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I'm going to Europe for the first time. Would you guys and gals kindly share some tips?


#1

Hi Chronies! :wave:

Not sure if all of you know this, but I’m Brazilian :brazil:. Lived here my entire life and only went abroad once, to the US. This year, after saving some cash from my work with planes :airplane:, I decided to visit Western Europe for the first time.

I’ll be visiting 6 countries (and 9 cities) in 34 days (from Dec. 12th to Jan. 16th.) by myself, with a backpack.

MY ITINERARY

UK
DECEMBER 12th - 15th: London
DECEMBER 15th - 17th: Lincolnshire
DECEMBER 17th - 18th: London

NETHERLANDS
DECEMBER 18th - 21th: Amsterdam
DECEMBER 21st - 23rd: Helmond

GERMANY
DECEMBER 23rd - ~27th: Cologne

SWITZERLAND
DECEMBER ~28th - JANUARY 4th: Basel

FRANCE
JANUARY 4th - 8th: Paris
JANUARY 8th - 10th: Auvers-sur-Oise (nearby)
JANUARY 10th - ~12th: Paris

BELGIUM
JANUARY ~12th - ~14th: Brussels

NETHERLANDS
January ~14th - 16th: Amsterdam
~ = approximatedly


MY PLANS - sleeping & transportation :bullettrain_side:
I’ll be mainly Couchsurfing to save $, but I’ll also be staying at a few Hostels.

My sleeping arrangements are set for the UK, Helmond, Cologne and Basel, which totals around 2/3 of my trip.

I’ve booked 3 trains, from London to Lincolnshire and back (I have a friend who lives there) and from Basel to Paris. I bought the Basel-Paris train at really low fees and it’s a really fast train too! :star_struck:

The rest of my getting-around will be done on buses, booked closer to day days of departure.

MY PLANS - food :potato:
I’m a hungry gal, so please share your cheap food chains, markets and general food advice with me. I don’t eat red meat and I’m allergic to sea food – read: I die – other than that, I’m mostly fine. I also like to avoid eating too many fried things and I love trying out exotic food!

MY PLANS - culture :european_castle:
This is the hardest part of planning any trip, I think: deciding from what you must do and what you’ll pass due to lack of time, money, or simply a will to do as you please once you’re actually there.

Things I definitely WILL DO include: visit the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, visit The Louvre and Versailles in Paris, visit Baker Street 221B in London, attend Christmas festivities in Cologne and walk around the woods to ski and snowball fight in the Netherlands and Switzerland, depending on the weather.

I don’t like overly touristy things. For example, I rather follow in the footsteps of Van Gogh – my all-time favorite artist and one of the few people I’d be willing to travel in time to meet – in Paris rather than paying to go all the way to the top of the Eiffel Tower.

Are there any mildly touristy things you recommend in these locations? Any secrets anyone should spend some time discovering? Creepy churches? Delicious and cheap restaurants? Historical sites? Unexplained mysteries? Cool pubs? :blush:

Closing notes
I’m beyond excited. I’ve bought the plane tickets and the Euros and Pounds. I’m going to buy my health insurance this month and I also asked my godmother to gift me a 4-day Paris Museum Pass as a birthday and Christmas gift. Versailles better be ready for some HIGH QUALITY HAPPINESS TEARS.


Do you live in Europe? Have you been to any of these cities? Have you got any tips, helpful links, maps, guides, advice, hostel names, etc?

I sincerely wasn’t going to make this monster of a thread all about myself but… @xist convinced me to so… BLAME HIM! :joy:


#2

Seems like an amazing trip, all advice I can give you would be insect related. Make sure to visit at least one museum of science/natural history! (especially with the Museum pass), they (I seem to recall) tend to be a little bit less crowded than the famous museums around Europe.


#3

Depends where you are going in Lincolnshire but if you are in Lincoln itself, you should try the Lincoln Ghost Walk. Lots of history in a small area including a castle and a Beautiful Cathedral and should tick the box for creepy churches, historical sites and unexplained mysteries. Overall, just have a great time!


#4

Well, that sucks…

London can be crazy expensive, you’ll need some major skills to save money.
Amsterdam and Brussels have both great infrastructures and you can find cheap deli shop easy.
I’ve been in Switzerland just once to attend an exhibit, I don’t know much but they have good chocolate :smiley:

Have fun and stay safe along the road! :+1:


#5

Sounds like loads of fun. I backpacked there in the early 70’s. Flowerchild time! :white_flower::white_flower::cherry_blossom::cherry_blossom::hibiscus::hibiscus::sunflower::sunflower:It was a blast. Many a time I just slept in the car.

Make sure you take pics!:camera::camera_flash::video_camera:


#6

Hi, I’m your guide on good food in Cologne.

Now there’s waaaaaaaaaaaaay more in Cologne, but these are the 4 best things that come to (my) mind. There are plenty of other cafés, restaurants, fast food joints, bars et cetera that are above average so you will have a hard time choosing wrong!


#7

Beware of the rain


#8

I was ready to start WW3, but that’s a goddamn masterpiece of a pizza napoletana.


#9

Yeah, they do classic neapolitan pizza and only use the finest ingredients, but still charge less than I want to pay them for it! Like seriously, people² tell me 13€ is way too much, but I feel it’s dirt cheap for what you get!

² that haven’t been there

#10

It’s pricey, but it looks good and I’m sure it tastes even better. I’m drooling… I’ll have some pizza now :beers:


#11

I live in the Netherlands.

You will also travel by bus in the Netherlands? Wouldn’t you want to go out in Amsterdam? The trains should be running into the late night as well and Helmond is kinda accessible. Both are probably expensive, because transport is expensive here D:

Having said that, I don’t think Amsterdam is a very nice dutch city. It bares more resemblance to Disneyland nowadays (filled with tourists wearing stupid hats). I would suggest going to something like Leiden or Utrecht instead if you want a nice city (unless you only go for musea).

Regarding Christmas you could also go to Maastricht or Aachen. Aachen is quite accessible as well by train. Cologne is better by bus probably.

Since you are in Helmond, I assume you will go to Eindhoven as well. You should also try “Den Bosch”.

For skiing in the Netherlands you have to be in SnowWorld or something. We don’t have mountains after all :stuck_out_tongue: We might have snow, but the last years it usually was so much snow, ice and cold that it was simply better to stay inside. Especially if you are used to Brazilian weather.

Do they sprinkle gold on it? A good pizza in Germany is max 10 euro.


#12

But, but… south of France! I would love to give you feedback and cool things wich tourists don’t find often but I’m afraid my knowledge at that regard is restricted to Spain, some places of Italy and Greece and not much more.

Seems like a great trip. I’l think if I can bring you some useful tips but I’m not sure if my slyness can be taught with just words.


#13

Sure, if you‘re in a pseudo italian fast food pizzeria maybe. This is something else, mate.


#14

Except that I have a dozen or so Italian (Sicilian mostly) restaurants right across the border…
13 euro for a normal pizza is a lot. Maybe you pay that for a calzone or something special.

Also, who goes to Germany and then recommends wine. Come on man xD At least recommend some beer since that’s what they are famous for. He/she can have plenty of wine in France. Plenty of Kolsch beer to try out in Cologne.

Also OP, usually it’s faaaaar cheaper to eat the same thing in Germany rather than in the Netherlands. So if you eat out, do it in Germany :wink:


#15

Holy cow guys thanks so much for all the awesome tips so far! :sob::sob::sob:

You’re all too precious for my soul. A few things:

@hivefleetbothan I’m definitely going to visit The Natural History Museum, for one. I’ll take some special bug butt pics just for u.

@Seaburn THIS IS PERFECT I’M GOING TO CRY

@WikiTora Thankfully I know a bunch of people in London and a middle school friend of mine who’s now studying art there gave me the best food tips in the world. Also a really nice couple is hosting me there and they’ll feed me breakfast and dinner (or do I call it tea?)!

@delenn13 definitely will be taking pics! I may create an instagram just for this trip :thinking:

@DownwardConcept aw man always with the fantastic food tips. You gonna make me poor and fat and it’ll be hella worthwhile. :hamburger:

@Rabob I’ll be using buses for several reasons:

  1. I live in Brazil. It can take more than 10 hours to get to or back from Rio de Janeiro by bus on an average day. I live 450km away. We are used to it. 2 hours on a bus? Nothing. 5 hours on a bus? Perfectly fine. 10 hours on a bus? If I have to, sure. No biggie.

  2. I’m going on a budget.

Thanks for the tips on Amsterdam. I’m only going to be there for a total of around 5 days, though, and I really need to see those museums so… I don’t think I’ll be passing out on it. I’ll definitely check in the possibility of visiting those other cities too! :blush:

And yeah: I’ll be visiting a friend in Helmond and we’ll be visiting Eindhoven together! We’ll be ice skating in a few lakes in Helmond as well if the weather lets us :slight_smile:

Nice tip! Thank you :hugs:


#16

Sicilian is different from Neapolitan pizza, so argument done there.
And sure, if you want the stereotypical tour, then go have some beer, but Germany has just as much if not more winegrowers and… Forget about it. You do you, mate.


#17

@DownwardConcept regardless of what other people think of your tips, I’d like to say I really appreciate them and have added them to my list.

Everyone has something to contribute, and the more info I have the better it’ll be for me to decide what I want to do once I’m there.

So thanks so much for the help and hoooray pizza! Hopefully I can find someone to join me haha :joy:


#18

Here is an idea. :exploding_head:You could take a fav stuffed animal…or an action figure( you get the concept) Or even a book. Take a pict with IT in it.everywhere you go…Museums, restaurants, by tree or sign…Then you call call it…

The Travels of … Or something like that!!!

I had a friend who took a Star Trek-Capt. Janeway book with her everywhere and posted a pic everyday on Tumblr.


#19

Yes, please! It’s the only social media I " use "

I have a friend who does that with a plush lion!


#20

But I like rain :sob: