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  #21  
Old Posted May 8, 2007, 9:13 PM
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^thanks for the tips.

I'll come up with a list of chosen hostels for each city in a while.
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  #22  
Old Posted May 9, 2007, 3:01 PM
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Okay it looks like I got a plan together now. I will leave Anchorage in early July on Condor to Frankfurt. From Frankfurt, I will buy a $300+ pass (dunno what that is in Euros) for EuroRail which is suppose to be good for up to five countries. For a three week vacation, I suppose rail sounds acceptable, though I might skip long rides and take Ryanair instead.
Personally I think Condor is crap. Afterall it's basically a charter airlines and not a regular one and most of its routes are flown with 757s (not exactly a pleasure on a 9.5 hour flight from Alaska to Germany). But as far as I know they are the only airline that offers direct flights between Alaska and Central Europe, so before spending 20 hours flying ANC-YVR-FRA or ANC-SFO-FRA it might indeed be the best choice.

And speaking of Ryanair...I hope you are aware of their 15kg baggage limit, which is far less than the 2x32kg limit on North America-Europe flights and you might end up paying quite a lot of money for overweight baggage.

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*edit* oh, and what are your thoughts on hostels? much input will be appreciated, guys.
Depends. I've stayed pretty often in hostels, although only in ones that also offer single rooms. Those rooms are often much cheaper than regular hotel rooms but still offer you the privacy a dormitory won't offer you.

So once you post a list of the cities you want to visit I could give you some advise on the best ones.
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  #23  
Old Posted May 9, 2007, 9:31 PM
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Yeah, post a list of the cities. Sometimes the best hostels are not yet connected with hostelworld.com or hostels.com.
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  #24  
Old Posted May 9, 2007, 10:16 PM
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Sorry if this is hijacking the thread, but its related.

I'm thinking of doing a bit of travelling around northern Europe, and we plan to use Hostels or Cheap hotels, spending roughly 2 or 3 nights in each place. So far we have been thinking about:

Amsterdam
Copenhagen
Oslo (and another Norwegian city - any reccomendations?...close to beautiful scenery)
Stockholm
Berlin
Prague

Are there any recommendation's for hostels/cheap hotels in those cities??? Cheers
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  #25  
Old Posted May 9, 2007, 10:34 PM
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^Oslo is a good pick, easy to go Cph-Osl-Sth by bus fairly cheaply + great setting. Be prepared for Olso to be way pricey tho.
I'm not up to date with hostels, but do pick hostels in Scandinavia if you wanna go cheap. Since at least Stockholm has a real lack of hotels (compared to demand) they ain't cheap in good areas.
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  #26  
Old Posted May 12, 2007, 8:49 PM
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Here in europe I use www.Skycanner.net a great webpage to search flights by low cost carriers with a map option, calendar for prices by day, and other nice features. And you book through the airline itself when you find something

Here in central Europe there are many airport options to search from so don't limit one country if you are near the border areas. For example where I live you can hit Belgian Airports to Spain cheaply and German ones to Sicily, and Dutch to Britain and so on. I use them all the time.

again WWW.SKYSCANNER.NET is one I suggest
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  #27  
Old Posted May 25, 2007, 6:24 AM
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^Thanks Captain!
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  #28  
Old Posted Jul 1, 2007, 1:12 AM
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Okay well in about 48 hours I'll be touching down in Frankfurt and staying in the area for a while. Forumers who are not busy in the area feel free to meet up with me. As for travel advice, anyone have any tips, street-smarts, places to avoid, checkout, etc? R@ptor? DiggerD21? Any input would be appreciated from anyone.

As for the other cities I plan to visit:

Berlin
Amsterdam
the Hague
Brussels
Paris
Barcelona
Madrid
and smaller cities inbetween
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  #29  
Old Posted Jul 1, 2007, 2:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mthq View Post
Okay well in about 48 hours I'll be touching down in Frankfurt and staying in the area for a while. Forumers who are not busy in the area feel free to meet up with me. As for travel advice, anyone have any tips, street-smarts, places to avoid, checkout, etc? R@ptor? DiggerD21? Any input would be appreciated from anyone.
Looks like it will be a larger trip than you had originally planned...how long will you be staying in Europe?

Sorry I can't meet with you on Monday. If you came here 24 hours earlier I could have shown you around Frankfurt.

As for travel advices, that depends what you are interested in. I've posted a map below.

Red circle = Old Town: Here you'll find the cathedral, city hall, the 'Roemer' and basically all of Frankfurt's remaining old town.
While it is relatively small, you might be interested in visiting it given the fact that you don't visit some of the old German cities such as
Freiburg, Heidelberg or Rothenburg.


Pink circle= Financial District (Finanzviertel): Home to 7 of Germany's 10 tallest skyscrapers including the Commerzbank Tower


While you are there I would definitely recommend you to visit the observation deck of the Main Tower (200m/656ft) which is the only
observation deck on top of a skyscraper in Frankfurt and will offer you great views over the city.



Green circle=Zeil: Frankfurt's main shopping street. The highlight there is definitely the Zeilgalerie, a futuristic mall which also
has an observation deck (admission free) on top of it from where you'll have one of the most spectacular views of the Frankfurt skyline.


Blue circle=Trade fair district (Messeviertel): Home to the Messeturm, a must-see for any skyscraperfan on a visit in Frankfurt.


Another must-see is the old opera house


Other than from the observation deck of the Zeilgalerie the most spectacular view of the skyline is the one from the opposite side
of the river 'Main' especially if you cross it on the 'Eiserner Steg' or on the 'Alte Mainbruecke'




As for local specialities you have to try the 'Frankfurter Apfelwein' (apple wine) which is a trademark of Frankfurt and I'm pretty certain
you'll also like German beer.

Getting around: Getting around Frankfurt is relatively easy as there is a dense network of subway lines (entrances are marked with
the letter 'U'). It's probably best to buy a one-day ticket which costs 5,40 Euro. In order to get from the airport to the city center you
have to take either the S8 or the S9 northwards. Here's a map of the public transport system in Frankfurt: http://th.physik.uni-frankfurt.de/~dumitru/ubahn.gif
some important stops:
Old town (Romer - U4/U5)
Financial district (Willy-Brandt-Platz - U1/U2/U3/U4/U5)
Zeil (Hauptwache - all lines)
Messeturm (Festhalle/Messe - U4)

Places to avoid and street smartness: As you will certainly know violent crime is WAY lower than in North America (probably 5-10%
of what's usual in the US), but petty crimes like pickpockets are a lot more common. So don't store your wallet in your backpocket
and don't leave anything lying around your hotel room if you explore the city, but lock it either in the safety deposit or simply lock
your bags in your hotel room. Theft from hotel rooms has unfortunately become quite commonplace in cheap hotels these days. As for
places to avoid, be aware of your surroundings in the red light district at night (which is located right between the main station and
the Financial District so chances are you'll pass it. And don't take photos in any red light district, you don't want to be confronted by
pimps. Therefore you can take photos of skyscrapers hassle-free in Europe without having to fear paranoid security guys

For photos simply check out the Frankfurt site of my homepage (Europe -> Western Europe -> German Cities -> Frankfurt)


Hope these tips will help you a bit.

Last edited by R@ptor; Jul 1, 2007 at 2:31 AM.
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  #30  
Old Posted Jul 1, 2007, 3:34 PM
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As for the other cities, I guess you have to tell us first how long you intend to visit them and what you are specifically interested in, as they are all (with the exception of The Hague) way larger than Frankfurt.
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  #31  
Old Posted Jul 2, 2007, 12:33 AM
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When are you coming to Madrid?
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  #32  
Old Posted Jul 4, 2007, 3:50 PM
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Thanks for the recommendations and the pics, R@ptor! Sorry for the delay, I missed my flight on Sunday so I had to take the Tuesday Condor flight from ANC directly to here. I'm in the Stay & Learn Hostel in the red light district next to the train terminal. As for the redlight district and taking pics -- oops. I wasn't too comfortable taking photos of the area to begin with, now I'll know not to do it again for safety.

I wondered myself into the financial district today (Wednesday) and will head into old town, the Zeil, the observation deck on the Main Tower, etc tomorrow. I also plan on visiting the art museum of works from 1960 to today (I'm drawing a blank on the name right now). A shot of the skyline from across the river will also be a must! Thanks for the tips!

BTW to the rest of the forum, I highly recommend visiting Frankfurt. I'm sure the SSP community already knows this since its the skyscraper capital, but seriously, besides the towers, the place is simply stunning. I can't say I've visited many cities outside the US, but Frankfurt would have to be up in the top 3 when it comes to stunning first impressions. The people are also jolly and kind.

As for the other cities I plan to visit -- it's all very unpredictable. I could be spending just one or two days in a city, or half a week. Of course Spain is the main course of my trip so I might book (and better do it now) to stay in an actual hotel in Madrid, Barcelona, and Pamplona. The hostel I'm in now is awesome, but I'd like to have a real hotel at some point in the trip

crisp - check your pm
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  #33  
Old Posted Jul 5, 2007, 4:44 PM
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So where are you heading next? Amsterdam? Berlin? Both are about 4 - 4.5 hours by ICE highspeed rail from Frankfurt and it costs about 100 Euros one-way. It's best to book the tickets one day in advance to make certain you'll get a seat at the time you want. Since you have a hostel next to the rail station this shouldn't be a problem.

Be prepared that most hostels are pretty full in both Berlin and Amsterdam. In Amsterdam most of them are located within one kilometer of the Centraal Station, in Berlin things are different since the new railway station is located quite a bit out of downtown, so head to Mitte or Kreuzberg for some trendy hostels.

http://www.hostelz.com/ is an excellent website if you want to book hostels or get information about them in advance.
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  #34  
Old Posted Jul 6, 2007, 9:37 AM
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I'm heading to Berlin. I was going to go this morning but realized that the first three trains already left by the time I woke up. And I don't want to get to my destination at night..

btw I have a 5 country Eurail pass if that changes the situation when it comes to trains.
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  #35  
Old Posted Jul 6, 2007, 2:34 PM
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I'm heading to Berlin. I was going to go this morning but realized that the first three trains already left by the time I woke up. And I don't want to get to my destination at night..
As I said it only takes 4-4.5 hours, so even if you take a train at noon you'll be there in the afternoon or is your Eurail pass not valid for ICE's?

Last edited by R@ptor; Jul 6, 2007 at 2:42 PM.
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  #36  
Old Posted Jul 7, 2007, 10:15 PM
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As I said it only takes 4-4.5 hours, so even if you take a train at noon you'll be there in the afternoon or is your Eurail pass not valid for ICE's?
Oh it's definently valid for ICE's. The thing is, Eurail doesn't list any trips to Berlin between its last morning departure of 9:13 to its first afternoon departure at 5pm, I believe. By taking the first afternoon departure, I'll be in Berlin by around 9 or so.

Anyways unfortuently I missed my 9.13, so I decided to take an 11am train to Amsterdam which is where I'll be up until Tuesday or so.

BTW anyone know the name of the place in the Netherlands where you can watch the planes land right over your head while hanging out at the beach?

Last edited by mthq; Jul 7, 2007 at 10:21 PM.
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  #37  
Old Posted Jul 7, 2007, 11:18 PM
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So what's your first impression of Amsterdam? Did you find a hostel?

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BTW anyone know the name of the place in the Netherlands where you can watch the planes land right over your head while hanging out at the beach?
That would be Princess Juliana on the Netherlands Antilles in the Carribean

Quote:
Originally Posted by mthq View Post
Anyways unfortuently I missed my 9.13, so I decided to take an 11am train to Amsterdam which is where I'll be up until Tuesday or so.
First you missed your plane and then twice your train in the morning...you know they sell cheap alarm clocks everywhere here, those might come in handy
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  #38  
Old Posted Jul 8, 2007, 1:24 AM
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Originally Posted by mthq View Post
Oh it's definently valid for ICE's. The thing is, Eurail doesn't list any trips to Berlin between its last morning departure of 9:13 to its first afternoon departure at 5pm, I believe. By taking the first afternoon departure, I'll be in Berlin by around 9 or so.
It seems high time that you learn how to read train schedules because Eurail, covering a vast territory on just a few tiny pages, gives but a fraction of the actual connections. In Germany (and perhaps in the Netherlands as well?) Arival schedules are white, departure schedules yellow. I bet you there's a Frankfurt - Berlin train every hour during the daytime, and the same is true for Frankfurt - Amsterdam and any number of other destinations. Just go down to the hour of the day you want to leave, read the destinations and find the one you want. They also tell you the track number from which the train leaves.
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  #39  
Old Posted Jul 8, 2007, 8:15 PM
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Thanks for the tips, Chapp, and R@ptor!

As for spotting the planes at the beach: d'oh!

As for my impressions of Amsterdam, all I knew was I had to drop my camera.. no picture of the city will do it justice. No offense to those who have posted photo threads of Amsterdam in the past, but seeing it in reality makes the images a joke. I did take some the next morning and will probably post my lame photos later when I get back home. BTW The hostel I'm at is at the beach 40 minutes from the city.. life is good.
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  #40  
Old Posted Jul 8, 2007, 9:12 PM
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BTW The hostel I'm at is at the beach 40 minutes from the city.. life is good.
Zandvoort?
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