Europe Itinerary... First timer

Feb 24th, 2015, 09:26 AM
  #41  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 9,473
Want to re-state about Venice.
I only told her not to go if she is not interested, but what I actually tried to do was re-vamp her itinerary so she has more time in Venice, hopefully to explore a bit and absorb more and not feel it was rushed.

I think the itinerary I gave her will do that without seriously impinging on other places.

Spain.
I have been to Toledo, both as overnights for a couple of days and as day trips. While an overnight is lovely (as it is in many places), it is nothing like Venice, and I think it is so much less crowded, it is easy to enjoy as a day trip, as is Segovia.
However, Barcelona has so much to see, is an easy flight from Rome, is a place with young vibes, and the OP already has it scheduled, she should keep it. On another trip to Spain, the OP can visit that area and include Seville, Granada, etc.
Sassafrass is offline  
Feb 24th, 2015, 12:28 PM
  #42  
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 6,873
I loved both Toledo and Segovia, but I think a young person traveling alone would have a lot more fun in Barcelona. Madrid's main interest to me is the art museums; apart from that, I don't much care for the city. Since Lina isn't particularly interested in art museums, one day there is enough.

Madrid is really the only place where she's changing hotels for a one-night stay before flying out. In Venice, she's not spending a night, just arriving in the early morning and leaving in the early evening for Rome.

The main reason I don't like changing hotels for a short stay is that I have to reorient myself to a new city, figure out a new bus system, find a good place to have breakfast all over again, and so forth. In this case, none of that is necessary, because Lina isn't staying in Madrid for any reason except that it's close to the airport.

I often go to my departure city the night before a flight. I always keep my toiletries bag, PJs, and a change of whatever I'm going to change in a small bag, so I don't have to unpack anything.

A lot of hotels now have automatic checkout, so it's not the hassle it used to be.
bvlenci is offline  
Feb 25th, 2015, 07:03 AM
  #43  
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 660
When I say 4 places bvlenci, that is 4 places including the arrival and departure city. Nor does it mean 4 cities and then add Madrid and Venice which makes SIX places. You have a funny way of counting it seems.

If the OP is fixed on Amsterdam and Madrid as the arrival and departure points, then I would only add 2 more places in between to limit lost travel days.

Day 1 arrival is lost.
Day x from A to B is lost.
Day y from B to C is lost.
Day z from C to D is lost.
Day 18 departure day is lost.

That is 5 days out of 18 lost to travel. That is around 28% of the total time available. If you add 2 more moves that goes up to 39% of total time.

I am not suggesting that someone cannot enjoy a day in Venice. You can enjoy a day anywhere. What I am suggesting is that in seeking a balance, you have to look at how much time you will lose by moving more. Obviously, the less time you lose to moving the better as it means you will spend more time IN places. Theoretically, the best is to go to one place for the entire time. That would be best use of time. But most people can't seem to cope with that idea and want to visit more than one place on a given trip when it comes to 'visit Europe'.

So that is when they need to ask themselves, what is a reasonable balance? If you spend 50% of your days moving is that a reasonable balance? Or is 38% a reasonable balance or is 25% a reasonable balance? To me anything over 25% is NOT a reasonable balance. You're free to disagree of course but disagree with a percentage of time. What percentage of time do YOU think is reasonable to lose to moving bvlenci?

Nor is my comparison of cities in N. America ridiculous. Distance is not the issue. The issue is how many places can you visit in a given amount of time and it be good use of time. Visiting 6 cities in N. America is no different than visiting 6 cities in Europe. It's about how much there is to see and do in each city, not how far apart they are. Are you going to suggest someone take a red eye flight from Vancouver to Toronto, spend the day in Toronto and then go back to the airport and fly to Boston in the late evening? Do you call that a good idea? Best use of time?

Re Madrid, why go to spend just one day there and then fly home? Why not just stay in Barcelona and fly home from there? Why LOSE a day just to get one day in Barcelona? That is a 50% loss of time paid for one day IN Madrid. Is that best use of those 2 days?

Everyone is free to do as they please obviously but if someone asks 'what do you think of my itinerary', then I'm going to tell them that it sucks if they are spending more than 25% of their total time moving. As I said, go ahead and disagree with that 25% but tell the OP what percentage YOU think is a reasonable balance.
Sojourntraveller is offline  
Feb 25th, 2015, 09:31 AM
  #44  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 78,339
As I said, go ahead and disagree with that 25% but tell the OP what percentage YOU think is a reasonable balance.>

For the average traveler I concur but for others like me who love riding trains definitely not - I use base cities because relocating is a complete hassle and take short hour or two train rides to nearby gems - again in part because I love riding trains but the average person I think just wants to get there so sojourntraveller is right on for most - though I would raise the 25% personally to 33% or every three days relocating if the cities are not mega touristic cities like Rome and Florence - Venice actually fatigues many folks who are glad they saw it but were ready to leave after a day or two.

But take time to get off the beaten path and there is a neat quiet Venice that is so so awesome - and taking boats to islands except tourist-mobbed Murano - like to Torecello - eerily quiet Torecello or Burano, etc.
PalenQ is offline  
Feb 25th, 2015, 11:10 AM
  #45  
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
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None of the train trips will be terribly long, with the exception of the overnight train, which is an entirely different matter, since you're sleeping for a good part of the trip. I don't agree that all of those days are lost time.

There will be a train trip from Amsterdam to Paris. 3 1/2 hours, add two hours for transfer to and from station.

There will be an overnight train from Paris to Venice. This is an overnight train, which I have used in the past, and I don't really consider that it takes any time from your trip, since you get on the train at 8 PM and arrive in Venice at 9:35 the next morning. However, I'll concede that it could possibly rob you of four hours in the evening when you might be painting the town red in Paris. Add half an hour for dropping bags at the station and picking them up again.

There will be a train ride from Venice to Rome. 3 hours and 45 minutes; I'll round it up to four, and add an hour for transfer to and from the stations.

There will be a flight from Rome to Barcelona. 1 1/2 hours, plus four hours for transfers to and from the airports.

A train from Barcelona to Madrid, 2 1/2 hours, plus 2 hours for transfers to/from stations. (This would certainly not lose you an entire day.)

I'll leave out the transfers to and from airports at beginning and end, as you'd have them even if you stayed in one place the whole time.

5.5 + 4.5 + 5 + 5.5 + 4.5 = 30 hours spent on transfers.

Sixteen full days in Europe (not counting first and last), with 16 waking hours each day. 256 hours of useful time spent in Europe.

30/256 = 12%. Yes, that sounds pretty reasonable to me.
bvlenci is offline  
Feb 25th, 2015, 11:33 AM
  #46  
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
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Actually, I, like Palenq, rather enjoy train rides. I don't really consider that they rob time from my trip. I feel the same way about driving; the time spent traveling isn't wasted. I've done a number of driving holidays that involved more moving around than Lina's proposed trip.
bvlenci is offline  
Feb 25th, 2015, 01:56 PM
  #47  
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Posts: 8
I agree about enjoying the train rides AND about the time loss involved in air travel

And as so many others have said, it does seem like a jam-packed trip with lots of rushing from here to there ... and it may leave you cranky and exhausted, which won't be very enjoyable. If you can cut out one of the cities and allocate those days elsewhere, it might make for a much more relaxing trip. I'd definitely want more time in Paris (but then, I'm a bit biased )
DancesWithWords is offline  
Feb 25th, 2015, 03:01 PM
  #48  
 
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why do some posters have to be rude ? The OP asked for opinions which can be given without rudeness of a minority of posters.
northie is offline  
Feb 25th, 2015, 03:45 PM
  #49  
 
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Adding that with train travel it pays off to be in easy reach of the station, ie not across town. In Amsterdam that's anything near Central Station, in Paris, for the Thello you want to be near Gare de Lyon. I don't know what kind of accommodation you're aiming for: if it's hostels, there's a Stayokay in Amsterdam on Kloveniersburgwal that's excellent and fairly near Centraal. There's a lot of crummy hostels in the Dam - Red Light District area, but these are best avoided. If it's hotels, there's a number on Prins Hendrikkade, just opposite Central Station. You can use the map function on booking.com to pinpoint hotel locations. It won't matter for your enjoyment of either Paris or Amsterdam, because they're both compact cities and public transport is good. Also if you decide to leave for Paris late in the day, a hotel near Centraal will be handy, because you can stash your luggage there and have a backpack free day on the town.

For Paris, the area around Bastille is good.

Barcelona is great. If you like the beach you might want to look for something in Barceloneta, for instance Residencia Campus del Mar or Freestanza, also in Barceloneta
menachem is offline  
Feb 25th, 2015, 04:25 PM
  #50  
 
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I'm with bvienci on this -- this is hardly the most fast-paced trip I've seen here, and the rude comments really aren't helpful.

Yes, it's fast and covers a lot of ground, but it's a decent sampler of European cities with several days in most. The one big change I would make is to fly from Paris to Venice rather than taking the overnight train. You would be a lot more rested and would also have 2 nights in Venice, at least, giving you one full day to explore. I find sleeping in a train difficult and would be too exhausted to enjoy the day.

It would certainly be less hectic if you did reduce the number of cities, but it would be hard to choose which one to eliminate. I might switch a day from Amsterdam and add it to Paris, but really, it's a tossup here.

I'm with bvienci on this -- this is hardly the most fast-paced trip I've seen here, and the rude comments really aren't helpful.

Yes, it's fast and covers a lot of ground, but it's a decent sampler of European cities with several days in most. The one big change I would make is to fly from Paris to Venice rather than taking the overnight train. You would be a lot more rested and would also have 2 nights in Venice, at least, giving you one full day to explore. I find sleeping in a train difficult and would be too exhausted to enjoy the day.

It would certainly be less hectic if you did reduce the number of cities, but it would be hard to choose which one to eliminate.

But I would think about eliminating the overnight train. If you don't sleep well, that could put a damper on the travels.

Enjoy! It sounds like a lot,of fun!
progol is online now  
Feb 25th, 2015, 04:29 PM
  #51  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,788
Sorry -- I somehow copied and pasted most of the body of the post. I hope it's clear enough and makes sense (oh, Fodors, an edit option would be so helpful now!).
progol is online now  
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