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critique my itineraries
dolphind88
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Hi all – I’ve posted two itineraries in the eurotrips section, and I’d love some critique/comments, but trips scroll down so fast there I’m not sure anyone even notices some of them. Both of these are dream itineraries, although I’m hoping I might be able to do one or the other during summer 2010. So far I’ve left the time spent in places blank, as some places will warrant a lot of time and others will just be stops along a day’s train ride. Comments on how long you think it’ll take to complete either itinerary are also appreciated. Basically, I’d love whatever related advice anybody has.

Thanks!
Daniel

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Paris, Orléans, Tours, Nantes, La Rochelle, Bordeaux, Bayonne, Pau, Toulouse, Foix, Latour-de-Carol, Barcelona, Narbonne, Carcassonne, Clermont-Ferrand, Nîmes, Avignon, Marseilles, Cannes, Nice, Turin, Aix-les-Bains, Chamonix, Martigny-Ville, Lausanne, Geneva, Lyon, Paris
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Zürich, Zug, Goldau, Kulm, Vitznau, Lucerne, Kriens, Alpnachstad, Lungern, Meiringen, Brienz, Wilderswil, Grindelwald, Mürren, Gimmelwald, Lauterbrunnen, Interlaken, Spiez, Thun, Berne, Basel, Neuchâtel, Lausanne, Geneva, Évian-les-Bains, Vevey, Montreux, Aigle, Champéry, Martigny-Ville, Montana, Zermatt, Brig, Fiesch, St. Moritz, Lugano, Zürich
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oldlady
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It’s pretty hard to critique an itinerary with no time frame — you’ll notice that the vast majority of the comments are “you’ve got too many places for the available time.”

Both look like wonderful trips and I love the fact that they’re compact areas and smaller cities as opposed to the usual “hit every capital city in Western Europe in 21 days.”

For many of these smaller places, 1 days is enough, but it is absolutely awful to pack up and move to a new locale every day or even every other day. I’d pick a city in the center of an area you want to explore and check into hostel or hotel for 3-6 days. Visit nearby locations as day trips — no luggage, no trying to find the right bus to get to your hostel (you figured that out yesterday when you arrived). You could even do an occasional overnight trip with minimal gear — for example the D-Day beaches in Normandy are really too far from Paris for a day trip unless you take a tour, but it’s a great overnight trip, leaving the majority of your gear in Paris. You might even be able to do some hiking day trips. There are marked trails (“tennis shoe treks” if you’re into hiking and/or climbing) from village to village all over France and Switzerland.

dolphind88
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Thanks oldlady!

I can see why no timeframe does make it harder to give comments. Perhaps as I think more about these trips I’ll be able to come up with a better timeline.

I’ve never been outside the US except to go to Canada, so I really can’t wait to see europe, but I grew up in a small town and I really have much less desire to see “all the big name cities in europe” than to see beautiful countryside and experience some more authentic parts of other cultures than the big city hostel scene.

Thanks also for the advice about staying centrally/day trips. For parts of these trips (for instance, the in the switzerland one, the big loop at the end covering the routes of the Glacier and Bernina expresses/lugano/zurich), the point is really the travel, so staying put doesn’t make that much sense, but I can see how other portions (Lausanne/Genève/etc) could be much more relaxing as a series of daytrips. This leads me to another question: In either of these trips, what are people’s favorite places to stay along the routes? (Switzerland: around Luzern, Interlaken, Lausanne, others? France: I’m not really sure other than day trips en route to other places, but are there specific parts of my itinerary you think would work better staying in one place?)

Thanks for the comments! others?


Paris, Orléans, Tours, Nantes, La Rochelle, Bordeaux, Bayonne, Pau, Toulouse, Foix, Latour-de-Carol, Barcelona, Narbonne, Carcassonne, Clermont-Ferrand, Nîmes, Avignon, Marseilles, Cannes, Nice, Turin, Aix-les-Bains, Chamonix, Martigny-Ville, Lausanne, Geneva, Lyon, Paris
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Zürich, Zug, Goldau, Kulm, Vitznau, Lucerne, Kriens, Alpnachstad, Lungern, Meiringen, Brienz, Wilderswil, Grindelwald, Mürren, Gimmelwald, Lauterbrunnen, Interlaken, Spiez, Thun, Berne, Basel, Neuchâtel, Lausanne, Geneva, Évian-les-Bains, Vevey, Montreux, Aigle, Champéry, Martigny-Ville, Montana, Zermatt, Brig, Fiesch, St. Moritz, Lugano, Zürich
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dolphind88
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OK, I actually put in a tentative timeline for the France trip. Right now I have 44 tentatively-scheduled days, leaving me an extra two weeks to play with if I assume 2 months total. Let me know what you think of the approximate pacing of this trip, and I’ll use the insight I get for it when doing a similar thing with the Switzerland one.

Thanks!
Daniel


Paris, Orléans, Tours, Nantes, La Rochelle, Bordeaux, Bayonne, Pau, Toulouse, Foix, Latour-de-Carol, Barcelona, Narbonne, Carcassonne, Clermont-Ferrand, Nîmes, Avignon, Marseilles, Cannes, Nice, Turin, Aix-les-Bains, Chamonix, Martigny-Ville, Lausanne, Geneva, Lyon, Paris
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Zürich, Zug, Goldau, Kulm, Vitznau, Lucerne, Kriens, Alpnachstad, Lungern, Meiringen, Brienz, Wilderswil, Grindelwald, Mürren, Gimmelwald, Lauterbrunnen, Interlaken, Spiez, Thun, Berne, Basel, Neuchâtel, Lausanne, Geneva, Évian-les-Bains, Vevey, Montreux, Aigle, Champéry, Martigny-Ville, Montana, Zermatt, Brig, Fiesch, St. Moritz, Lugano, Zürich
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Skip Marseille…may ave been exotic 100 years ago, but nw it’s just a big industrial, run-down commercial poprt city.

Between La Rocehlle and Bordeaux is a plac cvalled Pyla Sur La Mer which has these great sand dunes (alargest in Europe) that overlook the ocean. Great Views. Worth a peek

“I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list”

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It looks like you just wrote down every train stop in Switzerland. Since you are not going till 2010, spend the next few months and read every guide book you can and search the web for each of the cities that you want to visit and make a list WHY you want to visit them. A suggestion for all newbies, I don’t think that anyone on this board will write a entire guidebook for your trip and list all the Hostels, Budget, Itinerary, Food, Sights. If you do all the research from the 1,000’s of guidebooks and web sites and just ask for tips on the places you will visit, you will get more feedback. You should do your own budget on prices for planes, trains, hostels and admission to tourist sites. Than ask for advice for things you can’t find or need tips on. By doing your own homework you will learn so much about the place you will visit.
Here are my few tips.
For Switzerland many of your towns are small villages and not worth the stop unless you want to say been there – done that!. Keep in mind that storms pass through Switz all summer and you may get caught in a storm with large amounts of rain that can last a week or more. You must be flexible in your plans and use the internet to check on weather forecasts. It would be a bummer if you go to Interlaken, Murren, Gimmelwald, Grindelwald, Wilderswill, Lauterbrunnen and NEVER see the amazing Junfrau mountains on a sunny day, NEVER be able to go paragliding or canyoning, NEVER be able to hike the Swiss Alps! Read Rick Steve’s guide book on this area. Most popular place to stay is Balmers Hostel in Interlaken for party atmosphere, Funny Farm is just down the street. Plus many options in town as well. If you love the outdoors, stay at the Mountain Hostel in Gimmelwald with million dollar views. For me Lucerne was a day visit. Store bags at baggage check downstairs under train station. Walk to the Dying Lion Monument, Hike up to the old ramparts/wall and walk along it to the river, walk back through old town, over the old wooden bridge and back to the train station. If you are into trains, planes and cars, Luzern has an excellant transportation museum. Catch boat directly in front of station, after museum you can see the other sites listed above. The train ride from Luzern to Interlaken is amazing. I just stand at the window and soak it in for the entire route. Zermatt must be done on a sunny day or it is a waste of your train fare up the hill. You can easily hike the entire village in one day. View of the Matterhorn is amazing if it is clear.
Like Old Lady suggested, pick a base town and do day trips from there. South coast of France has so many small towns on the ocean that you can’t hit them all. I stay in the Party town of Nice with it’s rocky beaches. I take a day of swimming and tanning at the sandy beach and beautiful bay of Ville France Sur Mer just two stops away on my return from a morning visit to Monaco/Monte Carlo. Good Luck!

dolphind88
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Thanks for the tip on Pyla-sur-mer, finnegan! It looks beautiful, and I’ll definitely keep it in mind as a day trip from La Rochelle. As for Bordeaux, it’s not particularly high on my list of “must-see” places, which is why I didn’t put it as a tentative place to actually stay any nights, but I’d at least like to walk through town for a day and/or see the Chateau d’If while I’m in the area.

Packer, thanks for the tips re: weather and the rest, although I wonder if you might have missed my blurb (more detail on the France trip, and you wrote about Switzerland, so perhaps that’s it) about my views on travel. I’m not into the party scene at all and many of the “stops” I’ve listed are not places to necessarily spend the night, but rather places I’d like to see for a few hours to break up a longer day of travel, or because there’s something specific I want to see there. I love hiking, so some of the more out-of-the-way spots are included because of their access to that, and I enjoy unusual (for those of us from the US, anyway) forms of transportation: rack railways, cable cars, funiculars, etc. Who knows, perhaps by the end of two months I won’t want to stop at every one anymore, but to me these are the interesting parts of travel, not a party atmosphere or lazy days at the beach.

I’d love any more tips anyone might have along the lines of finnegan mentioned – places you loved, places you hated that I’ve included here. As is probably obvious, this is just the very beginning stage, and I have plenty of time to continue to discover things for myself through other channels, but I’m also happy to take whatever insight anyone has to offer!


Paris, Orléans, Tours, Nantes, La Rochelle, Bordeaux, Bayonne, Pau, Toulouse, Foix, Latour-de-Carol, Barcelona, Narbonne, Carcassonne, Clermont-Ferrand, Nîmes, Avignon, Marseilles, Cannes, Nice, Turin, Aix-les-Bains, Chamonix, Martigny-Ville, Lausanne, Geneva, Lyon, Paris
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Zürich, Zug, Goldau, Kulm, Vitznau, Lucerne, Kriens, Alpnachstad, Lungern, Meiringen, Brienz, Wilderswil, Grindelwald, Mürren, Gimmelwald, Lauterbrunnen, Interlaken, Spiez, Thun, Berne, Basel, Neuchâtel, Lausanne, Geneva, Évian-les-Bains, Vevey, Montreux, Aigle, Champéry, Martigny-Ville, Montana, Zermatt, Brig, Fiesch, St. Moritz, Lugano, Zürich
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