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Old 05-04-2003, 10:44 PM   #1
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I'll be travelling in Europe for the first time in February of next year, and although I am not looking for a travel companion per say, I am certainly up for meeting up with fellow travellers. Of course, those willing to lend some advice to a youngun like me would be extra appreciated! :D


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Old 05-06-2003, 07:59 PM   #2
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Will you pay my way!? :D
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Old 05-07-2003, 02:49 PM   #3
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ha ha! I wish! I can barely scrape together my own! :P
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Old 05-08-2003, 12:35 AM   #4
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Yeah, throw me a bone too! :P

Be prepared for cooler weather in Europe. England, Ireland, France, and Scotland get quite a bit of rain and gloomy weather during that time. Most of Europe is wet and cold and in Madrid, it lightly snowed in early Feb of this year.

Warm clothes also means taking up more space in your backpack, for FYI.
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Old 05-14-2003, 07:35 PM   #5
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Finally! I am am also going to be traveling in the winter! I haven't been able to find anyone else who has similar plans. All the web sites I've found so far have been really informative and inspiring, but there is no information geared toward winter travel! Mainly, my problem is deciding where to go... any tips?
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Old 05-15-2003, 12:34 AM   #6
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Welcome to the boards Cogno!
Traveling during the winter time means thicker clothes, colder weather, and a lot less tourists.

I was is Lagos, Portugal in March and it was dead. This coastal beach town is quite popular among expats and is a top destination for backpackers/travelers going to Portugal. However, in the time that I was there, it rained sporadically (like every 15 minutes), and the town was dead. I had a stomach virus to make things worse (just trust me on the tip about bringing the Imodium AD! Ya just never know ).

In any event, I would advise you to go to the countries that inerest you the most. It's different for everyone. Some want to just go clubbin and hit all the beaches to check out the topless ambiance that we're not used to seeing in N. America. If this doesn't interest you, then places like Ibiza/Mallorca might be a waste of your time. If you're a skier, then you definitely have to hit up Austria, Switzerland, and any country that tickles your fancy along the Alps.
Even during the winter months when it rained and snowed in Madrid, my friend that lives in Marbella (southern coastal town in Spain), reported people laying out on the beach regularly.
Keep your schedule as open as possible. You may have a list of 5 countries to visit, but then you meet a few backpackers at a hostel that just came back from such-and-such country and had the time of their lives. This may cause you to divert from your original itinerary. Thats one of the thrills of backpacking .

How often in your life will you get the opportunity to go back to Europe? So, no matter what the conditions (except for something like a SARS alert), go exactly to the places that intrigue you and tickle your fancy. Even if a city/place doesn't meet your expectations, you'll be glad that you did it and got to see first hand what all the hoopla was all about B) . Just remember that in some places, winter and summer are like night and day in terms of party ambiance.
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Old 05-15-2003, 07:27 AM   #7
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woo hoo! someone else who's travelling in the winter! i won't be the lone ranger! :D

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Old 05-16-2003, 02:02 AM   #8
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yep! Even the Lone Ranger had Tonto !
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Old 06-22-2003, 03:12 PM   #9
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i'm comin' in a little late on this board, but am super thrilled to find a few other brave souls travelling in the winter. my main ambition is to find a job so i can stay in one country for a couple months before moving on, but i will definitely be moving around during these off peak winter months. hopefully i will be able to stretch my trip out and be over there when the weather is a bit better, but we'll see!

would like to keep in contact with anyone who is going to be travelling in europe in the winter months!!! :D
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Old 06-23-2003, 02:42 AM   #10
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Hey pnomadic! I think youve got some exciting times heading your way. Winter or summer travel is all the same to me. I guess the main thing is that Im discovering a new place, meeting new people, and eating different foods. Winter, to me, just means less tourists; therefore, thats my preference. I guess it makes your trip a little more intimate. Then again, the Mediterranean on a hot summer day and a happening European club on a hot summer night is pretty awesome too!

Check Canadian Dudes post on bartending. Its a good idea. I wish I had read that before my year long trip to Spain (Can you say- depleted funds !)
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Old 10-15-2003, 11:33 PM   #11
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good to hear a few people will be traveling in Europe during the winter! I'm going to Europe (by myself) for my first time Feb. 2004, I'm going to Madrid. It's supposed to Carnival, has anyone been to carnival in Madrid? I'll be there from Feb.20th to the 26th. Any advice would be helpful!!!! Also was thinking of going to Portugal for a daytrip can anyone give me tips to make this successfull???? THANKS TO ALL!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 10-17-2003, 01:06 PM   #12
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Paging Travelpunk, Paging Mr.Travelpunk.....Line 2 please...


Hey Kawika, Welcome to the boards!!! Always nice to see a new name out here :D

Spain is TP's area, when he comes on I am sure he will anser you questions on Madrid, in the mean time....I have always wanted to do a winter trip, less tourist, cheaper hostels, cheaper sights to see and less line ups...Now thats what i call a vacation! Its like going to a theme park all by yourself I think I am going to try an do a winter trip late 2004...thats if I am not a dad by then The wife is bugg'n! I am doing my best to hold her off, but man its tough!!!

Just Kiddding...we will have to see what comes up when i roll the dice of life!
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Old 10-18-2003, 03:33 AM   #13
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..okay, I just woke up from my nap (heard someone paging me on the intercom ).

WELCOME TO THE BOARDS- KAWIKA!</span>

I was in Spain last Feb, during the time of Carnival, but not in Madrid . I was in Caceres (next to the Portugal border) visiting friends. I was told, then later saw on the news, that all the Carnival action happens in island of Tenerife, off the coast of Spain.

<img src=\'http://www3.planalfa.es/ferepastoral/Imagenes/tenerife.gif\' border=\'0\' alt=\'user posted image\' />



I'm almost certain that there will be something going down, like a parade or event, at the Plaza Mayor or in Sol (the very center of Madrid) during Carnival. You'll probably be based somewhere close to Sol so you're sure to always be in the mix.

I would like to suggest to hostels that are very popular in Madrid.

<a href=\'http://www.reservations.bookhostels.com/travelpunk.com/hostel.php?HostelNumber=1290\' rel="nofollow" target=\'_blank\'>Barbieri International</a> is one of the top hostels in the world! They are small, friendly, extremely popular among backpackers, and close to all the action. I was there to check it out with my brother who wanted to stay there for the experience one night, but no dice as they were full. We spoke with some backpackers that were staying there, that had popped in, got an opening for two nights, but couldn't extend beyond that, and they were sad that they had to leave because the hostel was full for the next 4 days from advanced reservations! And this was the 2nd week of January!

My brother ended up staying at the <a href=\'http://www.reservations.bookhostels.com/travelpunk.com/hostel.php?HostelNumber=94\' rel="nofollow" target=\'_blank\'>Los Amigos Backpackers Hostel</a>. This has become a rising star among the many hostels in Madrid. He met other backpackers there and spent a couple of days touring the town with them. A very nice laid back staff as well. No curfew, which is needed in Madrid as they party till 8am in the morning!

As for a day trip in Portugal. Not gonna happen. I took the train to Lisbon from Madrid and it got there in about 9 hours. You'll need a full day just to get to the transportation out of the way from Madrid to Lisbon and back. From Lagos (south tip of Portugal to Seville, Spain) it took 5 hours on a speedy bus. And from Sevilla to Madrid is another 4-5 hours. If you really want to do Portugal, you'll need probably at least 3 days. One to get there, settle in, see the sites in the remaining half of the day, the second to take in everything in that 24hr period, then on the third day head back to Madrid. Lisbon might be the only thing that you'll be able to accomplish in that time. Shoot, maybe 4-5 days to get the full effect.
One thing though, I was there in April and it was raining like a mutha ! Every ten minutes there was torrential rainfall, it was awful and that was in April! Can't imagine it being any better in Feb

Also, in my opinion, I was less than impressed by the people there. Didn't get a warm feeling at all! After 5 days there, three of which were in Lagos (didn't see any beach action due to the temperamental rainfall), my friend and I headed back into Spain- Sevilla! There, we were greeted by the friendly and warm demeanor of the festive Spanish. What a contrast, I must say.

Now, I'm sure Lisbon and Lagos would be good in the summer months, but it definitely wasn't going on in April!

On the way there the train made one stop(we took a night train) I saw two guys walking hurriedly through the dark train car carrying a backpack(very low) in between them. Then followed by train security about a minute later. Putting two and two together, it's easy to see what happened. As the train stopped, these two guys jumped on board, grabbed a backpack sitting on the rack, carried it off in between them and exited the train. It happened very quickly and in the middle of the night when many travelers (but not me ) were asleep and not paying attention. I'm sure there was a backpacker hating life that night

Tip: when taking the train, <span style=\'color:red\'>PUT YOUR BACKPACK OR BAGS ON THE RACK ABOVE YOUR SEAT!
Then wrap your shoulder strap around the railing to secure it. If anyone tried to take away your bag, they'd have to reach above you and undo the strap in front of everyone in the train car!


For day trip out of Madrid, head up north (about an hour away by bus) to Segovia. It's a nice little historic town with a beautiful castle, a 2,000 year old aqueduct built by the Romans that spans the whole town, a big cathedral, and lots of little shops.

Some photos here- Segovia



Toledo was the old capital of Spain several hundred year ago and is now a big tourist attraction. It's about 45 minutes away by car (maybe an hour by bus), and has a nice Castle and little shops and restaurants for your touring pleasure.

Both of these cities are within an hour of Madrid (more or less) and would make great day trips to get a real feel for old historic Spain.

Hope it helps !
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