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Europe in 12 days

Old Aug 1st, 2006, 07:19 PM
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Europe in 12 days

My husband and I are in our early sixties and are looking at a 12 day Globus tour that includes Rome, Florence, Benice, Lucerne Switzerland, Paris, and London. It will be our first trip to these countries and are thinking the overview would be a better idea than going to just Italy for 10 days. We are thinking about going the middle of April. Is this a good time to go? Are we trying to see too much in a short time? Would Globus be a good company to trave with for this itinery? Has anyone gone on a similar trip? Need some help!
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Old Aug 1st, 2006, 07:34 PM
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Hi S,

It seems like a lot of cities to do in 12 days. Does the 12 days include the travel time to/from Europe? I'd vote for the 12 days to spent in one country.
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Old Aug 1st, 2006, 07:39 PM
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I may not be saying what you want to hear - but that itinerary would be the last thing I would want to do.

The main pros: they do all the planning for you and you don't have to tote your own luggage;

just some cons: More expensive than doing 1 country/2 or 3 citieson your own, Constantly on the move. on a bus for hour upon hour every day, hotels a bit out of the center so lots of wasted time getting to the sites, luggage in the hall at 6:30 every single morning, less than 2 days each in some of the most fascinating cities in Europe.

Gawd awful if you ask me.

Something like: Italy and 3 cities in it
- OR - London and Paris
- OR - Switzerland and maybe a couple of days in one adjacent country.

Do it on your own and actually see something from other than the windows of a bus.

(There are some terrific tours but 6 cities across 3/4 of Europe in 12 days ain't one of them)
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Old Aug 1st, 2006, 08:16 PM
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I am in complete agreement with janisj here. Would vote for London/Paris or Venice/Florence/Rome. I suppose you could do London/Paris/Rome but imho
you would leave each city having rushed through it.
April is a decent time for either trip
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Old Aug 1st, 2006, 11:01 PM
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Sounds a terrible trip - but it does offer "family friendly departures with special activities and optional excursions perfect for families" and "a visit to the second floor of the Eiffel Tower".

And the 12 days includes the flights - so it's really a 10 day trip

http://www.globusjourneys.com/produc...=itin&trip=6HF
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Old Aug 2nd, 2006, 12:04 AM
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As others have suggested, I think this tour involves too much moving around and not enough time to experience the places you're visiting. I know that some people prefer guided tours, and that if if they have limited time and limited opportunities to travel to Europe, they want to cover as much ground as they possibly can. But this itinerary reads like you're going to be spending most of your time in a bus catching glimpses of Europe from a highway. Your stopovers seem to provide for very little time to explore the cities you're visiting (1/2 day to a day, once you substract the travel time, the "check in and out of hotel time", etc.)

I think you'd get more out of a tour where you moved around less, and had at least 2-3 nights in each location. My first choice would be a tour focusing on one country (e.g. Italy, if this is what interests you), possibly with a couple of days added on at the end of the tour in a stopover city like London or Paris if you really wanted to visit another country as part of your trip. Alternatively, I see Globus has a premium tour focusing on 3 great European cities - Paris, London and Rome, where you have more time to explore each city.

I've never travelled with Globus but I have heard good things about them. Depending on your level of physical fitness and other interests, you might also want to look into some of the mixed "active-sightseeing" holidays organised by some tour companies, like Explore and Exodus.co.uk, for example this one: http://www.exodus.co.uk/holidays/dio.html
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Old Aug 2nd, 2006, 12:18 AM
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You'll spend most of the time travelling along motorways/highways to get to the next city. Sounds awful unless you are fascinated by watching cars.
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Old Aug 2nd, 2006, 12:21 AM
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Also quite a few visits to those factory/tourist rip-off sales sites where they give you a 'tour', flog you stuff, and pay a commission to the tour company for taking you and all your lovely money there.
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Old Aug 2nd, 2006, 12:30 AM
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Of all the places on the trip you could stay 2 nights, Lucerne would have been number 100 on a 10 city list
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Old Aug 2nd, 2006, 01:55 AM
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Hi S,

One more vote against this whirlwind expedition.

6 cities in 10 days is just too much traveling.

It's 5:30 hr from Venice to Lucerne, and 6:30 hr to Paris. There are almost two whole days gone.



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Old Aug 2nd, 2006, 02:09 AM
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First time to Europe? This is probably a great way to get an overview!

Remember, that tours like this include things like not getting lost on the freeways or in the cities trying to find your hotel, handling of luggage, priority in the queues for highlights, most meals, so a lot of time spent by the independent traveller is freed up. The people on the trip will also be fun! In addition, the history, culture, and other interesting facts are told during the bus trip, and you are in front of the queue!

I always thought I'd start doing this type of trip when I got older, although 60's is still young enough for independent travel!

Optomistically, do this for your first time, then return on your own!

April is good, no crowds, shoulder season. But you should get a cut rate deal because of that fact. Warning that many exhibits are restored in the shoulder season so you may miss out on stuff that will be open in June.
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Old Aug 2nd, 2006, 01:39 PM
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Hi
I think it's a lot for 12 days. It seems that with all the traveling you would do on the bus between cities, how much time would you actually spend ineach of the cities. Part of the enjoyment of traveling is to get past the bricks and morter of cathedrals, museums etc. To sit at a cafe for a while and people watch is another pleasure of travel, finding a restaurant on your own or a bakery. These are some of the things that make Europe interesting in addition to the buildings. 10 days in Italy sounds much better, Rome, Venice and Florence.
Enjoy your trip.
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Old Aug 2nd, 2006, 01:40 PM
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Hi again.
I just wanted to add, I'm in my early 60's and my wife is still young in her 50's.
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Old Aug 2nd, 2006, 02:33 PM
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It's the perfect trip if you want to come back hating Europe!Seriously,in ten days you can comfortably see two or three cities/towns and enjoy them and not feel like you need a vacation when you come home!
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Old Aug 2nd, 2006, 02:40 PM
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It sounds horrible to me, but that is a personal opinion.

Why I would never take a tour is the structure and the other people (laughing, but seriously). I am not interested in getting up at 4am or 6am whatever to drive to the next city or country on a big bus with a bunch of strangers, eating and sleeping when and where the tour arranges. It sounds just awful.

With 12 days for a 1st trip to Europe I would do something like: Paris and London 5 days each. Or just go to Switzerland, it's a very easy country to travel solo and get around on the train. Or Venice and Florence.

If you really want to be part of a tour group I would look at Elderhostel. They have excellent tours and a much slower pace with an emphasis on education (not forced shopping).
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Old Aug 2nd, 2006, 02:44 PM
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If it's tuesday, it must be ..Lucerne! You will never remember which city/country was which, as all you will see is the inside of a succession of modern hotels and coaches. Also you are likely to have packaged food reduced to the lowest common denominator. [and having endured the odd "half board" package tour for reasons I have now forgotten, I know what i'm talking about].
If you must do an organised tour, please pick one country, with only 3 destinations. Italy would be fine.
But if you'd like real help with planning your own trip, you've come to the right place. THere's not much about travelling in europe that OPs don't know. And they were all first-timers once.
Good luck!
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Old Aug 2nd, 2006, 02:52 PM
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Sandy - it does look awfully busy - it's the Rome-Florence on Day 1 followed by Florence- Venice on he next day and then Venice- somewhere else on the next day that got to me.

If I were you and you want to go with a package find one that covers less ground and gives you sometime to yourself. Or -even better - put something together for yourself - you'll get some great help on this board.
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Old Aug 2nd, 2006, 04:37 PM
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I strongly reco against this tour. You would see mostly the inside of a bus and would not have the time to get any feel for anything at all.

Have they told you how many mornings you have to have your packed bags outside the door at 6:30am? that you won;t have 5 minutes to sit in a cafe? how many meals will be college dinig hall quality and style?

Really, you will enjoy the time so much more if you pick just a couple of places and spend a little time exploring them and relaxing. Never mind the money you will save.
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Old Aug 2nd, 2006, 04:45 PM
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I was stationed in Germany in the Army. My wife and I traveled a lot by taking 3 and 4 day leaves to one area. No jet lag and plenty of time to see one place and enjoy it. We would run into Americans on your type of planned trip. Many times they could not really remember where they had been the day before and where they were going. It was all being spoon fed to them and some of it was not taking. My wife and I said then......never, we would never do this until I was too old to drive a car and plan my own itinerary.

I agree with most othter posters. Cut down the locations and enjoy where you are going. Lucerne is nice, but 2 days?
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Old Aug 2nd, 2006, 07:29 PM
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On a trip to London, many years ago, my husband and I took a Thames boat "dinner cruise." Most of the rest of the passengers were on a tour, precisely like the one you've described.

We struck up a conversation with a couple who were part of that group.

They had arrived in London mid-morning (after a transatlantic flight), checked into their huge, impersonal hotel, eaten lunch (in a chain restaurant), taken the bus tour of London, and then boarded the boat for the dinner cruise (I think there might have been an hour or two "on their own to explore London" in between the bus tour and dinner cruise). After the cruise they had "the rest of the evening free" to sightsee - that's beginning around 8:30 or 9:00 PM.

The next morning their bus was leaving at 7:00 AM, for Paris.

Why do I remember this so vividly, 20+ years later?

Because those poor souls were already exhausted, they had seen essentially nothing of London, and they were already regretting their decision to take such a tour. They were extremely envious that Dan and I had 9-10 whole days to wander London and rent a car to go into the countryside for a few days.

The good news? They had a marvelous coupon book (discount food, attractions, shopping, etc.) - and no time to use it. They dropped it off with their hotel concierge and we picked it up the next morning and used it! (They, of course, never had time to use any of the coupons in the book - their entire "2 days in London" was booked solid, they were jet-lagged, and they had no idea how to get anywhere even if they wanted to branch off from the tour.)

By contrast, Dan and I enjoyed our 5 or 6 days in London, and then drove up to Hadrian's Wall and York and spent several glorious days as the only tourists in most of the places we went.

Which traveler would you rather be?

(Honest...many, many knowledgeable people on this board will help you plan a trip that you'll never forget!)

Gayle

P.S., And, remember, my experience - outlined above - was wa-a-a-y pre-Fodor's or other travel sites. I did all the research "the old-fashioned way" via books and libraries and talking to people. Even back then, I knew that tours (like the one described above) were never going to "cut the mustard" for us.

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