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Hate Crowds, Want to go to Europe--in the summer!

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Hi Folks,
Because I'm a teacher, I'm locked into the school calendar, so timewise, summer affords me the most time to get away. Of course, I realize it also means higher prices and more people--not exactly my ideal, but don't know how to get around it.

My goal is to leave the US (Atlanta) early June and stay about 3 wks. My hope is that it might be slightly less crowded and a bit more economical than in July--the airfare deals seem to end by 6/15 if that's any indication of supply/demand...I've toyed w/visiting Portugal and Spain, Scandinavia, but am open to other ideas...Should I consider South America?? (I really haven't done any research on that...) I've been warned by several people to avoid a crowded Italy at that time of year.

I'll probably be travelling alone and am in my 30s. I think I'm pretty adventurous, love the outdoors but also like cultural pursuits like looking at architecture, going to museums and love yummy food and wine. I think I'm a pretty easy traveller...give me a great location w/good people-watching possibilities, a tasty glass of wine or beer, a sunny day and maybe a local to shoot the breeze with, and I am in my happy place.

Can you head me in the right direction?

Thanks!!
Debbie

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