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vafi88
Topic Author
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Backpacking Through Europe This Summer, Tips?

Thu Jan 26, 2006 9:03 am

Hey guys and gals, I'll be in Europe starting June 4th this year, I will start off in London, go down through france, then to Amsterdam, and fly out of Frankfurt, Germany.

I'm booking tickets pretty soon, but I'd like to get some tips on what to see, what not to, what's a good deal, and what's a waste of money... stuff like that!

Thanks guys!
I'd like to elect a president that has a Higher IQ than a retarted ant.
 
Air380
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RE: Backpacking Through Europe This Summer, Tips?

Thu Jan 26, 2006 9:07 am

Are you flying through Europe or taking the train?
 
NoUFO
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RE: Backpacking Through Europe This Summer, Tips?

Thu Jan 26, 2006 9:46 am

Backpacking sounds like walking to me or am I wrong?
I support the right to arm bears
 
usnseallt82
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RE: Backpacking Through Europe This Summer, Tips?

Thu Jan 26, 2006 9:49 am

Quoting Vafi88 (Thread starter):
Backpacking Through Europe This Summer, Tips?

If you stay in a hostel, don't touch anything on the walls that's white and crusty.  yes 
Crye me a river
 
vafi88
Topic Author
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RE: Backpacking Through Europe This Summer, Tips?

Thu Jan 26, 2006 12:17 pm

I'm flying to London, but taking trains from there on...I don't think I can 'walk' from london to paris...

I'm going to be staying in hostels, yes...
I'd like to elect a president that has a Higher IQ than a retarted ant.
 
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usxguy
Posts: 1939
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RE: Backpacking Through Europe This Summer, Tips?

Thu Jan 26, 2006 12:50 pm

Go to www.dertravel.com and look up the prices for a railpass... sometimes your travel agent can get better deals from DER than buying direct.

I've found it easier to take a slightly smaller pack and a daypack (wear it on the front if you have to). If you have a larger bag, you'll tend to overpack it and the last thing you want is to have all that weight back there  Silly (ship as much as you can home, btw!).

I've just found it obnoxious to be on a train and have some of these "hikers" trying to move with their packs on and knock everyone and everything out of their way!
xx
 
Notar520AC
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RE: Backpacking Through Europe This Summer, Tips?

Thu Jan 26, 2006 12:55 pm

Make sure to visit the smaller towns. When we went we hit the major cities in England, France, Belgium, & Holland, but took trains to some smaller quaint towns & really enjoyed it. It's the side of Europe you don't see on TV & such.
BMW - The Ultimate Driving Machine
 
BDKLEZ
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RE: Backpacking Through Europe This Summer, Tips?

Thu Jan 26, 2006 12:55 pm

Don't forget, Europe is pretty much sewn up by these two!
So if you need to go somewhere, and you want it cheap and cheerful.........

www.easyjet.com
www.ryanair.com

Good luck...!!!  bigthumbsup 
Trespassers will be shot; survivors will be shot again!
 
sw733
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RE: Backpacking Through Europe This Summer, Tips?

Thu Jan 26, 2006 1:50 pm

Quoting Vafi88 (Reply 4):
I'm flying to London, but taking trains from there on...I don't think I can 'walk' from london to paris...

Sure you can, just watch out for that train that comes through the tunnel after you!  Wink

One suggestion is to simply spend one night in FRA, because it's really nothing that great tourist wise. I've spent lots of time there, as being from Namibia it is where most European flights go, but never really enjoyed my time there past just spending the first or last nights of my trip there.

Also, if you are going to be in Germany during the World Cup, you may have trouble getting a bed to stay in, so that's just another suggestion to you.

Aside from this, London is a fabulous city, Paris is nice (but somewhat overrated in my book), but France as a nation is fantastic, and Amsterdam is, well, Amsterdam. Have a blast!
 
vafi88
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RE: Backpacking Through Europe This Summer, Tips?

Thu Jan 26, 2006 2:06 pm

BDKLEZ - thanks for the suggestion, I completely spaced the 1$ airlines in Europe, instead of paying 90$ for a train ticket from London to paris, I can buy a flight for 30$... SWEEET!

Thanks guys, for your suggestions!
I'd like to elect a president that has a Higher IQ than a retarted ant.
 
whitehatter
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RE: Backpacking Through Europe This Summer, Tips?

Thu Jan 26, 2006 4:23 pm

Quoting BDKLEZ (Reply 7):
Don't forget, Europe is pretty much sewn up by these two!
So if you need to go somewhere, and you want it cheap and cheerful.........

which takes away the whole point of backpacking.

Quoting Vafi88 (Reply 9):
BDKLEZ - thanks for the suggestion, I completely spaced the 1$ airlines in Europe, instead of paying 90$ for a train ticket from London to paris, I can buy a flight for 30$... SWEEET!

then you might as well not bother coming.

The whole point of backpacking is to see the place you are visiting. If you just want to fly on lowcosts around the place, you might as well go to Florida and join the rest of the fat, lazy tourists on a cruise.

get off your arse and fire up Google. Look for coach and train tickets with people like Virgin Trains, SNCF and National Express which you can book in advance, and also cheap deals for young people on surface travel.

http://www.nationalexpress.com/home/hp.cfm
http://www.nationalexpress.com/eurolines/home/hp.cfm

there's two to start with. London to Paris and back from as little as £3 each way on a coach.
Lead me not into temptation, I can find my own way there...
 
Timology
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RE: Backpacking Through Europe This Summer, Tips?

Thu Jan 26, 2006 5:16 pm

Since you'll be in Holland, you could check out some other things. You can accross the country bij train with the NS (trains) within 2 hours, so I'd say check some things out.

Here are some sites to help you out:

www.visitholland.com
http://www.goholland.com/
"Arm in arm we are the harmless sociopaths"
 
Bofredrik
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RE: Backpacking Through Europe This Summer, Tips?

Thu Jan 26, 2006 5:29 pm

Take a bus! Most of the European countries have very good and cheap buses between cities, domestic and from country to country. It is cheaper than trains and you see a lot more. Some companies have a system without booking. Is it full will they send a extra bus.

Do not forget to visit a Scandinavian country! It is close to UK, Holland & Germany etc so take the chance to visit us here!

Official Website of the Scandinavian Tourist Boards in North America.
http://www.goscandinavia.com/
 
columba
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RE: Backpacking Through Europe This Summer, Tips?

Thu Jan 26, 2006 6:04 pm

My cousin and her friend are backpacking through Europe this year, too.
They will going by train using a Eurorail ticket which I can also recommand you.
If you come to Germany I would recommand you of course to visit my hometown Berlin and one of the most beautiful cities in Germany "Dresden".
From Dresden you could also vist the "Elbsandsteingebirge" which is a fantastic landscape of mountains and the river "Elbe" and not that overrun by American and Japanese tourists as the Rhine area.
Since this area is very close to the Czeque border I also would recommand to visit Prague which is also a great city.

If you want to travel by train there is an Intercity train that passes all this cities and even more. It is the Intercity Hamburg-Vienna which passes Berlin, Dresden, Prague and Budapest. This would be a very interesting route with many great cities.
Air Berlin - gone but not forgotten
 
NoUFO
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RE: Backpacking Through Europe This Summer, Tips?

Thu Jan 26, 2006 8:54 pm

Quoting Vafi88 (Reply 4):
I don't think I can 'walk' from london to paris

Ahem ... not really, no, but I wondered if you wanted to walk after visiting both cities.

Anyway, if you are more keen on visiting cities, London, Paris and Amsterdam are a great choice. But maybe you want to replace one city, i.e. Amsterdam with Barcelona or Rome or maybe you want to add one of those cities to your itinerary. Thus you would see a mediterrean city as well.

From AMS to FRA: Take the train via Cologne, either the high speed ICE or a somewhat slower IC along Rhine valley.

If I were you, I'd consider visiting southern France (the Alsace with Strasbourg and Provence). Then continue to either BCN or FRA via Freiburg depending on the time you can spend.
I support the right to arm bears
 
Delta4eva
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RE: Backpacking Through Europe This Summer, Tips?

Fri Jan 27, 2006 12:53 am

Too bad you won't be able to hit up some of the untouristy destinations. Last summer I went backpacking through Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Italy, and Spain.....It was the time of my life...and my favorite places were the ones with the fewest tourists (Slovenia, Croatia). Be prepared to have a blast.

We used Eurail pass....the 15 day travel period one...and we found that we could have saved more money if we had just bought the tickets for each sector while we were there, and we did a lot of traveling in the 15 days. Many of the trains (mostly in Italy and Spain) required an additional fee to make a reservation. You can just hop on most of the trains in Germany if you have the Eurail pass w/ out any additional fees.
FLY DELTA JETS
 
Delta4eva
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RE: Backpacking Through Europe This Summer, Tips?

Fri Jan 27, 2006 12:54 am

and one more thing.... try to book the hostels about a day or two in advance because they can sell out. so just use the phone at one of your hostel to call ahead to the next one a day before you leave.
FLY DELTA JETS
 
Jaws707
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RE: Backpacking Through Europe This Summer, Tips?

Sat Jan 28, 2006 12:07 am

On this topic I have a couple of questions to ask. I am planning on going to Europe this may for about 3 weeks. My friend and I are looking into two possible treks, but we can only pick one. Basically either the north trip which would be England, France, Germany, Amsterdam, and Belgium or the south trip that would be Spain, Italy, Greece, Southern France and Switzerland. Does anyone have suggestions on which trip to take? I have only been to Poland and he has never been to Europe. I was thinking the southern trip mainly because it would be warmer. Also how much would an average hostel cost per night? Are most of the hostels clean? Is it safe to leave a backpack there overnight while going out? What is the differnce in speed between the high speed trains and the regular trains? We have never done this type of thing, so any inpuy is appreciated.
 
Marambio
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RE: Backpacking Through Europe This Summer, Tips?

Sat Jan 28, 2006 12:12 am

Quoting NoUFO (Reply 14):
If I were you, I'd consider visiting southern France (the Alsace with Strasbourg and Provence)

Ach so, since when is Alsace region, with its capital city Strasbourg, in southern France?  Wink

Saludos,
Marambio
Aerolíneas Argentinas - La Argentina que levanta vuelo
 
MD11junkie
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RE: Backpacking Through Europe This Summer, Tips?

Sat Jan 28, 2006 2:53 am

Quoting Marambio (Reply 18):
Ach so, since when is Alsace region, with its capital city Strasbourg, in southern France?

Saludos,
Marambio

I think NoUFO meant Southern Germany  Wink Big grin

Cheers! wave 
Gastón - The MD11 Junkie
There is no such thing as Boeing vs Airbus as the queen of the skies has three engines, winglets and the sweetest nose!
 
Matt72033
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RE: Backpacking Through Europe This Summer, Tips?

Sat Jan 28, 2006 2:56 am

avoid France! it smells funny!
not to mention its full of french!  Wink
 
NoUFO
Posts: 7397
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RE: Backpacking Through Europe This Summer, Tips?

Sat Jan 28, 2006 3:07 am

Quoting Marambio (Reply 18):
Ach so, since when is Alsace region, with its capital city Strasbourg, in southern France?

It is, because I say so.  Wink
Ok, my fault, should have said southern France (Provence) and than back via Alsace and Freiburg to FRA.
I support the right to arm bears
 
Stratofish
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RE: Backpacking Through Europe This Summer, Tips?

Sat Jan 28, 2006 9:40 am

Well, "doing the Eurorail thing" is more fun but going for lowcost airlines will save you big $$$.
Make sure you check plenty of them: easyjet, Sterling, Virgin Express, German Wings, vueling, dba ...to name just the best (IMHO). www.skyscanner.net might help, haven't used them myself yet.

And before you go check this site: www.bugeurope.com
They offer comprehensive (and free) information and the hostel reviews offer (more or less) true and unbiased views. I myself have contributed a few hostel reviews for their Australian counterpart.

Oh, and get a Lonely Planet!
Their Europe version is said to be a tad better than the Let's Go.
The Metro might be the Sub(optimal)way
 
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usxguy
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RE: Backpacking Through Europe This Summer, Tips?

Sat Jan 28, 2006 9:52 am

I goofed. DER and RailEurope merged... you can get a lot of information from RailEurope/DER's site: http://www.raileurope.com

Btw, as long as you aren't in a shared room, I would assume its safe to leave your pack there. Although the only time I've left a backpack was while we were hiking to the summit, and even then it was hung in a tree using rope :P
xx
 
ltbewr
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RE: Backpacking Through Europe This Summer, Tips?

Sat Jan 28, 2006 12:56 pm

One of the best things you can do is Prepare and Plan. Get a copy (or look at one first at a library or a bookstore) of the "Let's Go" or "Rough Guide" travel guides. Both are targeted to 'backpackers' and can give some good general ideas of how, when and what to see, as well as basic info that can help you decide what to do and see. Check around with people where you go to school to find out what they did and their advice. Don't be too rigid in your plans, as situations can change, weather, you find someting you want to follow up with or you could end up traveling with others (maybe some nice babe, unless your traveling companion is a woman)
Do be careful of alcohol use and avoid drugs. Alcohol can make you more probable to be injured, you are in a strange place and you can make bad judgements. Drug laws very so much you must be VERY careful. While Holland is quiet liberal as to pot, they and all other places are bad for anything heavier.
One of the most basic things to remember an old saying: bring half as much luggage and twice as much money. As to 'money' Your ATM account card can usually be used in Europe. Just check with your bank's website and account information as to the fees for overseas withdrawals, which can include a 1-2% fee for money exchange and $1-6 per transaction for foreign ATM use. Hope your account is cheap on these fees, or change your account for one with cheaper fees. You can also get pre-paid debit cards from VISA and Mastercharge you can use at ATM's or like a credit card. both are a lot safer than bringing a lot of USA $$$'s or the hassles of Traveler's Checks. Check you local banks for details. My Niece used one in the UK when she traveled there in August 2004 and found it very easy and good to use.
Do get a International Youth Hostal membership and card. Find their website for further info. Hostels are not only cheap, but often convenient to areas you want to see and a great place to meet people from all over the world.
Also don't brag/show off you are a USA citizen as many will want to argue with you over President Bush and over the Iran war, other issues.
 
MD-90
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RE: Backpacking Through Europe This Summer, Tips?

Sat Jan 28, 2006 1:59 pm

My sister backpacked through Europe for three weeks in May of last year. She and two of her friends (all female) flew to Rome ($700 on Delta), visited Florence, Venice, Milan, and on into Germany (I remember Berlin and Dresden) and Austria (Salzburg), and flew out of Amsterdam. They skipped France, and Greece because they thought it was too dangerous (all good looking Tri-Delts).

They used a railpass to get around, which was convenient. Lorena bought a pack for the trip, which had a bigger pack and a smaller day pack, which she said was very convenient. She budgeted $5000 for the trip (girls like to go shopping).
 
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fxramper
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RE: Backpacking Through Europe This Summer, Tips?

Sat Jan 28, 2006 5:17 pm

Watch your back Jack...

Was all over western Europe for the better part of 3 summers in a row...

Guard that wallet with your life! I almost got mine jacked in MAD!  Sad
 
highpeaklad
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RE: Backpacking Through Europe This Summer, Tips?

Sun Jan 29, 2006 3:12 am

Check out a rail pass, low cost airlines are rarely low cost when you book at the last minute or want to change your plans or are travelling in peak season. A rail pass lets you go where you want and means you can easily change your plans if the weathers bad, or you get tips from other travellers.

Chris
Don't try to keep up with the Joneses - bring them down to your level !
 
kiwiandrew

RE: Backpacking Through Europe This Summer, Tips?

Sun Jan 29, 2006 3:13 am

Quoting Usnseallt82 (Reply 3):
If you stay in a hostel, don't touch anything on the walls that's white and crusty.

 rotfl 
 
skidmarks
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RE: Backpacking Through Europe This Summer, Tips?

Sun Jan 29, 2006 3:16 am

Hey whitehatter, if he flies Ryanair he'll be so far from where he wants to go it'll be like a hike getting there Big grin Problem solved!

Andy  old 
Growing old is compulsory, growing up is optional
 
KevinL1011
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RE: Backpacking Through Europe This Summer, Tips?

Sun Jan 29, 2006 3:18 am

Stay out of Hampshire, especially if cycling.

Cosec59 will run you down.  Wink

[Edited 2006-01-28 19:24:40]
474218, Carl, You will be missed.
 
cosec59
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RE: Backpacking Through Europe This Summer, Tips?

Sun Jan 29, 2006 3:20 am

Quoting Kevinl1011 (Reply 30):
Stay out of Hampshire, especially if cycling.

Cosec59 will run you down.

I would NEVER run anyone down
Rules are for the obedience of fools but for the guidance of wise men
 
KevinL1011
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RE: Backpacking Through Europe This Summer, Tips?

Sun Jan 29, 2006 3:27 am

Quoting Cosec59 (Reply 31):
I would NEVER run anyone down

Roger that, Cosec. Smiley face edited in!  biggrin 
474218, Carl, You will be missed.
 
jasepl
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RE: Backpacking Through Europe This Summer, Tips?

Sun Jan 29, 2006 4:24 am

Please stay away from the 2 dullest, most boring cities in Europe: Vienna, Brussels and Frankfurt.
 
BR076
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RE: Backpacking Through Europe This Summer, Tips?

Sun Jan 29, 2006 4:28 am

Quoting Jasepl (Reply 33):
Please stay away from the 2 dullest, most boring cities in Europe: Vienna, Brussels and Frankfurt.

all 4 of them  Wink
ú
 
jasepl
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Joined: Wed Jul 07, 2004 3:15 pm

RE: Backpacking Through Europe This Summer, Tips?

Sun Jan 29, 2006 4:31 am

Quoting BR076 (Reply 34):
all 4 of them

 rotfl 
In my defence, every single report card I got in school had the same thing to say: 'Jason must try harder at maths.'  Smile
 
eaglekeeper101
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RE: Backpacking Through Europe This Summer, Tips?

Sun Jan 29, 2006 4:33 am

Quoting Jasepl (Reply 33):
Please stay away from the 2 dullest, most boring cities in Europe: Vienna, Brussels and Frankfurt.

 Confused

Sorry sir, I couldn't resist.

In all seriousness, I do hope to do a nice slow trip through Europe sometime. Ill start with the Netherlands. I love Amsterdam!

England I can take care of in my spare time on weekends.  yes 
"The earth is but one country, and mankind its citizens." - Bahá'u'lláh
 
sw733
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RE: Backpacking Through Europe This Summer, Tips?

Sun Jan 29, 2006 6:12 am

While I agree that Brussels and Frankfurt are incredibly boring, Vienna is a fantastic city, and in fact is one of my favorites in Europe. It is certainly a bit pricy, right up there with Paris, but it's worth it. And as mentioned earlier, if you're in Vienna, you have to at least do a daytrip to Bratislava, Slovakia - a magnificent little city with some great deals. I have a picture of a couple friends and I in Bratislava in the summer of '04 with 40 oz. beers we got for $2. Fantastic.
 
jasepl
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Joined: Wed Jul 07, 2004 3:15 pm

RE: Backpacking Through Europe This Summer, Tips?

Sun Jan 29, 2006 6:37 am

Quoting Eaglekeeper101 (Reply 36):
Sorry sir, I couldn't resist

Are you confused about my opinion on these cities? Or about my first saying 2 cities and then mentioning 3?  Wink

Quoting SW733 (Reply 37):
While I agree that Brussels and Frankfurt are incredibly boring, Vienna is a fantastic city, and in fact is one of my favorites in Europe. It is certainly a bit pricy, right up there with Paris, but it's worth it. And as mentioned earlier, if you're in Vienna, you have to at least do a daytrip to Bratislava, Slovakia - a magnificent little city with some great deals. I have a picture of a couple friends and I in Bratislava in the summer of '04 with 40 oz. beers we got for $2. Fantastic.

For some reason, I found Vienna to be incredibly boring. Great to look at, no doubt. But boring.

As for Bratislava, I would do the opposite - make BTS my main destination and make a day trip to VIE! I spent a week in Bratislava and had the best time. I found it to be the complete opposite of Vienna - dull, grey, not very pretty city. But great fun!
 
OttoPylit
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RE: Backpacking Through Europe This Summer, Tips?

Wed Feb 08, 2006 8:48 am

My advice would be not to go.

Backpacking through Europe? Staying in hostels? Am I the only one who has seen the movie "Hostel?" Two Americans backpacking through Europe, meet a couple hot chicks in Slovakia, then get lured away, only to be sliced and diced in some sicko dungeon where people pay to kill other people. The first half of the movie is pure porno, the second half of the movie is pure gore. I would recommend watching it and as soon as the first person dies, leave.

Just from what I did see in the movie did not leave me with any longing want to go through Europe. I took a trip in March 05 to Nurnberg, Germany via Frankfurt and a 3 hr train ride. Didn't exactly blow my socks off. Don't get me wrong, it was interesting and the old buildings and architecture attracted my attention, but was overrall unimpressed, although I know Nurnberg is probably not the most tourist driven city to visit in Germany. I was astonished by the freedom of nudity in almost everything and the willing honesty of the citizens when it came to buses and trains(no subway turnstiles, etc.). That wouldn't last 2 seconds over in the U.S. I did end up getting a respiratory infection on the flight over and spent the better part of a week in German grocery stores trying to find cough medicine that would actually help me since I speak no German and my friend who did couldn't always be with me to translate. Then I had to travel back to FRA by myself on the train and kept worrying if I would know just when to get off. Reading flughafen(sp?) on the little sign eased my worries when I got there. Then having to go through 2 security checkpoints just to get to the gate from the ticket counters? Geesh.

But overrall, very nice people and everyone was willing to at least try to go out of their way to help.


OttoPylit
I don't have a microwave, but I do have a clock that occasionally cooks shit.
 
dinker225
Posts: 984
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RE: Backpacking Through Europe This Summer, Tips?

Wed Feb 08, 2006 5:45 pm

A great place to exchange ideas on backpacking would be thorntree.lonelyplanet.com. I spent a month this winter backpacking thru Spain. Had a blast. Can't wait to go back and check out some more of europe.

Dinker
Two rules in aviation, don't hit anything and don't run out of gas, cause if you run out of gas yer gonna hit something.

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