Monday, October 25, 2010

Planning Europe 2011

Update: Nov 19

Jenny and I have begun to clarify our Europe plans. Here's the most recent itinerary - following a rough course of our anticipated travels over about 24 days. Any recommendations for these places? Advice? Warnings?

Also, you can scroll down a bit to find our original post featuring more detail about what we want to do in some of these locations.

• Northern Scotland - 2 days

• London - 2 days

• Hamburg - 1 day

• Frankfurt - 1 day

• Prague - 2 days

• Budapest - 2 days

• Vienna - 2 days

• Athens - 2 days

• Santorini - 2 days

• Florence - 2 days

• Pisa - 1 day

• Nice - 1 day

• Paris - 3 days

It begins!

Jenny and I have just begun planning our Europe trip for August 2011. We hope to make it from the UK to Turkey, but we may end up sticking with Western Europe if our schedule gets overly packed.

So far our top four priorities are Paris, Northern Scotland, London, and Hamburg (the order of which are, of course, subject to revision).

Now we're fleshing out the details and adding additional stops. Have you any recommendations?

1. Paris for two or three days

Place de Dublin - Intersection of rue de Turin and rue de Moscou near Saint-Lazare train station (to see the location for my favorite paintingParis Street, Rainy Day - see blog posts here and here). I suppose we'll also want to spend a bit of time in the train station to see where Monet painted Arrival of the Normandy Train, Gare Saint-Lazare.

Passage des Panoramas and Passage Jouffroy (because of my interest in 19th century shopping/walking arcades)

Jardin des Tuileries

Basilique du Sacre-Coeur

Arc de Triomphe

Cathedrale Notre-Dame de Paris

Musée du Louvre (already I'm finding some hints on how to survive this place. Elsewhere I found some notes on seeing Mona Lisa: "Waiting to see the Mona Lisa has all the thrill of standing in an airport check-in queue. The crowd pushes forward, cattle-like and unquestioning, performing a ritual they know they have to go through with in order to complete a pre-ordained tourist experience.")

Musee d'Orsay (to see its collection of early modern art)

• Musée National d'Art Moderne (to see its collection of 20th Century modern art)

• And, of course, we've got to at least see the Eiffel Tower!

2. Northern Scotland for a day or two (to learn a bit more about my Frazier Family roots)

• Castle Urquhart - near Inverness

• Castle Dunnottar - south of Aberdeen

• Castle Fraser - near Kemnay

3. London for a day or two

• London Eye (a top priority for Jenny)

• Stonehenge

• Speakers' Corner, Hyde Park

• Tower of London

4. Germany

• Hamburg to see Miniatur Wonderuland (a world-renowned "tiny town")

• Frankfurt (Jenny has a friend she wants to see there)

Other priorities in order of importance:

5. Greece - Athens and Greek islands (definitely Santorini)

6. Italy - Florence or Venice

7. Turkey - Istanbul - (Blue Mosque, the Hagia Sophia, the Hippodrome, the Grand Bazaar, etc.)

8. Czech Republic - Prague (Nationale-Nederlanden Building)

9. Austria - Vienna

10. Hungary - Budapest

Europe in three weeks is a bit crazy, but we're going to experience as much as we can. Got any suggestions? Hints? Warnings? Please post a comment.


Brett Lucas said...

Scotland sounds great. Most of my Scottish ancestry is located to the southwest of Glasgow. Clan Lamont territory.

Andrea said...

Rothenburg, Germany? It is a medieval village with a Christmas theme, the largest store in town has a "tiny" village inside to display their wares....I remember it fondly, would be one of the first places I would go when I go back.

As you know, I am also a HUGE fan of Prague! Cannot go wrong visiting there...

Alena said...

Andy, I can tell you about the places in Greece I'd recommend. In addition to Santorini (beautiful but massively touristy), I would recommend Hydra (very quick ferry hop from Athens, picturesque little island with no cars allowed) and the Peloponnese peninsula of the mainland -- you need to explore around the Argolid to see Corinth (Paul of Tarsus demands it), Epidauros (ancient ampitheater eclipsed only by the beauty of the modern town), Mycenae (read lots of Sophocles beforehand), and Naupflion (a town so romantic that this is where Athenians go to get engaged). If you can rent a car and get to Andritsena, it's the most exquisite little village. Also on the mainland, the Temple of Poseidon at Sounion is one heck of a postcard moment. And we had a wonderful time in Chania, Crete. So you've got lots of options for a great time in Greece.

My Greece blog:

My Greece book:

Mansi said...

I'd skip Venice. I'd wanted to go to Venice for as long as I can remember -- had a romanticized notion of the city. The visuals -- whether they were stills or movies -- looked great, but no one tells you of the stench, or that the city itself is so small that there's nothing to do but "get lost." We were told that that's the charm of the place. In a nutshell: I was disappointed. If you have a choice between Venice and Florence, go to Florence. If you have time to do both, don't spend more than a day and a half in Venice.

Mansi said...

Just got back from a two-week Europe trip, most of which was spent touring the UK (primarily Scotland). We went up to the Isle of Skye and absolutely LOVED it. Highly recommended. And I second London Eye being a top priority! It's a MUST do. They might soon be incorporating audio commentary in the capsules (we were part of a marketing research contemplating introducing that feature for free), so it'll be double the fun! Have a great time!

highway163 said...

So cool! And thanks for those tips. I know that Jenny will love the Eye!

PS: It's nice to hear from you, Mansi!