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I am planning a trip to Europe summer of 2005.
I am hugely into art, big tourists spots, if anyone has been to europe please tell me some common places to go, where they are, any interesting info, etc...
I am doing everything, Ireland, Holland, England, France, Italy, Greece, etc...
I know the mona lisa is in a museum in paris, i was told there was a museum in London which actually has the gates to Ninevah (in bible times) which is the city Jonah was being sent to before the whale incident.
Anyways, i luv learning about other cultures, and i cannot wait to get over there and see all that i can see...ha ha ha
ANy travel tips would also be appreciated...my brother has no confidence in me wutsoever...apparently i am going to be in a state of shock for the first few days cuz the way they live is SO much different...i am not convinced i will have a hard time, but...
Feb 10, 2004 10:05 # 19651
The museum you mention is called the "Louvre".
If you absolutely want to get in there, get there as early in the morning as possible, and/or take something with you to entertain you for a couple of hours. The amount of people standing in line there all day is truly amazing.
Money: Most countries you mention are in €uroland. Get information on that currency here, or just keep in mind that at the time I'm writing this, an Euro is worth about $1.30. (It used to be the other way round before Bush took office, but...)
If you get to deal with British Pounds (GBP), £1 = roughly $2.
The one small country in the midst of €uroland with an own currency is Switzerland. 1 CHF (Swiss Franc) = roughly $0.80.
If you travel around Scotland, you might be given Scottish Pounds. Try to change these back to 'official' British Pounds or something else before leaving. I don't know the exact current situation, but when we travelled around Scotland 4 years ago, we were told that outside Scotland, Scottish Pounds are only accepted in larger airports and banks. Maybe some NAOee from the UK can elaborate on that.
Train: If you happen to be 25 years or younger, you'll get lots of Euro<26 deals. Ask for EuroDomino or InterRail, or ScanRail if you're around Scandinavia.
Communication: In most countries you'll find somebody who speaks English. Don't take it for granted tho, and always show efforts to make yourself clear (i.e. don't swamp some local inhabitants with your broadest South States drawl and expect them to understand everything and answer in perfect US English). You always get a bonus when you know some basic words and phrases in the country's language. (Be careful in France. The French are generally very nice and open people, but as soon as you use more than two French words at once, they tend to forget all the English or German they've ever learnt and bombard you with 100% pure French for the rest of your stay.)
If you want to learn the basics of a second language, French is probably a good choice.
News: If you get a hotel room with TV, chances are good you get lots of international channels. CNN and BBC (World & Prime) are likely to be among them, so you'll have a small choice of English-language channels in most places.
If you're a Bush supporter, don't mention that when participating in a political discussion.
You can get more (and more specific) info if/when you post your exact route or some of the places you're going to visit.
When life hands you a lemon, that's 40% of your RDA of vitamin C taken care of.
Backpacking! Ah, I like this topic :)
I am very curious about how long your trip is going to be (since you said you want to see everything). The length of your trip is the one with the most impact, much more than say, the language barrier. The length affects everything from how big your backpack is gg to be, to how long your companions can stand being with you, of course the cost and finally your physical stamina.
Usually, the longer your trip...
1) the less you bring
2) the less companions you go with (i dun recommend travelling alone though)
3) the more you have to budget for “unforeseen” days ahead
4) the more careful you have to look into the details (train schedule, prior booking of accommodation) when planning
5) the more physically fit you should be
6) the more flexible, more patient and better-humoured you must be, cos s’thing unplanned will definitely crop up during the trip. It’s the inescapable Murphy’s Law.
These are just some points I realized on hindsight, in relation to my own experiences. If you would like the above to be explained in further detail, just shout. Hmmm, come to think of it… I have a lot to say on dorm culture, taking overnight trains, gelato(s) :) and some scary experiences, but I’ll leave it for now.
Hmmm, personally I think it is impossible to “see everything”, or ALL the tourists spots. You got to have some sort of theme to your trip as you are trekking across the whole of Europe not just one country in depth. For instance, the amount of money I saved only allowed me to stay in Europe for 3 months so I focused mainly on the cities and few countryside spots. But if you are big on mountains, rivers, forests, hiking, sunflowers, lavender fields, castles etc, “your idea of seeing everything” and “my idea of seeing everything” will be very different. Or if you are into clubbing/shopping, already that will determine which part of Europe you will stay longer in.
As for the language barrier, I found "Parlez-vous l'anglais?" extremely magical in France! Also when all else fails, a note pad and pen to draw what you mean and some body language like playing charades sometimes worked quite well. Oh well, if Marco Polo can go Olden China and return unscathed, Modern Europe can’t be too tough rite? In fact, I read in an Asian travel magazine that amongst the Asians backpacking to Europe, the number of Koreans and Japanese are the highest. Ironically, they have least command of English or any of the European Languages. The even more curious phenomenon is: they are mostly girls. And some even traveled alone. Which leads me to think that language is perhaps not that big a barrier it is made out to be.
I agree with null on the Bush bit.
The potential problem during traveling is accidentally creating faux pas. And this is bad, becos usually others see you as a representative/a stereotype of your country (well, everyone’s perception of everyone has to begin somewhere which is inevitable, although it is always pleasurable to rectify upon further understanding). I would think the general rule is to avoid being too loud, avoid declaring your undying love and loyalty to your country… er… in other people’s country, avoid discussing politics and avoid being drunk.
Once I encountered this drunk chap singing his beloved national anthem, in the video room of the hostel. Or rather he barged into room accidentally (being drunk) while we were watching video to waste the night. When someone finally shoo-ed him out, the rest were going “ He’s a ________ right?” “Yeah, these _______ are always like that.” “Why are these ________ always like that?” etc etc. Debate goes on, while we changed video cassettes. Which is kind of sad, afterall he is only one out of millions of his sober countrymen whom all of us didn’t meet.
I recommend Let’s Go and Lonely Planet guides (personally I prefer Let’s Go cos it is more student orientated, so when they talk about budget, it is REALLY budget). They usually will offer suggested routes depending on your interest. Let’s Go even includes a brief description of the nation’s character, although stereotypical, but can be helpful. Also, this series of guides called The Xenophobe’s Guide to the __________ (german/french/Spanish etc…). Each is written by its own countrymen ie a french wrote The Xenophobe’s Guide to the French, so I am hazarding a guess that they might be fairly accurate guides. This is to lessen culture shock and prevent you from cracking the wrong sort of jokes. Wait... in fact dun crack any jokes at all… unless you are with a Scot or a Canadian (ah...see how I stereotype):).
Finally, this is a pretty good website to help shape your decisions on where is worth going:
www.virtualtourist.com , it includes what to watch out for like tourist traps and other cultural pitfalls.
Long backpacking trips are really fun despite being physically draining. Personally I think the mind-set/attitude is the most important. Forget about home! Be adventurous! And everything that you think will go wrong, will! Stop thinking you will be alienated, you will be! So might as well start laughing about it and enjoy those bad experiences instead. Afterall, such "big trip" to Europe is usually a once in a lifetime thingy, in view of that, no bad experience can be all that bad.
"Constantly talking isn't necessarily communicating." --Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.
Wow, thanks alot. Some of the things you mentioned I was already aware of.
I have been warned about political issues, and told that i should have an identifying mark such as a canadian flag on me at all times. Mostly because stereotypical Europeans dont like Americans.
I am an adventurous person in the sense that i am always willing to try something new, and i am very flexible. Anything that pops up, i will address with a smiling face. I tend to be suprisingly relaxed while on vacation. Not to mention i will be taking at least 2 of my best friends with me.
As for the amount of time spent over there, and how much i want to see. Three weeks??? My brothers friend drove through 5 countries and saw all he wanted to see in one day.
Mostly i am going over there to say i have ben to europe ( ha ha)but really i am interested in museums (like i said previously)i dont know what else. Probably hit some clubs, find out what the locals do for fun. Maybe see some foreign movies, which will be neat, cuz to them tehy arent foreign...ha ha ha. This will likely be the only time in my life i will ever get to go over there, so i want to learn all i can before i go over there. I dont want to miss anything, and regret not seeing something. Now i am just rambling, but again...Thank you.