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Old 03-27-2015, 01:41 PM   #41
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I've purchased all but 2 of our 11 legs of our European train adventure this summer. The trips in/out of Berlin are sill not open for purchase yet. I'm hoping at the 90 day point I can pick up some cheap tickets.
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Old 03-27-2015, 08:21 PM   #42
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When we took the train from Naples to Sorrento, we passed by a train station called Pompeii. I asked myself, could it be?

Yes! At Sorrento, a bit of research showed me that indeed that train station was right at the entrance to the Pompeii archeological site, and that we could spend a few bucks to leave our backpacks and carry-ons at a convenience store outside the gate to tour Pompeii. And that was exactly what we did: catching an early train when we left Sorrento, spending most of the day walking around Pompeii, then getting back on the train to Rome to catch the night train to Venice. An unplanned stop that was so enjoyable.

Train travel in Europe is great. I need to come back to spend time in the Cinque Terre, and to stay in little Italian pensiones. Too many places in the world to visit, too short a life.
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Old 03-27-2015, 08:30 PM   #43
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I need to come back to spend time in the Cinque Terre, and to stay in little Italian pensiones. Too many places in the world to visit, too short a life.
We are booked to arrive in Genoa Oct 23, and don't have to be in Marseille until Oct 31, so Cinque Terre is high on our list.
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Old 03-27-2015, 09:05 PM   #44
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When we took the train from Naples to Sorrento, we passed by a train station called Pompeii. I asked myself, could it be?
We did something similar a few years ago. We left Rome to Naples in the morning. Left our luggage at the Naples train station then took the regional train (different gauge tracks than the national trains) to Pompeii... had a great day... then returned to Naples and caught our ferry to Catania, Sicily. The kids were little - and LOVED running up and down the old pompeii streets... and were covered in the white ash/dust at the end of the day. (Good thing our ferry cabin had a shower.)
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Old 03-27-2015, 09:07 PM   #45
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We are booked to arrive in Genoa Oct 23, and don't have to be in Marseille until Oct 31, so Cinque Terre is high on our list.
Cinque Terre is still high on my list - but I'll at least be able to see it in the earlish morning on the way from Sicily to Milan on the intercity notte train. Amalfi coast before bed - then no stops from Salerno to Livorno, then we move up along Cinque Terre on our way to Milan. I think we hit Livorno around 6:30am - so the light should be nice if we wake up to see it.
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Old 03-28-2015, 12:08 PM   #46
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Planning our trip to Sicily this fall. Some nice references to travel around Sorrento and Sicily. We are planning on visiting Amalfi Coast again, eventually reaching Rome. Pompeii is also on the list. Thanks.
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Old 03-28-2015, 01:23 PM   #47
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Planning our trip to Sicily this fall.
The Horizon is scheduled to be in Messina on November 02, from 08:00 a.m. to 05:00 p.m. See ya dockside!
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Old 04-11-2015, 11:51 AM   #48
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We spent 3plus weeks in Sicily this past Sept/Oct. Flew to Catania from Malta because it was cheaper than the ferry. Bussed directly to Taormina from the airport, spent a few days there and then picked up a rental car. Dropped the car off in Cefalu two weeks later prior to visiting the Aolian Islands and then back to Palermo by train.

Highly recommend Sicily-most especially in the shoulder season. We stayed at agrotourisms and B&B's.

If you are going to Pompei via train, there are two stops-Pompei and Pompei Scavi. You want the latter.
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Old 04-12-2015, 08:03 AM   #49
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The Horizon is scheduled to be in Messina on November 02, from 08:00 a.m. to 05:00 p.m. See ya dockside!
Sorry, by then we will be back, returning Oct 16 from Rome after a month.
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We spent 3plus weeks in Sicily this past Sept/Oct. Flew to Catania from Malta because it was cheaper than the ferry. Bussed directly to Taormina from the airport, spent a few days there and then picked up a rental car. Dropped the car off in Cefalu two weeks later prior to visiting the Aolian Islands and then back to Palermo by train.

Highly recommend Sicily-most especially in the shoulder season. We stayed at agrotourisms and B&B's.

If you are going to Pompei via train, there are two stops-Pompei and Pompei Scavi. You want the latter.
Thanks. Yes we are going to Pompeii. So far we have 7 days booked in Positano, 2 days in Capri and about to book 5 days in Taormina. Interesting, last night we ate at an Italian restaurant here in PV and the chef is returning to Taormina to join his brother in his restaurant for the summer. So we have all the info to find the place which is just a block from our hotel Villa Schuler.
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Old 04-12-2015, 12:42 PM   #50
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Not certain how you are getting to Taormina. You do not need a car and parking is a challenge. We flew into Catania. There was a bus directly from the airport to Taormina. It runs just about every hour.

We did a one way car rental from autoeurope.ca. We find that they have the best prices of anyone and the service is very good. Picked the car up in Taormina as we left, dropped it off in Cefalu as we did not want it for the islands or for Palermo. We did a 2 tour through the mountains from Cefalu-very nice.
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Old 04-14-2015, 12:03 PM   #51
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Definitely recommend renting a car in Sicily. Here is what we did.

-Flew into Catania and bussed directly to Taormina (we had been in Catania before)
-picked up car when we left Taormina.
-Syracuse agritourism (base for Syracuse, Ragusa, etc)
-Agrigento
-Erice
-San Vito de Capo
-Petralia Soprano (tour of Madoni region)
-Cefalu (dropped off car)
-train Milazzo and ferry to Lipari (Aeolian Islands)
-ferry/train to Palermo
-Vueling Air Palermo to Rome.

...and we would go back for another visit!
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Old 05-25-2015, 03:25 PM   #52
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...We'll be in Genoa (twice) this Fall, (taking the train from there to Marseille and back, with a possible layover in Nice
Seems the lack of seamless connections between the Italian & French rail lines might be (will be?) a PITA.....so now we're looking at taking iDBUS both ways.
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Old 05-25-2015, 08:47 PM   #53
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Getting back to the original posting #1:

We're getting ready to fly to Copenhagen to get on on a Norwegian Cruise Lines ship to Estonia, St. Petersburg, Helsinki, Stockholm and back to Copenhagen. These are all great cities, and the cost of a Baltic cruise cannot be beat.

This is our fourth major trip in just over a year, and we went by train between Budapest, Bratislava, Vienna and Prague last April. They're all cities not to miss. After traveling on hot, slow trains, we didn't find train travel to be the least bit interesting.

Our preferred method of travel is now budget European air carriers--or fast trains.
And most allow for one carryon bag, so we do travel very light. See RickSteves.com for his travel essentials list.

We used to rent a car and see how far and how many cities we can visit in 2 weeks. High gasoline prices have cured us, and we now prefer to travel slower. We like to go to places that compliment each other--with easy transit between cities. Like London to Paris on the Eurostar (2 hrs. 15 minutes) and later the fast train Paris-Barcelona (6 1/2 hrs.) We like to visit Venice, Florence and Rome--staying 4-5 days on an agriturismo with a rental car.

We tried to go to New Zealand by cruise from Austrailia this year, but it was just too expensive. We figured out how to fly from the U.S. to Europe for half the normal airfare--going Orlando-Copenhagen on Norwegian Air Shuttle.

And if things get too expensive to travel throughout the world, we can always catch an inexpensive cruise out of New Orleans or Florida. We usually take one cruise a year. We've also been touring Canada on our off years, and it's a better value since their currency's been devalued against the U.S.D.
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Old 05-31-2015, 09:31 AM   #54
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We have done a fair amount of rail travel in Italy, including the night train from Venice to Naples. With the exception of our limited experience in Sicily, the Italian trains were not only excellent but also well priced.

If you are using Trenitalia, study the timetables and the prices carefully. You can often save a fair amount of money by taking a slightly slower train, or by booking one of the lower priced, quantity limited, tickets. Don't be afraid to use the ticket machines....but easier than standing in a long line up at the ticket counters.

We had planned to take the train from Palermo-Rome last fall. But reality set in when we realized the time requirement and the cost (we had previously spent time in Sorrento, Naples, Amalfi Coast). We decided on a Vueling flight. The flight was only $70. each. Much faster, much cheaper than the train. Regional air fare pricing can sometimes be a bargain, even when the cost of getting to and from airports is taken into consideration.

Yesterday, we booked an early October flight from Crete to Paris-a direct 3 1/2 hour mid day trip on Aegean Air. The cost was 80E each, less than $100 USD. It enables us to spend a few days in Paris on our way home AND gave us the opportunity to book an inexpensive nonstop flight home.
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Old 05-31-2015, 09:43 AM   #55
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We're flying Vueiling from Rome to Catania on this trip... but it's code shared with BA. My understanding is it's kind of like southwest air - no seat assignments, no frills, but good service.
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Old 05-31-2015, 11:29 AM   #56
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We had a good experience on Veuling. Plane was clean, on time, very good service, and an unbeatable price.

We flew into Catania last fall from Malta. We found this to be very convenient since our first stop was Taormina. We simply walked outside the air terminal, turned left, and the bus was there. Did the same coming back to Catania to pick up a rental car.


What we find ourselves doing is using regional airlines as a way of cherry picking great one way/open jaw fares to Europe. We found great fares from Toronto, where we are visiting relatives, to Athens and then home direct from Paris to Calgary. The regional airline fare from Crete to Paris us under $100USD. The savings by doing this will pay for our three day weekend in Paris.
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Old 06-01-2015, 03:31 PM   #57
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Hit ~199 mph (320 km/hr) today Paris to Strasbourg. It just took a few minutes after leaving the station to get up to the 185+ speeds.
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Old 06-04-2015, 03:53 PM   #58
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So....with our 'plans' almost established for this Fall's trip......we're idly discussing next Spring.....we arrive in Barcelona (via the Horizon again) on the morning of Saturday April 09/16.......contemplating walking or 'metroing' to one of the rail stations and buying a ticket on the first slow train that's leaving.......destination (virtually) unknown.

This idea appeals to us.
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Old 06-04-2015, 04:27 PM   #59
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A number of years ago when my son and I were 'training' through Italy we met a Seattle couple in the laudromat around the corner from the train station in Florence.

They had both retired, never been to Europe, and decided to do it by rail pass. They also tried out how much to take...they took an Amtrak visit somewhere and then decided that they would do best with a carry on bag each.

In any event, they were on their second 2 month rail pass. They decided where to go next when leaving for the rail station. They had been many places but told us that their trip may even go to a third pass-30 day or 90 day.

I was impressed by their outlook on life and their spontaneity.
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Old 06-04-2015, 04:36 PM   #60
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I was impressed by their outlook on life and their spontaneity.
When my wife was still working, (and vacation time was limited), we'd take road trips down to the States with a "Let's turn here" approach.
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