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Raileurope.com: See Europe by train
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Old 06-29-2008, 04:40 PM   #1
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Default 16 days first timer

This is my tentative itinerary, first time eurotrip. I know the middle is crazy but really want to spend extended time in Paris/Amsterdam and see as much as possible during the rest. 16 days is all I can do unfortunately. Regardless, all input is appreciated, especially on the choice between Verona/Bologna.

Sep 30 leave Indianapolis
Oct 1 Arrive Paris then train to Amsterdam
Oct 2 Amsterdam
Oct 3 Amsterdam
Oct 4 Amsterdam, then overnite train to Prague
Oct 5 Prague
Oct 6 Prague, then overnite to Verona/Bologna
Oct 7 Verona or Bologna
Oct 8 Verona or Bologna, then overnite to Barcelona
Oct 9 Barcelona
Oct 10 Barcelona
Oct 11 Barcelona, then overnite train to Paris
Oct 12-16 Paris
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Old 06-29-2008, 06:01 PM   #2
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Since you are seeking advice, I might as well add mine :D I think it is a pretty good first draft, however, I see two major points to improve in order to better enjoy your 16 days. It's based on my personal experience abroad and the tons of comments we've received on these boards saying all the same thing : too much is like too little !

The main inconvenience in your itinerary is Prague. Unfortunately, I believe you'll exhaust yourself for a good part of your short stay, to see almost nothing of this grandiose city. I suggest you save it for another trip. Even integrating both Italy and Spain in the same trip includes lots of travel time !

My second point is right at the start of your trip. Why don't you stay longer in Paris upon arrival ? Or could you fly directly into Amsterdam ? Otherwise, you'll be very tired from the flight, arriving in Europe in the early morning, having jet lag, taking a long train ride... too tiring.

Overnight trains do save time, but do not provide enough rest. Please consider cutting off one or two cities and keep only one, or two at the most overnight rides.

That was my two cents.
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Old 06-29-2008, 07:08 PM   #3
 
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First off welcome, I am from Indiana myself. Ball State student.

Regardless, I agree with atchoum. I would either cut out Prague, or extend it. The things I hear of it are amazing. Those train rides will get quite lengthy and personally I would choose RyanAir or Easyjet. Yes you don't get to see the European countryside, but the convenience and prices are very competitive. But this trip is all up to you. I don't know much of mainland Europe as I do the UK, so I can't help you beyond Italy and Greece. Regardless, good luck and have much fun! Have you been quoted any flight prices per chance? My buddy is going to be in London for 3 months I'd like to get over there, but I really should save it all for my Australia trip.
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Old 06-30-2008, 11:41 AM   #4
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Just thought I'd add a little advice of my own...if you haven't picked a spot in Amsterdam yet, I'd go with the Bulldog Hotel. Just left there myself and couldn't be happier. Just google it and you can book it from their website. If they say its full, email them because they reserve some spots. And if you do end up going to Prague I recommend Sir Toby's Hostel. Same thing - direct website booking. I know a lot of people on here used that one and liked it.

At the same time, maybe you can explain your rational for wanting to get to those geo-graphically diverse places? I'm (we're) not judging you for it (believe me i'm the tpunk master in doing too much in too little) so maybe if you tell us why we'll understand your desire to be all over like that. And if you dont have one...maybe you can tweak the itenerary a bit...
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Old 06-30-2008, 12:18 PM   #5
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There wasn't a particular rationale other than trying to do as many of my top picks in one trip as possible, which I understand has its obvious downside. My first choice to cut would be probably Italy, but unfortunately cutting Italy doesn't really cut down on the mileage, so having said that, I'm still open to suggestions/alternatives. I guess trying to be objective, geographically speaking, it seems like Barcelona should be at the top of the chop list, but I hate to lose that one. Hard choices...
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Old 06-30-2008, 09:00 PM   #6
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Hard choices... I know !

You still can try your itinerary as it is, but prepare a plan B with less cities and in bordering countries, in case... You're travelling during the down season, it will be very easy to change your itinerary spontaneously. It's your first time backpacking, you'll find your pace, your own way of travelling only once abroad.
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Old 07-01-2008, 06:51 AM   #7
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Thanks atchoum, yeah my first defensive reaction was to say this is the way it is, but giving credit to helpful comments I am considering losing BCN, adding more time in Prague and Venice (instead of Verona) then finish in Paris. Still a lot of mileage but hopefully not as stressful and more doable.

atchoum - as a half-ass inactive geographer I enjoyed les cartes de l'humain
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Old 07-04-2008, 07:15 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by earth2doty View Post
Thanks atchoum, yeah my first defensive reaction was to say this is the way it is, but giving credit to helpful comments I am considering losing BCN, adding more time in Prague and Venice (instead of Verona) then finish in Paris. Still a lot of mileage but hopefully not as stressful and more doable.
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atchoum - as a half-ass inactive geographer I enjoyed les cartes de l'humain
Thanks ! Most of them were taken from the University of Sherbrooke (Quebec, Canada) website. Here's the link, if you can handle french and feel like playing with maps a bit. They provide numberless of stats in a wide variety of subjects such as economics, politics, religion, population, etc.
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Old 07-05-2008, 03:33 AM   #9
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You'll pretty much need to eliminate Prague or Barcelona for a trip of that length. They are too far apart. I would choose which you prefer of those two and run with your current plan.

Someone was a little discouraging about the Paris to Amsterdam run when you land. Personally, I'd say go for it. The train ride is only about 3 hours from Paris if I remember correctly, so you shouldnt feel extremely rushed getting to Amsterdam that day.

If you're plane is arriving early you'd really have time to hop a train into Paris for lunch and then out to the train station that has the trains for amsterdam. You'd be there by dinner time...or coffee shop time if you're like me.
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Old 07-05-2008, 10:07 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by atchoum View Post
Thanks ! Most of them were taken from the University of Sherbrooke (Quebec, Canada) website. if you can handle french and feel like playing with maps a bit. They provide numberless of stats in a wide variety of subjects such as economics, politics, religion, population, etc.
Cool! I can work on my GIS/cartography and mediocre French skills at the same time!

I feel like i have the plan under control thanks in part to comments and will probably post a revised itinerary at some point. thinking about Munich or Berlin as an alternative to Venice, which looks really expensive and very few hostels you can book in advance...
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Old 07-05-2008, 10:13 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by atchoum View Post
Thanks ! Most of them were taken from the University of Sherbrooke (Quebec, Canada) website.
I also meant to compliment your heart-shaped (Werner?) projection...
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Old 07-05-2008, 10:16 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by VP. View Post
You'll pretty much need to eliminate Prague or Barcelona for a trip of that length. They are too far apart. I would choose which you prefer of those two and run with your current plan.

Someone was a little discouraging about the Paris to Amsterdam run when you land. Personally, I'd say go for it. The train ride is only about 3 hours from Paris if I remember correctly, so you shouldnt feel extremely rushed getting to Amsterdam that day.

If you're plane is arriving early you'd really have time to hop a train into Paris for lunch and then out to the train station that has the trains for amsterdam. You'd be there by dinner time...or coffee shop time if you're like me.
I think Barcelona gets the axe. I'm stuck flying into Paris but I get in at 8AM so I'm not worried about the Paris/amsterdam part of it. I'll be jet lagging anyway so maybe the bulldog coffee shop has a cure...
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Old 07-05-2008, 11:00 AM   #13
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You could always fly to Prague instead of taking the train. It's probably cheaper and you'll gain a day as it'll only take about 4-5 hours traveling.
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Old 07-05-2008, 11:32 AM   #14
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I actually thought about axeing Italy and fly Prague to Barcelona but I couldn't find a good fare, still looking into that
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