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Stamina and Inconveniences

Old Aug 5th, 2014, 04:03 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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We are now in our mid 60's, but our first introductions to European travel were via tours which we thoroughly enjoyed. Got to meet a wide variety of people and were able to see places we had only dreamed.

A few years later, we were fortunate to live in England and Vienna for a couple of years where we became much more comfortable with independent travel.

We've returned to Europe a number of times in the last 15 yrs, always renting a car and visiting smaller towns instead of large cities.

My husband always wanted to visit Poland, the land of his ancestors, so we took a one week tour in addition to another 2 wks on our own in Germany and Austria. Saw much more on the tour than we could have done on our own but the pace was a bit tiring so I was glad it was only a week.

Another compromise to our advancing age and physical limitations was a Danube River cruise last year. We had a marvelous time and felt it was a good balance of tours and down time.

Our next trip in September is to Austria where we have been numerous times.
bettyk is offline  
Old Aug 5th, 2014, 04:41 PM
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Japan is very easy to do on your own. Superb, wonderful trains, and helpful people. As for schlepping bags, they have a wonderful thing called a takhubin (sp?) service: ask about it over on the Asia forum, they'll help you out.
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Old Aug 5th, 2014, 05:38 PM
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I took early retirement in my 50s so I could travel before I got too decrepit. I just turned 67, and am still (happily!!!) traveling, mostly independently in both Asia and Europe, and recently South America (click on my name for my TRs). I do pack light - I won't travel with more than I can carry, as I expect to carry it. However, Asia can be much cheaper than Europe, so you can afford assistance more easily, whether in the form of porters or cars and drivers.

I have used tours on occasion, usually to break up a longer trip. For Europe I would recommend Rick Steves, whose tours leave you a fair amount of independence and have you stay in the middle of town. For Asia I have used Intrepid, which gives you still more independence and smaller groups, but you have to be willing to rough it a bit. I also used the Smithsonian for my first tour of Asia (China), but felt that I was in a cocoon.

Like Kathie, I am saving river cruises for when I can't manage anything else.
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Old Aug 5th, 2014, 06:15 PM
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When we were younger, we very often embarked on The Grand Schlep Tours of our own devising, managing our bags, the language, entrance tickets, etc. In the last few years, in travelling through Europe with friends, we have taken to hiring a car and driver, who takes care of all the details. It is expensive, but worth the ease with which we were able to get around.

With a couple of us experiencing age-related disabilities, we will continue to travel this way, whether in Europe or Asia. When I'm ancient, I'll consider a full-fledged tour.

Some of our friends have taken river cruises, however, they found that the walk from the ship to the city or town centres to be taxing each day that the ship docked.
muskoka is online now  
Old Aug 5th, 2014, 07:17 PM
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Thank you for posting your experience.
IMDonehere is offline  
Old Aug 5th, 2014, 07:37 PM
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I am very much enjoying reading about your experiences and look forward to more posts--keep 'em coming!
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Old Aug 5th, 2014, 08:07 PM
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muskoka, on the Danube Cruise that we took, the ship was usually docked right by the town center. When this wasn't the case, such as in Vienna, we were taken by bus for our city tour and then we took a taxi later in the evening to a nearby heuriger for some wine.

Of course, this may depend on which river you are cruising.
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Old Aug 5th, 2014, 08:18 PM
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Thanks for that info, Bettyk. It's good to know that we wouldn't have to use a lot of stamina just getting to the first leg of the town walk.

Our friends occasionally found that the uphill climb in some ports was ennervating.
muskoka is online now  
Old Aug 5th, 2014, 08:44 PM
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Instead of schlepping cameras and laptop we now have a tablet and a decent relatively small Lumix.

In 2008 my wife and her then 74 year old sister walked the 500 mile Camino across northern Spain and now neither could not do any vaguely close to that.

In May we went to Belgium and The Netherlands for almost three weeks. And almost every day we walked a minimum of three hours to max of six. Man, that is just getting to be too much. It seemed we used to dawdle more when we were younger, but now there was an unnecessary sense of urgency, since it is doubtful we will return to most of these places.

We now are trying to go places we have never been before. We have been to Spain, France, Italy, and London on many occasions. And although we would still go back to any of these place, we head in a different direction.
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Old Aug 6th, 2014, 05:10 AM
Join Date: May 2003
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After reading of twoteacher's difficulties on a tour, I'm wondering if tours are such an ideal solution for those with age-related disabilities and those wanting a slower pace.
enewell is online now  
Old Aug 6th, 2014, 07:25 AM
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In general I agree with you,enewell. Those people might be better off traveling to areas where labor rather than capital is cheap, and assistance can be hired at affordable rates.
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Old Aug 6th, 2014, 08:05 AM
Join Date: Jul 2006
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We now rent cottages or apartments in Europe and stay put longer kn one place. It is the traveling part that gets tiring.
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