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Old 08-30-2011, 12:46 PM   #21
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Be careful with Geneva, it's insanely expensive. Most of Switzerland is quite pricey though. I've been multiple times. It's best to do a day trip to Geneva and sleep in a surrounding smaller city, even if it's in France, unless you can find a good hostel. Geneva is small though and I haven't found a ton to do there other than just be in awe of how beautiful it is. The train from Geneva to Milan is amazing though. There are a lot of scenic train trips in the area.

Changing money at the airport gives you terrible rates and usually a fee as well. The best way to get cash in Europe is to simply withdraw from ATM's. Obviously don't do it every day, get enough to last you for a bit because there will be a small fee but it will never be as bad as the airport.

Puddles in Paris - if I told you how many people and animals I've seen peeing on the streets of Paris..... yeah.....

Which Greek Islands are you aiming for? Some of the smaller islands practically shut down in the off season and it could be hard to find a place to stay. Some of the natural parks on Crete that are really worth checking out are not open in winter. You should be early enough to catch them though. (Samaria Gorge is open May to October, not sure of exact dates though).

If you do go North, I suggest Talin Estonia as well as Stockholm and Helsinki. You can take a ferry between Tallin and Helsinki. For Italy, personally, I greatly prefer Florence to Rome. Cique Terre is definitely cool as is the Amalfi Coast.

Getting around Europe is easy. I've seen so many people buy all of their train tickets online, over plan, over spend and not even realize it. As long as you have read up on where you're going and have a general idea, it's not difficult. I do always book hotels in advance but I tend to buy train tickets the day before or even day of but I do glance at schedules ahead of time just to be sure I don't decide to sleep a little late and miss the most direct train. BTW, the fastest trains are the ICE in Germany and TGV in France, from what I've seen. The high speed TGV is amazing, make sure you find one. It can be easy to spot them on time tables because they get there fast and have few stops, it's noted sometimes that they are high speed as well. 150mph+ on a train is awesome. It's so smooth.

Keep in mind though that some tourist type things are worth it. I hate crowds, hate them, but things like Musee D'Orsay in Paris, going to the top or Tour Montparnasse and the London Eye have been some very, very nice experiences for me. BTW, I love London. Love it. I've started stopping there just about every time I cross the ocean because I enjoy it so much. I should be back in Europe in October and have to do my own round of figuring out where to go next as well. May end up in Spain or Scotland, haven't done either of those just yet.
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Old 08-30-2011, 12:49 PM   #22
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I'm here at the moment:

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Old 08-30-2011, 02:43 PM   #23
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Here is where?

Thanks for the info Jenn. I'm going to sit down today and try to do some general planning. There are a few days I will be in Hamburg so I am going to schedule around that. What kind of weather could I expect in Stockholm and Helsinki? I imagine it's starting to be in the consistent sub 10*c. I am only taking a backpack and only have so many warm items of clothing.

As of today the tentative flight back is on November 17 from London Gatwick which can always change if needed. I'm flying Air Transat so I am limited to London as my only return flight location. I'll be flying into Munich on the 23rd of Sept.
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Old 08-30-2011, 03:05 PM   #24
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Nurburgring
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Old 08-30-2011, 03:13 PM   #25
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Around 10c would be right for the farthest north of Europe at that time. It can get quite cool at night in other places too. I would suggest something warm to wear under your normal clothes. Like a thermal undershirt and pants type things. Good for sleeping in as well. You can find very thin, light ones at outdoor stores. Ones that can be rolled up into very compact sizes so as only to take up a small corner of your bag. A fleece jacket as well. By light layering, you can avoid carrying a bulky coat. My trips to Europe are usually about 3 weeks and the biggest challenge is packing enough but not too much. I do a lot of laundry in hotel sinks.

Oh, it you're interested, I can post a link to my Flickr for thousands of pics of various places.
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Old 08-30-2011, 07:29 PM   #26
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Yeah so far I have my trusty North Face summit series soft shell, a North Face rain shell and a technical long sleeve fleece type thing (fleece I think it too thick so I got the underarmour type stuff) and pajama pants which will double as a long john type thing. Other than that I'm really only bring one pair of regular pants, 1 jean, 2 shorts, 5-6 shirts a few pairs of socks and underwear maybe one button up shirts for the nicer places and that's about it. I'm torn on the shoes thing though. I bought some nice goretex solomon shoes yesterday but I think they are too bulky for the times I want to wear sandals in the southern areas. I am thinking of getting some lower profile shoes that arent hiking/walking or anything like that...

I'd love to see your pics.
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Old 08-30-2011, 11:20 PM   #27
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I do something similar. I have a North Face fleece that snaps into a rain shell or either can be worn on its own. Works like a charm. When I'm over there in December - March or so, I wear a hat as well because the air is quite crisp and cold in most places.

My pics:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/sets/

I have a couple of pages of sets and then just a lot of random in my photostream that may or may not be in sets. I don't take pics everywhere I go. I take them mostly the first time I go somewhere and then it tapers off after that. Sometimes I like to just walk around and be normal and comfortable without a huge camera bag. My little G11 or Panasonic camera are usually in my purse though.

You seem to have a pretty good handle on this so far though. I've heard so many people practically freak out when I told them I didn't have train tickets or didn't book all of my hotels. It's like they don't realize that people use the train systems every day as their primary transport and that it's actually quite easy to use. Europe is so small too and so dense. You can't go to far without bumping into something.
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Old 08-31-2011, 02:16 AM   #28
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Yeah I think the fact that I have no real direction is the fun of it. I bought the eurail pass today and sprung the extra $100 to get the 15 days in 2 month for anywhere in Europe rather than limited to 5 countries. I also bumped my flight to the 25th of November so that gives me an extra week to visit Stockholm and Copenhagen at the beginning when it's not too far into October yet.

Also just got back from exchanging my pack from the Osprey Farpoint to the Osprey Waypoint 65. (actually 68L) http://www.ospreypacks.com/en/produc...oint_65_-_mens

Bought a few thermals, and some packing cubes to help keep things organised.


So aside from big obvious cities, any small jems you can reccomend? Mostly in the Swiss, Austria, Germany (black forest region) area? Or even some in France/Italy... I'm very open to options.

As for camera I'm just bringing a point and shoot. I think I would be too worried about my SLR. I'm bringing my ipad instead of a laptop. It can double as an electronic GPS based map and I can brows WIFI if I find any.
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Old 08-31-2011, 03:34 AM   #29
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I would skip the upper north outside of summer. You'll have to do a lot of travelling and somehow those places always seemed a little depressing to me in autumn/winter. MUCH better in summer and spring when the cities regain a little temperature and color.

Germany can be pretty cool... Nurburgring region is worthwhile, even without the ring. Make sure you have a cheap rental and hit up small cities in the region like Monschau, Cochem at the Mosel river etc. Particularly nice on a bike if the weather holds.

Lake Constance can be cool if you manage to avoid the droves of old people. Best chances of that happening are Lindau and Konstanz. The castles over in Füssen are surprising, quite new, built by a pimp and it shows.

Austria is all about the passes. The Grossglockner Hochalpstrasse if opened is...well...something special. ******* amazing road, dropped onto the top of the alps. Just because they could. You'll see more fully rigged test cars around this beauty then near Stelvio.
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Old 08-31-2011, 04:16 AM   #30
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Ok, so maybe skip Stockholm/Helsinki... but I would guess (and based on looking at average temps) that Copenhagen would still be tolerable? I don't plan to stay more than 2-3 days.

I'm actually starting in Lake Constance dropping the bro off in Friedrichshafen. Might hang there for a day or two and take a ferry across to Switzerland and visit Zurich or Geneva.

I`ve been told the whole black forest region (southwest germany) is really nice.
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Old 08-31-2011, 06:06 AM   #31
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Instead of trains that are expencive you should buy fly pass to main cities and from there do and see what ever you want want.

I would search mx-5 frum UK for 1500£ or less (start's from 400 or so, look from mx-5nutz, pistonheads, autotrader and gumtree) and drive around.

Go for London, Amsterdam, Paris, old east Germany and Berlin, Auswitch (theres camps in Germany too), Scotland, autobahns (promise you'll love having WOT and only thing annoying are the faster cars or like I had, a van at +120mph) alps and tracks (nurburgring, spa imola etc). Monaco is horrible place so half a day will do it. Remember, rent companies wont allow driving in nurburgring so you arent insured and crashing there can be most expencive thing in your whole life.
If you want, here's contact for cheap'ish caterham in Nice for great, great fun in Alps!

Dont plan too much, I've done my best trips without planning.

What ever you do, have fun and if you end up in Finland, let me know.

Last edited by samulis; 08-31-2011 at 07:26 AM.
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Old 08-31-2011, 06:12 AM   #32
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If you're going to Stockholm, I would suggest taking a trip into Norway too.

A few pictures from the western part of Norway:

Atlanterhavsveien (The Atlantic Road):




Trollstigen (The Troll Road):


Geirangerfjorden (The Geiranger fjord):



Prekestolen (The Pulpit/The Preachers somethingsomething):

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Old 08-31-2011, 01:17 PM   #33
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Wow that looks amazing. By the looks of it I could spend a lot of time there. As for thr trains, I'm not a big flyer and I think taking trains is going to be part of the experience.
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Old 08-31-2011, 01:19 PM   #34
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I'm thinking to maybe skip stockholm and do copenhagen and oslo... I don't want to gery too north. How is the weather and daylight in oslo in early october?
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Old 08-31-2011, 01:26 PM   #35
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The weather in October?
Well, bring warm clothes :P

You can expect temperatures between -5 and 5 degrees celsius, and it could be snowing if you're unlucky/lucky, depending on what you prefer.
The western part of Norway is about 8 hours of driving from Oslo though.

If I was you, I'd save the money and travel in Europe during the summer. Autumn north of Spain is pretty shitty to be honest.

And Stockholm is south of Oslo btw :P

(If you go to Copenhagen, it's just a short partyboat trip to Oslo or Kristiansand. Norwegians use it to drink they're ******* heads off during weekends. It goes from Fredrikshavn and Hirtshals if I remember correctly. There's also a cruise ship that takes you from Kiel to Oslo with more luxury and the same attitude from the passengers. Both boats offer tax free shopping and a 2-3 day binge drinking period if wanted.)
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Old 08-31-2011, 01:33 PM   #36
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Can't. Its now or never. I can always skip the north. The beauty of out all is I can do whatever I want. Depending on my mood. ther idea was to check out places in the south of sweden and denmark and when I strart getting too cold, hop on a train and head for the mediterranean
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Old 08-31-2011, 01:43 PM   #37
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Flights from NY to Oslo are said to be pretty cheap, but I guess that's because your so called "money" isn't worth jack **** outside your borders :P

It sounds like a good plan though, and I gotta say I envy you doing such a trip. There's just a MASSIVE amount of stuff to be seen, and if you skip London you're a proper fool.
Just seing the Tower of London from the outside was worth the trip there.

You'll need at least a couple of days there to just "take in" everything, and it's recommended deeply.

Tower Bridge, Buckingham Palace, Tower of London, HMS Belfast.. The list keeps going.
And if you go there, trust me when I say: If there's one sentence you'll be sick of, it's "Mind the gap".
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Old 08-31-2011, 02:16 PM   #38
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Quote:
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Can't. Its now or never. I can always skip the north. The beauty of out all is I can do whatever I want. Depending on my mood. ther idea was to check out places in the south of sweden and denmark and when I strart getting too cold, hop on a train and head for the mediterranean
Exactly. I wouldn't write off any part of the continent because it might be a little chilly. You might enjoy it or it might not be as cold as you think. The daylight in Stockholm and Helsinki will be quite tolerable at the time you're there but the days so get shorted very quickly. The sunset gets earlier and earlier by I believe an hour or more just in one month. I've been in the middle of summer with sunrise at 3:30AM and sunset after midnight and I've been there when the sun was gone by 3PM. I enjoyed both. Of course I enjoy the warmth more but the experience of the climate and the difference in home and there is worth being a little cold. If you don't like it, just leave but at lest you can say you tried.

I wish I could do the same. One day!


And I agree on trains. It's nice to see things from the window of a train, plus you can book overnight trains and sleep on them sometimes. In the US, we have so little rail travel that I love riding the trains over there as much as possible. No security lines, time tables are more relaxed. There are some insanely cheap air fares to be found though for long distances or places surrounded by or cut off by water. I've flown from Greece to Italy for something like $80 before.

Last edited by JennB; 08-31-2011 at 07:05 PM.
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Old 08-31-2011, 02:21 PM   #39
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Flights from NY to Oslo are said to be pretty cheap, but I guess that's because your so called "money" isn't worth jack **** outside your borders :P
I'm Canadian

My flight back to Canada at the end is out of London so I will have some time to check it out.
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Old 08-31-2011, 03:06 PM   #40
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+1 on crazy King Ludwig's castles in Füssen area, Neuschwanstein Castle and Linderhof Castle. You can take a day trip from Munich on one of the Gray Line tour buses that leaves from in front of the Munich main train station (Hauptbahnhof) that hits both of these castles quicker than trying to get there yourself and is pretty reasonable for a full day trip.

You can also get tourist discount cards from the Munich Tourism office at that same train station that will give you unlimited local transport (trams, buses, etc) in Munich for a couple of days which can save you a ton of money getting around.

Trains can be expensive at times and can take a lot of time if you are going far compared to a discount airline hop. The slower local trains stop every ten to fifteen minutes if you get stuck on one. Getting a Eurail pass or one of the variations of them makes sense in many cases but many of the countries you expressed interest in aren't included and there may be upcharges for certain types of faster trains.

Anything over 4 hours deserves consideration for going by dirt cheap discount airlines. Some times of day and night can get you on flights for 1 or 2 Euros plus taxes. Some notables are Easyjet, Ryanair, Wizz Air, Air Berlin, German Wings, Condor, TUIfly, etc. See WikiTravel info on discount airlines in Europe.

Here's a copypasta from TripAdvisor:
Cheap airlines- RYANAIR, Wizzair, Myair, easyjet, berlin air ”
Jun 30, 2009, 4:39 AM

Ryanair is usually the cheapest option. I mean cheapest travel method possible. It is cheaper than trains, buses, boats, and cars. If I were to plan a Europe trip it would be based on Ryanair's airport locations. I know you think trains are a nice way to see the country, trust me, you will pay more to look out the window for an hour and then read a book or sleep the rest of the way. After taxes and with one bag you can fly almost anywhere they fly for 25 Euros all included. Sometimes you can find a cheap flight for 3 or four euros! I suggest looking for a flight from 2 - 10 Euros instead of 0.01. The 0.01 flights are attractive but usually have a lot of tax added whereas the 2 - 10 Euro flights don't have any because they are on sale. Keep in mind that this airline is frustrating to fly the first time. Your bags have to be light weight, you have to sign in AND PRINT your own boarding pass online. You have to do everything yourself. Do not expect that they will do anything for you. After you have traveled with the once and figured out the system, you will have no problems. OH! Also never plan to speak with customer service or solve an issue. The customer service lines charge you per minute or you can send them a fax. This will be replied to in a month or so. Ryanair tends to be good at being on time. Keep in mind that their airports are often obscure and in the middle of nowhere so transportation to cities is a cost to be factored in.

There are other options that fly to different airports. Sometimes better airports.

Easy jet I have heard saves money by being bumped to the back of the line at the airport. Translation - you may sit on the tarmac for a long time and be late arriving. They do have some better airports though. My wife also said that you may be blinded by the bright orange interior of the cabin. Maybe take sunglasses

Wizzair, myair, carpatair, and berlin air are also worth checking out.

If you are flying from another continent to Europe I suggest finding the cheapest flight to an airport that one of these airlines fly to. Then continue to your destination from there. Heathrow may be a good travel hub but it is very expensive to bus or train from Heathrow to the cheap airports. 20 - 30 pounds one way. Return trips are cheaper.




Since you are planning on using hostels I highly recommend you spend some time reading on the forum- The Backpacker's Ultimate Guide to Budget Travel in Europe - http://www.bugeurope.com/ because they have reviews and tips from people who have done and are doing exactly what you are planning to do. You don't want to end up in a bad hostel (bedbugs anyone?).
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