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Trip to Europe for Someone Who Has Never Been Abroad


Jul 8th, 2003, 06:04 AM
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There are a ton of suggestions here on where to go, but my thought would be to go where YOU want to go... That way, in the unlikely event your husband says he doesn't want to go back, at least you've seen the place you've always wanted to!! Good luck...
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Jul 8th, 2003, 06:05 AM
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P.S.... I don't think you're too late to start booking hotels. I am going in mid-August, and I just booked our hotels last month. There were plenty of rooms available at great prices. Definitely try tripadvisor.com, and for reservations, I ended up using venere.com for many of the hotels...
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Jul 8th, 2003, 06:50 AM
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Herrz has a VERY good point there. And I too would like to hear about the "bad experiences" and "horrible hotels".
The most important thing I've always thought is to have an open mind. If you go to another country expecting it to be "just like home", and are disappointed/angry that it isn't, then probably best to stay at home.

London is pretty manic. Assuming you may have to fly thru there anyway, I wd say stop a couple of nights just to see the icons - taking an open top bus tour would do - then go to just one other place - say Cambridge (preferrably by bus) and then return to London and fly to one other European destination. The advice to not try doing too much is spot on - take it easy; just wander. I would go, I think, to Venice because it is just so beautiful (and walkable) and accomm covers all budgets.
If u wanted to be brave, book nothing other than yr English stops - and then if u want to go further, book a flight from England to wherever. It doesn't sound as if u are on a budget so if u decide to go to Rome or Paris - or Granada or the Greek Islands - you won't mind paying top whack for a last minute booking.

Oh - and best of luck.
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Jul 8th, 2003, 07:17 AM
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ionioj, how long is your trip to be and have you, not your husband, been to Europe before?
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Jul 8th, 2003, 08:34 AM
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A good country to consider for first timers is Austria. Venice is magnificent, and most of the shopkeepers and many of the residents speak English. The old city has lots of charm, and is clean and safe. The countryside is beautiful, and there are countless small b&b's and inns (many at vinyards) scattered throughout the country. There is wonderful bicycling along the Danube, and well marked hiking trails throughout the country. A very 'user friendly' but scenic country.
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Jul 8th, 2003, 08:42 AM
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Eyyow ! I meant Vienna! Venice is also wonderful however, and is a short hop from Austria.
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Jul 8th, 2003, 09:27 AM
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Our first Europe trip many years ago started in Vienna. It's lovely, very navigable and has a small airport so as not to seem overwhelming. If your heritage is German and your husband has some acquaintance with their food, customs, etc. Austria and Germany would make a very comfortable beginning.
Otherwise consider his heritage and build around that==the kind of things that will provide some familiarity.
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Jul 8th, 2003, 12:12 PM
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I agree with the last poster about Germany, Austria or Switzerland for a beginner. There's less big-city dirt, most people will attempt to speak English if necessary, and in most parts of Swtz. and Austria, the alpine/lake scenery alone will inspire your husband to want to head back to Europe over and over. The more well-planned your trip is, the better. I'm taking my 34 year old sis to Europe for the first time this Christmas, and am not going to follow my own advice: we're heading to England because she loves everything British, -always has. Even though we're of German heritage, and we'll miss the loevly holiday markets, I am going to the UK because she will feel better there.
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Jul 8th, 2003, 06:31 PM
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iorioj... My Hoosier born husband had not traveled across the sea before he suggested out first trip in 2000. We went Amsterdam, Scotland and Ireland. These are places his people "may" be from. I planned the route, but not every moment, bus, hotel etc. 2 years later HE is the one to suggest the trip. It took about a nanosecond for me to start making reservations! WE are now on a European trip every 2 years plan. I hope your husband enjoys the adventure as well!
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Jul 8th, 2003, 07:08 PM
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I wouldn't recommend making England a starter trip. I loved York and all of the rest of England and Wales we visited, but driving was very challenging, and I also wasn't crazy about London.

I'd start with France. For my first trip abroad, we flew into Paris, took the train to Rouen, where we picked up our rental car and then drove via a circuitous route to Honfleur, then to the D-Day beaches and Normandy, down through Normandy to the Loire and all the wonderful chateaus, and back up to Paris, where we returned our car and spent the last three days.

Driving in the country in France was a fabulous, fund experience. Language was never a serious problem.
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Jul 8th, 2003, 09:02 PM
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I'm a fan of Ireland (we're all especially fond of someplace or another) but I liked Herrz suggestion best. At least you know someone's going to enjoy themselves and if you're being on the positive, well then, it may even rub off.

I don't agree that going to an English speaking country isn't a real European experience though. Can't quite wrap my thought process around that concept.
An english speaking country visit could be a good "toe in the water" and driving on the left really only takes a few minutes to get the hang of if outside the city. And you don't need a car in London or Dublin.
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Jul 8th, 2003, 09:32 PM
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Over the last 15 years my husband & I have traveled all over Europe. Each place we go is an adventure. The food-the people the cobblestone streets. I'd say Greece is on tops. We were there in September the first time & you still have lovely weather. On the Greek web site you can get a travel agent to make all your arrangements. Don't try to do too much on a first trip. Savor each city & make a mental not to come back.Bon Voyage Chris
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Jul 9th, 2003, 01:30 AM
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Since we have not heard a word from the original poster I guess this whole thing may have been nothing more than some sort of Troll...interesting comments, though and a very clever way to keep traffic on the board pumped up....hmmmmm...with some of the spam I've started to get I'm beginning to wonder who might be behind some of these...DISPEL my suspicions, Iorioj!!!!
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Jul 9th, 2003, 04:50 AM
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Hey, even without the original poster it was a nice thread.
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Jul 9th, 2003, 05:31 AM
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Intrepid, you missed the other thread where iorioj thanked everyone for responding and said they decided on England.
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Jul 9th, 2003, 06:06 AM
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Yes, Intrepid et al. Sorry for not utilizing the proper message board ettiquette! We have decided to do a combination of London/Scotland or London/Paris! Thank you all for sharing your thoughts and experiences with me.
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Jul 9th, 2003, 07:59 AM
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Intrepid, we must have been on the same wavelength. When I saw the title again, I was wondering what the original poster thought of all this. Thanks for popping in, Jorioj.
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Aug 16th, 2003, 08:48 AM
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All is not lost by the original poster not checking back in. I will be a first timer to Europe, and your comments are very useful to me. I don't have a date set, but I am arming myself so that when I get a green light, I will be ready! At that time, I can just update myself instead of not having ample time to gather all the info. Thanks for all the input from all of you.

There is probably not an answer to this, but I'll ask anyway. I am always surprised, especially after I often hear London as a great starting point, when I hear someone say they didn't like London (first-timers to Europe usually). If they were whiney, close-minded people I would expect it, but these people were not. They didn't really even have huge expectations. However, I find that many don't do that much pre-trip research, and just go off of a lifetime of heresay then are jilted by the nitty-gritty of it all. I guess you should have expectations of some aspects of the trip and be open about others.
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Aug 21st, 2003, 06:23 AM
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If you are still checking this thread, what didn't they like about London?
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Aug 21st, 2003, 07:09 AM
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Having read through this thread it becomes apparent that there are lots of different reasons why people travel, with a wide range of expectations to fulfill. If I were picking my first holiday again, I would try and include some personal reason for going, such as researching family history, exploring personal hobbies or interests, or else visiting different cultures and countries/locations which have always facinated me. My own needs when travelling now must combine a mixture of Art, History, people and food, with as little connection with my own home culture as possible.
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