Please help me plan my first Eurotrip!
Replies: 81 - Last Post: Feb 26, 2011 2:47 AM Last Post By: gawkabout
Mar 17, 2010 3:09 AM
45This is Cecilia's website, the one I referred to above: link.
Mar 17, 2010 5:51 AM
46Hi Arizona and tony_b, thanks for the links! I'm gonna extend my stay in Amsterdam to 4 days (factoring in time to dodge out of the way of speeding bicyclists :D) and make day trips to the surrounding areas. If I get down there and find it's not enough time I'll just extend longer :) Also, thanks for clarifying about the cafes tony_b. I thought a brown cafe was a marijuana bar. Brown = brownies. Actually, after checking out the link you gave me, a brown cafe sounds exactly like my kind of place. Cozy, relaxed, with hopefully friendly people to talk to. I'm especially looking forward to checking out the jazzy wetering!
By the way, I just thought of something I should've asked before. Will I have trouble in Europe speaking English? I guess not cuz lots of English speakers do these Eurotrips, right? But I'll ask anyway, just to be safe.
Mar 17, 2010 6:05 AM
Mar 17, 2010 6:08 AM
48I forgot to mention that it is nice if you know a few words of the language like when in France and you enter a store you should say bon jour, Madam. merci and au revoir. It is a courtesy/ If you make a small attempt at their language it will be appreciated.
Mar 17, 2010 6:47 AM
49I thought a brown cafe was a marijuana bar
I'm not an expert in pothead lingo, but to the Dutch people I know a brownie means just that - an American-style delicacy. Most people know it as wiet (corruption of English "weed"). The famous marihuana cake is called spacecake, and for the record there is no fear of ordering this with your coffee by mistake in a regular café.
Brown café is a literal translation of the Dutch expression bruine kroeg, bruin (brown) probably referring to the colour of the typically dark wooden panelled walls (somebody please correct me if I'm wrong; I just know for sure that it has nothing at all to do with English slang, or American-style cake. For me personally those typically Dutch kroegen (pubs) are one of the highlights when visiting other towns in this country, and I love to while away a few hours in a place where I can sample locally brewn beers or "rare" beers without being distracted by bright lights, ultra-modern interior or load music from my attempts at having an interesting conversation or reading a book
Nice to know the following Dutch words:
- kroeg/café = pub (usually Dutch-style +bruine kroeg+)
- pub = English/Irish pub
- koffiehuis = Turkish/Moroccon style coffee house (= where you go for a coffee)
- coffeeshop = place where you buy/smoke marihuana/Nederwiet etc. (= not for those who want koffie met appeltaart (coffee and apple pie)
Will I have trouble in Europe speaking English? I guess not cuz lots of English speakers do these Eurotrips, right?
As said above, most people speak decent English in addition to their native language; in fact, many (esp. young) people have a basic knowledge of at least 1 or 2 more languages. That said, given that most countries use a different language from their neighbours - that's not to mention all the regional languages that have been recognized as official language in that particular region (think Catalan in parts of Spain, Frisian in the north of the Netherlands etc) - most people in cities visited by foreign tourists are used to dealing with people who cannot speak their language, and won't mind trying their English skills on you.
Of course, as LouisXIV said, it is always considered polite and it's appreciated when you learn the basic greetings in the local language and try to master the expression for "do you speak English?". In my experience, especially in France, Italy and Spain, being able to read a menu or ask directions in the local languange saved me a lot of time figuring out what to eat and how to get where I wanted to go to, but a lot of people get by with English only, so don't worry too much.
Only non-Europeans would call this type of trip a Eurotrip, though ;-)
(sorry, I just had to say it)
Mar 17, 2010 6:58 AM
50May I add, by the way, that this thread has become a great example of how positive interaction between the OP and us regulars can result in 50 posts (and counting) full of specific information?
Compare that to how so many other new users react when they ask us to critique their itinerary (read: to confirm that their (totally unspecified) plan to "hit" 15 cities (seemingly chosen at random) between London and Athens in 3 weeks is totally doable) and are adviced to slow down instead of getting compliments for their well-conceived Eurotrip. It's good to see that the attitude of the OP and the ability on his/her side, and not just the way we respond (as is often suggested by new users), greatly influences the course of a thread.
My compliments, Kyle.
Mar 17, 2010 7:13 AM
Mar 17, 2010 7:55 AM
52Are you going for seeing capitols, or most famous places, or just to say (no offense, but think about it) yhat you've set foot there.
ooooh. Don't mean any harm, but you are kind of equating the most famous, with smaller also very important, places above, in Netherlands.
Do you know anything about William and Mary. They weren't Scotch-Irish.
And London is not like England, as NYC is not the states.
London is way out on a stem from the rest of your trip. Unessisary. And it costs you to cut to the chase.
Learn this stuff through hostels and sharing andyou can do it smoother and cheaper next time. We all learn from each other.
Mar 17, 2010 8:00 AM
Mar 17, 2010 8:38 AM
Mar 17, 2010 9:46 AM
55Man, I 'preciate you being so open and responding like you raelly want to learn.
You're going to be in international law. Therefore you better be a people man. It takes time to figure out where folks and tradirtional attitudes are at. That's not in brochures and cheapest tickets. Trains can be a great pay-off.
And choosing a favorite café. And be familiar to local old farts, and friendly not gooshy.
And listen to answers. We yanks usually have to have the last cliché. Its our "sum it up" bs. It kills the message in the story he tells you.
I've lived in Seville a few years. Folks tell me, "Americans. Nice people and all but whew!. They're afraid of everything. But won't listen to the explanation."
We yanks come on, too strong.
Mar 17, 2010 9:51 AM
56Re #52. My compliments too. I've been lurking on this thread since it started, mainly to see how it developed. It's an excellent example of how a virtuous circle can be created.
I'm sure that, like most people, you'll end up with a favourite brown café. I certainly did. I especially liked t'Smalle, Hoppe and Het Molenpad on Prinsengracht. But there are many more, so enjoy exploring.
Mar 17, 2010 10:45 AM
Mar 17, 2010 11:58 AM
Mar 20, 2010 5:14 AM
Sorry it's taken me a while to respond. I've been out of town on business. I just want to say I'm really glad a lot of you are as enthusiastic about this thread as I am. When I came here I figured I'd ask my question and--hopefully--a few people would respond and then that would be it. So far it's blossomed into 5 pages worth of stellar advice and wisdom and I have you all to thank for that.
Aribo, thanks for the Dutch words, that'll be useful to me when I get to Amsterdam. Especially the distinction between a coffeeshop and koffiehuis. The brown cafes sound really interesting to me actually. Like I said above, that jazzy brown cafe called wetering is definitely on my list :)
By the way, if only non-europeans would call this kind of trip a "Eurotrip", what would you call it? I'm seriously curious :D What is considered a "eurotrip"?
Thanks Aribo for the compliments. I'm blown away by how good an interaction this thread has gotten. For my part, it's a matter of respect. You've all taken the time to consider my questions and address them at length and I know that takes time and energy. It isn't easy to actually think out a serious response and I'm not the type to ignore that. The least I could do is respond with the same amount of respect you've shown me. Besides, I've done my fair share of forum writing before and I know what it's like to have someone who asks a question then leaves abruptly after getting the answer without so much as a "thank you". I hate it and I think it's rude.
Gawkabout, I'm gonna admit it. Certain places I'm going to are exactly for that reason. I want to be able to say, yeah I've actually been there. I touched that monument. I stepped foot inside that museum. I didn't just look at it from a postcard. That's a part of it, sure, but I also want to experience the place itself not only on a superficial level. That's why after talking to all of you I've changed my mindset about this trip. Instead of trying to cram everything I possibly can into these 6 weeks (which I guess everyone tries to do) I've cut out over half my itinerary so that I can spend more time in the places I do see. When I write "7 days in Paris" for example, that's just for convenience. What I plan is that during those 7 days (or more if I can't leave) I'll be making day trips to the smaller cities and towns and I'll be trying to balance as well as I can the kitschy touristy stuff with the actual pulse and life of the place.
England is on my list because I have some friends over there that would literally kill me if I went to Europe and didn't visit them. I think I'll be in Bournemouth mostly but of course I'll tour around London while I'm there.
Gawkabout, awesome practical tips for my backpack and travel gear. I've got an Eagle Creek that comes with a daypack and I've used money belts before. They're the best. Luckily, I pack extremely light when I travel (I hate checking anything in) and I know how to wash my own clothes or even go caveman once in a while :D
LouisXIV, another great tip. I'll definitely do that. I also like to pack about a week or more in advance then, when I think I've got everything covered, take out about half the stuff. I've learned to leave a lot of room for souvenirs and trinkets that somehow accumulate on my travels.
Gawkabout, thanks :) I try to keep an open mind and attitude about most things. Perhaps the thing I love most about travel is interacting with different kinds of people and cultures. Through them I get to catch a glimpse of how someone else views life. Through their traditions and mannerisms I get to see how a culture shapes and is shaped by life. As a result, it opens my eyes a little wider to my own life. It's like I gain a new angle on things. I've never been able to understand the people that travel to far away places and then complain that it's not just like home. They refuse to open their minds to see what's right in front of them. I mean, why travel if you feel that way, right?
As far as language goes, tarinay, I agree that it can be interesting :D I love learning languages. I'm learning Spanish now and I've made great friends and had great conversations by just approaching people and trying to talk in their language. Most people are happy to see someone make the effort I think. I was more worried about places where they might not speak any English at all.
(3 star Hotel)
From US$86.35 per night
(5 star Hotel)
From US$212.78 per night
(4 star Hotel)
From US$170.04 per night