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First-time Canuck needs advice on Western Europe

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I am hoping that some of you good people can help me with a few issues regarding my upcoming trip (I'm leaving August 6th for 7 weeks). I am flying into Glasgow and spending a week or so in Scotland. I'll work my way down and over to France (I'll go back to London next year). My tentative plan is to backpack across France, go down to Spain, and then over to Italy. I'm flying out of Paris so I was planning on ending my trip with 6 days in Paris. So that leaves me roughly 11 days each for France, Spain, and Italy. Here's my questions:
1) Will a 15 day Eurorail pass be enough?
2) Should I be trying to include Germany in my trip (I had originally thought I might try to)?
3) I plan on doing to hostel thing primarily, however I've heard that hotels are cheap in Southern Europe even in August. Any advice? Either way, should I be worrying about reservations in cities like Barcelona or Rome?
4)And finally, I would greatly appreciate any general advice or tips on places to see. I'm overwhelmed by all the possibilites.

Thank you very much in advance. I will be sure to repay the advice with some of my own when I return.

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    Ian..

    I think the first thing you should do is sit down, with a couple of good maps, and maybe a copy of the Thomas Cook European Rail Timetable (which I understand are often available in bookstores and libraries in North America,and certainly on sale at Thos.Cook Travel Agencies) and map out a rough itinerary.
    I almost always travel freelance and change my itinerary on the run, but I always set out a working plan well before I book anything or leave home.
    In your tentative itinerary you should of course build it around any MUST DO/SEE places you have in mind.
    From this plan you will be able to work out what sort of Eurail pass you are likely to need (15 days sounds a bit light to me).
    You might also discover that you have 2/3 days to spare for London as you will be passing the door so to speak anyway.
    By doing this rough plan you will at least know in your mind what a logical route is, rather than running the risk of going round in circles at times, or frequently backtracking.
    For example you mentioned Germany, and there quite interesting and logical routes from Italy via Switzerland and/or Germany on your trip back to Paris to catch the plane.
    Incidentally Thos Cook also produce a cheap Rail Map of Europe, which shows all the main routes, and highlights the most scenic rail lines on the map, which is a very useful tool in ascertaining the best touring areas.
    Hope this helps, look forward to hearing more from you on these posts.

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    As a fellow Canadian I have a small piece of advice to offer - sew a Canadian flag on your backpack, jacket arm, day pack, whatever...as the Molson Canadian commercial says you 'can proudly sew your country's flag on your backpack'! We enjoy a good reputation in Europe, take advantage of it, just be sure not to soil it.

    Scotland is a beautiful country, try to make it into the Highlands if you can, they are great. Paris has lots for any taste, check out staying in the Latin Quater, lots of cheap accomadations & food.

    I've spent time in Scotland, England & France (Paris & Annecy) feel free to e-mail me if you have any further questions on those areas

    Daniel

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