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Too Fast?

After seeing the flim "If It's Tuesday, It Must Be Belgium", a friend wants to go to Europe for the first time but his time is limited. He came up with this itinerary. It is only a working model. He is not into museums, art or churches but wants to see "things" and take lots of photos to show people back home.

Day 1: Arrival in London. Train/tube to St. Pancras. Store luggage. Take Hop on/Hop Off (HOHO) buses to see the sites. Go to pub to, as he puts it, drink warm beer and talk British. Take last Eurostar train to Paris. Sleep in American style hotel.

Day 2: Take HOHO buses around Paris. Buy a beret. Get a Royale with Cheese at McDonalds to see if it is the same as a Quarter Pounder. Take late night train to Zurich. Sleep in American style hotel.

Day 3: Take early train to Lucern. Go to yodeling show that includes a fondue lunch. Maybe pick up a cheap watch. Late night train to Venice.

Day 4: No HOHO buses. There are no buses. Feed pigeons in St. Marks Square. Take a gondola ride. Late night train to Rome. Sleep in American style hotel. (He's skipping Florence because it's just a bunch of art.)

Day 5: Take HOHO buses around Rome. Stop at Coliseum to get a photo with a "gladiator." Lunch at restaurant serving his favorite: Spaghetti Bolognese and a glass of Chianti. (Its the only time, he says, that he will risk eating anything but American food.) Perhaps have a slice of real "italian" pizza before heading to the airport. Late night flight to Berlin. Sleep in American style hotel.

Day 6: Take HOHO buses. Get photo at checkpoint Charle. See lots of WWII and Commie stuff. Late night train or flight to Amsterdam. Sleep in an American style hotel.

Day 7: Take HOHO buses and boats around Amsterdam. Walk around Red Light district. Go to cafe where he can take a photo of people smoking "you know what." See a windmill. (He wanted to see the place where the boy put his finger in the dike. When I told his the story he changed his mind. It wasn't what he thought.) Sleep at Airport Hotel--hopefully American style.

Day 8: Fly home. He said he will sleep when he gets back to work.

He hopes we can find a way to add things to he can see more. He wants to stay in American style hotels so he can get a good, hearty, American breakfast. He's going to practice speaking English with different accents so he'll be understood.) He is going to travel light and his wardrobe will consist of T-shirts (with either a U.S. flag or logos of his favorite teams), shorts, white socks, a baseball cap and white sneakers.

He knows he can't go now and has to wait until the "experts' on this board have deemed it safe.

I suggested he might be happier just going to Epcot for a week.

Posted by
2454 posts

Haha, I think he's been watching too much Amazing Race. On the other hand, it is a challenge. And we all do crazy things as a challenge.

On the other hand, I know this is just tongue in cheek...but why not?

Posted by
2436 posts

I assume that you refer to him behind his back as "your crazy friend"? Because that's what this itinerary is. Crazy. And if my memory is correct, the person in the movie was on a group tour, which is much more efficient in its use of time because the bus drops you off everywhere. Our first trip was a tour to Rome, Florence, Venice, Lucerne, Paris in 10 days-2 more days than your friend, and 3 fewer countries. And at that time, my paradigm was one trip to Europe in my entire lifetime.

Posted by
1215 posts

If the goal is to "take lots of photos to show people back home" it looks like a good plan! :-)

Posted by
6369 posts

A "cheap" watch in Switzerland. That is a giveaway that this posting is a farce.

EVERYONE knows nothing is cheap in Switzerland

Posted by
2536 posts

Your friend will be disappointed though that things have changed in Italy and he won’t get his picture of cigarette smoking gladiators at the coliseum nor feeding flocks of pigeons in St. Mark Square. Both have been banned for several years.

Posted by
5109 posts

I guess if "seeing the sites (sic)" from the HOHO bus means seeing them from distance as some one points to it, counts, then he'll be happy. If actually getting off and seeing something, and waiting for an empty bus to get back on is what he expects, then good luck.

Posted by
8716 posts

A few things I should point out:

1) He claims he can sleep anywhere so catching some zzzz's on a train or plane is fine.

2) He's really just going to check off a bucket list.

3) He doesn't want to be "gullible" to tourist traps or being seen as a tourist.

Wray understands.

Posted by
20686 posts

Gullible is in mine. Just after Great stupidity.

Posted by
1316 posts

I wish you hadn't revealed point #3. I was going to suggest skipping the gondola ride (they only sing in Italian, so what's the point?) and getting an earlier train to Pisa so he can pose for a photo holding up the leaning tower before continuing on to Rome.

I think there are a lot more enhancements possible to this itinerary. Surely you can work out a way to shortcut through the Black Forest so he can buy a cuckoo clock.

Posted by
856 posts

The thing about putting his finger in the dike made me spit out my Frappuccino. Thanks for the laugh!

Posted by
8716 posts

Pisa and the photo......of course. Mamma Mia how can we forget that?

Posted by
3448 posts

Frank, it took me until Day 2, Buy a beret to realize this was a joke! Before that on Day 1, I said a loud, “What?!” regarding the American style hotel - LOL!

I expect to see “him” walking around wearing his money belt over his shirt, for handy access, too! Just can’t be too careful with those pickpockets he’s read about in these countries! ; )

Posted by
8716 posts

No moneybelt or unmanly bag. He told me he's carried his wallet in his back pocket all his life and he's not going to change now.

He also said he's not going to get any of that play money and just stick to "Good Ol American Dollars" as everyone wants them.

Posted by
7736 posts

Is he just taking a carry on or is he going to check a suitcase? If he’s checking he should pack some emergency MRE’s then he’s always got Amurrican food handy should the need arise.

Posted by
3449 posts

I stopped reading at Day 1. Jet-lagged by at least five hours, you would spend another hour or more to get out of the airport and an hour into the centre of the city, see something on a slow-moving bus and drink beer, then to the Tunnel station where you will stand in line for at least an hour, to arrive in Paris -- a different time zone -- for an "American" hotel, whatever that is these days. You don't need advice here; better to consult the movie Back to the Future.

Posted by
5352 posts

For good photos to impress his friends -- I would suggest getting some exotic Zoom backgrounds and posting from his living room (needs one cooperative relative or friend to take photos.) Can stay in his own comfy bed, dine with MickeyD (or splurge on American-run "foreign" restaurants) and put the saved $$$$ in the bank. Oh, sorry -- you already suggested Epcot.

Posted by
7245 posts

What, no traveler’s checks??

Thanks Frank!

Posted by
3340 posts

Kudos to your friend for:

1) Not wasting any time, and getting those things done without any delays.

2) Flying Open-Jaw. That shows he’s on top of things!

But I have to question, after being inspired by the movie, how come he’s not including Belgium in his itinerary? Or does that 8-day trip not include any Tuesdays?

Also, he should realize right now that a Quarter Pounder is not the same as a Royale, because the latter has 0.1134 kilograms of beef, not anything in pounds.

And speaking of Pounds (Sterling, in this case) whilst in London, if he gets tired of the warm beer, he should take heart in knowing that cold Coors Light is now ubiquitous in pubs in the British Isles! A Silver Bullet awaits.

Posted by
1481 posts

hey hey frank
get on the bus gus, make a new plan stan, slip out the back jack, don't be coy roy, why don't you come with me on a magic carpet ride. is motel 6 on the agenda?
thanks for the giggle frank
aloha

Posted by
3340 posts

Oh, is that baseball cap going to worn with the brim pointing out front, or backwards? Hopefully not sideways!

Posted by
8716 posts

I suggested he read "Europe through the Back Door" but he said if he wasn't going to carry a bag he certainly wasn't looking for any back doors.

Posted by
1235 posts

I hope he remembers to bring enough nylons to barter with the ladies there in London.

Posted by
31030 posts

"This is a joke .... Right?"

That was my first thought. I was exhausted after reading this proposed Itinerary. If it's not a joke, it's going to be difficult to accomplish.

Posted by
8716 posts

He's not bringing nylons but he is bringing chocolate. He figures there's no good chocolate in Europe so he'll bring them Hershey's.

He did ask if there were any Olive Gardens in Italy. I told him no. He's thinking of canceling the trip.

With all the planning he has to do, he's now thinking of taking a tour. He's looking for one that has ten countries in ten days. I'm sure they're available.

Posted by
3340 posts

Frank II, please remind your friend that it’ll be difficult to rent a Chevrolet Suburban or a Ford F-150 pickup to drive on his short vacation. Even if he finds one to drive, parking space will be a challenge.

And Italy still has both meatballs and pasta, even if no Olive Garden franchise, although maybe not simultaneously. He should stick with the original plan, move forward and not look back(door).

Posted by
1089 posts

Will he be carrying an annoying selfie stick, or handing his expensive camera to strangers?

Posted by
9447 posts

Happy to see he is taking public transportation!

I am thinking about the 10 day, 7 country coach tour with Expat tours linked above. Great way to get back in travel mode after this year. Make up for lost time!

Posted by
4059 posts

Frank II, thanks for the laughs. I needed this today.

Posted by
667 posts

In order to make this itenerary complete he needs to make a side trip to Ireland to kiss the Blarney stone!

Posted by
3340 posts

It occurred to me that although he’s taking American dollars - “real” money, he might want to take a real credit card, just in case he has to get cash out of an ATM. And he can use the card to ring up all his transactions in actual dollars - win/win for him and merchants!

Posted by
2436 posts

Cyn, you get my vote for the most intelligent idea.

Posted by
218 posts

If your friend REALLY wants to save time, why not just spend a day watching RS Travel DVD's? He could still wear his travel wardrobe, eat an American breakfast, plus schedule UberEats to deliver lunch from McDonald's and dinner from Olive Garden! All from the comfort of his American-style bed:). Yes, photos will be a little more challenging--but with a little tech saavy I'm sure a few online shots and photo shop could work. Even cheaper than a trip to Epcot--and he won't have wait for any safe travel advisories from the RS "experts".

I echo Jane's thanks for a much-needed laugh!

Posted by
8716 posts

Photoshop? He's out today trying to find film for his Instamatic.

I suggested he watch some Rick Steves video. I think he started to watch one, proclaimed "all this guy talks about is art and churches" and switched to Anthony Bourdain. "At least this guy shows you where to drink and doesn't waste time on museums and things." Although he did mention that when it comes to eating Bourdain was too much of a daredevil for him.He likes his meat and potatoes hold the veg.

He did consider going to Ireland but thought that's the same as England and he could skip it. And anyway, if he wanted to get drunk with the Irish he could just go to Boston. Or New York. Or just about anywhere in America.

He asked me if he should bring his gun since he's been reading about the increase in crime in some of the cities. I told him the increase was in America and he wouldn't need it in Europe.

Posted by
215 posts

I'd like to believe this is a spoof post, but it almost certainly isn't.

A long time friend from when I lived outside the country, came to visit me in the UK. He was really exited about coming to Europe.
On day 2, we set off for London, and it became quickly apparent that he actually had no interest in the city itself, but the photo opportunities. He took shots, and had me take pictures of him next to a red phone box, a double decker bus, outside the tower of London, Buckingam Palace, St Pauls, Big Ben erc. He had no interest in visiting any of the buildings, going inside or even spending a few minutes looking at the exteriors - he wanted to get there, snap, snap, snap, and move on.

He did a 13 countries in 17 days bus tour, and came back with albums full of photographs, went home and then said he had done Europe but it was boring.

Posted by
389 posts

This reminds me of a trip my dad took with his senior citizens group. It was something like 12 cities in 14 days. My dad travelled extensively through Europe and Asia for work, Paris and London in particular. When the group got to the Eiffel Tower he stayed on the bus and napped.

Posted by
492 posts

I shouldn’t say this...but....I’m seriously worried about the mental health of those who didn’t enjoy the original post as a bit of light escape (OP- damn good job) comedy and took it as “serious” for more then about 5-10 seconds.

Posted by
3340 posts

cala, thank you! Money talks.

And Frank Ii, since your friend is planning on talking British in England, make sure he knows to tell them that they have a “fine” country. It’ll make a big impression on all the Brits he meets!

Posted by
362 posts

I hate to tell you folks but some people do travel like this. Get out take photo move on..

And not everyone is interested in the same things.

I for example enjoy a drive through the countryside. I grew up driving around the US with my folks. So I like to drive around and see the off the better trail areas I don’t necessarily need to stop (but will if I find something worth stopping to see).

I have driven along the cost for France from Monaco to St Tropez, stoping in over looks and paris. Waded in the sea at Canes picked up some food (picnic style) in some little town. Stopping in a park to look at some islands and eat lunch then continue on until a nice view stop. It was a very enjoyable day. The drive itself was a blast in a little stick shift BMW and the views and smells and sounds were to die for.

I did something similar driving between Chateau s outside Tours. And in the countryside going to visit my father cousins in Germany.

Sometimes you want to site and enjoy something for hours (the view of the Eiffel Tower of a nice castle or waterfall of something . Sometimes you just want to “see it” and move on.

Sometimes these things surprise you. I had NO interest in seeing Stonehenge but my dad wanted to so off we went. It was to my surprise a truly moving time contemplating how old these were and how much work folks put in to build them.
Then we had a fill in with the Big Rhine Falls in Switzerland. We used it to fill in between two other things we had planned for the day. AnD we dropped our afternoon plan and stayed at the talks and took a nice boat ride and got something to eat and what have you.

I have a friend I could NEVER travel with. He spends hours in Paris inside in museums and tones of time in fancy restaurants eating. Me I go into the museum glance around see what catches my eye and go back out to enjoy the pretty city and the people and culture, I would rather sit in a street cafe with a relatively inexpensive lunch or dinner a nice view ((Ideally of a big church or famous building) and people watch and just absorb the atmosphere. A table overlooking the cathedral in Koln. Or a table across the street from Norte Damn (before the fire). Or a street side table in a sq in Avignon or dinner and desert on my balcony Looking up at Neu Schwanstein.

On the other hand while the Buckingham Palace tour was stunning. When we got to all the artwork. I traveled past most of that at a steady walk. Stopping only once or twice to look at art but a few times to look at the building. Then it was outside and a desert at the little cafe shop they had set up then a stroll through the park on the way out sitting on a few benches to enjoy the view. A number of folks that started with us and whom we left behind looking at art were well and truly gone before we left the park gate.

It just depends on what you are interested in.
And don’t forget the future value. It is fun when someone shows a place on tv or in a movies or something that you have been to. It make the Movie more “real” for you because you have been there. And for folks with very limited time this maybe all they can get. And while I would spend all day on or looking at the Eiffel Tower I would take 10 minutes tomorrow if that is all I could get...
But to each there own.

Posted by
1220 posts

Whilst I accept the original post was an attempt at being humorous, the basic approach outlined isn't that ridiculous. The friend's mistake was trying to do this by public transport, instead of by coach tour. After all, RS corporation has a trip of 13 nights that covers five countries, seven cities and "at least 23 group sightseeing events". So there is clearly still demand for the take a photo and tick it off type of travel. And, why not? The taster menu approach works for some other industries, and can for tourism too.

Posted by
362 posts

Actually if I had the money... I would consider a blitz around Europe. I can probably put together a number of places I would like to see but don’t think need a LOT of time.
So instead of fitting them into a more traditional trip just stick them all together and make a run for it.

Posted by
3340 posts

So when’s he heading out on this trip, Frank II - next week, or the week after?

Let him know that airports can sometimes be crowded, but probably if he just coughs a lot, people will get out of his way, which might just get him up to the front of the line, minimizing any delays. It sounds like he doesn’t have any time to waste. Hope his trip goes well, just as he must be expecting!

Posted by
3340 posts

You know, I just re-read the original message:

Lunch at restaurant serving his favorite: Spaghetti Bolognese and a glass of Chianti. (Its the only time, he says, that he will risk eating anything but American food.)

Isn’t Bolognese just one of the styles of American Spaghetti, and Chianti just one flavor of wine? Aren’t those really both American already? No risk for him after all - he’s eating just like at home! Hope he can find unlimited breadsticks!

Posted by
148 posts

We see people doing a trip similar to that all the time here in the American West (yes, I'm in Colorado for the summer). They have a check list of national parks they want to go to, so they stop at the entry sign to take a selfie, drive to an overlook or two for some more selfies, then leave. They can "hit" all the five major parks in Utah in just a few days! And they have the pictures to prove it!

Posted by
4059 posts

Nick, an attempt at bein humorous? I laughed out loud several times the first time I read it. At our local travel group meeting Saturday I recommended the post, and cell phones appeared! Everyone there enjoyed it immensely.

Talking about people going places just to take photos:

My two most (least?) favorite experiences were both in Rome. At the Borghese Gallery (which I considered nearly hallowed ground) the last time we were there: There was a lovely young woman who would push to the front of the crowd, stand in front of the sculpture or painting, then pose and smile while someone took her picture. She never even looked at the art!

The other experience was at St Peter's. I am an observant Catholic, so this really was hallowed ground for me. Mass was being said in one of the side chapels, and since I arrived late I stood respectfully behind the rail, not joining the people in the seats. A woman came up, literally shoved me aside, and posed for her companion to take her photograph with the priest and altar in the background.

My sweet husband was outraged, and I thought he was going to confront her. Luckily, I grabbed him and indicated the ongoing Mass, and he stopped, but we're both still flabbergasted

Posted by
3340 posts

The friend can actually move faster by literally hopping on and off the HOHO buses. Just jump! Those steps just impede progress. Just make sure slower tourists don’t get in the way - they’re probably staying in the city overnight anyway, so they can likely do the bus again the next day, but time’s-a-wastin’ for speedy travelers. Next stop?