Monday, January 12, 2015

Travel Planning Monday II - Where to Go and Transportation

Since I was 2 years old (which hardly counts) I have never been on a plane. Not a little one, not a big one, not anything. Is it very strange then that I'm more than a nervous about flying all the way to Europe? I hope not.

We bought airline tickets back in early December, once we had nailed down the correct dates. We have 2 stops on the flight into Germany, and 1 stop on the flight back to Texas. Part of me is pretty happy about that because I get to get off the terrifying planes for a few hours in between and don't have to be cooped up for a straight flight. The other part of me is a little anxious about dealing with airports, losing baggage, missing a flight, and that kind of thing.  What do you prefer? My friend is a little more excited about flying than I am!  ;)

Palace in Karlsruhe, where we're headed.
Our second question regarding transportation was about getting around once we're actually in Europe. There are the options of renting a car, getting a taxi, using the bus or taking the train! Yipes. 

For the most part when we're in a town or city, I think we'll be doing a lot of walking. We really want to see the country and the culture instead of flying by all the little things. For one week of the trip, we'll be travelling with my aunt and uncle and the plan is to rent a car since we'll be stopping at all sorts of places along the way.  
For the remainder of the time, when we're travelling more on our own, we've purchased a Eurail 4-country train pass that is valid for 10 travel days within 2 months. I had to figure out how exactly a travel day worked and it is really cool... Basically, one travel day lasts from midnight to midnight on whatever day. Once we get on a train on a certain day we can ride as many trains as we want until midnight of that day, and that counts for only one of our travel days. Even better is if we need to make a longer trip - we can take a night train that leaves after 7pm and arrives after 4am. That train ride doesn't take 2 travel days, it only counts into the day we arrive. I'm definitely using that to our advantage!

The Black Forest - in south Germany
Also on our decision-making list was the question of where can we all go?  Obviously, we want to go everywhere, and depressingly, we can't go everywhere. So we had to decide what was important and what we could afford and what was not too far away. Harder than it sounds.  :(
We finally settled on "only" visiting 4 countries.
Germany (obviously). We plan to take day trips out and about so that we can see the countryside and small towns and the like. Maybe even snow! We also have some various stops on our way to Austria.
France, because its right across the border from my aunt and uncle's town. We are going to be in Paris for up to 4 days and the three main things to see are the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, and the Notre Dame. You can't imagine how strangely excited I am to see the organ in the Notre Dame!
Austria, because I cannot refuse the world of music!  We'll be spending several days in Vienna and visiting the Spanish Riding School, and some historical musical places (Mozart lived there....).
And.... Italy, where we'll be spending at least a week. Venice for an afternoon, Rome for 2-3 days, Florence for a day, and a smaller town for about 2-3 days as well.  
I'm still working out a more exact itinerary, but that's what we have so far, and its quite exciting! 

What would be the place you would most want to go to in Europe, and why?


  1. When are you going? I'll be in Belgium and Paris in early March. :)

    1. We'll be there from mid-February to late March. We're doing Paris in late February and we'll in Austria the first week of March! :)

  2. super exciting trip!!! hope you love it! and the whole air travel thing really isn't bad - just a bit of a hassle, but it'll fly by (haha i'm punny...) :)

  3. I hope that you have a wonderful trip! I honestly don't know what all I would want to see, but the Spanish Riding School would definitely be one. Other than that, everything.