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Old 14th June 2011, 10:45   #16
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Default Re: Europe on a Shoe-string > 4 weeks trip with family on a backpack!

Chetan, did you not go to Jungfraujoch, apparently the highest point in Europe ? There are no activities you can do there except for tour the observatory, but it is quite a human achievement one has to say, to have built a vertical tunnel through those mountains, it was worth a visit, I guess.

About a year back, stayed at Interlaken very near the OST station, it is definitely a very quite and scenic village very well connected to rest of Switzerland.
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Old 14th June 2011, 10:53   #17
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Default Re: Europe on a Shoe-string > 4 weeks trip with family on a backpack!

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Originally Posted by Chethan B G View Post
Thank you for having patience and going through this Travelogue. Please feel free to ask me anything - in case you need any further information.
Chethan Sirji,
I believe you have only left scanning your boarding passes and uploading it
Very detailed information, i believe anybody can just print your travelogue and go on a euro trip

Just awesome Travelogue. Rating 5 stars.
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Old 14th June 2011, 11:37   #18
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Originally Posted by Judemayne View Post
Dear Chean,

Excellent pictures with fantastic details. Planning a 15 day trip next year around Jun? Please send me the details about the booking process for Eurorail and are there homestays. Did you drive around the countryside?
Thanks!


Eurail can be booked through a travel agent or through the Internet: Eurail Pass - Prices and Info about the Eurail Passes & Tickets

We did not rent a car and drive around countryside. I don't have an IDL. That is one thing we missed for sure.



Quote:
Originally Posted by gajadonga View Post
Good travelogue and good pictures thanks for sharing.
You had been to Interlaken did you visit Jungfrou.
We had to choose between Jungfrau and Titlis.

Interlaken to Jungfrau rail lines are owned by private companies. This is not valid under Eurail pass. Buying tickets separately is very expensive - Particularly when on a budget.

To visit Titlis, Eurail pass covers until Engelburg. This is where the cable car starts. And also, Titlis provides with other activities for children. There was no point in going to both the places. We could save almost about 200 Euros.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vshetty View Post
Chetan, did you not go to Jungfraujoch, apparently the highest point in Europe ? There are no activities you can do there except for tour the observatory, but it is quite a human achievement one has to say, to have built a vertical tunnel through those mountains, it was worth a visit, I guess.

About a year back, stayed at Interlaken very near the OST station, it is definitely a very quite and scenic village very well connected to rest of Switzerland.
I totally agree.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rk_sans View Post
Chethan Sirji,
I believe you have only left scanning your boarding passes and uploading it
Very detailed information, i believe anybody can just print your travelogue and go on a euro trip

Just awesome Travelogue. Rating 5 stars.
Thanks!

As a first timer, I had a lot of apprehensions about Eurail travel and accomodation. I thought that a few others would be like me...
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Old 14th June 2011, 12:11   #19
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Default Re: Europe on a Shoe-string > 4 weeks trip with family on a backpack!

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Originally Posted by Chethan B G View Post
We had to choose between Jungfrau and Titlis.
Interlaken to Jungfrau rail lines are owned by private companies. This is not valid under Eurail pass. Buying tickets separately is very expensive - Particularly when on a budget.

To visit Titlis, Eurail pass covers until Engelburg. This is where the cable car starts. And also, Titlis provides with other activities for children. There was no point in going to both the places. We could save almost about 200 Euros
Good choice; the Jungfrau trip is quite expensive. I have been to neither - had to cancel Jungfrau tickets at the last minute as my son wasnt feeling well and Titlis had bad weather when we planned to go.

Great itinerary, here are my $0.02:

- Instead of doing a return trip to Paris; another option could have been to take the overnighter from Munich to Paris and then go from Paris directly to Interlaken. Luggage could have been stowed at some lockers. I know this can be done everywhere in Germany; not sure about where in Paris. Thats actually a bit funny as I lived more in Paris; but maybe I can use the excuse that I didnt need to use a locker!
However, I agree this may differ if the traveler wants to truly 'backpack' it or make a base and travel from there to different places. I guess with the kids, you chose the latter option.

- Switzerland is very expensive and IMHO tourist friendliness is limited. Sometimes, a few words in the local language go a long way. We got much better service and assistance when we spoke in French and broken German than if we tried English. I guess this is quite evident in small towns in mainland Europe. Interlaken has an excellent B&B: www.villa.ch
If I had a choice I would have skipped Geneva; didnt find much to do there.

- On the other hand, Germany is much more tourist friendly and less crowded (comparatively). Some other places you could have visited between Salzburg & Munich: Neuschwanstein castle at Fuessen and the highest peak of Germany at Zugspitze. Zugspitze can be accessed via Garmisch Partenkirchen (a very beautiful village/ town) on the German side and also from the Austrian side (dont remember the name). Stunning views of the Alps from here too
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Old 14th June 2011, 13:09   #20
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Default Re: Europe on a Shoe-string > 4 weeks trip with family on a backpack!

Nice one Chetan. Your blog brought my Europe memories back. I have visited these places when I was in Switzerland. The experience is fantastic and difficult to share with others through pics I am sure you would also agree to it. One has to be at these places to experience the beauty of it.

Did you just visited Interlaken city or also visited places around the city? I mean the small villages around eg: Grindlewald, Murren and so on. These places are amazing and you get real feel of authentic Swiss landscape and culture.

I agree that it was a wise choice not to visit Jungfrau. It's more hype than anything else. Swiss people don't go to these places and I am telling from my experience of 4 yrs of stay in Swiss. Most of the people are either Japanese or Indian.
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Old 14th June 2011, 13:12   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by selfdrive View Post
Good choice; the Jungfrau trip is quite expensive. I have been to neither - had to cancel Jungfrau tickets at the last minute as my son wasnt feeling well and Titlis had bad weather when we planned to go.

Great itinerary, here are my $0.02:

- Instead of doing a return trip to Paris; another option could have been to take the overnighter from Munich to Paris and then go from Paris directly to Interlaken. Luggage could have been stowed at some lockers. I know this can be done everywhere in Germany; not sure about where in Paris. Thats actually a bit funny as I lived more in Paris; but maybe I can use the excuse that I didnt need to use a locker!
However, I agree this may differ if the traveler wants to truly 'backpack' it or make a base and travel from there to different places. I guess with the kids, you chose the latter option.
I think you already know the answer! We had 2 heavy suitcases and one backpack. I would have been a bit difficult.
In fact, we should have split our stay in Salzburg and stayed for 3 nights in Munich. In-between Salzburg and Munich, we could have covered Paris - keeping our luggage in Munich. Traveling to Interlaken through Triberg from Munich is easier and faster.
But unfortunately, we planned Paris after booking our accommodations and later-on, we could not cancel/change it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by selfdrive View Post
- Switzerland is very expensive and IMHO tourist friendliness is limited. Sometimes, a few words in the local language go a long way. We got much better service and assistance when we spoke in French and broken German than if we tried English. I guess this is quite evident in small towns in mainland Europe. Interlaken has an excellent B&B: www.villa.ch
If I had a choice I would have skipped Geneva; didnt find much to do there.
True. But we felt that the shop keepers were very money minded. Staff became very friendly in the shops where we purchased something. But other wise, they were not even courteous. We did not have such problems any where else. English in Austria is not much used. But shop owners are quite co-operative.

Quote:
Originally Posted by selfdrive View Post
- On the other hand, Germany is much more tourist friendly and less crowded (comparatively). Some other places you could have visited between Salzburg & Munich: Neuschwanstein castle at Fuessen and the highest peak of Germany at Zugspitze. Zugspitze can be accessed via Garmisch Partenkirchen (a very beautiful village/ town) on the German side and also from the Austrian side (dont remember the name). Stunning views of the Alps from here too
Germany is a great place to travel. It is tourism friendly in many aspects. Even if a TC has to be changed, we are charged the minimum commission.

We had travelled in Germany earlier. But not in the southern Alpine region. Will keep that in mind. There is so much to do in Germany that we always miss something!
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Old 14th June 2011, 13:34   #22
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Default Re: Europe on a Shoe-string > 4 weeks trip with family on a backpack!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chethan B G View Post
Thanks!


Thanks!

As a first timer, I had a lot of apprehensions about Eurail travel and accomodation. I thought that a few others would be like me...
Dear Chethan,

Firstly its very thoughful of you to give a detailed description and process about the Eurail-it will be helpful to all of us. Some more info about the accomodation?
Really sorry for misspelling your name the first time -tried to edit but time elapsed!!

Jude
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Old 14th June 2011, 13:42   #23
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Default Re: Europe on a Shoe-string > 4 weeks trip with family on a backpack!

Nice pics. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 14th June 2011, 13:59   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Judemayne View Post
Dear Chethan,

Firstly its very thoughful of you to give a detailed description and process about the Eurail-it will be helpful to all of us. Some more info about the accomodation?
Really sorry for misspelling your name the first time -tried to edit but time elapsed!!

Jude
Hi Jude,

In the travel Itinerary (1st post), I have given all details about the accomodation. If you log on to the respective website and search with the property reference number that I have mentioned, you can get all details. If you key-in some arbitrary dates, you can see the rates also.

No problem with the misspell. It happens.
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Old 14th June 2011, 14:57   #25
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Default Re: Europe on a Shoe-string > 4 weeks trip with family on a backpack!

Wow! that's a fantastic eurotrip.
Thoroughly enjoyed the pics, thanks for sharing

Had a question : Is it mandatory to have a fixed itinerary with all travel booked before applying for the VISA?
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Old 14th June 2011, 15:25   #26
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Default Re: Europe on a Shoe-string > 4 weeks trip with family on a backpack!

FANTASTIC!!!!!

Man, that was a amazing tour. I am surprised you did not cover the fashion city and nice in Italy!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chethan B G View Post
We did not rent a car and drive around countryside. I don't have an IDL. That is one thing we missed for sure.
Btw, you do not need a IDL in most countries you have visited.

Just curious... Did they insisted or you assumed and did not check?

Last edited by mjothi : 14th June 2011 at 15:27.
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Old 14th June 2011, 15:48   #27
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Originally Posted by figo_united View Post
Wow! that's a fantastic eurotrip.
Thoroughly enjoyed the pics, thanks for sharing

Had a question : Is it mandatory to have a fixed itinerary with all travel booked before applying for the VISA?
Welcome!

As a thumb rule, we require the following for a VISA:
  1. Credibility of the person: Past travel record if any
  2. Availability of funds
  3. Reason for travel
  4. Proof that he/she will come back
Again, conditions are different for different countries. Itinerary, Air ticket and travel insurance is a must. Rest can be shown as an FD / account balance.

In my case, I plan in advance and generally do not change my plans. It is easier for me to book everything and then apply for the VISA. Sometimes, this helps in getting it faster. Itinerary can change within the plan. For example: If I stay in Interlaken for a week, I can visit Zürich on day 3 or day 4. It does not make a difference. But my stay in Interlaken will be fixed during that week.

The Itinerary I have posted on this thread is the modified one - Before posting it, I changed a few things according to what we did on a particular day.

mjothi: I did not check. I assumed! (Assume = *** out of U & ME)

Last edited by Chethan B G : 14th June 2011 at 15:56.
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Old 14th June 2011, 15:58   #28
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Default Re: Europe on a Shoe-string > 4 weeks trip with family on a backpack!

Quote:
Originally Posted by mjothi View Post
Man, that was a amazing tour. I am surprised you did not cover the fashion city and nice in Italy!!!
Btw, you do not need a IDL in most countries you have visited.
Just curious... Did they insisted or you assumed and did not check?
The IDL part varies according to the countries and sometimes even the car rental. Normally cars are rented against the Indian license as long as it is in English and legible. Smart card licenses are preferred (not questioned) while some of the old book type ones may be questioned. At the end of the day, the comfort (or otherwise) of driving on the other side of the road could be a major factor. I considered this too, but was better off in a train. After all I didnt want to try to change the gear and involuntarily open the door instead

By the way, Nice is in France, perhaps you intended to say Venice? (in Italy)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chethan B G View Post
As a thumb rule, we require the following for a VISA:
  1. Credibility of the person: Past travel record if any
  2. Availability of funds
  3. Reason for travel
  4. Proof that he/she will come back
Again, conditions are different for different countries. Itinerary, Air ticket and travel insurance is a must. Rest can be shown as an FD / account balance.
I agree with 1, 3 & 4. Point 2 is more of a recommendation and the amount to be shown as bank balance may differ based on the country you apply for a visa. It also helps if you have an existing resident who can send you an invite and/ or sponsor your stay.
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Old 14th June 2011, 16:42   #29
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Originally Posted by mjothi View Post
FANTASTIC!!!!!

Man, that was a amazing tour. I am surprised you did not cover the fashion city and nice in Italy!!!
Fashion city - If you mean Paris? We visited. Nice is in France.

As it is, when we go on a vacation for a fixed number of days, we end up visiting only the main attractions. In that, group preference also matters and a few things are filtered out.

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At the end of the day, the comfort (or otherwise) of driving on the other side of the road could be a major factor. I considered this too, but was better off in a train. After all I didnt want to try to change the gear and involuntarily open the door instead
Exactly. My opinion is the same. I would not like to have an extra headache when on a short trip.
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Old 14th June 2011, 16:53   #30
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Originally Posted by Chethan B G View Post
Fashion city - If you mean Paris? We visited. Nice is in France.

Exactly. My opinion is the same. I would not like to have an extra headache when on a short trip.
fashion cities are Paris, Milan (Italy) and NYC (US). I think he meant Milan, but he is better placed to confirm!

For driving there, it is better when there is adequate time and number of drivers. Its no use if one person gets too tired by driving around and then is not fresh enough for any sightseeing. IMHO, in Europe the trains are very convenient as they bring you right to the centre of town and allow you to interact with fellow passengers within the traveling group and also meeting/ interacting with other commuters.
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