Just back from European Getaway....questions?


#1

Hi all, [br][br]I just returned from a 20-day European Getaway. I’m happy to give advice, and will try my best to answer any questions you might have.[br][br]Bron :o)


#2

Hey Bron,[br][br]Have you got any general things to let us know about?[br]Something you wished you would have taken but didn’t?[br]Something you did take but didn’t use?[br]How much money did you end up spending each day?[br][br]Cheers,[br][br]Matt


#3

Hi Missb1,[br]im booked for the 16th Oct, Did u enjoy the tour overall? [br]Any hints on the opional excurions?


#4

Hi Matt, [br]I’ll try my best to answer these for you…[br][br]1. Try to take a backpack if possible…they are so much easier to carry around, and lug up the stairs than a suitcase. Also if you go on one of these tours wth an open mind, and not to many expectations you will have a great time. You are going to meet some great people and have an absolutely awesome time, but i found that those who kept to themselves, didn’t enjoy it as much as the rest of the group. [br][br]2. Not really, i think everyone goes a bit crazy when packing/planning for these tours…but at the end of the day the shops in Europe are fantastic, and will always have whatever you may have forgotten. The only thing i would suggest is to take as much memory for your camera as possible. It is really easy to go up and over 1000 photos![br][br]3. I (and everyone else) took alot of things we didn’t really need. Mostly clothes etc. There are plenty of opportunities to wash/dry along the way (the campsites in Europe have everything you need and more!) And trust me you will be coming home with alot more things then you left with, so try and keep a bit of space in yor backpack/suitcase.[br][br]4. I went with my partner and we ended up spending around 100 euro a day between us, including going out at night, and the optional extras for that day. Some cities were more expensive then others, so watch your budget in Rome and Paris. We actually went way over budget in Prague and Amsterdam, but only by choice because the shopping etc was so great![br][br]I hope that helps! Let me know if you have any more questions.[br][br]Bron


#5

Hi em_87, [br][br]The tour overall was great! The diversity of all the places you visit really makes it special - being in the snow one day, and swimming in the Med the next day was pretty cool. [br][br]My advice is to do as many optionals as possible (within your budget of course) but there are definitely some that were unforgettable. The paragliding in Austria was the highlight of my trip, i’m really scared of heights but i decided to do it anyway, and i’m really glad i did, it was awesome! My partner did the canyoning in Austria, and he loved it, and it is one of only two places in Europe that you can actually do it. [br][br]The Paris Fat Bike Tyre tour was really good, you see alot and its heaps of fun. If you can get a group of you to go, it would be even better (as only 4 people from our tour decided to do it).[br][br]The Jungfrau excursion for us was a bit dissapointing as the weather at the top of the mountain wasn’t very good, and to be honest unless the weather is perfect at the time you are going up ,i wouldn’t bother with it. Its very expensive for what it is.[br][br]The 3rd Reich walking tour in Berlin was really good, and the tour guide was brilliant. You see heaps of sights aorund Berlin and it was the best walking tour out of the whole trip. Just try to not to drink too much the night before this one, as most of it is out in the sun, and being hungover during it is not so pleasant ha-ha.[br][br]Although, if you have a specific one you are thinking about…let me know.[br][br]Bron[br]


#6

Thanks for your reply bron… [br]Sounds like you had a wonderful time! [br]Wat were the people like on your tour? Did you hang out together or mainly do your own thing?


#7

Hi Bron,[br][br]I have a couple of questions…[br][br]- How far away from the city/sightseeing places were the hostels etc? Were they easy to get to/from? [br]- How early did you leave on travel days? [br]- How was the food provided by topdeck?[br][br]And, like em_87, I’d love to hear about your group and trip leader[br][br]Thanks heaps![br][br]Cynthia[br]European Getaway 16th Dec


#8

Em_87, [br][br]We had a really small group on our tour - only 22. I think the average is around 40. The people were really nice, and easy to get along with. I was on the tour with my partner, so i automatically had someone to do things with. For us, it seemed the people you first shared your room with were the ones you generally hung out with during the day. Generally on the free days everyone did their own thing, or maybe in small groups of 2-3. And at night maybe 10 or so people would go to the bar. [br]On a tour with a larger group it might be slightly different, but generally there will always be people who want to do the same thing as you.


#9

Hi Cynthia, [br][br]1. It depends on the city. In Berlin, Nice, Lauterbrunnen and Amsterdam the hostels/hotels were right in the city, so you could really come and go as you pleased, and could walk everywhere. In Prague and Paris, the hostels were still quite close but you really needed to get a tram etc if you wanted to go into town. [br]All of the accomodation in Italy was in campsites (don’t worry, the campsites are like little resort towns, they are awesome!)but they were quite a way out from town (30mins or so). There was always transport available, but all of us just waited for the designated bus drop off and pick up times. [br]In Prague and Rome, there were expected to make our own way back to the accomodation, but were very clear instructions and travel passes in order to do this. The transport in all of Europe was well signed, and easy to understand. [br][br]2. We didn’t leave as early on the travel days as i had expected. Most days were a 7.30am breakfast (bring your bags with you) to leave at 8am. But i think there were a few days that were 6.30am breakfast, to leave at 7am. But that was only on really long travel days (9 or so hours) in which case, everyone managed to drag themselves out of bed, took their sleeping bags on the bus on slept for the rest of the morning.[br][br]3. The food provided by Topdeck was great! I had read a few things in the past saying that the food was very basic, but it was certainly not the case on our trip! They try and provide meals relating to where you are, ie. pasta in Italy, crossaints in France. [br]Some people complained about the lunches provided on travel days, which were basically salads (pasta salad, potatao salad etc), bread rolls, fruit, biscuits and chocolate. Sure, it may not the grandest meal, but you can’t expect them to pull a BBQ out from under the bus and start grilling steak - which is what some people had expected. Plus the yummy (and hot) dinner when you arrived always made up for it. Oh, and there always PLENTY of food - you won’t go hungry.[br]


#10

Hi Bron,[br][br]Thanks for all your helpful info.[br][br]I’m thinking about going on one of these tours sometime next year and just have a question about Rome.[br]From the itineries, I gather you go on a walking tour late on the day you get there, then go to the Vatican City the next morning and have some free time in the afternoon. Something I’d like to do in the free time is go on the tour inside the Collosseum aswell as seeing the outside of it on the walking tour. I don’t know a lot about the geography of it all so was just wondering would it be possible that day to see the Vatican City in the morning, then go to the Collosseum later in the day? Did anyone in your group do this?[br]Also, to get into the Collosseum, would you need to have booked in advance or is it possible to go there and get in?[br][br]You probably can’t answer if you didn’t do this but just thought I’d ask.[br][br]Cheers,[br][br]Alex


#11

Hey Alex,[br][br]I did my tour in June, and we did manage to do both the Vatican and Colloseum in the same day. I think quite a lot of people in my group did the same thing. We were out of the Vatican by about 11, so we had plenty of time to get lunch and then catch the underground to the Colloseum. We didn’t have to book in advance, but we did have to wait quite a while in line to get in (about 15-20 minutes I think). We were still left with plenty of time to explore inside.[br]Hope that helps :)[br][br]Di


#12

Hi Diana,[br][br]Thanks for that.[br]I have seen that it’s not so long a wait if you go on an audio guide tour. Did you do this or did you just go in by yourselves?[br][br]Alex


#13

Hi Alex,[br][br]No, we just went in by ourselves… the entry alone was over 10 euro so I didn’t want to fork out the extra money 8-)[br][br]Di


#14

Oh ok. And do you wish you had a guide explaining things or was going round by yourself good enough?


#15

I was quite happy just wandering around by myself, but I guess if you’re really keen to know the history of the place then you might want to get the audio guide.[br]At the Vatican I did the guided tour (it was one of the optionals), and that was definitely worth it.


#16

So the Vatican is good? One of my friends did it recently and she didn’t think it was worth the entrance fee. how much was it to go in? she was a bit vague on the cost[br][br]Essential Europe Winter Tour- 23rd Dec


#17

Is it worth taking a hairdryer? or how many people had hairdryers?[br]Im not sure whether to take mine or not??[br]xx


#18

Hey em_87, [br][br]Re: the hairdryers - [br][br]How often would you blow dry your hair at home ususally? I’d say if you’re not obssessed with it (nothing wrong with that if you are…)then i’d say leave it at home. Everyone makes a HUGE effort right at the start of the tour to keep looking nice and dressy all the time, but about half-way through no-one can be arsed anymore. Best option, wash you hair in the morning, tie it up in a loose bun and let it dry naturally during the day, and pull it out into nice waves for the evening. Voila! [br]Each room has limited powerpoints anyway, so it’s hard enough trying to fight everyone else that are charging their ipods, cameras, phones etc… [br][br]Bron


#19

thanks bron… fair points! [br]think ill leave that at home! [br][br]if you dont mind me asking, how much money did u end up spending?


#20

Thanks for your reply Bron! [br][br]I was also wondering if you had much time to go shopping during the tour? I was just thinking about buying presents for people back home… What places would you recommend (or not)?[br][br]Cynthia[br]European Getaway 16th Dec