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View Full Version : 2 weeks in Europe - any suggestions



Sigurd
06-18-2009, 08:31 PM
Hey there, call it some sort of mid life crisis but I'm going to spend the first two weeks of July in Europe with my lady wife.

Munich - 2 days
Berlin - 1-3 days
Leipzig - 1-3 days

Amsterdam & Holland - the balance of time.


Any suggestions or advice ?

Ascension
06-18-2009, 09:55 PM
Get lots of cool pictures :) Oh and some lederhosen if you happen to run thru Bavaria.

Alecthar
06-18-2009, 10:04 PM
Spend the maximum amount of time in Berlin. It's a beautiful city with a ton of fantastic museums (assuming you like museums). Find your way to the Potsdamer Platz, it's pretty cool to walk around there, and it has a movie theater with movies in English, which is cool if you're looking to relax and sit for a couple of hours.

Munich is pretty nice, though I haven't spent much time there (I've only been twice even though I've lived in Germany for most of the last 9 years, and once was only for a few hours when I did a college interview with an alumni who worked there). Leipzig I've never been to.

Amsterdam is a great city, and I'd also recommend visiting The Hague. I've spent quite a bit of time there, and it's a thoroughly charming city, with some cool things to see, and some very nice restaurants. If you do go there, find your way to the beach, it's beautiful, in a gray, cold, storm-tossed kinda way (though it might be significantly nicer in the summer, I've only ever been there in January). Also, there's a hotel called the Kurhaus you should find. I mention this not because you should stay there (not that you shouldn't, it's quite nice, I just hesitate to offer accommodations advice) but because near that hotel you can find a very nice little mall/shopping type area nearby if you need something, as well as an Italian restaurant that serves dynamite Calamari. Down on the beach nearby is The Pancake House, which serves a large, thick crepe filled with your choice of toppings (I recommend the apple, butter and bacon for a nice lunch/dinner pancake, but there are tons of others for both entrees and desserts). That place is awesome.

As a final note, awesome choices on countries. I've found Germany to be amazing to live in, and I really enjoy Berlin. The Netherlands is also very nice. The weather can sometimes leave something to be desired, but speaking generally, Germany and The Netherlands possess beautiful, well-maintained, relatively clean cities and countryside, which makes them awesome from the start. Public transportation is very available, and I hope you're planning to make use of the rail system, because it's really quite excellent.

Edit: Munich is the capital of Bavaria, Ascension, and is also the home of Oktoberfest, which ironically enough begins in September and ends very early in October. So you can get shots of him loaded and in lederhosen.

Ascension
06-18-2009, 10:39 PM
That's a pic he may not want to post but we'd love to see...for future dealings/negotiations ;)

NeonKnight
06-19-2009, 12:40 AM
If you are near mucich, try and make the time to get to the House of 1000 clocks. http://hausder1000uhren.de/index.php?lang=en

And dear god, don;t be like me and NOT buy a Cuckoo clock!

Sirith
06-19-2009, 03:32 AM
Visit Utrecht in the Netherlands. IMHO, it has a nicer atmosphere than Amsterdam, and there's plenty to do and to see (I especially like the area around the Dom, which itself is a beautiful tower/church).

About the weather: apparently the Netherlands is notorious for its weather patterns (or so international students I talk to here tell me, I guess I'm used to it), which can turn from a beautiful sunny day to colder and shower-y weather the next. Just don't expect a completely sunny stay ;)

ravells
06-19-2009, 03:53 AM
The Pergamon Museum in Berlin would be a 'must see' on my list.

Gandwarf
06-19-2009, 07:18 AM
Forget about Amsterdam, The Hague or Utrecht... come to Rotterdam! There is a... eh, a harbor here :D

Alfar
06-19-2009, 08:52 AM
+1 vote for Berlin. I go there a couple of times a year with my family, really enjoying the city-life. I mostly stay in the old east Berlin, enjoying the parks and Zoologischer Garten and such, but I've been to most of the tourist trap things several times, so I'm hardly the typical tourist.

You'll want to see the Berliner Dom (big church), Brandenburger Tor (newly renovated and quite inspiring portal), Fernsehturm (TV tower with a rotating restaurant). Also, a tour on bus 100 takes you past a great deal of sights. All options available within walking distance. Checkpoint Charlie museum was kinda neat.

Potzdamer Platz is pretty, but I didn't find it very interesting per se - it's just a bunch of shops, mostly - apple store, sony store, lego store, tourist-priced café, bleh ;)

I've never taken the time to visit their government building (Bundestag) - there's always been a huge line waiting outside, so we haven't bothered.

Alecthar
06-19-2009, 09:24 AM
+1 vote for Berlin. I go there a couple of times a year with my family, really enjoying the city-life. I mostly stay in the old east Berlin, enjoying the parks and Zoologischer Garten and such, but I've been to most of the tourist trap things several times, so I'm hardly the typical tourist.

You'll want to see the Berliner Dom (big church), Brandenburger Tor (newly renovated and quite inspiring portal), Fernsehturm (TV tower with a rotating restaurant). Also, a tour on bus 100 takes you past a great deal of sights. All options available within walking distance. Checkpoint Charlie museum was kinda neat.

Potzdamer Platz is pretty, but I didn't find it very interesting per se - it's just a bunch of shops, mostly - apple store, sony store, lego store, tourist-priced café, bleh ;)

I've never taken the time to visit their government building (Bundestag) - there's always been a huge line waiting outside, so we haven't bothered.

That's a good description of Potzdamer Platz. It's worth it to go there to see, I think, especially at night with the lighted canopy shifting colors, but other than that it's not especially great unless you're looking to eat or shop.

I don't know how I forgot to mention the zoo, which is fantastic. I don't know about anyone else, but I have a certain child-like love of the zoo. And Disneyland.

The weather in both the Netherlands and Germany tends toward the rainy side. My father likes to remark that labeling any day as a nice one is asking for trouble, and instead prefers to note how nice a morning/afternoon it is, given that you sometimes have very sunny days turn into very rainy evenings.

Alfar
06-19-2009, 09:36 AM
As for the Zoo, notice that Berlin has two. Zoo in West Berlin, which seems rather tightly packed, and Zoologischer Garten in East Berlin, where there's more breathing space between the animals (and thus, farther to walk) - both have their advantages, I suppose, but I do prefer the east one.

Last time I was there, I saw a caretaker actually washing down the trash cans and wiping off the benches because it had been raining. Most of public places I go to in Berlin feel quite clean. Also, nothing like sending your kids off to play in the freshly raked
sand of a public playground. Sauber (clean in German) ;)

msa
06-19-2009, 09:55 AM
Try to make it down to Freiburg for a taste of medieval German city and the Black Forest. Its beautiful and it really does feel like stepping into another time.

(Of course you might could just keep heading south and spend the rest of your vacation in Florence gorging yourself on delicious food and getting smashed on Brunello)

I've been to Amsterdam a few times but... errr... I don't really remember it. The Van Gogh museum is one of my favorite art museums, but I am not much of an art lover.

Steel General
06-19-2009, 11:53 AM
...or you could just go conquer Liechtenstein... you and your wife should be more than enough to take control. :D

(sometimes I just love being absolutely silly)

ravells
06-19-2009, 01:30 PM
And then you can have Monaco for afters!

Steel General
06-19-2009, 03:50 PM
or Andorra! :D

Sigurd
06-19-2009, 04:07 PM
Thanks for all the advice, especially the museum in Berlin - that looks like a must see.

This is our agenda:

(I will erase this map when we return or shortly before we leave.)


I'll be sure to grab Andorra and Monaco as souvenirs if they fit into my travel allowance ;)
Do you think the "Germany" letters will be close enough to the train to see as we pass? :)

Alecthar
06-19-2009, 04:20 PM
Thanks for all the advice, especially the museum in Berlin - that looks like a must see.

This is our agenda:

(I will erase this map when we return or shortly before we leave.)


I'll be sure to grab Andorra and Monaco as souvenirs if they fit into my travel allowance ;)
Do you think the "Germany" letters will be close enough to the train to see as we pass? :)

I wouldn't mess with Lichtenstein or Monaco. The former has secretive banking institutions, a'la the Swiss, and the second is primarily made up of excessively, ridiculously rich people, many of whom have money hidden in Lichtenstein, who could probably hire someone to sell you into white slavery.;)

That said, Rothenburg is a fantastic place to visit as well, excellent choice for an additional stop. Also, the Pergamon is just one of the fantastic museums in Berlin, there's an entire island dedicated to them.

I'm a sucker for museums. Whenever I'm in London I always spend basically all my time in the British Museum.

beriothien
06-21-2009, 05:45 AM
I would recommend Utrecht and the Hague above Amsterdam, really.

Sigurd
06-28-2009, 09:10 PM
I appreciate everyone's input. I'm off the day after tomorrow so I'm pulling the uploaded map jpgs. (Can't have you all following me to shower me with presents or something :).)

I'll still be looking in occaisionally on the trip.


Sigurd

Sirith
06-29-2009, 06:50 PM
Have a good two weeks travelling and have fun!

bartmoss
07-05-2009, 03:31 AM
Guess this is too late, but for future reference, if anybody is a science or tech geek of any measure, check out the German Museum (Deutsches Museum) in Munich. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deutsches_Museum

For Berlin, agreed on the Pergamon Museum and if you have spare time visit Nefertiti (well, her bust...) at th e Altes Museum (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Altes_Museum).

Sigurd
07-19-2009, 11:28 AM
The Altes Museum is under renovation and we actually saw much of its Egyptian collection in Munich (but not Nefertiti).

The Pergamon was WONDERFUL can be like no other museum in the world. Sadly I only had 2 hours there. It is one of those museums I'd happily spend 3 days in.

The huge reconstructions inside the museum were very impressive.

The European Trains were great: clean, on time, and I didn't have to worry about parking or driving.

Munich seemed too arrogant but Leipzig was very nice. Rothenburg Ob Der Tauber was a joy and Amsterdam is just a wonderful city. Everything was very expensive.


Thanks for the advice everyone!