Crazy trip in Europe

Jun 15th, 2007, 09:07 AM
  #1  
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Crazy trip in Europe

Ok. So I know you're all going to say I'm crazy- I can't go into details about why I'm doing this, but I do need some help:
I'm going all over Europe with my 2 kids (11 & 13) and my mother 66 yrs. (I'm 48)
We are flying into London on June 26th- fly to amsterdam on Easyjet on June 27th- we'll stay there until 6/30- we go to Paris- leave Paris for Lourdes on 7/3- Leave Lourdes for Burgos on 7/4 (evening)-Burgos to Oviedo on 7/5- Oviedo to Santiago de Compostela 7/6 (evening)Santiago to Fatima 7/8-Fatima to Lisbon 7/10- We Fly from Lisbon to Milan (easyjet) 7/11 at 6pm. Would like to take train to Venice on 7/12- Venice to Florence on 7/14- to Rome on 7/16 - We fly to London on 7/19 at 7pm where we'll be until 7/25 when we fly back home to USA. I know I'm doing a lot- we'll rest in trains and planes. My kids are used to traveling and resting wherever they can- my mother is flexible, but I'm concern about her. I did already book the flights with easyjet- but I would be open to changing them even though there is a high charge if I do. I have an apartment of a friend in Paris by NotreDame. I have not booked any other hotels and I'm still wondering if I should by a eurorail pass ($2,300.00 for all of us 5 countries, 10 days in 2 months). I do need to get to Paris from Amsterdam and of course to the other cities- I looked into renting a car ( I've driven before in this areas) but then I think I will be exausted. What do I do about train pass? Any other tips besides not doing it? I could skip Florence, but the trip is about Religious promise, Art and History. What can you suggest that would help this crazy woman?
Lainfiesta is offline  
Jun 15th, 2007, 09:32 AM
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Wow...do you realize that you're spending most of your time traveling, and not much time actually in the city? In fact, I doubt you will have any time other than whizzing from airport to hotel to airport.

Sounds like a rock and roll concert tour.

My concern is your flying from the US to London to Amsterdam. If you fly the evening before from the US to London, you get there the morning after. When is your flight to Amsterdam?
mcnyc is offline  
Jun 15th, 2007, 09:47 AM
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Sorry, I can't help with this one. Please do report back and let us know how it went!

Buon viaggio!
Dayle is offline  
Jun 15th, 2007, 09:51 AM
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I am exhausted after just reading this!
Good on you though and have a great time!
carylspall is offline  
Jun 15th, 2007, 10:00 AM
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I don't see how anyone can help you much if you are set on this itinerary. If I were your kids )or mother for that matter) I would swear off all European travel after this trek.

Packing/unpacking and traveling 16 days out of 30 is nuts . . . . .
janisj is online now  
Jun 15th, 2007, 10:05 AM
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Sorry, but honestly I have no other tips other than not doing this. I think this is about the worst trip I've ever read about.

Can't wait for the trip report!
StCirq is online now  
Jun 15th, 2007, 10:12 AM
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Okay, you asked for any other tips except for not doing it but I just can't seem to think of anything else. It seems like you have been to Europe before, yes? Have your mother and children been to Europe before? If not then this will be their first experience and they will be able to tell everyone what airports and train stations looked like but not much else. I personally would hate this trip with a passion but if it is your cup of tea then enjoy. I can't wait for the trip report. Now I am going to take a nap because I am worn out just thinking of all of that packing and moving around.
jdraper is offline  
Jun 15th, 2007, 10:30 AM
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Thanks guys for your help. I still have a question do you think I should buy the rail pass?
to mcync: I actually fly on 6/25 arrive in London 6/26- leave for Amsterdam on 7/27.
Lainfiesta is offline  
Jun 15th, 2007, 10:37 AM
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I suppose I am the only one who isn't daunted by the itinerary..I've actually done some even more frenetic ones.

What I might suggest is that you enter your RAIL itinerary at www.railpass.com to see if point-to-point rail tickets might be more economical than getting railpasses.
Dukey is offline  
Jun 15th, 2007, 10:48 AM
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>>the trip is about Religious promise, Art and History.<<

With a schedule like that, you'll only catch a glimpse of Art and History from the train windows.

I'm not sure about the Religious promise. Do you mean that you promised to do this trip if a prayer was answered? If so, I applaud your willingness to take it on. But I would also ask: Did your two children and your mother also make the promise?
Zerlina is offline  
Jun 15th, 2007, 11:12 AM
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Thank you Dukey- I have also done crazier trips than this one.
And Yes my children and mother were involved in the promise.
Lainfiesta is offline  
Jun 15th, 2007, 11:28 AM
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Since you seem quite set already, I won't say don't do the trip. You are going to lots of interesting and beautiful places. You might re-think just a little of it; perhaps re-arrange it a bit.

When I was a teacher, I took several trips to Italy, France and Spain with my art students. They were fast paced trips because kids do like going to lots of places. After one trip, however, I asked them what was the best advice I had given them about traveling. One girl said, "You told us to take some time to just sit in each place and absorb the feeling of the place." Other students agreed.

You are going to all these wonderful places (lots of time and money). Are you and the kids getting the most possible out of it? Will you have any time to really absorb anything of Lisbon or Milan? Are you planning any activities especially for the kids? Just food for thought; you may already have all that covered.

This may seem like a crazy perspective, but what is the cost per hour of the trip? How much is all that packing and unpacking, and getting from place to place, costing per hour? Some of it is necessary on any trip, but most people try to keep it to a minimum. That is also the reason people avoid very long bus tours.

Next, I am close to your Mom's age, in good health, and I travel a good bit, carry all my own bags, etc. This would be a hard trip for me. Actually, I might feel sad about it, but I would pass on it.
Sassafrass is online now  
Jun 15th, 2007, 11:44 AM
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Well, I have plotted out your itinerary. I join everyone else in being tired.

If this was a religious promise, then there's nothing I can say but good for you on making good on your promise, and glad your prayers were answered.

Since you will be traveling to many places for long enough to lay your head on a hotel bed, then I would suggest you find hotel rooms ahead of time, but near the airport/train station so that you're not spending more time traveling from transportation to hotel.

What is your aim for this trip? Just seeing art and history, or does religion factor into this a lot? I'm assuming so, with Lourdes and Fatima mentioned in this.
mcnyc is offline  
Jun 15th, 2007, 12:14 PM
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"Thanks guys for your help. I still have a question do you think I should buy the rail pass?"

Huh - what help - everyone said don't do it. And you come back w/ "should we buy a rail pass?" No - you should re-think it. You are going to have less than 15 days free for sightseeing/pilgrimage, and most of that will be in London and Paris.

OK - only you and dukey seem to be on the same wave length - and I'll bet his trip wasn't w/ 2 tweens and a 66 yo mother along for the ride. Not being rude - honest - but most everyone else will continue to say this is a nearly impossible itinerary and you will eventually get tired of all the flack.
janisj is online now  
Jun 15th, 2007, 12:18 PM
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Thanks to Sassaffrass- I'm open to canceling some places. The only sure flights I have are from London to Amsterdam, Lisbon to Milan, and Rome back to London. I'm spending 6 nights in London before I go back home (time to rest).
Lisbon and Milan are just for the airports- no need to spend time there.
I am getting my airfare tickets for free- so I can spend $ on hotels (not 1st class) food and transportation.
I could maybe eliminate Burgos and Lourdes? Although they seem to be on the way.
I still need help deciding whether I book hotels now? and
Can I buy train tickets at stations instead of getting the very expensive rail pass?
Lainfiesta is offline  
Jun 15th, 2007, 12:20 PM
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Hey- I am not tired of the flack- Besides the religious promise (which is only to Santiago and Fatima) the rest is because I got a great deal on airfares. But, hey I am listening!!!!
Lainfiesta is offline  
Jun 15th, 2007, 12:29 PM
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LOTS of places are on the way anywhere but that doesn't mean you have to stop at each place! It might be better to get some binoculars and fly a plane over Italy.
2Italy is offline  
Jun 15th, 2007, 12:34 PM
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OK, I think the OP gets it - it is not other people's idea of a good time. That said, I didn't see and invitation for anyone here to join her. She expressly said that she has specific reasons for doing this trip that she is not going to get into. Either offer the advice requested or move on.

As for whether a railpass is worthwhile, plug your itinerary into www.railsaver.com. Choose the option that says "only if it saves me money". If it says you should by point-to-point tickets, believe it. They are in the business of selling railpasses and usually overstate the point-to-point fares in their calculations. If it recommends a railpass, it may or may not be the cheapest option, but given your itinerary will probably be the most convenient. If you want to be sure you choosing the cheapest option, you can price out each leg on the various national railway sites.

ripit is offline  
Jun 15th, 2007, 12:46 PM
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You can buy tickets at the stations or from home before you leave, but you might want to check Dukey's advice and go to www.railpass.com and compare prices for point-to-point or pass. There are probably youth pass prices that are less expensive. You can also get lots of rail pass information on www.ricksteves.com.

You might also want to look at a site like www.bahn.de and click the International Guests link. I do a lot of my planning using this site, I've never bought tickets here. It gives you an idea of the number of trains from point a to point b on a given day and how long the rides are. And very importantly, which departures take less time getting to your destination (for example, one might make more stops than the other so it takes longer).

Here's an example - On 7/3, a train leaves Paris Montparnasse at 10:10 and arrives in Lourdes 5:41 hours later. There'a another train at 10:50 that takes 7:15 hours to get to Lourdes. The price is not listed.

The France rail page is www.sncf.com. You should be able to find pricing there for the French rides. Look for special discounted fares (PREM) that you can get for purchasing online from home. There is a great thread here by MorganB on buying tickets from sncf online - if you go that route, you'll want to read the thread first. It will answer all of your questions.

cls2paris is offline  
Jun 15th, 2007, 06:49 PM
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Would you consider cutting Amsterdam, Lourdes, and Italy from this trip?

London...Eurostar to Paris...fly to Spain or Portugal, visit the "must-sees"...then fly back to London.

I think that's how I would do it. Like most of the others, I would not enjoy constant, non-stop traveling. Keeping track of all the departure times and tickets, getting to and from the stations and airports, all the hurrying up and waiting. With 2 pre-teens and a semi-elderly mother, in the intense summer heat of southern Europe...

If this trip has personal, spiritual significant for you, please slow down so you can absorb and appreciate the places you see. They will have more meaning if you give yourself time.

London and Paris will provide plenty of exposure to some of the world's greatest art. You could always do Amsterdam, Rome, Florence, and Venice as your next trip.
Apres_Londee is offline  

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