By far the toughest part of the trip was the itinerary. Why? Dude, Europe is huge. There is western europe with its popular cities, there is eastern europe with Prague and Budapest, there is the Nordics with the mad social values like “coziness” and legal system that uses the pursuit of happiness and freedom as guiding lights. There is Berlin with its modern world history, Amsterdam and its incredible free world vibes. There is Switzerland because you grew up on DDLJ and grew up to love the outdoors.
Every travel portal gives you a list of must-do’s. But none of them really know you and yours. So please, ignore the advice. Read up a little. Decide what you want to do. And see if there are trains connecting your destinations. If not direct then with a reasonable number of transfers. If not, plan another trip on the sidelines because you have reality to get back to and you are not dying tomorrow (I hope).
How long should you stay in a place? Again, find out what the city is about. It’s beautiful how pretty much every destination in Europe is usually about ONE thing, at least in my head. If Lauterbrunnen has its swiss village charm with the Alps for neighbours, Vienna has its music and dated buildings. If Prague is hipster, Berlin is even more so and it has The Wall written all over it.
Get inspired. But not enough to forget the things that excite you. In our case, R wanted everything wall and a bit more of modern history and free world vibes, I wanted everything old and green, and both of us wanted Amsterdam.
That left us with Lauterbrunnen Valley in Switzerland, Vienna Austria, Prague Czech Republic, Berlin Germany, and Amsterdam Holland. And a night train. And some free spirit. And just about 3 weeks.
Don’t get into the trap of “the loop”. Because in the limited time, you don’t want to spend time going back to a destination that’s not new and exciting.
Actually, don’t take my word for it. If a loop works for you, do it. And this paragraph pretty much sums up what my theme for Europe trails, all other trails, and life choices can ever be. Please. Do what works for you. Not for your neighbour’s third cousin.