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Thread: Advice for Fall trip to Europe

  1. #1
    Super Member kydeb's Avatar
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    Advice for Fall trip to Europe

    My sister and I will be going to Europe this Fall. It is our first European trip and we are getting excited!! I'm looking for words of advice from people who have been or who live there. We're flying into Barcelona, Spain and will be there for a couple of days before we leave on a cruise that hits the following cities/counties: Provence (Toulon), France; Florence/Pisa (Livorno) Italy; Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy; Naples, Italy; Mykonos, Greeece; Instanbul, Turkey; Kusadasi, Turkey; Athens (Piraeus), Greece; and ending back up in Venice, Italy for a couple of days.

    Since it's a cruise, most of the city visits will be from 8 or 9 in the morning until some time in the evening. We would (of course) like to maximize our time and see as much as we can. Any help would be greatly appreciated!!

    I'm looking forward to some great advice from my online friends!!

    Thanks in advance :-D
    Debbie in Kentucky
    kydeb.wordpress.com

  2. #2
    Super Member annt59's Avatar
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    You should be able to find out what excursions are offered at each port on the cruise and ship site.
    Boom 12 - Short & Sweet

  3. #3
    Super Member MaryKatherine's Avatar
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    I could spend a week in Barcelona,......again!
    You could easily spend a day in the central old quarter on Les Ramblas and in the old market. And of course a visit to Gaudi's buildings and cathedral La Sagrada Familia would take another day. And I would spend the rest of the time on a café and people watch.
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  4. #4
    Super Member nygal's Avatar
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    Have a wonderful, safe trip!! I have been to Spain many, many years ago. Enjoy yourself.
    When it seems like the world is falling to pieces remember that the pieces are falling into place. We are nearing closer to the End Times.

  5. #5
    Senior Member QuiltingCrazie's Avatar
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    Have fun but remember the euro is up so $1=.74€ on a good day. We've been stationed in Germany for over 2 years it's very expensive to travel and eat here. On a good note the scenery is fantastic! Pay attention to your custom limits which is $100. Enjoy!!!
    *Rachel*

  6. #6
    Super Member Wanabee Quiltin's Avatar
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    OK, I will suggest a few things: In Naples, be very very careful of your belongings, they rob you right on the street. No jewelry, keep your passport and money on your body, not in a purse. We were robbed and the police will come right up to you and tell you to take your jewelry off. In Venice, walk and walk and just enjoy the beautiful city. Get a map of Rome and see the highlights, take buses to get around and see all you can. My friend Joan just came back from Turkey and said she contacted a tourist agency there that was fabulous. Any trips from the cruise lines will not as good as local tourist agencies. Have fun and wear good shoes and take lots of money. The prices are way higher there than in the US.

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    "OK, I will suggest a few things: In Naples, be very very careful of your belongings, they rob you right on the street. No jewelry, keep your passport and money on your body, not in a purse."

    I agree with Wanabee Quiltin. The pick pockets are everywhere in Rome. Enjoy your cruise. I went on almost the identical cruise a few years ago and I stayed an extra week in Rome. The cruise staff warned us about Rome and, thankfully, I had been warned by friends and had locks on my purse that were very visible. Our travel guide had her wallet taken out of her 'security' purse right in front of me on the train but fortunately another person right in next to me saw the incident and tackled the pick pocketer. She got her wallet back and the thief had just got off the train. Don't buy purses from the street vendors in Rome. It is illegal for the vendors to sell them and you, the purchaser, would be the one fined. The fine was $3,000 when I was there. I don't mean to scare you but want you to have a great time!

  8. #8
    Senior Member Skyangel's Avatar
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    My trips to Europe have been to Germany so I can't give advice on the cities you're visiting. I have been on 3 cruises and would mention though, that the cruises usually offer excursions you can take at each port. They are usually more expensive that what you can see to book yourself. However there is one advantage to booking from the ship, at least in our case (a Carnival ship) they guarantee to get you back in time for sailing, hold the ship, or get you to the next port. If you book outside the ship, and you get back late, you are on your own to get to the next port. This happened to us on an excursion in Belize, the bus blew a tire about 45 minutes out (we had gone to see some Mayan ruins) coming back. We had to wait for a replacement bus to come. We were to late for the last tender back to the ship, but they had a special (very fast) tender waiting for us with a ship security officer. The ship had turned around heading out to sea, and was waiting for us, and sailed as soon as we were onboard. As we got on, people at the rails were cheering, so I guess they announced they were waiting for us. We were very glad we had booked that tour through the ship.

  9. #9
    Super Member skaduzy's Avatar
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    We haven't been to Spain or France but our cruise took us the rest of the places you are going with the addition of Egypt. It was so much fun. Highlight was Mass at the Vatican celebrated by Pope John Paul.
    Be sure to visit the Grand Bazaar and barter. I got a great leather purse for $30 after I bartered and he wanted $85. Beware of the good looking Turkish men who have families in the rug business .
    We did a bus tour on the Amalfi coast and it is breathtaking. The ride was breathtaking too!
    Eating in a seaside restaurant in Piraeus is unforgettable. You may have a feral kitty next to you waiting for your fish scraps.
    You will have a wonderful time. Just keep your belongings close to your body.
    Last edited by skaduzy; 05-08-2014 at 03:55 PM.
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    Hi Debbie, Would you mind sharing the cruise line your using. I would like to check it out.
    Thanks Judy
    Let's love one another.
    Judy

  11. #11
    Super Member Doggramma's Avatar
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    As to the places you mention, I've been to Rome and Florence. In Rome, I really enjoyed seeing Vatican Square and St Peters. And the Colosseum was awesome, thinking of people 1000 years ago walking on those stones. We rode the train or took a public bus to get around. Don't bother trying to find a quilt shop. I made it to a fabric store after much back and forth with a hotel person that didn't speak english, and it was fabrics used for making clothing. Complete with the little italian men with their tape measures around their necks. In Florence, you could spend a whole day at one of the museums. And there are long lines for the museums. It's a wonderful walkable city for exploring, especially the area around the Duomo. Be sure to have some gelato!

    I agree about pickpockets. Someone tried unsuccessfully to do that to me on a crowded bus in Rome. In Florence, I felt safer. Be sure to wear a pouch around your neck under your shirt with your passport and large bills. I only had disinfectant wipes, kleenex, gum, lotion, etc in my actual purse. And the bathroom situation in Europe is not always good. Not only in finding one when you need it, but the actual facility itself. In Paris at the Louvre the "toilet" was not much more than a hole that you crouched over. When we went into the little italian Tuscan towns we paid to use the WC (water closet). Sorry, but it was all surprising to me.

    Most of all, just absorb the ambience at each place! Perhaps by taking a break at a cafe. What a wonderful trip! Have fun
    Lori

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  12. #12
    Super Member Lori S's Avatar
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    One piece of advice, notify your credit card company of your travels, so they don't shut down your credit card. I had one card shut down while traveling as the credit card company assumed my card had gotten stolen and was being used fraudulently.

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    If you end up on any bus tours try to avoid the very back seats. Between the fumes and the motion of the bus you can end up with motion sickness. In Venice have some blood orange juice. It is out of this world! Break in your walking shoes before you go on your trip. Most of all enjoy everything!

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    Pack and then cut the amount you are taking in half. Nobody cares if you wear the same jeans or skirt on several days. Some ships have a self-serve laundermat, others do not, check on your facilities. I have no affiliation with the company Travel Smith, but absolutely recommend their ExOfficio underwear. It is so comfortable that I wear it every day. The briefs take only a couple hours to dry when washed in the sink. Take only 2 prs of shoes. Be sure you can walk a couple miles in them comfortably. Take a rain jacket and sweater (wool or polar fleece) rather then a heavy jacket. Layering is the answer. When I was there many of the churches required women to cover their heads and not to have bare shoulders. It has been several years and that might have changed. In any event a large scarf is a great accessory to take with you. Make a chart on a 3 X 5 card (or your phone) which shows monetary equivalency. ex 1 E=$.74, 5 E= $3.70 do that for several "price points". It will save you confusion as you are trying to shop. Leave room in your bags for treasures to bring home. My test for how heavy my bag is --is to walk around the block with it.

  15. #15
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    Whoops, just reread my post and realized my money calculation was backward. Limit yourself to two colors in your suitcase, so every top & bottom can work together. Avoid white clothes as it maybe difficult to keep them looking good.Limit the amount of jewelry, again no one cares if you wear the same pair of earrings. I take costume jewelry, do not take anything that you are not willing to lose. I just ordered a new medical ID bracelet with a silicone band (think those yellow Live Strong bands) because it will not look like valuable jewelry to anyone. My thoughts are based on 5 trips to Europe and several to other places.

  16. #16
    Super Member kydeb's Avatar
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    Hi Judy! It's Norwegian Cruises. I've taken lots of cruises but this will be my first time on Norwegian - I've cruised lots on Royal Caribbean. Love cruises!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by joogoo View Post
    Hi Debbie, Would you mind sharing the cruise line your using. I would like to check it out.
    Thanks Judy
    Debbie in Kentucky
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  17. #17
    Super Member kydeb's Avatar
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    WOW! Thanks for all of the great advice! I'm getting even more excited about it now. I guess it is starting to seem more real. I have a hard time believing I'm really going ;-)
    Debbie in Kentucky
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  18. #18
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    Be careful-Turkey can be dangerous at time for tourists-Have fun take lots of pictures and money and do barter-they love scamming tourist in Europe-I've been to Venice and the other places-no purses-fanny packs or hidden wallet hide in bra or waist pouch-don't let yourself and fellow passengers get mugged or robbed-theives are in all countries, watch your surroundings and have lots of fun-I think my husband and I had checked out this cruise-decided to wait 4 years until things settle down over there-BE CAREFUL

  19. #19
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    Be very careful with your money in Barcelona! My husband had his wallet taken out of the front pocket of his jeans and had no idea. Luckily there was someone strolling a ways behind us who saw the wallet on the ground, looked in it and saw the drivers licence picture and thought it looked like my husband. They took all the money but nothing else so that was way less hassle than it could have been. Also, I wouldn't wear any kind of jewelry that is worth any money. They showed a clip on one of our news channels a couple weeks ago with someone interviewing a woman in Barcelona regarding the thievery. As she was talking to them someone came from behind her and ripped the gold chain right off her neck and ran. So sad!

  20. #20
    Super Member noveltyjunkie's Avatar
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    There is so much to see in those places and the sense of history and a long cultural tradition is what makes visits special for me, rather than any one site.

    Tripadvisor.com is great for info and reviews of attractions.

    As a European I am interested to see the take most posters have in how dangerous we are over here! Overall Europe is very safe (gun crime is almost completely absent) but It is certainly true that there are pickpockets who prey on tourists in some of the places you are going to, so it is worth putting a bit of thought into how you can avoid that. Leave your passport on the ship. (Carry a photocopy and some other photo id, like your driver's licence) Try not to look like you are rich and helpless! I adopt a very assertive body language in these places- looking around me with attention, good arm swing when I walk, etc. I guess if you look weak it makes you more attractive as a target for these people! When you stop for coffee, be very careful where you leave down your belongings and certainly don't ever leave them unattended. That's just common sense.

    Most of the time we all get along just fine- honest! We are really pretty civilized.
    Last edited by noveltyjunkie; 05-10-2014 at 12:44 AM.

  21. #21
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    I agree that I have never felt "unsafe" in Europe. People are helpful, even with a language difference. Pickpockets are in every part of the world. One of my friends uses a large safety pin (think diaper pin size) to hold his front pocket closed. He has stopped several pickpockets with that method.

  22. #22
    Super Member thimblebug6000's Avatar
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    It's great to see as much as you can, but don't book every tour available, or you will be exhausted! Enjoy your wonderful trip.. When you book a tour, ask questions.... one friend thought they would be touring around in Venice looking at the city by night....lights etc..... what the tour really meant was bar hopping..... which is great if that's what you're looking for

  23. #23
    Super Member AngeliaNR's Avatar
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    You have been given some great advice. My suggestion: take me with you!

    Have a wonderful trip!
    Courtesy is not optional.

    http://theeclecticabuela.blogspot.com/

  24. #24
    Super Member kydeb's Avatar
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    I agree!! Lots of wonderful advise!!

    Let's go!!! LOL

    Quote Originally Posted by AngeliaNR View Post
    You have been given some great advice. My suggestion: take me with you!

    Have a wonderful trip!
    Debbie in Kentucky
    kydeb.wordpress.com

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