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Solo grad trip in Europe, 24 days in November! Critique appreciated.

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Jun 28th, 2014, 11:25 PM
  #1
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Solo grad trip in Europe, 24 days in November! Critique appreciated.

Hello dear friends! It has been quite an exhausting time planning and researching but I still have some qualms about certain part of my trips. I would love to get your input and knowledge on some of these. I am a visual artist from Singapore, this trip would be my grad trip. I love cultures, cafes, cats, poetry etc.

The first leg of my trip (16 days) would be spent with my aunt and sis (we separate last day in amsterdam) before they fly back to Paris, then Singapore. I have only been to London, late 2013.

After much deliberation here is my itinerary. I am sorry to break it down into such details but thought it might be useful if you all have any take on whether it is not logical , too long, too short or whatnots. I will also be taking train connections for all the travelling. (I love the scenery)



LONDON
7th Nov FRIDAY DEPARTS FROM CHANGI
8th nov SATURDAY ARRIVES NOON
9th nov SUNDAY BRICKLANE
10th nov MONDAY WESTMINSTER
11th nov TUESDAY DAYTRIP
12th nov WEDNESDAY DEPART FOR PARIS IN MORN


TRANSIT DETAILS :02h 22m


PARIS
12h nov W ARRIVES PARIS AFTERNOON
13th nov TH FREE AND EASY
14th nov FR DAY TRIP TO GIVERNY/VERSAILLES
15th nov SA LEAVES FOR BELGIUM


TRANSIT DETAILS : 3.5 HOURS


BELGIUM
15h nov SAT ARRIVE IN BRUSSELS (base)
16h nov SUN DAYTRIP TO BRUGES
17th nov MON LEAVES FOR AMSTERDAM


TRANSIT DETAILS : 2 HOURS



HOLLAND
17th nov MON ARRIVES IN AMSTERDAM
18th nov TUES DAYTRIP TO UTRETCH
19th nov WEDS FREE AND EASY
20th nov TH DEPART FOR GERMANY

SOLO ADVENTURE COMMENCES
----------------------------------------------------
PROBLEM 1

Alright, here is where I need more help with. Been going on for days trying to make it work but it all feels so cramped.

I would be flying out from MILAN to Singapore on the 1st of December.

Initially, I had plans to visit both Berlin and Munich whilst in Germany. I have friends over at Berlin. However I foresee that since I have to let go of one, it is wiser to forgo Berlin and head straight to Munich after Amsterdam since Munich would be an easier entry into Salzburg. To be honest, I am not so excited about Germany, only reason is my friend is expecting me in Berlin and Germany is between Holland and Austria, so I thought why not. I am extremely looking forward to Austria and Slovenia.

I am very much confused as to which makes more sense though, travelwise and all. Now it looks like I am just breezing past Germany. Oh and if Munich makes more sense, I am sure my friend can understand that I don't get to meet her.

AMS-BERLIN-SALZBURG-VIENNA-SLOVENIA
AMS-MUNICH-SALZBURG-VIENNA-SLOVENIA
AMS-BERLIN-VIENNA-SALSBURG-SLOVENIA
AMS-VIENNA-SALZBURG-SLOVENIA




20th nov TH Arrives in GERMANY
21th nov FR GERMANY
22nd nov SA GERMANY
23th nov SU SALZBURG/VIENNA
24TH nov mon SALZBURG/VIENNA
25TH nov tue VIENNA/SALZBURG
26TH nov wed VIENNA/SALZBURG
27TH nov th Slovenia
28TH nov fri Slovenia
29TH nov sat Slovenia


PROBLEM 2

Would travelling from Slovenia into Italy be tricky? Would it all be rushed? I don't mind skipping Italy and just zipping straight to Milan to board my flight. Italy deserves a dedicated vacay on its own , I reckon.


How convenient is the transit from Slovenia-Trieste-Milan? It should be doable right? I was thinking if I have extra time to kill, I can even do a sidetrip to Venice.


30TH nov sun Milan / Venice
1st Dec Monday Milan (flies back to SINGAPORE)

__________________________________________

Phew, that is a mouthful. Apologies if this is too draggy. I am just quite excited and nervous about it all This is a childhood dream trip.


Regards,
Noor
www.nooriskandar.com
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Jun 29th, 2014, 02:08 AM
  #2
 
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Hi, sorry can't help with your specific questions, but for London I would not do a daytrip; there is so much to see and do in London and you don't have so much time there. When going to Brick Lane, also go to Spitalfields.

Same for Amsterdam, with so little time I would not do a day trip to Utrecht, unless you have a reason for going there - lovely as Utrecht is, it is, like Amsterdam, organised around canals.

If you like cats, I believe there's a cat boat in Amsterdam.
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Jun 29th, 2014, 07:17 AM
  #3
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Dear Tulips,

Thank you for your input.
I passed by Spitalfields by accident the other time I was near Liverpool Station. I'd be sure to go there this time. Shoreditch area is amazing too for the arts I guess. Cannot wait.

Regarding Amsterdam, yeah, I just chose utrecht because it looks beautiful haha. Maybe I should just take time to venture within Amsterdam itself.

Thanks again for the headsup
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Jun 29th, 2014, 07:22 AM
  #4
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Oh I forgot to add but I have decided to extend my trip till 3rd of December so effectively I have additional 2 more full days
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Jun 29th, 2014, 08:06 AM
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doing Giverny (train to Vernon then taxi or shuttle bus of 4-mile walk) and Versailles the same day is tough - you must go back to Paris as there are no real viable direct trains between Vernon and Versailles - taking the sidelines with changes would be longer than going back to Paris and then out.

Versailles is reached via RER C of Paris' metro system - just about a half hour or so right to near the gates.

If going by train you need to do some research on discounted tickets and perhaps railpasses - if you are under 26 years old then you can get the various Youth railpasses making fully flexible travel on most trains rather cheap. For lots of good info on European trains and passes I always spotlight these IMO fine sites: www.budgeteuropetravel.com; www.ricksteves.com and www.seat61.com - great info from the latter on discounted train tickets that however are sold in limited numbers so must be booked often weeks in advance and then may have severe restrictions on changing or rufunding - the pass does allow you to hop on trains - any train - in most countries (Thalys trains an exception to this.
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Jun 29th, 2014, 09:05 AM
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You don't need to worry about seeing Versailles and Giverny on the same day. Giverny is closed after November 1, so you won't be able to visit during your stay. A good reason for a return trip!
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Jun 29th, 2014, 11:25 PM
  #7
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Thank you both for the ample advices on France. I was not intending to do both a day more of like either. Ahhh that makes it easier then!













_________________________________________
UPDATED ITINERARY
_________________________________________


LONDON
8th nov SATURDAY ARRIVE NOON
9th nov SUNDAY BRICKLANE
10th nov MONDAY WESTMINSTER
11th nov TUESDAY
12th nov WEDNESDAY DEPART FOR PARIS



PARIS
12h nov W ARRIVES PARIS NOON
13th nov TH
14th nov FR DAY TRIP TO VERSAILLES
15th nov SA LEAVES FOR BELGIUM



BELGIUM
15h nov SAT ARRIVES BRUSSELS
16h nov SUN DAYTRIP TO BRUGESS
17th nov MON LEAVES FOR AMSTERDAM

HOLLAND
17th nov MON ARRIVES AMSTERDAM
18th nov TUES AMSTERDAM
19th nov WEDS TAKE MIDNIGHT TRAIN TO BERLIN
20th nov TH


BERLIN

20th nov TH ARRIVES IN BERLIN
21th nov FR
22nd nov SAT DEPART FOR PRAGUE

PRAGUE

22ND NOV SAT ARRIVES IN PRAGUE
23RD NOV SUN PRAGUE DAY 1
24TH NOV MON PRAGUE DAY 2

AUSTRIA

24TH NOV MON ARRIVES IN VIENNA
25TH NOV TUES VIENNA
26TH NOV WEDS SALZBURG
27TH NOV THURS SALZBURG
28TH NOV FRIDAY SALZBURG
SLOVENIA

29TH NOV SAT SLOVENIA
30TH NOV SUN SLOVENIA
1ST DEC MON SLOVENIA
2ND DEC TUES DEPART FOR MILAN

ITALY

2ND DEC TUES DEPART FOR MILAN (if there is time, drop by Venice for sightseeing)
3rd DEC WEDS FLY BACK



__________________________________________________ _____


Problem 1 is kinda solved as I have extended the number of days. Would drop by Berlin for a day I guess.

PROBLEM 2

Would travelling from Slovenia into Italy be tricky? Would it all be rushed? I don't mind skipping Italy and just zipping straight to Milan to board my flight. Italy deserves a dedicated vacay on its own , I reckon.


How convenient is the transit from Slovenia-Trieste-Milan? It should be doable right? Will it take more than 7 hours to get myself to Milan from Slovenia? I was thinking if I have extra time to kill, I can even do a sidetrip to Venice.


Thanks all!
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Jun 30th, 2014, 01:14 AM
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Slovenia is pretty sophisticated country so no problem crossing the border (I've skied across the thing and there is nothing) Unlike the hidden barriers on vehicles between Slovenia and Austria which will not hinder any honest traveller and is aimed at people smugglers.

I'd check train times on www.bahn.de and look out for strikes (sciopero) on transport websites nearer the time

Yes Italy needs a long time to visit.
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Jun 30th, 2014, 01:33 AM
  #9
kja
 
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OK, I've given up trying to follow your itinerary (capital letters are just TOO hard to follow and they read like you are screaming!), but from what I can tell, you are planning just a day or two in each city? Why? What is it that you want to see or experience in these places? Why are you rushing through them? Seriously!

IMO, you aren't giving "major" destinations their due. Cities like Paris or Berlin easily merit closer to a week just to scratch the surface!

Here's my recommendation: Get a few really good travel books. (Get several from your local library to see which ones seem most useful to you. You might start with the Rough Guide or Lonely Planet.) Sit down with them and figure out what you really want to see in these places. Use that information to decide how much time you want to spend in the places you want to visit. Then get information about how long it will take to go from one place to another, add in AT LEAST a couple of hours on either side (to get to/from your hotels, to pack/unpack, check in/out of hotels, etc.) and lay it out on a calendar and a map. Only then will you be in a position to decide how to allocate your time. Once you have narrowed your options, read other sections of the guidebooks: the sections on hotels and restaurants and events so you can see if those factors make a difference.

Note that the time you spend when you move from place to place is time that you could have spent doing or seeing something -- there WILL BE an opportunity cost. And even if you take overnight trains or otherwise use transportation as your down-time, it is unlikely to be completely relaxing -- the overnight schedule will not likely perfectly match your diurnal rhythm; there will be stops and starts and sounds that waken you; etc.

Good luck!
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Jun 30th, 2014, 05:05 AM
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How convenient is the transit from Slovenia-Trieste-Milan? It should be doable right? Will it take more than 7 hours to get myself to Milan from Slovenia? I was thinking if I have extra time to kill, I can even do a sidetrip to Venice.>

Easily done but not sure about the time - from where in Slovenia - the border? Anyway for all European train schedules go to www.bahn.de/en - the German Railways official web schedules and put in your From and To and a date and you'll get all the connections, times, where to change, etc - you have to go thru Venice or at least Venice-Mestre station across the lagoon from the deadend city Santa Lucia station in Venice proper.

A good way to access the www.bahn.de/en site is to go to www.budgeteuropetrave.com and on their home page click on thelink "best all-European time table' or some such wording and it brings you to the English schedule page - I reference this link because they give you several important tips on fully using Wunderbar www.bahn.de that may not be apparent at first encounter.

Seven hours from Trieste to Milan seems to be an optimal time - it may take longer with necessary changes - probably in Venice-Mestre and Trieste. Through trains between Slovenia and Trieste were suspende3d for some stupid reason but I think there may be again thru trains from say Llujlbana and Trieste and maybe Venice.
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Jun 30th, 2014, 05:39 AM
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The train from Ljubliana to Milan takes 9 hours with many changes (and risks to miss a connection). You will have a change in Venice which gives you the opportunity to visit this outstanding city - which is worth it, even if you do not have much time.

I can find no flight from Ljubliana to Milan.

Be aware that November is cold, bleak, dark and rainy in Europe. Days are short. Many tourist attractions are closed. In November, you might visit big cities and spend considerable time in museums.

For my taste, you have too many destinations in your itinerary. You will spend much time with transfers and you will feel very rushed. Drop at least one destination and have more time for the rest. Travelwise, I would drop Slovenia. Also cancel one day in Salzburg and add it to Vienna.

From Amsterdam to Berlin, I would fly, not take the night train (a night train is a torture, at least in my experience).
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Jun 30th, 2014, 06:09 AM
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Skip Belgium, which is nice to visit but similar enough to its neighbours to save till next time. Ditto for Austria, and probably Slovenia. And with two days in Italy you think you can see both Milan and Venice? I'd leave Italy to another trip when you can do it justice, but if you really must depart from Milan, you can spend two comfortable days there, including the rooftop tour of the Duomo which to me is unique among church visits.
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Jun 30th, 2014, 06:38 AM
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The train from Ljubliana to Milan takes 9 hours with many changes (and risks to miss a connection). You will have a change in Venice which gives you the opportunity to visit this outstanding city - which is worth it, even if you do not have much time.>

9 hours and have time to visit Venice - well the nine hours is probably via Venice-Mestre - to go into Venice itself would take another hour just going there and back.

Well is you leave at 3 am or so perhaps.

Is the change in Venice for the 9 hour trip at Mestre - not worth looking around unless you like industrial detritus IME - but if the change is at Santa Lucia, very unlikely I think, then yes that station is right in the heart of beautiful gorgeous sublime Venice.

Rather stay the night in Venice - see one of the world's most beautiful cities. Relax.
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Jun 30th, 2014, 06:40 AM
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Wow thank you for the overwhelming help.

@bilboburgler - Thank you for the assurance.

@kja- Aww, I apologize profusely for getting on your nerves. I thought the caps will make it neater but I thought wrong. Yes, I understand it is very rushed because I am just afraid I won't get the chance to visit that part again. I am also more of a "feel collector" not much of a museum hopper or diner kind, so I just wanna roam around and pen things down. I will certainly heed your advice, I am thinking of cutting down perhaps a destination.
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Jun 30th, 2014, 06:50 AM
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@palenq Thanks, mate! Your advice is appreciated. Noted alongside some other info I got elsewhere for that transfer.

That's my plan. Slovenia into Trieste-immediately to Venice to relax there before departing for Milan the next day. I am not going to spend time in Milan, just fly off from there

@traveller1959 Ditto to the plan to visit Venice on my few last days before flying back. I fully understand the bleak condition in Europe in November but I have no choice. Since my aunt and sis can't have annual leave any other month.I am a naturally unhappy person though, so I can embrace that kinda climate I think.

I don't know if I should drop Slovenia. That is my Top 3 places I wanna visit or at least say hello to. Haha. This is more of a spiritual trip, I wanna walk on streets, sit in cafes, write poetry, have coffee, stare at the rain.

I just checked for flights from Amsterdam to Berlin. Totally considering Easyjet cheap fare there now. That would save time, yes! Thanks for the suggestion.


@Southam Actually the reason I added Belgium is because my sis and aunt would be with me the first half of the leg. I don't think Lon-Paris-Ams would be wholesome for their trip so I added Belgium also because I am in love with Bruges. I'll let them decide but it would be a nice stopover.

Don't worry, I am not doing Milan. Just need to be there on time for my flight so, I'll do a day in Venice before getting to Milan for an international flight out to SG.
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Jun 30th, 2014, 06:52 AM
  #16
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Oh guys, I am also going to continue my photographic series across Europe

https://www.behance.net/gallery/6928963/YOLO
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Jun 30th, 2014, 08:25 AM
  #17
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Oh my goodness guys! I didn't know there was international connections from Venice! That is perfect! That means I don't have to travel to Milan! I'm booking the ticket that flies me out from Venice with Qatar Airways, just 20 dollars difference! Woohoo.


*this is a sign* It's happening! Ha
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Jun 30th, 2014, 09:39 AM
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Well you ain't going to MIlan and can do Venice. But for others the transfer for a Trieste-Milan train would be in Mestre, making it a major detour in time to see Venice on a day's journey Slovenia-Treiste-Milan.
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Jun 30th, 2014, 11:57 PM
  #19
kja
 
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"I am also more of a "feel collector" not much of a museum hopper or diner kind, so I just wanna roam around and pen things down."

This is the kind of information that really helps us respond to your proposal. Thanks for clarifying!

"I am thinking of cutting down perhaps a destination."

I think that would be a step in the right direction, even in light of your newly clarified preference. And you might even consider cutting out another potential destination or two... ;-)
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Jul 1st, 2014, 05:06 AM
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Why pen yourself into a scripted itinerary - why not let spontaneity rule - like when I was your age when I first went I had a vague idea of where to go but I met other folks and traveled with them off and on - the value of a Youth Eurailpass is that it is good all over Europe (save the U K and that ain't Europe!) - no advance planning - just go with the flow.

Liberate yourself and be foot loose and fancy free. If you like a place just stay there - if not move on.
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