Itinerary: Version 3 - Operation "lets tighten this *itch up!" - TravelPUNK Backpacker College Student Budget Travel Message Boards!

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Old 05-10-2008, 11:38 PM   #1
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Default Itinerary: Version 3 - Operation "lets tighten this *itch up!"

Alright folks, things are becoming more set right now. I have new information, and my departure date is fast aproaching.

Aside from planning this trip, I am selling/packing up all my shit. Unlike the Guess Who, I am not "running back to Saskatoon".

I am blowing this pop stand in the prairies indefinetly. After travel, I do not really have a plan or home. But anyways, that doesn't really matter as to why I am posting this! I need planning help.

Alas, the deal:
- I am done work on July 1st. Ideally I would have liked to work another month, but that ain't going to happen. I plan to spend a couple weeks with friends/family and then depart (depending on flights).

- As of right now, I am anticipating 4 months of travel through Europe. This is based on what I think I could handle, and my estimated finances - roughly 15-20 K Canadian (Although I would like to keep it lower if possible).

- What am I looking for? Why Europe? Well, that has always been based on a dream to travel Europe extensively (I have been to Rome). History, culture, art, and architecture are all interests of mine. I also seek a social experience, as do most backpackers.

One of my degree's is in Geography, so I am interested in seeing how other (more progressive) nations operate. As an environmentalist and government'ish type guy, I think I can learn a lot from studying European society. However, as an environmentalist I would like to see some great natural sights (oceans, forests, islands, deserts, etc). If there is one thing about traveling to Europe (versus say South America), it is that I would like to avoid touristy areas and scenes. So I am not afraid to go off the beaten path, and am even considering changing some of my destinations from the very developed 'western' variety to other areas. Hopefully this gives you an insight into my mindset, and you can determine the kind of experience I am looking for!

I would have liked to leave in August, as to have the bulk of my traveling time in Autumn, but alas I will have to put up with one and a half months of tourist infested locales. But that is why I plan on hitting the North first.

Leg 1: Ireland > Scotland > Sweden > Finland >

I plan on flying into Ireland or Scotland because it is extremely cheap to do so. However, the more I think about it, I am considering taking one of the two out of the list (leaning to taking out Scotland). Comments?
Also for Ireland: Dublin or Belfast?

What cities should I hit in Sweden or Finland?

I eliminated Norway from my list, originally I had all three Nordic states, and I think that might be excessive (esp given how expensive they are).

Leg 2: Germany > Czeck > Belgium > Austria

This leg is the most up in the Air. Germany and Czeck are givens, the other two are not necessary, thus could be replaced. Prague is where I want to go in Czeck, but in Germany - > What cities am I looking at?

Leg 3: Greece > Spain > Italy > Morocco

This leg is pretty firm! I hear Athens is not a good place to go, so I am thinking the islands would be pretty sweet to hit up in Greece. Italy, I would probably like to do Rome, and maybe Florence (I hear Venice is not the greatest, what about Naples?).

These are my alternate countries:
Belgium, Denmark, Netherlands, Croatia, Poland, Turkey, Egypt

SO! I may interchange these with less desireable countries in my list, but we shall see.

How far ahead should I plan my trip? Ideally, I would only like to have my first month set in stone (hostels booked, etc) and then be able to free-wheel it after. Any comments on this? I think my first leg will take a month, which should take me near the end of August and hopefully the region will die down a bit. But I want to be say, in Munich and have complete free will to take off to any city I desire.

I don't think a Eurail global pass would be a good idea either. 1800 Bucks Canadian for unlimited travel in 2 months. Well I would need two of these suckers! When I look at it this way, I have 12 countries on my list, which will probably equal 12-18 cities. Even at $100 a ticket for flying or buying point to point tickets, it is prolly cheaper to do it that way. Comments?

I apologize for the completely messy post! Verbal diarrhea at it's best, with a health dose of poor-grammar affliction. Thanks in advance for any help.
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Old 05-11-2008, 12:02 AM   #2
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I would include Belgium even if that leg is up in the air as its close to Germany and worth seeing. If you like a city that is steeped in history than check Berlin. Aside from being at the center of the Cold War and Hitler's empire it has been around for hundreds of yeas. There the beautiful Berlin Dom and the Brandenburg gates.
Much as I did not like it much-Munich also has some nice buildings when they are not being re done. Leipzig has St Nicholi's church as well as other churches worth seeing. And in Erfurt which is the home of Lutheranism they have the famous church where Martin Luther stuck his decree on the door.
Erfurt is small and probably not worth spending more than a day in though.
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Old 05-11-2008, 06:35 AM   #3
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In Ireland especially if you are looking to avoid touristy places i suggest you start of in Belfast. Dublin is an amazing city but seems to be packed to the nines with tourists everyday of the year. If you find its' cheaper to do so you can fly into dublin and take Bus Eirean right at the airport straight to Belfast for about 10 pounds (roughly 20 dollars). The ulster bus system in Northern Ireland is extensive and very cheap. If you get the chance take the ulsterbus 252 up the antrim coast road. The view is amazing and it'll take you to one of the geographical wonders of the world The Giants Causeway. If you are intending on heading back down south the west of Ireland is amazing, Galway, The Arran Islands, Cork , Donegal, have a lot less tourists and are beautiful and historic. I could go on and on about ireland but as you have other questions I'll move on Berlin in Germany which definitely exceed my expectation, seeped in history, easy to get around, i found very friendly people and a lot to do. I am partial to Fussen, this little town in the Bavaria region (i think lol), honestly one of the most beautiful places i've ever seen. I've only been to Barcelona in Spain but it was amazing, lots of stuff to do, the weather was great, however that being said I have been warned to stay away from Barcelona in August as it apparantly shuts down as the Barcelonians take their holidays. Greece was definitely a favorite. I've only been to two islands but Crete was by far my favorite. It was very cheap to stay and get around, the people were friendly, there werent too too many tourists AND the Samarian Gorge is there..that just speaks for itself anyways I think i've rambled on enough in this post. Hope that helped and good luck!
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Old 06-01-2008, 02:57 PM   #4
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Definitely Berlin in Germany if you have any interest in WW2 or Cold War history. They have some kick ass walking tours of the city given by entertaining guides.

In Scandinavia, teh one thing I have heard many times is that the overnight ferry from Stockholm to Helsinki (or vice vera I assume) is really fun, one huge party.

Youre right Venice isnt really all that interesting, but you should at least check it out if you find yourself passing through that region. Naples you should avoid because I think they still have garbage piled up there from a sanitation strike. Plus it is generally kind of dirty and crime ridden. You should maybe stay in the town of Sorrento though, and see the ruins of Pompeii which are just south of Naples. I took a ferry from Sorrento to the island of Capri and had fun hiking around the mountain there and checking out the Blue Grotto.

In general, I would recommend against booking your hostels more than a few days in advance of arrival in each place. The only time I can remember not finding a bed in the hostel I wanted was the Flying Pig in Amerstadam. Your interests will change, you will meet people, etc. that will make you wish you hadnt locked yourself to a schedule.
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Old 06-01-2008, 06:56 PM   #5
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A lot of ideas came to my mind, when reading your post. I'll try to expose them in some understandable way...

Germany is the world leader, or one of the leaders, in this field of environment. They are ahead of everyone regarding recycling, alternative energy, etc. You'll see fields of windmills (proper word?, excuse my english) all over the country. Anyway, all that to say that it's the ideal country to do some personal research on the subject. You could arrange meeting with NGOs, or find a private room instead of a hostel to see how people live. Look for the sign "Zimmer frei" (vacant room) or book in advance. If you are looking for something out of the beaten path, that could be a lead. Just thinking outloud.. I agree on Berlin, it's a must. Munich, the Black Forest, also good choices. Didn't like Hamburg at all.

For majestuous landscapes, the most spectaculor of Europe would be the Alps. Is that what you were planning on seeing in Austria or Italy ? There are also lots of pretty villages in the south of Switzerland (Ticino or Graubünden canton),or northern Italy (Lombardy, Trentino Alto Adige) you could check, away from hoards of tourists. Or skip Finland and go to Germany via Denmark ?

I have heard from friends that Slovenia and Croatia offer gorgeous sceneries, that the Adriatic sea is beautiful. But the coasts are loaded with tourists during the summer - but that would be the case for any coast in Europe, wouldn't it ?

The Sweden-Finland-Germany stretch is difficult, transport wise. I was wondering, if you want to travel as far as Finland, why not go to St.Petersburg (for culture, architecture and history). But that would take you too further east, I guess. Or you could take the ferry south to the baltic countries and fly budget to Germany.

Given the fact that you have four months, lucky you!, one possibility is choosing one country where to spend 3 weeks or more.

The leg 3 doesn't work well, in all respect. Spain and Morrocco are neighbours, you would save time and energy seeing them one after the other. I don't know if you have travel long term before, but if not, you'll understand after a few weeks how exhausting changing countries and cities is. Beside partying that is.

people are people

Last edited by Esterina; 06-01-2008 at 06:58 PM.
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Old 06-03-2008, 12:10 PM   #6
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For leg 2 its maybe best to start in Berlin then go to Dresden (really beautiful city), Prague, Vienna as they are pretty easy to travel to. Then as atchoum said the Alps are incredible, maybe even more so in summer than in winter, theres some amazing mountian lakes. If you wanted to stay in Austria you could head to innsbruck or salzburg. Then from there you can easily get to Munich.

its not clear how you plan to get between each leg? i assume you will be flying judging by where you are going... but i would maybe drop greece and go to slovenia and croatia instead, i went there a few times when i was a kid, the coastline is incredible. slovenia is easy to get to from austria, and then you could maybe get a boat from croatia to italy.

As for Naples, i wouldnt recommend it, unless your interest in geography extends to waste disposal (or lack of it):
"For once you have tasted Absinthe you will walk the earth with your eyes turned towards the gutter, for there you have been and there you will long to return."

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