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Old 05-16-2015, 10:47 AM   #2021
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Sardinia, Cinque Terre and other parts of the Ligurian coast, Pisa, for me in early June.
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Old 05-16-2015, 11:58 AM   #2022
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Just booked a southern France river cruise for August. VRC had a free air thing that looked like a pretty good deal to me. Swapped the direct return with one from Paris. So I'll be booking a train to Paris at the end of the cruise, and some hotel nights. We'll probably buy the hop on hop off bus for a day or two, then hang out with a brewer buddy of mine for a few more days.
www.capitainetrain.com will make it easy to book that train ticket.
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Old 05-16-2015, 12:37 PM   #2023
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Sardinia, Cinque Terre and other parts of the Ligurian coast, Pisa, for me in early June.
One of my Italian class classmates will be in Sardegnia in early June as well on a belated honeymoon. If you see a buff looking navy seal type with a drop-dead gorgeous curly haired woman on the beach there - the woman is my friend.
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Old 05-16-2015, 02:46 PM   #2024
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Sardinia, Cinque Terre and other parts of the Ligurian coast, Pisa, for me in early June.
I look forward to hearing about your trip. We are thinking of going to either Sardinia or Liguria next Spring.
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Old 05-16-2015, 04:39 PM   #2025
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We are keeping our eyes open for a good price on a Baltic cruise in late Aug. Prices seem soft. I am optimistic that we can get something once the final payment date has passed. After that south to Greece for some island hopping perhaps. We usually do late booking offers.

Only other challenge is to convince my spouse that this is a good idea!
Norwegian Star rates for 8/25 start at $1,049 each (inside) plus $152 port charges. If the rates go down due to vacancies on the ship, don't look for prices below $1,029. Scandinavia tourism dries up October 1st when all the tour ships move to other regions.
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Old 05-16-2015, 04:44 PM   #2026
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Going on six week trip in a week in our new travel trailer. Leaving MN to Black Hills, on to SLC to Yosemite. Then to DW sister near Reno. Across northern Cal (Napa Valley) to coast then north up Oregon Coast. On to Ranier then to DW other sister in Wenatchee WA then on towards Yellowstone and back home. First summer vacation in 42 years. Retired Dec-2014
We also have a new fifth wheel trailer that stays up in the North Georgia Mountains. We're so busy traveling elsewhere that we really don't have time to leave our home campground. In 20 years' camping, we've never been away farther than an hour.

But I can hear Camp Wilderness in Orlando calling. I can see our going to Central/South Florida for about 3 months after Christmas.

Congratulations on your retirement. Your camper is meant to be used, and travel all you can while your health is good.
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Old 05-16-2015, 09:05 PM   #2027
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We head to Atlanta Monday. I so love road trips.
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Old 05-18-2015, 01:04 AM   #2028
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Just got back from Lombok, Indonesia where we spent 4 days trekking across Rinjani volcano. The weather was beautiful for the entire trip...warm and clear at the base, cool and clear on top, and not much in the way of clouds to spoil the views or threaten rain. The first day climb was horrendous (+5500'), the second day descent into the caldera was hard on the legs (-2300'), the third day ascent out the other side of the caldera was beautiful and exhilerating (+2300'), and the last long descent was hard on the knees (-5500'). The scenery was spectacular, from the rugged peak to the young caldera, to the active central cone and fumaroles, to the forests, savannas, monkeys and birds we saw along the way.

Unfortunately the real downer of the trip was all the filth we saw along the way, on the trails and in the designated campsites. There were plastic bags and bottles, paper, cans, human waste and TP everywhere. It is a shame to see such a natural marvel being ruined by lack of care. We burned and packed out garbage we picked up in and around our camp sites, but that was only a tiny fraction of 1% of what was out there. We talked to our guides and tour operator about what they might do to help, but I think it really falls on the park service to manage the number and behavior of people who visit the park.

In all, a recommended trek for those who don't mind a long steeep climb to see a spectacular volcano. Just don't go in July/August when the mountain is most crowded. And use one of the local eco-friendly tour operators.
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Old 05-18-2015, 04:25 AM   #2029
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Unfortunately the real downer of the trip was all the filth we saw along the way, on the trails and in the designated campsites. There were plastic bags and bottles, paper, cans, human waste and TP everywhere. It is a shame to see such a natural marvel being ruined by lack of care.
Doesn't it just piss you off, the way some/many/most people have no respect for anything!
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Old 05-21-2015, 10:42 AM   #2030
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Great stuff here, quite inspirational!

We recently returned from an 8-week, roughly 8,000 mile camping trip across the US in our Airstream, Rocinante. Not sure yet whether we're "Class of 2015", though at the moment I'm our Chief Outdoor Officer (COO). We photo-blogged our adventure, from late February thru late April, at http://www.casarocinante.com.
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Old 05-21-2015, 02:23 PM   #2031
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Easy arrival at Charles de Gaulle today. The traffic wasn't too bad, so the taxi cost about the minimum expected (Ä50)

About 5 mins into the smooth, powerful, uber-quiet taxi ride, we realized we were riding in a Tesla!!!

Wow - that was cool! We were very impressed with our "green-cab". Kind of blew our minds truth be told.

Dusk hits about 10PM here. The Eiffel tower is finally lit, and we can see it from our hotel windows.
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Old 05-21-2015, 03:16 PM   #2032
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A Tesla in Paris! How cool! Enjoy your stay. (green with envy!)
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Old 05-21-2015, 05:00 PM   #2033
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I once snuck in some tripod shots from the top of Arc de Triomphe before they stopped me.

BTW, if you have any interest in museums, consider the Paris Museum Pass, which starts at 42 Euro for 2 days. Lets you skip the lines. Good place to buy is at Conciergerie, which rarely has queues. Then walk through the Conciergerie, which should take at most 30 minutes, and then walk a couple doors down and queue up for Sainte Chappelle, which takes awhile to get through because they make you go through metal detectors (because it's a court of law).

Paris Museum Pass will speed up entry into the museums which have the biggest queues, like the Louvre, Musee d'Orsay, Orangerie. It also includes entry into Versailles too, which is 18 Euro.

From Sainte Chappelle, Notre Dame isn't far and you can go up to the tower with the Museum Pass, though if it's too late in the afternoon, you're looking into the sun, so makes for tougher conditions to take pictures from up there.

One place I haven't tried yet is Tour Montparnasse, which is one of the highest points within the center of Paris. It appears to have great views of the Eiffel Tower and I checked and they said tripods are allowed so that could be an option to visit at night. That is 15 Euro.
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Old 05-21-2015, 05:09 PM   #2034
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One place I haven't tried yet is Tour Montparnasse, which is one of the highest points within the center of Paris. It appears to have great views of the Eiffel Tower and I checked and they said tripods are allowed so that could be an option to visit at night. That is 15 Euro.
I have visited the Tour Montparnasse and I can confirm that the views are awesome.
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Old 05-21-2015, 08:52 PM   #2035
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Thanks for the tips y'all!

We are only doing a very limited museum set over two days - Musee D'Orsay, Musee de la Orangerie, and Musee de Moyan Age/Cluny.

Last night the Musee D'Orsay was open until 9pm (Thursdays). Arriving late afternoon - no line. They have a good deal on a combo ticket with Musee de l'Orangerie which skips the line there. I was also very interested in seeing the D'Orsay building, which it turns out is the main feature of the view from our hotel room as seen across the Jardin Tuileries. It was a convenient location for dinner too, in their spectacular main restaurant room.

We are joining a week long small group tour which covers chateaux around Paris and a mind-boggling number of chateaux in the Loire river valley.

After that tour we return to Paris briefly,and we will probably visit Saint-Chapelle then. That one I learned about from comments from this forum - thanks. Our return is mainly because of a one day visit to Monet's gardens at Giverney and some sites in Auvers-sur-Oise, of Van Gogh fame.

Then it's off to a six nights in Alsace (Strasbourg and Colmar), and four nights in Reims where we also visit Epernay (Champagne region).
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Old 05-21-2015, 09:08 PM   #2036
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We are joining a week long small group tour which covers chateaux around Paris and a mind-boggling number of chateaux in the Loire river valley.
My very favorite chateaux in the Loire valley -- Azay-le-Rideau and Chenonceau. But I'm sure you'll enjoy them all. Look for the cave houses. A Tour of France‚€™s Cave Homes | Travel | Smithsonian
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Old 05-21-2015, 09:27 PM   #2037
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My very favorite chateaux in the Loire valley -- Azay-le-Rideau and Chenonceau. But I'm sure you'll enjoy them all. Look for the cave houses. A Tour of France’s Cave Homes | Travel | Smithsonian
We are definitely visiting Chenonceau. Looks like Azay-le-Rideau is not on the agenda. Numerous others are, as you can imagine, plus the Da Vinci museum in Amboise which we look forward to.

Here is the itinerary. It hits some of the major tourist spots around Paris plus Versailles and Fontainebleau then the main focus is La Loire. This small group tour operator, is based in Fussen, Bavaria. We enjoyed their one-day tour of the famous sites near Fussen when we visited last year. French Castles Tour

Our French Castles tour group size was 12 when I checked a month ago. That is about ideal for us. Large enough that you won't be talking to the same people every day, but otherwise quite a small group.
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Old 05-22-2015, 04:44 AM   #2038
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Thanks for the tips y'all!

We are only doing a very limited museum set over two days - Musee D'Orsay, Musee de la Orangerie, and Musee de Moyan Age/Cluny.

Last night the Musee D'Orsay was open until 9pm (Thursdays). Arriving late afternoon - no line. They have a good deal on a combo ticket with Musee de l'Orangerie which skips the line there. I was also very interested in seeing the D'Orsay building, which it turns out is the main feature of the view from our hotel room as seen across the Jardin Tuileries. It was a convenient location for dinner too, in their spectacular main restaurant room.

We are joining a week long small group tour which covers chateaux around Paris and a mind-boggling number of chateaux in the Loire river valley.

After that tour we return to Paris briefly,and we will probably visit Saint-Chapelle then. That one I learned about from comments from this forum - thanks. Our return is mainly because of a one day visit to Monet's gardens at Giverney and some sites in Auvers-sur-Oise, of Van Gogh fame.

Then it's off to a six nights in Alsace (Strasbourg and Colmar), and four nights in Reims where we also visit Epernay (Champagne region).
This was fun to read, having so recently returned from France. After our 10 days in Paris, we went on to tour the wine regions of France, starting with Champagne in Epernay and ending with Bordeaux in the Bordeaux valley. I still cannot get over how little a good bottle of wine there costs. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

I don't know if you'll be visiting the town of St. Emilion in the Bordeaux region, but it was my favorite wine town of that portion of our trip. Think upscale Napa here in the states, set down in the midst of a medieval village.

Edit: I think it's worth noting that I have disliked goat cheese for a solid 20 years, in spite of repeated attempts to 'get over it.' In the Loire Valley, however, I had goat cheese three times, and found myself actually liking it for the very first time. It was much more subtle in flavor than what I'd experienced previously here in the states. Yet another foodie thing the French do beautifully.
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Old 05-22-2015, 06:20 AM   #2039
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DW has given notice to retire on 3/1/16 so I'm planning our first "post-retirement" trip. 2+ weeks focused on the SW national parks. So far -

- Fly to Phoenix
- Grand Canyon (3)
- Zion/Bryce Canyon (3)
- Las Vegas (1)
- Sequoia/Kings Canyon (3)
- Yosemite (3)
- Finish in San Fran (2)

We haven't been to any of these 6 parks before - looking forward to some amazing scenery.
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Old 05-22-2015, 06:44 AM   #2040
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Having enjoyed last month's CDF Horizon transatlantic crossing (post #1992), and anticipating our Med/Adriatic jaunt on the same ship this Fall, we've subsequently booked passage again on the Horizon, departing St Maarten* on March 28, 2016, (stopping at Funchal, (Madeira), and Gibraltar, and arriving in Barcelona April 09.

Thence northern Spain, (or maybe France...or..or..or...)

(*Base price $190US pp, plus Government taxes of $112US pp, plus 'mandatory gratuities' of approx $12US per day pp.......and we love this ship.)
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