7 countries in a month

Old Sep 29th, 2014, 11:04 AM
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 7,125
No problem. I had all the links, which I used when planning our own trip. Do read my trip report as well, because we went to several of the places you want to visit.
bvlenci is offline  
Old Sep 29th, 2014, 11:29 AM
Join Date: Apr 2013
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If OP really wants to do this trip, no matter ill-advised it is, we should support her.
sparkchaser is offline  
Old Sep 29th, 2014, 11:29 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
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If you're going to eat the big drop off fee why not keep the car and drive to Venice? I guess the car would be useless in Gimmewald, but it would save a lot of messing around.

I looked at dropping off a car in Germany near Basel once but didn't end up doing it, I think it was possible though. So alternatively you could take the train from Amsterdam to Cologne(Koln), pick up a car there, do your Rhine thing and then drop the car off in Germany to avoid the drop off fee.

Personally I would drop Brugge and go straight to Amsterdam, adding a night each to London and Amsterdam.
Hez is offline  
Old Sep 29th, 2014, 11:45 AM
Join Date: Oct 2013
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Another piece of advice: try to find a hotel or B&B in Oban that has parking, and is within walking distance of the ferry terminal. Our B&B advertised that they had parking, but they really just parked the cars one behind the other in a driveway. When we arrived, rather late in the day, there was no more space in the driveway, and we had to park the car rather far away, on the street. Later, they advised us that there was a spot free in the driveway, and we moved the car.

When we went to Iona, we left the car at the B&B, giving them the keys so they could move it temporarily to let other people out. I was a little nervous about leaving the keys of a rental car with the host, but there was really little choice.

We had originally planned to spend only one night in Oban, and drive on to Glencoe after returning from Mull. At the last minute, I changed the plan and was very glad I did. First, we wouldn't have been able to leave the car at the B&B. Second, we arrived back in Oban rather late, because of a delayed ferry departure, and would have been rather tired for driving further. Finally, we would have had a longer drive the next day, and, as others have said, driving in Scotland takes longer than one would expect.

I really urge you to take the earliest ferry to Mull. It leaves very early, but if you take a later ferry, you'll be in the midst of the tour bus traffic, which slows everything down. They serve a good breakfast on the ferry, reasonably priced. As a foot passenger, you can embark and disembark quickly, and won't need a reservation. We did buy the tickets the evening before to save time in the morning.
bvlenci is offline  
Old Sep 29th, 2014, 12:42 PM
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 222
My husband and I do a lot of road trips. For example from Philadelphia, follow the coast up into Maine, then take ferry to Nova Scotia and make the loop up to Cape Breton...well, you get the idea. If you think of your trip as a road trip, which is what I think it is, then you need to make sure you have every few days a day to just recharge. I'm not saying you will sit around, but at a beautiful location that isn't the worst idea. Typically due to work commitments we can only manage two weeks at a time so careful planning is essential. I try to make sure to take great scenic routes and build in some time to stop and maybe picnic or something.

We also love train trips and view them as part of experience.

And when we don't do a road trip we like to stay places for enough days to get a real feel of the place. I don't think you can combine both types of trips unless you have months and months or concentrate in a very small area.

Not sure if this is at all helpful or not.
ceezee is offline  
Old Sep 29th, 2014, 01:12 PM
Join Date: Oct 2006
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"If OP really wants to do this trip, no matter ill-advised it is, we should support her."

But she DID say, "I'm all about asking for tips and advice -- let me know what you all think! Thank you!'

So, sparkchaser, are you suggesting we should all just ignore that request (which I assumed was sincere) and just say things like "Oh, brilliant plan. It couldn't be better"? Are you suggesting people should NOT give her the tips and advice she asked for and also not let her know what "we" think?
NeoPatrick is offline  
Old Sep 29th, 2014, 01:39 PM
Join Date: Apr 2008
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Whatever Sparkchaser meant we should support him.
colduphere is offline  
Old Sep 29th, 2014, 02:05 PM
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Posts: 11
Isn't travelling supposed to make people more open, polite, and patient? Just relax. Thank you for participating in this discussion, even if some of the comments are a bit over-the-top. Arguments and petty cattiness can be relocated to the MSNBC and FoxNews comment sections. Advice & suggestions about locations on my itinerary are welcome. Thanks!

bvlenci, once again thank you. I'm noting everything you say, and I'll definitely give your trip report a read tonight.
Beleith is offline  
Old Sep 29th, 2014, 02:22 PM
Join Date: Jan 2012
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"Arguments and petty cattiness can be relocated..."

Beleith, I see you're new here. Fodor's, aka, anarchy. Ask a question and duck. Questions somehow usually get the attention they deserve, also true in this case. But don't imagine for a second that telling the participants to behave themselves will be constructive. Some do, some don't, but no one follows instructions. The best and the brightest rarely do.
MmePerdu is offline  
Old Sep 29th, 2014, 02:31 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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And 25 days divided by 7, from Scotland to wherever will invite a negativity about what you want to spend your money for--a driveby vacation or something you will remember and talk about. And there is a real point. After you spend all the money to go all over these places, will you be glad you did?
You said in your first post, "I have been these places, etc.". HOW did YOU go to these places--like you are suggesting? On a "world tour" as a teenager on a bus?
But you did say you could do without Zurich (I think).
Please pare down a couple of places. You have said some are written in stone. Fine.
Gretchen is offline  
Old Sep 29th, 2014, 02:36 PM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 9,618
23 places in 26 days.

The OP said she is "all about asking for tips and advice -- let me know what you all think", but she found the very sincere responses too critical for a first draft. It certainly did not seem like a first draft, especially when she then offered so many reasons for her choices.

Now it is clear that much of the itinerary is set and the OP knows what they want. Had those reasons been given in the beginning, more posters with experience doing that kind of trip might have offered advice on how to make it work.

Some people enjoy hard driving road trips. Since that is not our travel style, my only advice is: you have time. Take another couple of months to read and plan, to narrow things down, to make additions, etc. Don't have too much set in stone right now. Keep an open mind, even (especially) to critical advice.
Sassafrass is online now  
Old Sep 29th, 2014, 03:02 PM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 53,083
Beleith - i have arrived late at your thread and read the replies [more or less predictable] to your queries. I too gasped at your ambition - and wished that i lived in a country that would allow travel at that speed, but sadly, the UK isn't that country.

I understand as do virtually all the others who have replied the temptation to think that by going to lots of places you'll be seeing lots of things. Sadly that isn't the case - in the end you will see fewer because every time you arrive somewhere new, you have to find your new accommodation, get your bearings, waste time understanding the transport system, find the nicest bar, the cosiest cafe, work out what you want to see and realise that it's shut, etc. etc. and by the time you get home, you won't remember what you saw where - it'll just be a blur.

Let me give you an example of a trip we just did - we were in Germany for 10 days, spending 2 nights in each of 4 places, then the last 3 nights with friends. By the time we got to our third destination i was getting pretty fed up with moving on after just two days, and would have loved to have stayed longer. And on the days that we were travelling, we planned them so that we were seeing a lot of things en route and doing relatively little mileage - on average our driving times were about 2 hours or less. with the amount of travelling that you are planning to do in between your destinations, you may end up just sleeping on the days that you want to be spending seeing where you've got to.

i would plan to spend at least 3 nights in Edinburgh [it's july, so you've got the best chance of good weather and if it's wet there are loads of things to do indoors] and then move onto Oban and spend another 3 nights there, then follow the suggestion to explore the north of England, and gradually make your way south, but giving yourselves plenty of time to explore wherever you decide to go.

on this trip, the Cotswolds, Basel and Zurich could easily be jettisoned, which would give you longer for Venice [only one day?] and Rome.
annhig is online now  
Old Sep 29th, 2014, 03:37 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2014
Posts: 11
Thanks for your tips. Gretchen, my mother and I backpacked and took trains everywhere.

I've made some adjustments, mostly to the beginning of the itinerary, cutting out bits of England and adding a whole bunch of time in Edinburgh. I cut out London completely and took the suggestion to do the overnight ferry from Hull to Brugge. The Rhine trip is a bit fuzzy but I'm convinced that we'll love it, and it seems like a nice way to get from Amsterdam to Switzerland. Rome is still a frustration because I wasn't able to go last time when I backpacked through Italy and I regretted it...I desperately want to see the Sistine Chapel because I have this fear it will be destroyed or something. Plus, it's easy to fly out of Rome. One day won't even begin to do it justice, I know.

The one thing I could still change is Basel -- I have a friend there so I need to decide if that's worth the extra trip. Might not be. If so, I'd be going directly from Bacharach to Gimmelwald, giving me one more day to apply to either Rome or somewhere else.

4-Jul Arrive in Glasgow
Drive to Oban with car or possibly by train
Overnight in Oban
5-Jul Bus tour to Duart & Iona
Overnight in Oban
6-Jul Oban to Edinburgh, possibly by train
Overnight in Edinburgh
7-Jul Explore Edinburgh
8-Jul Explore Edinburgh
9-Jul Edinburgh to Durham by car, or by train (if possible)
Overnight in Durham
10-Jul Explore Durham
Overnight in Durham
11-Jul Durham to Hull, Hull to Bruges on overnight ferry
Overnight on Ferry
12-Jul Explore Brugge
Overnight in Brugge
13-Jul Brugge to Amsterdam (4 hr by train)
Overnight in Amsterdam
14-Jul Explore Amsterdam
Overnight in Amsterdam
July 15-18 Rhine Trip - Some fuzziness here.
Overnight in Bacharach possibly 2 or 3 nights.
Want to see Eltz Castle (3hrs30min from Amsterdam, 1 from Bacharach). Possibly take a train from Amsterdam to Bacharach, then take day tours/buses to Eltz and St. Goar
18-Jul Travel from Bacharach to Basel, possibly by train (5 hrs)
Evening and overnight in Basel
19-Jul Breakfast in Basel with friend, then on to Gimmelwald (4 hrs by train & gondola)
Overnight in Gimmelwald
20-Jul Explore Gimmelwald area
Overnight in Gimmelwald
21-Jul Gimmelwald to Venice (full day)
Overnight on Train? In Venice?
22-Jul Explore Venice
Overnight in Venice
23-Jul Explore Venice
Overnight in Venice
24-Jul Venice to Lucca (by car 4 hrs)
Overnight in Lucca
25-Jul Explore Lucca
Overnight in Lucca
26-Jul Trip along SS222, Chianti Road (possible tour)
Overnight in Lucca, possibly Chianti
27-Jul Lucca to Rome by train (4 hours)
Overnight in Rome
28-Jul Rome (Vatican - Just Sistine Chapel if I can get in)
Overnight in Rome
19-Jul Rome back to USA
Beleith is offline  
Old Sep 29th, 2014, 04:05 PM
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 7,125
We drove from Glasgow to Oban, but the train ride is supposed to be very scenic. The main reason we drove is that I wanted to see Loch Lomond. My father grew up in Glasgow and often talked of Loch Lomond.

I think that perhaps to get from Oban to Edinburgh, you have to change in Glasgow, but I could be wrong. It shouldn't be a problem anyway.

There are also buses from Glasgow to Oban, which take about the same amount of time and cost about the same. If you have to pass through Glasgow on the way back, you might want to take the train in one direction and the bus in the other, for variety.

From Edinburgh to Durham is very easy by train.

I was surprised to learn that there were still overnight ferries from Hull. We used to take the overnight ferry from Hoek van Holland to Harwich when we lived in the Netherlands, but that closed down a long time ago. I really liked the overnight ferry.
bvlenci is offline  
Old Sep 29th, 2014, 04:13 PM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 506
It's looking much better! Personally I would either take out Basel and add that day to Rome or you could take a day from Edinburgh or Venice and add it to Rome. Rome is amazing. I don't think you'll regret adding time there.

Now, just to throw a spanner in the works, what about doing the trip in reverse? I only mention it because in July it will be getting hotter and hotter so going south to north might make more sense.

Lastly - why are you driving from Venice to Lucca? It's a 4 hour train ride with a stop in Florence. You could feasibly go to Florence in the morning, leave your luggage at the train station, have a few hours there, and then continue on to Lucca.

Hez is offline  
Old Sep 29th, 2014, 11:02 PM
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There is still a ferry from Harwich to Hoek van Holland...we have done the overnight ferry several times

jamikins is offline  
Old Sep 30th, 2014, 01:52 AM
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beleith - if you don't want to leave out Basel, what about taking a day from Lucca [nice but nothing to compare with Rome] and adding it to Rome?

otherwise, well done! looks like a great trip.
annhig is online now  
Old Sep 30th, 2014, 02:05 AM
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 7,125
I'm sure I had read that the service was stopped, sometime in the 1990s. They must have reinstated it.
bvlenci is offline  
Old Sep 30th, 2014, 06:49 AM
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Join Date: Sep 2014
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All of those tips make sense, thanks. We'll probably just eliminate the need to rent a car in the UK and stick with all trains/buses. As for going backwards, I'll have a look at flight costs and see if there is a difference. It's a possibility.

We'll be using all trains throughout Italy, too, and opting for tours/buses/trains out of Lucca. They have some great Chianti tours out of Lucca -- expensive but might be worth it.

I'm going to bite the bullet and take out Basel. Not sure where I'll add the extra day yet, though.

Thanks for your help, everyone! Now just need to sort out the details.
Beleith is offline  
Old Sep 30th, 2014, 10:05 AM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 694
Your plan is looking much better now. I know you want to see the Sistine chapel (I did too), but even with advance tickets and an ability to skip the line, the Vatican Museums were a zoo and this was in September. When we finally made it to the Sistine Chapel it was absolutely packed. We were forced to keep walking and trying to look at the ceiling was impossible. I am not saying "don't go", but go with a clear expectation of what you might and might not see. I actually enjoyed St. Peter's a lot more.
jane1144 is offline  

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