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Europe in October?

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    Europe in October?

    I'm still planning my long-delayed trip to Europe. I'm now thinking of focusing on Switzerland, Germany and Belgium. Is early October a reasonable time to do this? I don't mind the cold but don't want it to be freezing... I had originally been trying for September, but there are two factors making it difficult.
    (1) The airline tickets are getting hard to pin down, as I am using miles. October seems a little more open than September.
    (2) I'm not sure I want to hit Germany during Oktoberfest, which I understand runs from Sep. 18 to Oct. 4?

    I like to spend a few days in each place, so in two weeks I'd probably stay in 3-4 cities. Candidates so far are Lucerne, Switzerland; Munich; and Ghent, Belgium. I don't know if this is crazily ambitious. There is no real goal in mind here, except finally getting to see a bit of western Europe, beyond stopovers. Obviously I'd do a fair amount of train travel to get between these places, and I'd try for some of the more scenic routes.
    ----
    All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.
    Edmund Burke

    #2
    Sounds really fun. Wish I could ditch all my obligations to join you.

    Comment


      #3
      While Belgium might be cool at that time of year, it should not be freezing. Ghent is a very nice city to visit and very accessible, and if you want to do a side trip to Brugge or Antwerp, it is not far. The train system is very straightforward, and it is easy to travel using it. I would not bother with bringing with an umbrella unless it is gust-proof though, as I often saw scores of discarded broken umbrellas when I was working in Brussels, due to the occasional strong winds. Please have some frites and mussels for me if you visit!
      "Do one thing every day that scares you." - Eleanor Roosevelt
      "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it." -Ferris Bueller

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        #4
        We tend to talk about a golden October and we mean by it, that in many years this month all the leaves of the tries paint the world in beautiful colors and with the sun being lower (and therefor the light warmer) this give an impression of gold.
        While November can have the first snow October is a wonderful Month to come to Europe often there are days where we still wear T-Shirst. I am in north Germany so everything south from me should be even milder.

        Ilkyway

        PS: If you want to, tell me, when and where you are going to be in Germany.
        “Ankh-Morpork people considered that spelling was a sort of optional extra. They believed in it in the same way they believed in punctuation; it didn't matter where you put it so long as it was there.”

        By Sir Terence David John Pratchett from The Truth

        Comment


          #5
          Thank you for the advice!
          I did purchase tickets, and wow, the airline did not make it easy. I had to try one date after another to get the flights I wanted, but finally found some on late September to early October. @ilkyway, I will have to consult you for advice on the best places to visit! Maybe not Munich after all, since there will be a big festival going on, but there must be a lot of other interesting towns. I like beer, but not huge crowds.
          It will be nice if there is some color in the foliage and beautiful autumn light. Either way, I'm sure it will be lovely.
          @TavaPeak, I just plan vacations and hope for the best, since there is no way to anticipate what will be going on at my work. I always pray I will not have to drag my laptop along...
          Last edited by bchaplin; 03-26-2015, 03:10 AM.
          ----
          All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.
          Edmund Burke

          Comment


            #6
            Which Ariport will it be for Germany? If this is too personal info PM me or just shut me up.

            Ilkyway
            “Ankh-Morpork people considered that spelling was a sort of optional extra. They believed in it in the same way they believed in punctuation; it didn't matter where you put it so long as it was there.”

            By Sir Terence David John Pratchett from The Truth

            Comment


              #7
              Sent you a PM. I will come back and post here once September rolls around and I can show how I've packed for the trip.
              ----
              All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.
              Edmund Burke

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by bchaplin View Post
                Maybe not Munich after all, since there will be a big festival going on, but there must be a lot of other interesting towns. I like beer, but not huge crowds.
                You're correct, Oktoberfest is over on October 4th. I've been there in October after Oktoberfest and it wasn't crazy. I was also there in September for Oktoberfest's "Italian Weekend" ... that was beyond nuts but mostly only at the festival.

                I would really recommend seeing Munich/Bavaria; it is amazing.
                ~Adam
                ~~~~~~~~
                Bags: Aeronaut, Tri-Star, Super Ego, Buzz, Pilot, Large Cafe, {Small Cafe & Synapse - Controlled by Wife!}
                Computer Protection: Brain Cell Size 4Z & 6X, Cache Size iPad & MacBookAir, Cork Pouch for Nook (holds Sony Reader)
                Accessories: Stuffed Bat - Grey, Backpack packing cubes (aeronaut, tri-star), Various Packing Cubes, Passport Pouch, Absolute Straps, QAM, Various Other Pouches, Freudian Slip, Side Effect, Travel Tray, Snake Charmer

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                  #9
                  I will be in Bruges and Brussels in about two weeks and can share some ideas when I get back. I love that time of year in Europe!
                  ============================================

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by bchaplin View Post
                    I did purchase tickets, and wow, the airline did not make it easy. I had to try one date after another to get the flights I wanted
                    My recent experience with using miles to get to Germany landed me almost 24 hours in Detroit, though I had only two fairly specific date ranges to work with. Decided, eh, I've never been to Detroit - why not? I'm planning a visit to The Henry Ford to pass the time.

                    Sounds like you've got a wonderful trip in the works. Have fun!

                    Comment


                      #11
                      @binje, good luck with that! As long as you have a place to sleep, it should be fine, and in some ways that is better than a shorter layover that just extends the travel time without letting you rest. Using miles is really tricky. I would estimate that I worked for about 4 hours (possibly more) over a few days, researching and plugging in different options on United's website, and calling the airline, to finally get an itinerary that I am satisfied with. On the other hand, I was insanely specific about what airlines and routes I would fly.

                      Now that the tickets have been secured, planning this trip is a whole different story. @ilkyway has been very helpful! I have to admit I'm overwhelmed by the options. There are about 10 times more cities I'd LIKE to visit than I possibly have time for. After puzzling over the map for the last week, I realize that my previous self-planned trips (Hungary, Israel and Jordan), have been to land areas that are comparatively much smaller, and therefore it was easier to make choices about where to go. Despite that, I have no desire to take a pre-packaged tour. I really enjoy the process of figuring it out for myself, even if I end up making mistakes.

                      @jeffmac, please let me know about your trip to Belgium!
                      ----
                      All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.
                      Edmund Burke

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by bchaplin View Post
                        Despite that, I have no desire to take a pre-packaged tour. I really enjoy the process of figuring it out for myself, even if I end up making mistakes.
                        Second that! I've done tours for parts of trips that I couldn't possibly have done on my own because of the need for specialized permits or know-how, but the idea of being saddled with someone else's itinerary for more than a few days drives me crazy. And I've made some mistakes. I've never not had a good time or at least a story to tell, though. And I've never been trapped on a bus with my father-in-law for 10 days (his own daughter made that mistake).

                        Comment


                          #13
                          @bchaplin Just got back and had a lovely (if abbreviated) trip to Belgium. I ended up spending 2 days in Bruges and 1 day in Brussels.

                          Bruges was lovely and very walkable. The medieval part of the city is about a 10-15 minute walk from the train station. Several beautiful churches, the market square/belfry was nice (although it had a carnival in the middle of it while we were there) and walking along the canals was brilliant. Actually, just strolling around was my favorite part although I probably should have rented a bike.

                          North side of the market square: Lots of architecture throughout the town that looks like Amsterdam:

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                          Be careful not to miss the Church of the Holy Blood which is not well marked and is sort of tucked in a corner of the Burg right next to the Tom Pouce cafe. It is almost all painted wood inside so it is very different from the gothic stone and marble of many big European churches.

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                          I think in retrospect I would do a boat tour first thing here (about 8 euros) to get the lay of the land because I did miss the church that had the Michelangelo statue in it

                          Ate at the Olive Tree (wonderful Greek food) which is just off the square and found a little wine bar (EST Wijnbar) with a huge selection and they treated us like family. It is just around the corner from the Fish Market.

                          Brussels was fun but a different, more urban vibe. We opted to skip the Atomium and stay central. We hit St Michaels church, Mannequin Pis (yawn), the Grand Place (hit this at least once at night when it is lit up), church of the Notre Dame au Sablon and the Old Masters Museum (several are ganged together here). This was a big figure eight walk so that we ended up back at the train station to head to Frankfurt.

                          Modern statue with the tower from the Grand Place in the background:

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                          Really pretty city, but I preferred Bruges and I have been told that I have to go back to see Ghent...
                          ============================================

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                            #14
                            This is fun to read! Glad you had such a good visit. I am probably going to focus on Bruges and Ghent, as I will not have a lot of time, and possibly the Field of Flanders tour. If this trip involved renting a car, I would venture into the southern areas, but I think two cities will be more feasible. Seems like there is quite a bit to see in Bruges alone.

                            Thank you for the tip about the boat tour! Good advice.

                            I love that first picture you posted. It does look a lot like Amsterdam.
                            Last edited by bchaplin; 04-20-2015, 02:24 PM.
                            ----
                            All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.
                            Edmund Burke

                            Comment


                              #15
                              I tend to do a lot of self-guided trips and would recommend getting Rick Steve's or Lonely Planet travel books for information. You are going to love your trip. It is very easy to get around even if you don't speak the language.

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