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Where to go after Vienna

I will be taking the RS Germany/Switzerland/Austria tour. I will be flying into Amsterdam pre-tour for a couple days before joining the tour. The tour ends in Vienna. I would like to spend a few days after the tour (on my own) and see some other cities or another city. My travel agent says the plane returning home would leave from Amsterdam or Paris. Would anyone have a suggestion about where I should go after Vienna? Should I go to Berlin and then back home through Amsterdam (the tour does not hit Berlin). Or should I go back to Brussels/Bruges and back through Amsterdam? I will be traveling on my own and this will be my first trip to Europe so I am intimidated by Paris. I am an artist who wants to sketch as I travel. As a single female first time European tourist I am concerned with safety. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated. Danke!

Posted by
10344 posts

Your travel agent says the plane returning home could be through Paris. You're an artist and want to sketch, so I would recommend Paris. You'll love Paris, some people would say it's one of the most beautiful and romantic city in the world. And very sketchable. You could order the hard copy of "Paris Sketchbook" (paintings by Fabrice Moireau and text by Mary Kelly) and you'll see why I recommend Paris for an artist who wants to sketch as she travels.
Paris is not intimidating, especially if you spend a few hours learning the "politeness phrases" in French. Just don't try to begin a conversation bulldozing your way through in English. That works almost everywhere, except in Paris. Paris is worth the extra trouble, especially for a artist looking to sketch as she travels.

Posted by
333 posts

I don't have any suggestions for your trip other than to have a great time! Any cities you choose will be great! I've not yet been to G/A/S so I can't recommend (yet). I've been to Amsterdam and Paris and they're lovely. As to safety, you'll be as safe as anywhere else. Since youre a single female follow all your basic safety precautions you'd use in any city. Keep your wits about you, be aware, try to know your destination and how to get there. Keep valuables in your hotel and your money and important documents in a moneybelt, safe purse (whatever your safetly item of choice) and if it looks, feels, sounds, too good to be true or suspicious, turn around and avoid! Paris has a ton to offer, so don't let your fears deter you from seeing the city. You'll be fine!

My daughter and I spent three weeks in Europe a few years ago and had a great time. I'll be going back this year as a single woman myself- for 5 weeks, 3 of them on the BOE 21 Day Tour. I have my pre/post tour days pre-planned (as much as is reasonable) so I'm not be-bopping around looking lost and dazed. I also am a pacsafe product fan and bought a crossover body purse that I'm confidant will keep my passport, CC's and money safe and secure as I go out and explore.

Happy Travels!
Lisa

Posted by
16866 posts

I can think of no safety distinctions to be made between these various cities. I have felt comfortable traveling alone in each of them. You will definitely learn some tricks and feel more comfortable in Europe by the end of your tour. Before you go, review the two articles about solo travel at http://www.ricksteves.com/travel-tips/trip-planning.

Paris may be big, but lots of sightseeing is walkable, metro/subway maps are easy to read, and taxis are fairly affordable; the taxis I've taken back to my hotel after the metro has closed cost less than 10 euros each. One thing I like about Rick's guidebooks is that they are personable to read in advance (not so much like reading a phone directory), and that advance planning will make you feel more prepared and comfortable.

Posted by
3106 posts

Paris , Paris , Paris , Paris and , if not , PARIS !! My parents , now long gone , used to tell me not to die before I'd seen Paris . I can never get enough of Paris and am only sorry I never had the chance until I hit my sixties . Intimidating ? Only the sheer amount of beauty there . Listen to this , perhaps it will have an effect ! http://youtu.be/qzKDEFNiTUQ

Posted by
2081 posts

Laurie,

everyone starts at 0.

what i can tell you from my experience, so far, is that i got the willies the first time i soloed. And i still do, but not as much. Every time i go back, the willies are there but every day i spend over there, they diminish. Every new place i go, they return and then fade. But for me, its like an old feeling that comes back to say "hi - guess what? youre in a new place".

Since you describe yourself as an "artist" then i dont see how you could NOT go to Paris. I dont know why Paris would be more intimidating than any other place. To me, since i have an art/architecture background, you couldnt keep me away from it and it was one of the several stops on my first solo trip. To me, the cool/fun factor outweighed the "intimidation" even though i didnt feel like that before or after.

If you bother to search for "safety and females" on here, you will find many of the same reoccurring themes, and many of the same answers.

If you have any common sense and are aware of your surroundings at home or whereever you go, you should do fine. If you care to, pickup a copy of Ricks books "Europe through the back door" and readup on the various scams and such. I found it interesting and text book examples and was thinking - is it life imitating art or art imitating life? So, just dont leave your room without your brain or whatever you keep you common sense in and smarts and go for it.

happy trails.

Posted by
20 posts

I have been to Amsterdam and Paris and I agree with the crowd...DON'T MISS PARIS!! You do need to learn a few phrases and understand that what is considered polite in France may not be the same here. For example, when eating in a restaurant, you are left alone by the waiter. You need to ask for the bill, by saying "L'addition, s'il vous plait." Also, you should never put your bread on your plate, but on the table. When you put your bread on your plate, you are intimating that the table cloth is dirty! When you go into a shop, you should always greet the person there by saying "Bon Jour, Monsieur (or Madame). Parlez-vous Anglais?" When you make the effort, they will respond.

I have heard for years that the French are rude but that has never been my experience! Rick's book on Paris can be an enormous help! I am going again in September and can't wait!!

Paris is absolutely the most beautiful city in the world!

Posted by
1829 posts

Have you given Linz any thought. There are not so many tourists and the cake is good.

Posted by
17 posts

I am sensitive to your intimidation of Paris, but I believe when you are there you will find it is unwarranted (Assuming you are wise in when/where you place yourself and keep your eyes open, which is a good idea at all times.) I adore, love, long for Paris and felt comfortable going all over the city (and country) with my teenage daughters. We found the people delightful. The metro machines have English available and are uber easy. We did not have a phone w/data while there and USED a map of the city we downloaded to our phone at home and marked with the places we wanted to see/eat. This was FABULOUSLY helpful and gives you an additional layer of self-reliance. It is helpful (to me at least) to have an idea of the layout of the city prior to departure. (I think Ulmon Paris, is the app. we used.) I wholeheartedly vote for Paris, now don't miss croissants au beurre!! It is indeed true, "Paris is always a good idea." How many days will you have there? Best of luck.

Posted by
6059 posts

Laurie, why does your return flight have to be from Amsterdam or Paris?

Posted by
3830 posts

Hi Laurie,

You are going to have a wonderful time in Europe!

I'm not sure why you're using a travel agent to purchase a plane ticket. Search on Expedia or any similar site, and you can see that there's a lot of options that you can book yourself. There is no requirement to fly from Amsterdam or Paris, unless you have limited yourself to a non-stop flight, for instance. I love Paris, but going to Paris (or similar) will eat up a day of your last remaining days if you're traveling by plane (by train is 12 hours!). I would recommend staying local to the Vienna area to maximize your time, and just fly home from Vienna. I've been on the G/A/S tour, and you'll barely scratch the surface of all that Vienna offers. And, you could include a quick train (1 hr) to Melk for a nice day trip from Vienna. The Melk area has the option of taking a boat to the next towns with some great sketching opportunities. Google "Melk", and you'll see photos of the beautiful abbey. Staying for a couple more days would give you the confidence & ability to enjoy the familiar territory at a relaxed pace after your RS tour.

If you do decide on Paris, pick up the Pocket-size RS Paris book - lots of good info, and the map is a better size for carrying.

Posted by
12400 posts

Hi,

Both Paris and Berlin are top spots to see after ending with Vienna. I know both very well, absolutely no problems in deciding for either one. Basically, it's a tough call. I can come up with salient arguments for both places as a time first visit. It's matter of priorities as to what you desire to see in each of the cities. As a first time visitor, going to both, spending a week in both would be ideal.

No need to be intimidated by Paris. Stay alert, use common sense, know that when scammers accost you, they are who you suspect they are. There have been times I've been caught unawares, off guard by scammers. After the initial surprise, you'll have a pat answer to rebuff scammer period.

In Paris as an artist you'll have numerous choices on what to sketch. That holds true for Berlin but they are more esoteric. For the purpose of pursuing the artist in you, I suggest Paris, even though logistically going to Berlin is more straight forward, easier from Vienna.