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Traveling Alone or Family Travel Whether you want to travel alone, or travel with the kids, parents, or granny, this forum is for you!

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Old 07-31-2006, 11:23 AM   #1
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I'm gonna apologize for the long post in advance. Half the point of this post is to write all my plans down publically, hoping that I will commit to it.

Originally, I had planned to do BUNAC, but I don't qualify since it's been too long since I've been in school. Then, I thought maybe I'll work odd jobs to get me through a few months (still thinking about doing that, but not my top priority). After going through endless scenarios and budgeting, I figure that I'd go right after Christmas and come back in late February, with a backpack, a few guidebooks, and a dream. (hehe...)

So I'm doing it on my own. I'm 22, fairly independent. I don't think I'm that scared about going alone, I'm more concerned about making the most out of my experience which is tentatively planned as follows: (suggestions and criticisms more than welcome)

Dec 27-Jan 3: New Year's Eve in Dublin.
Plans to stay at the Barnacle. Have been to Dublin before in shitty weather, so I don't mind that it will be cold. I'm hoping that for at least this part of the trip I will meet a few people to get drunk with.

Note: I am also interested in Madrid for New Year's, but being alone and a girl, I feel sort of intimidated...

Hoping to take some overnight transportation to France (Ferry)?
Week in Paris, surrounding areas
Plans to stay at Peace and Love. Do touristy things. Eat pain au chocolat. Use my college french skills. Would like to go to Honfleur. I just hope I don't get too misty eyed being solo without a boy in the city of lights!

A few days in Deutschland
Gimme some tips for best cities, Munich or Berlin? or Frankfurt?
No idea where I will stay.

Back to Ireland for the remainder of the trip
I have visited before, stayed in Headford Town so I spent a few days in Galway. But I only stayed a week 1/2 and I fell so deeply in love with the place that I vowed to go back and see Cork. Meet some nice Irish boys...

then we'll see about staying longer (i.e. working sous la table)

Let's hear it, punkies, bestow your wisdom upon me. Oh and if anyone is planning to be in the vicinities aforementioned during said time, please let me know. I would love to meet up.

Love you guys,
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Old 07-31-2006, 11:33 AM   #2
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Oh yeah, MINOR detail. A month before all of this, I'm going to India for a month.
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Old 07-31-2006, 02:47 PM   #3
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I can see how a little thing like India slipped your mind!

In Germany, bypass Frankfurt, it's overrated. Berlin has a lot to offer, though my own visits have been brief and odd. We live in the Rheinland, so I'm rather partial to that area - Cologne and Trier are definitely more appealing than Frankfurt, and have quite a lot to offer. If you can get to Germany prior to the end of the first week of January, you'd be able to check out some of the famous Christmas markets, which tend to be rather the same array of wares, and lots and lots of wurst and gluwein. But good fun.

If you plan your visit for February, you might be able to experience Fasching, the annual carnival. It's different from the debauchery of New Orleans or Rio, and the uniqueness of Venice, but it's still a vibrant and lively event. The Rheinland is particularly well known throughout Germany for its parades and celebrations, with Cologne's Rose Monday parade being the highlight. I don't know when Ash Wednesday is next year, but Fasching is usually celebrated in the couple of weeks leading up to that day. At midnight on Shrove Tuesday, they burn an effigy (in some places) of winter, and, as a German friend of ours explained it, "Thursday to Tuesday is a time to party, party. And Wednesday is a time for serious reflection." Some of that reflection may dwell on the effects of vast amounts of alcohol on the body...

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Old 07-31-2006, 11:44 PM   #4
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Those are some really excellent recommendations. Thank you! As for language barriers, will I have a problem not knowing any German (I will try to learn basic stuff before my trip, but I definitely won't be able to hold a conversation) in any of the areas you mentioned?
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Old 08-01-2006, 12:22 AM   #5
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I'm embarrassed to admit that I don't speak German with any competence whatsoever - I still do pointy talky with the baker, the egg man and the apple lady when they come to my door. Fortunately, two of our kids go to German school and after a year are fluent so they translate for me. But even when they're not with me, I find I can manage quite well with my extremely limited German vocabulary. A long time ago I was told "You speak enough English to get by in Germany." As it turned out, where I was, I didn't, but it is true that A LOT of Germans speak English at some level - some of my neighbours told me they didn't, but when it came down to it, they really do speak a little that they learned in school - they're just shy about making mistakes. When they hear my appalling pronunciation, they realize that they can't do any worse!

In any city, "Sprechen sie Englisch?" should get you started, at least you'll get pointed toward someone who does. In smaller towns and villages in the Rheinland, at least, people may not speak English, but in our experience here, the people are so friendly, good-natured and laid back that they are willing to take the time to play charades and answer your questions.

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