With the help of Rick's books and DVDs and many of you offered advice and support I have taken my wife and her mother (90 in September) on three very successful two-week trips to Europe, all in September, and on each trip there are things that I either wanted to do or places to see that I did not, mainly because of my planning or their lack of excitement to join me, and each time I promised myself a solo trip back to those places to do them. The trips were (2007) into Rome and out of Paris with Florence and the CT in between, (2012) Scotland and England and 2013 Normandy and Provence. Because my MIL said France was her last trip because of her age I started planning my 3-4 week solo trip for this September, using as a road map the itinerary for his Best of Europe trip which would start in Amsterdam and go through Germany and Italy before ending in Paris, thus giving me new and old places to see on my own. Yesterday my MIL called to say she wanted to take me up on the original offer to go back to Europe this year, so now it seems that of the amount of time I allotted 10 days of it will not be alone. I love taking them, but now I'm having some difficulty deciding where to go alone and with them. I would appreciate your thoughts and suggestions about Northern Europe..... trains, cars. sights, time between sights or cities, etc. Fortunately I am retired and money is not an issue. Thank you.
This is based on traveling the last two years with my parents, one of whom is now walking slowly and having trouble with stairs. We definitely took our time, planning only one main morning destination, to allow the possibility of an afternoon siesta. We did enquire about elevators and stairs when booking hotels. Everyone packed light, so that I could handle others' bags, if necessary.
We chose big cities that were connected by direct trains and those train rides worked out fine. We chose advance-discount tickets for a few longer rides and also bought one on the spot for a shorter trip. Boarding the train takes a few steps up, but then we were settled in our reserved seats for the duration.
Using buses and subways within cities often required more standing, walking, and waiting than we hoped, even with a concerted effort to locate elevators. I pushed for taxis, which can often cost about 10 euros for a ride between city sightseeing. Many purpose-built museums have easily accessible elevators, but in older buildings (e.g., the old university museums in Bologna), we had to request access to the elevator and it was often on the other side of the building.
If we were selecting towns further off the beaten path, or with train connections required, then I would have rented a car. Of course, some hill towns will still require you to park the car outside the historic central area.
Hopefully, your MIL will have some priorities for what she wants to see, too, to be invested in the plan.
Thank you Laura
You have given me lots to consider, especially about traveling with a person who may not have the stamina to stand for long periods of time. On our last trip of two weeks divided equally between Normandy and Provence we had a car for 12 days of it and saw much more than in previous trips where we relied more on public transportation.