The theme: Adventure

Shoe update: new blue shoes successfully purchased, as of two days ago.

Travel itinerary update: complete, as of five minutes ago and a record of two weeks to put together. To note: while I recognize that the list is by far preliminary and composed of fantasy ideas of seeing Europe in its entirety, I should mention the plan disregards the minor (major) monetary component that naturally attaches to any travel plan. But said money issue is a bridge to be crossed later. For now, the travel itinerary consists of all—and the plan is to sort out exactly where to go, what to see and precisely how to experience all that awaits for the next six months ahead.

Grandiose ideas for a backpacker's adventure abroad in Europe
(countries: in order of what sounds most appealing, cities: in no specific order at all):

(City name followed by travel time from Paris)

  • -       Tours: train, 1 ½
  • -       Lyon and the Alps: train, 2 hrs
  • -       Bordeaux: wine capital of the world, train: 3 hrs 
  • -       Toulouse: Known as la Ville Rose (“the pink city”), bus: train: 6 ½- 7 ½ hours)
  • -       Marseille: 3 hr train, quite pricey: 105 euros
  • -       Avignon: My childhood was spent singing a song about the bridge over Avignon. About time I face the childhood years and find the Pont d’Avignon—the bridge to nowhere train: 3 hrs
  • -       Versailles: Bringing 12th grade Art History lessens to the life. And to quote travel book bible: "When you've got a big- ass house, you need a big- ass garden to go with it." train, 30 min
  • -       Chartres: train, 2hrs, 30 euros
  • -       Nice: plane, train, 5 hrs, 94 euros
  • -       Saint- Tropez: the city is far from a train line, so it’s suggested to take a train line into Saint- Raphael and hop on board the ferry or bus to get to Saint- Tropez.


  • -       Athens: The choice goes without saying.
  • -       Santorini: Aside from the fact that Santorini has forever been the site of my future honeymoon, in addition to being the setting for Mamma Mia and The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, the island itself is a splendor of whites and blues—absolutely breathtaking.
  • -       Mykonos: My parents have always raved about Mykonos, although Let’s Go bible makes Mykonos seem to be the go to for tourist- in- search- of- Greek- beach- getaway. Which sounds enticing, but Santorini could possibly be the same?  


  • -       Florence
  • -       Rome: getting there, plane: faster, train: could potentially be cheaper?
  • -       Milan
  • -       Venice: Transportation within the city is a nil, yet traghettos appear to be the college student budget alternative to the pricey gondola.
  • -       Pisa


  • -       Barcelona
  • -       Madrid

No reason not to return to my birthplace given my family lives there, aka free housing, warm meal, lots of Jewish family loving.

  • -       Liverpool: Heart of culture, university town and home to the Beatles.

  • -       The 2012 Olympics: According to the travel bible, taking a part in the 2012 Olympic games is indeed possible without actually purchasing a ticket. (Reference for updated info:
  • -       The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee: June 5: The Queen’s 60th year as queen of Great Britain.
  • -       The Queen’s Birthday: June 9


  • -       Amsterdam
  • -       Rotterdam

Not a must see for this trip, but wouldn’t be opposed to an addition to the adventure if possible:
Austria (Going all Sound of Music for this one).

  • -       Vienna: home to the classical G-d’s of history’s past: Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert.


  • -       Istanbul: The prospect of viewing the Hagia Sophia in person sounds thrilling.
As it appears, the plan is to explore the majority of France and Italy, a definite must to go to Greece and hopeful side trips to Spain, London and the Netherlands, with potential stop offs in Austria and Turkey. Doable? No adventure takes hold without a firm yes. So yes, absolutely doable.
Travel ideas: set. Getting around: TBD.

Budget airlines work for small- scale travel:

International bus passes allow for unlimited travel on hop- on/ off basis throughout Europe:

Train travel:

Travel comparison sites:

Good websites to have:

And for reference, countries that accept the Euro:

  • -      Austria
  • -       Belgium
  • -       Cyprus
  • -       Finland
  • -       France
  • -       Germany
  • -       Greece
  • -       Ireland
  • -       Italy
  • -       Luxembourg
  • -       Malta
  • -       The Netherlands
  • -       Portugal
  • -       Slovakia
  • -       Slovenia
  • -       Spain
(Quote from the travel bible:) 
“The unifying theme of this guide is adventure. Not geography, not signs, not history.”

And so four days to go. Four days, until the new blue shoes and I board the flight headed across the Atlantic into a culture so fresh, a lifestyle so new, a semester of study so different. Four days until the experience of my semester can take root, the memories of my six months forward can begin their reel, the discoveries ahead can officially take hold.

Four days until the adventure truly begins. 

1 Response to The theme: Adventure

January 31, 2012 at 8:45 PM

Hi Emma! I'm so excited to creep on your blog again yet sad I'm not sharing the adventure with you this time. Ahhh you're going to have so much fun!!!!! and go to Santorini if you can, that's my recommendation off this list =)

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