2012 Europe travel during Olympics

Old Aug 9th, 2010, 09:53 AM
  #1  
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2012 Europe travel during Olympics

We will be taking a 16 day trip to Europe visiting the afore mentioned cities. We are planning our trip for late July 2012 while the Olympics are in London. I realize that is really far off, but the hotels are starting to book up in London already. Therefore, I am in a crunch to figure out what my travel schedule is going to look like so I can book my London stay. My main problem is the travel route. We will not be driving, so trains look like my best option. Has anyone traveled by an overnight sleeper train from London to Edinburgh? And how about a sleeper ferry from Edinburgh to Amsterdam? Tentatively this is what I have: London(4 days) to Edinburgh(3 days) by sleeper train. From Edinburgh by train to Newcastle where the overnight ferry leaves for Amsterdam(3 days). Amsterdam by train to Cologne(2 days, maybe 3), then train from Cologne to Brussels(1 day), and back to London for a day or two before flight leaves. Wow that seems like alot of travel, but some of these places are short train rides from each other. Does this sound feasible?
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Old Aug 9th, 2010, 10:09 AM
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Your itinerary looks OK but needs to be re-shuffled. Seriously.

Why are you circling back? Why not fly into London and fly home from Brussels?

A modified 16-day plan with the same number of nights in each place:

Fly into London
London Day 1-6
Train to Edinburgh
Edinburgh Day 7-10
FLY to Amsterdam on EasyJet (cheaper AND quicker than a ferry, under $50USD/person one-way)
Amsterdam Day 11-13
Train to Cologne
Cologne Day 14-15
Train to Brussels
Brussels Day 16
Fly home from Brussels

You need to look at the whole transportation package: i.e. - the slightly higher international fare for open-jaw flight is offset by less money spent getting around within Europe.
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Old Aug 10th, 2010, 06:12 AM
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That is a good idea bardo1! I just assumed open-jaw was much more expensive. I checked on it and it was not too bad. I'm thinking a rail pass would not be worth it with the few trains we are taking.
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Old Aug 10th, 2010, 08:55 AM
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Are you planning on attending the Olympics?

If not, why visit London then?
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Old Aug 10th, 2010, 09:05 AM
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Hi Melanie

A comment on the Edinburgh sleeper train. Is the intention to save a travel day? Otherwise I wouldn't say it's worth it. The night train takes about 8 hours whereas the day time train takes around 4 hours (and travels through some lovely countryside north from Newcastle). A very pleasant journey. Of course, there's also many many flights which take about 1 hour and only need 1 hour's check-in time as they're internal, although I have no idea how the Olympics will impact prices.

The sleeper train is by no means the Orient Express. You get a pretty basic and tiny cabin. Not particularly comfortable - I didn't sleep hardly at all.
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Old Aug 10th, 2010, 09:36 AM
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I agree w/ Kate on the sleeper - it's a lot of ado over not much in the way of amenities. And the day trip is lovely.

I also question why you are going to London except to go to the Olympics. EVERYTHING will be much more expensive and crowded.
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Old Aug 10th, 2010, 09:42 AM
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Melanie,

I agree that the (4 hr) London to Edinburgh day train makes more sense - it lines up pretty well with required hotel check out time in London and the check-in time allowed in Edinburgh.

You're right about the rail pass - not worth it for your 3 rides.

Good move on the open-jaw - it will make your trip SO much more efficient.

Sounds like you have it together pretty well and all your questions are answered except one detail: Were you convinced to fly from Edinburgh to Amsterdam instead of making your way to Newcastle and then taking the (17 hour) ferry?

Anything else besides travel routing?
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Old Aug 10th, 2010, 09:44 AM
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sap
 
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As much as I love London, I agree that the Olympics would definitely be the wrong time to go unless that was your specific purpose. The city is expensive enough anyway. I would think the best time to visit London could be AFTER the Olympics, when it's still looking spiffy, but the crowds are reduced and the costs have dropped.
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Old Aug 12th, 2010, 08:40 AM
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When we first started planning this trip, we were going to go in March because that's when our 10 year anniversary is(and the reason for this whole trip). We decided it would be too cold that time of year and upon further investigation realized that summer was when the Olympics would be there. It was never our intention to go for the the Olympics, but in my head I was thinking "what a great opportunity to be there for something so monumental". On the other hand, I completely understand why we should visit before or after. I wonder how long it will take for everything to get back to normal? If we changed our itenerary with fewer nights in London, we would love to go to Ballater and see the Highland Games(which is still at the tail end of the Olympics. Has anyone been to Ballater? Would it be worth the hassle(trains, car, bus?) to go? Maybe fly into Edinburgh then travel north to Ballater, and by the time we traveled south to the other places it would be somewhat back to normal.
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Old Aug 12th, 2010, 09:23 AM
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I wonder how long it will take for everything to get back to normal?

In terms of hotels prices and crowds in Greater London, a day or two after the Olympics are over.

I have not been to Ballater or the Highland Games, but it doesn't look like a "hassle". I would definitely suggest a car to get there or anywhere else in the countryside.
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Old Aug 12th, 2010, 10:41 AM
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I'm with sap -- visit about a week or two after the Olympics after the hordes have receded. London is crowded enough without the moronathon and price-gouging that attends Olympics.
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Old Aug 12th, 2010, 02:59 PM
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There are other games all over Scotland - Ballater and Braemar in the same general area and LOTS of others. Nothing really magic about Ballater. Since you haven't booked your flights yet - you do have another issue. Not only will London be impacted by the Olympics, Edinburgh will be PACKED due to the festivals/Tattoo. If you can shift your dates, finding accommodations will be much easier/cheaper
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