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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I'm getting to that stage where I want to travel again. My husband and I might travel this summer starting off July 22nd in Israel and end sometime in early September at Portugal. My list of countries is below:

Israel - 7 days
Jordan - 3 days
Turkey - 3 days
Bulgaria - 3 days
Romania - 5 days
Hungary - 3 days
Austria - 3 days
Germany - 3 days
Switzerland - 9 days
Italy down to its southern tip than fly to France - 9 days
France -9 days
Spain - 6 days
Portugal - 3 days

My question is if money is not an issue where would you stay in these countries, what to visit, and favorite restaurants? What would be a bucket list item to do in these areas or stay? Would love to hear all suggestions.

Background on us: We're tolerant of other people's cultures, love history and the study of different religions, but aren't afraid of fun exciting things to try like bungee jumping. We also love food (from a hole in the walls to three stars Michelin restaurants) and are not shy at trying out different taste on the menu. Of course, we also like beer and wine.

So let your Ne fly and what would you think of if you could do this trip and money was not an option? Mind you the set schedule is not set in stone.
 

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@NIHM For France I'd recommend visiting Guedelon- it's a medieval castle in the making, they're using traditional techniques to build it. Strasbourg is my favorite city in France. The last thing you'd want to do while being in Turkey is visiting an all-inclusive hotel complex and stay there. There's so much to see in Turkey, it'd be a shame to go there for something you could experience anywhere else. Istanbul is amazing. In Germany - Hamburg's new port region is worth visiting and Berlin and Munich are a must. I liked staying at Baden-Baden if you're interested in visiting the black forest on the south west of the country.

Here are my recommendations for Israel:
Jerusalem (book at least 2 days)
- A walk through the City of David
- Yad Vashem holocaust memorial center - Best architecture I've seen in Israel, portrays the full meaning of the story through the building's design, I wouldn't skip this experience. You could visit mount Herzel at the same day since it's right next to it.
- Mahane Yehuda street market is where you'd want to eat inside the city, you've got some fancy restaurants there too.
- Abu Gosh Is an Arab village west of the city, best known for it's Hummus and Falafel restaurants. Definitely worth a visit.

Tel Aviv
A great way to see the city would be to walk through the boulevards from the marina east to Rabin square, then go south to Habima square, then proceed through Rothschild blvd. to Neve Tzedek(a cool hipster neighborhood) then continue to Jaffa which is right west of it. Then end the walk with a stroll down the main beach of Tel Aviv back to the marina. You'd have a lot of opportunities to spot street food and restaurants on the way. The marina has some restaurants with nice views (accompanied with masses of people)

Haifa
The Baha'i gardens are phenomenal, worth a visit.

North
Tiberius (and its lake) Are a touristic hotspot, but I'd rather go for a visit in one of the Druzi villages up north from there - I've enjoyed visiting Peki'in, make sure to try the Pita Labane at the Taboun on the main square of the village, that's my favorite meal of all time.
Banias nature reserve to the northeast of there is a great spot for tracking. The are several rivers in the region that are worth a visit. There are places to go kayaking there too.
Theres an old strategic fort on the Golan heights that shows a full 360 of the region and gives a full picture of the strategic importance of the place. I don't remember the name of the hill, Avital? Something along those lines... Anyway, there's a cafe there called Coffee Annan which is visible on Google maps, so you could just navigate there.

South
Ein Gedi nature reserve
Mesada - You don't want to miss this one.
Dead sea
Ramon crater is worth a visit, but there's not much to do there aside from experiencing the view.
Eilat - a great place for free diving, scuba-diving and kite-surfing. You've got some beautiful coral reefs there.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
@NIHM For France I'd recommend visiting Guedelon- it's a medieval castle in the making, they're using traditional techniques to build it. Strasbourg is my favorite city in France. The last thing you'd want to do while being in Turkey is visiting an all-inclusive hotel complex and stay there. There's so much to see in Turkey, it'd be a shame to go there for something you could experience anywhere else. Istanbul is amazing. In Germany - Hamburg's new port region is worth visiting and Berlin and Munich are a must. I liked staying at Baden-Baden if you're interested in visiting the black forest on the south west of the country.

Here are my recommendations for Israel:
Jerusalem (book at least 2 days)
- A walk through the City of David
- Yad Vashem holocaust memorial center - Best architecture I've seen in Israel, portrays the full meaning of the story through the building's design, I wouldn't skip this experience. You could visit mount Herzel at the same day since it's right next to it.
- Mahane Yehuda street market is where you'd want to eat inside the city, you've got some fancy restaurants there too.
- Abu Gosh Is an Arab village west of the city, best known for it's Hummus and Falafel restaurants. Definitely worth a visit.

Tel Aviv
A great way to see the city would be to walk through the boulevards from the marina east to Rabin square, then go south to Habima square, then proceed through Rothschild blvd. to Neve Tzedek(a cool hipster neighborhood) then continue to Jaffa which is right west of it. Then end the walk with a stroll down the main beach of Tel Aviv back to the marina. You'd have a lot of opportunities to spot street food and restaurants on the way. The marina has some restaurants with nice views (accompanied with masses of people)

Haifa
The Baha'i gardens are phenomenal, worth a visit.

North
Tiberius (and its lake) Are a touristic hotspot, but I'd rather go for a visit in one of the Druzi villages up north from there - I've enjoyed visiting Peki'in, make sure to try the Pita Labane at the Taboun on the main square of the village, that's my favorite meal of all time.
Banias nature reserve to the northeast of there is a great spot for tracking. The are several rivers in the region that are worth a visit. There are places to go kayaking there too.
Theres an old strategic fort on the Golan heights that shows a full 360 of the region and gives a full picture of the strategic importance of the place. I don't remember the name of the hill, Avital? Something along those lines... Anyway, there's a cafe there called Coffee Annan which is visible on Google maps, so you could just navigate there.

South
Ein Gedi nature reserve
Mesada - You don't want to miss this one.
Dead sea
Ramon crater is worth a visit, but there's not much to do there aside from experiencing the view.
Eilat - a great place for free diving, scuba-diving and kite-surfing. You've got some beautiful coral reefs there.
Thank you so much for this, I think I'm also going to Jordan too. I completely forgot about the Petra. So yeah I'll do the dead sea on Israel's side and Jordan's side.
 

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Thank you so much for this, I think I'm also going to Jordan too. I completely forgot about the Petra. So yeah I'll do the dead sea on Israel's side and Jordan's side.
You're welcome! If you've got any more questions just ask. Wish I'd visit Petra some day.
 
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My wanderlust has metastasised into grade IV unabletostaystilloma, but while I've been to most of those places, I don't think I could be of much help - I have never travelled like that. The shortest I've ever stayed in a place is a month, and generally it's more like 3-6 months. I can't imagine blazing through places at that kind of a pace - I'm this kind of a traveller...

However when you pass through Bulgaria, you won't regret a visit to Plovdiv, which is where I have spent most of this year (leaving soon). There are buses and a night train to Plovdiv from Istanbul. It's not older than Athens, but it has a nice mix of old and creative. Probably enough to Ne-ntertain you for day or two. Sofia is an easy 2-2.5 hr train/bus ride away when you feel like moving on.

 

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For France I can help, just give me the following info's :

-Will have your own car or depends on public transport ?
-Do you know already which part (north or south) of France you will start from ? It can take up to 9th ours to travel from a town in northern part to southern, which means you will probably stuck to visit the region of your starting point, except if you don't mind losing almost one day in transport.

There is plenty of things to do whatever region you choose anyway, each one have its historical monuments, local food, activities etc. And the towns near another country borders can be a mix of the two countries cultures which can be very fun to discover.
 

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That's an impressive list! Do you have plans for Italy? It's the only one on the list I know well. Do you know when you will be there?

I've been to the South of Italy repeatedly for family so I know Rome and Naples best. Couldn't give you specific restaurants, can't say I know that detail (it was all about Nonna's cooking and Zia Maria's homemade pizza!)

I've been to Venice, Florence and a few smaller places on the south coast. I guess for a lot of people Venice is a must and I suppose if you have never been: it is. It's the most touristic and expensive with the most disappointing foods... Are you surprised? But the architecture is gorgeous... Still it's gorgeous in Rome too. Florence is surrounded by rolling green hills and those stunning Italian Cypress trees. Plus the art... If you are a lover of Renaissance art then you will be busy in Italy!

In Rome I'd always go to the pantheon (and so many churches you can visit in Italy, it's not about being religious but the stunning and famous murals and so much gold... Roman Catholics can be gaudy) and there's a Gelataria called Della Palma nearby which boasts about having 150 flavours to choose from. Well, it's always the place to go. Of course you can imagine there are many other sites to see in Rome (Colosseum is good enough from the outside) also Vatican city, might as well if you are there!

If you're looking for a beach holiday Italy isn't really the stress free beauty you hope it is. I spend most of my time on the south-west coast and all the beaches are privatised so you will have to pay for a section on an overcrowded beach. Sun is sweltering in summer, waters are beautiful though. That's the Mediterranean for you. Turkey was gorgeous too though. And the best food I've ever had was in Turkey. If you are planning the Mediterranean in the height of summer then you might want to adopt siestas as part of your routine to avoid the midday sun... I certainly do. Enjoy early mornings and late evenings.

If you're doing pizza, go to Street vendors. Have a large slice for lunch, pizza isn't a dinner type food as my family would shake their heads disapprovingly at anyone who ordered pizza at a restaurant... But then Italians are weird about food, I suppose they have every right to be. Simple dishes can taste so good if you find the right places. Try potato rosamary pizza (no cheese/tomato) and arancini. Maybe these are just things I'm nostalgic for but it's also some of the stranger things that I don't get to eat that much out of Italy.
 

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All of my Roman what.

I'd just give myself the full dose. So in Israel, that's Caesarea, in Italy, you'll pick between Pompeii (overrun) and Herculaneum (smaller and less crowdy), in Rome the Colosseum, in France I'd hike along the Pont Du Garde, in Germany it's either Trier (baths) or Cologne, both with large museums, and there are certainly more in the other countries I can't remember. Also, somewhere along the way, I'd try to catch an open-air event in one of the ancient amphitheatres. They do that e.g. in Caesarea, in Orange (France), in Pula (Croatia) or Verona (Italy). My personal favourite would probably be Mahler's 8th in Orange (July 29th). French midi, warm nights, the smell of lavender and a symphony orchestra ... to die for.

... sigh. Now I really wanna go myself :(
 

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Discussion Starter #9
For France I can help, just give me the following info's :

-Will have your own car or depends on public transport ?
-Do you know already which part (north or south) of France you will start from ? It can take up to 9th ours to travel from a town in northern part to southern, which means you will probably stuck to visit the region of your starting point, except if you don't mind losing almost one day in transport.

There is plenty of things to do whatever region you choose anyway, each one have its historical monuments, local food, activities, etc. And the towns near another country borders can be a mix of the two countries cultures which can be very fun to discover.
Well, we planned on flying from the southern tip of Italy back into Paris, France and then going south (train or car). It depends if the train allows us to bring our luggage. I love trains and enjoy them but I'm finding at least with the train from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem there is no room for luggage. Also, our schedule isn't set so we're kind of going to stop if something looks interesting and stay in a town longer overnight just to see it. My husband doesn't mind schedules and kind of fills in the details for me, he's an INTJ but he also likes my wandering spirit of ohhh look a field of flower gardens, let's stop. lol. Like he's already been the one to say, no sweety we can't rent the Fiat, our luggage won't fit. I wish I could decide just to take a backpack and a few essentials. He also points out that we need a Visa to enter both Jordan and Turkey if we went to visit them prior to flying from the States. He also has pointed out we will, however, have to stick to some schedule since we will have reservations and hotels and airfare tickets. The reason I'm planning now everything before we sit we a travel planner agency in one week. So far I have Israel, Jordan, and Istanbul (Turkey) mapped out on what we're going to do.

Again while in France, Paris will be the start and then go to the south of France. I'm pretty sure I'm going to add more days to France. I was eyeballing it just now.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
That's an impressive list! Do you have plans for Italy? It's the only one on the list I know well. Do you know when you will be there?

I've been to the South of Italy repeatedly for family so I know Rome and Naples best. Couldn't give you specific restaurants, can't say I know that detail (it was all about Nonna's cooking and Zia Maria's homemade pizza!)

I've been to Venice, Florence and a few smaller places on the south coast. I guess for a lot of people Venice is a must and I suppose if you have never been: it is. It's the most touristic and expensive with the most disappointing foods... Are you surprised? But the architecture is gorgeous... Still it's gorgeous in Rome too. Florence is surrounded by rolling green hills and those stunning Italian Cypress trees. Plus the art... If you are a lover of Renaissance art then you will be busy in Italy!

In Rome I'd always go to the pantheon (and so many churches you can visit in Italy, it's not about being religious but the stunning and famous murals and so much gold... Roman Catholics can be gaudy) and there's a Gelataria called Della Palma nearby which boasts about having 150 flavours to choose from. Well, it's always the place to go. Of course you can imagine there are many other sites to see in Rome (Colosseum is good enough from the outside) also Vatican city, might as well if you are there!

If you're looking for a beach holiday Italy isn't really the stress free beauty you hope it is. I spend most of my time on the south-west coast and all the beaches are privatised so you will have to pay for a section on an overcrowded beach. Sun is sweltering in summer, waters are beautiful though. That's the Mediterranean for you. Turkey was gorgeous too though. And the best food I've ever had was in Turkey. If you are planning the Mediterranean in the height of summer then you might want to adopt siestas as part of your routine to avoid the midday sun... I certainly do. Enjoy early mornings and late evenings.

If you're doing pizza, go to Street vendors. Have a large slice for lunch, pizza isn't a dinner type food as my family would shake their heads disapprovingly at anyone who ordered pizza at a restaurant... But then Italians are weird about food, I suppose they have every right to be. Simple dishes can taste so good if you find the right places. Try potato rosamary pizza (no cheese/tomato) and arancini. Maybe these are just things I'm nostalgic for but it's also some of the stranger things that I don't get to eat that much out of Italy.
I know Italy might be in late August for us. Currently, we're hitting Turkey on my planning stages on Aug 5th. Yes, Venice and Rome are both a must for me. I also have family in Italy but closer to the Switzerland border and I have family in Switzerland I'm stopping by to say hi to the cousins.

Ohh siestas sound marvelous for a midday nap and I do love my art.

Yeah, I know about the weirdness of food. Like ordering tortellini and it comes out in a broth form when I was sixteen or getting the weird look when you order Alfredo. Of course southern Italy I don't know much about and the last time I was in northern Italy was sixteen. Being sixteen and being the American mutt I said very disapproving that they didn't know how to make tortellini, I got a stern look from my great grandmother. I've since grown up a lot and understand there is a huge difference in American Italian and actual Italian food. The description of that pizza sounds wonderful to me, I'll try it for sure.

One thing I do miss is my grandmother's red sauce on Sunday. She called it her Sunday gravy.
 

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Well, we planned on flying from the southern tip of Italy back into Paris, France and then going south (train or car). It depends if the train allows us to bring our luggage. I love trains and enjoy them but I'm finding at least with the train from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem there is no room for luggage. Also, our schedule isn't set so we're kind of going to stop if something looks interesting and stay in a town longer overnight just to see it. My husband doesn't mind schedules and kind of fills in the details for me, he's an INTJ but he also likes my wandering spirit of ohhh look a field of flower gardens, let's stop. lol. Like he's already been the one to say, no sweety we can't rent the Fiat, our luggage won't fit. I wish I could decide just to take a backpack and a few essentials. He also points out that we need a Visa to enter both Jordan and Turkey if we went to visit them prior to flying from the States. He also has pointed out we will, however, have to stick to some schedule since we will have reservations and hotels and airfare tickets. The reason I'm planning now everything before we sit we a travel planner agency in one week. So far I have Israel, Jordan, and Istanbul (Turkey) mapped out on what we're going to do.

Again while in France, Paris will be the start and then go to the south of France. I'm pretty sure I'm going to add more days to France. I was eyeballing it just now.
Haha good your husband is taking care of the practical side ! So to resume what I can tell you based on your reply :

General infos :

-Money change won't be a problem since you will do Italy before France. Euro zone.
-SNCF trains perfectly accept luggage, no worries ! There are spaces to store it in each wagons. There is only few restrictions on the following lines = for Thalys lines and for Ouigo tickets, where you will need to pay supplement for more baggage than what is allowed. So as long you have money = no luggage problem.

Paris infos :


-It is better to use the subway than buses (RATP lines), and usually you will travel between zones 1,2 and 3.Here a link for more infos
-4 to 5 days is enought to enjoy Paris.
-Almost all big touristic places are accessible by walk.

Places to visit :

-Eiffel Tower by Trocadero place the view is fine. If you plan on entering the Eiffel Tower, do reservation and if possible avoid 10 am-5pm time slot.

-Cité Island with Notre Dame (hmm...), Sainte Chapelle, and many more !

-Starting from the Triumph Arc, going down the Champs-Élysées avenue to end up to Concorde Place. From here you can access two others sites (Tuileries garden+Louvres, or Opera of Paris).

-Latin Quartier in 5th arrondissement, with the Pantheon, Sorbonne, Luxembourg garden, Cluny museum (Middle age museum), Lutece therms, Mouffetard street, la Huchette street...

A link with a detail of each places to visit by arrondissements, it can be helpful because indeed Paris is too big to be resumed in few lines. I personally enjoy mostly Opera quartier, 13th, 16th, and 17th arrondissements for example, but that my personal tastes.

Where to eat and drink :

Usually you will have enough choices to find on your visit a good place to eat and drink, sadly i won't be of any help for this part. But usually TripAdvisor rating and comments are pretty spot on.


After Paris, depending on your ending town, in which town will you end your trip ?
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Haha good your husband is taking care of the practical side ! So to resume what I can tell you based on your reply :

General infos :

-Money change won't be a problem since you will do Italy before France. Euro zone.
-SNCF trains perfectly accept luggage, no worries ! There are spaces to store it in each wagons. There is only few restrictions on the following lines = for Thalys lines and for Ouigo tickets, where you will need to pay supplement for more baggage than what is allowed. So as long you have money = no luggage problem.

Paris infos :


-It is better to use the subway than buses (RATP lines), and usually you will travel between zones 1,2 and 3.Here a link for more infos
-4 to 5 days is enought to enjoy Paris.
-Almost all big touristic places are accessible by walk.

Places to visit :

-Eiffel Tower by Trocadero place the view is fine. If you plan on entering the Eiffel Tower, do reservation and if possible avoid 10 am-5pm time slot.

-Cité Island with Notre Dame (hmm...), Sainte Chapelle, and many more !

-Starting from the Triumph Arc, going down the Champs-Élysées avenue to end up to Concorde Place. From here you can access two others sites (Tuileries garden+Louvres, or Opera of Paris).

-Latin Quartier in 5th arrondissement, with the Pantheon, Sorbonne, Luxembourg garden, Cluny museum (Middle age museum), Lutece therms, Mouffetard street, la Huchette street...

A link with a detail of each places to visit by arrondissements, it can be helpful because indeed Paris is too big to be resumed in few lines. I personally enjoy mostly Opera quartier, 13th, 16th, and 17th arrondissements for example, but that my personal tastes.

Where to eat and drink :

Usually you will have enough choices to find on your visit a good place to eat and drink, sadly i won't be of any help for this part. But usually TripAdvisor rating and comments are pretty spot on.


After Paris, depending on your ending town, in which town will you end your trip ?
Yeah I'm not sure where to go next I thought east side of France down to Nice and follow the coast to Spain but then I really want to go to Amboise and Bordeaux. The last city I stay in France might be Perpignan? I start the journey on July 22nd and have to hit the end in Portugal on Oct 1, because I need to be back in the states for my best friend's and brother-in-law's wedding. I thought early September to wrap it up but viewing of France I'm pretty certain I'll need to amend that to September 30 lol.
 

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September is the best month to visit the south of France. It's generally not too hot, not rainy, and the local markets are stuffed with fruits of all kinds.. If you go by train, don't take the direct Bordeaux-Toulouse line. Use the south line instead to add a few nice halts : Biarritz, Pau, Lourdes eventually, you can skip Tarbes, not very interesting... then you have two options to finish at Perpignan :

1) By the plains, Toulouse - Carcassonne - Narbonne, Toulouse is big but not very interesting, Carcassonne is a cool medieval city, crowded tho.. Narbonne is nice too.
2) By the mountain, it's longer but you can make a halt in some village and enjoy the Pyrénées, around Font Romeu.. I'd pick this one personally.
 

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I don't know if you've been to these before, and I've only been to a few of those places but here are my two cents:

France is a little overrated as a romantic city- I would hugely recommend Amsterdam for a dreamlike nighttime stroll under headlamps, cobbled streets and canals. Prague is also amazing. I know it sounds strange to go just for a "walk" but in my view it's well worth it. There is a magical "movielike" vibe there, whereas Paris is 30% magic and 70% any other cosmipolitan city. The Louvre is WELL worth it, VERY worth it, but the lines are 4+hours long, although my travel friend got us in through some secret cheat ticket that I don't remember. OH- be careful of restaurants in Paris... I went to a very highly rated one once and they treated us like shit with dirty looks because we spoke English, and my "steak" was raw- I hate to say it but it might be worse for Americans.

In Germany Berlin is definitely the place to go, do not go to Munich unless you are a huge fan of history (even then, if it's just a few days Berlin is better). Munich is an upper-middle class area where the whole city feels like a gated community. But it does have good museums.

If you are going to Spain I would go to Barcelona- not only the most interesting architectural city in Spain with the best vibe, but I would also recommend seeing Barcelona play to see Lionel Messi- he may be the greatest sportsman of all time (considering that "soccer" has the highest number of kids who play it, and therefore biggest pool of potential talent) and even if you don't like football- it's a cultural experience and who knows if your kids will like football you can tell them you saw Messi play and they will be amazed even 30 years from now.
EDIT: just realised the season is over and Messi will be on holiday.
 

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I don't know if you've been to these before, and I've only been to a few of those places but here are my two cents:

France is a little overrated as a romantic city- I would hugely recommend Amsterdam for a dreamlike nighttime stroll under headlamps, cobbled streets and canals. Prague is also amazing. I know it sounds strange to go just for a "walk" but in my view it's well worth it. There is a magical "movielike" vibe there, whereas Paris is 30% magic and 70% any other cosmipolitan city. The Louvre is WELL worth it, VERY worth it, but the lines are 4+hours long, although my travel friend got us in through some secret cheat ticket that I don't remember. OH- be careful of restaurants in Paris... I went to a very highly rated one once and they treated us like shit with dirty looks because we spoke English, and my "steak" was raw- I hate to say it but it might be worse for Americans.

In Germany Berlin is definitely the place to go, do not go to Munich unless you are a huge fan of history (even then, if it's just a few days Berlin is better). Munich is an upper-middle class area where the whole city feels like a gated community. But it does have good museums.

If you are going to Spain I would go to Barcelona- not only the most interesting architectural city in Spain with the best vibe, but I would also recommend seeing Barcelona play to see Lionel Messi- he may be the greatest sportsman of all time (considering that "soccer" has the highest number of kids who play it, and therefore biggest pool of potential talent) and even if you don't like football- it's a cultural experience and who knows if your kids will like football you can tell them you saw Messi play and they will be amazed even 30 years from now.
EDIT: just realised the season is over and Messi will be on holiday.
Yeah, I'm a little bit leery of my American accent but I also am a glass is half full. I'm pretty sure most people will be nice and there will be a handful of people that disdain Americans. I know when I was sixteen briefly going around to other areas that I found all the other American kids in my boarding school were treated with disgust in Eastern France, as they would treat my very Texas accent with humor and smiles. Like I would get "Go John Wayne." lol I still have that accent so hopefully, it hasn't changed and they'll be ok with it or they might just think great she's not only American but one of those rednecks. LOL

Unfortunately, the north part of Germany like Berlin is going to be held off for another trip a couple of years down the line but we will be stopping in Munich. I wish we had enough time to stop in Amsterdam but it's going to be apart of our next trip to discover the north part of Europe. I would give anything to see a football match in Europe and yes Barcelona is a stop on our list through Spain. Can't wait.
 

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Yeah I'm not sure where to go next I thought east side of France down to Nice and follow the coast to Spain but then I really want to go to Amboise and Bordeaux. The last city I stay in France might be Perpignan? I start the journey on July 22nd and have to hit the end in Portugal on Oct 1, because I need to be back in the states for my best friend's and brother-in-law's wedding. I thought early September to wrap it up but viewing of France I'm pretty certain I'll need to amend that to September 30 lol.
I personally am from northeast of France, and usually either go from Paris gare de Lyon to take TGV to Nice, or I go down Dijon (a very nice town by the way), to take again a TGV to Nice. I'm more accustomed to eastern and center parts of France (Reims, Metz. Grenoble, Lyon, Nice, Marseille, all coastal towns until Menton), a bit of Bretagne (Quimper, Nantes, Brest,...) a bit of Vosges.
You picked one of my less know parts of France ! XD

Checking few things, there is indeed a direct line from Paris-> Amboise, (2h max, Ter line so no luggage problems). From Amboise you can easily visit near towns like Tours for example.

From Amboise you will be able to go to Bordeaux but not direct line I think (Amboise-> St Pierre des Corps, less than 30min of wait and then a TGV to Bordeaux with one stop at Angoulême. Total time travel = 2h). In Angoulême in September it won't be very busy I think, except if you are here from mid September for the Circuits des remparts. Angoulême is mostly know for its Comics festival in January, nothing else.

I personally recommend instead to go from Tours to Bordeaux with a stop to Poitiers. It is a bigger and more lively town than Angoulême, and tied with France history and parts of arts and historical towns of France (lot of historical buildings and Alienor of Aquitaine held her court here.) And the Futuroscope is here.

From Bordeaux you will need to decide either you follow the southwest line down to Tarbes (TV direct line, 3h) with towns worth visiting :

-Pau for its landscapes views, the town try to protect it. For its green politc, it have 4 flowers (a notation of the greens spaces qualities in towns, Pau have one of the best rating). Forêt de Bastard sound nice to walk in.

-Lourdes is well know for its source and miracles healing. World know, it have enough to to keep busy for days. From religious sites, historical monuments, the Lourdes lake...September is busy since it is Lourdes haute season, so no worry about what to do and see, more worry about crowds.

Or the line southeast to Narbonnes and from Narbonnes down to Perpignan (a total of 5h travel). Towns worth visiting on the way are :

-Montauban, but especially for Ingres fans. But there is renovation which means the collection isn't fully available until end of 2019.

-Toulouse is an important city again from an historical and artistic point of view, nicknamed the pink city because of its traditional toulousaine pink bricks. Unesco labels for Canal du Midi, Basilique St Senin. Gastronomy specialties are Cassoulet with tarby haricots, a very good range of southwest wines, and sweets made with violette flowers. A good towns for its multiples gardens too and shopping place.

-Carcassonne. Another important city from historical and arts point of view. Unesco label for its medieval city, a very big one well conserved which is very rare. Like for Toulouse you can see the Canal du Midi. A big range of gastronomical specialties.

-Narbonne. Would be interesting for its Natural park, and many more natural points, so it could be a good change, there is nautic sports, a plage.

PS : Judging by your programme, you will probably start in France around mid September and leave France end of September indeed. Even if you shorten your stay to Paris to 3 days, and visit the rest in one day, the transport will take an important time slot. You probably be able to visit 3-4 towns+Paris, that sound reasonable. Good luck with your planning, don't hesitate if you want more précisions ! :)
 

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Upping the topic, how is your travel planning going on @NIHM ? Hope the practical matters don't kill the excitement !
Oh no, I'm still working it out but we did have a wrench thrown in. My best friend wants to do her shower in September so we have to cut our vacation short; so part of Italy, France, Spain, and Portugal is out. We might be able to spend some days in Paris on our flight back but we're saving that portion of Europe for next year because I don't want all my research to go to waste. I'm her best friend and she's about to become my sister in law, so it's an event I can't miss. When they told me last week at the memorial picnic weekend, I was like yeah... September... really... *half-hearted cheer*, I'll be there *grin on my face but secretly inside pouting.*
 

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Oh no, I'm still working it out but we did have a wrench thrown in. My best friend wants to do her shower in September so we have to cut our vacation short; so part of Italy, France, Spain, and Portugal is out. We might be able to spend some days in Paris on our flight back but we're saving that portion of Europe for next year because I don't want all my research to go to waste. I'm her best friend and she's about to become my sister in law, so it's an event I can't miss. When they told me last week at the memorial picnic weekend, I was like yeah... September... really... *half-hearted cheer*, I'll be there *grin on my face but secretly inside pouting.*
Aha I see, congrats then ! You still have 9 countries to fully visit, and if lucky enough Paris that's quite the schedule ! Good luck with the whole preparation for everything !
 

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Aha I see, congrats then ! You still have 9 countries to fully visit, and if lucky enough Paris that's quite the schedule ! Good luck with the whole preparation for everything !
Thank you, I can't wait.

 
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