Two months in the summer of 1999 was nice, but three months in 2000 would be better, right? I decided to test this theory and set off in late April of 2000. The trip started off with Herrfest, a three week European trip feautring several personalities from www.eurotrip.com, a travel forum which I was very active in. Our gracious host was The Herr and a group ranging from six people to over a dozen traveled around in or met up in various countires. It started in Amsterdam at Queen's Day, the Netherlands biggest festival where orange is dominating color. I celebrated this day by bunjee cord jumping from a crane in the center of town. The group then traveled through Germany, the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, and Austria before the finale in Munich which included partying at the entertainment complex of Kunstpark Ost and several one liter beers. After that, I had roughly two more months to traverse Europe at my own pace. Towards the end of the summer, I went to Expo 2000 in Hanover, Germany.
France- Strasbourg, Avignon, Nimes, Chartres, St. Malo, Combourg, Paris, Mont-St-Michel, Chamonix, Annecy. I got to more of France this summer
and it was well worth it. Annecy was my favorite place, but Strasbourg was not far behind. I also realized that I like northern France and the Alps far more than southern France.
Luxembourg- Luxembourg City. A nice little stop between three countries.
Germany- Trier, Cochem, St. Goar, Oberwesel, Rudesheim, Wurzburg, Bamberg, Nurnberg, Munich, Koln, Stralsund, Berlin, Potsdam, Frankfurt, Erfurt, Weimar, Fulda, Hamburg, Hannover. I did a lot more Germany as this country seems to never run out of perfect towns and castles. The Hanseatic cities like Stralsund remain my favorites.
Czech Republic- Plzen, Cesky Krumlov, Prague, Ceske Buejovice, Kutna Hora. I discovered there was much more to the Czech Republic than Prague, but even this was only the tip of the iceberg.
The Netherlands- Amsterdam. Queen's day celebration!
Poland- Wroclaw, Krakow, Auschwitz, Poznan, Warsaw, Gdansk. Poland was my favorite country from this trip. Low prices meant endless fun. The picturesque cities all have large squares which are the center of the action and the center of the exploring. The outdoor cafes and people watching are a definite highlight.
Slovakia- Bratislava. I would learn later that Bratislava is the least interesting place in Slovakia.
Austria- Vienna, Salzburg, Bischofshofen, Graz, Villach. I finally explored some of Austria's southern cities which have all the beauty and none of the tourists.
Slovenia- Ljubljana. Back when Ljubljana was a big secret! Hitching was incredibly easy in Slovenia.
Croatia- Zagrab, Split, Dubrovnik. Back when Croatia was a big secret!
Italy- Ancona, San Marino, Bologna, Orvieto, Sorrento, Naples, Salerno, Amalfi, Rome, Milan. Hitching a ride with a local driver on the Amalfi coast is more of a thrill than any roller coaster! Making sharp turns at high speeds while staring down an oncoming bus didn't faze my driver.
Greece, Patras, Athens, Santorini. The Greeks seem to really be sell-outs of their culture. It's too bad because the country has a lot to offer. Santorini remains one of the most stunning places I've ever been.
Switzerland- Zermatt, Geneva, Basel, Berner Oberland. Another brief taste of expensive Switzerland. Only this time, I did more hiking in the Berner Oberland.
Denmark/Norway/Sweden/Finland- Copenhagen, Geirangerfjord, Alesund, Trondheim, Goteborg, Helsinki, Haapajarvi, Stockholm. Alesund is one of my favorite towns anywhere and the Geirangerfjord was magnificent. Catching up in some of my favorite Scandianvian destinations is always a pleasure.
Lithuania/Latvia/Estonia- Vilnius, Riga, Tallinn. Tallinn is much better than Vilnius. Vilnius is much better than Riga.
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