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Mad Cow's Italy trip discussion thread


Where should we go for our trip?  

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The wife and I are hitting our 20th anniversary this year and want to go to Europe for our trip. Neither of us has ever been.

Lots of pros/cons to either. Italy seems ideal to base in a city and do day or two trips around such as if you start in Rome, see Amalfi coast, Pompeii, etc. France based in Paris could hit Normandy and many other day trips via train, etc.

I would like to see the sights, but do not want to be rushing place to place. I would like to find a quaint little restaurant for lunch/dinner, maybe take time to just be in the countryside.

Those of you that have gone, what would you suggest for a first time run?

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Spain was also considered seeing as how I am very fluent and my wife is almost there. I know we could do a split of Paris and Barcelona, as well, which is always an option. I would like to keep it fairly simple as it is the first trip of hopefully many. For those saying Italy, what would you suggest for the base and side trips?

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Is she down with going to Greece?

I think she would love it. One of my best friends served his LDS mission in Greece and has been back, he could certainly help with some things there.

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Any of your or her ancestors from Europe? Personally, all things equal, I'd prefer to visit the mother land.

Me England and Germany. Her Switzerland.

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Italy is my choice just because the regions within Italy are more diverse than those within France, so you can stay in one country but feel like you have gone to several. France/Spain would be cool too. It's also easier to get a blend of big city/small village in Italy as well, which in my opinion is the key to a good trip. Don't get so fixated on seeing the "must see" cities that you miss out on the charm of old world villages. I'd shoot for a 3/4 to 1/4 division of time between big and small.

For Italy, I would suggest:

Rome (2-3 days) -- day trip to Pompeii for one of days

Florence/Tuscany (5 days) -- day trip to Cinque Terre, Siena, 1-2 days in Tuscany/wine country

Venice (2 days)

Don't have as much experience with France/Spain, but I would imagine 3 days each in Paris and Barcelona with either wine country in France or beaches on the south coast of Spain would be the way to go.

Edited by bucs4life_99
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Surprised Italy is beating France so handily. Everyone I talk to either loves it or thinks it's nasty.

Had to vote null since I've never been to Italy but I've driven around most of France and it is a beautiful country. Going to the US cemetery in Normandy is a profound experience.

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Italy is good. There are better places in Italy besides Rome though. I personally like Spain better. Barcelona, Seville, and Madrid.

Barcelona, Seville, and Madrid for seeing museums and things. Lodging and food means we travel out of the big cities. Right now I have done so many wine clubs and tastings for QPR wines of Spain. You can drink a lot of yummy Sapnish wine on the cheap and it isn't hard to eat on the cheap either in Spain.

Edited by Jules Winnfield
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Yes, I am from Ohio, live in Utah but we have traveled the country, been to Hawaii a few times, Mexico, Caribbean. She has been to South America twice, so it's not like we are complete and utter noobs. Spanish does make Spain appealing.

Oh, and no need to send us anywhere where alcohol is the attraction.

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Yes, I am from Ohio, live in Utah but we have traveled the country, been to Hawaii a few times, Mexico, Caribbean. She has been to South America twice, so it's not like we are complete and utter noobs. Spanish does make Spain appealing.

Oh, and no need to send us anywhere where alcohol is the attraction.

You stay at youth hostels when you travel or do you splurge for a motel?

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Oh, and no need to send us anywhere where alcohol is the attraction.

Don't ever go to Dublin. Seriously, there's hardly anything else to do there but drink beer. I wasn't very impressed by that city and I'm Irish. Other parts of Ireland are cool though.

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Yes, I am from Ohio, live in Utah but we have traveled the country, been to Hawaii a few times, Mexico, Caribbean. She has been to South America twice, so it's not like we are complete and utter noobs. Spanish does make Spain appealing.

Oh, and no need to send us anywhere where alcohol is the attraction.

I hear that Toledo, Spain is just as good as Toledo, Ohio.

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Yes, I am from Ohio, live in Utah but we have traveled the country, been to Hawaii a few times, Mexico, Caribbean. She has been to South America twice, so it's not like we are complete and utter noobs. Spanish does make Spain appealing.

Oh, and no need to send us anywhere where alcohol is the attraction.

You stay at youth hostels when you travel or do you splurge for a motel?

Not sure I get the humor/inside joke/jab at who you think I am. :shrug:

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Yes, I am from Ohio, live in Utah but we have traveled the country, been to Hawaii a few times, Mexico, Caribbean. She has been to South America twice, so it's not like we are complete and utter noobs. Spanish does make Spain appealing.

Oh, and no need to send us anywhere where alcohol is the attraction.

Well forget Spain as it is the most widely planted wine producing nation.

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Yes, I am from Ohio, live in Utah but we have traveled the country, been to Hawaii a few times, Mexico, Caribbean. She has been to South America twice, so it's not like we are complete and utter noobs. Spanish does make Spain appealing.

Oh, and no need to send us anywhere where alcohol is the attraction.

Well forget Spain as it is the most widely planted wine producing nation.

I know there is more to Spain than alcohol. My comment is more based on go to this area because there is a crapton of wine tasting, etc. We would love to be able to experience great food while there, wherever that may be.

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Yes, I am from Ohio, live in Utah but we have traveled the country, been to Hawaii a few times, Mexico, Caribbean. She has been to South America twice, so it's not like we are complete and utter noobs. Spanish does make Spain appealing.

Oh, and no need to send us anywhere where alcohol is the attraction.

Well forget Spain as it is the most widely planted wine producing nation.

I know there is more to Spain than alcohol. My comment is more based on go to this area because there is a crapton of wine tasting, etc. We would love to be able to experience great food while there, wherever that may be.

If the whole food experience thing is going to be a huge part of your journey, let which cuisine you prefer be a deciding factor. Especially if you intend to spend time in big cities. As you go more rural, the cuisines get a lot closer to a bread/veggies/meat midpoint.

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Anyway, my official vote went to "other."

Unless you were deeply in love with the idea of spending time in Paris, I'd tend to prefer Italy to France. I didn't spend much time in Rome, or feel like I wanted to, but both the coastal and the rural/small town parts of Italy smashed France, IMO.

If you wanted to be more urban, I'd recommend Budapest instead.

If you change your mind and decide you want to spend the entire trip in drunken bliss, I'd give Croatia my highest recommendation.

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Spain and France maybe. TGV bullet train gets you between Paris and Madrid super fast.

That was the other thought. Paris for a few days, maybe a couple of days in Monaco, then on to Barcelona or other city.

It's tough to figure out. I would love to spend a few days in Rome, then the rest rural, at a slower pace in Italy. Sounds very appealing. The coast would be great.

How is driving in Italy for those that have?

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Yes, I am from Ohio, live in Utah but we have traveled the country, been to Hawaii a few times, Mexico, Caribbean. She has been to South America twice, so it's not like we are complete and utter noobs. Spanish does make Spain appealing.

Oh, and no need to send us anywhere where alcohol is the attraction.

You stay at youth hostels when you travel or do you splurge for a motel?

Not sure I get the humor/inside joke/jab at who you think I am. :shrug:

Oh, you get it, alright... you're the FBG cheapskate... the guy who will have his wife drive around the airport for an hour while he runs in to get his tickets or bags or whatever, so he doesn't have to pay for parking. The guy who squeaks when he walks. The guy who, when he steps outside, a bird lands on his shoulder and chirps, "cheep, cheep, cheep".

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Yes, I am from Ohio, live in Utah but we have traveled the country, been to Hawaii a few times, Mexico, Caribbean. She has been to South America twice, so it's not like we are complete and utter noobs. Spanish does make Spain appealing.

Oh, and no need to send us anywhere where alcohol is the attraction.

You stay at youth hostels when you travel or do you splurge for a motel?

Not sure I get the humor/inside joke/jab at who you think I am. :shrug:

Oh, you get it, alright... you're the FBG cheapskate... the guy who will have his wife drive around the airport for an hour while he runs in to get his tickets or bags or whatever, so he doesn't have to pay for parking. The guy who squeaks when he walks. The guy who, when he steps outside, a bird lands on his shoulder and chirps, "cheep, cheep, cheep".

And how am I the FBG cheapskate exactly? Whatever, man.

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Yes, I am from Ohio, live in Utah but we have traveled the country, been to Hawaii a few times, Mexico, Caribbean. She has been to South America twice, so it's not like we are complete and utter noobs. Spanish does make Spain appealing.

Oh, and no need to send us anywhere where alcohol is the attraction.

You stay at youth hostels when you travel or do you splurge for a motel?

Not sure I get the humor/inside joke/jab at who you think I am. :shrug:

Oh, you get it, alright... you're the FBG cheapskate... the guy who will have his wife drive around the airport for an hour while he runs in to get his tickets or bags or whatever, so he doesn't have to pay for parking. The guy who squeaks when he walks. The guy who, when he steps outside, a bird lands on his shoulder and chirps, "cheep, cheep, cheep".

And how am I the FBG cheapskate exactly? Whatever, man.

Oofff... my apologies... I confused you with the Dentist. He's the official FBG cheapskate. My apologies. Still, Paris is nothing but a big shopping mall. If you go to France, avoid Paris. it sux ###.

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Spain and France maybe. TGV bullet train gets you between Paris and Madrid super fast.

That was the other thought. Paris for a few days, maybe a couple of days in Monaco, then on to Barcelona or other city.

It's tough to figure out. I would love to spend a few days in Rome, then the rest rural, at a slower pace in Italy. Sounds very appealing. The coast would be great.

How is driving in Italy for those that have?

Here's the thing: you don't have to visit Paris to take the TGV or any other train. You can just go take the train from there. There is plenty of relaxed, rural and romantic (check Mont St Michel, for ex) of France and Spain to visit. Monaco is nothing special unless you plan to gamble in a tuxedo or race a formula 1. I liked Italy plenty and I'm not knocking it at all. You can have the same kinds of experiences in Spain or France though. It just comes down to what you want to experience.

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Yes, I am from Ohio, live in Utah but we have traveled the country, been to Hawaii a few times, Mexico, Caribbean. She has been to South America twice, so it's not like we are complete and utter noobs. Spanish does make Spain appealing.

Oh, and no need to send us anywhere where alcohol is the attraction.

Well forget Spain as it is the most widely planted wine producing nation.

I know there is more to Spain than alcohol. My comment is more based on go to this area because there is a crapton of wine tasting, etc. We would love to be able to experience great food while there, wherever that may be.

Doesn't matter if it is Italy, Spain, Greece, etc...the food is going to be better because you are in said country and it is better when it is made authentically and you are on vacation. What kind of food do you like, look up the gastronomy of said region of whatever country on Google, and plan accordingly. But expand your tastes while on vacation. Don't like anchovies? Try them while in Spain. Never had Cuttlefish? Try it while you are there.

Andalusia - Cuttlefish and Broadbeans, Iberian cured Ham, Raisins, Citrus, and Olive Oil

Catalonia - Anchovies, Beef, Cod, Roasted Eggplant, and Salchichon Sausage

You get the point

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Spain and France maybe. TGV bullet train gets you between Paris and Madrid super fast.

That was the other thought. Paris for a few days, maybe a couple of days in Monaco, then on to Barcelona or other city.

It's tough to figure out. I would love to spend a few days in Rome, then the rest rural, at a slower pace in Italy. Sounds very appealing. The coast would be great.

How is driving in Italy for those that have?

There was another Europe focused thread where I talked about this...but I'm doing 13 days in Europe (including travel days) in October with my wife. Basic itinerary is NYC to Rome day 1, train to Naples day 4, get a driver to Positano to spend 5 days on the Amalfi Coast, day 9 fly to Barcelona, fly home day 13. I think it's going to be a great mix of everything we'd want.

Since you talked about extending the trip a couple days, maybe you can do something similar.

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The wife and I are hitting our 20th anniversary this year and want to go to Europe for our trip. Neither of us has ever been.

Lots of pros/cons to either. Italy seems ideal to base in a city and do day or two trips around such as if you start in Rome, see Amalfi coast, Pompeii, etc. France based in Paris could hit Normandy and many other day trips via train, etc.

I would like to see the sights, but do not want to be rushing place to place. I would like to find a quaint little restaurant for lunch/dinner, maybe take time to just be in the countryside.

Those of you that have gone, what would you suggest for a first time run?

Both have nice countrysides and good food. Are you interested more in the history of one place versus the other? It's hard to go wrong here.

The Parisians I dealt with were much nicer than Romans in my experience, though outside of Rome the Italians generally were very helpful.

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Italy seems ideal to base in a city and do day or two trips around such as if you start in Rome, see Amalfi coast, Pompeii, etc.

You can't go wrong with any of the suggestions, but this was my vote. Spend half your time in Rome splitting it between historical sightseeing and enjoying Italian culture. Then spend the other half 2-5 hours south on the Amalfi coast. I have family in Rome, Naples and Positano, so I'm biased. But it's a great trip. This place is heaven in the summer and 2.5 hours from Rome. You can handle the driving.

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Never been? Make it 13 days and do both.

travel

3 days in Paris

2 days in France country side

travel

2 days in Venice

3 days in Tuscany

travel

We did 5 days, 4 nights in Paris, then a week in Florence (took an overnight trip to Venice, explored Tuscany), then 5 days in Rome. Great trip. Quick flight from Paris to Pisa, very easy with bullet train to get to go from Florence to Venice and Rome. Fly into Paris, back home from Rome. Trust me if you make Paris and Florence your bases you won't be disappointed.

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Srsly... if you go to Amsterdam, everything else will seem like a second-choice. Amsterdam... that's where I want to live when I retire. You can walk everywhere you want to go. I'm not even sure if the police carry guns. Great city.. and everyone speaks the Engrish.

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Never been? Make it 13 days and do both.

travel

3 days in Paris

2 days in France country side

travel

2 days in Venice

3 days in Tuscany

travel

If you reverse this order slightly and do French countryside first, I believe there is an overnight train from Paris to Venice -- saves travel time and hotel room cost.

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