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    by mkataoka Fodor's Editor | Posted on Nov 28, 16 at 01:31 PM
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Regulars here suggest slow travel to 1st time Europe visitors--bad advice?

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I know most everyone here (I included) tends to tell people who are planning first time visits to not try to cram so many places in. That slowing down, less is more, mode of travel is what many people who frequent this forum have become accustomed to since, typically, they have been able to travel a lot in Europe. Many also reside in Europe where they can quite easily plan affordable return visits.

Several things got me thinking recently about whether this slow-it-down and eliminate places advice is always the best. I'm from the US, and I'd had the opportunity to spent two months in Mediterranean Europe in my early twenties. Then, there was a span of about 25 years when we were unable to afford anything like this because we were raising our children.

Our first return trip to Europe was when our youngest was doing a semester abroad in Vienna. We had 19 days on that trip and visited all of these places: 1 night stopover in Iceland on Iceland Air's take-a-break in Iceland program, 2 nights in Luxembourg, a night along the Mosel, a flight to Vienna and then 4 nights in Vienna, 3 nights in Krakow, 2 nights in Budapest, a couple nights along the Danube, 1 night outside of Vienna at Neusiedl am See, 1 night in Slovenia to see some caves whose name I've forgotten, 1 night in southern Italy on our way back up to Austria from Slovenia, and a final night's stay in Munich after dropping off our car before flying out.

So this was 11 places in 19 days and exactly the type of itinerary we'd laugh at posters if they suggested as a plan. We loved the trip, and it was our impetus to return for many more trips. Would I take this on now? No way! But, I think we all need to think back and remember what it was like to be excited by a first trip for people who are trying to fit in as many different places as possible and who do not know if they will be able to return.

On that trip the people whose itinerary we were incredulous about was the couple who had made a once-in-a-lifetime trip to visit their son who was in the military and stationed in Germany. They were riding the ring tram around Vienna to get a feel for the city, and that is where we chatted with them. They had taken the overnight train in to Vienna from somewhere else, had the day in Vienna and then were taking the night train to Venice for a day. They knew that for sure this would be the only time they would ever be able to visit Europe and were gong to make the most of it. I am sure that they appreciated their opportunity and do not regret their trip to this day. Would they have preferred more leisurely trip? Probably. But, people have to deal with the amount of time they have in which to travel whether it is optimal or not.

Shortly after our return from that 19 day trip I also remember reading a story in our local travel section about a couple who had rented a house in rural France for a week. Their goal was just to relax, do some low-key sightseeing, and fit into village life. That article stands out in my mind because I remember wondering to myself why in the world, when there ae so many different exciting place in 'Europe to visit, would anyone want to do that type of trip. Now we are those people who would do exactly that, but it always helps to remember that we were not always that type of traveler.

Just something to think about for many people here who constantly give the slow-down advice.

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