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Old 08-31-2014, 02:33 PM
 
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So I'm going on vacation and the first stop is Ireland. Then we're going into London, and then taking the train to Paris.

After that... a train to Copenhagen is 10 hours... so that might be out of the picture.

What are the spots? I want to keep it local unless I hear of something awesome that is far out. I hear Barcelona and Germany are both great, and we will probably go to Geneva or Zurich, because I hear Switzerland is beautiful.

I want to see how people live.

What's good?
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Old 08-31-2014, 02:41 PM
 
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Switzerland and Bavaria. Lake Constanz. The towns south of Munich. Google the "Romantic Road". Also: Salzburg, Austria.
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Old 08-31-2014, 04:00 PM
 
Location: Gatineau, QC, Canada
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You can basically go in any direction and find something very interesting. A lot of people just completely ignore the heartland and West coast of France. It looks quite beautiful, and I'm sure there are many a place designed for the locals where you should find exactly what you're looking for.

Northern Germany might not be the most awe-inspiring thing for you if this is a first trip to Europe. Northern and Eastern Germany is very modern and doesn't always look like the quaint European image that you are fed from travel brochures. It's quite post-industrial-looking in many cities and towns. In the Ruhrgebiet area in the West, they have some sort of campaign called Industriekultur which is literally Industry Culture, or tourism surrounding old factories and resource manufacturing:

Route-Industriekultur*-*Route-Industriekultur

I actually do really like Eastern Germany for reasons beyond cosmetic, though. Cities like Berlin and Leipzig have a cool, artsy feel to it. Filled with counterculture, art, music, and film. It's a place for the young and restless and I really enjoyed that vibe. I return to Berlin often, but haven't spent much time in Leipzig at all. Actually just hours. Dresden also looks great. The other benefit of Eastern Germany is that it's cheap.

South of Germany (Bavaria, Baden Württemberg) is more scenic and stereotypically German. There's the alps, lakes, meadows, etc. You could for example go to Munich, then down to Garmisch Partenkirchen, a small city with nice mountain views. By then you are close to Austria and/or Switzerland which is just natural beauty in every direction.

Conversely, you can do a much shorter trek straight out of Paris to the Netherlands or Belgium. People rave about Ghent and Bruges in Belgium, but not so much Brussels - which is the political and financial centre of the European Union. I suppose that creates more of a sterile, uptight vibe.
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