3-week itinerary

Old Nov 16th, 2000, 12:23 AM
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3-week itinerary

My friends and I want to go to Europe for three weeks in mid-May 2002, after our sophomore year in college. We plan to take lots of night trains and stay in hostels, and we want to see a good mix of touristy and authentic spots. Is this itinerary too hectic? Where would you make cuts? <BR> <BR>Thanks, <BR>Stephanie <BR> <BR>Day 1 Fly to London; Train to Amsterdam <BR>Day 2 Amsterdam <BR>Day 3 Amsterdam <BR>Day 4 Bern (Zurich?) <BR>Day 5 Bern <BR>Day 6 Venice <BR>Day 7 Venice <BR>Day 8 Rome <BR>Day 9 Rome <BR>Day 10 Nice/Cote d'Azur <BR>Day 11 Nice/Cote d'Azur <BR>Day 12 Barcelona <BR>Day 13 Barcelona <BR>Day 14 Madrid <BR>Day 15 Madrid <BR>Day 16 Paris <BR>Day 17 Paris <BR>Day 18 Paris <BR>Day 19 London <BR>Day 20 London <BR>Day 21 Depart from London <BR>
Old Nov 16th, 2000, 01:13 AM
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Your itinerary looks fine - a bit hectic but certainly do-able (I've had more hectic schedules whilst visiting the States) - just don't try to do everything in every city. And avoid too much tourist nonsense - it's just there to give you an idealised view of each city (I live in London and I'm frankly ashamed of half the nonsense that extracts money from visitors). <BR> <BR>Also please bear in mind that much of Europe is hideously overpriced. If you are planning on using trains all the time then you should look at getting a Euro-Rail pass. <BR> <BR>However, you will have an excellent time and I wish you well.
Old Nov 16th, 2000, 03:01 AM
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Hello <BR> <BR>When I travelsometimes move around fairly often, but your schedule has me beat by a mile. I think it is too hectic. Yes, it is doable, from a logistics standpoint, but to what end? You will be spending a good deal (too much) of time on trains, and will not get a chance to see anything. I think in some of the places, you will only have enough time for the highlights - the obvious places that will be crowded with tourists OR "authentic" spots. You also leave no time to see smaller places that can be just as nice, and more "authentic" than the large cities. <BR> <BR>Howard
Old Nov 16th, 2000, 05:27 AM
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Some advice: <BR>1. Try to get an airticket with arrival in Amsterdam and departure from London. They are called open-jaw tickets and are often available at (almost) the same price as return tickets. <BR>2. Spend one more day in Rome and Barcelona, skip Nice. <BR>3. Spend two days in Tuscany (on your way from Venice to Rome), preferably in Siena which is much nicer than Florence. <BR>4. Skip Madrid.
Old Nov 16th, 2000, 05:59 AM
wes fowler
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Stephanie, <BR>Recognize that these suggestions are coming from one who, at about your age, on his first trip to Europe spent the entire three weeks in Paris! Consider, too, that you will go back again! If you really want to see the touristy and "authentic" spots (what are they, by the way?) limit yourselves to one week in London, with side trips to Cambridge, Oxford, the Cotswolds (for "authenticity"); one week in Paris with side trips to Versailles, perhaps the Loire Valley, Chartres, Giverney and one week in Amsterdam with perhaps two days in Brugge or Ghent. You could substitute Rome for London or Amsterdam and include Florence as well. Do look into open jawed ticketing and rail passes. <BR>Your proposed whirlwind tour will leave you with nothing more than exhaustion and fleeting, jumbled memories that will hardly justify the cost of travel. Significantly reduce your ambitious plans to better savor and remember the delights of Europe. <BR>
Old Nov 16th, 2000, 06:16 AM
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Hi Stephanie. I have done the whirlwind tours of Europe by train twice, and even I am exhausted just looking at your itinerary. I think you will really regret going all the way to such wonderful cities and spending only 2 days in Rome for example. This is a mistake. I would whittle down your itinerary, leave out some destinations and swear you'll go back another time for those, and really SEE the places you do go. First of all, it is really exhausting to arrive in London after a long flight and leave immediately for Amsterdam. If I were you, I would do your three days in London first, because it will give you some time to get acclimated to the time change and being on another continent. Then 3 days in Amsterdam is fine (I loved Amsterdam). I would leave out Bern & Zurich on this trip and add one day each to Venice and Rome (3 days in each). Likewise, I would leave out Nice/Cote d'Azur on this trip and add one day each to Madrid and Barcelona. In fact, to be honest with you I would consider leaving Spain out of this trip and adding extra days to Paris, Rome, and London -- three huge, beautiful cities that deserve more time than you're giving them (particularly Paris and Rome, which really deserve at least 5 days each). But obviously it's up to you. Good luck.
Old Nov 16th, 2000, 12:07 PM
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Stephanie, <BR> <BR>I agree with most of the other posters. <BR>You are moving a little to fast. I would leave Bern and Madrid for future trips (and possibly Barcelona unless art and architecture are your priorities). The distances you are traveling are very large and the timing and logistics of getting to and from train stations takes up precious site seeing time. Night trains are a good choice but getting a good night sleep is important when you are moving around alot. I would definitly add a least another night to Rome. The city has a great night life and was safe for such a large city. <BR>I also would recommend staying in London or Paris for a few extra days and doing some day trips. At some point in the trip try to see some smaller towns. The Chatauexs in France and the Castles in England are a great contrast to the more modern cities. <BR>Have a great time! <BR>Aileen <BR> <BR> <BR> <BR>
Old Nov 16th, 2000, 03:35 PM
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Hi Stephanie: <BR> <BR>I agree that if you want to cover this much ground then try to fly in one city and out another rather than trying to make a "circle tour". If I were you, I would spend some serious time on raileurope.com and reallyfigure out the trip by train routing-for example maybe you stop in Paris from London rather than going straight to Amsterdam. Also, something to consider-you can gain a lot of travle time on the train both with night travel as you suggested but also by travelling on Sundays, which are kind of dead in most big cities anyway in Europe. So if you sit down with a calendar and the train schedules you may come up with some good ideas. <BR> <BR>I do agree that it may be sort of a if this is Tuesday, it must be Belgiaum kind of an experience, but that may be what you want-to see a little of a lot of places in case you don't get back soon or whatever. If you get an open-jaws ticket, you can keeping working your way south and either east or west, so if you decide to cut out anything, it may be the destinations that are really far one direction or the other ie Rome or Madrid. But, I do think given the train distances, the trip is possible and fun if you want the pace.
Old Nov 16th, 2000, 03:53 PM
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stephanie. if you elect to take a nite train from florence to rome BEWARE. this run is famous for trouble like people are chloroformed and baggage is stolen. the day run is fine and there are very few problems in italy of a seriuos naature except this problem. if 1 person stays awake during the 21/2 hr run you are ok. italy is a great place go see and enjoy yourself
Old Nov 16th, 2000, 04:24 PM
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Stephanie: As one who backpacked quite a few times when I was your age, my suggestion would be to pick a few places you know you definitely want to visit and keep it simple and plan as you go along. Like said earlier keep in mind you will go back. You will be surprised how many people you meet along the way and you might want to change mid-route. I agree that you should do open jaw and not in a circle. So start in London, Amsterdam or Madrid and end in the opposite direction. Then you wont feel so pressed to backtrack. Feel free to email directly if you want more advice.
Old Nov 16th, 2000, 04:39 PM
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It really sounds like too much ground to cover for 3 weeks. The first time I did a rail/back packing trip of Europe I took a similar pace. Not only do you have to factor in travel time from place to place (for instance, Rome is a really long way from Venice), you also have to figure time to find a place to stay in each city, taking a shower after check-in time to clean off train grime, changing money, doing laundry, standing in line to cross borders, packing and unpacking, checking bags in and out, etc. - the more you move from place to place the more time you can spend on these sorts of activities rather than seeing Europe. <BR> <BR>Narrowing down your list is hard because every place you want to go is wonderful. Picking 2 or 3 major anchor cities (Amsterdam, Paris, and Rome - my personal suggestions - or London, Paris, Amsterdam, or Madrid, Barcelona, Venice - any three - you can't go wrong) for 1 week in each and taking some day trips to smaller cities will let you see a lot and still get a sense of each country. 2 days in Rome, Amsterdam, and 3 in Paris will not allow you to do justice to any of these places. Seeing some smaller towns with day trips will allow you to get a sense of the local culture. <BR> <BR>Check out getting an open jaw ticket. They are usually the same or only slightly more expensive than a regular round trip and allow you to not have to hit the same spot twice. <BR> <BR>I hope this helps - have a wonderful time planning your trip (and actually taking it too, of course). <BR>
Old Nov 16th, 2000, 04:48 PM
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Old truism: the more you travel, the less you see. Slow down, cut your list by half.

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