Europe here I come!

Published: June 26th 2006EDIT THIS ENTRY

In 4 days, I will be leaving for Frankfurt! Between now and the 29th, I need to drop by Chicago for some personal business and then off I go! Good ol Germany, right in the middle of the World Cup Quarter Finals too! Thats got to be exciting! I am a bit worried that all the madness there have
1. jacked up the price of everything
2. slowed down the public transport and overcrowd the popular areas

I guess I'll find out soon, but tonight I basically have to make sure I am packed as I will be going straight from Chicago to Europe (I struggle with what to pack as it will be both business in Chicago for 2 days and then all pleasure and backpacking after that.... Oh, did I mention it is my first time too? So I basically make sure to be extra prepared... or at least as prepared as I can be.

In the past few days, I try to do as much research online and offline as possible. Here is what we came up with as far as schedule is concerned:

6/29 - Leave from Chicago to Frankfurt, arrive at 7am in the morning. At Frankfurt, we are opting for the "Stay and Learn" Hostel
7/02 - Leave Frankfurt to Munich. For this leg, we have already booked our DeBahn rail tickets online. To save a bit of cash, we are using the "local" route option for 30 Euro. It will take about an extra 2 hours compared ot the faster trains though. I hope its worth it. At Munich we plan on staying at Wombats Hostel.
7/04 - Leave for Prague. We are flying! Good ol cheap flight from Condor air... only 3 Euro... I think in all we are paying only 12 Euro for this leg. I hope our flight is safe. Again, we are staying at a hostel downtown
7/07 - Go to Cesky Krumlov? Once we are in Prague, the plan is maybe to take some local transport to Cesky for a day trip? Not exactly sure about the details and we haven't really booked anything here. So I guess we'll see...
7/08 - Vienna? We definitely want to hit Vienna, and we saw that the Wombats hostel there got some pretty good reviews which we'll probably try out. Again, not sure about the exact logistics yet.
7/12 - Budapest. We have a flight from Budapest to Amsterdam so Budapest is our final destination as far as eastern Europe is concerned. The part I think is not so ideal for us is the fact that we have to fly to Amsterdam on the 13th of July. So looking at this schedule, we are actually not spending much time in Budapest, which I rather do so as opposed to Amsterdam. But I guess we did this in the interest of saving some money.
7/14 - Amsterdam all the way until we head home. From here, we have no idea what to do yet :-) We've been talking to a very nice travel agent from Germany. She has been more than helpful and is offering very detailed and personal advice, not to mention her responsiveness over email too! As we receive more info here, I will add on more information. But so far, she has sent us a recommended iteniary that sounds pretty good... including local bike rides, maybe a boat tour, etc. I guess we'll see , but it certainly seems promising.

Alright, as far as travel books are concerned, if you are an American and dont want to buy 5 or 6 different travel books, I strongly suggest visiting a local library. Well, granted that the books were usually a year or two off but how much can things possibly change from now and then? Your library may have videos too which we borrowed and watched to give us some idea of where we are going.

Heres what I checked out:

4 videos:

8 books:
Fodor's exploring Germany
Citypack Vienna / by Louis James
Fodor's pocket Prague
Frommer's Budapest & the best of Hungary / Joseph S. Lieber & Christina Shea with Erzsébet Barát
Frommer's Prague & the best of t
Netherlands / Ryan Ver Berkmoes,
Rick Steves' Amsterdam, Bruges,
Fodor's Vienna & the Danube Vall

As well as a bunch of pocket guides from In Your Pocket Guides. They seem information rich, but a bit messy as far as organization is concerned, or maybe its because I am trying to read them off my Palm Pilot. I guess I'll post my thoughts on using them later.

Alright! Wish me luck on the trip!


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