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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,

Long time not posting here.

We, The Boss and I, are now booked to a Euro vacation over 5 weeks through May and I wanted to ask for some advice, please.

I've only been outside of Australia once, to China of all places, so my travel experience is low. Also I'm not one of the well paid people so our budget is pretty small I think.

Our rough plan is to fly into Munich then Dublin to visit friends, back to Paris, Bern, Milan, Venice, Bologna, Florence, Rome, Athens, Istanbul, Troy to Kalyminos for 4-5 days of climbing then Athens and back to Oz..

I am hoping there is some company who does prepaid internet accounts and / or prepaid mobile phone accounts to cover (hopefully) most of these places. The only name I know is Alice.. for obvious reasons. Are there better companies or is each place different?

I have written to a mob in Italy about renting a multi or something from Milan to do our Italy section but don't have any answers back yet. I've seen adverts for Lease Peugeot I think, We 'might' change plans and re-arrange everything if this was a viable alternative. All we've done so far is fly in to Munich and fly out from Athens.. Any thoughts?

We are going to miss so much that we'd like to see and everything between our flights is open to change. We do have friends we wanted to see in Dublin though, Pity it's so far away. We've dropped out London and GB. (actually that was a coin toss this morning between London and Munich..) We are tempting to take our 'lucky' coin to do all our decision making at the moment, who know where we will end up. (freaks out the mrs though).

Most of our travel looks like trains or bus, a few flights but everything seems expensive.


Oh.. one big question.. Is there something like umm.. Greyhound Bus Lines through Europe with whom we can throw a box of stuff on and collect from a depot later? Kind of thinking we won't need our climbing gear between Paris and Athens, so can I whack it on a bus to collect later? Is postage cheap to send about 10 kg if I post it to hold at a hotel?

Thanks in anticipation..


Mal
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Two more (so Far )

Is there a universal number for assistance?? Like American 911 or our 112 / 000 ??

IF I was to get one of those Learn 'X' language is 60 minutes cd thingos.. is there one language better than others?? Sorry I'm ignorant , I can either speak (my version) of English or point at things and grunt. My answer to trying harder to be understood is to YELL LOUDER !! hahaha..
 

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Don't have an answer to all of your questions, but only some.

So, yes there is indeed a universal telephone number for emergency situations. It is: 112 and it's universal for all the european union countries. It is also good to know that's already pre-programmed on all mobile telephones (it usualy is on button "1", press it and then press the calling button to call it).

As for this:

IF I was to get one of those Learn 'X' language is 60 minutes cd thingos.. is there one language better than others?? Sorry I'm ignorant , I can either speak (my version) of English or point at things and grunt. My answer to trying harder to be understood is to YELL LOUDER !! hahaha..
I guess you'll be just fine with English, most if not all can be found translated in English (at least).

And as for mobile phone companies, try Vodafone and Tim (there are lots m but these are quite "big" ones).

Cheers from Athens,

Nikos
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks Nickos

Appreciate your posting. The Boss was impressed I thought to ask about emergency services number..

Very helpful.

The mobile thing, do you think that one sim card will cover most of western Europe?
 

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About the sim card-thing;

yes, it will probably cover the western europe, but as you travel from one country to another, you start to pay roaming charges etc, and it becomes pretty expensive, pretty fast. Don't even think about hooking your PC on to the phone and surfing on the cellular networks. Those cost a fortune.

What are you using the phone for? calling back home? calling within Europe? How about getting prepaid sim's from your destination countries? for like 10 EUR or 20 EUR a piece?

generally 112 is for the emergency/police in europe, there are exceptions.. there's also for example 118 for 'yellow pages' in some countries. I think 110 is also for police somewhere.. ?

you can dial 112 free of charge, even with out a sim in the phone. but that number is strictly for emergencies.. not for asking directions.. ;-P
 

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I've been to Sweden many times and to Denmark for a week. Yes, Europe is very expensive, which is why I wouldn't try to see so much in one trip. There are guides on saving money when traveling to Europe, but I don't have a website right now to show you. I'd say to only eat out once per day and buy food for the other meals. Alcohol is very expensive in some countries. Rent a car and get a Eurorail pass. Your bank debit card, if it's a Visa type, or similar, should work throughout Europe. You can save money by paying in cash though. Most ATM's should take your card. There are English speaking people throughout Europe, but some countries like France have a reputation of looking down on tourists who can't speak their language. Unless you are gifted at language, I don't think you have enough time to gain a working ability to speak any of them. I know in my case, using Rosetta Stone is slow and time consuming. I am not gifted at learning foreign languages. Internet cafes are common in Europe I think.
 

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Mal,

When we went I got a Telstra prepaid quadband phone cheap ($99.00) unlocked it $50.00 and put one of vroam's sim cards in it worked in the UK and Italy.http://www.vroam.com/ and you can top it up. You get your own phone number, it seemed to work quite well.

We leased a peugeot through http://www.drivetravel.com/ who are actually based in Australia, okay its Victoria. It worked out really well. Car was brand new, roadside assist was covered, insurance was covered and it was under warranty. At the end we just dropped it back at Malpensa. NB there are charges for picking up and dropping off outside of France.

Re having money over there, yes I took for immediate needs in GBP and a small amount of Euro, we had Visa but I also went to the NAB, who we bank with and got http://www.nab.com.au/wps/wcm/connect/nab/nab/home/personal_finance/1/5/5

and loaded it up with Euro which was good cos you paid up front, the exchange rate was set and you can take money out of ATM's anywhere just as you do at home. I think the ANZ also does the same kind of thing - can't know who you bank with:confused:

Re postage - we sent some stuff home from the Isle of Mann that we wouldn't need in Italy - was horrendously expensive and bear in mind Germany doesn't appear to have parcel post they seem to use DHL (ebay experiences) which makes it even more expensive.

Yes alcohol seemed very expensive, but then again they didn't seem to measure spirits the same way we do. Also, sitting down at a bar to have a drink can be very expensive, Venice - horrendously so, I think I also asked the jazz band to play something and that was just a stupid thing to do as that got added to the bill too - although I will always remember it.:D

For some accommodation I used this guy's website, or books - has stuff to suit most budgets http://www.sawdays.co.uk/

that is about all I can think of at present.
 

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Hi all,

Long time not posting here.

We, The Boss and I, are now booked to a Euro vacation over 5 weeks through May and I wanted to ask for some advice, please.

I've only been outside of Australia once, to China of all places, so my travel experience is low. Also I'm not one of the well paid people so our budget is pretty small I think.

Our rough plan is to fly into Munich then Dublin to visit friends, back to Paris, Bern, Milan, Venice, Bologna, Florence, Rome, Athens, Istanbul, Troy to Kalyminos for 4-5 days of climbing then Athens and back to Oz..

I am hoping there is some company who does prepaid internet accounts and / or prepaid mobile phone accounts to cover (hopefully) most of these places. The only name I know is Alice.. for obvious reasons. Are there better companies or is each place different? Your best bet would be a o2 or virgin pre-paid.. you can get them when you arrive in Germany

I have written to a mob in Italy about renting a multi or something from Milan to do our Italy section but don't have any answers back yet. I've seen adverts for Lease Peugeot I think, We 'might' change plans and re-arrange everything if this was a viable alternative. All we've done so far is fly in to Munich and fly out from Athens.. Any thoughts? Be careful about rentals in italy, I have heard alot of stories to due with insurances companys screwing folks

We are going to miss so much that we'd like to see and everything between our flights is open to change. We do have friends we wanted to see in Dublin though, Pity it's so far away. We've dropped out London and GB. (actually that was a coin toss this morning between London and Munich..) We are tempting to take our 'lucky' coin to do all our decision making at the moment, who know where we will end up. (freaks out the mrs though). This is not smart, trains have been know to sell out the cheap tickets days in advance...I have found myself driving because the trains were such a rip off... plan your trip. get a cheap rental in munich that can be returned at another location

Most of our travel looks like trains or bus, a few flights but everything seems expensive.


Oh.. one big question.. Is there something like umm.. Greyhound Bus Lines through Europe with whom we can throw a box of stuff on and collect from a depot later? Kind of thinking we won't need our climbing gear between Paris and Athens, so can I whack it on a bus to collect later? Is postage cheap to send about 10 kg if I post it to hold at a hotel?Thats what you will want to do, post it to where you will need it and then send back from there.. also We do have normal post here in Germany...DHL shipping is cheaper then the UK but not to AUS

Thanks in anticipation..


Mal
Plan your trip, shop around for places to stay (you will find some guest houses just as cheap and some hostles. I suggest doing a circle.. Munich-Prague-Berlin-Hannover-ADAM-LUX-PARIS-Frankfurt(fly)--ROME-FLORENCE-VENICE-SPLIT-DUBROVNIK(fly)--ATHENS.....etc
As for talking to the locals, english will do in all tourists spots..but remember mainland europeans that do speak english speak real english..not british/aussie slang. Try to speak like an american and you'll be fine. Just post up any other questions
 

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Alot is covered already above..

Definatly look into renting a car. try the large internationals like hertz avis and rent a wreck.

Get a GPS unit that covers "europe", there are some inexpensive ones out there for under £100/€150 and that will make stuff ALOT easier on you when it comes to navigation. Good place to check some prices: http://www.pricerunner.co.uk/ search GPS

Remember that you need an international drivers licens in some countries.

//amullo
 

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Thanks all..

Printed this off for reference..

One sleepless night to go..

No more volcanoes please.. hahaha..


Mal
Yippee! Have too much fun for us and I am glad that the volcano is behaving again. Have a friend in Iceland I sent him birthday greetings and asked him to make it stop - it seems to have worked.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Hello from Switzerland. arrived in Bern this arvo, Heading out to Interlaken for the day tomorrow. Wanted some adventure stuff but too late to really organise that.. so we will see about the mountain biking..

Flew out of Dublin the afternoon before the closed the airports again.

Heading to Milan on Sunday, doing factory tour on Tuesday.. NOW the time is starting to fly hahaha..

Oh disliked Paris, I'm probably the only one in the world..

Switzerland and Bavaria are some of the nicest areas I reckon.. so far..

Cheers

Mal
 

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Hello from Switzerland. arrived in Bern this arvo, Heading out to Interlaken for the day tomorrow. Wanted some adventure stuff but too late to really organise that.. so we will see about the mountain biking..

Flew out of Dublin the afternoon before the closed the airports again.

Heading to Milan on Sunday, doing factory tour on Tuesday.. NOW the time is starting to fly hahaha..

Oh disliked Paris, I'm probably the only one in the world..

Switzerland and Bavaria are some of the nicest areas I reckon.. so far..

Cheers

Mal
For sure your not the only one ...Paris is a total shithole.
 

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Agree on Paris.. Totally crap city.

Bologna is ok.. Nice food and the factory.. Good outlet across the road. Not much to see in the factory, but the museum is good.

VERY nice clothes shopes.

//amullo
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Today we did the tour at the Ducati factory, Bologna. We caught our first cab in Italy, I expected worse of the driver and was pleased he was pretty good. Jo wasn't so optimistic, and so was also not confident with his ability to make a dicision which lane he wanted to be in. You'd think she'd be used to that with me, probably explains why she drives most of the time.. hahaha.

The factory tour was terrific, there was supposed to be 7 of us on it but the other 5 didn't show. Jo and I had a guide all to ourselves. which was cool but I guess we moved through the factory too efficently. It was a shame becuase we both wanted to go througvh again. I was beautifully spotless and clean, nothing like my work hahaha.

Donatella , our guide, was lovely, she does 3 tours a day and speaks 5 languages. She said we missed out on Troy Bayliss because he was at the factory on Tuesday, dammit !. IIt seems the whole factory LOVES Troy.

We caught a train from Bologna to Florence in the afternoon. It took about 30 minutes of which about 25 was through the mountains. When I say through, I mean T H R O U G H !!.. tunnels.. nothing but flashing lights for emergency exits. I think this was why Jo wanted to catch trains, I asaid before we left we could just go from Roma St to Bowen hills and back.. I took some photos inside the tunner to remind her when we get home.

Our Florence hotel is just terrific, If I had to pick on anything it would be we open onto the bar/breakfast room. Otherwise it's huge and looking out the window is a huge Bassilica / church. The street is full of markets, lots of leather goods and trinkets. It's a shame we don't have a lot of room for souviners, or leather dress jackets.. hahaha.

Tomorrow we are off to see Pisa on a half day tour, We haven't really done many organised tours because of the cost but decided we should, the difference between catching the cab with a talkative driver this morning and the bus back to our hotel sold the cost to me just on information gleaned.

Friday we plan for a 6 hour bike tour through Tuscany to see some of the sights. It's under 20 km and includes lunch, but it's about 90 Euro.. We should be back by 4 pm and then jump on the train for Rome.
 

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I see you had a great time in Europe. But forgetting The Netherlands is a shame. :)

Amsterdam is the place to go. Relaxed people and the sightseeing is the best of Europe. And I would have taken you to visit the Superbikes race here in Assen.

Maybe next time. No worries, mate.
 

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I see you had a great time in Europe. But forgetting The Netherlands is a shame. :)

Amsterdam is the place to go. Relaxed people and the sightseeing is the best of Europe. And I would have taken you to visit the Superbikes race here in Assen.

Maybe next time. No worries, mate.
I think he made a smart choice. I lived in Holland for years.. nothing special. While some things are nice, alot of things are not. Much better off in LUX, Germany, N.Italy.
 
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