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Critique this itinerary, please

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Jan 24th, 2011, 06:26 PM
  #1
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Critique this itinerary, please

Hi. We're planning an 18-day trip to Europe in 2012 with two 13-year-old girls (and all the drama that comes with that). I'm looking for critique of our itinerary from others who have survived this.

Here's what we are NOT interested in:

~ museums, unless they are mind-blowing (we've burned them out on museums in the U.S.). They've been to most science museums throughout the U.S. and many of the Smithsonian museums in Washington, D.C.

~ churches. We might take them in a couple cathedrals just for the architectural value, but the spirituality will not impress them at all. Guaranteed.

~ Dachau. I've been to Germany twice and was not up to it either time (once as a teen, once as an adult). I cannot imagine them being up for it, however culturally important it is. They were deeply disturbed by the Holocaust Museum in D.C.

OK, here we go.

1. arrive in Berlin a.m.
2. Berlin (die Mauer)
3. Berlin
4. a.m. train to Fulda/Rhoen district (hiking, towns, relaxing)
5. Rhoen district
6. Rhoen district
7. a.m. train to Luxembourg (we have friends there)
8. Luxembourg
9. a.m. train to Haguenau, France (our family's home some 100 years ago)
10. Haguenau
11. Haguenau
12. a.m. train to Hohenschwangau (Neuschwanstein)
13. Hohenschwangau
14. a.m. train to Salzburg ('nuff said, it's Salzburg!)
15. Salzburg
16. a.m. train to Vienna
17. Vienna (Spanische Hofreitschule)
18. p.m. depart from Vienna

Does this seem like too much? Are we crazy for trying to cram this much into 18 days? Thoughts, suggestions and criticism are welcome. Thank you!
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Jan 24th, 2011, 06:28 PM
  #2
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I don't know why it has the strikethrough text ... I did not type it that way!
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Jan 24th, 2011, 06:29 PM
  #3
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Let's try again ...

Here's what we are NOT interested in:

~ museums, unless they are mind-blowing (we've burned them out on museums in the U.S.). They've been to most science museums throughout the U.S. and many of the Smithsonian museums in Washington, D.C.

~ churches. We might take them in a couple cathedrals just for the architectural value, but the spirituality will not impress them at all. Guaranteed.

~ Dachau. I've been to Germany twice and was not up to it either time (once as a teen, once as an adult). I cannot imagine them being up for it, however culturally important it is. They were deeply disturbed by the Holocaust Museum in D.C.

OK, here we go.

1. arrive in Berlin a.m.
2. Berlin (die Mauer)
3. Berlin
4. a.m. train to Fulda/Rhoen district (hiking, towns, relaxing)
5. Rhoen district
6. Rhoen district
7. a.m. train to Luxembourg (we have friends there)
8. Luxembourg
9. a.m. train to Haguenau, France (our family's home some 100 years ago)
10. Haguenau
11. Haguenau
12. a.m. train to Hohenschwangau (Neuschwanstein)
13. Hohenschwangau
14. a.m. train to Salzburg ('nuff said, it's Salzburg!)
15. Salzburg
16. a.m. train to Vienna
17. Vienna (Spanische Hofreitschule)
18. p.m. depart from Vienna

Does this seem like too much? Are we crazy for trying to cram this much into 18 days? Thoughts, suggestions and criticism are welcome. Thank you!
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Jan 24th, 2011, 06:46 PM
  #4
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 14
Kandace,

It's a personal preference. A lot of people will say that it's way too much, and that you can't appreciate everything in such a short period of time. But, I think it's very doable, and will give you a great survey of diverse regions!
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Jan 24th, 2011, 06:52 PM
  #5
 
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Posts: 57,646
I think the first step is to get the girls involved in the planning so that they see/do some of what they want - some things might surprise you.

They're plenty old enough to do this - we started with my step-daughters when they were 11 and 14 and they had a list of very specific things they wanted to see - including a couple of museums - which they adored.

Much better to get them involved and then everyone has the same expectations - and they are more invested in the trip.

As for the schedule - it's much faster than I would want to travel but you know best your own likes and dislikes.
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Jan 24th, 2011, 07:10 PM
  #6
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Thanks. The itinerary is much faster than I'd like, too, but having changed jobs, I went from 33 days of vacation down to 10. We may be on some thin ice even stretching it out to 18 days.

Great ideas, getting the kids involved. How did your stepdaughters adjust to the time difference and language difference? Were the culture differences hard for them?

Has anyone done these loops by train? I've done some of the shorter segments but not such long distances.
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Jan 24th, 2011, 08:53 PM
  #7
 
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I would personally cut at least one place. Probably Berlin or Vienna as they are the farthest from the others. Not sure if you don't want to do Munich but you could end in Munich (leaving out Vienna) and do Neuschwanstein as a daytrip from there. That would save one hotel transfer. We spent several days in Munich and only saw one museum and had a great time.
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Jan 25th, 2011, 05:41 AM
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I, too, would cut out Vienna end in Munich, an easy trip from Salzburg. Lots for the kids to do in the Salzkammergut area so I would extend there, and it easily reached by public transport from Salzburg.
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Jan 25th, 2011, 05:44 PM
  #9
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Thanks for your comments -- and ordinarily I'd agree with you. The itinerary is more ambitious than I'd like. But we're horsepeople, so to miss Vienna and the Spanische Hofreitschule would ruin the trip. Seeing Berlin in person would be the best way for them to understand the reunification process ... and we have friends in Luxembourg we haven't seen in about 20 years.

Sigh. It really complicates things.

What do you think of this somewhat simplified itinerary?

Days 1 - 3: Berlin
Days 4 - 6: Fulda/Rhoen district
Days 7 - 10: Baden-Baden, with day trips to Luxembourg and Haguenau
Days 11 - 12: Munich, with day trip to Neuschwanstein
Days 13 - 14: Salzburg
Days 15 - 18: Vienna

Does that look more reasonable? It cuts down the number of hotels, at least.

I've picked out one "must-see" event or activity for each city, and am planning to toss out three or four optional things we could let the girls choose (or argue about .

Better? Thanks for your analysis -- I appreciate it!

Kandace
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Jan 25th, 2011, 07:28 PM
  #10
 
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Luxembourg is almost 3 hours driving from Baden Baden - it would probably take longer by train so that doesn't make for a good day trip.

It seems you must reach in Lux and Haguenau, so 2 days in each seems to be the only real fit if you have to get to Vienna.
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Jan 26th, 2011, 03:49 AM
  #11
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Thanks, Aramis. I'll keep working on it.
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Jan 26th, 2011, 05:41 AM
  #12
 
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Your revised itinerary looks better! Personally, I love Berlin (one of my favorite cities). Do a walking tour there. You can see a lot and they are usually fun. In Saltzburg, I recommend the Sound of Music tour (if your girls like the movie at all, this will be fun). With that tour you will get to see a ton of the city and the lake district too (which is really pretty). Vienna is also a lovely city but very museum-y so maybe do a bit of research to make sure there are other things you will want to do there.
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Jan 26th, 2011, 08:13 AM
  #13
 
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For Berlin and Munich we did these walking tours
http://www.neweuropetours.eu/
They were free, tip only, and people aged about 8 to 60 were on each tour. We really enjoyed them.

New itinerary looks better, I would try to get another day to Munich and possibly to Salzburg. With only wanting to see the horses in Vienna, I would think 2 full days there would be enough as it is a museum-heavy city.
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