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Old 09-19-2015, 06:36 PM   #2281
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Leaving on a 10 day trip to Peru tomorrow. Shoulder is still pretty sketchy from the surgery so hopefully it isn't too much of an issue.
So happy to know you're coming to visit my home town...

Maybe we could meet at the Red Lobster for lunch....

Peru, Illinois (IL 61354) profile: population, maps, real estate, averages, homes, statistics, relocation, travel, jobs, hospitals, schools, crime, moving, houses, news, sex offenders
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Old 09-19-2015, 06:48 PM   #2282
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We are also going on a transatlantic next spring . It stops in the Azores , Lisbon, Spain & France and ends in Southampton , England . We are spending five days in London then flying home .
Snap!! Except that we'll be staying for 6 months, then cruising back. (Our cruise stops at Bermuda, Hamburg, Le Havre, Liverpool and Southampton)
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Old 09-20-2015, 07:44 AM   #2283
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Back into our pre-cruise planning for next month's ~ one week stopover in Genoa, prior to catching the ship in Marseille - it's been 52 years since I was in Genoa, (and we were heading east in a 1939 Ford at that time so never took the train), so the question is:

Has anyone taken the train, (we understand it runs along the coast), from Genoa to Lucca?
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Old 09-21-2015, 09:32 AM   #2284
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No, but we stayed in Lucca for a few days and very much enjoyed it.

We took the train from Lucca to Pisa. Takes about half an hour and the trains are frequent. Get off one stop before Pisa Centrale.....you will see all of the university students getting off there. It is then a much shorter walk to the Tower than if you go to Pisa Centrale.
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Old 09-21-2015, 09:52 AM   #2285
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No, but we stayed in Lucca for a few days and very much enjoyed it.

We took the train from Lucca to Pisa.
Did you purchase your train tickets ahead or same day?
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Old 09-21-2015, 02:52 PM   #2286
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DH and his brother are headed out to Yosemite and Sequoia.

I've started planning possible trips for next summer. We'll go to Philly to see family - but may head elsewhere on the east coast while there.
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Old 09-21-2015, 11:40 PM   #2287
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nemo..we purchased the tickets the same day. Cannot remember but it was about 5 e. More like a commuter train. As I recall they ran every hour or so. The Lucca train station is just outside the walls-very convenient.

I cannot remember whether we paid at the station or on board but we definitely saw a conductor on board checking tickets and selling tickets.

Our B&B host told us there was a bus service as well however I have a strong preference for trains. We did this as a short day trip. Took the train to Pisa in the late morning and returned in the late afternoon.
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Old 09-22-2015, 01:32 AM   #2288
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Just starting a three month driving trip from Portland. Mountain biking in Moab, Utah, then down to see Navajo country. Then to Phoenix for a month to play in a couple of baseball tournaments. After that to Las Vegas for another tournament. Then driving to Miami and going on a baseball playing tour of Cuba. After that, visiting family in Kentucky, Ohio, New York and Chicago. Then making our way back home across the mountains in December.
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Old 09-22-2015, 03:50 AM   #2289
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nemo..we purchased the tickets the same day. Cannot remember but it was about 5 e. More like a commuter train. As I recall they ran every hour or so. The Lucca train station is just outside the walls-very convenient.
Great, thanks for the input.....

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however I have a strong preference for trains.
As do we...although on the Genoa-Marseille leg we've pre-booked with iDBus, (heard from someone who's used them that they're pretty good).......Marseille-Genoa we've pre-booked the train.
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Old 09-22-2015, 04:13 PM   #2290
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Well, looks like DW and I will be going to Italy next year. Florence and Rome for sure, thinking about a couple of days in Milano, 15 days total. It's been a while since we took a real trip, and we both deserve it - for putting up with each other all this time.

Time to start reading up on all the travel threads.
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Old 09-22-2015, 05:06 PM   #2291
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First time to Florence and Rome or revisiting?

If you've been before, you might consider flying into Rome and out of Venice. Then 5 days in each.

Even if going for first time, 5 days would be a good way to get a sense of those cities and maybe even work in a day trip or two.

Frommers have sample itineraries for many cities, though they tend to be packed. But for big cities, it's typically 3 days.

To explore a region, like Tuscany out of Florence, could take up a week or two and a car.

Or you could do something like 3 or 4 days in Rome, 7 or 8 days in Florence (with day trips to Chianti, San Gmignano and Siena, maybe Pisa) and 3 or 4 days in Venice.

Take trains for long-hauls between the 3 cities, though it could be tough toting 2-weeks worth of luggage on trains.

There are guided day trips and city tours available in all cities or you could take public buses to nearby towns for day trips out of Florence.
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Old 09-22-2015, 05:15 PM   #2292
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First time to Florence and Rome or revisiting?

If you've been before, you might consider flying into Rome and out of Venice. Then 5 days in each.

Even if going for first time, 5 days would be a good way to get a sense of those cities and maybe even work in a day trip or two.

Frommers have sample itineraries for many cities, though they tend to be packed. But for big cities, it's typically 3 days.

To explore a region, like Tuscany out of Florence, could take up a week or two and a car.

Or you could do something like 3 or 4 days in Rome, 7 or 8 days in Florence (with day trips to Chianti, San Gmignano and Siena, maybe Pisa) and 3 or 4 days in Venice.

Take trains for long-hauls between the 3 cities, though it could be tough toting 2-weeks worth of luggage on trains.

There are guided day trips and city tours available in all cities or you could take public buses to nearby towns for day trips out of Florence.
Thanks, First time to Italy for me, not for DW. She wants to skip Venice. I won't insist. I don't like to change hotels during trips, much rather stay in one or two places and take day trips.

I'll definitely check out Frommers. Still not sure how long to spend in Rome, I was thinking at least a week.
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Old 09-22-2015, 05:36 PM   #2293
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Venice is certainly expensive and crowded. So are the other cities, though Venice is perhaps more so, given its size and its unique topography.

It may be more a reflection of my interests but there aren't as many day trip destinations in Rome and Venice as there are in Florence. I'm talking about places that could be reached within 2 hours drive or bus or train ride each way.

Viator's is another good site, which offers different kinds of tours. Some are better values than others but they also give you an indication of what the tourist operators in a given destination offers, especially in the way of day trips and what they offer is also an indication of the popular attractions. Of course some people may specifically want to avoid the beaten path.

I've been to Rome many times, because it's often a transit point through the rest of Italy, so I usually end up staying at least a night or two before flying back to the US. So I've seen the major museums at least a couple of times, though I'm not as enthusiastic about spending the better part of a day or even an afternoon in a museum as I used to be. Certainly worth seeing at least once, though with the crazy crowds (literally queues around the block for the Vatican Museums), it might be worth buying guided tours, which get you into the museum through much shorter group tour queues.

But since I'm doing more photography, I've gravitated more towards exterior attractions (hassle to get into some museums with gear, even if they let you photograph inside) or open air museums like the Roman Forum.

It's hard to conceive of spending a week (7 full days, not counting the arrival day) in Rome unless taking time to go through the major museums and attractions, like one a day. The Forum is an afternoon, the Colisseum is maybe half a day (more like a couple of hours or skip altogether as there are better preserved colisseums in Europe, though not as big and famous). Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's Square is 1/2 to a full day, depending on how much you want to digest the art and going through the galleries.

Main day trips are Villa Este/Hadrian's Villa and Ostia Antica. Some people will spend long days, well over 10 hours, to go to southern Tuscany or Umbria, like Orvieto or Assisi. Or some will try to get to Pompeii from Rome, which is a real long slog.

8 Great Day Trips from Rome – Touropia Travel Experts

One of two of those marathon tours could allow for an extended stay in Rome but I went to Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast to visit Pompeii as well as other attractions down there. Or for Tuscany and Umbria, it was renting a car and basing around Southern Tuscany, say Siena or towns to the south of it. Even then, kind of long drives.
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Old 09-22-2015, 06:26 PM   #2294
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Michael - you and your wife will have a great time. Pre-book the Vatican museum tour (the one run by the Vatican) - that bypasses the lines. If you find the tour is not your cup of tea - you can bail - but you're still in the museum which you can do at your own pace, or head straight to the Sistene Chapel. link: Vatican Museums - Online Ticket Office

Rome has so much to see and do - but if you want daytrips I have a couple recommendations. You can do Pompei as a day trip - get a high speed train out of Rome in the morning, at Naples change to the local train that takes you to Pompei... Do the reverse to get back to Rome. (It's about 2 hours by train.) Ostia Antica is fairly close and can be reached by a metro/train combo.

Florence - I've stayed in Florence and outside. If you stay outside - you'll probably want a car. If you stay in Florence you do NOT want a car since many of the streets are for permitted cars only and will earn you a photo ticket which you find out about after the fact.

You'll have a great time!
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Old 09-22-2015, 07:24 PM   #2295
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I would add that there are all kinds of tours out of Florence so you wouldn't need a car to do 3 or 4 day trips to the most popular destinations, like San Gimignano, wine tasting in Chianti, Siena and Pisa.

In the case of Siena, you don't even need to book a tour. You can take the SITA bus which includes round trip bus tickets (an hour each way) and an audio guide. About 10 years ago, it was like 15 Euro.

I opted for a trip through Viator that took me to San Gmignano and Siena in the same day. Or might have been Pisa and then Siena. Was under $100.
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Old 09-22-2015, 07:35 PM   #2296
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Well, looks like DW and I will be going to Italy next year. Florence and Rome for sure, thinking about a couple of days in Milano, 15 days total. It's been a while since we took a real trip, and we both deserve it - for putting up with each other all this time.

Time to start reading up on all the travel threads.
Do you really want to skip Venice? Better than Milan, IMO.

I see - DW wants to skip it.
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Old 09-22-2015, 07:39 PM   #2297
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MXP is a popular airport but it's kind of a hassle to get to from Milan city. 40 miles out.

It is kind of a hassle to get to VCE to from Venice. You have to take the vaporetto to the bus terminal and then take the bus. Actually the vaporetto is pretty easy, you can just roll your luggage onboard with the ramps.

Water taxi is kind of a luxury though, I think it costs something like 90 Euro for like a 15-30 minute ride.
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Old 09-23-2015, 01:48 AM   #2298
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Highly recommend going in the spring or fall.

We have been through Italy a number of times. A great way to really see Tuscany and/or Umbria is to stay in Agroturismos for a few days at a time. Wonderful experience. You will of course need a car for day trips.

Pack light. Take twice the money and half the luggage that you plan on taking.
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Old 09-23-2015, 05:38 AM   #2299
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I'm planning a Mediterranean vacation for next spring. A repositioning cruise across the Atlantic to Rome, a week in Tuscany, followed by a week in Malta. Suggestions for getting from Civitavecchia to Firenze, hotels in Firenze, and things to do in Malta would be very helpful. Should I rent a car in Malta, or rely on the buses? I will be staying at Golden Bay.
We stayed at this hotel in Firenze and enjoyed it very much. Get a courtyard room.

Center hotel Florence - Official Website - Hotel Orto de Medici
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Old 09-23-2015, 05:43 PM   #2300
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We'll be going next September. Florence and Rome for sure, 2 weeks. Everything else is TBD. Tomorrow I'm going to talk it over with DD. She spent a semester in Florence and has lots of insights. This thread is helpful and the advice welcome.
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