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  1. #1
    Platinum Lounger
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    I'm hoping to travel to Europe later this year on business, but have decided to treat myself to a 6-8 week holiday (first one this millenium!) Now, I haven't been out of the antipodean hemisphere for 20 years, but even back then I became aware that the European summer was chaotic for tourists wrt accommodation, and that the worst times were when school holidays for one country meant a huge influx into another. For instance, I made the mistake of holidaying in Spain during the French (and maybe Italian) school holidays. As a consequence, Spain was full - I had to sleep on beaches more often than not. The Greek islands are host to half the population of Sweden during their holidays etc.

    Now, I know many of the longterm Loungers live on or frequent the continent, and I'm basically wanting any tips to avoid a problematic holiday. I'm hoping to arrive when the summer mayhem is dying down - last July/ early August? But this is flexible. I'll be "based" on the French Riviera, where accommodation is taken care of. From there, I'm hoping to travel within France and Italy - possibly Spain (which I missed last time I was there) and Portugal. Maybe elsewhere time permitting. I think there's also a possible hop across to London, so maybe a quick refresher course on the UK.

    So any of those handy tips for travelers, straight from the mouths of the locals, would be appreciated.

    Alan

  2. #2
    Super Moderator WebGenii's Avatar
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    no advice - I just wanted to let you know I'm jealous
    [b]Catharine Richardson (WebGenii)
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    Moderator: Spreadsheets, Other MS Apps, Presentation Apps, Visual Basic for Apps, Windows Mobile

  3. #3
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    Make sure you come to London....I have about 20 beers I owe you keeping cool in a large cask here
    Jerry

  4. #4
    Plutonium Lounger
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    Quote Originally Posted by jezza View Post
    Make sure you come to London....I have about 20 beers I owe you keeping cool in a large cask here
    Maybe we could assemble a group of Loungers to throw you a party!

  5. #5
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    I recommend that you avoid the French Riviera during the period July 14th (French national day) and August 15th (Assumption of Mary). During these four weeks, most of the French, Belgium, Dutch and German people are invading the south of France. Personally, I would come in June (schools are working up to the first days of July), the hotels are not crowded and the days are the longest around the June equinox. On the other hand, the sea will not be as warm as in August. After mid-August, days are shorter and you may end up with more storms.
    This eco-post is made of recycled electrons

  6. #6
    Platinum Lounger
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    Quote Originally Posted by Catharine Richardson View Post
    no advice - I just wanted to let you know I'm jealous
    Now where's that violin when you need it!
    The last "holiday" I had was trekking up the east coast of for 6 months, trying to find a "just right" place to live (criteria determined by other half). We scoured about 2000km of coastline and finally found "it" about 5km from where we were in Melbourne. Before that, it was basking in a Middle East "hotspot" courtesy of the DoD in 1992. I deserve a holiday with all expenses paid and no luxury too extravagant!


    Alan

  7. #7
    Platinum Lounger
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    Quote Originally Posted by jezza View Post
    Make sure you come to London....I have about 20 beers I owe you keeping cool in a large cask here
    This is so typical of my luck (see violin in reply to Catherine's post). Due to ongoing medication, I haven't been able to enjoy a brew or six for some time now. So I'm afraid you will have to drink them before they go [s]warm and[/s] flat. Sorry, forgot that "warm" is the offer of the day!

    Alan

  8. #8
    Platinum Lounger
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    Quote Originally Posted by StuartR View Post
    Maybe we could assemble a group of Loungers to throw you a party!
    Now that sounds wonderful! Not a lynch mob I hope

    I'd really like to hit the Benelux region again too (but time probably won't permit). It seems also to be a haven for Lounge long termers.

    Alan

  9. #9
    Platinum Lounger
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stephane Quenson View Post
    I recommend that you avoid the French Riviera during the period July 14th (French national day) and August 15th (Assumption of Mary). During these four weeks, most of the French, Belgium, Dutch and German people are invading the south of France. Personally, I would come in June (schools are working up to the first days of July), the hotels are not crowded and the days are the longest around the June equinox. On the other hand, the sea will not be as warm as in August. After mid-August, days are shorter and you may end up with more storms.
    Stephane. That's the kind of really helpful information I was after. June is a possibility - possibly a better alternative - go pre-invasion rather than post-skirmish. Although things should be taken care of (at least logistically) at the Riviera, I guess the influx would also affect the rest of south France, where we wouldn't have established accommodation.

    thanks again for that valuable advice
    Alan

  10. #10
    Silver Lounger
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    Ah, returning to the old and beautiful Europe.

    Quote Originally Posted by AlanMiller View Post
    The Greek islands are host to half the population of Sweden during their holidays etc.
    Some years ago, yes, that is true, indeed. Nowadays, a lot travel to Woody's regions.

    Perhaps I can do some research if you want to avoid Swedes.

  11. #11
    Platinum Lounger
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    A couple of other queries have sprung to mind. Preferred currency in UK and on the continent? I'm wondering about setting up a foreign currency card account with HSBC. I could buy USD, EUR, GBP for AUD any time from now, when the buy/sell rate is right. I'm guessing EUR might be the go, since no further conversion stings would be involved?

    Also, rail passes. Back in my days there were a bunch of disparate options - Eurail, Britrail, Benelux and other passes, for whatever length of time, with Switzerland not included, Spain partial inclusion etc. etc. I'm hoping that there might be some consolidated arrangement now under the EU?

    Hostels and backpackers have obviously moved in leaps & bounds too. With a mixture of private and Youth Hostels now, is there a "common" membership or similar worth getting?

    Alan

  12. #12
    Platinum Lounger
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    Quote Originally Posted by Argus View Post
    ... Perhaps I can do some research if you want to avoid Swedes.
    Nah! The Swedes are good fun as tourists (and at home, where they do have to be a bit more serious though). I actually worried over them a bit though, in my traveling era. Booze was almost (deliberately) prohibitively expensive in in the 80s and when they got to places like the Greek islands, where a bottle of beer was cheaper than a bottle of Coke or Aqua Minerale, together with the embarrassingly high exchange rate from Kroner to Drachma... well, you can imagine the result. It seemed to become a "mission" for some to get as much ingested as possible in the limited time available. Kinda like mad bargain hunters at annual sales.

    Alan

  13. #13
    4 Star Lounger
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    Remember and leave yourself plenty of time if you're not coming by pigeon...
    John (Unreconstructed Jacobite)

  14. #14
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    Just a thought - do you have to stay in a hotel? I can only speak for my travails in Germany (long, sad story with he-who-must-not-be-named) and I found guest houses (please translate as necessary) to be quite nice, friendly, and less expensive. You also get a sense of what the citizens are really like and this helped in France, too, where we only knew English and enough German to order a beer and ask where the bathrooms were.
    Carpy Diem, it's .

  15. #15
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    I enjoy France in September. Usually (but not guaranteed) still good weather, school terms have started which cuts down the crowds and hotel/travel rates start going down. Spain and Italy will be getting that little bit cooler (and cheaper). If you're heading for the sea, it will still have retained a fair bit of heat - but if a warm sea is what you're after, I suggest that the colour should be Red.
    We never really grow up, we only learn how to act in public.

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