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Bec and James' Winter Adventure!

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    youwontknow
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    Very loose itinerary… will definitely change, those are just the major places we are currently interested in. Up for any suggestions whatsoever!

    eurkd
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    You’ve picked some grat places. What are your interests (i.e. art, history, activities, food, romantic stuff, big cities vs. smaller places, etc). It would be easier to give suggestions if I knew this. You are going for quite a while so you could add a few more places. I usually try to spend 3-4 days in one major city which allows for lots of time to explore the city ad a day trip if you feel like it. Your trip could be quite comfortable with 15-19 places. At random some of my favorite places in Europe have been:
    Bruges, Belgium
    Munich, Germany
    Baden, Switzerland
    Luguano, Italy
    Prague, Czech Republic
    Helsinki, Finland
    Berlin, Germany
    Pisa, Italy (could be a day trip from Florence)
    Tallinn, Estonia
    Vienna, Austria
    Bath, England
    Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany
    Porvoo, Finland

    Although I haven’t been you might also consider some places in Spain, Portugal, Poland, Slovakia, Ireland, Scotland, England, Denmark, Hungary or Croatia. I’ve talked to people who have been to these places and they’ve been positive.

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    Thanks so much for your reply! This will be my first time outside of Australia, and my bf has only been to Bali. So it’s is quite the adventure!

    As for what we’re interested in… a bit of everything! haha. Probably more big cities than small ones. I want to go to the Louvre, see the major tourist attractions etc, go skiing for a few days. Have been thinking about maybe visiting a concentration camp (not sure which one). Besides that, we just want some nice places to see, and some good places to eat (on a budget)!

    We’re a little bit worried about it being winter (especially since we’re Aussies and don’t even really KNOW cold), but it’s unavoidable – we can’t travel any sooner because we need longer to save, and we both will be back at uni in 2011, so it’s our only option really. But I must say, I like the idea of less crowds.

    I’m going to do some talking with relatives and compile a list of those living in Europe, so that will add a few destinations to our list.

    Thank you so much for your reply! It is good to know that we could fit about 15 cities, I wasn’t really sure!

    How does this budget look?

    Before we leave

    Flight: Sydney > London return $1500
    Backpack: $350
    Clothes: $600
    Passport: $250
    Rail Pass: $800
    Camera: $500
    = $4000

    When we’re there

    Accommodation: $50/night
    Entertainment: $40/day
    Food/Drink: $60/day
    Transport: $15/day

    = $165/day
    For 60 days = $9900

    Our dates are rough estimates, so my budget is only for 60 days (cause it’s a nice round number haha). I figure a lot of these prices might be overestimates, but safer that than underestimates right?

    Those are AU$ as well…

    youwontknow
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    Oh by the way, that budget is for each of us! So together about $20,000 for the time we are there, and $8,000 before we go

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    How is Bali? I haven’t made it down anywhere there but I definately plan to go someday! I do have a lot of advice so I’ll probably post a few times.

    The winter might be a bit of a shock for you. Keep an eye on the average temperatures this you so you have an idea of what to expect. When I lived in Switzerland I met a friend from northern Australia who was working there and had never seen snow before. Being from Canada I thought this was hilarious as did the Canadians he worked with. Just for the record there isn’t always snow in Canada just in the winter Smile. Anyways him and I went to Vienna in mid December and it snowed and was cold and all he had packed was a windbreaker. No mittens or toque(wool hat) or anything. The next weekend after he bought a winter coat we went skiing which was his first time and was also quite funny for the rest of us. The point of my story is that (depending on where your from) you will probably need some much warmer clothes than you already own. It might be best to but a winter coat when you get to europe instead of trying to pack it with you. Christmas markets which will be up and running in early December are also good places to but mittens, scarves, gloves and toques. Italy will be a lot warmer that the more northern countries, especially as you head south.
    For cheap eating always remember that eating near any major tourist attraction will always be more expensive and is usually bad food.
    The Louvre has free admission on the first sunday of every month so you could plan your trip to Paris around that. There will likely be a long line, as there will be for with the eiffel tower and climbing the Notre Dame tower. You can spend a lot of time in the Louvre (the first time I went I spent 7 hours!) so you might want to take a snack or make a list of what you want to see and set a time limit. The great thing about being in winter is that there should be less tourists around although the Christmas season will be busier. I stayed at the Perfect Hotel in Paris which is pretty close to the Moulin Rouge and has a good italian and a good but salty lebanese restaurant nearby. There is lots to see in Paris and some of the charm of all cities is just wandering around and discovering things. Other things to consider seeing in Paris are Montmatre, San Chapelle, Pere LeChaise Cemetary, Luxembourg Garden, Musee d’Orasy, Champs Elysee, Arc de Triomphe, flea markets, catacombs. In major cities there are always a variety of city tours you can take, bus, walking and biking. The major day trip from Paris is to the Versailles Palace. Make sure you try some crepes from a street vendor, paninis and donairs are good too. You can buy cheap wine from any store and if you stay somewhere with a bar it can be a good place to meet people. There are dance clubs n paris (La Locomotive next to the Moulin Rouge) which you go to late (after 10) and don’t leave until the next morning. They are fun and you can definately tell by the dancing who is european and who isn’t!

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    The budget looks good. I don’t know much about the before you go costs but the trip budget is definately doable. If you pick your places and get you rail pass to cover the trips but remember that some trains have a mandatory seat reservation (ex. TGV in France and most night trains) which will cost extra. If you stay in hostels which include breakfast you’ll save some on food although breakfasts in Italy are an espresso and a biscotti but in most of germany there is a selections of bread, meats, cheese, yogurt, eggs, tea, milk coffee and juice so you can definately get a good start. To save money you can but food from local grocery stores or markets and eat as the hostel. You could pick out a resaturant or two in the places you visit that have local or ethnic foods and have one or two meals out as a splurge. Although with what you have budgetted for food you could eat out for all meals. Street vendors are great for lunch and if you are going on any long train trips it good to bring fod to snack on as train food is gross and expensive.
    It’s definately better to overestimate thn under estimate and things will come up that you’ll want to do and you might s well spend the money and do it because it could be a while before you get the chance again! You can always come home with money but it isn’t as much fun to try to get money wired to you when you’ve run out. Will you be taking a credit card? Sometimes you’ll need one to book accomodation in advance online. I’d have your first place to stay booked before you leave then just book accomodation one city in advance.
    Plan to walk a lot, it’s the best way to see the sights. Have boots to keep your feet warm in the summer. Countries in the north are generally more expensive than the south.

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    Thanks so much guys! Wow people are so helpful here!

    A lot of info to digest here… and keep the suggestions coming!

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    If you are really worried about the cold, why not add some more moderate southern european destinations in like, off the top of my head, barcelona, nice, lisbon, nice (may be boring in winter though), naples, malta, madrid, athens, crete etc. although these wont be as hip and active as in the summer, they may be a relief from the cold you will experience up north!

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    Yeah that sounds like a good idea. We are thinking about Athens and the Greek Islands… I might have a look at the average winter temps for those areas. Thanks!

    Oh and eurkd, sorry I missed your question before about Bali. Yeah my boyfriend really loved it there but I think it was mainly just because of how hard he partied. But it’s a very common holiday destination down here and everyone I know who has gone has loved it. I sort of have safety concerns about it though…