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"Special" trip for parents 30th anniversary

"Special" trip for parents 30th anniversary

Nov 8th, 2006, 08:42 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2005
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"Special" trip for parents 30th anniversary

My parents are planning on a trip to Europe for their 30th Anniversary. They are going with 3 other couples for 10-14 days. They want something really special, not just the typical site-seeing, but they also don't want to just relax.

This group has travelled all over Italy together, visited Paris, London, Southern France. My parents have been to Barcelona, Amsterdam.

The trip that was discussed was: Amsterdam, Berlin, Prague and the Lake region of Italy. As soon as I heard that I thought it was way too much and didn't sound that special. They also discussed cruises in Greece, but vetoed that as they don't want to be getting on and off a boat all the time.

My idea was Prague, Vienna, Budapest, but I want to have suggestions for them of relaxing places to go along with the site seeing in those countries. I personally didn't love Budapest, but it works well with the other two countries.

The idea of Switzerland was mentioned for a "chi-chi" resort for a couple of days at the end of the trip to relax.

This sounds all over the place, but suggestions for a few different countries mixing site-seeing and relaxing for 10-14 days would be great. I think they should do Eastern Europe as a lot of the families come from there and these places haven't been visited before.
cjacob is offline  
Nov 8th, 2006, 08:53 AM
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I'm missing something here:

Did someone ask you to plan the trip for them?

It sounds like the people going are pretty well traveled and know what they like and don't like.
nessundorma is offline  
Nov 8th, 2006, 09:18 AM
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No one asked me to plan a trip, I was asked to help come up with suggestions for a trip. It's my parents and they know how much I love to travel and enjoy planning trips so they asked for help.

They're very well traveled people, all the couples are. They want something a little different then our past trips which involved only Western Europe.

I really want suggestions on a trip that could mix site-seeing and relaxation. I didn't agree with their original trip as it sounded like too much, so they asked me to come up with an alternative.

My thoughts are Prague, Vienna, Switzerland, but I want other suggestions.

If it were up to my parents they would be in Asia, but the other couples aren't as adventurous.
cjacob is offline  
Nov 8th, 2006, 09:32 AM
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What about renting a private boat and sailing the Greek islands?

Or, Croatia?
alyssamma is offline  
Nov 8th, 2006, 10:24 AM
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I also think you are making a lot of value judgments based on what you want, rather than what they want. I don't think it's your position to tell them that they places they've picked aren't "special" enough, they should go elsewhere.

I think about everything you've mentioned is too much in 10-14 days, and that includes your ideas if you tack on Switzerland at the end to "relax". I'll admit I don't think any of these touring-type vacations to see new countries are "relaxing". I don't get the whole relaxing thing, actually. If one wants to relax you can just sit at home.

I don't think there is anything more special about what you want them to do than what they wanted to do.
Christina is online now  
Nov 8th, 2006, 10:26 AM
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<< If it were up to my parents they would be in Asia, but the other couples aren't as adventurous. >>

Spells T-U-R-K-E-Y to me.

(or should I say TURKIYE?)

Best wishes,

rex is offline  
Nov 8th, 2006, 11:14 AM
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I'm their daughter, I know what special means to them. A site-seeing tour is not that "special" to them because we do trips like this often. These places are magical and amazing, but they want something unique and a trip of a lifetime.

Nothing is "wowing" them which is the problem. I suggested Turkey too, that way they can do site-seeing and have the most amazing beach time, but for some reason it wasn't a big take.
cjacob is offline  
Nov 8th, 2006, 11:54 AM
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I would suggest Prague, Vienna, Budapest.
Maybe because that's the trip I want to take.
My mom and sister did this a few years ago and loved it. It was a 2 week trip, so exactly in line with your parents time line.
Their favorite city of the three was Budapest.
angethereader is offline  
Nov 8th, 2006, 12:01 PM
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Since the Italian lakes were on their first list, how about doing that and adding Venice, which doesn't seem to be someplace they've already been. I think Venice is pretty special (although I don't think the lakes are, IMHO). Another alternative is Venice and the coast of former Yugoslavia, including Dubrovnik.
shellio is offline  
Nov 8th, 2006, 12:18 PM
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I would suggest Vienna and Prague, but not Budapest. Instead, take the day train from Vienna to Venice and finish the trip there, flying home from Milan. The train ride from Vienna to Venice is scenic (go first class, since this is a special occasion).
Days 1-4 Prague (starting slowly with a day to get over jet lag)
Days 5-8 Vienna
Days 9 morning train to Venice
Days 10-13 Venice
Day 14--back to U.S.

To make the trip more special, perhaps arrange a customized walking (or whatever) tour of each city, with a personal guide tailored to the couples' interest. Arrange for a celebratory dinner at one of the best restaurants in each of the three cities.

OR...perhaps Copenhagen and Stockholm, with a side trip to St. Petersburg.

OR...since they expressed an interest in Switzerland and the Lakes, how about starting in Rome, then train up to the Lakes, then finish at a posh resort in Switzerlannd like Gstaad or St. Moritz?

But a few questions: what time of year? What's their budget?

Anyway, good luck! We took my parents to London and Vienna for the 50th anniversary. They had been to London a few times before; on their last trip, they found London too rushed and "too few people with gray hair" but they really liked Vienna.
BTilke is offline  
Nov 8th, 2006, 12:35 PM
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Thanks for your advice BTilke. They are planning on going in July and money is really not a concern for them. They're extremely lucky that they don't have to budget all too much for these trips, it's also a special occassion so they'll be willing to spend a little more then usual.

I don't think they want to go back to Italy, as the four couples did that together already.

They said if I came up with a great itineray for Turkey they would present it to the group...

I'm also really liking Prague, Vienna and say the St. Mortiz in Switzerland. I've been to Budapest and didn't love it so they're not dying to get there. But I absolutely loved Prague and Vienna. I think Vienna is such a charming city and know they would love it.

They just want to go on a fabulous trip but do none of the homework, luckily I like doing all of this! Slightly mad I'm not invited though.
cjacob is offline  
Nov 8th, 2006, 02:42 PM
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how about a boat trip down the danube - vienna to Budapest I think - that would be different. also the orient express still goes to Venice, which could be a thrill.
Or St. Petersburg?? [again, cruises available]
Or a cruise down the canal du midi on a fully catered barge?
i'll stop now, but you get the idea.
good luck to them and you!
annhig is online now  
Nov 8th, 2006, 02:53 PM
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Speaking from experience as a mother and daughter, daughters are not always in the "know".

Why can't it be up to them to go to Asia without the 3 other couples since they are paying for the "special" trip themselves?
Shanghainese is offline  
Nov 8th, 2006, 02:55 PM
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Portugal or Maderia
crazychick is offline  
Nov 8th, 2006, 03:28 PM
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Why not go to Greece and stay on the islands of Santorini (very relaxing with fantastic views), Mykenos, and possibly Rhodes (staying in the old town). If their travel agent arranges the trip right, they can fly from island to island, rather than flying through Athens to change islands.
sandys is offline  
Nov 8th, 2006, 05:09 PM
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Hmmm...July. I would leave out Venice then. Too crowded. Scandinavian capitals and St. Petersburg or a Norwegian fjord cruise might be fun. OR Copenhagen/Stockholm and a few days chilling in the upscale German beaches of Sylt (so stylish, in fact, that Harrod's recently arranged to sell Sylt-style beach chairs). THAT would be different. There is a particularly charming hotel in Sylt:

Or fly into Vienna, spend a few days there, then up to Prague for another few days, and then unwind at the end in the luxury resort/spa town of Baden-Baden, Germany, before flying home from Frankfurt. It's beautiful in summer with quite a bit to do. Great food and shopping, too. The Dorint/Sofitel in BB is a wonderful 5 star hotel with an excellent concierge staff who could put together some activities individually tailored for your group.

Remember, Vienna can get very warm and muggy in mid-summer.

BTilke is offline  
Nov 8th, 2006, 05:14 PM
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Venice is really "special," as is Zermatt, Switzerland. I think the lack of cars and other speeding vehicles just puts you in a different mode. And the scenery is incredible at both.
Lucerne, Switzerland and Vienna, Austria are also spectacular. Since they are going in the summer, and since they have not been to Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, I think an Alpine/Bavarian ten day trip would be really spectacular.
I'd research a bit about Munich, Konstanz/Lindau, Lucerne, Chur, Salzburg, and Vienna, and see what they think.
Best wishes!
Dreamer2 is offline  
Nov 9th, 2006, 12:36 AM
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What about Spain?
I mean a long slow trip around some of the amazing cities, staying in Paradors some of which are incredible historical monuments.
There are 91 Paraodors from the Pyranees border to the Portguese coast and from Malaga to Bilbao.
The Paradors are mainly 4* with excellent facilities and restaurants for a leisurely stay.
veletas is offline  
Nov 9th, 2006, 09:24 AM
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I like the suggestion of scandinavia or Turkey.

The other idea I had was charterd boat down the Adriatic/Croatia.... not sure if they are off boats at all. That would be a very relaxing...something different.

I also am disappointed at how judgemental people are about your soliciting ideas. People who love to travel like to come up with ideas. Do we really want Four Page posts where everyone has to explain every detail to make explicitly clear that the relationship is such that a request of advice is not overstepping bounds of that the parents will be able to evaluate any advice given.
sfmaster is offline  
Nov 9th, 2006, 09:45 AM
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What about Croatia, then Greece? They could stay on different islands in Greece, then take a ferry or a flight to the next island. My daughter raved about Greece from her visit last March, how wonderful and affordable the food is (and she's very picky about fresh fish!), and how friendly the people are. Her photos in Greece are amazing, too.

I helped her research the trip, and have a very long e-mail I put together from lots and lots of Fodorites' recommendations. I could e-mail it to you if you want.

And our Greek friend gave us his recommendations for my daughter's March visit:

"Dino said some islands are pretty much shut down this time of year, like you said. Like Naxos, Tinos and Paros might be pretty closed up, so not good to visit now. But you can count on Santorini and Mykonos being open for tourism, and Andros, too.

If you fly to Athens, go to Lavrion, where the ferries depart. Probably you take a bus to Lavrion from Athens.

Your movement will be dependent on the ferry schedule, he said. In March, they will probably be going every other day, at least, if not daily. So plan your trip around the ferries. Search on-line to see if you can find schedules, leaving from Lavrion. But the ferries also go according to the weather, so not a completely dependable schedule.

He suggests you consider these islands: Andros, Mykonos, Amorgos and Santorini.

(Actually, Dino had never even been to Amorgos, but he got out his book of maps and thought Amorgos looked interesting, because you'd asked. He said it's small and would probably be quiet.)

The only nightlife you'll find this time of year is on Mykonos.

Dino calls Andros a "big ship owners' island" which I think means wealthy with nice accomodations. He said really nice museums there, and architecture.

He said it's easier to travel on ferries from north to south, because you aren't going into the wind. (Don't know if you'll have an option on this point.)

He said all of the islands named above will have good hiking trails. I think he said especially Andros. (He thought you should definitely go to Andros. Maybe as a ship owner himself, he has respect for Andros-- that's my sense of his feelings about it, anyway.)

He said the Greeks like Americans and will be friendly. He said it's safe, just use good judgment and stay together with a friend.

The Cyclades are mountainous islands, not so sandy-beachy. But the beaches are mostly on the southern sides of the islands. All the islands in the Cyclades group will have the same weather."

Have fun planning with your parents!

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