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Things Old Travellers to Europe Seem Not to Understand!!!

Things Old Travellers to Europe Seem Not to Understand!!!

May 11th, 2014, 02:27 PM
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Things Old Travellers to Europe Seem Not to Understand!!!

FrenchMystiqueTours on May 11, 14 at 11:52am
When I was in my 20's and backpacked Europe for 2 months I hit about 20 to 25 destinations in a 2 month period. I had done zero research before leaving and my whole travel plan consisted of "land in Amsterdam and see what happens". No itinerary, no pre-booked lodging and no idea of what I was going to do. I had a Eurail ticket that was good for two months of unlimited travel in 17 countries and I put it to good use. It was the best time of my life and looking back I wouldn't change a thing. So in comparison to what I did your itinerary looks very manageable. You'll have a blast, trust me.

colduphere on May 11, 14 at 12:13pm
FMT why don't you start a thread and call it:

Things Old Travellers to Europe Seem Not to Understand

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JulieCallahan on May 11, 14 at 12:54pm
FMT, you traveled the way my 3 kids did at 20. I think they also had a blast.

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FrenchMystiqueTours on May 11, 14 at 4:54pm
Now cold, I think you're being facetious.

Julie - I think for myself and most 20 somethings the travel and experiencing as much sensory overload as possible is the best part of the adventure.

Let me also add that when I was exactly that age I moved around just as fast and also had a blast- old fogheys often forget what youth is like and often lament "ah youth it's wasted on young people!"

This is one thing olf fogheygharchs just can't see to understand - younger folks may be bored with the old 'you gotta stay 5 days in Paris or you should not even go there' attitude.

PalenQ is online now  
May 11th, 2014, 03:29 PM
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They want to bump into or spend time with people like them, hopefully from other countries - - nothing else matters. Nothing.

They don't mind if s&*t happens just as long as it is all vivid;

If they go to Amsterdam and catch a cold, they can fly to Italy till they feel better - - damn the prissy Fodors-forum-sanctified day-by-minute itinerary;

You can spend the entire trip in trains, and sometimes that can be better than actually being anywhere.

10 major cities in 16 days. Well why the f&*k not?!?!!?

Supermarket cheese, bread, and pistachios feels a lot better than three stars anywhere.

KRIKEY - - I just described MYSELF!
dfourh is offline  
May 11th, 2014, 04:39 PM
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I suppose I don't understand zooming in and out of major cities because I never did that, even in my 20s.

I didn't do a lot of research but there wasn't the amount of information that is available today. There were a couple of guide books to choose from that I brought with me.

Lodging was obtained on the fly as it was much easier to do that years ago. There were always rooms and hostels at inexpensive rates. Today, with so many people traveling and no real "tourist season", it's more difficult to find budget accommodations upon arriving in a city. And, who wants to spend precious energy and time looking for an affordable hotel room.
adrienne is offline  
May 11th, 2014, 04:46 PM
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Even in our 20's we spent considerable time in one time trying to learn about bit. We still travel, for the most part, with the idea that we would rather see a few places well, than many poorly.
IMDonehere is offline  
May 11th, 2014, 04:54 PM
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The four hours it might take to go from one city/country to the next and check into another hotel, whether traveling by train, auto, plane, boat or bicycle, is not "losing half a day." On vacation I typically am out and about 12-14 hours a day, including some r-and-r and dining out somewhere. So four hours is not half a day. You leave at 9:30 and are checked into your next hotel and out ready to walk out the door and do something at 2-2:30. That's enough time to see a museum, hit some churches, have an aperitif, a two-hour dinner and a walk along the Seine, the Tiber, the canals, etc.
Leely2 is offline  
May 11th, 2014, 05:33 PM
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Certainly food and comfort were less important, and meeting people more -- I can still remember people I met on ferries and trains for just a few hours of conversation over 40 years ago!

I was already tending to drift towards cultural attractions during the day, but at night I wanted nightlife. A bar or pub where you could meet people suited me fine.

Even then I liked to stick around for a few days to get the feel of a place.
Fra_Diavolo is offline  
May 11th, 2014, 05:45 PM
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Young people sleep on trains as they were out until 2am enjoying the town. That's not lost time.

Older people lose several hours each day resting, dressing up for dinner, sorting medications and going to the bathroom more often.
colduphere is offline  
May 11th, 2014, 06:36 PM
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I too flew into Amsterdam, didn't have a eurail pass. Bought a vw Van and away we went. Camped in parking lots. ultimate freedom. As an example I remember waking up in the subway parking lot in Munich, and asking my travelling companion- " what do you want to do today?" He replied "lets go to Greece." Hopped behind the Wheel and away we went. took 2 weeks and a thousand unplanned experiences to get there. I strongly encourage youth to travel when they can without the restrictions you develop as you get older, have a job/career, and family.
leuk2 is offline  
May 11th, 2014, 06:59 PM
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I also traveled that way in my teens and 20s, but those were very different (and IMO safer) times. Cities weren't nearly as congested as they are now, and although trains were slower it was easier to move around and change plans on a dime. I couch-surfed before it had a name, and my body could handle weeks of sleep deprivation, cheap food and bad wine. I survived, had a great time, but if I could re-live those days I'd travel slower, see more.

adrienne, I don't know how old you are, but do you remember Baedeker guides?
Jean is offline  
May 11th, 2014, 07:04 PM
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Obviously everyone has the right to travel in whatever way they want.

But saying the 20s - or younger - have to travel by racing around like lunatics, jumping on and off trains and staying in hostels is no more valid that saying people have to stay 5 days everywhere.

I went to europe for the first time at 19 with my boyfriend - way before the internet. And I had to rely on books and talking to a couple of friends who had done junior year abroad to get a lot of the info we used. (Have been using Michelin green guides since then.)

We were gone for more than 5 weeks on a road trip (VW beetle that my BFs brother had bought and was importing as a used car on the basis of our use of it in europe. So we had to do a circuit Frankfurt to Frankfurt because of the car.

We visited Paris, San Sebastian, Barcelona, Nice, Milan (just a quick overnight), Innsbruck, Garmisch and back to Frankfurt. We really wanted to spend more time everywhere except Milan - but saw a lot of countryside driving between the cities. We stayed at B&Bs, Gasthauses and pensions (except for an incredibly cheap 4* resort near Barcelona)- not hostels. And we did start out with a plan - not to the minute but with a list of cities.

Sounds like you think this would be a terrible trip for people that age. But we loved it.
nytraveler is offline  
May 11th, 2014, 07:09 PM
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Jean - I was not aware of Baedeker guides during my first few trips. I mostly used Frommer's guides and Let's Go (which I still use today). When Baedeker update their guide books and gave them red covers I bought a few and used them. I liked that they mostly gave information on sights so didn't become outdated as easily and they included separate maps and were pocket size.
adrienne is offline  
May 11th, 2014, 07:34 PM
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I did not even have a guidebook other than the International Hostelling Federation - now Hostelling Internatioan (HI) hostel handbook when I first went for six weeks and no itinerary rather than Icelandair to first Reykyavik then Luxembourg and onto Paris - met folks at hostels and changed travel plans and went with them - had a Eurailpass and slept on trains a lot.

After three days in Paris itching to get out to somewhere else - Paris was neat but kind of boring after a few days.

Oh to be young again and travel like that - something fogeygarchs or many above still seem not to understand.
PalenQ is online now  
May 11th, 2014, 08:12 PM
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Pal - we understand it but choose a different path.
adrienne is offline  
May 11th, 2014, 08:13 PM
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I think young people (and older people) view the train ride as part of the trip, not just something to be endured which gets you from a to b.

They have met fascinating people on the trains.
JulieCallahan is offline  
May 11th, 2014, 09:02 PM
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Thus if someone disagrees with you, THEY do not understand. Got it.
IMDonehere is offline  
May 11th, 2014, 11:55 PM
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That them young whipper snappers have way more energy, can push themselves harder for longer, and recover from hangovers faster than the Fodor's Old Fogies Club.
sparkchaser is offline  
May 12th, 2014, 12:20 AM
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I don't think that the number of days/nights in a place has anything at all to do with age or energy levels.

In practically any destination in Europe, there are plenty of things to do that will challenge even young folks -- hikes, walks, bike rides, endless museums, adventure sports (bungee jumping, white-water rafting, etc), getting lost in a new quarter of a city, endless shopping, or excursions to other cities, towns, or villages.

I personally just don't think that spending one or two nights gives the traveller anything valuable -- a mere taste of a place that is soon overwhelmed by other, competing tastes. All of the destinations become a colorful swirl in the memory. This is the traveller who won't be able to remember whether s/he was at Lake Lucerne or Lake Lausanne (and there is no such place as Lake Lausanne, of course) or whether that cute club was in Paris or in Prague.

Of course, if someone wants to spend his/her own money and travel like that, that is that person's decision. I can still (and will) give my opinion that it's counterproductive. I can understand why some folks would want to do a whirlwind tour when they are young so that they know where they want to return to in the future -- but otherwise, it seems like a big waste of money to me. One could get the same information from films or pictures.

swandav2000 is online now  
May 12th, 2014, 01:08 AM
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I agree with most of what you've stated. It's not the way that I would want to travel but if someone is hellbent on visiting ten countries or cities in two weeks, then more power to them.
sparkchaser is offline  
May 12th, 2014, 01:08 AM
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This my personal experience:

We did our first trip to Belgium and France when I was 18. Our travelling style, however, was pretty much the same as now. We did a lot of research (although it has become easier with the internet), we had hotel reservations, and we did similar activities (sightseeing, strolling through town, visiting museums and attractions, socializing with people, having memorable meals).

What was different? First, we stayed at cheaper hotels (well, I could tell stories about a two-star hotel in Paris, called "Grand Hotel Oriental"!). Second, we ate in cheaper restaurants, however, occasionally splurged and had always good and memorable meals. An interesting experience was, when we successfully searched for an inexpensive restaurant with and interesting menu in Paris, that we landed in a queer honky-tonk with types who could have starred in Jean Genets film "Querelle"). Third, in these times the prices in Michelin-starred restaurants had not skyrocketted, so even as students we were able to treat ourselves once a year in a French restaurant with a Michelin star.

Everything else remained pretty much the same - even the lady whom I took with me with 18!

Since then
traveller1959 is offline  
May 12th, 2014, 03:44 AM
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The other thing that's not been mentioned is time. At 18 you feel you have all the time in the world (and come the summer, you do, or used to). You also have a different value-for-money calculus going on.

Once you're a wage-slave with a mortgage, or you're retired on a fixed income, time, money and comfort re-balance themselves differently.

But I still find the phrase "Think of it as an adventure" one way to cope with delays, discomforts and other setbacks.
PatrickLondon is offline  

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