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Landsknecht
Oct 27, 2009
I hope this person is trolling, nobody can be so unfunny and dumb

DON'T GO EVERYWHERE. DON'T SPEND ONLY 5 DAYS IN A COUNTRY. IT'S BETTER TO SPEND MORE TIME IN A FEW PLACES THAN NOT A LOT OF TIME IN A LOT OF PLACES. THERE ARE SOME MANY loving THINGS TO SEE IN EVERY COUNTRY, DON'T ASK "CAN I DO GERMANY IN 4 DAYS? WHAT'S COOL TO SEE?" YOUR ITINERARY CAN'T BE "I HAVE 2 WEEKS, SEEING UK, FRANCE, ITALY AND GERMANY, PLZ HALP" WE WON'T HELP AND WILL JUST TELL YOU TO CUT IT DOWN TO 1/2 COUNTRIES AT THE MOST, SO DO THIS AHEAD OF TIME.

Because of the massive number of "I'm going to europe, please help" threads that appear here, I decided to make a megathread. If anyone has a contribution post it or PM it to me and I'll edit into the OP. Also, ask any questions you have, I've lived in/been to a lot of western Europe.



General Information:

Travel

Rail:



While sometimes not the most time-efficient manner to get from A to B, rail travel is often a relatively pleasant experience that is unhampered by everything that makes air travel so horrible. Most countries feature some sort of high speed rail system, most notably ICE in Germany, TGV in France, Eurostar (operates throughout western Europe), and Thalys (Mainly Amsterdam-Brussels-Paris, goes to Aachen and some other German cities as well). Many high speed lines require reservations, which can either be made at booths in stations or online through a company website. It is often very cheap to take small regional trains, which are a great way to get around a country.

**Bonus Category - Rail Passes**

There are multiple types of rail passes, most notable Britrail, Eurail and Interrail. Eurail is a pass designed for anyone living outside of Europe, and the passes are available in multiple configurations and at multiple price ranges. Interrail is for any European citizens who want to travel in a country other than their own(have they changed this?) and is also available in multiple configurations. Britrail is a railpass for the Uk because they are special snowflakes enjoying splendid Isolation. Rail passes are generally a good deal if you want to take a long trip on a high speed train, otherwise it is often better to purchase tickets at a station or online if you are taking a short trip.

Air:



Most airports are well serviced by regional bussing and subway systems, and many have an attached train station. Europe has a large number of discount carriers, which are often cheaper and quicker than any other means of travel. Many discount (and even major) carriers often have very good seat sales, so if you have a trip planned in advance frequently check for these.

Road:



Hitler's ingenious Autobahn system has now made it easier than ever to get around continental Europe by car - especially Germany and Austria. Autobahns are usually a 4-8 lane highway (usually 6) with an average speed of around 150km/h, more if you know what you're doing, less if you don't. Autobahns often require some sort of permit sticker, so have one of those lest you are forced to pay a fine. These high quality highways blanket Germany, Austria, some of france and are the major routes in most other EU countries, and are often a pleasant driving experience. Especially Austria. British highways/motorways are very similar to anything in North America.

Driving in cities is often a hassle, as these are very high population concentration centres. Additionally, many of these cities were never planned around automobiles, so there are many narrow, twisty streets that don't seem to follow any pattern.

Languages



If you're reading this you most likely speak some english, which is great for you because it's the universal language. The ever-pronounced American culture has given everyone english movies, television and music, so it's usually understood to an extent. Also, american tourists (and their dollars) all speak english. Additionally, this is the language that is spoken between people from any European country when they get together, and almost all of the younger generations opt to learn it in school over all other languages.

Money



Everyone in the Euroze (Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Nederlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain) all use the Euro. The Swiss use Francs, the Danish, Swedish and Norwegians all use some variation of the kronor, and the special snowflake land of the UK uses the pound sterling.


~more poo poo to come as I write it, if a national writes a country guide and PMs it I'll put it in the OP~

Landsknecht fucked around with this message at 20:04 on Nov 4, 2011

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Sai
Sep 20, 2004



Fun things to do in Amsterdam that are a little of the beaten path but not very obscure or anything

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-v7Tpak_gz8

Amsterdam sometimes gets a bad rep because it's very touristic and parts of the inner city centre are dominated by cheap hostels, drunk brits and petty crime. It's more than just whores and weed though! Here's 13 cool things that most tourists miss out on. You can also do them while high if you want to. Do whatever you like. It's Amsterdam, man.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n2kkr0e_dTQ


1. The new public library is awesome just by itself, but it also has a splendid terrace that gives a great view of the city. The restaurant isn't very good, but next to it is a Va Piano, which is surprisingly tasty given that it's a German chain restaurant serving Italian food. But trust me, it's all fresh, you can pick your own ingredients and it's very cheap.
2.'In de Wildeman' isn't just a bar, it's a 'proeflokaal', which translates to something like 'tastingroom'. They've got over two hundred different bottled beers for tasting and another eightteen on tap. The owners are friendly and can tell you everything you've ever wanted to know about beer.
3. Apart from the pretty cool building the NEMO Science museum itself isn't very interesting. It's mostly for kids and like most science musea it all kind of feels instantly dated. The cool thing is the roof. In the summer a miniature artificial beach is created and people sun, drink and generally have a good time.
4. Brouwerij 't IJ is a brewery in a windmill. If you don't think that's awesome I don't know what to tell you. It's absolutely great (though heavy!) stuff too and the next door pub is always full of locals. They also give tours to small groups, which is an infinitely cooler experience than the one they give at the Heineken building.
5. De Negen Straatjes (The Nine little streets) are the heart of Amsterdam's fashion business. Smaller, exclusive brands together with galleries, cafe's and one of the prettiest parts of Amsterdam. This is where people with taste from all over the Netherlands come to shop instead of the gaudy PC Hooftstraat.
6. All English movies are subtitled in The Netherlands so there's no reason not to watch one in the beautiful art deco Tuschinsky Theater. The interior, recently renovated, is itself worth the price of admission. Try to go to a movie in the huge Zaal 1.
7. The Van Gogh is okay but expensive and The Rijksmuseum is taking forever to renovate so instead go to the Amsterdam dependance of the Russian Hermitage. It's got a very good selection of its own and there are always some masterworks on loan from the Hermitage in St. Petersburg.
8. FOAM, Amsterdam's photography museum. Unlike the Hermitage this one is pretty small, you can walk through it in just over an hour, but it's cheap and a lot of fun. It attracts young creatives and the exhibitions change frequently.
9. Most people who have visited Amsterdam have come in contact with the 'kroket', often from the FEBO. Those are disgusting. The real deal can be found at Amsterdam's best bakery: Patisserie Holtkamp. Their shrimp-kroketten are the best in the nation, but they also make the most delicious cakes and other sweet stuff. The royal family is a loyal customer. A couple houses down the street is Mellow Yellow, The Netherlands oldest coffe shop and a chill place.
10. Hap Hmm is pretty much the most authentic place to eat in all of Amsterdam. That isn't exactly a recommendation, because the food is kinda bland, the atmosphere is dusty and if you arrive after seven you're late. It's an old soup kitchen, that still serves typical Dutch food (meat + potatoes + cooked vegetables) for next to nothing and it's one of the last surviving instances of 'real' (but almost extinct) Amsterdam.
11. The Hollandsche Manege in the Vondelstraat. Amsterdam mostly consists of 16th-18th century architecture but this neoclassical riding school is a beautiful example from the 19th century. Freely accessible and with a richly ornate interior it's one of Amsterdam's best kept secrets. You can watch lessons and dressage competitions from the balustrades while drinking a cup of tea from the (kinda lovely) cafe.
12. Tourists and people from outside the city will choose Vertigo at the entrance of the Vondelpark, and even though their terrace is really pretty service is crap and prices way too high. Instead walk a little further to Het Blauwe Theehuis. Packed all year round if the weather is good, a place to completely relax and enjoy a mint tea or a witbier in summer, hot chocolate or something stronger in winter.
13. The Albert Cuyp market is the largest daily market in Europe, and even though other markets in Amsterdam are more varied there's still nothing that beats the Albert Cuyp. Food, antiques, lovely art, crap clothing, busy as hell. There's no place more vibrant than this in the entire country.

Amsterdam doesn't have any landmarks, it's not Paris or New York. It's more a city like Berlin that is meant to be slowly discovered. It's not just one house that's great, it's walking past the canals. Thanks for visiting my city!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Di-_faqUiWc

Sai fucked around with this message at 20:01 on Jun 27, 2010

Varicelli
Jan 24, 2009


I'm going to London->Paris->??->Rome over a 4 week period in September/October, I'm only going there for such a short time because of schooling constraints and the way part of the trip is paid for (travel and 5 nights in Paris won), and the plan is ~4 nights in London, trekking up to Liverpool to see a game on the 25th and then flying to France the next day, then 5 nights in Paris and off to Rome (via the riviera?)..

This is kinda' broad, but.. Any suggestions?

THE MACHO MAN
Nov 15, 2007

...Carey...

draw me like one of your French Canadian girls


Sai posted:

Broad guide to Amsterdam:


Inner part: tourist hell.
Middle part: pretty cool.
Outside: people live here. It's okay.

This is very broad. There's a lot of cool places in the inner centre, but it's mostly touristy stuff like the red light district. There's also a ton of poo poo places in the pretty cool-part, the Anne Frank-house is there and no self-respecting Amsterdammer wants to be seen near that thing. Overall it's more focused on the locals though. It's broad.

Even if you only go to party, visit Van Gough damnit. That place was awesome.

The other big museum was closed when I went

I don't care how touristy it is, the RLD is fun.

Arzakon
Nov 24, 2002

"I hereby retire from Mafia"
Please turbo me if you catch me in a game.


I'll post some general information about getting around by car interspersed with personal experiences...

If you are traveling in western mainland Europe in a group of 2 or more for more than 17 days lease a car. It will assuredly be cheaper than global railpasses and on par with a 5 country pass for 2+ people. If you are really roughing it doubles as a free hostel every night and can make traveling Europe super cheap.

https://www.kemwel.com
https://www.europebycar.com

What you get -

A brand new diesel Peugeot 207 (Think French Mazda3 hatchback) will run you about $1K USD for 20 days, plus another $30 per day for up to 6 months. Insurance and taxes are inclusive. Add another $150-300 if you aren't picking up or dropping off in France. A good idea is to fly into and out of a city with good public transit (Paris and Rome come to mind) and pick up your car on the day you want to leave the first city and drop off the day you get to your final destination, and public transport it around town without the car at those locations.

Cost of driving around -

Tiny euro diesels get 50-70MPG which balances out the higher cost of gas (2-3 times as much) so don't expect anything too different than what you would pay per mile in travel costs.

Tolls can get pricey in France and Italy especially. Use a GPS and tell it to avoid tolls to save money and get the added benefit of seeing awesome local scenery. Austria and Switzerland have tags you pay for when you cross border to drive on their highways, no getting around them, but they aren't expensive.

Parking will run you a few euro a day, but isn't expensive outside of major city centers.

Why leasing a car so much less expensive than renting -

Supposedly, taxes in France on new cars are prohibitively expensive. By leasing cars to American and Australian tourists the car companies make a small amount of money leasing the car, but then get to sell it as used at a much lower final cost to the French consumer.

How to get around -

Get a GPS. I took my laptop, a cigarette lighter power adapter, a USB GPS receiver, and your favorite GPS software. I chose Microsoft Autoroute (Euro version of Streets and Trips). It does great direction routes, can "avoid tolls" (very important outside of Germany), and has lots of information on nearby petrol stations and rest stops.

I could see doing it with a regular GPS if they are cheap enough over there, or maybe even a smartphone with Google Maps and a cheap euro data plan (If such things exist for travelers). Do not go without some sort of GPS.

Where to sleep -

Anecdotal evidence from my 2 month car trip but I found European rest stops to be much cleaner and have many more services than their US cousins. Rest stops have gas stations usually with some sort of sit down restaurant or fast food attached, dark lots for sleeping, clean toilets (open till at least 11, mostly 24/7). We never felt unsafe sleeping in the car.

Campsites are cheap, have showers/laundromats, and can be found everywhere, even in the middle of Rome.

We spent 5 days sleeping in our car at rest stops with one or two campsite stops in there to clean up before splurging and finding a cheap bed and breakfast depending on where we were. We would get up at dawn, drive to wherever we were visiting and park, get back in when we were done, and drive until we were sleepy. It was not the middle of summer and we are not fat smelly neckbeards so YMMV on how long you can go without a proper bed and shower.

Other advice -

Driving in urban Europe isn't much different than driving around Atlanta or Chicago. Expect a lot of traffic near cities. If you are a giant baby you might think Italians drive aggressively but its nothing unmanageable. For big cities park at outlying metro stations and take the subway in. In rural areas sometimes the roads get pretty dicey, especially in the mountains. Expect one way width roads still servicing both directions. Roads are usually start with a letter A-D. A will usually be toll highways, B and C are mostly good, stay away from anything D. One D road we tried to take led us on a goat trail along a cliff face. No car had traveled that path ever and we just reversed back down and found another way.

Keep your poo poo in the trunk out of sight and you shouldn't have any issue with break-ins.

Automatic transmission will carry a $1-200 premium. Learn to drive stick.

Go by your local AAA office and get a International Driving Permit. Its just a picture of you with your US drivers license information translated to other languages. It is actually required in Austria and a few other countries.

If you see something on the GPS that looks cool, it probably is cool. Epecially stuff sticking out off the coast. Having a car gives you the freedom to just turn and check stuff out if it looks interesting. I prefer scenic beaches and castles over major metro areas anyways and driving is the only way for me.

When in France and Italy look up wineries on your GPS and fill whatever space is left in the trunk with bottles of wine for 2 euro each. Its cheaper than water.

Don't get below 1/3rd a tank. Coasting down a mountain towards Carcassonne on fumes is pretty exhilarating but when you run out of diesel in the middle of an area with no cell reception and nothing but French speaking sheep herders you aren't going to enjoy the walk.

If you want specific things in each country that might be out of the way for a train traveler or not typical guidebook stuff shoot me a PM or post in here and I'll try and keep track. I've done France, Switzerland, Austria, Italy and Germany by car so far.

duckmaster
Sep 13, 2004
Mr and Mrs Duck go and stay in a nice hotel.

One night they call room service for some condoms as things are heating up.

The guy arrives and says "do you want me to put it on your bill"

Mr Duck says "what kind of pervert do you think I am?!

QUACK QUACK


Arzakon posted:

Tiny euro diesels get 50-70MPG


Yeh, this isn't going to happen, if you can't do this:

Arzakon posted:

drive stick.

Landsknecht
Oct 27, 2009
I hope this person is trolling, nobody can be so unfunny and dumb

Varicelli posted:

I'm going to London->Paris->??->Rome over a 4 week period in September/October, I'm only going there for such a short time because of schooling constraints and the way part of the trip is paid for (travel and 5 nights in Paris won), and the plan is ~4 nights in London, trekking up to Liverpool to see a game on the 25th and then flying to France the next day, then 5 nights in Paris and off to Rome (via the riviera?)..

This is kinda' broad, but.. Any suggestions?

If it was up to me, I'd go Paris-strasbourg-General switzerland (Geneva-Zurich-Bern, pick one or two, maybe see mountains)-Northern Italian Cities-rome

4 weeks is a fair amount of time, and it really depends what you like to see/want to do. Most mountain trails in the alps are quite hikeable in early september, and if you want to take a few days it's a great thing to do. If you want to see northern Italy there is an amazing amount of stuff there, and a huge amount of cool cities (trent, turin, genoa, milan, venice, bologna, parma and more). That being said, it all depends on what YOU want to do.

Nosaj
Apr 30, 2009
Haters Gonna Hate


THE MACHO MAN posted:

Even if you only go to party, visit Van Gough damnit. That place was awesome.

The other big museum was closed when I went

I don't care how touristy it is, the RLD is fun.

"The anne frank museum is there and no self respecting amsterdamner would be seen near that thing"

Why is that? Is it because its a tourist heavy location? too much of a downer? Just curious as I'm going to be visiting it in September and my hotel is semi close. (Nadia Hotel).

Riven
Apr 22, 2002


My wife and I are landing in Paris on December 19th. We've got two full days there; we're thinking of doing Eiffel Tower/walking around Paris on one day, then Versailles on the other day.

We've got a day scheduled to travel to Freiburg to see some friends, and we'll be there through Christmas day. Christmas afternoon we're driving to Hohenschwangau to see Castle Neuschwanstein on the 26th. 27th we're in Munich, and then we go to Vienna.

We'll be in Vienna for four days, specifically to attend the KaiserBall on New Year's Eve.

We mainly need recommendations for what to do on the free day in Paris, what to do in Munich for a day, and most importantly what to do in Vienna for our three free days.

Also, can we get away with a good coat and regular pants, or should we have long underwear on underneath? We're trying to keep our packing to a carry-on and personal bag each, so recommendations on essential clothing would be really great.

Thanks!

Awkward Davies
Sep 3, 2009


Grimey Drawer

I'm going to Europe for the month of July. For the first two weeks I'll be working at a farm in Normandy, for the second two weeks I'll be working in a farm in Ireland.

QUESTION: What is the best way to get from Normandy to New Ross, Ireland (southern Ireland) if you have to lose a night somewhere. Ferry from France-Ireland? Train to Paris, Chunnel to London, something to Ireland? Train to Paris, flight to Dublin?

Sai
Sep 20, 2004



Nosaj posted:

"The anne frank museum is there and no self respecting amsterdamner would be seen near that thing"

Why is that? Is it because its a tourist heavy location? too much of a downer? Just curious as I'm going to be visiting it in September and my hotel is semi close. (Nadia Hotel).
It's the house and if you read the book as a kid it's cool to see it in real life, but that's about all there is plus some photo's and pages from the book. It's really popular with tourists so there's often lines around the block and it's way too expensive imo.
I mean, I really liked climbing the ESB when I was in NYC for the first time, but you don't want nothing to do with it after that. It's not bad it's just overpriced and the typical tourist thing.

Nosaj
Apr 30, 2009
Haters Gonna Hate


Sai posted:

It's the house and if you read the book as a kid it's cool to see it in real life, but that's about all there is plus some photo's and pages from the book. It's really popular with tourists so there's often lines around the block and it's way too expensive imo.
I mean, I really liked climbing the ESB when I was in NYC for the first time, but you don't want nothing to do with it after that. It's not bad it's just overpriced and the typical tourist thing.

Thats cool, I assumed as much, but being a Tourist and never having been to Holland before, and having read the book as a child in School, its defintely something I'll be sure to check out! Especially since my hotel is so close.

enki42
Jun 11, 2001
#ATMLIVESMATTER

Put this Nazi-lover on ignore immediately!


quote:

We mainly need recommendations for what to do on the free day in Paris, what to do in Munich for a day, and most importantly what to do in Vienna for our three free days.

Paris is tough on just one day. Do you have a particular reason that you need to see Versailles? Schloss Schonbrunnn in Vienna is pretty much comparable to Versailles, is far less busy, and is in Vienna, which is much more easily done in 3 days than paris in one.

If you have one day in Paris, I'd personally do the following:

1. See the Eiffel tower, as you mentioned.
2. Walk along the banks of the Siene.
3. Go see the (outside of) the Louvre, and walk down the Jardin de Tuileries and the Champs-Elysees
4. Maybe Notre-Dame if you have time?

That's a pretty massively abridged version of Paris, but it will hit the major points of interest. You can probably even go up the Eiffel Tower or into Notre Dame if you're interested, but the Louvre is right out for a 1-day trip.

If you do have a second day, Montmatre is the obvious choice.

You'll be in tourist central the whole time, so expect to pay ridiculous sums for so-so food.

Regarding Vienna, you can easily spend your first day just wandering the downtown. The palaces are gorgeous, the church is worth a visit, the opera house is worth seeing, great parks, etc. Use your first day to wander and figure out what you'd like to do for the remainder.

As I mentioned, Schloss Schonbrunn is outside of the downtown, but much closer than Versailles is to Paris, and is pretty much just as opulent and over the top.

If you do have time to venture a bit out of the city, the abbey in Melk is really fantastic and completely worth seeing, and that area is great for Heurigers - basically tiny little wine bars with amazing little meats and other cold things served with the wine.

quote:

Also, can we get away with a good coat and regular pants, or should we have long underwear on underneath? We're trying to keep our packing to a carry-on and personal bag each, so recommendations on essential clothing would be really great.

If you're relatively accustomed to cold, I wouldn't worry too much. Europe doesn't tend to get really extreme weather. I'd count on it being maybe 0 to -10 around January.

enki42 fucked around with this message at 11:15 on Jun 24, 2010

enki42
Jun 11, 2001
#ATMLIVESMATTER

Put this Nazi-lover on ignore immediately!


FakeHipster posted:

I'm going to Europe for the month of July. For the first two weeks I'll be working at a farm in Normandy, for the second two weeks I'll be working in a farm in Ireland.

QUESTION: What is the best way to get from Normandy to New Ross, Ireland (southern Ireland) if you have to lose a night somewhere. Ferry from France-Ireland? Train to Paris, Chunnel to London, something to Ireland? Train to Paris, flight to Dublin?

I did nearly the exact same thing in reverse, and there was really no way to get combinations of buses, ferrys and trains working to be quite as cheap as a flight. If you book ahead a ticket to Paris from Normandy should be pretty cheap.

Arzakon
Nov 24, 2002

"I hereby retire from Mafia"
Please turbo me if you catch me in a game.


FakeHipster posted:

QUESTION: What is the best way to get from Normandy to New Ross, Ireland (southern Ireland) if you have to lose a night somewhere. Ferry from France-Ireland? Train to Paris, Chunnel to London, something to Ireland? Train to Paris, flight to Dublin?

Depending on how close you are in Normandy to Cherbourg there is a ferry that goes from Cherbourg, France to Wexford, Ireland (south of Dublin).

Its a 16 hour overnight ride and its deathly cold pretty much everywhere. Bring a pillow, a sleeping bag or a heavy blanket and don't expect a good sleep unless you pay for a bed. I don't expect the 25km to New Ross once you got to Wexford would be too expensive.

Landsknecht
Oct 27, 2009
I hope this person is trolling, nobody can be so unfunny and dumb

Riven posted:

We mainly need recommendations for what to do on the free day in Paris, what to do in Munich for a day, and most importantly what to do in Vienna for our three free days.

There's a lot of cool poo poo in paris, I personally like the musee d'orsay, it's pretty rad

Munich? depending what you're in to, I'd say check out either the deutches-museum or BMW-welt, both are really cool. Drink some beer buy going to a hall for dinner, if it's in the winter you should be getting the heavy, dark beer, which is really nice IMO.

Awkward Davies
Sep 3, 2009


Grimey Drawer

Arzakon posted:

Depending on how close you are in Normandy to Cherbourg there is a ferry that goes from Cherbourg, France to Wexford, Ireland (south of Dublin).

Its a 16 hour overnight ride and its deathly cold pretty much everywhere. Bring a pillow, a sleeping bag or a heavy blanket and don't expect a good sleep unless you pay for a bed. I don't expect the 25km to New Ross once you got to Wexford would be too expensive.

I think I won't be too close, but considering I have to lose a night and dislike flying, I may take this route.

aga.
Sep 1, 2008



Wherever you go check out any free bike/walking tours. The guides are usually great, they are time efficient and show you places to explore further later on and you can ask the guides anything during or afterwards.

I especially recommend the free bike tour in Munich, great fun, not too taxing (I'm bloody useless on a bike) and you go for a nice mass (2 pints!) of beer in the English garden. If you are there for a night I say get some booze from the supermarket and go and drink on the little beaches at the side of the river. The locals bring out massive stereo systems on little carts which combined with the light show on the river is a really nice atmosphere. Try not to puke on the ubahn like my mate did though.

Dogfish
Nov 4, 2009


Sai posted:

Fun things to do in Amsterdam that are a little of the beaten path but not very obscure or anything

Adding to this: Winkel, just off the Prinsengracht in the Jordaan, is a lovely café that has a delicious apple cake, and is right by the historic Noorderkerk. A walk in the Jordaan is a must to really get a 'feel' for Amsterdam, with lots of beautiful houses and cool little second-hand clothing / book stores. Also seconding the Negen Straatjes, which are in the same general area and make for a nice wander.

My favourite museum is the Kattenkabinet, simply because it's so ridiculous: it was founded by an old man after the death of his cat, and is dedicated to an eclectic collection of cat-related artifacts. Amsterdam has a lot of really interesting museums, many of which are very small (like the one-room Tulip Museum on the Prinsengracht).

I only will be living here two more weeks before I move to Canada and I'm so sad to leave this beautiful city!

edit: oh yes, and while the Vondelpark is definitely a must-see, don't neglect other green areas of Amsterdam, like the Westerpark, which contains the Westergasfabriek culture park, complete with art-house cinema, fashion studio, and a couple of really lovely cafés. If you have kids, the kinderboerderij, a little 'farm experience' for children there, is a lot of fun. (Even if you don't have kids, you may still want to go look at the sheep and the ponies.)

Dogfish fucked around with this message at 09:02 on Jun 25, 2010

enki42
Jun 11, 2001
#ATMLIVESMATTER

Put this Nazi-lover on ignore immediately!


aga. posted:

Wherever you go check out any free bike/walking tours. The guides are usually great, they are time efficient and show you places to explore further later on and you can ask the guides anything during or afterwards.

I especially recommend the free bike tour in Munich, great fun, not too taxing (I'm bloody useless on a bike) and you go for a nice mass (2 pints!) of beer in the English garden. If you are there for a night I say get some booze from the supermarket and go and drink on the little beaches at the side of the river. The locals bring out massive stereo systems on little carts which combined with the light show on the river is a really nice atmosphere. Try not to puke on the ubahn like my mate did though.

To add to this, in terms of specific operators, I've never really had a bad New Europe tour. They're in most of the major cities, and the guides are really good. Obviously "free" means that you should be tipping - I've talked to a couple of guides and they actually pay the company per person on their tour - meaning that if you don't tip at all, you're actually costing them money.

Butthole Prince
Nov 19, 2004

She said that she was working for the ABC News / It was as much of the alphabet as she knew how to use.

Landsknecht posted:

Travel

Rail:

A friend went to Europe and traveled primarily by rail. From what he told me, he had to share the cabin with 3-4 people and it was near impossible to sleep. Is it possible to get a private cabin, and if so, how much do those run?

Gladi
Oct 23, 2008


Butthole Prince posted:

A friend went to Europe and traveled primarily by rail. From what he told me, he had to share the cabin with 3-4 people and it was near impossible to sleep. Is it possible to get a private cabin, and if so, how much do those run?

Bright day
You can always reserve all six seats/ all three beds. Though it would end being cheaper to travel with your own aeroplane I guess. Buying first class tickets does not help on well travelled lines. Going from Berin to Vienna the first class wagon will be as full as other wagons. Of course, if you are taking EC train to Carpathian mountains a first class tickets grants you use of an entire wagon.

I think that buying a first class ticket to bed wagon, will give you private compartment. I do not think couchette wagons have first class.

Landsknecht
Oct 27, 2009
I hope this person is trolling, nobody can be so unfunny and dumb

Butthole Prince posted:

A friend went to Europe and traveled primarily by rail. From what he told me, he had to share the cabin with 3-4 people and it was near impossible to sleep. Is it possible to get a private cabin, and if so, how much do those run?

I haven't travelled by night train much, but when I did it was usually with a friend in a 2 or 3 person cabin for the 2 of us. The price depends on the route(anywhere from 50-250 euro pp), but often I found it cheaper to take a plane.

Riven
Apr 22, 2002


enki42 posted:

Stuff

Thanks for the recommendations! Honestly we're only in Paris in the first place because it was way cheaper to fly there than to Germany. We'll for sure take another trip someday to really see France, but this time we just want to make the most of the two days we have.

My wife is a big history buff, and we both just finished reading Stephenson's Baroque Cycle, which takes place a lot in Versailles, so it's just a personal interest thing.

enki42
Jun 11, 2001
#ATMLIVESMATTER

Put this Nazi-lover on ignore immediately!


Fair enough. I would devote one whole day to Versailles, and try to get there early.

Actually, one thing that might make sense is to do the Louvre / Champs Elysees area on the first day, and then you can see the Eiffel Tower on your way home from Versailles, which should be about dusk if you toured the facilities.

Riven
Apr 22, 2002


Speaking of Versailles...how do we get there? Are there shuttles? Taxi? We're just getting into day-to-day planning and I hadn't looked into that yet.

enki42
Jun 11, 2001
#ATMLIVESMATTER

Put this Nazi-lover on ignore immediately!


Riven posted:

Speaking of Versailles...how do we get there? Are there shuttles? Taxi? We're just getting into day-to-day planning and I hadn't looked into that yet.

You can use the metro system. There's two types of trains - the local metro that covers the core of Paris, and a suburban-rail sort of system. The suburban rail system connects to Versailles, it's really fairly straightforward.

Riven
Apr 22, 2002


Well, that's awesome. Honestly, I'm super excited to see the public transportation options available in all the cities we'll be visiting. From this example alone they clearly blow away even the Bay Area, which has one of the best PT systems in the US.

Dj Vulvio
Mar 1, 2007

Good morning Mrs. Bates


Riven posted:

Well, that's awesome. Honestly, I'm super excited to see the public transportation options available in all the cities we'll be visiting. From this example alone they clearly blow away even the Bay Area, which has one of the best PT systems in the US.

Germany is the closest definition of state-of-the-art public transportation I can imagine outside Japan. Do yourself a favor and visit any major German HBF before you leave.

thepitgoddess
Dec 23, 2009

Even Death Metal Monsters Love Cookies


If you go to Italy, do whatever you can to avoid driving. Unless you have a death wish, in which case, rent a Vespa and zip in and out of cars/trucks/busses like a true Italian.

Arzakon
Nov 24, 2002

"I hereby retire from Mafia"
Please turbo me if you catch me in a game.


thepitgoddess posted:

If you go to Italy, do whatever you can to avoid driving. Unless you have a death wish, in which case, rent a Vespa and zip in and out of cars/trucks/busses like a true Italian.

Counterpoint, if you can handle driving in any major US city than you can handle driving in Italy I barely noticed the difference between there and other EU states. It really isn't that bad.

Landsknecht
Oct 27, 2009
I hope this person is trolling, nobody can be so unfunny and dumb

Arzakon posted:

Counterpoint, if you can handle driving in any major US city than you can handle driving in Italy I barely noticed the difference between there and other EU states. It really isn't that bad.

Southern Italy is bad, but it's the same in the balkans, I was told many times "oh, don't worry about driving, the police don't care if you're a bit too drunk"

thepitgoddess
Dec 23, 2009

Even Death Metal Monsters Love Cookies


Arzakon posted:

Counterpoint, if you can handle driving in any major US city than you can handle driving in Italy I barely noticed the difference between there and other EU states. It really isn't that bad.

I do live and drive in a kind of major US city (is Orlando a major city? People keep telling me it is) and I was unbelievably glad NOT to be driving.

legsarerequired
Dec 31, 2007


College Slice

thepitgoddess posted:

I do live and drive in a kind of major US city (is Orlando a major city? People keep telling me it is) and I was unbelievably glad NOT to be driving.

Seconding this. I live in Houston and I was absolutely appalled by the way people drove on major roads. It wasn't unusual to see someone in a tiny car driving on the lane-divider so he could cut off a big car in a split second.

Pookah
Aug 21, 2008

Caw







On driving in Italy - DO NOT DRIVE IN ROME.

The streets are tiny and mostly one way, people park absolutely anywhere - I've seen them parked across pedestrian crossings, or three deep on pavements.

People also stop in the middle of the road and wander off into shops whenever they feel like it.

Also, the kind of car usually driven is like this:



And yes, you do still see a lot of the older ones (the one on the right), they make smartcars look big.

DarkCrawler
Apr 6, 2009



I'm going interrailing for a month. Planned route Copenhagen-Berlin-Amsterdam-London-Paris-Madrid. I'd love some tips on interesting things to do, (because there will be a lot) and whether there are some other cities on the way in the countries included that I would absolutely have to see. I don't want to be stuck on timetables and I'm traveling alone, so beyond the cities I'm going to, the trip is unplanned. So anything goes really.

HeroOfTheRevolution
Apr 26, 2008



You're almost always better off flying than taking a night train if you're going between two major cities. I took a night train from Rome to Munich for 'the experience' rather than a similarly priced 2 hour flight and it was pretty miserable.

I can do some write-ups on some less traveled Eastern European cities/countries (Sarajevo, Mostar, Zadar, Split, Sofia) later on if people want. I also lived in Dublin for a year and know the place like the back of my hand, though it's not a particularly exciting city. I'm moving to Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria in less than a month, too.

Sai
Sep 20, 2004



This is a really cool representation of major spots in The Netherlands.

It's still in a testing phase and there's not much information on it but it looks and it gives a decent overview of the country (I'd add Urk and Arnhem but it's pretty complete).

Jack Flint
Dec 12, 2006
Fleece as white as snow in a city

HeroOfTheRevolution posted:

I can do some write-ups on some less traveled Eastern European cities/countries (Sarajevo, Mostar, Zadar, Split, Sofia) later on if people want. I also lived in Dublin for a year and know the place like the back of my hand, though it's not a particularly exciting city. I'm moving to Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria in less than a month, too.

I'm heading in that direction next monday for three-ish weeks so any tips are appreciated. Going to at least Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, possibly Turkey, Bulgaria and Romania. Interrailing with a ten travel days in 21 days -pass.

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love truncheon
Feb 1, 2006
toot toot!

DarkCrawler posted:

I'm going interrailing for a month. Planned route Copenhagen-Berlin-Amsterdam-London-Paris-Madrid. I'd love some tips on interesting things to do, (because there will be a lot) and whether there are some other cities on the way in the countries included that I would absolutely have to see. I don't want to be stuck on timetables and I'm traveling alone, so beyond the cities I'm going to, the trip is unplanned. So anything goes really.

The trains aren't that great, you are probably better off flying. There are stacks of budget carriers, and most of those flights will count as domestic - check in 30 minutes before your flight.

I just got home from Copenhagen & London, and I've been to Paris, Berlin & Amsterdam so if you've got something specific ask away.

I spent most of the time in Copenhagen drinking, so all i can really recommend is bars (anything that isn't an Irish Pub). If you meet someone from the university try to get invited to a uni bar party. I did, and it was 2KR per drink for as long as you can pretend to be an exchange student

You should take a canal hop-on, hop-off tour, it was a really easy way to get around. The metro was pretty efficient but expensive (even for Denmark). There are week-long tourist cards or something that you can buy at the airport to cover public transport, i just walked everywhere. You should check out Tivoli Gardens, they do outdoors concerts and stuff quite often - and it is an amusement park - something i didn't know before i got there. The area around Kongens Nytorv is the more expensive tourist area, try to get out towards the old town, the backstreets off the main pedestrian mall have all the alternative and usually nicer shops & cafes.

London has almost too much to mention, but the London Eye is pretty good. You get the worst 4d "Experience" before you can get on it though. If the weather is good, go to Hyde Park for a walk around. Buckingham palace is surprisingly boring, but a traditional tourist spot. St James park has some amazing food and bars nearby.
Getting round, if you have the time and physical inclination, is quite easy by foot. Get a good map. The tube will vary between fantastic and woeful.

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