Decisions on Transport Modes

We leave in about 12 days and most of the planning (and paying!) has been done over the past year. We always knew that we wanted to start our trip in Italy with a accompanied tour and finish with a Rhine River Cruise, but spend our time in France and Britain making our own way and arrangements for transport, accommodation and activities.

Our Italian tour is with Trafalgar and the Rhine with Avalon. I will give more details later. We have booked accommodation in Paris, London, Edinburgh, Amsterdam and Prague, leaving France and England outside the capitals to arrange as we go.

For transport we have chosen trains throughout the continent and a hire car for England/Wales/Scotland. A five day rail pass for two countries covers Northern Italy and France, we have booked the cross Channel fare from Paris to London, air travel from Edinburgh to Amsterdam (via London – the direct flights were ridiculously expensive) but are now looking for our link from Budapest to Prague. I didn’t realise how far it was until I found the the train trip via Vienna tales more than 7 hours. Travel forums suggest that air travel takes nearly as long once you allow for baggage exchange and transport to and from the airport, so train it is and during the day so that we at least say we have seen Eastern Europe.

The unanswered question comes to First or Second? We are happy to take second class in Italy, France and England because they are short trips but 7 hours is a long time to be crushed into a small space. I have checked the forums who mostly plump for second’s as quite comfortable. The question that follows is “who writes most forum posts? – are they young flexible tourists travelling on the smell of an oily rag rather the sexagenarian arthritic types more
like Julie and I.

We will find out and let you know in 10 weeks.

Time to Move Again

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” – St Augustine

It was November 2010 when I wrote the “Last Post” entry in this my travelling Blog. It is time to hitch up the mules and move again. Not the caravan this time, as it is hard to move off my Island Continent that way. In just over 3 weeks we fly out for Europe. My next few posts will be about planning.

This one is about the blog. I made a change of theme from the dark look that I used previously. Obviously I needed a new title and masthead. Since we are travelling across most of Europe, a view from space seemed appropriate.

The second thing is about the technology. A caravan on a five month trip meant that I could carry a fair bit of gear – like a laptop, two Nikon SLR cameras, 5 lenses, flashgun and tripod. Travelling by air means minimalist packing in this case 1 camera, 1 lens and a mini iPad for email, internet and blogging. I am trying to work out what I can and can’t do within these constraints. I created the blog header first on the iPad using the photoshop app – it looked great on the iPod but transferring it to the MacBook Pro it looked awful. I am hoping straight images will be a little more successful. Next posts will cover as did last time my pre travel family visits,