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From Iceland to Slovenia: a month across Europe: Photos and impressions

From Iceland to Slovenia: a month across Europe: Photos and impressions

Old Aug 31st, 2012, 04:18 AM
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From Iceland to Slovenia: a month across Europe: Photos and impressions

This summer I spent a very eclectic month traveling across Europe from Iceland to Slovenia. I’m referring to this trip as the “You went WHERE?” trip, cause that’s what people tend to say when I tell them where I went.

Since I seriously doubt anyone else will be planning a trip to this diverse group of places I decided it would be more helpful for people searching for trip reports when planning their own trips if I broke it up into separate reports. But I wanted to link them, thus this post. So if anyone wants to read them, here are the links to the reports and the photos (the photos are better than the reports).

Iceland: The classic two day stopover trip http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...pover-trip.cfm
Photos at www.pbase.com/annforcier/iceland

Slovenia: If I were to design a country, it would look a lot like Slovenia
http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...e-slovenia.cfm
Photos at: www.pbase.com/annforcier/slovenia

Italy: Lombardy, Veneto, Emile Romagna and a little bits of the lakes
http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...-the-lakes.cfm
Photos at: www.pbase.com/annforcier/italy_emilia_romagna
www.pbase.com/annforcier/milan_bergamo_mantova
www.pbase.com/annforcier/italy__the_veneto (also contains photos from previous trips)
http://www.pbase.com/annforcier/ital...s_cinque_terre (also contains photos from previous trips)

The Low Countries: Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands – I don’t know how low they are, but they sure were wet.
http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...etherlands.cfm
Photos at http://www.pbase.com/annforcier/belg...nds_luxembourg

How I decided to go where I went: The first thing people have been asking me is how I choose to put together these various destinations. I started planning the trip last fall with a friend. She’s traveled extensively but never been to Venice and so wanted to spend a whole week there. I’ve been three times in recent years so looked for somewhere close by that I could go to for a few days and then meet back up with her again. Thus Slovenia. Then she had to back out of the trip for family reasons. So my husband decides he wants to go (I go every summer, he only goes every couple years or so). He loves Italy so we plan places in Italy that we’ve missed on previous trips. We book the flights – there are no direct flights to Slovenia from the northeast US, the best we could put together is Iceland Air to London and then EasyJet to Ljubljana. But for the return, my dates would put me through Heathrow during the Olympics – bad idea, so I book the return from Amsterdam. Then due to reasons in our family, we decide that both husband and I should not be that far away from home at the same time, so he decides to stay home. Thus I ended up with a 28 day solo trip from Iceland to Slovenia and back across Europe to Amsterdam.
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Old Aug 31st, 2012, 04:24 AM
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So I started with two days in Iceland – IcelandAir lets you stop over in Iceland for as long as you wish for no additional cost. Then one day in London – since I had to change airports to get the EasyJet flight I decided I wanted to spend the afternoon/evening (I’ve been to London lots of times, and I just love to walk around, I didn’t do any ‘sightseeing’).
Next – Slovenia: Ljubljana for three days with a day trip to Lake Bled, then two days in Piran on the coast. I LOVED Slovenia.

Then I took a taxi to Trieste, Italy. I never take taxis anywhere, so taking one from one country to another was some thing. After Trieste I decided on two bases of four days each; Verona and Milan with day trips. I visited Mantua, Fererra, Lake Garda, Bergamo, Parma and Stresa. Verona I picked because I loved it the last time I was there, the others are places that I just never got to on previous trips.

I like northern Europe, but I don’t feel a trip is complete without Italy (or at least Greece or Spain or some other Mediterranean country) so I often combine a few weeks in southern Europe with a week or so in Northern Europe. If you draw a line from Slovenia to Amsterdam it goes through Italy, Luxembourg and Belgium. So that’s what I did. Two days in Luxembourg, three in Belgium (based in Antwerp and visited Brugge and Ghent) and five in the Netherlands (based in Haarlem and visited Delft, Leiden, Gouda and Amsterdam).

This trip I booked almost every hotel through booking.com I have used them before but previously I usually tried to book directly with the hotel whenever possible. But I have to say booking.com is great. As I said, the initial planning of this trip changed a few times and I did end up changing some locations and some hotels. The one’s I booked with booking.com were a breeze to change or cancel. One of the ones I did directly with the hotel was a pain, requiring me to get visa involved to get my deposit back. So I highly recommend booking.com even if it is possible to do it direct with the hotel. Some of the places I stayed were fabulous (Piran and Milano), most were OK, and a couple were below even my modest standards, but there was no correlation with booking.com
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Old Aug 31st, 2012, 08:24 AM
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Isabel, your pictures are fantastic. Thank you so much for sharing.

I'm curious about your impressions of Trieste?
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Old Sep 1st, 2012, 05:30 AM
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jmct714 - I guess I would say it was "OK". I've been to a lot of towns in Italy, I should try to count them up sometime. And I would have to say Trieste is near the bottom of the list. But even given that, I still liked it. My motto is "I haven't met an Italian town I didn't like" and I can still say that after visiting Trieste. Some one here did a report on a trip where they spent a week or so in Trieste and I really can't see that, there are so many more places in Italy (and elsewhere) that I would choose to spend a week if I were just staying in one place. Trieste was more 19th C buildings rather than Renaissance or medieval. The buildings and squares were impressive, but not the kind of place you'd want to linger. I was kind of disappointed in the waterfront, given it's gorgeous location. The waterfront around Miramir Castle was nice.

Anyway, I just posted that part of my report http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...-the-lakes.cfm
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Old Sep 4th, 2012, 01:01 PM
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Great pictures Isabel, thanks for posting. Was in Ljubljana on an assignment many years back and visited Trieste for a day, it was ok, not what the rest of Italy is like.
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Old Sep 23rd, 2012, 09:19 AM
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We just got back from a trip that included a week in Slovenia, and we LOVED it. Your pictures are wonderful, and bring back great memories.

Unfortunately we only had ½ day in Ljubljana, and it poured. We walked a little, but nowhere like what we wanted to…plus, it was chilly, and we were not prepared. I want to go back, and really explore this pretty gem.

We stayed 3 nights in Bled, which gave us 2 full days there – we spent one day in Vintgar Gorge and to visit the castle, one day to take a day trip to Bohinj Lake and Vogel mountain. The evenings in Bled were nice, quiet and cool.

I am working on a trip report, but you can see my pictures here http://ioana-mark.smugmug.com/Travel...5900&k=gpSHqrq
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