First trip to Europe this summer...only 20 years later than I planned :)

by Gypsy Sam 20 Replies latest jw friends

  • Gypsy Sam
    Gypsy Sam

    So, I'm quite excited but also slightly freaked out as I'm able to go this summer instead of next like I had counted on (my daughter graduates next year and I was planning to go then). This means I'm doing this last minute and I wanted to see if any of you have used or gateone travel or go ahead travel?

    I'm planning on London, Paris and Rome for two weeks, likely July at this point. I know this isn't a lot of time in each spot, but I plan to be back once a year after this so I'm happy to see some highlights in my three top countries.

    Although I'd prefer to backpack and stay in hostels, that's not how I want to do this trip. I haven't started my Rosetta Stone Italian and my three years of French are really only going to help me in reading signs as I haven't used it since high school. I also don't want to drive my first time in Europe so the group tour concept, while not to everyone's liking, will work well for me this time.

    Suggestions? Also, I'm open to meeting up with exjws :)

  • breakfast of champions
    breakfast of champions

    Paris is AWESOME. You will love it!

    Check out La Maison du Jardin for dinner. Excellent food, reasonably priced.

  • Mikado

    There are lots of cheap nice hotels in paddington London, right by the tube station. I can recommend the Falcon, and friends liked the Cardiff..

    go have a wonderful time!!

  • LisaRose

    I was lucky enough to go to those places ten years ago. It was awesome, I hope go again when Mr. Chip retires, he will get a lump sum payout for unused leave, which we plan to spend on a big trip. We managed with no tour group and very, very little Italian or French. Mr. Chip was working in Cheltenham, so I flew over and joined him for the last few days. I was proud of myself for getting from Heathrow to Cheltenham on the train, on a Sunday, which was not easy. We then flew from London to Naples, Mr. C' s brother lived in Naples at the time. We got to see Sorento and Pompeii. Then we took a train to Rome, walked all over for two days. Italy was amazing, I love the food, the language, the people. We flew to Paris, saw the basics, then a train back to London, we spent the last few days in Surrey with a couple we had met in Cheltenham. They tracked us down in Paris to tell us they were serious in wanting us to stay with them, they took us to see some sights. I loved England also, I felt at home, although I am sure our English friends thought I was a bit strange. They were amazing, we stayed at their house, went to church with them on Sunday and had a nice English Sunday dinner. It was great to experience something other than the usual tourist things.

    Most tourist places you go in Europe have someone who speaks English, although knowing a bit of the language is very helpful. A concierge in Paris was very helpful in telling us how to get the train back to England. It was an amazing adventure, a bit scary not being in a tour group, but it certainly can be done and it allows you to be spontaneous.

  • dazed but not confused
    dazed but not confused

    Awesome! Hope you have a great time. Wife and I hope to make it there one day.

  • Gypsy Sam
    Gypsy Sam

    Thanks for the responses :)

    I was having trouble deciding on which company and how many countries, but I think I have a plan. Each tour company has some benefits so I'll be happy however it works out.

  • EndofMysteries

    You don't need a tour company, and you don't need to know their languages. You can do backpack and hosteling. English is the 2nd language for most in Europe. I did ALL of Europe and don't know a single language other than english and i had no problems. I did it for several months.

    You can train from London, to Paris, to Rome. In each city from the train stations you can take subways, trams, etc. So up to you if you want to do the tour company. If doing it yourself would let you go 4 weeks vs 2 from the money savings I'd do that.

    If you insist on doing a 2 week tour then a tour might be the way so you don't waste time if you're unsure what to do and where to go.

    Side note: If you do stay at hostels, generally the hostels are your starting point on what to do and you can usually do things w/ others at the hostels. I'd go to a city, check in the hostel, and see everything the hostel could tell me, then I was off.

    In Paris definitely do the catacombs for something very unique. London definitely go to Tower bridge and the tower area if you want to see the crown jewels. London is also good to catch a broadway show.

    Rome is neat for the ruins and coliseum, etc, but you should stop off in Florence on the way, it's one of the most beautiful cities in Italy, has many unique things you can get that you won't get in rome, such as hand painted masquerade masks, etc, and I forgot the name but the musuem is very nice, houses the venus painting. But it's super small compared to Lourve in Paris. Definitely go to the Vatican when in Rome, it'll take a good day just to see all the paintings and ancient ruins and statues they've looted and plundered over 2,000 years.

  • tim hooper
    tim hooper

    Premier Inns can be good places to stay in most of the UK. They often have special deals available, and are comfortable no-frills establishments with restaurant facilities. Avoid airport hotels like the plague, they can be hideously expensive.

  • Xanthippe

    Paris is beautiful. Use the boats to get around, jump off and jump on again. Get on the metro and go up to Montmartre and watch the artists painting. The Sacre Coeur is up there too, with great views over the city from a high vantage point.

  • tornapart

    You could tavel by train. Start in London then take the Eurostar to Paris. Then take an overnight train to Rome. Trains are very fast across Europe and easier than flying.

    Some of my favourite places are:-

    London- a boat ride up and down the Thames, London Eye, Tower of London, views of the Houses of Parliament, Buckingham Palace, St James Park, -easy to do in a couple of days.

    Paris- Notre Dame, Eiffel Tower, boat ride on the Seine, Montmartre - maybe three or four days.

    Rome- Coliseum, the Forum, Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain and Ostia Antica (short, easy train ride). Also three or four days.

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