European Travel

Discussion in 'Community' started by AnewMac, Jan 8, 2005.

  1. AnewMac macrumors regular

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    Jul 10, 2004
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    The Northern Plains of OK!
    #1
    Hey, my wife and I are teachers and are wanting to spend some time in the summer in Europe. Dont ask how we can afford it being teachers, b/c I don't know either. We don't want to do the tour groups, kind of want to do our own thing (good or bad idea)? We want to hit England, France, and Italy, maybe 3 to 4 weeks. I am nervous but excited to travel, I am just asking for any tips, ideas of places to travel, what to see (besides the obvious!), and what to watch out for!


    I heard it's best to say your Canadian and not American when traveling!

    Thanks
     
  2. CubaTBird macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2004
    #2
    Everybody forgets about portugal... ive' been there twice and its quite a nice place, especially around mafra and lisbon... :eek:
     
  3. MacNeXT macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2004
    #3
    Don't know enough about England, France or Italy to tell you where you should go but I think you're wrong about this. Why not just be honest and tell you're an American. You should be proud of it, just as a Frenchman, Englishman or Italian is proud of his own country. As long as your just nice, I think Europeans will treat you nice too. Politics or nationality have nothing to do with that, and I think most Europeans share that thought.

    Having said that, if there are people who will treat you differently because of your nationality, do you care? Would you still be interested in having a nice conversation with these people? I wouldn't...
     
  4. RBMaraman macrumors 65816

    RBMaraman

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    Location:
    Prospect, KY
    #4
    I always laugh when I hear people say that because it's an absolute lie. I spent the fall of 2003 living in England and traveling throughout Europe. When I was in France in November of 2003, the French were some of the nicest people I've ever met. Every person I spoke to had good things to say about Americans. When we told them that we heard the French hate us, they cracked up. They said it was such a lie. In fact, every person we met in every country was great. Don't believe the sterotypes you hear. In actuallity, Europeans really do like Americans. For future reference, don't believe anything you hear about foreigners from Bill O'Reilly.

    As for where to go:
    England - London, Oxford, Bath, and try to head up to Edingburgh for a day or 2.

    France - Paris (duh!).

    Italy - Rome, Venice, maybe Florence (I hated it, personally. But, you can get leather stuff very cheap).
     
  5. AnewMac thread starter macrumors regular

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    The Northern Plains of OK!
    #5
    Ok I heard the "say your canadian" bit from an Eddie Izzard cd. So, basing it on an English comic probably wasn't the best source of information. Next thing you know I'll be asking people from the internet for advice! :D Thanks for the replies so far however!
     
  6. OutThere macrumors 603

    OutThere

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2002
    Location:
    NYC
    #6
    There is a lot of really good advice here, that mostly applies to what you are asking about. You can read some of the suggestions there, and come back with more questions...

    For a little variation, I would suggest that you visit Switzerland for a day (or two), you can easily get in and out by train, and touring some of the old cities is very incredible. You can look through a travel guide for some of the most interesting places. If you just want to stay in France, and not venture into Switzerland, or you want something a little Germanic, I would strongly suggest that you visit Strasbourg France. It is an amazing little city, that is officially french, but has a very german flair to it.

    I'm open to questions, and I hope you have an awesome time visiting the foreign cultures you will experience. :)
     
  7. Applespider macrumors G4

    Applespider

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    Jan 20, 2004
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    looking through rose-tinted spectacles...
    #7
    Every country in Europe has something worth seeing so you're not going to fit it all in (just like we'd never see the entire US in 3 weeks). What kind of things are you particularly interested in? Does anything in this list really turn you on or off - museums, art galleries, historical periods, fine food/drink, sport, natural beauty, architecture? Do you like lots of active sightseeing or do you like to make sure you have lots of chill-out time?

    If you can manage 4 weeks (and tweak the budget tho internal Euro flights can be had for really cheap prices these days - airberlin, easyjet, ryanair, germanwings amongst others), I guess I'd suggest trying to fit in Edinburgh, London, Paris, Rome, Berlin, Barcelona. And stay within the cities for the most part - you can probably see the highlights of each of those cities in between 3 and 5 days. Equally though, you could spend a couple of weeks in each of those cities and not see everything!
     
  8. virividox macrumors 601

    virividox

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2003
    Location:
    Manila - Nottingham - Philadelphia - Santa Barbar
    #8
    well i enjoyed touring with a tour group especially since you have such a limited time and want to hit up so many countries. but you could also book private tours in each othe cities u go to but im not sure how that would be price wise
     
  9. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2004
    #9
    Do some travelling by train

    Trains in Europe are relatively punctual, comfortable, cheap and many of them are very fast.

    Eurail

    Landscape, architecture and people are experienced at ground level, not by zipping over them at 30,000 ft.

    With this little bible, you can get round very easily and plan ahead.

    Another useful link about Eurailing.

    Railway stations are usually in the centre of a city avoiding the trek from airport to city. No messing with checking-in as well.

    A little-visited region is the Ardennes & Luxembourg. Great food, beautiful scenery and the highest density of castles per square mile in Europe...
     
  10. Applespider macrumors G4

    Applespider

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    #10
    Very true and means you see more of the countryside too - I guess it depends on how far apart your destinations are.

    Just don't count on trains in the UK, at least at peak times, for long journeys. I have been tempted to reconsider now that GNER have wifi access and powerpoints built into their trains now.
     
  11. gekko513 macrumors 603

    gekko513

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2003
    #11
    Well, I'm from Europe and for myself I can say that my "stereotype" of Americans traveling is that they can be too loud and pushy especially if they travel in groups. Other than that I have no problems with Americans compared to Canadians or any other nationality. I do have a problem with the Bush administration, but that's another matter.
     
  12. Gee macrumors 65816

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    Feb 27, 2004
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    London, UK
    #12
    That's trains in mainland Europe. Trains in the UK not... :mad:
     
  13. combatcolin macrumors 68020

    combatcolin

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    Oct 24, 2004
    Location:
    Northants, UK
    #13
    Well we all hate Bush, hell the whole world does, but we do like Americans in general.

    Just remember in the UK shire is pronouned shur not shi-er and Buckingham palace is Buck-ing-um not Buck-ing-ham.

    One last thing, our trains arn't that bad, just expensive.
     
  14. thequicksilver macrumors 6502a

    thequicksilver

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    Sep 19, 2004
    Location:
    Birmingham
    #14
    I'd offer a little off the wall advice - don't do the predictable Western European cities, go a little further central and to the East. Without a doubt, London, Paris (I lived there for three years), Rome, Amsterdam, Berlin etc are worth seeing. But I've never been to a more gorgeous city than Prague in the Czech Republic, and I'm told that Vienna (Austria) Budapest (Hungary), Krakow (Poland) and Kyiv (Ukraine) are similar. It's said that whenever a Hollywood film is made wishing to depict the glories of Victorian England, they film it in Prague.

    Sadly, 'Europe' is too big a scale to target for three or four weeks (loads of different countries and languages, though English is of course spoken in the tourist centres), but if there's one city you have to go out of your way to get to, I would recommend Prague above all others. I'm gutted that I lost the camera with all my photos of my trip there on it - all the more excuse to return one day. :)
     
  15. Nickygoat macrumors 6502a

    Nickygoat

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2004
    Location:
    London
    #15
    Have you been in London recently?
    Just remember that with the strength of the £/ € to the $ it will be expensive. Try tripadvisor for hotel reviews - whatever you do don't stay at the regent palace. It's anything but if the reports are to be believed :p
     
  16. AnewMac thread starter macrumors regular

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    Jul 10, 2004
    Location:
    The Northern Plains of OK!
    #16
    I know the dollar stinks compared to the pound and euro. I want to do trains, and public transit to avoid any driving of my own. I do want to hit the smaller cities to get a better feel for the trip. My wife and I are both interested in all the museums, art, etc. Thanks for the tips so far. I am trying to map out a vague itenarary. Thanks for the link to Eurail, that helps tremendously
     
  17. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

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    Jul 4, 2004
    #17
    Good value accommodation

    Not as spartan as you may think, only problem is that you must book well in advance...

    YHA
     
  18. Nickygoat macrumors 6502a

    Nickygoat

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    Dec 11, 2004
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    London
    #18
    Please don't take one the bus tours around London - they're good for seeing the sights but the information is usually horribly wrong. Buy a decent guide book - Time Out is the best of a bad bunch for London - and devour it on the flight. What else are you going to do for 7 hours? Outside of London Canterbury is nice, the Cathedral is wonderful. Bath and York are beautiful cities and Manchester and Leeds are good for night life & a "younger" feel. All are within 4 hours - if the trains are OK ;)
     
  19. AnewMac thread starter macrumors regular

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    Jul 10, 2004
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    #19
    What is it with England trains? Some of you imply they are expensive? Is that the only thing or are they filthy and crowded also?
     
  20. Nickygoat macrumors 6502a

    Nickygoat

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    Dec 11, 2004
    Location:
    London
    #20
    If you want to see a vision of hell, travel on any train, bus or tube in Southern England during rush hour. Dirty, crowded and you pay through the nose for the privilege. Travel against the grain though and it's great. I work with a couple of French girls, and my sister lives in Spain and they all assure me that public transport is FAR better 'over there'. The NY metro is a piece of cake compared to the Tube. This is why I said memorise the map - it's far easier, less stressful and a lot more interesting to walk amongst London's sites than take the Tube. Outside of rush hour life is a lot easier. f you want any more info just ask :)
     
  21. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2004
    #21
    Yes they are relatively expensive but the long distance ones are OK.
    They're not filthy. They can be crowded although not all the time, but book ahead... I've done trips down to Devon and destinations north recently with no probs. Pleasant trips...

    Where the expense comes in is for commuters, many of whom live miles outside London. Just watch the different types of fares, though. You get substantial discounts if you book ahead and 'cheap-day returns' i.e. one-day return tickets are good value.

    As for 'the vision of hell' I don't think it's that bad. I live and work in Zone 1 -- the innermost area of London and only occasionally encounter problems.

    Bus & walking are the best way to 'see' London. Tube & black cab, the quickest...
     
  22. iGav macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2002
    #22
    For anywhere outside of London (or any major city) hire a car... trust me on this ;)
     
  23. Nickygoat macrumors 6502a

    Nickygoat

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    Dec 11, 2004
    Location:
    London
    #23
    Yes you're rightBV - if you're going out of London against rush hour. You're fortunate to live and work in Zone 1. Try getting a train or tube outside of there. I live in Zone 2 (Bethnal Green) and it's a nightmare to get into London from here in rush hour. Liverpool St is even worse. You're also right about the advance tickets. i forgot to mention that :eek:
     
  24. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

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    Jul 4, 2004
    #24

    Heh-heh.

    And we know how well UK roads are signposted...
     
  25. AnewMac thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2004
    Location:
    The Northern Plains of OK!
    #25
    Ok so now I am getting a bit scared. So I'll stay off the tube for the most part. I was wondering if I should pick up some learning French and Italian cds before the trip and try to learn some survival language skills. Good Idea? if so what company is a good choice. Apple only lists one company on thier website, anyone have any luck with these?
     

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