Any Thoughts on Europe?

Sep 16th, 2003, 04:06 AM
  #1  
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Any Thoughts on Europe?

In March I will embark in a two month long trip of Europe alone. Being a woman alone in Europe is not as scary (thanks to some awesome answers on my earlier post) as missing out on something truly amazing.

I should first say that the purpose of this trip is not so much to check my To Do list. I want to experience Europe, want to taste it in an everyday life sort of way. I want to skip all lines full of tourists waiting to see the expected attraction and lazy around with the people who have seen the sights and just want to lazy about in a beautiful city.

I am open to any and all suggestions. Here is a list of the countries I have planned to visit. One small note: I really can?t venture past the Eurail covered countries of the continent. I am dependant on the rail as my only mode of transportation.

Here it is: I am flying open jaw from Tampa Florida to Denmark. From there Germany, France, Spain, Portugal, Spain again (Spanish is my first language so this will be my comfort zone) France again (this time the lower countryside), Italy, Switzerland and fly out of Austria.

I will welcome any thoughts on where to go, not for sights, but for beauty and ambiance. This is the trip in which I discover the world (or at least Europe) and hopefully Myself.


SolR_M is offline  
Sep 16th, 2003, 05:32 AM
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Good for you!! And go for it. We've been to all those countries, and we love not being in the big crowds/tourists. Just got back from living in Germany for 6 mo. You will love it.
Wife and 16 year old daughter drove themselves around Spain and Port for 2 weeks in 2000. No feelings of being unsafe, but apparently the men are pretty "forward". Maybe you already knew that.
I could probably give you more tips, but need to know what you like or want to see. We like spending a day or two in big cities, but much prefer the slower pace of the small towns and countryside. You could email us if you want more info. We love to talk about Europe. It brings back good memories!!

[email protected]
ekellyga is offline  
Sep 16th, 2003, 05:38 AM
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Well I'll get you started. For beauty and ambiance I love the south of France in the "hill" towns up from the coast-Vence, Tourettes sur Loup, Biot, Grasse, Eze, St Paul de Vence. You can train into Nice. From there I believe there's bus service to many of these places. Without a car there may be a logistical problem to get from place to place-I'm not sure. The website provencebeyond.com is a good place to research the different towns.

Vence might be a good place to base yourself to explore this area. It's a relatively large market town & probably has better transportation options than some of the other places.

There is train service all along the coast linking Monaco, Nice, Cannes etc. but this is a more touristy way to see the area. The trade off is access to easier transportation.
mclaurie is offline  
Sep 16th, 2003, 08:16 AM
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Hi! You are going to have a fantastic time travelling.
Here are a couple of suggestions (both cities I have lived in)
- I always like to fly the flag for Lyon, one of France's most beautiful (and often underrated) cities. It's great if you want to get away from the tourist throngs. Visit the Roman Amphitheatres (take a book, sit on the stone steps and chill for a while), wander the old town, check out the market in the Croix Rousse district, have a coffee on the Place des Terreaux.

- Granada: This town is often descended on by hoardes of tourists arriving for day-trips from the coast. They visit the Alhambra and then leave again. Step off the tourist trail and go for a walk through the Sacromonte area, where the main gypsy population (and a lot of hippies too!) live in homes carved out of the hillside, visit one of the many teterias (moorish tea-houses) the Calle Caldereria Nueva, and stop off at the Bodega Castañeda for a drink and tapas.

You may attract a little attention as a lone female in southern Europe, so bear in mind that some men think that by even holding a conversation with them you're actually showing you are interested. Doesn't mean you shouldn't speak to anyone, just be prepared!
hanl is offline  
Sep 16th, 2003, 12:49 PM
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There is a nice small train ride from Prades in the Pyrénées Orientales to La Tour de Carol. From there you can get a regular train to Foix and Toulouse.
Michael is offline  
Sep 17th, 2003, 05:19 PM
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Go for it. I've traveled alone in England, France, Spain, Italy, Austria, Germany, and Belgium while in my 20's.

Be careful in Italy. The guys think it is okay to touch you and follow you through the street....and then they get mad when you finally tell them to piss off. The exception was Venice since it is mostly tourists.
I did not notice this in the other countries.

Do not carry a purse, backpack, etc. Buy one of those necklace or waistband passport keepers and keep your money can I.D. in it while walking around. You cannot believe how sneaky the pickpockets can be.

KarenD is offline  
Sep 18th, 2003, 08:59 AM
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love the suggestions... keep them comming!!
SolR_M is offline  
Sep 18th, 2003, 10:23 AM
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You can unwrap Reurail and European railways. Eurail I think is a card that covers many rail systems of western Europe. European railways run all over Europe, except Albania, and on through Moscow into Asia. More: in central and east Europe they are cheap. Warsaw to Krakow is 15 US dollars: a night in a sleeper in Turkey is 40 dollars. So please do not tie yourself to western Europe unless you want to.

Everyday life is chiefly doing one s paid job, looking after the family, and such things as shopping. I am afraid that you cannot do those. Rather, you could go shopping, but once you had a packet of detergent and a loaf of bread what would you do next ? You could indeed work, on a voluntary job, and would then be with Europeans in fairly ordinary life, but tied to one place for two weeks at least.

So I shall twist your enquiry into this: in the countries you list and I know, and in central Europe, what places have beauty and ambiance, but no tourists in March to May.
In Germany the small towns of the north such as Verden, Celle, and old cities, such as Osnabruck and Stralsund. Also, away from Easter, the Rhine valley from Bingen to Koblenz.
In France Rouen, Orleans, Dijon, St Rochelle and Lyons
In Spain Santiago de Coompostella
In Italy Palermo and Padua
In Austria Melk, Spitz, Durnstein and Krems, all on the Danube
In Poland Wroclaw and Torun
In the Czech republic Ceske Budejovice and the fine towns, villages, castles and lakes all around the city
In Slovakia Levoca and nearby Baroque towns
In Hungary Eger and Sopron
In Romania, away from Easter, Brasov, Sibiu and Sighisoarsa. Or any time Iasi, Suceava, and a tour of the painted churches
In Serbia Novi Sad

Please write if I can help further. Welcome to Europe.

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ben_haines_london is offline  
Sep 18th, 2003, 07:18 PM
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Congrats! I am from Tampa and did a month solo in Ireland, England, and France. It was the best trip and I really did "find" myself there. I hope you have a fabulous time.

I am not very familiar with the Eurorail system so I apologize if some of my suggestions will not work for you.

I loved France. My favorite places were Honfleur - a coastal town in northern France, Mont St Michel - magical!,Dinan - a small town between Brittany and Loire, and Versailles. Honfleur and Dinan are both the kinds of towns that you can just be lazy and take in the place at your own pace. Versailles is obviously touristy but I spent most of my time strolling the gardens at my own pace and lost track of time there! Mont St Michel is VERY touristy but if you can spend the night on the island, then it is wonderful.

Again, have a great time!

coldwar27 is offline  

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