National Library of New Zealand
Harvested by the National Library of New Zealand on: Apr 12 2015 at 5:16:27 GMT
Search boxes and external links may not function. Having trouble viewing this page? Click here
Close Minimize Help
Wayback Machine

Author Topic: Early Stages of Planning My European Trip  (Read 174 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline The Tan-Gent_MiNaJ

  • I Sleep Here !
  • ******
  • Posts: 3451
  • i-i-i-i am Zolanski!
Early Stages of Planning My European Trip
« on: 25 Jul 11, 06:58:pm »
Well, as the title suggests, I'm still in the early stages of planning my dream trip through glorious Europe! My cousin who is getting hitched in the month of July (next year) and will be having it the UK (where his partner is based), so I decided what better time then to take some leave and do what I've always dreamed of doing!...(still wandering if I should start out from London, or whether I should travel around before coming to London for the wedding etc).

I've sort of found a rough route plan (off google from someone elses plan itinerary) that I quite like the look of, and hoping also to travel in a time span of roughly 3-5 weeks (depending on how much leave I can get off in that time)...off course I would like to add more to it, depending of course on where and what's good...


Any general help and or advice would be great (as I'm actually incredibly lost ;D), especially on places we should add to the list, places to stay (where would be safe to camp) and any budget advice you may have.... (I have checked out contiki but feel the tours are too shortly spanned out...) Budget not so much an issue at this point, but the cheaper the better off course.  ^-^


Stu

  • Guest
Re: Early Stages of Planning My European Trip
« Reply #1 on: 25 Jul 11, 09:28:pm »
I'd recommend starting in London, getting the wedding over and done with before heading off on your travels.  I'd start with Cadiz in Spain (fly into Malaga then get the train west past Gibraltar). Its lovely, there are quite a few international schools there so it has a really young vibe, its not too expensive and its quite chilled.  The whole region is beautiful, plus you can get the ferry across to Morocco from Gibraltar for a couple of days. You can then get the train or plane and head further East where you've got places like Sitges (great if you're young, gay and single - seriously, its the gayest and most gay friendly place I've ever been to) or Barcelona or head off shore to Ibiza. I'd be inclined to cut through Northern Italy (I'd rate Florence over Rome any day), Croatia then down to Greece and then do a spot of island hopping. Mykonos is nice, albeit somewhat clichéd, and generally more fun if you're with a partner - some of the other Islands are nicer and less commercial. From Eastern greece (Kos), you can get the ferry to Turkey or you could fly down to Israel. You'll be too late for Tel Aviv Pride (which is in June) but it should still be a great time of year to visit and I've friends who have had an amazing time in Israel (just don't get me started on Israeli politics). Budget wise, there are some very affordable options to getting around the med which would give you more cash to spend on nicer places to stay.

Offline The Don

  • I Sleep Here !
  • ******
  • Posts: 6824
Re: Early Stages of Planning My European Trip
« Reply #2 on: 26 Jul 11, 07:58:am »
Just looking at the route that you're planning...   Stu's got some really good suggestions there but if that's the rough route you want to take...

France - skip Le Mans (boring unless you're into Motorsport) and go to Tours instead (if you want a recommendation for a good hotel in Paris check out Hotel San Cullotte in Bastille.  It's cheap, very clean and in a really vibrant little back street just around the corner from L'Opera and Bastille.  Don't eat at the restaurant though or you'll blow your entire budget).

Nothern Spain - your route takes you into Basque and if you go there you can't really miss going to St Sebastian which is one of the gastronomic capitals of Europe - the whole city is built on food.

Madrid is definitely worth checking out, as is Barcelona, but DO take a pit stop at Sitges which is a gay mecca and you'll love it (the train takes about an hour from Barcelona and you need to spend at least a day and night there.)

The southern leg of your France tour is great - although don't spend too long in Monaco or again, you'll blow your budget.  

Italy:   You MUST go further south and check out Naples.  Mt Vesuvius is just a short drive away and you should check out the ruins of Pompeii.   Pick up a cheap flight and jump to Athens - it's a dirty polluted place but you won't regret seeing the Acropolis.   Don't bother with Island hopping - you don't have the time as the ferries will take far to long to get you around.   From Athens I'd be inclined to fly direct to Venice.

Or if you don't want to go to Greece, instead of going back up the east coast, head back to Firenze (Florence) which is breathtakingly beautiful.   From Bologna, a day to Modena is worth it if you want to see the home of Ferrari.  

The Austrian leg of that tour is boring and I'd suggest going east into Hungary - Budapest is a must and then heading back to Vienna before going North.

OR, you could jump from Bologna and head north to Switzerland on on through to Germany and Muchen.   That tour misses out the whole of Bavaria and the Schwarzveld and it has some amazing things to see like such as Schloss Neuschewanstein.  From there go east to Austria and through Salzburg, Linz and Vienna.

The rest of the tip looks pretty good, but make sure you go to Brussels before jumping back on the ferry at Roterdam (which is a horrible place compared to everything else).

Oh - and you MUST check out the option of Interrailing.   While you're still pretty young it really is the cheapest and best way to get around Europe and you'll make a lot of new friends on the way.  I'm not sure if it's still the same, but a ticket lasts for a month and is only a few hundred dollars.   You also get big discounts with places to stay if you buy and Interrail pass.   You do have to pay small supplements for high speed trains though.  

Lucky bugger!  Now I must go book my tickets for Kuala Lumpur next weekend ;)

Offline The Tan-Gent_MiNaJ

  • I Sleep Here !
  • ******
  • Posts: 3451
  • i-i-i-i am Zolanski!
Re: Early Stages of Planning My European Trip
« Reply #3 on: 26 Jul 11, 12:19:pm »
Thanks guys for your input, my only real concern is whether or not doing it alone is worthwhile (I am young and free practically lol).

I am currently weighing the pros and cons of travelling alone, but from the input I have been getting from others, the pros seem to outweigh the cons at this point. I suppose it takes good planning, and being well prepared for what you're intending to do.   :-X

Other then that, is language going to be a barrier in some places? (and yes I do intend to at least put a little effort in learning local phrases).

Offline calum_v2

  • Dragon boaters like it wet, with long deep hard strokes
  • I Sleep Here !
  • ******
  • Posts: 2818
  • I'm lushed- blame the dragon boat team ;-)
Re: Early Stages of Planning My European Trip
« Reply #4 on: 26 Jul 11, 07:28:pm »
Thanks guys for your input, my only real concern is whether or not doing it alone is worthwhile (I am young and free practically lol).

I am currently weighing the pros and cons of travelling alone, but from the input I have been getting from others, the pros seem to outweigh the cons at this point. I suppose it takes good planning, and being well prepared for what you're intending to do.   :-X

Other then that, is language going to be a barrier in some places? (and yes I do intend to at least put a little effort in learning local phrases).

Yes, there are places on there I would miss - Le Mans as The Don suggested.  Perhaps up the Danish peninsula to Copenhagen, a ferry across to Malmo, then down through Berlin to Vienna (when I was at the conference there last year, I only met three people who did not speak English in 2 weeks: 1 from FYROM, one from Ukraine, and one Viennese man), so who needs a phrasebook? (though google translate may help at times, but please and thanks in most languages seemed to suffice).  I'd be tempted to go west again via Linz than Graz, Salzburg ,Innsbruck, Lichtenstein (just so you can say you've been there), Milan, Verona, Venice, Rimini, San Marina (again, just so you can say you've been there), across to Pisa, then Genoa, visiting Monaco on the way to Nice, (again, just to say you've been there), Barcelona, Sitges, Valencia, Gibralter, Ferry across to and back from Ceuta (which, though in Africa, is still part of Spain), back through Madrid, then through Nantes, Angers, Orleans, Paris, and finally Calais.  Find out when the Pride Parades are on and try to time it, so the trip may be before the wedding.

Note on language: I found in Vienna that if I pronounced, or at least made an attempt to pronounce the place and added "bitte", "please",  (as in "Wein Mitte, bitte"), I got better, quicker, and therefore cheaper service from taxis than others got by getting in the taxi and showing the address.  One person who did so only realised after they had been there three days that they had passed their hotel 3 times going there from the railway terminal.

NZAF - the only organisation to award someone for sleeping through Board meetings and opposing their mission.

Offline david_maine

  • ----
  • *
  • Posts: 26
Re: Early Stages of Planning My European Trip
« Reply #5 on: 26 Jul 11, 07:42:pm »
Other then that, is language going to be a barrier in some places? (and yes I do intend to at least put a little effort in learning local phrases).

seeing as u are "single" and quite possibly may end up hooking up there, then yes, learning some basic local phrases will help you. ;)

Offline calum_v2

  • Dragon boaters like it wet, with long deep hard strokes
  • I Sleep Here !
  • ******
  • Posts: 2818
  • I'm lushed- blame the dragon boat team ;-)
Re: Early Stages of Planning My European Trip
« Reply #6 on: 26 Jul 11, 08:16:pm »
seeing as u are "single" and quite possibly may end up hooking up there, then yes, learning some basic local phrases will help you. ;)

This may be the only phrase you'll need in bars, etc:

Etes-vous bien accroché? Je suis. (for France)
Bent u goed hangen? Ik ben. (for the Netherlands)
Sind Sie gut abgehangen? Ich bin. (for Germany)
Jste visící? Já jsem. (for the Czech Republic)
Sind Sie gut abgehangen? Ich bin. (for Austria)
Stai bene appeso? Io sono. (for Italy)
Etes-vous bien accroché? Je suis. (for France, again)
¿Está bien dotado? estoy (for Spain)
Etes-vous bien accroché? Je suis. (for France, again again)

You may also need the following:
France:Oui, non, s'il vous plaît, merci
Netherlands: Ja, nee, alstublieft, dank u
Germany, Austria: Ja, nein, bitte, danke
Czech Republic: Ano, ne, prosím, děkuji
Italy: Sì, no, per favore, grazie
Spain: Sí, no, por favor, gracias

NZAF - the only organisation to award someone for sleeping through Board meetings and opposing their mission.

Stu

  • Guest
Re: Early Stages of Planning My European Trip
« Reply #7 on: 26 Jul 11, 09:29:pm »
Ok, I'm going to have to disagree with The Don. Naples is the stinking armpit of Italy. Unless you want to dine in a restaurant with rubber matts covering the drains to mask the stench of the sewers, I'd stick well and truly to the North. Sorry Don, but what were you thinking??  :P (everything else I agree with). Florence is arguably one of the most stunning cities in the world - beating Paris hands down. Not only do you have the Uffizi gallery, the Academia and all the obvious arty places, you've also got some of the most stunning examples of italian palaces and gardens - The Boboli Gardens and the Pitti Palace for example. Also within a stone's throw of Florence you've got Siena and Lucca (complete with its tree topped tower). Plus you're surrounded by the Tuscan landscape - I could happily spend a full five weeks there alone.

As for the local lingo, I got by in Italy knowing only "Hello", "I don't speak much Italian", "Leave me alone" and "I'm on the pill" (its a long story).  There's a lot to be said for learning a few lines of any other language but to be honest, if you're just passing through enough to be courteous and polite is enough to be starting with. Anything else you can pick up as you go. 

Traveling alone can be daunting but I've found its easy enough to make friends if you're open to meeting people, plus you won't be the only person there on your own.


Offline The Tan-Gent_MiNaJ

  • I Sleep Here !
  • ******
  • Posts: 3451
  • i-i-i-i am Zolanski!
Re: Early Stages of Planning My European Trip
« Reply #8 on: 27 Jul 11, 12:34:am »
Find out when the Pride Parades are on and try to time it, so the trip may be before the wedding.

There is one in Cologne which I have found out about, so if I can somehow correlate in dates around my tour of Germany to work in around July 6-9th of next year, then that would work well for me I think to catch a glimpse of that...

seeing as u are "single" and quite possibly may end up hooking up there, then yes, learning some basic local phrases will help you. ;)

All I ever hear about European men is that they are incredibly affectionate, so I guess I may not even have to say much to get a blokes attention...not that I will be, but seeing as I am indeed "single", I guess what I'm saying is that I won't be not ruling that out haha.  >:D


Ok, I'm going to have to disagree with The Don. Naples is the stinking armpit of Italy. Unless you want to dine in a restaurant with rubber matts covering the drains to mask the stench of the sewers, I'd stick well and truly to the North. Sorry Don, but what were you thinking??  :P (everything else I agree with). Florence is arguably one of the most stunning cities in the world - beating Paris hands down. Not only do you have the Uffizi gallery, the Academia and all the obvious arty places, you've also got some of the most stunning examples of italian palaces and gardens - The Boboli Gardens and the Pitti Palace for example. Also within a stone's throw of Florence you've got Siena and Lucca (complete with its tree topped tower). Plus you're surrounded by the Tuscan landscape - I could happily spend a full five weeks there alone.

It's all so picturesque, I'm so looking into travelling around Florence and Venice particularly...

Offline The Don

  • I Sleep Here !
  • ******
  • Posts: 6824
Re: Early Stages of Planning My European Trip
« Reply #9 on: 27 Jul 11, 02:26:am »
Ok, I'm going to have to disagree with The Don. Naples is the stinking armpit of Italy. Unless you want to dine in a restaurant with rubber matts covering the drains to mask the stench of the sewers, I'd stick well and truly to the North. Sorry Don, but what were you thinking?? 

Nah, I'd still say go for it as the history attached to the place is amazing.   I'm sure Athens has probably got better but it was a stinking pit (worse even than Jakarta) when I went there but I'm still happy to have been there.  It's worth heading south just to check out Vesuvius and Pompeii.

Stu

  • Guest
Re: Early Stages of Planning My European Trip
« Reply #10 on: 27 Jul 11, 12:58:pm »
It's worth heading south just to check out Vesuvius and Pompeii.

Now this I do agree with you on!

Offline chris125

  • ----
  • *
  • Posts: 1
Re: Early Stages of Planning My European Trip
« Reply #11 on: 20 Aug 11, 05:23:pm »
Given your route, I would suggest adding in Ljubljana in Slovenia. Prague can a tourist nightmare but worth the visit just be wary of getting ripped off on accommodation.

As always, never eat at restaurants on the main streets, walk a couple of hundred metres down some side streets and eat where the loacls eat, it is much cheaper. This is true everywhere. In France , go for the menu du jour as the food is plentiful, good and cheap but only available between 12.30 and 1.30 in many smaller places.

As you are in London, I am surprised to see you are not thinking of Edinburgh, Dublin or Cardiff. Fab places with plenty going on.