First Europe Trip :) Advice Appreciated!! Revisited and Revised
Replies: 18 - Last Post: Nov 8, 2012 12:49 AM Last Post By: stevegerms
Nov 1, 2012 10:18 PM
First Europe Trip :) Advice Appreciated!! Revisited and RevisedHello Lonely Planet! That last post was getting a little crowded so I decided to update everyone via a new thread. First off, first itinerary...yeah it no longer exists! Gone is the American hustle and bustle, in its place has settled a relaxed, take our time with the sights, smells, tastes and love of where we are. We want to thank all of you for the outpouring of information and places to research, local customs and yes even criticism.
There is still a long way to go but here is kind of where we stand. We know we are buying round trip tickets so we have to arrive and leave from the same city, which we would love to be Berlin or maybe Warsaw. From there we know we want to see the eastern Netherlands before Amsterdam. From Amsterdam we want to make our way to Bruges and see Belgium. From Bruges to London to see my friend in Nottingham. Take a train to Paris from there and just take our time taking everything in on our way to Italy. We most def def def want to see Rome and if that is as far south as we make it so be it but I would sooooo love to see Greece as well. Still working to add another week to the trip. Venice is a def love as well and taking a ferry from Greece to Venice would be just soooo amazing. Then just kinda make our way back to the city we flew into. We are very flexible with everything and my Uncle is down to show us wherever we want to go and actually wants to go to Belgium with us, he has not been yet :)
We are also working with Rosetta Stone to get acquainted with local languages, we know we wont be fluent but we want to try. We cant wait to trip out our friends but speaking to each other in different languages to practice :) We have a lot of time with open ears and minds, which im sure did not come across with my first post, which I apologize for. This world is a beautiful place and we are glad to share it with all of you :)
Amanda and Bryan
Nov 2, 2012 1:26 AM
1If you leave out Greece,then you have a pretty decent month there at a reasonable pace.
Why can't you buy an open jaw ticket? Into Berlin and out of Rome for example....it may cost a little more than a straight return,but it will save you time,returning to the same places and also the cost of getting back to Berlin.
Nov 2, 2012 1:28 AM
Nov 2, 2012 2:57 AM
3Berlin or maybe Warsaw. From there we know we want to see the eastern Netherlands before Amsterdam
Special reason for that? Or: what do you expect to see/do? How do you think to wander around?
On the way between Berlin and Amsterdam there are much more interesting break-options. If required advice for that, please provide more info about your see/do-'priorities'.
As for learning languages, English will do and the 'golden' advice above by lucapal. Though in the eastern Netherlands due to Saxon dialect, English will often work out better than official Dutch...
Nov 2, 2012 3:11 AM
4we want to see the eastern Netherlands before Amsterdam
Good plan. The Berlin-Amsterdam trains call at the following towns in the eastern half of the Netherlands:
- Hengelo: in itself a fairly ugly and uninteresting town, but useful as a starting point to visit the often overlooked Twente region
- Almelo: slightly less ugly than Hengelo but still quite boring; birthplace of quite a few locally famous artists and tv personalities as well as of yours truly, but otherwise mainly a place to get out off a.s.a.p. Does have good bus connections to nicer towns and villages in Twente
- Deventer: old Hanseatic League town with a beautiful setting on the IJssel river (look backwards as the train leaves town towards Apeldoorn, or cross the river on foot); also a good starting point for cycling trips towards Zwolle
- Apeldoorn: not very interesting in itself, but a good access point for Hoge Veluwe National Park (good for cycling, walking and - at the Kroller Muller Museum - art)
- Amersfoort: a picturesque town that seems to be overlooked even by many Dutch people; birthplace of the painter Mondria(a)n
We are also working with Rosetta Stone to get acquainted with local languages, we know we wont be fluent but we want to try
If I were you I'd focus on mastering the basics of French, Italian and, to a lesser extent, Germany, as English is not widely spoken in those countries compared to e.g. the Netherlands or the north of Belgium.
It would be certainly appreciated if you'd try to speak a few words in Dutch, but it's very likely you'll be given a reply in English no matter how hard you try to speak their language. Also - I'm adding this because apparently some people are confused about this - even though German and Dutch are closely related and French is an official language in Belgium, most Dutch speakers in both countries prefer to communicate in English, especially when the alternative is a conversation in broken German.
Anyway, learning a new language is always rewarding, even if you don't manage to become perfectly fluent.
Nov 2, 2012 3:11 AM
5Welcome back! Agree with both Lucapal's points- if your plan after Paris is to drift across France and Italy, then just drift and soak it up, otherwise you'll be dashing off to catch a ferry to Greece OR if you must go to Greece, dash across either France or Italy. And if you've not investigated open jaw tickets, you should - there's no point in the time and expense of a Rome-Berlin flight if you don't have to.
Re languages, it has been compulsory to learn English in secondary school in Germany for many years, so most people you are likely to meet will have at least a basic knowledge, and you will be astonished just how well English is spoken in the Netherlands and Belgium, so concentrate on French and Italian, and if you go to Greece at least get to grips with the alphabet. Personal recommendation would be to learn the pleasantries, numbers, directions and foods, though most menus of course never refer to the basic ingredients but have some fancy name for what appears on the plate!
Nov 2, 2012 3:14 AM
6Though in the eastern Netherlands due to Saxon dialect, English will often work out better than official Dutch
I know quite a few people from Twente (mainly 50+) who barely speak standard Dutch, let alone English. But that's part of the fun, I guess.
Nov 2, 2012 3:57 AM
Nov 2, 2012 4:22 AM
Nov 2, 2012 5:54 AM
Nov 2, 2012 9:06 AM
10We did look up open Jaw Tickets, and the first few were almost $2000 more....yeah I had an "open jaw" after that lol! We did however find a few, like on that flew in Berlin and out Munich so we would still see both and it appear relatively easy to get to Munich from Venice and we wanted to stop there anyway. And my uncle has agreed that if we want to make Greece another trip he will rent a car with us in Berlin instead and drive with us as far as Bruges and maybe meet back up in Italy instead.
Aribo: Looked up those cities and those quaint little towns are perfect! Its little things like that we like to see, even here i the states we want to see what the locals see.
With the languages, yeah we are both focusing on French right now then Italian after. I have a basic understanding of German already and as you all have said we want to learn more base phrases than the ENTIRE language...though im good with both lol!
As for what we are looking to see/do? Well, not be American for a month? LOL!
Nov 2, 2012 10:12 PM
Nov 3, 2012 2:00 PM
12We did look up open Jaw Tickets, and the first few were almost $2000 more
Okay, so keep looking. And bear in mind if you fly round trip into and out of one airport: you'll need to add the expense of plane or train from your last destination to backtrack to your departure point, This could easily be a couple hundred euro between the two of you. Also include the cost of a night's hotel to ensure you're in your departure city the night before you leave.
When you add up the true costs of a round trip vs. open jaw--in terms of both time and money--you should be able to find something reasonable. From North America, I like Kayak.com or bt-store.com for open jaw flight pricing.
Nov 4, 2012 9:04 PM
13Hey guys sorry for the delay in getting back, been picking up extra shifts at work :P
We found a great price on open jaw tickets and have decided to do that, awesome tip thank you! Do you think itll be worth the extra money to upgrade to business class?
Almost have Bryan convinced to add another week to the trip so we can really take our time but looks like we are right at 34 days which is still a pretty amazing amount of time for us. Been trying to find some info on the weather for that time of year and im getting mixed signals, I know nothing is ever set in stone but I want to make sure we arent traveling during like the rainy season or something lol!
Nov 5, 2012 1:09 AM
14Do you think itll be worth the extra money to upgrade to business class?
That depends on how much extra it costs to upgrade... I've flown business class for work many times and on long-haul it's definitely much more pleasant than cattle class (on flights within Europe there's often hardly any difference, although being allowed into the business class airport lounge is a nice extra), but if I had to pay the fare difference out of my own pocket, I'd rather spend my money to splurge on a few good meals or nicer accommodation.
I want to make sure we arent traveling during like the rainy season or something lol!
Europe doesn't have a rainy season. However, northwestern Europe (including the UK, Netherlands and Belgium) has an unpredictable maritime climate with a relatively high chance of rain throughout the year. You plan to come over in September, right? That's definitely not a bad time to be in the area, temperatures are still relatively mild and it's unlikely it will rain most of the time.
Southern Europe in September is lovely, generally speaking the worst summer heat will be gone and it's mostly sunny.
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