My husband and I will be following the Springsteen tour for two weeks in July. It will be my first trip to Europe, there are so many questions. Most importantly, our itinerary. We will be going from Geneva to monchengladbach, to Leipzig, to Rome to werchter Belgium. Wow, still not even sure where these all are. My husband thinks it is best to rent a car and drive the whole time. Seems like way too much driving to me. Any suggestions for the best choice for travel on the route?
The biggest problem with driving is that if you rent a car in one country and drop it in another, there is a large fee ($500 or more). Then there's gas, tolls, and parking (all potentially much higher than you're used to in the US). Then, there's any tickets you get for entering forbidden parts of cities in Italy (look up ZTL's and understand them thoroughly if you plan to drive in Italy), or being caught by speed cameras. This is a two step, two fee process: the rental company will charge you for providing your information to the ticket-issuing authority, and you then get the ticket itself, months after your trip (and these tickets aren't cheap). All that said, driving is certainly one way to do it if you're properly prepared. Look at http://www.viamichelin.com/ to plan routes and estimate costs. Another way is by train. Look at this link to learn how the use the Bahn website to find train schedules: http://www.ricksteves.com/plan/tips/db_tips.htm. Bahn will not have prices for trains outside of Germany. For trains from Geneva, use http://www.sbb.ch/home.html; at the top middle of the page, choose "en" to change it to English. If you need train prices within Italy, use http://www.trenitalia.com/; use British flag on upper right to change to English. For Rome to Belgium, you may want to fly. Look at http://www.skyscanner.com/ to find flights within Europe.
Monchengladbach is about 10 miles west of Dusseldorf, Werchter is about 10 mile northeast of Brussels airport. The 2 are about 80 miles from each other. So flying in and out of Brussels or Dusseldorf seems like a good plan. Getting to Leipzig from Monchengladbach via train is pretty easy. Leipzig to Rome is a hike, but you have 3 full days, so maybe check out Munich or Florence on the way to Rome. RyanAir has cheap flights to Brussels from Rome, but they use secondary airports, not the main airports, so keep that in mind, and they charge for anything extra they can including $75 to print your boarding pass at the airport (you need to print them at your hotel). Surprisingly, some people posted last week on the Helpline who are flying from South Africa to Paris for the concert there.
Can I tag along?
The Rome venue is the Ippodromo delle Capanelle and is right next to Ciampino Airport where RyanAir flies from.