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Need Roadtrip Advice From Our European Members  
User currently offlineSaxdiva From United States of America, joined Jun 2004, 2382 posts, RR: 42
Posted (8 years 10 months 3 weeks 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 1300 times:

Hey, there...

Okay, so here's the deal: My husband has a long break at the end of this month, and we’re thinking of going to Paris. The following weekend is the AMS meet, which I’m planning to attend but haven’t bought a ticket for yet. In between, he’s got to go back to Florence for one day (a Wednesday) to teach. Rather than go back with him, I’m thinking of renting a car near Paris, driving to AMS, and picking him up the next day. After the meet, he’d probably fly back to Florence from AMS—I’d drive the car back to France and then fly home from there a day or two later.

My question: is this a reasonable trip? If so, how long should I expect it to take? Should I plan to overnight in Brussels or something? Are there banditos or anything I should be aware of along the way?

Thanks for any and all advice,
Leanne

10 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineIFLYMCO From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 482 posts, RR: 2
Reply 1, posted (8 years 10 months 3 weeks 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 1289 times:

Forget the car- take the train- no need to go all the way back to Paris to drop it off. A trip from Paris to AMS is only 4 hours. (With Thalys)

Driving (and more importantly parking) is not so easy in AMS. Whereas the train drops you off dead center in AMS and also stops at Schiphol itself.



Now it should be "IFLYDCA"
User currently offlineIFLYMCO From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 482 posts, RR: 2
Reply 2, posted (8 years 10 months 3 weeks 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 1287 times:

P.S. How is the weather in Italy right now? All my friends there say it has been raining a lot (near Milan).


Now it should be "IFLYDCA"
User currently offlineLogan22L From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (8 years 10 months 3 weeks 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 1284 times:

Can't help you with the travel part, Leanne, but when in Amsterdam, be sure that you two go out for rijsttafel - the Dutch adaptation of Indonesian food. It's fantastic, and you can get it several places. The one I recommend most is Kantjil - it's at 291-293 Spuistraat not far from Dam Square. It won't be the cheapest meal you've ever had, but it might be one of the best.

User currently offlineRj111 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (8 years 10 months 3 weeks 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 1285 times:

I'm a little confused about the itinery but it's worth pointing out that there is a rather spiffing train service running from Paris-Amsterdam which takes about 4 hours. Dunno if that changes anything?

User currently offlineSaxdiva From United States of America, joined Jun 2004, 2382 posts, RR: 42
Reply 5, posted (8 years 10 months 3 weeks 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 1276 times:

I thought there might be a train, but I like driving trips if I have the time--it's fun to stop and explore. Once I get near Amsterdam, I'll probably park and take a train into town except for during the AMS meet (where it would come in handy).

So... this doesn't sound like such a good idea, then?


User currently offlineAloges From Germany, joined Jan 2006, 8706 posts, RR: 43
Reply 6, posted (8 years 10 months 3 weeks 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 1273 times:

Definitely forget about the car - as everyone mentioned, there's Thalys connecting Paris and Amsterdam quickly and comfortably. It stops right inside AMS airport, so you won't have any trouble getting from the train to the meet. Driving and parking in Amsterdam... wellllll, if you prefer that over the excellent public transport they have...  Wink 72-hours passes for all GVB (local public transport company) trams, metros and busses are quite inexpensive, IIRC.

As for the "banditos": no need to worry.  Silly You should of course keep an eye on your luggage in the train, but even that's not an issue. They won't freak out if you leave it unattended for a bathroom break.

AMS station ("Amsterdam Centraal") is right by the Ij and "downtown port"; you can easily reach all parts of the city from there. In fact Amsterdam is so small and of course beautiful you can easily walk all the time unless you want to leave the central-ish parts.



Walk together, talk together all ye peoples of the earth. Then, and only then, shall ye have peace.
User currently offlineSaxdiva From United States of America, joined Jun 2004, 2382 posts, RR: 42
Reply 7, posted (8 years 10 months 3 weeks 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 1272 times:

P.S. to IFLYMCO... the weather in Firenze has been wonderful all this week. We're a little south of Milan, though, and I hear there's rain headed our way.

Too bad I'll be headed for Athens when it gets here...  Big grin


User currently offlineAloges From Germany, joined Jan 2006, 8706 posts, RR: 43
Reply 8, posted (8 years 10 months 3 weeks 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 1263 times:

Quoting Saxdiva (Reply 5):
I thought there might be a train, but I like driving trips if I have the time--it's fun to stop and explore.

Didn't see that before... but even despite that, I'd take a train any minute. You could of course overnight in Brussels anyway. French highways are usually in good condition, but as they say, the driving there might be a bit of a "special experience". Don't know much about that, though. As for Belgium, the few times I've travelled through it it always seemed like a place I wouldn't want to spend much time at. The parts I saw from the highway were totally different from e.g. Brussels and Brugge which are both great places. Given the short period of time you mentioned, I'd definitely take the train and maybe spend a day or two in Brussels.

There is a lot to be seen in both BRU and AMS, and IMHO driving and exploring would be less attractive than exploring the cities and enjoying the quick and relaxing train ride. You'll still get to see the landscape from the train, but you won't regret the hours you don't have in BRU or AMS due to driving here, there and everywhere.



Walk together, talk together all ye peoples of the earth. Then, and only then, shall ye have peace.
User currently offlineHT From Germany, joined May 2005, 6525 posts, RR: 23
Reply 9, posted (8 years 10 months 3 weeks 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 1259 times:

Leanne,
In case you want to go by car to Amsterdam (in order to have it available for the AMS-Meeting), you should get a hotel in the outskirts of Amsterdam where parking usually is free of charge. Having to park your car in downtown Amsterdam will cost you $$$ or €€€ !

Basic distance from Paris to Amsterdam is 500 km, with a calculated driving time of 4.5 h (plus any breaks). The stretch of motorway in France (Paris to Lille) will be a toll-road, but I have no info about the charges.

Motorways in Belgium usually will be illuminated during night; in The Netherlands at least some junctions / exits will be illuminated, so driving during the night is an easy thing.

´hope that helps ?
-HT



Carpe diem ! Life is too short to waste your time ! Keep in mind, that today is the first day of the rest of your life !
User currently offlineSaxdiva From United States of America, joined Jun 2004, 2382 posts, RR: 42
Reply 10, posted (8 years 10 months 3 weeks 6 days ago) and read 1233 times:

Okay... based on your recommendations, I'm planning this as a train trip, and I'll fly home with Mr. Diva from AMS.

Now... where best to spend an un-chaperoned evening? Is there anything along the way that I absolutely should not miss?

Thanks for the advice,
Leanne


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