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Old 11th May 2015, 22:36   #226
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Default Re: Travelling to Europe. Need Feedback.

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Originally Posted by an_and View Post
Thankyou for all the advice. I agree with Jeroen that four five countries would be too taxing. Maybe my wife and kid travel into the Hague on the 25th. We spend 25th to 27th exploring the Hague and Amsterdam. Will look forward to your advice on what to do here.

27th I travel into Paris, either taking the bullet train or a flight (I have been told that flights are way more economical than the train). Park myself close to the Disneyland, cover the Disneyland in two-three days (Mon - Wed) keep two days for seeing around Paris and then travel to Switzerland.

My son is seven years old and may be 1.2-1.3 mtrs tall. so I do not know if that would be a problem.

As suggested by StarrySky, since travel to Rome is gonna eat into my time a lot, I should plan to travel back to Amsterdam from Switzerland and take the flight back to Mumbai.

Now I have no idea of where to go and what to do in Switzerland, and also no idea on the time required for the same.

While I can get an international license, how viable would it be for me to book a car given that I have no prior experience driving in any foreign land. I am thinking more of walking or taking public transport.

25 - Arrive in the Hague - roam around
26 - Explore the Hague (museum, etc) -
27 - Travel to Amsterdam / Explore
28 - Check out of the hotel, travel to Paris (need suggestions on mode of transport) - Check in, explore a little bit
29 - Disney?
30 - Disney?
1 - Disney?
2 - Local sight seeing in Paris
3 - Check out of paris - travel to switzerland
7 - travel to Amsterdam or travel back to India from Zurich.
Just did a kind of similar trip 2 months ago. Went to Amsterdam, and then Paris. While in Paris I did go to Disney. Here are my 2 bits -

If you like driving, do rent a car from Amsterdam to Paris. The drive is around 5.5 hours, maybe 6 but its a non tiring drive. Very easy too, I was surprised.

Check out this hotel near Disneyland, and about an hour outside Paris. Its got a train station close by too I believe -
http://www.marriott.com/hotels/trave...lle-de-france/

I managed a really good deal there, and the hotel is beautiful.

You will need possibly one day max for Disney.

Others have given sound advice on the rest.
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Old 12th May 2015, 00:10   #227
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Default Re: Travelling to Europe. Need Feedback.

About the Swiss Pass, you can contact a tourist information centre and take their help to find out if the Swiss Pass will really save you money (given your itinerary). When I had visited Switzerland, the tourist information office help me determine that a "Half Fare Card" would be more economical for me. That was because the Swiss Pass is not valid for some part of the trip to Jungfrauoch (whereas the Half Fare Card is) and also because I had planned to travel in First Class from Lucerne to Interlaken since the First Class coaches had panoramic windows.
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Old 12th May 2015, 01:00   #228
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Default Re: Travelling to Europe. Need Feedback.

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You are right. There are no tickets available to the summit till August. On the dates I will be there, there are tickets available to the 2nd floor, but only at 11:00 p.m. :-(
You do not need to reserve tickets to Summit. Just get the one that go till 2nd floor. From second floor tickets are always available to Summit. The queues are not very long there. So my advice would be to grab the available tickets to second floor and but Summit tickets from there.
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Old 12th May 2015, 02:12   #229
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Default Re: Travelling to Europe. Need Feedback.

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Originally Posted by akshay1234 View Post
Just did a kind of similar trip 2 months ago. Went to Amsterdam, and then Paris. While in Paris I did go to Disney. Here are my 2 bits -

If you like driving, do rent a car from Amsterdam to Paris. The drive is around 5.5 hours, maybe 6 but its a non tiring drive. Very easy too, I was surprised.

Check out this hotel near Disneyland, and about an hour outside Paris. Its got a train station close by too I believe -
http://www.marriott.com/hotels/trave...lle-de-france/

I managed a really good deal there, and the hotel is beautiful.

You will need possibly one day max for Disney.

Others have given sound advice on the rest.
Hey Akshay
Does one need an IDP while renting a car in France? Will my Indian licence work?
Thanks
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Old 12th May 2015, 09:01   #230
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Hey Akshay
Does one need an IDP while renting a car in France? Will my Indian licence work?
Thanks
Hi Akshay, as mentioned in my post on the last page, you do not require an IDP in Europe and france is not an exception. You can however always ask the rental company for clarity.
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Old 12th May 2015, 10:44   #231
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Default Re: Travelling to Europe. Need Feedback.

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Hey Akshay
Does one need an IDP while renting a car in France? Will my Indian licence work?
Thanks
I had carried one, but was never asked for it. I rented the car in Amsterdam though. I don't think you will require one.
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Old 12th May 2015, 10:51   #232
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Default Re: Travelling to Europe. Need Feedback.

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Originally Posted by Renjith_Mani View Post
Hi Anand

Paris and Switzerland cannot be covered comfortably in 10 days. You may have to forgo few attractions. Let me give some tips from the experience I had in visiting these places.

Please feel free to contact me for any further info on Paris and Swiss. Unfortunately I am yet to visit Amsterdam. probably at that time you could help me plan. If you need to see any pictures of our trip - please let me know. I could post a few. But I suggest keep the suspense. Its going to be a treat for your eyes.

Cheers
This is a ton of info Renjith. Thank you so much. I will plan based on this and post. By the way I was also told about the chocolate train that one can take from Zurich. Am trying to see if I can add that into the schedule as well.

Last edited by Gannu_1 : 12th May 2015 at 11:45. Reason: Reducing quoted content. Inconveniences our mobile users. Thanks!
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Old 12th May 2015, 11:26   #233
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For Eiffel you have to buy tickets online and its important that you reach there in time as each ticket is valid only for few hours. You will need two tickets for each person. The first one goes till top of 2nd Floor and the 2nd ticket will take you all the way to top. The second ticket need not be reserved on-line if its not available. The queue for this is not very long. but the first ticket you must have in advance or else be ready to stand on queue for couple of hours
Eiffel is spectacular in the night also - so please find time to visit it past 10 pm- by the way days are very long in Paris at this time. For night view you need not go to Eiffel. You could see it from any nearby places
The Louvre
If you want to cover this place- dedicate a full day and be ready to walk miles and miles. Most people who visit Louvre would quickly pass by Monalisa and Venus De Milo to take some snaps for bragging and leave the place. I suggest if that's the plan drop Louvre. You need a full day and nothing less. If you plan to visit Louvre buy Museum pass from the airport. Its expensive if you want to see only Louvre, but gain time is precious and you don't want to spend hours waiting to get inside
- Notre Dam Church and River Cruise - A walk around this busy central area of Paris is great. The church and the river cruise will get you closer to history and culture of this great city.
For the days you are in Paris City take the day tickets for train. It will help you save time - do not buy Paris pass. But a bunch of 10 Tickets. Paris pass is a big scam
Excellent info. Agree with most of what you have said. A couple of points I would like to mention:
Advance booking for Eiffel Tower will probably show Sold Out status on the website for most dates/ times. But tickets can be bought at the foot of the tower itself for instant entry and depending on when you land up, queues can be long or short. We went there around 9pm a couple of weeks back and there was absolutely no crowd, walked right through. Got excellent viewing as it was just turning dark (so dusk followed by night). Re. tickets, there are no separate queues for 2nd floor and top floor tickets. The counters are the same and you need not reserve for either of them online if they are not available. I would strongly suggest you go for the top floor ticket only as you can anyway stop on the second floor with this ticket.

Museum pass works for lots of places, including Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame Towers, Versailles, Musee d'Orsay, etc (you may have time only for some of these). It's great value and time saving, apart from value. Go for it, if you plan to visit any of these other places along with the Louvre.

Best way to see Louvre - first thing in the morning, enter through the Port des Lions entrance (not the Pyramid). This will take you directly to the Italian masters wing on the first floor, where the Mona Lisa is located. There is absolutely no crowd at this entrance and you can walk straight through. Go and see the Mona Lisa first as crowds start forming around that painting (you will see lots of Indians and some Chinese with no interest in museums or art just milling around the painting and clicking photos on their phones, with no regard for other visitors). If you are lucky, you will be able to see this nicely before the crowds. Decide what you want to see in the museum - chances are that in 1 day, you will be able to see 25% of the museum at best. So choose the sections carefully and follow the plan. Amongst the paintings, I would highly recommend the Italian renaissance section, the large format French, the sections on Raphael and Rembrandt. There are some good impressionist paintings, but the best of them are at the Musee d'Orsay. The Egyptian section is very interesting and some of the Greek sculptures are unmissable. Plus the preserved rooms of Napoleon III. There are tons of other sections that I have not seen, would suggest you choose in advance what you want to see and go accordingly.

There is so much to do in Paris that I would recommend that unless you are too focused on Disneyland, you make this a 1 day visit from the city (that's what we did). Disneyland is open till 10pm, so you can actually do most of the rides and shows (definitely all the good ones) without really rushing around. Definitely go for the 2-park ticket as the Walt Disney Studio park has all the good shows and a couple of the new rides. Use the Fastpass service properly and you will save quite a bit of time queuing up.
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Old 12th May 2015, 11:29   #234
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A couple of thoughts on what you might want to consider doing in Amsterdam and The Hague (or Den Haag as the Dutch call it)

The Hague:
First, as a TeamBP member you really ought to consider trying to see the Louwman museum.

http://www.louwmanmuseum.nl/?sc_lang=en

It is one of the best car museums in Europe. I did a little write up on it a while ago:

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/beyond...therlands.html (Louwman Car Museum @ Hague, Netherlands)

I would advise to definitely go and see Madurodam. Its a miniature to scale the Netherlands. You will find most of Dutch famous landmarks, it has working railroads, airport, cars, ships sailing through canals etc. the whole family will enjoy it for a few hours.

http://www.madurodam.nl/en/discover-...out-madurodam/


There are several amusant parks in and around the Hague. Nothing like the scale of Disney, but for your kids very attractive. We used to take our kids there endlessly.

http://www.drievliet.nl/

http://www.duinrell.com/

Duinrel has a huge swimming/waterpark as well, massive water slides, water rides etc.

You might want to go to Scheveningen, which is just adjacent to The Hague. Its the most famous beach resort of the Netherlands. You can spend the day at the beach, walk the boulevard, wander around the marina etc. There is a huge aquarium, Lots to see and do for the whole family.

http://traveltips.usatoday.com/thing...nds-18582.html

When it comes to the Hague itself here's a good site:

http://www.the-hague.info/sights/

There are numerous museums, some of them very well known with international aclaim.

Here some more:

http://www.the-hague.info/museums/

The one you might want to try, because it is a bit more unusual is Panorama Mesdag. have a look: http://panorama-mesdag.nl/

It's known as the largest picture in the world, its a panorma view of the area situated in a complete circular set up.

For Amsterdam:

This is probably a good site to visit: http://www.iamsterdam.com/en/visiting

You might want to consider renting a bicycle. They'll equip it with a child seat, as all the Dutch parents have on their bikes.
As mentioned before a canal tour is very nice too.
Make sure you spend some time wandering around the many canals by foot as well. Its really nice, scenic, lots of little shops, cafe, etc.

Many famous museums in Amsterdam of course, The Rijksmuseum and the van Gogh museum are situated near one another.

There is also a very nice zoo, called Artis, in the middle of Amsterdam. It easy to book some daytrips starting from Amsterdam as well. Usually by bus or sometimes by boat.

The one day trip you might want to consider is to the Lineushof. It is the largest play ground in Europe. Nothing like Disney or the other parks I mentioned above. They have some simple rides, but they really excell at offering (young) kids endless fun on simple playground stuff.

http://www.linnaeushof.nl/?lang=en

My kids loved to go there.

I would advise to use public transportation in Amsterdam and The Hague. use the tram and or the bus. You will find a lot can be accomplished on foot as well. Take a train from Amsterdam to The Hague, its only 60 km or so.

Feel free to contact me if you have any further question

Jeroen

http://www.linnaeushof.nl/?lang=en



Panorama Mesdag
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Old 12th May 2015, 11:58   #235
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Tickets sold on the Eiffel Tower website have to be booked around 3 months in advance because it gets sold out rather fast. If you aren't buying from there, then your other option is to go with tour guides which again has to be booked in advance but are available easily - but they cost 3-4 times of what you would pay if you book from the Tower website.
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You are right. There are no tickets available to the summit till August. On the dates I will be there, there are tickets available to the 2nd floor, but only at 11:00 p.m. :-(
You can buy tickets directly at the foot of the tower for immediate entry. Depending on the time of day/ season, crowds will vary. We went there a few weeks back on a Sunday at 9pm (we wanted to go up at night) and there was virtually no crowd whatsoever. Walked right through. Please DO NOT go through overcharging tour guides, prior reservation is not necessary.

Peak times, you may have to wait in queue for an hour or so. You and your wife can take turns to queue while your son plays in the large lawns around behind the tower.

BTW, night views from Eiffel Tower are spectacular.
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Old 12th May 2015, 12:50   #236
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You can buy tickets directly at the foot of the tower for immediate entry. Depending on the time of day/ season, crowds will vary. We went there a few weeks back on a Sunday at 9pm (we wanted to go up at night) and there was virtually no crowd whatsoever. Walked right through. Please DO NOT go through overcharging tour guides, prior reservation is not necessary.
I went in August last year. And thank god I booked through the tour guide. The line that day would have been around 1.5 to 2 hours long. And I don't think I could stood in the heat for that long. I have read that lines can be even upto 4 hours long depending on the rush.
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Old 12th May 2015, 13:20   #237
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You are right. There are no tickets available to the summit till August. On the dates I will be there, there are tickets available to the 2nd floor, but only at 11:00 p.m. :-(
Take a look at this link, you may find it useful.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/de...ng-advice.html
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Old 12th May 2015, 13:44   #238
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Hey Akshay
Does one need an IDP while renting a car in France? Will my Indian licence work?
Thanks
If you have the time to get IDP I suggest you get one, especially since you are going to France. If I am not mistaken, the IDP has text in French as well and it might come in handy is you are asked for your licence by the police. IDP also makes it easier for law enforcement to determine which class of vehicle you are allowed to drive. The other problem with the Indian licence is that each state has a different format and it doesn't look uniform.
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Old 12th May 2015, 14:10   #239
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If you have the time to get IDP I suggest you get one, especially since you are going to France. If I am not mistaken, the IDP has text in French as well and it might come in handy is you are asked for your licence by the police. IDP also makes it easier for law enforcement to determine which class of vehicle you are allowed to drive. The other problem with the Indian licence is that each state has a different format and it doesn't look uniform.

Have used Indian DL in France, Italy, Spain, UK...No problem whatsoever. In fact,rented twice in France last month. My brother is currently in France and has been using his UP issued license for the last several months.

You will need IDP only if the script is not in Roman. Since both French and English are in Roman script, it's no problem across W Europe, UK, etc. If your Indian license is in a language other than English, then it's a different matter.
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Old 12th May 2015, 14:32   #240
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Have used Indian DL in France, Italy, Spain, UK...No problem whatsoever. In fact,rented twice in France last month. My brother is currently in France and has been using his UP issued license for the last several months.
Are you talking about renting a car or have you actually encountered some law enforcement official as well with your Indian DL?

I think by law you require Indian DL+official French translation of the Indian licence or IDP (which has French text). The "official French translation" may not be checked until you need to show it to the police. Better be safe that sorry.
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