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Going To Europe In May-need Advice  
User currently offlineHartsfieldboy From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 552 posts, RR: 1
Posted (11 years 5 months 2 weeks 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 3413 times:

At the beginning to May, I will be flying ATL-AMS via DL and staying about two weeks. My friend and I AREN'T going to be planning anything on this trip, save for when we arrive and depart. We have recently found vacations are much more fun when you just let the moment take you to wherever and not have a pre-planned schedule. However, I would like to have in advance anything that will prepare me for whatever comes up. This is my first trip to mainland Europe (I've been to London before). I have some general questions:

-I know the rail system is excellent there, are trains frequent enough so that we could walk to a train station and pick a city and go? For example, could I go to Brussels from Amsterdam and then on go Paris, then to Frankfurt, and back to Amsterdam all without reservations?

-Are train prices more expensive the closer you get to departure time, like with airlines?

-If I buy a ticket to Paris via Brussels from Amsterdam, could I get off at Brussel for a few hours and et back on the next train to Paris with my original ticket?

-This will be the first time I visit a country where I don't know the language (I've been to Montreal, but everyone there speaks English), I'm fluent in English and Portuguese. I took two years of German, but my German knowledge is pretty minimal since I never used the language in real life and I took the class over 4 years ago. Navagating through Montreal was a breeze because I picked up French writing pretty easily. Should I have an easy time talking to people and finding my way around?

-Is it *really* true that French people don't like tourists butchering their language?

-Are European girls easier than American girls?

-With all this war crap going on, do people in general still like Americans? In Brazil, ALL the girls love American guys. You tell them you're American (even though I'm also Brazilian), and they'll be all over you. How is it in Europe?

I'll think of other questions later


6 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineAv8rPHX From United States of America, joined Mar 2003, 713 posts, RR: 9
Reply 1, posted (11 years 5 months 2 weeks 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 3400 times:

Here is a website for trains in Europe. I will be going to Belgium this fall with my girlfriend since she is from Belgium. Anyways we will more than likely fly PHX-AMS then take the train to Brussels. So yes you can take the train from AMS to Brussels and or Paris. Hope this info helps  Smile

User currently offlineSabena 690 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (11 years 5 months 2 weeks 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 3398 times:

Between Amsterdam, Brussels and Paris you can take the high speed train. It's all quite expensive!! If you want to have some fun: do AMS-CDG-AMS on Varig for about 90-100$ return all in, fly from AMS to LHR on BA ($100 return all inn), fly on BA LHR-BRU ($100 all in return).

I think those fares will match the price train rides (it will probably be more expensive because you do 6 flights, instead of 4 train rides) and it's much more fun!!


User currently offlineSabena332 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (11 years 5 months 2 weeks 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 3399 times:

-I know the rail system is excellent there, are trains frequent enough so that we could walk to a train station and pick a city and go? For example, could I go to Brussels from Amsterdam and then on go Paris, then to Frankfurt, and back to Amsterdam all without reservations?

Sorry, I don`t know much about train fares because I`m not a frequent train traveler but the Deutsche Bahn changed their prices a few month ago and now they are really expensive when you travel without a reservation. You should check the airline fares at first, sometime it is cheaper to fly than traveling by train.

-This will be the first time I visit a country where I don't know the language (I've been to Montreal, but everyone there speaks English), I'm fluent in English and Portuguese. I took two years of German, but my German knowledge is pretty minimal since I never used the language in real life and I took the class over 4 years ago. Navagating through Montreal was a breeze because I picked up French writing pretty easily. Should I have an easy time talking to people and finding my way around?

You can use the English language everywhere in Europe, almost everyone who is younger than 60 will understand you (maybe not in France).

-Is it *really* true that French people don't like tourists butchering their language?

France is an exception, here is an example: Approximately one year ago I asked an airport employee at CDG for the way to the next lounge and he was not able to explain me the way because he could not speak English. It is ridiculous that an airport employee is not able to speak English but very common in France.

-Are European girls easier than American girls?

It depends, just check it out!

-With all this war crap going on, do people in general still like Americans? In Brazil, ALL the girls love American guys. You tell them you're American (even though I'm also Brazilian), and they'll be all over you. How is it in Europe?

American people are welcome here. When you tell the girls: "Hey I am from the USA" you will be the most interesting guy for them on that evening. I made similar experience as a German in the USA  Smile/happy/getting dizzy.

I hope I could answer some of your questions, have a great time in Europe!

Patrick


User currently offlinePetertenthije From Netherlands, joined Jul 2001, 3369 posts, RR: 12
Reply 4, posted (11 years 5 months 2 weeks 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 3386 times:

From what I have noticed during my (brief) stays in France, if you approach them in English you will not get any response other then "I do not understand English" (often in Frenxh to make it more fun). If you approach them in French, even if it is crappy, they will answer in English.

They way they see it, if you want to go to France you are a VISITOR and as such you should at least TRY to learn the basics. Not doing so is considered to be rude, and I can not blame them for thinking that.

By just trying some French they will appreciate you and if they can they will answer in English.

Oh, and with regard to the Europeans not liking Americans, that is just nonsense. We may not like US foreign policy, but we have politicians as well: we know politicians do the exact opposite of what the people want! We therefore have no reason to dislike Americans! Big grin



International trains run about once every hour or 2 hours (from and to Holland anyway), depending on the route. They are bloody expensive though, and for some it is necessary to book in advance, most notable the high-speed trains.

My advice is, take the planes. Book well in advance (Earyjet, Ryanair etc) and you can get roudtrip prices that beat the shit out of the trains and busses. Another tip, when flying between Amsterdam and London BMI British Midland almost has always turned out to be the cheapest for me.  Big grin

Even though the high-speed trains are expensive, I recommend you take one of those trains at least once over a piece of track where they can go really fast (in Germany of France). It is a real thrill to see the landscape fly by. An eyeopener compared to what you will see in the US.



Attamottamotta!
User currently offlineHartsfieldboy From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 552 posts, RR: 1
Reply 5, posted (11 years 5 months 2 weeks 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 3372 times:

I'm a railbuff in addition to liking airliners, and I would actually prefer to take the train over flying while over there. I've flown countless times, but have only ridden a train (not counting subways) once. I was looking at this website, http://www.raileurope.com, and it costs around $80-106 to go AMS to Paris on Thalys Rail service. That doesn't sound too bad.

On the other hand, we may decide to stay in Amsterdam and get high the whole time  Smile

Petertenthije That's good to know. I DO try to learn the language and customs when I go somewhere. I've already skimmed through some French books. It's similar to Portuguese, so remembering words won't be too hard, I just hope I can pronouce them somewhat correctly.


User currently offlinePetertenthije From Netherlands, joined Jul 2001, 3369 posts, RR: 12
Reply 6, posted (11 years 5 months 2 weeks 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 3335 times:

I have been browsing for some special promotional train fares and discovered the following you may find interesting on the site of the Dutch National Railways (http://www.ns.nl).


This part of the NS site offers fares for trips abroad (outside Holland that is). The fares will be for 3 days of unlimited use in a certain country. It lists all the prices and conditions.
http://www.ns.nl/international/international.cgi?International/Tickets/Round-Trip+Tickets/Euro+Domino

This option may be of better use for you, since it is valid for 15, 21, 30, 60 or 90 days. That should cover your holiday quite nicely. This pass is valid in 3 adjoining countries. It is up to you to choose which ones.
http://www.ns.nl/international/international.cgi?International/Tickets/Round-Trip+Tickets/Eurail

Even more countries. Other than that the same as the previous one.
http://www.ns.nl/international/international.cgi?International/Tickets/Round-Trip+Tickets/Europass

This will probably be the best option for you. The Interrail pass. You can choose for a 22 or a 12 day pass. Europe has been divided into zones, and depending on your pass you can travel in one or more of them. You can select which zone(s) you want to use. It should be noted that some train and ship (on the website it says "boot", nice and profesional, eh?) can not be used, although a reduction is available. It does not say which trains are included in this, but you can bet the Eurotunnel is included!
http://www.ns.nl/international/international.cgi?International/Tickets/Round-Trip+Tickets/Interrail

I have found a Dutch language offer for a trip in the Eurostar from Holland (any station) to Waterloo in London by Eurotunnel. The price for this is 87 euro. You will have to reserve 7 days in advance!


For more information, do not hesitate to contact me!




Attamottamotta!
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