Trip to Europe

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Trip to Europe

Post  Paradox on Fri 27 May 2011, 8:13 pm

A friend and I are in the beginning stages of planning a trip to Europe. Very beginning stages because I need about a year to save the $$ for it.

We are considering going on one of the bus tours, but where you can break away from the group and do your own thing. For example, we're not big on museums so instead of going to the Louvre we would take a side trip to Normandy.

Has anyone ever taken this type of bus trip?

We're planning on the UK, France, Germany, Italy. It would probably be the first part of September. How would that be temperature wise? I would rather it be cooler than hot.

Also when I was in the UK 30 years ago, the B&Bs were very different from US ones. Are they still that way?

Any info you can give me would be much appreciated. With my back problems it sounds rather nice to be able to rely on someone else for driving and transportation. But on the other hand, what if you have annoying bus mates?

The first time I explored the UK it was with a backpack and my thumb. I'm feeling a little old!

I've never been to Germany and am particularly interested in what we should do and see there.

We would be gone a little over two weeks.
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Re: Trip to Europe

Post  milo on Fri 27 May 2011, 9:56 pm

How very exciting for you! My bestie does this all the time...he travels to so many amazing places and has such great adventures.
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Re: Trip to Europe

Post  Jewishmother on Fri 27 May 2011, 10:48 pm

My best friend's dream has always been to go to Paris............she has struggled with health problems and last summer we spent time working on her will and planning her funeral and I told her this summer was going to be much more about fun so we are leaving for Paris in a little over two weeks (with her 15 different meds!).............my first trip to Europe and her first trip out of the U.S. so will report back to you what we discover! L

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Re: Trip to Europe

Post  Topix on Tue 31 May 2011, 12:26 am

Hi Charlotte,
it's Antonella here.

My experience with bus tours is 50% positive and 50% negative.

On the positive side you have the comfort of being driven everywhere and avoid getting lost and wasting time. Also, sitting comfortably on a seat and sleep, read, chat without the stress of the drive is positive.
Then, a local guide who can answer all your questions, help you with local stuff and explain things is very helpful and relaxing.

On the negative side, you have to consider that for days and days you are in a group where other participants can be polite and friendly but also very annoying and rude.
Also, you will have little free time. Most of the time you'll have to follow the group and this can be quite boring in certain moments or it can be a problem when you feel bad and would like to lay down in a bad for a couple of hours.

I tend to buy guided bus tours in particular countries where security and transportation/organization can be of low quality but I travel on my own in Europe/North America.
The best compromise in Europe is to visit large cities on your own. Here, you don't need a guide and you don't need to drive as public transportation can easily take you anywhere. Then, you can buy locally guided bus tours to other places. They are very easy to find and - often - you can book them from hotels too.
All countries have good highways, so you can also think to hire a car for certain journeys. In the UK drive is on the right, so this might be a problem. In Germany roads are great and drivers are very polite. In France they're a little bit hectic. In Italy we are totally CRAZY behind the wheel Smile

Also moving from one country to another is very easy. There are many flights that connect all the main European cities. As Europe is relatively small, it takes very little to fly from North to South and from East to West. Italy can be reached in a couple of hours from the UK for instance.

September is probably one of the best period to visit Sourthern Europe. If the weather is sunny you'll still find warm days. If it rains it can get quite cool but never cold.

Let me know if you will include Italy in your tour. I'd be glad to provide you with all the information that you need!
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Re: Trip to Europe

Post  Paradox on Tue 31 May 2011, 2:12 pm

Thank you so much Anto. The more I've been reading about the bus tours the more leery I'm getting about much (little) free time we would have. I think it would be great to get a "flavor" of where you would want to go back to and put more emphasis on an area. However, this is probably going to be my last trip so I want more time to meander.

Its actually going to be a year from September, so we have plenty of time to decide where the high points should be. So far, for me, it's Amsterdam, Omaha Beach, and Venice. I know for my friend it's Omaha Beach and a cruise down the Rhine. So, if we could find little mini-tours....well, I just think I would like the flexibility of that better.

We thought about buying the Eurorail pass but neither of us are spring chickens and don't want to haul our luggage around. I know just my meds would take up a backpack so just using one bag is out.

I'm hoping and am fairly confident my Dr. will double up on my meds for the trip. I don't want to be at a tolerable 2/3. For two weeks I want to be pain free, I don't care what I have to take!

Thanks so much again, good to know I can get some 'inside' info!

cheers
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Re: Trip to Europe

Post  Cluelesskitty on Fri 03 Jun 2011, 4:22 pm

Also, buses sometime can be very hectic and this could be problem for you, Charlotte.
It's possible you may end up not having energy to go anywhere in your free time.

And consider the stink of the fumes.
Unless you can afford nice luxury lines, and great seat, this could be the problem, too.

I think Anto idea is the best - get wherever you don't plan to walk by bus, see the rest in a rented car,
fly where you want to save the time.

Indeed, Europe is small, and with their great highways you can get everywhere much faster than you would in America.

How's the planning going, btw?

Risa

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