Sunday, March 7, 2010

My itinerary as promised!

Since I've booked my ticket my flight times have changed 5 times now. They're usually minor but every time I get that email I can't help but to worry a little. It doesn't matter so much about my flight leaving Frankfurt, but my flight in I need to make sure is the right time because someone is picking me up from the airport.

You know when you arrive at an airport and see people with signs? One of those signs is going to have my name on it. It's kind of exciting! The lady from the bed and breakfast I'm staying at offered to pick me up for free, which was amazingly sweet of her. She is about 40 minutes from Frankfurt and usually charges about 40 euros to pick people up so I'm very thankful that she offered. I have to pay 50 euros a night because of that rub-it-in-your-face single supplemental fee but it will be worth it to have 2 days to relax, orient myself and stay in a small town with a local family. It's her husbands birthday the first night and she invited me to celebrate with them if they do something fun. I need to figure out if people tip for B&B's. She's going out of her way to do some really nice things for me that I feel like I should give her more than 100 euros for the 2 nights. I'm on a pretty tight budget but kindness means a lot! This is where I'll be staying:

Water Lilly Bed and Breakfast

It's simple, pretty and looks really nice. I'm not sure how I even stumbled across this place but I'm glad I did!

From there I'll take the S-bahn or bus to Frankfurt, stay a night and then find my way to Amsterdam. I don't know where I'm staying in Frankfurt yet and will probably book a hostel. Right now I'm not feeling very excited about the city but I haven't read much about it. I could always leave a day early and stay somewhere else along the way.

Frankfurt to Amsterdam: I'm looking for the cheapest way to get there. Ryanair doesn't seem to want to accept my credit card which is pissing me off. I've tried 3 cards and a debit card. There are a few forums online where people have mentioned this problem but others seem to be just fine so I'm not quite sure why I'm having trouble.

Amsterdam: 3 nights. I'm staying at a Christian hostel because I'm not really interested in smoking pot or drinking at my hostel. Most of the reviews I've read of the other cheaper places to stay had lower safety ratings, cleanliness and stressed a lot of noise. A good portion of this trip will be spent in hostels so I'd like to minimize contact with the annoying party people if possible. I'm also a big fan of sleep. This hostel has a bible reading get together that you can be sure I'm not going to hang around for. It's still a hostel in Amsterdam, how bad can it be?

I'll be leaving that Friday morning and heading to Berlin for 7 nights. After looking around online for different ways to get around Europe I decided it would be easiest to be a part of a tour so I wouldn't have to worry too much about bus schedules. This is still a vacation so having some part of the trip taken care of is pretty alluring. I booked a bus tour called Busabout on the Northern Loop. Basically these buses start out in Amsterdam and travel through different cities on a loop. The bus stops at major cities and smaller places along the way but it only stays overnight at the bigger cities. You have the option to stay at the smaller stops for an even number of nights and at the larger stops for an odd number of nights. It's flexible and they pick you up and drop you off at a hostel. I'm not staying in all of the ones on their list but the ones that I've booked are pretty close.

In Berlin I'm staying at Paula's Comfy Corner.

Paula has been friendly and accommodating and we worked out an amazing deal for the promise of cookies. Writing a nice email really works! I'm thrilled to stay there and for 6 nights! The final night I'll be at the pick-up hostel for the bus so I don't have to travel across the city at 7am.

The rest of my trip is:

Berlin to Dresden for 2 nights
Dresden to Prague for 5 nights
Prague to Cesky Krumlov for 2 nights
Cesky Krumlov to Vienna for 3 nights (I really wish I were staying longer now)
Vienna to Salzburg for 2 nights
Salzburg to Munich for 3 nights (day trip to Fussen)
Munich to Paris for ? nights
Paris to Frankfurt to home!

I'm staying in an apartment in Prague and in Vienna. I need to find a place to stay in Munich and in Paris but something has been holding me back from making those reservations... probably because they are both expensive cities! More details on the rest later. I'm slowly flushing out my plans but I could use some recommendations on things to do everywhere I'm staying! I have a small list from a few friends but nothing on paper.

Portland has been beautiful recently. Today I can feel a chill coming in from my window and the smell of rain is in the air. We've had an amazingly mild February and March so far and hardly any rain. There was a yarn crawl that I was tempted to take part in but I know what happens when I go to yarn stores and I'm very much on a budget! Plus, I have too much yarn anyways. It seems like the perfect day to fix an espresso and sit on ones bed with the window open reading my Lonely Planet book. I think I'm going to try to read a bit more about Munich and Paris so I feel a little more inspired to finalize those plans. For as long as I've dreamed about going to Europe I feel pretty unprepared for what I should want to see/do on this trip. I think I'm focusing more on going and just being over there and absorbing the culture instead of museums and tours. If anyone has any suggestions please feel free to comment, I'd love any input!

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