Looks like I get to start planning a trip to Europe!

Discussion in 'Teacher Time Out' started by Peachyness, Dec 29, 2012.

  1. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    Dec 29, 2012

    I started a thread a coupld of years ago about planning a two week trip to Europe. Well, due to unforseen expenses with one of our rental properties, we had to forego the trip to Europe (hubby didn't mind it since he is TERRIFIED of flying). Money-wise, we're doing a lot better now that things have calmed down. Mainly, we were losing a lot of money on one of our properties.

    Anyways, hubby's sister, who also doesn't care for flying either, has been to Europe many times reminded hubby how neat Europe is.

    Hubby has agreed to start talking and planning a trip to Europe. I'm thinking the end of 2013, October time.

    I'm hoping we can go for three weeks. I don't want to feel rushed so I'm thinking picking just a few places to go to. I mean, three weeks isn't long at all, but we both work, and he can only take so much time off. And this will be during the beginning of the school year, so I'll take three weeks.

    My plan for now:
    Germany- have family, can stay for free
    Paris, France
    Holland- have a friend, can stay for free

    Then, places I would LIKE to visit would be:
    Norway- for the fjords
    Switzerland, Interlacken- heard it was gorgeous there
    Denmark- Legoland?
     
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  3. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Dec 29, 2012

    How exciting!! I absolutely LOVED going over there. We went to London, Paris, and Rome. We're planning another trip to England when our daughter gets a bit older. We want to do another tour that includes London, Bath, Salisbury, York, Cambridge, and Wales.

    I would love to visit Germany. I'm trying to get hubs to apply for jobs over there, but I don't think he's too up for a long term committment over there.
     
  4. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    STG, can you share some tips, advice, things to see in Paris? I would love to pick your brain. :)
     
  5. Maryhf

    Maryhf Connoisseur

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    Dec 29, 2012

    Lucky you! DH and I took both sons last summer ('11). We have family in Denmark so we flew to Copenhagen and spent a week there, then went to Aarhus (again, family) and got into the rental car bound for Legoland. It's about 1 1/2 hours from the German border. We traveled through Germany toward France and stopped at a WW2 museum and found the foxholes from Band of Brothers fame. The U.S. cemetary and museum in Normandy is a "must see" if that part of history is your thing. Drove through streets of LeMans for DH on the way to Paris. We cashed in Marriot points and got a nice hotel a couple of blocks from Eiffel. Then we drove north to Copenhagen again. My favorite German town was Bremen. I loved the folk tale as a kid and it was just charming.
    If your hubby is not a happy flier, you may want to consider upgrading. We flew SAS and were able to upgrade at the last minute to business class. Well worth it! PM if you want more details. I want to hear all about your plans.
     
  6. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    Dec 29, 2012

    How fantastic! I was also planning a 2-week trip for my mom, aunt, & I to go this past summer to London to go to the Olympics & Paris, but had to cancel the trip. Hopefully, soon, I'll get to say this same thing! Have fun!
     
  7. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    Mary, can you share about the driving part. Was it difficult to rent a car (being a foreiner)? What did you have to show when you rented the car? Was it difficult to drive around? Was it easy to get around and park? Would you rent a car again or would you do trains/planes if you had to do it again?

    I just looked up the drive time from this town in Germany where my cousins live to Paris, France and it will take about 6 hours, driving. We would get to drive through Belgium so that's another place we could stop at on the way.

    Those are the trips I love. Renting a car, picking a destination, and then enjoy the adventure in between.

    We did that when we went to Hawaii. We had a luau to get to on the northern part of the island. We rented a car and stopped along the way. We had no goal in mind, or spots we picked out beforehand. Just stopped when it looked good. That day was the most fun! :)

    Anyways, I think that would be fun to do, but I worry about driving in such a foreign place.


    Ms. I, I hope you get to go! I remember you sharing that it didn't work out. Bummer! :(
     
  8. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    Dec 29, 2012

    I was just playing around with GOogle Maps, and thought of a fun road trip.
    From Berlin to Munich-- 5.5 hours
    Munich to Florence, Italy (why not!)- 6 hours
    Italy to Interlaken, Switzerland- 6 hours
    Interlaken to Paris-- 6.5 hours
    Paris back to Germany-- 6 hours
     
  9. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Dec 29, 2012

    A Eurailpass can give a good deal of the same flexibility while relieving one of the necessity of worrying about...

    - Fuel prices: the cost per unit looks pretty cheap, till one figures out that in Europe gasoline/petrol/Benzine tends to be sold by the liter - a good deal of the expense is tax

    - Parking and parking fees: parking in cities can be horrible simply in terms of finding a space, it's rarely cheap, and there's many European cities are contemplating or have begin charging different parking fees at different times of day

    - Figuring out which roads are and which aren't toll roads

    - Missing a nifty sight because one was too busy trying to drive

    - Learning the traffic signs and laws - in the UK, the speed limit in a village is 30 mph, but it may not actually be posted anywhere: the driver is supposed to know that x many streetlights in y much road constitutes a requirement to slow down from the "national speed limit", which is 60 mph except where it isn't. It's less that the laws and signs differ from one European country to another (though they may still, in older towns and villages) than that they tend to be a little startling to someone used to US driving laws and signs.

    But I happen to like train travel.
     
  10. Proud2BATeacher

    Proud2BATeacher Phenom

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    Dec 29, 2012

    My friend took his son for their annual father/son trip to Iceland over the summer and his pictures are gorgeous. They are planning on going to Scandinavia, Norway and Sweden this summer.
     
  11. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Dec 29, 2012

    Peach~we did the Eiffel Tower of course, the Basilica of Sacre Coeur, the Louvre, the Les Invalides, Notre Dame, Arc de Triomphe, and the Palace of Versailles (which is a bit of a drive outside the city). There's a small museum dedicated to the French Jews that were transported to concentration camps in Germany that is worth looking at. If you can (I can't remember where exactly it is), look for the bridge of locks. I wish my hubs and I had tracked down a store with a lock. But you put your names/initials on the lock and then lock it on the bridge and throw the key into the river. We were on a tour group so for most of it, we were on a bus. We did take a cab a few places which wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. We stayed in a hotel right down from Moulin Rouge, but didn't go because it was expensive!
     
  12. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    Dec 29, 2012

    Look up Discover Walks. They are FREE tours given by English speaking native citizens. We did three of them in Paris and it was easily the best part of the whole trip. They're kind of behind the scenes looks. We did the Latin quarter, notre dame, and Montmartre.

    We also did the fat tire bike tour to Versailles. I highly
    recommend that as well.

    We also went to Lauterbrunnen in Switzerland. Went to Jung Frau joch (sp?). That was my second favorite part for sure.
     
  13. Maryhf

    Maryhf Connoisseur

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    DH is a fearless driver so he wasn't bothered by the driving and he really wanted to drive on the Autobahn where there wasn't a speed limit. There were 4 of us so renting a car was cheaper than Eurailpass and we wanted to explore some places not on the rail route. Gas is definitely very expensive, but cars are small there so that helps. It's more common to find a car with manual transmission. We had a family member contact the local Avis rental place. We purchased a Garmin (GPS) online with European maps so we programmed in some sites ahead of time. That was excellent (except in Paris - tall buildings messed it up). We also had 1 phone with a data plan in case we needed maps, etc., otherwise, we used the laptop in the hotel (free wifi) to plan the next day and to make reservations. To simplify things, we stayed in a hotel chain with a variety of price levels and there was always one of those available in each location. If it had just been the 2 of us, we wouldn't have planned things so much, and we would have travelled farther.
    We did go to AAA and get a driver's license, but I'm not sure what good that really did. We stopped in a lot of cities and parked in parking garages. Once you get used to how their parking works (both meters and garages) it is easy.
     
  14. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    Dec 29, 2012

    Forgot to add, we did Paris, montreux, Lauterbrunnen, Zurich, and another Swiss city that's slipping my mind... The eurorail was fantastic! Never even missed not having a car.
     
  15. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    Dec 29, 2012

    Thanks guys!!

    Dgpiaffeteach, I will look those things up, espeically the Discover Walks. I actually thought about doing that one day. Moving to Europe and being a tour guide. :D (I have dual citizenship so I don't think it'd be too hard to move there...)

    The bike tour sounds awesome too.

    Mary, thanks for sharing your experience. I do know that gas is expensive there and by the liter. I think that's the same way in Japan (at least from what I remember when we went).

    I LOVE travelling by train, I was just worried that the time spent on train would eat up too much of our short vacation time. However, it may be easier for us two. Hubby can go either way when it comes to driving. He HATES driving in San Francisco (and gets very worked up) but doesn't mind it in LA. So, it's hard to say.

    Anyways, thanks you guys!! THis is his first trip to Europe and mine since I was 3 (so it doesn't count and basically my first too. :))

    ETA: If most cars rented out is manual than that is bascially not an option for us, then. Neither of us can drive a manual (I tried to learn, really I did, but my dad had no patience with me! :rolleyes:)
     
  16. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    Dec 29, 2012

    Peachy, my parents did rent a car when they went on their own. It's easier for if you're going out of the city. However, pretty much their only option was stick.
     
  17. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    Dec 30, 2012

    Well, I just read a bit about renting a car in Europe and after reading the need for a defibrilator after realizing how much you are paying just for gas, I headed right on over to this website: http://www.raileurope.com/us/shopping/pass_finder.htm

    It lets you enter all of the countires you are interested in visiting and it created the perfect rail pass for you. Price-wise, it looks like we'll be spending around $1200. Based on what I read, I think that is fair and reasonable. Plus, like TG said, we'll be able to relax and enjoy ourselves.
     
  18. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    We upgraded our rail passes to first class for not a lot and that was definitely worth it! Consider checking that out too!
     
  19. Ms_C

    Ms_C Comrade

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    Dec 30, 2012

    Oh I am totally jealous! I spent five weeks in Rome last summer and am dying to go back. Hopefully I can go back next summer!
     
  20. bison

    bison Habitué

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    Dec 31, 2012

    Yay! Sounds like fun. I'm actually abroad for a few weeks right now. I'm up too early to do anything thanks to jet lag. I highly recommend the 24-hour hop-on hop-off tours in major cities. I've done a few in Europe, including Paris. They're usually a good value and allow you to quickly see all the major sites and decide where you think you might want to stop and spend more time or just briefly stop for a photo. It's also just fun on the top of the double-deckers!
     
  21. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    Dec 31, 2012

    Bison, that's awesome. I found a website where you can buy hop-on hop-off tickets. Was there a particular company you went through? The one I found was through LonelyPlanet.com.
     

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