It was hard not to be tempted. As the school year drew to a close, most of my friends started to visit Europe. My facebook was filled with albums titled "Eurotrip". They showed the movie Eurotrip twice on late night tv.
Note to the wise: not a movie to be watched with the wife.
Can you spot my name?
Journals were gathered, previous blog entries of past visits by other bloggers were perused, travel companies were called, brochures were procured - and finally - amidst the many destinations that Europe has to offer - a plan, limited only by time and funds, was formed.
We would fly to London. From there it was rail all the way. And so, the cities we visited were: London, Paris, Basel, Lucerne, Zurich, Venice, Florence, Pisa and Rome.
We were in a quandary as to whether go as part of a package tour, or make our own arrangements. In the end, we chose to go by ourselves, and frankly, I think it was the better option for us. A package tour takes you around a bus while we got to experience Eurail travel, first class. Package tours do get you to more places, but we chose to really explore the places we were in, and in the end, the only experiences we missed from most packages we saw was a night in Amsterdam, and an evening in Cologne/Munich. And unlike package tours, we could do Paris, London, Rome for more days, and see everything in detail and up close, rather than just driving by it.
It took energy though - package tours take you direct to your destination on an air conditioned tour bus, whereas we had to negotiate the subways and underground and public transit, but I think it adds to the experience.
It was quite frankly, one of the best 17 days of my life. The trip was everything we wanted and expected it to be, and more. It was so culturally refreshing to visit as a tourist sites that are NOT North American, and do not follow the North American model of trying to milk you out of every penny you got. It was fantastic to meet proud people who actually knew a bit of where you came from. It was great to see things we had seen only on TV, or go to places whose beauty is not artificial, but natural.
I did keep a journal when I visited, so over the next couple of weeks, I hope to revisit those days here on my blog, and hope someone else gets inspired to go on a Eurotrip of their own.