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Author Topic: Central and Western Europe Suggestions  (Read 2668 times)
wittsend2
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« on: April 29, 2011, 10:10:51 PM »
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Hello everyone,

I will be traveling with family this summer and was hoping for some suggestions on locations-some for the typical spots in places we haven't seen and some for unique perspectives in heavily traveled locations. We will be traveling in a car and the timeline is:

2 weeks in Central Europe (We will be based close to the Hungarian/Slovenian border in Hungary-the town is Nemesnep) It is close to Heviz and to the west of Lake Balaton. Already planning 2 nights near Plitvice National Park and day trips to Maribor, Rovinj, Zagreb and possibly Budapest. We have been to Llubjana, Budapest, and Lake Bled on previous visits and would like to revisit but that is a lot of driving.

5 days and 4 nights in Venice-never been

5 days and 4 nights in Florence-never been

6 days and 5 nights in the Cinque Terre (Riomagiorre)-spent a wonderful 9 days in Levanto in 2002

2 days in and around Carcassone-

9 days in Zaragoza staying with relatives-Barcelona is definitely on the agenda, as is Valencia.

2-3 days to travel through France and get back to Germany, where we will spend 2-3 weeks with my sister-in-law and her husband in St. Leon Rot. Multiple day trips and a couple of overnights are possible. Alsace for sure but after that I am up in the air.

I appreciate your time and look forward to any repsonses I receive. Thank you.

David Wittenberg
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markadams99
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« Reply #1 on: May 05, 2011, 07:58:30 AM »
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It's too vast a journey to suggest anywhere in particular, so I will:

The Corbieres is a lovely region near Carcassonne with excellent value wine and Cathar castles. Carcassonne is ok, but you may prefer a Cathar ruin, eg, on the drive Carcassonne, LaGrasse, Queribus, Peyrepeteuse, Bugarach, Renne-le-Chateau, Carcassonne (about 150km the trip). These are places resonant with associations.

On the way to Alsace you might consider stopping at the eastern escarpment of the Jura off the A39. There's remarkable wine at Chateau Chalon and remarkable views at several limestone high points. A magical and photogenic b+b is Chateau St. Martin, run by friends of mine: http://www.juranatura.fr/ .
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wittsend2
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« Reply #2 on: May 05, 2011, 09:53:56 PM »
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Thank you for your suggestions Mark. We have no definite plan on the short trip through France, so you your recommendations are most welcome in that area and in the Alsace as well. It is a little intimidating thinking about it a month out, but it should be quite an experience once we are in the travel mode. Any recommendations are most welcome and thank you for your time.
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Roger T.
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« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2011, 01:51:57 AM »
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Yikes!  The mind reels ... so many places!  You don't give an exact timeframe, but any time in summer it'll just be you and 14 million of your closest friends in Florence and Venice.  Wall to wall tourists, for real!

First suggestion - get on the Florence Museum website http://www.florence-museum.com/ and get tickets for the Uffizi and the Accademica - you're not supposed to take pictures there, but you can't afford to pass them by, and the lines are ridiculous without reservations.

Get out at night - both places are beautiful after the sun goes down, and safer than most US cities.

If you've got a car, consider the countryside - Ravenna is worth a visit, http://tinius-photo.com/Roger2/Ravenna/ and it's between Florence and Venice.  There's Verona, the Dolomites http://tinius-photo.com/Roger2/Dolomites/ , and hundreds of other beautiful places away from the Autostrada.

Germany ... sigh.  Heidelberg, Speyer Cathedral, Strasbourg, Colmar ... I'm jealous, and I live in Hawaii!

Good luck!
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wittsend2
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« Reply #4 on: May 15, 2011, 04:17:16 PM »
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Thank you for your suggestions Roger. We will be in Italy from June 25 through July 8 starting in Venice and heading west. We know going in it will be crowded but there is nothing for it. Thanks for the Ravenna idea-we will be traveling by car so we can and will do a lot of exploring in the slow lane. Have map and GPS waiting for us when we get there! We are mercifully not in any hurry for the most part and enjoy seeing countryside. I am very much looking forward to getting out in the evening and doing night photography. I enjoyed looking at your photographs and notching up my anticipation. Thanks for your time and I appreciate your help.

David W.
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EduPerez
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« Reply #5 on: May 16, 2011, 03:02:59 AM »
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I was born in Valencia, and live in Barcelona; if you need anything in particular, just ask.
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algrove
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« Reply #6 on: June 11, 2011, 07:05:26 PM »
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Just to give you a heads up, I was robbed on a big wide avenue in Barcelona 2 years ago near the famous church, La Sagrada Familia.  When I got to a police station there were about 150 others who had just been robbed too and many were local residents.  This one only one of 10 police stations I was told to go to by a very nice Metro worker.

Have never been robbed in 50 years of traveling.  That was awful.  A big curly-haired guy spit chocolate with nuts on me (which I did not see happened except out of the corner of my eye) and then offered to help clean it up (he said it was bird crap) and immediately started pouring water on me and my shoulder bag.  When I raised my hands in protest that's when he grabbed it and ran.  The detective in the police station knew from 10 meters away by looking at me what had happened to me.  The robber or someone tried to use my credit cards 5 times within 2 hours of the robbery and even tried them in France which was, I don't know, about 2 hours North by expressway.

I am told that in Venice and Southern France, thieves slit the bottom of women's purses and then go for the wallet on the ground and flee.

Just be very aware of your surroundings since the thieves see you coming.  In Barcelona they use cell phones and call their buddies ahead to alert them you are coming their way.
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wittsend2
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« Reply #7 on: June 18, 2011, 12:32:42 PM »
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Thank you for the warning-we will be traveling light in Barcelona but I know we have to constantly be vigilant. We will be staying well outside the city and come in by train, so hopefully we will make it without mishap. Thanks for you help.

David Wittenberg
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algrove
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« Reply #8 on: June 18, 2011, 01:10:41 PM »
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During that same trip I had my pocket picked on a train (underground) in Barcelona.  I had cargo pants on with the lower compartment closed tight, but they got some cash! After that I then moved my money to the bag the guy stole while spitting chocolate on me. What a town! The around your neck and under your shirt travel pouch is best plus a money belt under your shirt.  Be safe.
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