Itinerary review, please

Old Mar 12th, 2021, 06:57 AM
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Itinerary review, please

Thanks in advance for your help. I've posted on here before - I may have even posted something similar to this - and am grateful for your help, then and now.

After several trips to Europe that enabled us to take a few items off our original list, and add a few more, here's what I have in mind as we draw closer to this. I'd like to hear what you think of it.

Background - I'll be in my mid-50s and husband in his mid-70s (but dang, he's as fit as I am, if not fitter; we're both fine walking 5-10 miles a day). We DON'T like fine dining, rich hotel accommodations, lush meals or the like. We DO like walking/hiking, public transit, museums, nature, history, education, libraries, farms and farmers' markets. We do best with a day of "down time" on the first and last day in a location, although we might or might not use it. We're fine staying in hostels and taking trains (we're not comfortable renting a car and driving on our own much in a non-U.S. country).

Past trips have shown me that we like a leisurely schedule which often changes, which is why I've settled up the number of days in each place and our way into and out of them, but little else. Sometimes we don't do much, sometimes we're on the pavement by 7 a.m. (with a mid-day rest), and sometimes we go all day long. As an example, the last time we went to Europe, pre-pandemic of course, I hadn't planned anything for our first afternoon/night in Berlin, and we ended up exploring museums 'til almost midnight because it was their late night and we felt great. Conversely, I had planned *a lot* for Vienna, but it was hit with a rogue heat wave and we did only about half the things we'd planned. Both outcomes were fine.

JUNE
Toronto to Keflavik
Arrive Keflavik a.m.
Iceland - 7 days (I have a friend there)
Keflavik to Dublin - 1 day
Ireland - 9 days
Irish Ferries from Dublin to Holyhead, then train to Llandudno Junction, Wales, near Snowdonia National Park - 1 day
Snowdonia National Park, Wales area - 3 days
Snowdonia to London - 1 day [actually it's about 4 hours, but there are always things to do in London if necessary]
London - 6 days, including day trips to Bath Spa and Moreton-in-Marsh, including early July to wrap it up

JULY
Dartmoor and Exmoor National Parks - 7 days
Exeter St. David's to York, train - 1 day (about 5 hours)
Yorkshire - 10 days, including Great Yorkshire Show, Ilkley Moor and "All Creatures" tour (we're huge James Herriot fans and have already spent a few days in Thirsk)
York to Edinburgh, train - 1 day (about 2.5 hours' travel time)
Edinburgh - 6 days
Edinburgh to Shetland, fly - 1 day

AUGUST
Shetland - 5 days
Shetland to Luxembourg, fly - 1 day
Luxembourg day trip - we want to visit the family of one of our exchange students
Luxembourg to Strasbourg, train - 1 day (about 2 hours)
Strasbourg - 7 days, with day trips as they strike us
Strasbourg to Munich, train - 1 day (about 4 hours)
Munich - 7 days, including day trips to Neuschwanstein, Berchtesgaden and Dachau
Munich to Unteruhldinge, train - 1 day (about 5 hours)
Unteruhldinge - 1 day, Pfahlbaumuseum
Unteruhldinge to Munich, train - 1 day (about 4 hours)
Lucerne, Switzerland - 6 days, including a day trip to Mt. Rigi
Fly home from Zurich

I'm worried that this is a lot of "to and fro," but I don't know how else to see these places in a leisurely way. We have the luxury of time (about 3 months) and money (selling where we currently live), but neither one of us is getting any younger, y'know?

When we get back, we're hoping to do a couple weeks in Canada by train, and the following spring we're planning to spend a month, early, in southern Europe (Greece, Amalfi Coast, Spain, Avignon).

Thoughts?

Thank you.
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Old Mar 12th, 2021, 07:19 AM
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Hi Kandace York,

Is this for 2021?

There is the possibility that Germany, at least, won't yet let non-Europeans in by August. Germany has been very, very slow to roll out vaccines, and the estimate is that the majority of the population won't be vaccinated until September. There is also the possibility that the Oktoberfest will be canceled for the second year; I understand that they will make that decision in April or May. So be sure that your reservations are changeable.

Have fun as you plan!

s

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Old Mar 12th, 2021, 08:46 AM
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For 2023 - I've already canceled 2021 (and 2020, of course), and I'm aiming for a much smaller, shorter trip in 2022.

I'll edit my original post so that's clearer. Thank you!

Kandace
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Old Mar 12th, 2021, 08:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Kandace_York View Post
Thanks in advance for your help.
This is for 2023, fyi. I've already canceled plans for 2021 (and 2020, of course), and I'm planning a dramatically shorter, smaller trip for 2022.

Kandace
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Old Mar 12th, 2021, 09:00 AM
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Ah, good!!

Sorry I don't have any good suggestions. I live south of Munich, and I travel often to Switzerland, but I don't know what to say that's helpful. Yes, 6 or 7 nights in Munich will go quickly. Also think about seeing Regensburg. Likewise, 5 or 6 nights in Luzerne will go quickly.

Have fun!

s
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Old Mar 12th, 2021, 09:09 AM
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Thank you! I've been to Regensburg and Luzern but husband has not. I'm happy to be able to see them again (eventually) and introduce him to them.

Do you think 6 or 7 nights each will be enough for Munich and for Luzern? I'm not sure. We take a pretty leisurely pace but there's a fair bit to cover here.

Kandace
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Old Mar 12th, 2021, 09:36 AM
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Hi again,

Well, you've only listed 4 things (Neuschwanstein, Berchtesgaden, Dachau, & Regensburg), so 6 or 7 nights should be ok. You can also hike or bike around Füssen and/or Berchtesgaden, and you may want to walk down the Isar in Munich or spend time at the Starnbergersee (Buchheim Museum is fabulous). For Luzern, you do have enough time to get to some villages on the lakes by ferry and do some hiking. I think you're ok!

s
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Old Mar 12th, 2021, 09:37 AM
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You certainly have a leisurely schedule. I presume you've researched these places and have some reason for wanting to base in Strasbourg for seven days. I don't quite get that myself. London, etc, sure, that makes sense, but seven days in Strasbourg in mid-August? I'd go mad. You do realize it can be very hot there. I could maybe understand it a little more if you did have a car and somehow wanted to tour wine country or Alsacien villages or whatnot, but you don't. So you can't be touring farms, either (and hiking in mid-August may not be fun). I understand about the car choice, I am NOT going to press you to rent cars as so many do on Fodors as I find it more freeing to be without one in Europe, also, I just don't understand that choice if you mainly want to do day trips by train. In August. Now sure, there are a few places around there you could visit by day trip that I like, such as Nancy. You could visit Mulhouse. But I wouldn't spend more than four days there probably, that's all.

I'd go somewhere else since you are in the area, some place that might be cooler (hard to predict nowadays in August), but at least something else to see. The problem is going from Strasbourg to Munich by train gives limited choices, I guess only Stuttgart in-between. Maybe some more in Switzerland, you could easily tthrow in some days in Lausanne or Montreux or something to that part of the trip.

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Old Mar 12th, 2021, 11:45 AM
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Excellent observations - thank you!

I didn't put all my notes in the itinerary because I didn't want to bore anyone (plus, our plans are flexible and often change).

Strasbourg is near my ancestral village and I'd love to spend more time there. We've been there but never had time to look around. I figured a day trip to Haguenau and a lot of lazing around, especially if it's hot.

Thank you for mentioning that, though. With the luxury of time - both planning and travel - I can definitely move some things around.

Much appreciated!

Kandace
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Old Mar 13th, 2021, 03:57 PM
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This sounds like a great trip! Lucky you. I have thought of the Iceland stop-over before. Might have to re-visit that idea. Would this be on Iceland Air?
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Old Mar 14th, 2021, 08:08 AM
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Going by train from Munich to Unteruhldingen on Lake Constance, then back again to Munich, and from there to Lucerne, doesn't make sense. I would take the train to Lindau, stay there for two nights, go to Unteruhldingen by train in between, and then continue from Lindau to Lucerne. The train station for the Pfahlbaumuseum is called 'Uhldingen-Mühlhofen'.
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Old Mar 14th, 2021, 10:16 AM
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Thank you, Swabian!
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Old Mar 15th, 2021, 05:38 AM
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Hi Kandace, another great journey I see. Focusing on the Uk bits,

July on the two Moors in the SW, are you yomping, camping or cycling. To be frank there is very little on wither apart from a lot of nature. July is normally the start of holiday season so it may be a good place to go but also think about a few towns to visit.

I live within sight of Ilkley moor. It is pretty small and can be walked from end to end in just over a day. You might prefer to have a look at some of new Dales walks in the area. One passes close to the south of the town and heads on. Good luck if you want detailed advice. Because we are so far north summer days are light a long time, don't be surprised.
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Old Mar 15th, 2021, 07:26 AM
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Munich & Lucerne

I've been to Munich. The beer gardens are nice and went to the park. Try and squeeze in one of the castles (I didn't get to go. Had transportation issues). Loved Lucerne! Theres a walkway that surrounds a lake there. Theres a cafe by a flowing river that was nice, cant think of the name though).

Lyn
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Old Mar 15th, 2021, 07:27 AM
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Hi Kandace,

My thoughts about Strasbourg. I lived there for a year, quite a while ago, great city and a fascinating blend of cultures and languages (not only French and German but Alsatian). And since you have Alsatian roots, you're probably familiar with the area, but I would suggest a day trip (probably easily done by bus if you don't want to rent a car) to Colmar. Beautiful small city. The Issenheim altarpiece by Grunewald alone is worth the visit. Also Riquewihr, a beautiful small village.

BTW, is there a reason you are traveling in the hot crowded summer days? Have you thought of shifting your trip into September-October? In Strasbourg, tarte a l'oignon and choucroute garnie would be much more palatable in cooler weather

You have a lot of time to play with variations in your itinerary, which is half the fun. Enjoy!
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Old Mar 15th, 2021, 07:43 AM
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Thank you, EYWandBTV. We usually travel in the shoulder season or off season, but circumstances may be making a summer trip more likely for us.

I've thought about the towns/cities you mention, but because neither my husband nor I drink (not for any reason - it just doesn't taste good to us), we don't really appreciate vineyards or wineries. We come from the small farming villages north of Strasbourg - north, even, of Haguenau.

We do have time, though, so I'll take another look! Just trying to be sure it's leisurely "enough." I've done that thing where I had to be on a tour bus by 7 a.m. every day, as well as independent travel where we were in a different hotel every 2 or 3 days, and that was exactly zero fun. The family complained about it for months and months afterward. With the luxury of time (sandwiched between June 1 and September 1), I figure we can avoid that.

As for heat, last summer "at home" we had 16 days of 90-degree temps, and many of those were 95 or more degrees. Summer humidity here runs 80-100%. I've checked the temperature ranges for the places we're going are cooler than that...but even if they get hit with a rogue heat wave, I figure that we can laze around and do nothing. Imagine!

Kandace
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Old Mar 15th, 2021, 09:40 AM
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Last time I was in Alsace it hit 34C, with vinyard humidity we just had to lie around.
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Old Mar 16th, 2021, 06:00 AM
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Originally Posted by bilboburgler View Post
Last time I was in Alsace it hit 34C, with vinyard humidity we just had to lie around.
Where I live, that's an average July/August day, and I need to work all day in it anyhow (we own a farm and don't have central a/c). We'll be in Strasbourg in early August, and I've checked historical weather reports for that timeframe. Honestly, though, just lazing around in that heat/humidity is a luxury. I'm used to working in it even if I'm on the verge of collapse all through it.

Thus the value of working hard, saving a lot and getting away for vacation...
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