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Need ideas for the ultimate European vacation

Old May 30th, 2003, 12:31 AM
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Need ideas for the ultimate European vacation

Hi all,

I want to visit Europe with my parents in late September of 2004 and want to know if I had a choice of visiting just 3 places, what would be the best? I know for a fact that Italy must be one of them. I need some help from you experts.

Thanks.
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Old May 30th, 2003, 02:44 AM
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How long do you plan to be in Europe? What are the group's major interests? Is everyone in good health and reasonable physical condition?
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Old May 30th, 2003, 05:10 AM
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We plan to be there for 2 weeks and I'm going with my parents who are elderly but in ok condition. They have never been to Europe and I think would be open to just about anything as would I.
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Old May 30th, 2003, 05:20 AM
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One person's ultimate is another person's nightmare. I planned the "ultimate" trip to Switzerland and it rained 7 days out 9.
So much for ultimates.
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Old May 30th, 2003, 05:41 AM
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If by "3 places" you mean 3 cities, I say Paris, Rome, and either Amsterdam or one of the Greek Islands. If you mean 3 countries, I say Italy, Greece and Spain.
 
Old May 30th, 2003, 05:41 AM
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Livette I really think you need to provide a LOT more info in order to get decent advice. What budget restraints are there? When you say "places" do you mean stops (cities/towns) or countries? Do you have thoughts on how to get from place to place (are you prepared to drive?) Where have YOU been already? Do you/parents prefer cities or country? Does your family have European heritage that might be fun to explore? Help us help you.
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Old May 30th, 2003, 07:48 AM
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I think France is up there on a list of "must see" places. Italy, France and Switzerland would be a wonderful trio if you have the time. They are also close geographically. On the other hand, I love London and hate to leave it off the list.
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Old May 30th, 2003, 07:58 AM
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Any trip starts with deciding 4 basic parameters--they are:
When--how long--how much--transport mode
You then add personal interests and any other personal limitations. A car versus trains will be a big factor. Tell us more--so many good options.
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Old May 30th, 2003, 08:07 AM
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My PERSONAL choices would be: Greece, Austria/switzerland and (of course England (countryside not just London)

Cities would be Rome, Paris, ?London or Amsterdam. But it depends on what you find interesting.
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Old May 30th, 2003, 08:24 AM
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Hi Livette,

I always recommend Paris for first timers.

The Paris, Switzerland, Rome idea is very good.

We took a trip a few years ago that was:

Fly into Munich, train to Venice, train to Vienna, train to Prague, fly home from Prague that we greatly enjoyed.
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Old May 30th, 2003, 09:19 AM
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If you have just two weeks I'd stick to just ONE country, or at most adjoining regions of two countries. I think Italy is a very good choice for a two-week trip in late September, but it would be best not to try to cover bits and pieces of the country from north to south in such a short time. One possiblity in the north-central part of the country might be: Florence, plus smaller towns in the Tuscany region, plus a few places in the Umbria region. If you want to cover more territory, but do it superficially, you could add Venice and maybe parts of the Emilia-Romagna region (e.g., Bologna, Ravenna, Ferrara). Or a great southern option for a two-week trip would be just Sicily. Or again, if you wanted to cover more territory in a two-week trip to the south, you might visit Sicily, plus parts of the Puglia region or parts on the Campania region (e.g., Pompeii, Amalfi coast).
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Old May 30th, 2003, 12:04 PM
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If you're willing to drive...I'd do Bavaria in a heartbeat!!!!
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Old May 30th, 2003, 01:03 PM
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If none of you have ever visited Europe before and speak only English, then an easy choice would be England. It is a lovely country with beautiful scenery, ancient history...in short, all a tourist could ask for. And you will be understood everywhere, which eliminates that worrisome problem of the language barrier. England is a great place to start out in if you're not accustomed to European travel. However, having said that, my husband and I are adventurous types and have never let languages stop us. We try to visit places that tie in with interests we have. Do you and your parents admire a certain artist or author? Visit their birthplace. Are you fond of walking or hiking? Visit a place that lets you do that. Do you like certain types of cooking? Go somewhere that you can feast like royalty. The hardest thing, I think, is to rein yourself in. We always used to try to cram too many things in--you know, the if it's tuesday it must be belgium syndrome. Now we purposely see less, but in doing so, see it better. I think your parents might appreciate that philosophy. Let us know where you decide to go!
 
Old May 31st, 2003, 10:58 AM
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The "ultimate" trip, in my estimate is an ANNUAL trip.

But you are asking about ONE trip, so I will give the same advice I have given often. Close your eyes (or have your parents do this), and think, "I wan to go to Europe to see..." and tell me what pictures come to mind. Even if you don't know the places, describe what KIND of places they are. There are big differences in the plans of those who envision the Colosseum and the Parthenon, or the Matterhorn and the fjords of Norway, or the fashion runways of Paris and Milan, or castles, or half-timbered houses in Bavaria and Alsace, or the Vatican, or canals in Venice, or great art treasures in Florence, Amsterdam and Madrid, or...

Best wishes,

Rex
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Old May 31st, 2003, 03:53 PM
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You don't mention budgets, or interests. If they are Art people, of course, Florence/Venice, Paris, and Madrid (I love the Thysen-Bormieza), If they are Architecture people Barcelona and Brussels, St. Petersburg, Paris, Prague, Venice, San Sebastian, London etc. (I am going to get criticized here. If they love small towns, and villages, Northern Spain is very easy. Catalunya is a Gem. Catalunya is the hilltowns of Italy without the good food or the thousands of tourists. The Rioja (La Guardia! forget Haro),The Perigord, Tuscany, Liguria, Champagne, Burgandy, etc. will be nice in wine harvesting, mushrooming, olive pressing (maybe a little early)season. You don't mention if you will have a car, or if you speak any languages.
Ask your parents where they have always dreamed of visiting. I have been living in Europe off and on for 38 years. (I am 44) I still find I am excited by new places. But if I had to go tomorrow, I would choose Paris, southern Provence (The Camargue), Rome, Madrid, Northern Italy, Finestre (Brittany),and anywhere in Catalunya. I only go to Eastern Europe when I have to , and Germany is expensive and a drag. I am beginning to dread trips to Holland and Scandanavia is a lot of work. Belgium is very nice.
You are a wonderful daughter to attempt this. I have my parents from time to time and it is never easy. My parents love Ireland and Scotland because of the language. Paris is very easy, because it connects with all of the trains, (the train to London is fantastic!) Paris is also so easy to navigate. If your parents are old enough to remember D-day it is extremely meaningful to go to Caen and the D-day beaches. To the people of Normandy this was not so long ago and their appreciation of americans is still fresh. They may enjoy this and it is an easy trip from Paris. So the answer to your question is not easy. But if you are relying on public transport, check out the cheap flights from Gatwick to Rome. (The airlines are all on line Ryanair, EasyJet etc. and this is easiest to do in English) You can train it to Florence and Venice. If you want real Italy you need a car. The train between London and Paris is too easy to ignore. Also the overnight train between Paris, Barcelona and Madrid is very very easy. If you want rural the train from Paris to Montpelier is so easy and you can connect with Provencal buses or rental cars in Montpelier.

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