So, tomorrow I fly to Amsterdam to begin my month long journey. Here is my guestimated itinerary. The only stuff that's certain is the time in Amsterdam and Germany. I will be taking a taxi ride on the Nurburgring in a Porsche GT3 cup car as well as driving around in a Lotus Exige and learning some stuff for a few hours:
Electric Ladyland (blacklight art) - Open Sat. 1-6, closed Sun., E5
De Hortus Botanical Garden - Open 10-5, E7.50
cruise the canals
Oude Kerk - Open Sat. 11-5 Sun. 1-5, E5
Museum Het Rembrandthuis - Open Sat/Sun 10-5, E8
Rijksmuseum - closed Sat. Open 9-6 Sun., E11
Hostel: Shelter City
~3hr train - last train at 8:54PM
La Grand Place
art and car museum
Hotel de Ville - guided tour 3:15PM Tues E3
chocolate (Leonidas open 9-6:30)
beer (Wit Bier, Julius, Straffe Hendrik, Kriek, Trappist)
beef stewed in beer
Old Town Square
maybe music festival, Castle Square
Nurburg - driving the ring!!!
Munich - OKTOBERFEST!!!! and BMW museum
Hofbräuhaus (eat on second floor), Residenz
Housing: good luck, but try Zimmer(B&B), guest house
Food: beer - Pilsener, Maibock, Glühwein (spiced wine)
Salzburg, Austria - National Park with Glacier and salt mines, Eisriesenwelt Werfen maybe Mauthausen
Milan - Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, Last Supper painting (requires advance reservation), da Vinci museum
9:00 Walk from St. Mark's Square to Frari Church (following my self-guided St. Mark's to Rialto Walk chapter), taking time to enjoy the Rialto market action.
11:00 Tour Frari Church.
12:00 Lunch near the Frari, then catch the vaporetto (boat) back to St. Mark's to wander and shop.
14:30 Correr Museum.
15:30 St. Mark's Basilica. (audio tour on ipod)
16:30 Doge's Palace (Palazzo Ducale)
18:00 Go up the Campanile bell tower for city view.
18:30 Pub dinner (crawl or stay put and munch). Start early, around 18:00
20:00 Gondola ride (or follow my self-guided Grand Canal Cruise chapter).
21:00 Enjoy the dueling orchestras with a drink on St. Mark's Square.
deep-fried mozzarella cheese
anything ugly on a toothpick
Crostini (small toasted bread with something on it) are popular
prosciutto with melon
Meat and fish (pesce; PESH-ay) munchies can be expensive
veggies (verdure) are cheap, at about €3 for a meal-sized plate.
In many places, there's a set price per food item (e.g., €1.50). To get a plate of assorted appetizers for €8 (or more,
depending on how hungry you are), ask for: "Un piatto classico di cicchetti misti da €8" (oon pee-AH-toh KLAH-see-koh
dee cheh-KET-tee MEE-stee da OH-toh ay-OO-roh). Bread sticks (grissini) are free for the asking.
Stay away from picture menus, try to find local restaurant favorites
Transportation: Walk and boats
Florence - Audio tour, Accademia, Duomo/Santa Maria del Fiore, Uffizi
Pisa - admire poor architectural planning (half day only, roll in with Florence/Rome)
Hostel: Carlito's Way Hostel
On the first day:
do the "Caesar Shuffle" from the Colosseum to the Forum
then over Capitol Hill to the Pantheon.
join the locals strolling from Piazza del Popolo to the Spanish Steps
On the second day:
see Vatican City
(St. Peter's (audio tour), climb the dome, tour the Vatican Museum). Have dinner on the atmospheric Campo de' Fiori, then walk to the Trevi
Fountain and Spanish Steps.
Capuchin crypt (Santa Maria Della Concezione)
Transportation: Take subway around
Food - Trattoria da Lucia Restuarant
Sicily - Mt Etna volcanoe and maybe visit some of my aunt's family, Taormina, Greek Theater
Athens - Acropolis, sport climbing
Barcelona - Picasso Museum
- See La Sagrada Familia (Gaudi's famous, albeit unfinished, church). I recommend paying the $ to go up to the top. Try going at sunset for an even better view.
- Walk down Las Ramblas (while holding onto your belongings tightly!) to see the street performers. Stop by La Bocqueria, Barcelona's gorgeous open air market. Make sure to also stop by Placa Reial, which is toward the end of Las Ramblas. If you're interested, there's a pretty decent flamenco club, Tarantos, where you can catch a show. However, eating on Las Ramblas is not the best idea -- very touristy/expensive.
- Walk through Barri Gotic -- the old section of Barcelona. You could spend hours doing this -- so many shops, cafes, pretty churches, etc. Don't get lost, though, and make sure to visit Santa Maria del Mar, a beautiful church there.
- If it works out timing wise, go see a soccer game at the Barca stadium -- I think it's the largest in Europe. If you're able to go to a Barca vs. Madrid game (/can afford it... super expensive) that would be pretty awesome.
- Visit Park Guell, or one of Gaudi's houses on Passeig de Gracia.
- The main Barcelona cathedral is also very nice and good to check out.
- Two mountains right outside of Barcelona that are cool: Tibidabo (mountain) with an amusement park/excellent views... and Montjuic, which has a cool little fort, nice views, but a really touristy Disney-like complex "Pueblo Espanol" or something.
- The beach is pretty nice too.
- Cool bars: Can Paixano or "La Champaneria" on Reina Cristina 7 -- amazing, cheap champagne bar and tapas (near the beach). the pipa club (pipe club) bar in Placa Reial... when you enter the square from Las Ramblas, go to the right corner. There's a plaque on the door and you ring a bell. It's awesome -- not sure if you'll be able to get in but worth a try. Bar Marsala, an absinthe bar in the semi-sketchy part of Barcelona (El Raval) is fun. Carrer de Sant Pau 65. Hemingway used to hang out there. Chupitas (Spanish for "shots" is also fun). El Bosc de Les Fades is kinda neat, it's a "Fairy Tale" bar. Slightly disney-ish (also in or near Placa Reial).
- Roman columns near Placa de Sant Jaume -- 10 Paradís (Centre Excursionista de Catalunya) -- good stuff. L'Ovella Negra (the black sheep) was one of our favorite bar hangouts while in Spain as well.
- Cool cafes/food: Els Quatre Gats is a nice cafe where Picasso used to hang out -- and the Picasso museum itself is also nice. Taller de Tapas (there are several of them) are good places to go for decent food that is authentic yet makes the dining environment very comfortable for foreigners. Xurreria (the Catalan spelling of Churreria), a few doors down from a place called La Granja (c/ Banys Nous 4, Gotico), is a good place for churros. Honestly, the food anywhere is pretty decent, just try to stay from restaurants with menus that have pictures and seem touristy. If you want to try paella, your best bet is in Barceloneta (the beach area).
Hope this helps! Sorry that it's so scatterbrained!
~12hr train (overnight)
Swiss Alps - Bern / Interlaken - St. Gothard Pass, driving a sports car of some sort, bungee jumping, boat tour
Hostel: Jules Ferrie - 22Euro
Morning: Follow Historic Paris Walk from Rick's Paris guidebook, featuring Ile de la Cité, Notre-Dame (audio tour), Latin Quarter - Pantheon, and Sainte-Chapelle.
Afternoon: Tour the Louvre (audio tour)
Evening: Enjoy the Trocadéro scene and a twilight ride up the Eiffel Tower.
Morning: Follow the book's Champs-Elysées Walk from the Arc de Triomphe down the grand avenue des Champs-Elysées to Tuileries Garden.
Midday: Cross the pedestrian bridge from the Tuileries Garden, then tour the Orsay Museum (audio tour).
Afternoon: Tour the Rodin Museum or Napoleon's Tomb, or visit Versailles (take the RER suburban train direct from Orsay).
Evening: Cruise the Seine River, take Paris Vision's night-time Illumination bus tour, or follow Rick's Paris guidebook's Floodlit Paris Taxi Tour.
Morning: Ride the RER suburban train out to Versailles (tour the château and sample the gardens).
Afternoon: Follow the book's Marais Walk.
Evening: Take the book's Montmartre Walk, featuring the Sacré-Coeur basilica.
Venice, is great, if you are going to tour the st mark's and go up into any of the churches, then I would recommend do an early start. The line-ups when I was last there, got really, really long, when the tour/ferry boats made it into the city.
Also food around st. mark's can be a little pricey.... But there are some lovely expresso bars. <G>
steelrat: I'm planning an early start for everything. It sucks a lot of places don't open until later in the morning, so I may have to skip several things because of that. St. Mark's is on my list. All the stuff I have listed is what I would LIKE to do, but things will likely change as I meet people and find better things to do or get bogged down by things. I'm hoping most tourists are at Oktoberfest and I won't have to deal with that many in the other places.
jbrown7815: Tell me about it. I saved up for almost a year for this trip. I'll have a good chunk of change available to me (~$14k I think) in case I want to do something crazy. I hope not to spend more than half that. I've already spent enough on crap for the trip - tickets, backpack, camera, GPS, travel clothing, etc.
eunos1800: Not sure what the 5's are, but sounds like I'd be in, too.
You will never make that schedule. You are an ambitious soul who has obviously done a lot of homework, but you haven't allowed for travel time between some of your locations and are criss-crossing your path a couple of times.
I did a whirlwind before and it kicked my ***. I wanted to show my wife as much of Europe as possible in one week. I went to the airport on Sat, arrived in Berlin Sunday morning and toured all day with jet lag. Took overnight train to Munich that very night. Toured Munich Monday, Took Bus tour of Austrian castles on Tues. from Munich. Overnight train to Florence Tues. night. Toured Florence Wed. and Thurs. AM Took afternoon train to Venice Thurs. Toured Venice and Murano Friday. Took Friday night train to Vienna. Spent the day Saturday in Vienna and took the overnight train to Berlin. Flew out of Berlin Sunday afternoon. Never stayed the night in Berlin or Vienna. IT KICKED MY ***. You don't sleep very restfully on train and planes and JET LAG IS REAL!
I would slow it down a bit and drop a location off the itinerary, like Frankfurt. There isn't much worth seeing in Frankfurt since it was all rebuilt in modern style after the war. When you go to Venice, take the vaporetto over to Murano and see all of the amazing glass blowing and glass sculptures. And in Venice, try to find the little storefront of Livio de Marchi the wood sculptor(Ask a local if you have to. They all know him). He has an amazing shop.
Have a great time! Relax and enjoy being there. One of the best museums in Floence is across the street from the Duomo and contains all of the art that belongs to the Duomo.
I travel a lot, so I know I can handle jet lag. I can sleep anywhere. I've gotten to the point where I start feeling sleepy in the terminal so that I'm out the second I hit my seat on a plane. The nice thing is, they usually don't make you turn off your mp3 player if you're already asleep (at least in a window seat). I do plan on taking a lot of night trains if at all possible. As I said, I'm certainly not planning on doing everything. It's an aggressive schedule and I'll end up skipping a city or 2 I think, but I won't run out of things to do this way. I'm only going to Frankfurt to visit a friend. I'm actually hoping I can just combine it with my Nurburg run since it's so close. He's older so he's not interested in Oktoberfest. I'll certainly add your recommendations to my list of possibilities. Sounds cool.
Everything is going to plan so far, which amazes me. I even had time to throw in Berlin. I haven't needed much time for some of the cities. It's all the same stuff after awhile, museums, buildings, cathedrals...so I was just wandering the cities, meeting people and doing other stuff. I did miss the BMW museum, though. Lost track of time at Oktoberfest, but it was AWESOME.