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Thread: soliciting thoughts for travel

  1. #1
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    soliciting thoughts for travel

    We have been invited to visit Munich. From there, we can go in any direction - it's a wide open roadmap. I will go up early to have girl time and we will most likely shop and see a few castles. When my DH arrives, we will want to then travel. He really doesn't want to go to Germany to begin with -- didn't like Berlin -- so the timing for us to leave is perfect.

    Not having been anywhere except Berlin, I am curious to know which direction would be best to go. Our hosts are willing to take us anywhere.

    I would like to do some hiking -- not too hard bc not all can keep up -- We like to do active things. There will be six of us - Between us there will be 5 languages spoken. not super big on museums, but I did enjoy the Smithsonian....

    Italy?
    France?
    Switzerland
    Austria?

    Fun for me is NOT sitting around riding and looking at stuff all day every day. I want to do different things. I got really bored in Berlin, but I did like Ka Da Vie

  2. #2
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    A friend just returned from spending the holidays in Paris. While there, she took a side-trip to Brussels & Bruges. She said she's go back to Belgium any time, that Bruges in particular was wonderful.
    As the arc of history bends towards justice, it's a new, more progressive day. --Steve Benen, The Maddow Blog, 11-07-12

  3. #3
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    Can you ask her what she thought was so wonderful? People have different ideas - if they just sat in the car and drove around looking at things....versus they got out and went here and there bc there were things to do....does that make sense? or sometimes people think a city is wonderful bc the food is good and that's it....everyone's ideas are different.....

  4. #4
    I'm a HUGE fan of Central/Easter Europe. If I were you, I'd go East to Prague, then hit a few of the smaller cities (Olomouc, Brno, Kutna Hora, Pilzen, etc). All of these are beautiful medieval cities. Then I would head to Budapest, maybe even go North to Poland or further south into Romania.

    Not only are these cities more affordable, but they still have a ton of charm that is lacking in the more touristy areas. Romania has a lot of natural beauty (mountains, etc). Lots of good hiking. There is a lot to walk around and see everywhere.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by luv2cook View Post
    Can you ask her what she thought was so wonderful? People have different ideas - if they just sat in the car and drove around looking at things....versus they got out and went here and there bc there were things to do....does that make sense? or sometimes people think a city is wonderful bc the food is good and that's it....everyone's ideas are different.....
    Well, she didn't have a car, so I know that's not it! They did quite a bit of sightseeing, as my friend enjoys it. Spent a good deal of time in cafes/pubs. She said there were a lot of shops, but she's NOT a shopper. She was visiting a friend, so mostly it was a catch up/hang out/have fun time. She said Bruges was like "a fairy village" & that she never got tired of just LOOKING. But, having traveled with her, I know she likes to be distracted! We live in a fairly small, pretty remote town, so one of the big novelties was simply being in cities. Might not translate for everyone the same way!
    As the arc of history bends towards justice, it's a new, more progressive day. --Steve Benen, The Maddow Blog, 11-07-12

  6. #6
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    Wow! Sounds like a lot of fun...and just so you know Berlin is not like the rest of Germany. Being in Munich you are in the south of Germany and can easily access Switzerland, Italy or even Austria. In Germany is Lake Constance which borders Germany, Austria and Switzerland and if you talk to people from any of those countries they will all have differing stories of where the borders are! It is beautiful there. Very beautiful area and the town of Constance (Lake Constance?) was a place I wanted to spend more time in than the day we had when we were there. If you want to head to France the Normandy Coast is very, very nice. You can walk and see some of the old battle grounds from WWII and they have some castles and one of my husbands favorite places was Mont-St-Michel which has an abbey on it (you can look up and read about it). Also, the people were much more friendly and helpful than the people in Paris.

    I do not like just riding around, I want to get out and do and experience and try different restaurants and talk with the locals...once again I am envious of your trip...when are you going....keep us posted.
    EmptyNestMom
    Grandma Pam to 3


    "The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you've got to have a what-the-hell attitude." – Julia Child

  7. #7
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    Not until August. BUT they want to get hotels bc apparently the Germans are off that time of year too.

    I was looking at airfare. Cripes all mighty! Seems really high right now

  8. #8
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    Bruges was one of my favorite places when I went on a whirlwind trip to Europe in 2000. I think were there for one or two nights. During the day, we rented bikes and rode along the pathways that cross the city, took a canal boat tour and walked all over town. We also went to the cathedral where Michelangelo's Madonna and Child is. On the day of our arrival, it was a feast day, so we stopped to watch the processional/parade and enjoy the festivities. I don't recall being especially fond of the food, but I loved hanging out at the bars at night- it was light until about 2 am in the summer!

  9. #9
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    I've had very good experiences in France (and I speak only a few words of French). If you like active things, Paris has bicycles that can be rented for the day and returned to any bike stand in the city that is a part of the rental program. I didn't do that but I did go on a tour with the Fat Tire Bike Company (I am not affiliated with them - just a customer). They offer various tours around the city and surrounding area. We did the tour to the palace of Versailles and the ground around the palace. It was well organized and professional (and english speaking if that matters).
    We also went to Provence. There were lots of ruins and such to see and hiking also. I believe you can rent bikes in the area but we didn't have time (maybe next time). I did go on a nice hot air balloon ride while I was there. I can't remember the company but we found it in the Rick Steves book. You might want to consider using Rick's website and/or books to help choose your destination. I've found him to be pretty helpful in planning trips in the past.
    How nice to have an open roadmap to choose from! Enjoy planning your trip, it sounds wonderful.
    Cathy

  10. #10
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    You've got tons of input, so I probably don't need to add more.

    I've just got to say...wow! How can anyone not like Berlin?? That is one of my very favorite places I've ever visited. It's mainly the fascinating history, but I loved the architecture, river, parks, museums, funky neighborhoods & everything about it.

    We had a fabulous visit to several cities throughout Switzerland (Zurich, Lugano, Lausanne & a few others). The food was fantastic and the people were great, too. If you're looking at E Europe, I also had a surprisingly great trip to Budapest a few years ago. I wouldn't suggest it as your only destination, but it's cool & has a great history as well.

    We hardly ever sit in a car on trips (although the drive through Normandy to tour WWI sites was totally worth it!!)

    Of course, that fact that I loved Berlin probably discredits all of my travel opinions for you :-)

  11. #11
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    I adore France (have as much told DH if anything happened to him before me, I would move to South of France somewhere), but I am dying to go to Italy...have never been.

    Reading about air pollution and Asian issues, if it were possible, I would pick Hong Kong (AMAZING place) before it got so bad that it would be impossible to ever see it.
    Thoreau said, 'A man is rich in proportion to the things he can leave alone.'

  12. #12
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    Yes, it will be busy with lots of vacationers in August.
    I second the suggestion of Lake Constance (Bodensee)!
    If you want to visit Austria, Vienna offers lots of walking and a good subway system, great cafes and beer gardens, wonderful art museums and strolls in the gardens of Schönbrunn Palace. From Vienna you can take the train to Prague.
    Switzerland has so much to offer in scenery and hiking to your heart's content. Grindelwald for instance is not just a winter destination. Great train connections to the different "ethnic" parts: German, French and Italian (and then there is the lake district in Northern Italy).
    In The Netherlands I have a little known jewel to recommend - Maastrich. Beautifully located with ancient and new in a tasteful mix. The city, made for walking and bike riding, also offers good food, shopping and boat tours on the river Maas. Can be reached by train from Brussels or Amsterdam.
    Lots of planning in your future
    Last edited by swedish cook; 01-10-2012 at 03:57 PM.
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  13. #13
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    Swedish Cook, I was in Maastricht about a week or so ago! Lovely city and the Christmas market was still going strong. We crossed into the border of Holland from Germany and the SUN was shining for about an hour. The wind and rain came in. The DH and I sat outside and had a wine and a beer. So many people were there, but it was Christmas week. DD#1 said she has never seen it so crowded.

  14. #14
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    luv2cook, I keep thinking about the area around Munich and places within reach that I have visited. Berchtesgaden,
    Neuschwanstein Castle and Zugspitze popped into my mind. Another thing is that Switzerland might be a very expensive country to visit with the strong Swiss franc.

    Quote Originally Posted by vbak View Post
    Swedish Cook, I was in Maastricht about a week or so ago! Lovely city and the Christmas market was still going strong. We crossed into the border of Holland from Germany and the SUN was shining for about an hour. The wind and rain came in. The DH and I sat outside and had a wine and a beer. So many people were there, but it was Christmas week. DD#1 said she has never seen it so crowded.
    We give dogs time we can spare, space we can spare and love we can spare. And in return, dogs give us their all. It's the best deal man has ever made.
    -M. Acklam

  15. #15
    I LOVE central/eastern Europe. Far less traveled than the Western bit. So much charm and beauty (and usually a bit cheaper). My favorite places: Czech republic (Prague is the most popular place and most touristy, seek out some other cities like Budvar, Kutna hora, Pilsen, Olomouc, etc), Slovakia, Hungary (Budapest is gorgeous), Romania, and Poland.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by KristaMB View Post
    Bruges was one of my favorite places when I went on a whirlwind trip to Europe in 2000. I think were there for one or two nights. During the day, we rented bikes and rode along the pathways that cross the city, took a canal boat tour and walked all over town. We also went to the cathedral where Michelangelo's Madonna and Child is. On the day of our arrival, it was a feast day, so we stopped to watch the processional/parade and enjoy the festivities. I don't recall being especially fond of the food, but I loved hanging out at the bars at night- it was light until about 2 am in the summer!
    This! We were with friends, and just spent the day, but could have spent a lot longer. We were there on market day, which was very interesting, and we didn't know about the Michelangelo, so that was a wonderful surprise! We were there in March, so it was chilly, and we had lovely hot chocolate at one of the many places to eat.

    Also love the Amalfi Coast of Italy -- mmmm -- fettucine w/frutti de mare! Best.thing.ever! I ate that every day in different places! No wonder I couldn't get my pants zipped on the way home!

    If you do go to Poland, be sure to pick up some pieces of the Polish pottery, if you like it -- you'll pay a fraction of what it costs anywhere else, and it's good in microwave, oven and freezer, not to mention beautiful on a table!

    Ooooh! I find myself to be just a little jealous! Have fun planning and taking the trip -- the chance of a lifetime!
    Kay
    I'm a WYSIWYG person -- no subterfuge here!

  17. #17
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    Thanks you guys for all the helpful ideas. I need to print these and go through them. However, I need to tread carefully and see what my host daughter's mom has planned first - if she's added anything since we last talked.

    And, of course, if my DH doesn't have a job by August, he will not be going. I am not giving up this trip bc of his stupidity and laziness when the writing was on the wall. < I know that sounds bad when written but that's how I feel and I have told him that>. His last day is today and he STILL doesn't have his CV done. un.freakin.believable.

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