Prague, Czech Republic

Traveling To Europe Next Week & I Need Your Help!

Derek Everything Else, Transportation 85 Comments

Prague, Czech Republic
For those of you who have been following this blog for a while, you’re probably well aware of how poor of a planner I truly am. My plans are constantly changing, even at the last minute when there appears to be absolutely no chance at all that my plans could possibly change. Well, they do change. And they do change often. Such is the life of a permanent nomad.

About one month ago, I actually wrote a post called “Choosing My Next Travel Destination” in which I asked all of you, the phenomenal readers without whom this site would never exist, for advice on where I should travel to next. The response was simply awesome, with over 100 comments and emails full of interesting suggestions that included places as diverse as the Philippines, Colombia, Romania, Latvia, Georgia, India, Japan, the US and even Antarctica.

And the number one suggestion, by far, was the grand continent of Africa. Readers left such positive comments, not only describing their own travel experiences, but also explaining why Africa would be such a good match for me.

I must admit that every time I read one of those comments recommending that I pack my backpack and head off to Africa, the excitement grew exponentially!

That’s why, in one week from now, I’m heading to Europe.

I know, it sounds ridiculous, but let me explain what’s going on before you throw your tomatoes at me and boo me out of the room.

IT’S TIME FOR SOME TRAIN TRAVEL

Recently, I was contacted by Eurail.com, the company that offers the popular Eurail Passes that allow travelers to easily use the extensive train system in Europe. The reason they contacted me was to offer a 15-day Eurail Pass that I could use over a period of two months, not just to travel around Europe, but to also experience first-hand the benefits of using such a pass, something that I have never used on any of my previous visits to Europe.

Parthenon, Athens, Greece

So naturally, I was intrigued.

However, before accepting the deal, I asked Eurail if they would kindly agree to one condition that I really felt was necessary…

I told them that I wanted my readers to choose the destinations I would visit. There simply was no way I could accept such a trip as this one without all of you being able to participate as much as possible.

And they instantly agreed!

So, now it’s go time and I really need your kind assistance…

Basically, as of this very minute, I have zero plans for this trip. The itinerary I end up creating will be based solely on your recommendations and suggestions. And those recommendations and suggestions can be ANYTHING.

Feel free to suggest countries, cities, towns, villages, specific sights, restaurants, bars, goat farms, antique shops, parks, bakeries (please, someone recommend a good bakery!), festivals, canoeing clubs, psychics and/or haunted cabins by a lake.

Heck, I’d love to meet any specific people you can put me in touch with as well!

Anything and everything goes.

Of course, the only catch is that I need to travel to countries that are included in my Eurail Global Pass. Luckily, there’s 22 of them, so it shouldn’t be much of an issue. These countries are:

Austria (including Liechtenstein), Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland

And just for general information, the countries on that list that I have not yet visited are Bulgaria, Denmark, Finland, Liechtenstein, Romania and Slovenia.

So when am I leaving exactly?

Well, the plan is to fly out to Europe on the 25th, in just six days from now. As a result, on Thursday, September 22nd, I shall compile all of the suggestions and create my itinerary, trying to cover as many of your ideas as possible. And a few days later, I shall take off and begin the adventure…crazy, I know.

WHAT HAPPENED TO AFRICA?

Valid question indeed. And for those of you ready to toss those tomatoes at my head for not traveling to Africa right now…hold on! My plan is to finally make it to Africa in December.

Of course, now that you know me, you probably won’t be surprised if I end up in the Solomon Islands or Bolivia instead, but as of right now, I shall be traveling over to Africa at the end of the year. And I have all of you to thank for leaving such compelling comments the last time around that convinced me that I need to visit that continent soon.

But of course, that’s still a few months away. Now it’s time for Europe.

So I hope you’ll take a moment to offer your thoughts, recommendations and suggestions for my upcoming trip…

Any ideas?

(I thank you ever so much in advance!)

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Comments 85

  1. Miranda

    Nice to see that you’re going to Slovenia! I reiterate my recommendation above – definitely try to see Radovljica and the bee museum, etc, and taste the delicious honey. It’s all not far from Bled, which I’m sure you’ll go and see. 🙂

    1. Earl

      Hey Miranda – You got it….Radovljica is on the list! I should get to Slovenia in about a week from now and I can’t wait to see as much as possible, including that bee museum 🙂

    1. Earl

      Hey Tim – I just read through your post and also the website for the hostel and I can’t wait to be in Ljubljana! The hostel seems like such a unique place to stay and the city itself seems to be worthy of a few days. And since I’ve done almost no research, your tips are very helpful and that’s where I shall stay. Thanks for that Tim!

  2. Pingback: Announcing My European Eurail Itinerary | Wandering Earl

  3. Pingback: Announcing My European Eurail Itinerary | Wandering Earl

  4. Caroline

    Hi there! I hope I’m not too late! I have to say, I don’t read blogs, it’s not my thing, but I’ve been following yours for the past 2 years! I love learning about the places you go and file away your advice for future trips (I hope!). And, I’ve been to some of the places…even your love of the Yankee Candle home store…I grew up not too far away! So, if I had to give advice on Europe…here I go…4 spots from west to east…and I’m sure most of these places were loved so much by me because of time/circumstance/company/chance – but maybe you’ll have the same luck!

    Sintra, Portugal – I recommend taking the run bus to the castle, having to hike up the opposite side of the hill/mountain – missing the last bus down and having to hitchhike back down…this place always stays with me.

    Carcasonne, France – a bit cheesy/touristy – but go for a walk along the river at night. Quaint in it’s own right. I heard a French girl singing “Me and Bobby McGee” along the river that would have impressed Janis.

    Arles, France – I just liked it, just spent a day or so there, but it made an impression.

    Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland – Just a beautiful setting and they had a wonderful hostel there…well, 10 years ago they did. Hiking, waterfalls, small mountain villages. Lovely.

    I hope this doesn’t get to you too late. I’m actually living in South Sudan at the moment. And, while you do need to see Africa, and I enjoy living here, I would not recommend Juba for one of your destinations!

    Safe and happy travels,
    Caroline

    1. Earl

      Hey Caroline – Your comment definitely wasn’t too late and even more importantly, thank you so much for following my blog for so long! And your suggestions were good ones. In fact, I’ve already been to Sintra and Arles and I will try to get to Lauterbrunnen while I’m in Switzerland 🙂

      On a different topic, I’m very curious as to what you’re up to in South Sudan. That is a place that is definitely on my list for my upcoming trip to Africa. And while Juba may not be such a great destination, I’m always up for traveling somewhere different and I’d say that city falls into that category!

  5. Kelley G. Tedd

    Earl, I am surprised that Hungary hasn’t gotten a mention. Since you seem to be leaning toward including Romania and Slovenia on your list, you’d have to travel through Hungary anyway. I also gather from your post that you’ve already been to Hungary. Even though I don’t know where in Hungary you’ve been, Let me give you some specific suggestions:

    – Obviously Budapest, the capital. I am sure you have been there if you’ve been to Hungary and I am sure that you have been to the Buda Castle and to the Szechenyi baths. A few little known gems is right outside of Budapest, Szentendre and Gödöllő.
    : Szentendre is just about 20 minutes north of Budapest and can be reached by using the suburban railway going North. It is a beautiful historical town right on the river Danbube. If you go another 45 minutes up, following the Danube river, you come to Esztergomb which is a beautiful place where the Danube suddenly takes a turn from going west to turning south. Great hiking here!
    : Gödöllő is also just outside of Budapest, also accessible on a suburban rail line but this time to the east. The highlight here is a palace where Franz Josef who was King of Hungary and his wife Elisabeth (“Sisi”) lived in the 1880’s.

    Moving outside of Budapest I’d suggest visiting:
    – Eger, a beautiful, beautiful city about 100km to the east of Budapest full of history and the setting for the book Eclipse of the Crescent Moon a novel written in the very early 1900’s. The city has an awesome castle and easily spend a day here.
    – Pécs, in the very south center part of Hungary just a few kilometers from the Croatian boarder. So much to see here, easily could spend two days. The mountains around the city are also great for hiking, if that interests you, add another couple of days. The city is also filled with history dating back 500 years and is a hidden beautiful European gem. But because it is has a major medical University it is also an awesome college town!
    – Vészprém West of Budapest about 120km is also a beautiful historical town with a large castle in the city center. Just north of Hungary’s large lake, Lake Balaton.
    Other cities that are very nice and interesting:
    Debrecen in the east on the Romanian boarder is also a College town, Hungary’s second largest city. Nice city, but only worth spending a day there. However, about 15km from there is the Hungarian Cowboys on the Hungarian Plains (Puszta). There you can take a day ride on a horse-n-buggy and see a great show that Hungarian cowboys put on. A lot of fun! Debrecen also has a large indoor water slide park if you are into that. A lot of fun when it is freezing outside.
    – Szeged, on Hungary’s 2nd largest river, the Tisza in South-east Hungary on the boarder of Romania and Serbia. Also a beautiful city, but half a day is enough.
    – Kecskemet is half way on the train between Budapest and Szeged and worth stopping in and spending the other half-day. Also a really nice city with an awesome feel to it.

    I am an American, but I’ve been living in Europe for 18 years. Other mentions of places worth going outside of Hungary:
    – Maribor, Slovenia, on your way to Lubjana from Hungary. A great place!!
    – Kracow, Poland. In my opinion the most beautiful city in Poland (the only beautiful city in Poland if you ask me, but I know many would disagree). Awesome place!
    – Hamburg, Germany an incredible city that is so, beautiful. I think it is Germany’s most beautiful city.
    – Portugal, anywhere
    – Malaga, Spain: Can still go in the sea in October. Lovely place on the sea!
    – Whitby, England: the only place in England where the sun typically is shining. A great little town on the eastern coast of England. An awesome town. Easily spend two days here.
    – Venice, Italy: If you haven’t been (although I’m sure you’ve been), you must go.
    – Graz, Austria has already been mention, but Linz shouldn’t be missed either.
    – Although Athens is volatile right now, I’d still go to Athens. I go there for work every couple of months & there is no problem. Must go to downtown Athens.
    – However, northern Greece is awesome, specifically Thessaloniki. Wonderful city. Then you can go to the tomb of Alexander the Great’s Father, Philip which is about an hour’s drive from Thessaloniki in Vergina.
    – It is also worth going to Halkadiki (Locally spelled, Chalkidiki) which are the peninsulas east of Thessaloniki. There are three of them and locally referred to as fingers, because the look like fingers. My favorite place that is if one drives to almost the end, about 2 hours east of Thessaloniki between the 2nd and 3rd “finger”. You take a ferry boat about 10 minutes to the island Ammouliani. Very authentic Greek, incredible beaches and virtually no tourists in September and October, but the weather is still perfect!
    – All of Switzerland is beautiful.
    – Prague is great, but I think it is a bit overrated.
    – If you go to Poland and you want to be hit in the face with horrible history, go to Auschwitz. Not a fun place, but one learns A LOT!
    – In Romania, all of Transylvania is beautiful. The mountains are incredible. The roads and the trains are….. not so much, but improving. Must experience it.

    I could give you more, but that is probably more than enough. Let me know if you go to Hungary. I live there. I didn’t mention the food in Hungary is INCREDIBLE and you tell me where you go & I’ll tell you where you must eat.

    Enjoy Europe!!

    1. Earl

      Hey Kelley – Thank you for all of that detailed information!! I have in fact been to Hungary and to most of the places that you’ve listed outside of Hungary as well but there are definitely a few on your list that I have yet to visit. On this upcoming trip, it looks like I will try to go from Slovenia to Romania via Croatia, Bosnia and Serbia, so I might end up passing by Hungary this time around. But there will be some flexibility built in just in case I change my mind or am forced to re-route. And if I do end up in Hungary, you can bet that I will be in touch. Seems like you have a wealth of knowledge about the entire country!

  6. Angela

    Well, if you are looking for great bakeries I would suggest Italy, France and also Germany. Other countries that I would personally love to visit are Romania and Portugal, so I would really enjoy seeing them vicariously through your posts before making the trip myself 🙂

  7. Scott

    How very cool…we also leave on the 25th for a week on the Amalfi Coast followed by 5 days in Lisbon, and a couple of days in Rome.

    You should definitely go to Copenhagen, an amazing world class city. And……if you have never been to Graz, Austria, go….it’;s an amazing city with lots to do.

    1. Earl

      Hey Scott – Thanks so much for your input and even better that you’re heading off on your own adventure! I have never been to Graz actually and it just might end up on the final itinerary which I will post tomorrow 🙂

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