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What's the best way to see Europe in 2 weeks on a tight budget? Impossible?

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Who's travelling: me and my boyfriend, we're both asian, in our early 20s.

When we're travelling: over christmas and new year's 2006

Where do we want to go: france, italy and london. we're in Germany beforehand with friends for a month and then from then on, i'm totally clueless. but we definitely need to leave London by the 1st week of Jan.

1) Is it more cost effective to do tours of rome paris london e.g. trafalgar, cosmos, etc for 8 days then spend the rest of the week with day tours/independent in London, than flying cheap from Cologne to Rome, staying 3 days each in Rome, Paris ??? in hostels ?? what do we do with our time?? will it end up costing us alot more??

2) we've looked at trafalgar and other tours..but AUD$1500 for 8 days, is it worth it? Do we spend more time travelling from place to place on a bus than actually being in any 1 city?

Will the weather have any bearing on our decisions?

We only speak English and are struggling to learn some conversational German now..how will we get by on our own?

This is our very 1st time in Europe, and I have no idea where to start. We're on a small budget and want to see the major cities the best way possible.

I've looked at many forums and so many people have been-there-done-that, so the info given doesn't apply to me at all...e.g. We can't rent a car. Out of the question. We can't find some obscure little French town and walk around soaking in the local culture -- no way.

We need a miracle, or a lottery win. Please help!

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