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Europe itinerary questions

Old Jan 28th, 2017, 04:04 PM
  #21  
 
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honestly, ronsaik, just reading that makes me feel tired. The longest time you have anywhere is 4 nights in Venice - the rest are mainly 2 and 3 nights, which give you just one or two days in any one place. Having done a trip like that in NZ, I know how desperate one gets after a week or so just to stand still for a bit.

For example, is it really necessary to stay in Florence AND Lucca? then on 12th July, you seem both to be moving from Lucca to Levanto AND hiking from La Spezia to Levanto. will you be carrying your luggage on your back? then within a day you are off again to Genoa and after just one night, you're going to Milan. Why not miss out Genoa and spend 3 nights in Milan? or, having taken such trouble to get to the CT, stay there longer?

as for the trip to Slovenia, I know it's lovely but it means that you have a 6-7 hour drive to get back to Montepulciano. is it really worth it for 2 days in Bohinj?
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Old Jan 28th, 2017, 04:39 PM
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Hi annhig - since Lucca is 100 km from FLorence, I think a day trip would be more tiring. Lucca to La Spezia and the local train to the start of the CT trail, after which we hike the CT and catch a train to Levanto from Monte Rosso.

Not really keen on more time in Levanto, it'll get too boring for my liking. Your point about Levanto to Milan instead of via Genoa is valid, but the train goes through Genoa anyway, so might as well take a quick look (that was my thought).

Slovenia is a must (gotta do Triglav!!). The drive back should be one of the highlights as there's so much to see while driving. I wouldn't mind stretching it to 10 hours and stopping to smell the flowers on the way, unless the Montepuclians nod off at 8 PM.

I suppose it's a matter of personal taste. Without motion (on foot or in a car), I get bored. The big cities have architecture, but a small CT village will just have trinkets. The thought of having a campari by the pool is my idea of hell
But the point about Genoa vs Milan is valid. Maybe I should just hire a car in Genoa and drive the rest of the way, but staying in Padova instead of Venice for the parking and costs.
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Old Jan 28th, 2017, 04:43 PM
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Sorry, just clarifying the above - I was undecided about Genoa-Milan vs straight to Milan. I think it makes most sense to go to Genoa and hire a car from there and drive to Milan and then Padova. Gives a lot more freedom.
I would've liked to hire a car from Lucca or Pisa to the start of the CT, but I've read reports online that parking is an issue in Levanto.
If that weren't the case, we'd have hired a car from Lucca or Pisa, driven to Levanto, dropped off the car and taken the train back to the start of the CT trail, and hiked back to Monte Rosso, trained it back to Levanto.
Is car parking really an issue in Levanto?
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Old Jan 29th, 2017, 01:46 AM
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Montepulciani nodding off at 8pm?

Even in northern Italy you will be lucky to find many restaurants open at 7:30pm, in fact eating at 9 or 10 is the norm.
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Old Jan 29th, 2017, 01:59 AM
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I went to the CT over 30 years ago [when you could park easily on the street in the middle of Florence!] so I'm not one to ask about whether it's good idea to have a car in the CT but from what I've read here and elsewhere, I suspect not. I also think that if you want to stay in Milan you won't want a car there because of the traffic and the ZTL. whether you want one after that depends on what you want to do, but you don't have a lot of time in your itinerary for just "pootling".

BTW, we're not people for just sitting beside a pool either but there comes a time when you just long for a day in which nothing is planned and you can just relax [which doesn't mean not doing anything but taking time to look around and enjoy being where you are!]

As for whether to stay in Padua or Venice, if you want to see Venice, stay in Venice. Especially in July/august Venice will be full of day trippers so the best time to see it will be in the early morning and evening when they have all gone back to their ships and hotels outside Venice.

>

I still don't understand this. Lucca to Florence [or vice versa] on the train is very easy and what are you going to do with your luggage while you are hiking the CT trail? and I suspect that you are underestimating what there is to do on the CT, though that time of year it will be busy, which could be a good reason for limiting your time there.

Good luck anyway - i hope you enjoy whatever you decide to do.
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Old Jan 29th, 2017, 02:51 AM
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Wait - the two days you have in Slovenia are the two days you will be hiking to the top of Mt Triglav? Besides the fact that what you are planning is akin to going to Rome and seeing nothing but the Colosseum - what if the weather is uncooperative during those two days? Worse yet, what if the weather turns while you are hiking and you get stuck up there for another night? You are leaving yourself no wiggle room whatsoever. And this should go without saying but - I hope you have done research on the hike, are physically prepared and have the equipment to hike to the top.

Your itinerary between CT and Slovenia is only composed of cities, there is no sense in renting a car in Genoa. In fact, there is no sense in stopping in Genoa at all. Catch a direct train to Milan from Levanto, spend the night there, and then have a fresh start at the city the next morning. You will gain very little from having just a couple of hours in Genoa.

Stay in Venice or, if you find it too expensive, stay in Mestre. Only rent a car before heading to Slovenia and don't forget to buy a vignette for Slovenia before reaching the border.

I would urge you to reconsider the Slovenia part, though. While hiking to the top of Mt Triglav is an amazing experience, you really need at least another two to three days in the area for it to make any sense at all.
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Old Jan 29th, 2017, 04:54 AM
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OR - forget the CT entirely, [the trails are bound to be very busy that time of year and that seems to be your only interest in going there] and from Rome go straight to Florence/Lucca. from there go to Venice, then Triglav, and back to Montepulciano. I think that's freed up 5 nights so you would have more time in Slovenia, and you could spread your drive back to Tuscany over 2 days.
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Old Jan 29th, 2017, 08:15 AM
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" it makes most sense to go to Genoa and hire a car from there and drive to Milan and then Padova. Gives a lot more freedom."

Of course! trains run only every 30 to 60 minutes.
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Old Feb 5th, 2017, 02:05 AM
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Thanks, all. I have the information I need to finalise my itinerary. You've all been very helpfpul.
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Old Aug 21st, 2017, 10:49 PM
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Back from an interesting vacation. In the end, we did London - Amsterdam - Paris - Milan - Venice - Florence - Sienna - Rome, with side trips to Padova, Bologna, Pisa, Lucca, and Zermatt.
Some impressions:

London wasn't new, but always nice going back there. A day trip to Canterbury was the highlight.
Amsterdam - lovely place for a short visit.
Paris - first time in Paris. Probably better enjoyed if you're well versed in French literature and culture, but still quite spectacular. Highlight: The Musee d'Orangerie.
Milan - only a night stay. The duomo was the most striking building we saw in Italy. Side trip to Varenna on Lago di Como - the best spaghetti con pesce di lago.
Venice - theme park, sadly. If we go back, it'll be in the winter.
Padova - Scrovegni chapel and Giotto made up for Venice.
Bologna - loved it, second only to Rome.
Florence - a huge disappointment for the same reasons as Venice. July is not the time to go. The duomo is a magnificent building, but better to visit in the winter.
Pisa - compact, loved the easy cycling. The Campo di Miracoli amazes, and the Leaning Tower is quite beautiful in itself, even if you've seen it in pictures a thousand times.
Lucca - the good life. The best-heeled place we saw in Italy
Sienna and Toscana - Can be enjoyed on a walk along the Via Francigena. Otherwise, not much to do but drink and drive.
Zermatt - one day from Siena to Zermatt, one day drive back. Nice change. Zermatt's lovely, somewhat expensive (though not as much as I'd expected). Coming back.
Rome - Magical. Truly the eternal city. I'm completely in love with it. I can list the logical reasons why, but I won't bother. There's history and legend in every brick...I'm waxing poetic here.
In hindsight, I'd have done Rome and Northern Europe in July, leaving the rest of Italy for a cooler time of the year. But no complaints otherwise.
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Old Aug 22nd, 2017, 10:40 AM
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Thanks for the stoccato type trip report - love your impressions of places...yes I think Venice and Florence in summer is more travail then travel!

not much to do but drink and drive> hope you did not mean 'drink and drive' together!

Cheers!
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Old Aug 30th, 2017, 01:45 AM
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"Zermatt - one day from Siena to Zermatt, one day drive back. Nice change"

Zermatt (somwhat between Milan and Paris) would have been some 3 1/2 hrs from Milan by public transport
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