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 Suggestions for my Europe Holiday

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Roycropper
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 17, 2007 9:00 am Reply with quoteBack to top

We went to Florence from Rome via the Eurostar, (high speed tilting train) you have to book your seat in advance, we did it the day before. Very high speed airconditioned travel though, and I think they go across to Venice from there.

If you want to go to the Uffizzi gallery in Florence (and see just how big some of those famous paintings really are), book online LINK and feel smug as you walk past the huge queue to get in. Also, look for the Bobboli Gardens behind the Pitti Palace, very tranquil after the hustle and bustle of Florence. There is a cafe across the road from the Palace entrance that sells wine by the bottle too.

We chilled out every night in Rome after a long day out with a cold Peroni, at a late night bar/cafe across the road from the side of Terminii station, I remember it as the 'Taxi Driver and Prostitute', due to its other clientelle, but I dare say that wasn't its real name. Razz

Romes Metro and buses are a cheap and quick way of getting around, we went by bus to Tivoli, to see the amazing palace and gardens at Villa d'Este. LINK

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Josh
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 17, 2007 11:02 am Reply with quoteBack to top

^^ Thanks for the info guys. Some really invaluable tips. I'm wary of the airports that Ryanair will fly into, as potentially what you save on the airfare you might lose on the taxi (or shuttle bus) from the airport to the city.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 17, 2007 12:08 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

When I went to Europe I flew Thai, they're alright but my sister got sick from their food Sad

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Josh
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 17, 2007 12:11 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

I think Emirates run the cheapest flights from NZ to Europe at the moment. Two stop-overs compared to only one on Air New Zealand flights though.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 17, 2007 12:28 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Emirates do some good deals Auckland (via Melbourne) - Dubai - London. I've used them a couple of times and they used to be very good but standards have slipped more recently. They are spreading themselves too thin with their massive route expansion plan and need to focus more on quality, not quantity IMO. Cathay Pacific is good (via Hong Kong). Qantas/British are WAY too expensive. I've heard good/bad stories about Thai. I like Singapore Airlines the best. If you don't want to start your trip in London you can also look into the European airlines like Lufthansa, KLM etc who operate out of Australasia in partnership with Malaysian, etc who operate into Rome, Paris, etc. Either way it's a 24 hour min trip Crying or Very sad The tyanny of distance, eh?

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 17, 2007 12:45 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

@yrubraj : shuttlebus? Forget it : taxi or train (if there a railwaystation nearby)...
Yes Ryanair is good value, if you accept the value for money principle (cheap flight, cheap service...) and I expect that if you come from far away, and have little time (or plenty of time but do not want to waste any of it Laughing ), you're better off travelling with a larger airline who flies to major cities.
Yes, it'll cost you more, but unless you want to find yourself 80 km from your intended destination holed up in some shyster town for two days, because that's how often the trains pass by.... Not worth the risk, is it?

There are plenty of low(er) cost airlines in Europe who fly to major cities instead of the backyards (Vueling, Virgin, etc...). Not as cheap as Ryanair or Easyjet, but at least you go to the place you want to....

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 17, 2007 1:15 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

I am going to strongly urge, especially if you are American, to avoid Paris. I have been before and I was not that impressed. The museums are nice.

I do recommend that you try to just enjoy a few places, rather than run about to 5 or 6 different locations.

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meyer
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 17, 2007 1:20 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

yrubraj wrote:

-London (plus places within a day-trip of London) - got about 3-4 days there possibly
-Paris (plus day-trip possibilities) - again about 3-4 days
-Barcelona - 1-2 days
-Rome 2-3 days
-Rome to Venice by train (includes Florence) - again 3-4 days (if that fits still).

I know the main attractions obviously (Eiffel Tower, Notre Damme, St Peter's, Cistine Chapel), but hidden gems would be awesomely appreciated.



Yes, SF had it right. Laughing I really think that it makes sense to reduce this a bit. One thing you need to consider is, as has already been said, but it really is worth repeating:

If you use these ultra-cheap airlines, it will cost you a lot of time. In other words, if you plan 3-4 days for Paris for example, you would have in reality only 2 to 3 days you would actually spend with visiting Paris and not sitting in some shuttle-bus that takes you to the middle of nowhere at 5 am or so.

I'd say that three days in Paris (for example) is better than one day in London, Barcelona and Paris each. If I was you, I would at the very least take Barcelona off the list. And even then you would still have a tight schedule, but would spend less time with traveling, and more in nice places.

Hidden gems... Well, Sainte Chapelle is not exactly a hidden gem Laughing - but I think it is major highlight of Paris. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sainte_Chapelle

The Louvre is worth spending a whole day, it is that big, and there is a lot more to see there than just the Mona Lisa.

If you want to visit the Palace of Versailles, this is also a day-trip.

If you are interested in art - my favourite museum in Paris is this one: http://www.musee-orsay.fr/en/home.html
Their collection of paintings by van Gogh, Monet, Gauguin and many others is simply awesome.

For the evenings in Paris- my suggestion would be NOT to visit Montmartre like all tourists do, but instead go to Saint-Germain-des-Prés, (no, not the church, but the area near to the Boulevard Saint-Germain http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boulevard_Saint-Germain )

You get a beautiful view of the city not only from top of the Eiffel Tower (although that is of course the best view you can get), but also from the top of the Arc de Triomphe.

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TheGreatOok
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 17, 2007 1:26 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Hey yrubraj, thanks for the post, I am watching this for London suggestions as I will be spending a week there in February. It will be my first time on another continent. I have traveled the US quite a bit and thru the Caribean a few times. I am looking forward to London though.

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Roycropper
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 17, 2007 1:30 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Most tourists spend longer in London than I ever have, and I'm a Brit. That said, the London Eye was worth the queuing for a ticket, kinda puts London into perspective from up there. There are screens with your photo on at the end, p*ss them of like I did, by photographing the screen with your party on it.

The Imperial War Museum (free) and Westminster Abbey (£££ as a tourist, free if, like me, you pretend to be in the God Squad and attend a service) I can recommend. Avoid anything with 'Ye Olde' in the title.

I agree with Gnasher about Singapore Airlines. As well as a screen full of films and GPS tracking on a map, a little known fact is that, if you study the drinks menu (which, funnily enough I always do), every time you are offered a free drink, and everyone has Coke, orange or wine, the foxy stewardess will go and mix you a Singapore Sling from fresh ingredients, that would cost you a fortune in a cocktail bar.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 17, 2007 3:55 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

yrubraj wrote:
My interests are generally related to architecture, natural wonders (mountains, lakes etc.) artwork (to a certain extent) and just general cool stuff in these countries.


Scotland pretty much covers all of that within a wee easily travellable (is that a word?) country!

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 17, 2007 4:31 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

I had forgotten about Bobboli Gardens in Florence. Definitely a nice break from the bustle, and you get awesome views of Florence when you go up to the top part.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 17, 2007 5:03 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

How about the Peak District? Probably less full of tourists than the Lake District & slightly less wet

http://www.visitpeakdistrict.com/

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 17, 2007 9:12 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Thanks for the information guys. I definitely see where you're all coming from regarding my potential schedule being a bit of a tight squeeze. Barcelona would (sadly I guess) be the first place that I would drop off my itinerary if I felt like I really needed more time in France and Italy. I guess keeping it down to 3 countries is going to potentially be a bit more manageable. I will research the location of airports Ryanair flies into in the cities that I want to visit, to make sure that I don't end up wasting masses of time getting from the airport to where I want to go.

Scotland/Ireland etc. will probably have to wait until my next trip sadly.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 17, 2007 9:44 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

jojobean wrote:
Specifically, I would recommend going to see the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland. You can probably fly into Belfast. It is not very far from Belfast at all. Most amazing thing I have ever seen. There are some beautiful places up there.


Here's the other half jojo;
[url]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fingal's_Cave[/url]

It's a great wee story if you follow on the wiki link to giants causeway!

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 17, 2007 9:55 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

I remember reading about the Giant's Causeway as a kid. A truly amazing geological feature. Odd to find such perfect repetition in nature.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 17, 2007 10:47 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

If you are spending any time in London then you have to go to Dirty Dicks - a little hole in the wall pub just across the street from Liverpool Street Station. Sawdust on the floor, decent beer and nominal bar food, and totally unmentionable items tacked to the walls and ceilings by visitors! I used to work about 5 minutes walk from there. Right around the corner is Petticoat Lane and Whitechapel - Jack the Ripper territory - you can find a tour of his gruesome trail of dismemberment.
You obviously have to go to the Tower Of London - just don't chase the crows because the BeefEaters can get a bit cranky if you do that. Take a look at Traitors Gate. Windsor Castle just outside of London. If the flags flying at full mast then the owner is home...Look for the clock embedded in the pavement (sidewalk) just across the street. You should have tea in the Crooked House in the High Street - going upstairs in this off kilter building can really throw you for a loop! Thank God they don't serve alcohol... Hope you weren't going to rent a car because not only is parking a real bitch but expensive too. Rail travel passes are a great value - not just in England but you can get Euro rail passes.
Great theater in the West End. Any hotel will have loads of info on current shows and how to get tickets.
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 17, 2007 10:51 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Roycropper wrote:
I agree with Gnasher about Singapore Airlines.


I was lucky enough to be upgraded to First Class (!!!!) and the whole experience has now ruined airline travel for life because it's SO F&CKING AMAZING up at the pointy end of the plane you NEVER want to travel any other way.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 17, 2007 10:52 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Thanks for the suggestions guyman. Was definitely not considering renting a car while in London. Possibly might rent a car to do a day-trip out of London though. To see Stonehenge or perhaps either Oxford or Cambridge. I think Cambridge is closer?

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 17, 2007 11:11 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

You can probably get a tourist bus from London to Stonehenge (it's a lot smaller than you'd imagine and you can't get up close), Oxford and Cambridge (both of which are about 90mins drive traffic permitting) Evil or Very Mad Getting around London itself is quick and easy on the Tube. You absolutely don't need to hire a car there.

Most Aussies and Kiwis I know get a real shock when they visit Europe because of the sheer number of people, especially in popular tourist locations, the traffic congestion and most of all the COST. Accommodation in particular can be ruinously expensive and unless you want to survive on BigMacs you'll need to budget accordingly. I'm not in any way trying to scare you off - far from it - but I've known people who basically run out of money for day to day living/travel expenses because they under-budgeted so do some careful research. As a rule of thumb I reckon it's a Pound for Dollar equation. What costs you $10 in NZ will cost you 10 quid in London - do the math Crying or Very sad

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 17, 2007 11:18 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Yeah I'm looking to do a bit of investigation about accommodation costs. What am I likely to be able to get for about 60 Euros a night (2 people to share).

Budgeting about $NZ 200 a day at the moment (excluding airfares). I also only have to pay for half the accommodation. Is this realistic?

P.S. That's about 120 Euros.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 17, 2007 11:26 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Dunno - they still use Pounds in the UK Very Happy You'll have to check the exchange rates but I'd say NZ$120 (46 quid) twin share per night in central London could be tricky? It's a while since I lived there so one of our London baiters can probably advise.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 17, 2007 11:29 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

I have heard that in London it's better to get accommodation further away from the city centre and then catch the tube in. Much cheaper that way. 40 something pounds sounds about right.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 17, 2007 11:33 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Yeah thanks for the tips guyman. I am staying with friends so if I need a car they have one, but I planned to travel by train. I am going on a thursday and will be pretty pissed the whole first weekend, we are having a small to medium sized gathering of friends at a pub all weekend. After that though is when I get to be a tourist Smile

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