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Old 19th July 2010, 18:32   #16
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Nice log there! Waiting to unfold. Although I mentioned about tour operators, even I prefer planning on my own!
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Old 19th July 2010, 19:41   #17
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Some nice teasing pics. Here is my first volley of questions, some of them silly:-

1. Where do you get the Schengen visa? Is there something known as Euro embassy or from any Embassy of the member country?

2. Please cover the language problems, if any, faced by you.

3. Cover the food aspect too. How about the food? How did you manage it? How friendly is it to veg people?

OT : Can anyone recommend (incl you) the countries to be visited in 14 days period (UK and France must) with reasonable comfort (I mean not in a hurry)? I am planning for June end next year.
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Old 19th July 2010, 19:45   #18
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Has anyone hiked through the Fjords of Norway? Seems to be an amazing off-beat location, though
a bit out of the regular routing track.
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Old 19th July 2010, 23:01   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TaureanBull View Post
1. Where do you get the Schengen visa? Is there something known as Euro embassy or from any Embassy of the member country?
It is from embassy of the member country. It is expected you get it done from the country where you will be landing first.
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Old 19th July 2010, 23:17   #20
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Hi,
This is a unique TL for me at least. Waiting for more pics and details. Thanks.
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Old 19th July 2010, 23:53   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TaureanBull View Post
Some nice teasing pics. Here is my first volley of questions, some of them silly:-

1. Where do you get the Schengen visa? Is there something known as Euro embassy or from any Embassy of the member country?

2. Please cover the language problems, if any, faced by you.

3. Cover the food aspect too. How about the food? How did you manage it? How friendly is it to veg people?

OT : Can anyone recommend (incl you) the countries to be visited in 14 days period (UK and France must) with reasonable comfort (I mean not in a hurry)? I am planning for June end next year.
Do not worry - I will flood this thread with Pics!! Just keep watching!!

1. VFS Global: VFS Global
Any one country VISA of the Schengen group of countries, will do (either the country you will be landing first or the country you will be staying for the maximum days). You can travel anywhere in Europe. You have to get the VISA stamped in India, before leaving.

2. France: Hardly anybody speak English. Had a tough time - Even while making people understand vegetarian sandwiches!!
Germany: One can manage with English.
Austria: Manageable - Similar to Germany.
England: Off course - Yes!!

3. Subway is the only saving grace in France! If you are a vegetarian, and if you want to eat out - You had it!! Germany and Austria are better.
Food outside is very expensive. And also, it will be without salt and spice! It is un bearable after a couple of days! My wife and my daughter are pure vegetarians. We preferred to cook and carry food with us. Otherwise surviving for a month is impossible! More about it later.

4. Nothing is OT - You can ask me anything.
It depends on what you want to cover. If you like Urban marvel - I would suggest - One week in London and One week in Paris - 2 greatest cities in the world - Excellent! - You will love it. Your fifteen days self catering accomodation cost you about 2500 USD. Plus city transport passes will be another 500 USD. You can freak out!
On the other hand, if you like country side, Stay in Kent (England) for a week and One week in Germany or Austria.


Another photo of Eurail:

Europe on a Budget - 5 weeks trip with family on a backpack!-p4180279.jpg


Sun used to raise by 6 am. The day light used to continue until 9 pm in the night!! Long day!! Temperature was varying between 4 degree and 10 degree centigrade.

We used to get up by 6 am, have breakfast, pack lunch and leave by 8 am. We would come back by 8 pm - cook and eat dinner!! and go to bed by 10 pm!! We used to be tired after walking for atleast 5 Kms a day! Good night sleep! Twice in a week, we used to eat outside. Sunday's used to be our laundry day. Off course, Washing machine, drying machine and iron box - used to be available for our use, free of cost / 2 Euros.

We had carried rice, wheat, ragi, spices ... etc with us. We would buy milk, curds, vegetables, fruits, eggs, bread, sugar, salt, butter .... etc - once in every week, which would be enough for the whole week. A week's grocery would cost us not more than 100 USD.

For me, a holiday is a change. It does not mean relaxation. I believe in doing something different for atleast 3 weeks in a year. This will recharge batteries and give our body and mind, new found energy. At the end of the holiday, we will be charged up and raring to go!!

Last edited by Chethan B G : 20th July 2010 at 00:06.
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Old 20th July 2010, 01:19   #22
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Europe is a place I definitely want to visit before I am too old. The variety in culture and architecture is enormous - so little distances yet so many different things to see. I lived in the US for three years, but apart from different Malls and places to eat, seldom saw any "culture" - if you know what I mean.

I will stay glued to the TL. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 20th July 2010, 01:25   #23
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Part 2: Paris!

On arrivel at Paris CDG Airport, we purchased (available at the airport) the local travel 5 day pass, known as Paris Visite. This covers even the Airport to City transit! Pass covered both Buses, Metro and RER. Buses and Metro run inside city. RER is for rural (out-skirts) Paris transportation - Eg: CDG Airport ... etc

Details: RATP, transports à Paris et en Ile-de-France : bus, métro, tramway, RER - Page d'accueil

Europe on a Budget - 5 weeks trip with family on a backpack!-p7200337.jpg


After we reached Paris east station, first thing we did was to reserve our onward ticket to Heidelberg - Germany (ICE trains need reservation in advance).

Europe on a Budget - 5 weeks trip with family on a backpack!-p7200339.jpg


To stay in Paris, we had booked a service apartment for 5 days through web. This was a single bedroom apartment with kitchen and living room. This was located very close to East railway station. Very convenient indeed!!


Europe on a Budget - 5 weeks trip with family on a backpack!-paris-appartment.jpg



Now - It is time for the pics to talk!


Europe on a Budget - 5 weeks trip with family on a backpack!-p4120091.jpg


Europe on a Budget - 5 weeks trip with family on a backpack!-p4120075.jpg


Europe on a Budget - 5 weeks trip with family on a backpack!-p4120097.jpg


Europe on a Budget - 5 weeks trip with family on a backpack!-p4120100.jpg


Europe on a Budget - 5 weeks trip with family on a backpack!-p4120108.jpg


Europe on a Budget - 5 weeks trip with family on a backpack!-p4130109.jpg


Europe on a Budget - 5 weeks trip with family on a backpack!-p4130124.jpg


Europe on a Budget - 5 weeks trip with family on a backpack!-p4150165.jpg



More Pics of Paris will follow tomorrow - I need to reduce the size of the file before loading.
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Old 20th July 2010, 01:36   #24
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Pics are coming good, what was the camera you were using? I'm 101% confident you fried your brains on the planning part; I'm sure it should've been more than 3 months. And what is that spidey thing? I didn't like it.
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Old 20th July 2010, 05:23   #25
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Wow...I have already booked this travelogue. Right now we are in US, hopefully planning to do a Europe trip while visiting India sometime in future with a break journey.
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Old 20th July 2010, 08:44   #26
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Great Pics. Would you be covering day wise itinerary? I hope you do. From the way you have gone about it, i can say that your planning was thorough. Were you carrying all cash or credit card? How was the experience of communicating while you got the reservation and transportation tickets? Is it easy to recognize the bus/metro where is it headed for etc.? It would be difficult to ask from people as u said!
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Old 20th July 2010, 08:57   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sirajbose View Post
Europe is a place I definitely want to visit before I am too old. The variety in culture and architecture is enormous - so little distances yet so many different things to see. I lived in the US for three years, but apart from different Malls and places to eat, seldom saw any "culture" - if you know what I mean.

I will stay glued to the TL. Thanks for sharing!
Very rich in culture. You still have a lot of time to visit Europe!

You are welcome. My pleasure.

Quote:
Originally Posted by aargee View Post
Pics are coming good, what was the camera you were using? I'm 101% confident you fried your brains on the planning part; I'm sure it should've been more than 3 months. And what is that spidey thing? I didn't like it.
Olympus SP 550-uz.

Big metal spider was in a park (Jardin des Tuileries) which is next to Louvre Museum.

You are right. I started planning mentally, from Nov 2007! I had been to UK before. But Europe was new. My wife and Daughter were traveling abroad for the first time. Unknown place, first time, I needed to be 100% sure about everything. Also, the budget was limited!!
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Old 20th July 2010, 09:28   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TaureanBull View Post
Great Pics. Would you be covering day wise itinerary? I hope you do. From the way you have gone about it, i can say that your planning was thorough. Were you carrying all cash or credit card? How was the experience of communicating while you got the reservation and transportation tickets? Is it easy to recognize the bus/metro where is it headed for etc.? It would be difficult to ask from people as u said!
Recollecting and describing everything - done in 33 days is a tough job. I will try to cover on a day to day basis, as far as possible. It will be easier if you ask questions and I come up with the answer as part of the process.

Before I move on to Part 3 - Germany, I will clear all doubts till this point and also cover Paris on a day to day basis. But that way, this thread will go on for atleast 15 days. It will be interesting. If you really want to do it yourself, there is a lot to know. I do not think that you will get bored!

I was carrying TC and Cash (enough for 3-4 days). TC is the safest. But we loose 3% when we en-cash in Europe. In UK it is free.

Communicating is always a problem. As always, we find somebody who will be friendly and co-operative. When I tried to reserve my ticket to Heidelberg, I had a problem.
The lady in the counter (CDG Airport railway station) was speaking good English, but was not co-operative. She did not try for options and directly said "Not available!"
Later on in Paris East Railway station, a man who could only manage English, helped me. I got a reservation done until Mannheim, which is just 20 mins from Heidelberg. From there, we had to change train.

Transportation tickets are not a problem - Very straight forward. Please go through the links I post. You can select English language by clicking on the England Flag - where ever applicable.

Catching connecting train is very easy. Both the trains will keep up time - to the last minute!!

Buses and metro will have a board on them, written in English . Bus stop will have route maps. Also it would display exactly, how many minutes the next bus would take, to reach the bus stop (LIVE Coverage)! We have not waited for more then 5 minutes any where in Paris, for any bus/Train. Local transportation is the best in the world. Clearly the best planned city in the world!!

Communication on the road is not required at all. Maps are available on the net itself for free. It is very accurate (99%). But if required - People are good and try to help.

Every thing can be planned in detail - with 100% accuracy. It was like - we felt that we knew the place already, where ever we went!!

Last edited by Chethan B G : 20th July 2010 at 09:32.
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Old 20th July 2010, 10:42   #29
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@Chethan - Hats off to you; you know what was that for? To have taken your family abroad & to show them what the world is outside that you've experienced. I've been struggling to do this & I don't think I would be able to do that in this lifetime too!!! As a matter of appreciation, the least I could do on this thread is voting *****; hope it makes you

See, what I told is right on the planning front. Looking at your meticulous planning, I'd this doubt that you were planning this for a long time now & you proved me right.
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Old 20th July 2010, 11:04   #30
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That spidey thing is actually a work of modern art.
It's called Maman, the giant metal spider created by the french sculptor Louise Bourgeois. This guy is 10 meters tall and was housed in the Tate modern art gallery, London for some time. I had a look at him too, when he was in London.

@aargee. You will accomplish it if you set out to. I never dreamt that I'd go abroad. Not only I went, I also took my parents. When I took my father to the London branch of the office he retired from in India, it was a momentuous proud time. You can think of taking them to Singapore / Malaysia for starters.

Last edited by MX6 : 20th July 2010 at 11:07.
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