing! what types of things are you interested in? art? architecture? food? etc...
[/b]
Again, I am sorry for my extreme ignorance, but I am not sure. Can I answer all of the above? If this makes sense, we are interested in having a good time in a place with a culture and climate different than prairie Canada. People and adventure. So say, Diving would be a good example.
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Old 12-04-2006, 01:29 AM   #8
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It sounds like you are pretty open to seeing/doing a lot, which is great, because you have plenty of time in which to really experience a good amount of Europe. It's a bit difficult for we strangers to make suggestions, because we all have had different experiences and have different interests, but here are a few thoughts.

First off, if you've ever read a book about somewhere compelling, remembered something intriguing from history class, seen a painting or had a dream of visiting some famous site, start making a list of "must sees". Don't worry if you and your friend have different lists - you will enjoy seeing stuff on his list, too. For example, if you read "The Da Vinci Code" and liked it, you might want to check out the paintings and/or buildings in it. If you were fascinated by WWII history in school, you MUST check out the D-Day beaches in Normandy (the Canadian memorial at Juno Beach is fabulous, and there are some very interesting British and American ones as well), if you have a particular artist whose work you like, track down a museum where you can see an original...maybe try to hit up the artist's hometown or a residence or point of inspiration. We couldn't hit Honfleur, home of Raoul Dufy (my favourite dead artist) into our recent trip to Normandy, but last time we were in Paris we checked out one of his most amazing works...and the first time I went to Paris, there happened to be an exhibition of his work. Pure fluke that time, but it was a highlight of the trip. One of my daughters is fascinated by all things "Nutcracker"ish, so a couple of years ago we went to the town in eastern Germany where they are made. It was awesome, and totally off the usual tourist path. Another daughter is a major fan of history, and asked us to take her to ancient Greece, ancient Rome and ancient Egypt. We only had a week, so we took her to the British Museum. What I mean is, you'll have a more meaningful experience if you can find things, even off-beat things (maybe you want to visit the best breweries in each country, or visit a cheese factory or go wine tasting, or pick cities that have river cruises or whatever) that you are actually interested in.

Once you have a bit of a list - say five or ten places/events/attractions - pull out a map and mark out where they are - if you have 15 things to do in France and 1 in Greece, you'll probably want to allot more time to France, for instance. Then start reading more about the places that are home to the things that interest you, and find out what else in the area intrigues you. On our recent trip to Normandy, the focus of which was the D-Day beaches, I started reading two days before we left (we're based in Germany currently, so can make these spontaneous trips, it's a luxury) and by the time we left I had a list of about 30 other things to check out en route and in the area. We couldn't possibly do them all, but it was helpful to have an idea of what was around, so that we were able to fit a few bonus stops in to our initial plan. It's also good to accept that no matter how long you have, you cannot possibly do everything a place has to offer. We lived in Vilnius for two years, and did something or other at least every couple of days, and there were still things on our list undone when it was time to leave. Three or four days in a major city, fewer perhaps in a smaller centre, depending on your reason for visiting, will give you a fair taste of a place, but by no means a comprehensive experience.

When you've marked out your places of interest, start making an itinerary, based on that. You'll notice some sort of pattern which would make for logical transport. Generally, straight lines and circle routes are more efficient, zigzagging back and forth usually results in too much time spent on a train, not enough on the ground. If there's somewhere you desperately want to visit that's way the heck away from everything else on your list, consider flying there and back, rather than wasting valuable time in transit. We north Americans tend to think that Europe is small, and it is compared to our experience, but it still can take upwards of 9 hours to get between major centres, so unless you've got a few places en route calling you, you might consider flying those legs. Overnight trains are also a good option if you want to cover a lot of territory without missing too much time on the ground. For example, when I ditched two weeks of travel around France in favour of two weeks in Spain and Morocco, I opted for the overnight train from Paris to Madrid - saved a night's accommodation costs, and arrived in Madrid early enough to explore that day.

That's another point, too - even if you have a pretty organized itinerary, be open to changing things as you go along. I still haven't visited those places I dumped during those two weeks in France, but experiencing Spain and especially Morocco was life-changing, both in opening my eyes to a whole different culture and aesthetic, and also literally, because that's where my husband and I fell in love. If I'd stuck with my plan, who knows where I'd be today. Kind of sobering, when you think about it that way...

Another thing to consider - traveling around for 3 months can get pretty tiring after awhile - imagine how you'd feel after working 7 days a week, 18 hours a day for three months...when you're on the road, that's your job, and you have to think a lot more about logistics - where'm I going to sleep, what am I going to eat, how'm I going to get around... So it's not a bad idea to plan a couple of days R&R now and again - pick some place - a beach, a campground in the woods, somewhere where you can just stay put a few days, sleep in if you want to, take hikes, laze in the sun, whatever, but where you don't feel like you have to *do* anything. Even pick a random little village in between two train stops and just experience the pace of "real" life in the country. We planned an overnight stop like this in Austria, and loved it so much we ended up staying three days.


I feel like I'm throwing this back at you, but in the initial planning stages, that's the best way to start. Once you have a general idea of your route, post it in the itineraries section, and make a note of any particular reasons you might want to visit a particular place, and ask for suggestions. Once you've got a general plan, we can swamp you with suggestions about changes or specific tips on things to do in the region.

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Old 12-04-2006, 02:59 PM   #9
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Tumble...this is exactly what we are looking for. I appreciate that we are all different, but just looking for things for us to look further into.

Thank you
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Old 03-12-2007, 02:44 PM   #10
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Ok, so we have ironed out a few more details and I am back again for your input. The route has not come together as much as we would have liked, but it is what it is as they say. What we do not have is "off the beaten path stuff."

Following is a route/timetable that I would value opinions on. Further, best modes of travel, ways to effectively utilize Eurail passes (which one would you recomend with this trip) and where transportation/accomodation should be pre-booked. Also, any ideas on travel time for the legs we outlined. Lastly, ballpak budget? Are we heading to cheap or expensive places? I have read all the daily rules stuff, but...

Thank you in advance, and here is what we have:

May 3- Arrive Frankfurt around noon
May 4- Depart Frankfurt to Normandy (recs on this, we are Canadian)
May 5- Wherever in this area you recomend
May 6- Same war tour stuff
May 7- Travel to Amsterdam
May 8 and 9- Amsterdam
May 10- Amsterdam to Berlin
May 11 to 13- Berlin
May 14- Berlin to Prague
May 15 to 17- Prague
May 18- Prague to Cesky Krumlov
May 19 and 20- Cesky Krumlov
May 21- Travel to Vienna
May 22 and 24- Vienna
May 24- Vienna to Budapest
May 25 and 26- Budapest
May 27- Budapest to Croatia
May 28 to June 2- Croatia (No idea where, help please)
June 3- Ferry to Greece (Bari to Igoum). About 100 Euro each. Suggestions?
June 4- Arrive Greece (Igoum/TSA)
June 5 to 17- Greece (Help here too, travel, where, when. etc...looking for islands
June 18- Athens to Milan on Easy Jet (33 Euro plus tax)
June 19- Milan
June 20- Who knows
June 21- Arrive Monte Carlo
June 22- Monte Carlo
June 23- Monte Carlo
June 24- Travel to Nice
June 25- Nice
June 26 through July 4- Need suggestions
July 5- Check in Pamplona as early as 8 am
July 6 to 7- Pamplona accomodations booked
July 8 to 9- Maybe stay in Pamplona
July 10 and 11- San Sebastian
July 12- Travel to Tarbas for TdF
July 13- TdF stage
July 14 to 19- Back up to Frankfurt to depart
July 20- Depart Frankfurt at 2 pm

Thank you so much.

Matt
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Old 03-12-2007, 02:48 PM   #11
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I would definitly say in your break take a boat from Nice to Morocco, such a good time, and really cheap. It is totally different than Europe and you will be glad you went! I stayed in Fes and Algeciras...beware though, the boat smells
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Old 03-12-2007, 03:13 PM   #12
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I would also recommend Barcelona in your break in June/July. I haven't been there (am going in April!) but have heard many many great things about it!

I also think you have a mixture of cheap and expensive places. I have only been to Europe with my family. I am interested in what others tell you for a budget...
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Old 03-12-2007, 07:07 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HEWSINATOR View Post
What we do not have is "off the beaten path stuff."

Thank you in advance, and here is what we have:

June 20- Who knows
June 21- Arrive Monte Carlo
June 22- Monte Carlo
June 23- Monte Carlo
June 24- Travel to Nice
June 25- Nice
June 26 through July 4- Need suggestions

July 14 to 19- Back up to Frankfurt to depart


Thank you so much.

Matt
Milan, I'm sure, is nice. I only saw the train station but if I were you I would see the last supper and head down to Rome. In Italy I would hit a few of these Cinque Terre*, Bologna*, Venice, Florence, Sienna*, Cortona*, Rome, Naples.

Now as far as "off the beaten path" things go it sounds like you have some of that already with Cesky Krumlov and Budapest (<-cool city!).

I started a thread called "Favorite Towns in Europe" and some folks came up with some good suggestions JennyBeann suggested Evora, Portugal, which I will definitely visit next time I hit Iberia.

--Joey

*I haven't visited these cities personally, they just look cool from what I have seen from other Tpunkers.
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Old 03-22-2007, 12:37 AM   #14
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Anymore thoughts on this? Also, looking at this Itinerary, Eurail pass worth it? Which one?

I hope it does not seem like I am asking others to plan the trip, but just looking to hear from those of you who are more experience, if you care to of course.
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Old 03-22-2007, 11:04 AM   #15
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I'll second Joey's recommendation on Cinque Terre. I also don't know what you're doing in Monaco but I don't think you need 2+ days there. Could be done in a day, IMHO. I also suggested Barcelona before but I want to add to that Provence. It's a beautiful area of S. France, my favorite cities/towns were Avignon and St. Remy. I don't know if this helps at all

Also, regarding the Eurail, people have posted a website before that lets you calculate how much individual tickets cost versus a Eurail. I can't remember what it was though, anyone else???

Lastly, I will also be in Greece at the beginning of June, I will send you a PM if you want to meetup!
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Old 04-03-2007, 12:00 PM   #16
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I found the sight I believe you are talking about: railsaver.com. Problem is, it does not let me input enough legs of the trip.
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Old 04-03-2007, 12:01 PM   #17
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OK, so I am still getting used to this no edit on this SITE. Need to do my proofreading before I hit post, instead of after like I usually do.
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