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Trip to Europe

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diamondlil
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Post by diamondlil » Wed October 8th, 2008, 9:13 am

[quote=""michellemoran""]Oh... I bet we did the same tour!!!! That's how I first went to Carcassonne. Did they take you there, too?

And why no traveling?[/quote]

I didn't get to go to Carcassonne. We went to Aix-en-Provence. I often think that as great as travelling when you are young is, there is also a sense in which travel is wasted on the young. When I was travelling I didn't know anywhere near as much as I do now, and so would have been interested in a place like Carcassonne, but not as fascinated as I would be if I went there now.

No travelling for me at the moment because I am a single parent with little support from the ex, and am paying a mortgage, so at this point in time the priorities aren't the same as they were when I spent years away from home, not only living but taking every opportunity to see as much as possible.
Last edited by diamondlil on Wed October 8th, 2008, 9:22 am, edited 1 time in total.
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diamondlil
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Post by diamondlil » Wed October 8th, 2008, 9:21 am

[quote=""Ash""]Tralfalgar? Oh dear, we saw these tour members, usually 30-50 in a group, corralled and shuffled from place to place. I remember watching some in the Uffuzi and and I couldn't believe that they actually had time to take anything in! No, I do not recommend tours, unless they are local (like the wonderful Cornish one we took of Iron Age sites or the one touring Hadrian's Wall from Hexam) or ones with number limits (there are some that are limited to 15, but they tend to be expensive), or ones that allow you much free time in each city you go.

There are some good youth tours, but again, be careful of how much they try to cram in within a short time, and be careful of the amount of supervision the teens are given. The Contiki one mentioned above looks worth exploring.

I think you can easily do a capital city tour in the amount of time you have, without a tour, if you prepare yourself well in advance (and with the internet, there's so much to help you prepare!)[/quote]

There are advantages for all different types of touring - groups like Trafalgar, backpacking, more upscale independent travelling. I was a long way from home the first time, knew that I wanted to go to Europe, but always knew that for me, it was a lot about getting a taste for the places that I might want to get back to later. Later may well still be coming, but hopefully it will come!

A lot also depends on the quality of the tour leader, and of the personal choices that a person makes. I missed a couple of the day trips because whilst they may well have been fabulous, I then got the chance to wander through a city and see other things. For example, growing up my mother never took us to art galleries and things so I would not have normally been interested in going to any, but I hooked up with one of the other tour members in Madrid and spent a fantastic day at the Prado and another art gallery, and that day changed my perception of art galleries, to the point that if we go to the city I often take my son to the art gallery, even if it is just to see one room.

Smaller tour groups are great too, no doubting, but some times are more expensive, and not always practical in terms of getting to starting points etc.
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Post by michellemoran » Wed October 8th, 2008, 6:50 pm

Later may well still be coming, but hopefully it will come!
It will definitely come. And just think of how lovely your country is! Australia is the trip of a lifetime for many people, and you're living there!!
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Post by Tanzanite » Thu April 9th, 2009, 4:57 pm

Since my original post about this, my trip has changed somewhat. Instead of my daughter, my husband is going and due to finances, we are significantly shortening the trip and will be coming to London the end of April/early May for 5 days. I have Hilton points to use for the hotel and there are several Hilton family hotels (Doubletree, Embassy Suites, Hampton) in the area. If any Londoners are familiar with any of those hotels and the neighborhoods they are in, any suggestions for where to stay (or where not to stay) would be greatly appreciated.

Our primary focus on the trip will be The Tower, Westminster, some of the Henry VIII exhibits (this is why we are going ahead and coming this year rather than putting it off until next year which would probably be the prudent thing to do, but my husband didn't want me to be disappointed at missing the special exhibits), possibly Hampton Court and any other places anyone could suggest.

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Post by cw gortner » Thu April 9th, 2009, 5:43 pm

Hampton Court is a short train ride from London and, in my opinion, not to be missed. One of the most beautiful, extant 16th century palaces in Europe and the only Tudor one. You must go. You'll fall in love with it.
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Post by Ariadne » Thu April 9th, 2009, 6:46 pm

I'd recommend the National Portrait Gallery (looks like they're having a Henry VIII exhibit at the time) plus it's an experience to see in person so many portraits you've previously seen only in books! Last time my husband and I were in London, we took a short train ride (90 minutes) to Canterbury and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Many of the cultural sites, including the cathedral, are an easy walk from the train station.

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Post by Vanessa » Thu April 9th, 2009, 9:47 pm

Hampton Court is definitely a must! It's gorgeous. My cousin lives in Hampton and we always like to visit Hampton Court while we're there. I feel like Alice in Wonderland when I'm walking around it - with all the topiary and perfectly shaped trees, I keep expecting to see the White Rabbit pop out looking at his pocket watch!! LOL.
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Post by juleswatson » Fri April 10th, 2009, 6:26 pm

All the London suggestions are great. Hampton Court is a must do, but if it's a nice day it's a great idea to take a boat trip up the Thames. You go down to Westminster Pier (the one below Big Ben near the Boudica statue) and take a ferry trip up, you get to sit in the sun and have a drink and watch London go by - it's just so lovely. Then you get to see HC from the river. If you are into museums I'd also recommend The Museum of London. It is not far from The Tower, it is near the extant bits of Roman walls, and has great Roman and Saxon and Tudor stuff in it. Then you can walk to St Pauls, climb the dome, and also it is easy to walk across the Millennium Bridge to the south bank and just stroll along looking back at the City. Fab! Have fun.
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Post by EC2 » Fri April 10th, 2009, 9:09 pm

If you have time, drop in the Temple Church and pay your respects to William Marshal. Not a lot to see there but a lovely hidden part of London in the city centre and the Courts of Justice are only across the road. It'd only be a short visit sort of thing but you could perhaps fit it somewhere in your itinerary!
I'll just miss you. I'm in London next Wednesday and Thursday giving talks at Kensington Library and Wimbledon Library. Then I'm there again May 18th for a meeting with my publishers.
Hope you enjoy your visit. Can't help with other venues as I generally only go for the day and if I stay over it's at the New Cavendish Club off Oxford Street because I belong to an organisation that gets concessions there.
The British Museum is fascinating and they've just opened up the new Medieval gallery. I'm going to try and get there next week for a look.
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Leo62
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Post by Leo62 » Fri April 10th, 2009, 9:45 pm

All the London suggestions are great, but beware! The journey from London to Canterbury is a bit of a pain. If you only have 5 days I'd give it a miss...

I'd recommend the Museum of London too - gives a fascinating tour of 2,000-odd years of London history. If you go to St Pauls and it's a nice day, check out Lincoln's Inn Fields for a peaceful, atmospheric walk. Oh and the Tate Modern (Borough underground station) is great for a bit of contrast to all that history. And you can gorge yourself on some yummy food from Borough Market on your way back :D The best way to see London by night is to take a wander along the south bank from Tower Bridge to London Bridge. Great views (and some great pubs and restaurants if all that exercise becomes too much ;) ).

If you fancy some relevant pre-trip (or during trip!) reading material, check out the fascinating London: A Biography by Peter Ackroyd.

Have a great time :D

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