Suggestions for Month-long trip??

Apr 8th, 2002, 12:38 AM
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Suggestions for Month-long trip??

I am starting to plan a 4 to 6-week backpacking trip through Europe for my 30th birthday, which is October 2003. I would love suggestions for itineraries, must-stop places, travel routes to maximize my time, etc. Ideally, I'd like to start or end in London and spend a good 4-7 days there. And I know I want to go to Italy. The big question is, how can I balance the amount of time I spend in places (to get to know the culture and not just hop from sight-seeing venue to sight-seeing venue), yet still get to see some of my ideal places. I'd like to go to London, Beruge in Belgium, Italy and Greece. I'm open to other suggestions, except Germany. I've been there and want to go to places I haven't seen yet. Are the places I mentioned too much to fit in a 4 week trip?

Any help is much appreciated!
Apr 8th, 2002, 04:25 PM
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Pick up Rick Steves' guide book for Europe (you can also get his individual European country books) and see if you like his itineraries. My son, who was 30 at the time and now 34) used his book and stayed in many of the hostels he recommended, met lots of fun people, even met me in London one night. He didn't get as far as Greece as there's so much to see in Western Europe. He was there for about 6 weeks. If you'd like, I can send you his e-mail address and I'm sure he'd be happy to tell you what he enjoyed. He still corresponds with many people he's met thru his travels.
Apr 8th, 2002, 06:31 PM
beth anderson
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Greece may be too far out, for a 4 week trip. 4 weeks will go by so fast your head will swim. but it sounds great!

I think your three places sound grand - you can spend a week in London, and maybe 3 days in Brugge (anywhere else in Belgium?) and the rest in Venice/Rome/Florence... stopping along the way in parts of France if you like.

either that, or just get a eurailpass and take along a let's go or some other europe wide guidebook and wing it. I did that once and it was so much fun. didn't know until I got to a certain town where I would be going. it's fun to make it up as you go along... and if you know your beginning/end point, that's all you need really...

keep us posted!!

Apr 8th, 2002, 06:52 PM
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You can fly cheaply from England to Greece (not sure I remember the details fo who flies the route), and - - I think - - even cheaper Rome to Athens, on

Ferry is also an option although, of course slower (overnight-ers do exist - - offering the saving of one night's lodging, for those who might seek to do that) - - - - there may be other sources of information.

Best wishes,

Apr 8th, 2002, 07:14 PM
Bob Brown
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When I was a young man, I took off on a 7 week Odyssey around central and western Europe. (I saved England and Scotland until later.)
My regrets from that first trip that lingered for years are these:
1. I was ignorant of the Swiss Alps at the time and missed that great scenery.
2. I did not visit Vienna.
3. I did not visit Rome or Florence.
4. I was unprepared to visit Paris.
(Prague was not an option at the time.)
My favorite cities then were Copenhagen, Berlin, London, Munich, Salzburg, and Venice. I think Milan was my least favorite.

Since then I have addressed those little issues and added Luzern and Vienna to my list. As for Switzerland, at age 65 I was a little past my physical prime, but I did do some high hiking, but not what I could have done had I gone even 15 years earlier.

I think you are doing the right thing by preparing yourself as much as you possibly can. Ask a lot of questions, but always remember that it is your trip and you should plan to do what interests you the most.

For me, in the last few years, Paris is the most fascinating city I have visited so far. Vienna has its attractions, too, and Munich has a certain appeal to it, but in a different way than Paris or Vienna.

I think it depends on what you want to see and do and how you intend to travel. For a trip to be a success, I think one needs to emphasize personal themes and indulge personal interests. I am a mountain and music lover. Therefore on my trips I seek to maximize those two loves. I have been known to be on a mountain one day in hiking clothes and attending an opera the next.

Throw in with the other features a few art museums, a few decent meals, some good hotels and apartments, and I have had a good trip.

And one other thing that helps is a good companion. Mine is my girl friend of 46 years. She brings to the trip skills that are complementary to mine - ones I don't possess - like organization, resilience, and adaptability. Her medical knowledge is a help sometimes, too.

You did not say what kind of accommodations you were looking for. Youth hostels are all around, particularly in Switzerland, as are other forms of cheap sleeping places known as Schlaf im Stroh. You can sleep in the straw at a Matratzenlage -- literally a place where you can put a mattress.
You will either love the comraderie or hate the intimacy.

Apr 8th, 2002, 07:15 PM
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very true Rex, but, unless she just wants to see Athens - getting to the islands may eat up a fair amount of time - then getting back again... not unworthy I am sure, but, in 4 weeks - so much more to see without going through the logistical hassles..

of course you could shorten your time in London, skip Brugges, and spend 3 weeks in Italy/Greece, flying home from Athens.

October would be cold and not much going on in the islands anyway. much would be closed...
Apr 9th, 2002, 05:14 AM
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Apr 10th, 2002, 02:29 PM
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Thank you for the great input! I purchased a few books (including Rick Steve's and Lonely Planet) to help me with the researching. I'll look into the amount of time it takes to include Greece into the mix since it looks like weather in Sept. might limit the fun (at least in the islands).

I appreciate your help!
Apr 10th, 2002, 03:51 PM
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With 4 to 6 weeks, I didn't view time as a constraint - - even though she did ask about how to maximize her time. I didn't assume that this trip would start October 1, just that it might include SOME portion of October. She listed 4 destinations - - 3-7 days in Greece seem reasonable to me. And flying trans-atlantic to and from London still might be her cheapest option with flights to, and from the continent.

And I can't see why she couldn't or shouldn't spend 1-2 days in Brugge.

We don't typically think of a "backpacker" as doing a lot of flying from one place to another - - but what is a backpacker anyway? she doesn't exactly say that she is cash-strapped for her intra-Europe transportation budget (the most overlooked budget item in many people's planning). In this case, flying between all the points listed is probably the best use of time AND money.
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