What's wrong with me?

May 23rd, 2007, 03:00 PM
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What's wrong with me?

Long ago, I booked frequent flyer tickets to Cologne for this summer. We'll be there for 2 1/2 weeks and we had planned to do some riding along the Danube Bike Path, visit some small towns and spend some time in Vienna.

Well, here it is, the end of May and besides the flights, I haven't made any reservations! This is highly unusual for me. I think that I'm just not that excited about our planned itinerary and now I'm re-thinking the whole thing.

We're a family with boys aged 14 and 12. We've spent a lot of time in Italy and London and also visited Athens, Santorini, Stockholm, Paris, Amsterdam, Madrid, Salamanca, Munich, Geneva, etc.

Am I crazy to just change our entire plan at this point? I am thinking about Greece, northern Italy, Paris and smaller French towns, Croatia. Just not excited about Germany and Austria right now.

Does anyone have any suggestions?
travelgirl2 is offline  
May 23rd, 2007, 03:01 PM
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Besides therapy.
travelgirl2 is offline  
May 23rd, 2007, 03:09 PM
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Nothing wrong with changing your plans... if you've changed your mind.
suze is online now  
May 23rd, 2007, 03:10 PM
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Your original plan sounds great. We have biked the Danube; it is a wonderful trip filled with nice villages and historic towns. Vienna is fantastic. You can rent bikes from Pedalpower in Vienna and take them on the train to Passau or Linz and bike back to Vienna. If you get worn out at any point you can always load the bikes and yourselves back on the train to Vienna.
Operaman is offline  
May 23rd, 2007, 03:13 PM
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That's the problem when you book so early..maybe when the time arrives you have lost the feeling for it Anyway, Cologne is Germany , but it is very much nearer to France than to Austria...so maybe you can change your plans a bit while keeping your flights.
Let's say the Rhin and Mosel Valleys in Germany and Alsace in France or something like this .
kenderina is offline  
May 23rd, 2007, 03:22 PM
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Hi travelgirl2,

When that happens to me I start doing some 'sideways research'. Where could you get to easily/cheaply from Cologne by rail/flight or drive?
Look for cheap flights first to see how far you can go.
Maybe it would be easier cheaper to change the FF flights. Call and see what your options are and have a list of alternatives!

With 2+ weeks to play with in Europe you could turn this 'planned trip' into something totally different. All of the places you mentioned 'thinking about' appeal more to me than Germany and Austria right now...
highflyer is offline  
May 23rd, 2007, 03:43 PM
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Let Dr. Maitai help you. Go to the Mosel area first. It is beautiful and peaceful. People ride bikes everywhere. I know because I almost killed many of them with my erratic driving.

Visit Cochem (90 minutes from Cologne). On the way, visit the Burg Eltz (the best castle ever). Stay in Beilstein at Haus Lippman right on the river. Take the little ferry across and ride bikes along the river to yor heart's content. Eat on the Haus Lippman patio overlooking the Mosel. Take a boat ride. Go down to the very pretty Berkastel Kues. Stay a few days.

Then hop in a car and drive a few hours to Alsace in eastern France. Bicycle along the Routes des Vins. Drink vin rouge. Enjoy the little towns that dot the Routes des Vins. The Alsace has great websites that tell about the towns. Research here about all the towns. They're cute and fun to visit.

Ribeauville is centrally located to visit the area. Also visit the Castle of Haut-Koenigsbourg. You and your kids will love it. Stay a few days.

Then head a few of hours down to Switzerland. Stay in Grindelwald. The kids will love it there, too. Eat fondue and racqlette. Go on incredible hikes. Take rack railways to the top of Swizerland. Go on gondolas that take your breath away. Visit a waterfall inside a mountain. Spend a week. Maybe split this time with a visit to Lucerne.

Then make your way back and see the stuff you might have missed on the way down (like the Rhein area). Your 15 days will be filled with beautiful nature, good wine and neat places to see.

That is my prescription. No charge.

maitaitom is online now  
May 23rd, 2007, 03:44 PM
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Holland has excellent bike paths throughout the country. If your boys like water have a look at the waterpark Duinrell. And you'll love Madurodam in The Hague.
hopscotch is offline  
May 23rd, 2007, 03:47 PM
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Why don't you send for or rent some travel videos for the area. That might inspire you. I have never had Germany on my short list, but I saw a Rick Steves program where he visited Germany and areas of Austria, partly in the Alps region and it was all so beautiful, my brother and I both have it on our list for the next time. MY big problem is, I always want to go back to Paris, and I really need to see some other places.
crefloors is online now  
May 23rd, 2007, 03:50 PM
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Yikes, travelgirl, if there's something wrong with you, I've got it, too...and have had it all my life.

I've never pre-planned much at all. In fact, the one trip in my life that I had "all planned out" was the least interesting trip I've ever taken.

Point being: there's no law that you have to have reservations way ahead, that you even have to have an itinerary. I'm dead serious.
LucieV is offline  
May 23rd, 2007, 04:12 PM
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Actually the wine you will drink in Alsace is Gewurztiminer, although I am still partial to vin rouge. By the way, I did that trip in 2003 and it was one of the best of our entire lives.

maitaitom is online now  
May 23rd, 2007, 04:19 PM
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I don't think there's anything wrong with having flexible ideas.

The part I would think about is - Are you going to places where you need air conditioning, and how much are you willing to pay for it? Being comfortable in the summer heat is a big thing for me.

It's an easy train trip to Paris (although you should consider buying the cheapest roundtrip Thalys tickets now, if that's what you want).

You might have missed some, but not all, cheap airfares within Europe. You might have missed some, but not all, quad room and apartment opportunities.

Maybe let the other members of your family take over the trip planning - there's no reason you need to be entirely responsible.
WillTravel is offline  
May 23rd, 2007, 04:25 PM
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Good on you Lucy. Winging it has always been my way, too. OK I went to Paris and missed the Eiffel Tower, to Berlin and missed the Pergamon etc etc but I interacted with all sorts of people in all sorts of out-of-the-way places and that's what counts.

My favouritist trip was driving in 1966 from Stuttgart to Northern Romania via Athens without a guide book.

harzer is offline  
May 23rd, 2007, 04:27 PM
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To be perfectly honest: I can't say I'd be excited about Germany & Austria either. Just my opinion. I know lots of people love those countries, & I mean no disrespect; but having visited them both twice, I'm done. They're not the cat's pjs for everybody. I mean if somebody gave me a free trip or something, I'd go, but otherwise...
LucieV is offline  
May 23rd, 2007, 04:29 PM
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Harzer, are you new here? I like your style. Much.

I'm not a notch-in-my-belt traveller. My husband is even less so. But boy do we love to travel -- and boy do we have some good trips!
LucieV is offline  
May 24th, 2007, 04:06 AM
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I'm thinking maybe we'll head to Cologne and then hop a budget airline or train to somewhere else...

Thanks for your suggestions and support. (maitaitom - I think you've planned a whole trip for us!)
travelgirl2 is offline  
May 24th, 2007, 04:17 AM
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for those possible budget flights out of Cologne..and don't forget you can get to the Frankfrt airport in a fast 57 minutes by ICE.

Have a great trip.
Dukey is offline  
May 24th, 2007, 04:34 AM
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Your thoughts are all over the place, dear. So, until you "get a sign", leave it alone. May I explain: You state ">>I am thinking about Greece, northern Italy, Paris and smaller French towns, Croatia. Just not excited about Germany and Austria right now<<. Well, those sites are so different from each other! Good thing you are going to Germany and Austria where there is just about everything from nature, to big cities, to small towns, to amazing culture, to great food. Chalk this out to relaxation, get to Cologne, have a hotel for the first couple of days and open yourself to God's good humor for the rest of the trip; those are the best vacations.
Viajero2 is offline  
May 24th, 2007, 04:49 AM
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Nowt wrong with you. But if you book so far in advance then you pay the price.

Why do you people book so far in advance? why must you have everything planned out to the last hour?

OP - if you just go, and just busk it (it isn't going to be hard you know - so many people speak English, and there is a wealth of info out there) you'll be fine. And it will probably be the bestest thing you have ever done.

And next time you will know that you can just go and work it out, and feel a huge sense of satisfaction - cos you did your own thing. You might miss something but the trip will have been YOURS!!!

Like the Visa card ads say (or is it Mastercard) - who cares? - the experience is priceless.

You won't get eaten alive. There is always somewhere to stay. It's not Mali or Bolivia - just staid old Europe. So easy, so easy.

Go on - do it - dare you.
chimani is offline  
May 24th, 2007, 04:55 AM
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In this case, I booked the flights in advance because Continental was offering flights from Newark to Cologne for 25,000 frequent flyer miles. So our family of 4 is able to cross the pond for only 100,000 miles.

That is too good an opportunity to pass up.
travelgirl2 is offline  

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