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Old 08-10-2011, 02:29 PM
 
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So im 35 and am planning a trip to Europe with my mother whos nearly 60. We havent either ever been and im begining to think it impossible to narrow the trip to a few countries. We plan on using the eurorail and flying into Paris due to its low costs from the States. My first choices are Prague, Amsterdam, Rome ,Madrid, Barcelona. Also the trip is in November so weather can be a factor. Any help would be great!!
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Old 08-10-2011, 02:42 PM
 
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Rome and Florence.
Barcelona and Madrid.
Either Prague or Vienna.

Whatever you choose, my best advice is "please do not cram too many cities in two weeks", most people who do so end up seeing virtually nothing, exhausted, and with a checklist very poorly filled.

Enjoy every minute of your trip and take the time to appreciate things on a slower pace. There is a huge amount of things to see in each of these cities (and Rome and Florence are amazing!!!). Please, don't go to Rome without going to Florence, it is so close and so incredible!!!

Sometimes just a leisurely walk after a nice meal will bring you a lot of joy, since there is beauty virtually everywhere you look.
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Old 08-11-2011, 08:29 AM
 
Location: Colorado
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I've only been to one of those cities (to my shame) but I would recommend Vienna. You can take guided bus tours around the city and to the Schonbrunn palace and everyone speaks excellent English. If you stay fairly close to the centre (ie; just outside the Ringstrasse) you can walk to just about any of the sights such as the Opera house, a couple of the old palaces, shop, eat at various famous restaurants (eg; the Sacher hotel for Sachertorte), go see the Lippizaner horses rehearse which is free or just wander around the old city centre streets and parks.

Bear in mind a couple of things: most European restaurants and shops still do not accept credit cards. Some do, but not the majority so take cash and/or traveller's checks.
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Old 08-11-2011, 10:33 AM
 
Location: The Chatterdome in La La Land, CaliFUNia
38,854 posts, read 20,157,720 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chilaili View Post
I've only been to one of those cities (to my shame) but I would recommend Vienna. You can take guided bus tours around the city and to the Schonbrunn palace and everyone speaks excellent English. If you stay fairly close to the centre (ie; just outside the Ringstrasse) you can walk to just about any of the sights such as the Opera house, a couple of the old palaces, shop, eat at various famous restaurants (eg; the Sacher hotel for Sachertorte), go see the Lippizaner horses rehearse which is free or just wander around the old city centre streets and parks.

Bear in mind a couple of things: most European restaurants and shops still do not accept credit cards. Some do, but not the majority so take cash and/or traveller's checks.
WOW! Thanks for the info ... I'll have to ensure that I have travelers checks when I travel to Europe (not sure when THAT's gonna happen though ...)
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Old 08-11-2011, 11:06 AM
 
Location: California Mountains
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Originally Posted by Chatteress View Post
WOW! Thanks for the info ... I'll have to ensure that I have travelers checks when I travel to Europe (not sure when THAT's gonna happen though ...)
I wouldn't be bothered with TC (traveler's checks.) If you want to have cash on hand for smaller purchases (coffee, pastries, open-air markets,) the simplest way is to use your ATM card and withdraw them. You do have to pay a transaction fee to your bank each time you withdraw, so it's wise to take the maximum daily limit.

As far as "most European restaurants and shops still do not accept credit cards", I found the statement untrue. We used credit cards 80% of the time for the seven years we lived in Italy while visiting almost all the countries in Europe. We never had more than 50 Euros at a time in our wallets, and never in my life had I used TC.

When I first moved there, Euro did not exist and I would be crazy to buy TC in dollars using Italian lira (a self-destructive act, for the exchange was horrible against the lira). Buying TC in lira to use in Germany or England was even worse because the lira was worth practically nothing against half of other European currencies. Therefore, I simply used my American Visa card and that's that.

When the Euro became an official currency, my Italian Visa card was accepted everywhere both within and outside the EU circle.

When my husband finally retired and joined me, he used his American Visa together with my Italian Visa when we traveled. We never had any problem with either card.

Last edited by Ol' Wanderer; 08-11-2011 at 11:15 AM..
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Old 08-11-2011, 01:03 PM
 
Location: Colorado
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I am not talking about Italy. Most Austrian places of business still will not accept CCs. The hotels probably do or tour operators, but smaller independent entities do NOT like them and may refuse them. You can very easily check at the doors for the CC signs before you go in. Or you can use you card in local ATM machines altho you might want to check with your bank or CC company before you leave what their fees are for that.

P.S. I had problems using my american CC in London just last year even tho the card was perfectly good, so don't take anything for granted
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Old 08-11-2011, 01:42 PM
 
Location: SoCal
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If you do plan to use credit (or even bank debit) cards when traveling, call your financial institution first and tell them you'll be traveling. Otherwise they might put a possible-fraud hold on the card, and that's a huge nuisance to try to fix from overseas (ask me how I know ... )
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Old 08-11-2011, 02:15 PM
 
Location: California Mountains
1,448 posts, read 2,586,905 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chilaili View Post
I am not talking about Italy. Most Austrian places of business still will not accept CCs. The hotels probably do or tour operators, but smaller independent entities do NOT like them and may refuse them. You can very easily check at the doors for the CC signs before you go in. Or you can use you card in local ATM machines altho you might want to check with your bank or CC company before you leave what their fees are for that.

P.S. I had problems using my american CC in London just last year even tho the card was perfectly good, so don't take anything for granted

I was not talking about Italy or "most Autrian places of business" either. I was talking about "almost all the countries in Europe." Up until 3 years ago, (we returned to the States in Nov 2008), we spent every other winter in Austria because my husband is a skier. While he enjoyed himself on the mountains, I visited Christmas markets in Salzburg and Linz. I used my cc there for everything but the trivial purchases.

I also used my cc in Scotland, England, Germany, Czech, Hungary, France, Belgium, Denmark, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Spain, Norway, Bulgaria, Croatia, Poland, Sweden, and Switzerland. And no, we never used tour operators or large hotels. We traveled the frugal way, with 1-cent flights from Ryan Air or drastic discounts on the trains, and we slept in the least expensive local hostelries. The only time we had to pay cash for accommodation was to a couple in Söll (Austrian Ski Welt) who rented out the ground floor part of their private residence to us for the week before Christmas until after New Year. They could not accept cc because they had not received the license to operate a B&B in time for the holidays. They explained the situation to us beforehand, and we agreed to pay cash.

I do not take anything for granted; life in Europe did not allow me to do that. What I share here is my own experience gained from more than 2/3 of a decade living in a European country, and 30+ years of traveling in Europe (30+ years from my part, 40+ years for my husband); I do not take a few instances and make them a general rule.

Of course, there would be some mom & pop operations where cc is not accepted, but that practice is not a general rule in Europe. Right here in SW FL, there are several places I frequent where cc are not welcome. It's not a general practice in FL, and it's not a general practice in Austria either.

Last edited by Ol' Wanderer; 08-11-2011 at 02:37 PM..
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Old 08-11-2011, 02:16 PM
 
Location: Eindhoven, Netherlands
10,422 posts, read 12,409,364 times
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Only European countries i would go to in November...

-Portugal
-Spain
-Southern France
-Central & Southern Italy

and maybe Southern Croatia & Greece
Average temperature will be around 65 degrees in all those countries


All the other countries in Europe are to cold and get almost no sunshine around that time.
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Old 08-11-2011, 02:26 PM
 
3,762 posts, read 3,800,940 times
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Croatia, croatia, croatia, croatia!!!!

By far and away the best country in Europe that I've been to, and certainly one of the most beautiful ones (I've been to all of Western Europe and some Eastern). Go before Croatia gets into the EU, prices are lower there for the most part except Dubrovnik and it is absolutely stunning almost everywhere you go. If your mom has no trouble walking, Croatia should near the tops of your list. Need convincing? Just google image search Dubrovnik, Plitvice Lakes National Park, Split, Zadar, Mljet Island, and Hvar. Absolutely amazing and not SUPER over crowded with tourists yet like Italy, France, and Spain. Credit cards are taken almost everywhere, just be aware, receipts in Europe often times have your entire credit card number printed on them (they don't have the Xs), so always take your receipts.
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