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Expanding our horizons...

Detroit, Michigan
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Expanding our horizons...

In the past, we've always spent our timeshare week in London, then rented a cottage somewhere else in the UK. Not that there still aren't parts of the UK that we have yet to explore, but we were thinking of actually venturing outside of the UK for our second week next June.

But with all of Europe waiting to be explored, we're kind of at a loss on where to start. We took a (very rushed) day trip to Paris once, but that's all we've seen outside of the UK. Any ideas on where we should start? What's relatively easy to get to from London, someplace where we can get by without having to speak the language, easy to get around, lots to see, etc...

We generally like to stay in self-catering cottages outside the city centres or in smaller villages, but still with easy access for touring the area.

What are some of your favorite European excursions from London?

Thanks!! :o)

Nice, France
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1. Re: Expanding our horizons...

Hi Kay, have you been to Ireland? It's a fabulous country, a quick hop from many UK airports, and no language barrier. You'll also get lovely afternoon teas there (and good soda bread is to die for)! :-) If you prefer to avoid language worries, then Ireland would be my first choice.

Alternatively, you could go to The Netherlands, where English is widely spoken. Base yourself in Amsterdam, but perhaps allow day trips to Haarlem, Delft, and The Hague.

Of course, English is widely spoken in Paris, too, and a week there would be wonderful. As would a week based in Nice, with lots of day trips possible by train (including one to San Remo in Italy).

In fact, any major city in Europe will be used to English-speaking tourists, and you'll be fine in any one of them. I suppose the best way to approach this is by asking yourself where you would you most like to go, putting aside all considerations/worries for the moment.

somewhere in florida
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2. Re: Expanding our horizons...

hi kayb, why not start in paris and go from there? while i haven't been to france in 20 years, i know there are lots of interesting things to see and do there (i shall return summer of 2007). anyway, no matter where you go in europe, i'm sure you'll have a blast. how about closing your eyes and sticking a pin in a map? well, ok maybe that is a little extreme........

San Diego...
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3. Re: Expanding our horizons...

Hi Kay - one of the countless things I love about London is it is a great jumping off point to explore Europe. Theartgirl is right - they're used to English speaking tourists in the major cities. I've been to several countries where English isn't the main language and never had any problems. Ireland would be a great start - beautiful country and friendly people. I loved Ireland - will definitely get back. The fjords of Norway are awesome. Iceland is a geological wonderland. Italy, Germany, Holland and Switzerland all well worth it. So many places to go. Europe is the best.

Somerset, England
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4. Re: Expanding our horizons...

kayb95,

Bruges is a nice place to visit for a day or so, Rome is also well worth a visit, as is Florence. Lucca is a really wonderful Walled "City", which I really want to go back to for a longer look. Then there are the Lakes in the Northern part of Italy.

San Francisco...
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5. Re: Expanding our horizons...

We are going back to London in October, and are combining it with a return trip to Vienna. If you like classical music, a culture where dessert and coffee are an art form, and a clean, safe environment Vienna can't be beat. London is indeed the perfect "stopping off" point for so many travels. We are saving a lot of money by booking the flight round-trip London/Vienna as its own ticket.

Seattle
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6. Re: Expanding our horizons...

Kayb: I only speak English and have never had a problem communicating while traveling in other European countries, so I wouldn't worry about that. Suggestions:

Ireland: I agree with the others. Lovely people and lots to see. (FYI: Though it's known as the Emerald Isle, I think England is greener.)

Stockholm, Oslo or Copenhagen: relatively short flights from London, cool architecture and friendly people.

Munich: history, art, shopping.

Lisbon, the Algarve, Madrid, Barcelona, Seville: Sunshine, castles, churches, and art.

Italy: Florence! Venice! Rome! Gelato! Pizza! Art!

South of France: Beautiful scenery, lovely small towns to explore, sunshine.

And finally (Mick -- this one's for you) Salzburg: Sound of Music tour!

San Diego
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7. Re: Expanding our horizons...

Hi Kay!

I know I sound like Johnny One-Note, but we loved our trip to Normandy. We took the ferry from Portsmouth to Ouistreham, but you could also take the Eurostar to Paris and rent a car there, or take the train to Caen and pick up a car there.

Mont St. Michel, Rouen, Honfleur, Bayeux, all the D-Day sites--more than enough to keep you busy for a week. I imagine June would be a busier time than when we were there, but we found it very easy to get around. We stayed in Bayeux, and everything was an easy drive from there. Wonderful food, too.

We stayed in a B&B, but noted there were plenty of vacation rentals in the little beach towns like Arromanches-les Bains.

Good luck with your planning!

Mary

px
london
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8. Re: Expanding our horizons...

my favourite short haul trips are.... Prague... Florence especially if you fly direct with meridiana from gatwick... and Berlin was great not particularly pretty but full of a lot of recent history and in the east still a bit of a hotpotch hasnt been taken over by bland chainstores yet

london
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9. Re: Expanding our horizons...

For a weekend trip:

Lucern, Riga, Vilnius, Tallin, Budapest, Amsterdam, Paris,

For an extended trip:

Hire a gite or similar in French or Spanish countryside. Loire Valley in France very pretty with good white wines and morre chateaux than you can shake a stick at. Picos de Europa in Northern Spain also great with mountains and sea almost adjacent to each other. Or Crowpatrick in Ireland for same reason. Or anywhere really. It's all good....

Detroit, Michigan
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10. Re: Expanding our horizons...

Thanks for all the suggestions (and encouragement!) Glad to know language won't be too much of a barrier (I guess that's why we've always felt more comfortable with the UK.) After our one day trip to Paris, I felt we should probably learn at least some rudimentary local words/phrases (just so we know what to order in restaurants, and how to find important things like train stations and the toilets!)

My dad was kind of thinking Amsterdam, while Mom and I were thinking more along the lines of France or Italy. But then there's Germany, Austria, Belgium, Czech Rep... Oh, what to do!!!

Thanks, everyone!!