After about 2-3 weeks of on and off reading and planning I've finally arrived at what I think will be a survivable itinerary for us in Europe for 29.5 usable days. I've left out the detailed itinerary for each stop since, if you're reading this post, you probably know what there is to see and do at each stop;)
-Aug. 30: Arrive Paris 8 AM, 4 nights, 4.5 days
-Night train Chamonix
-Chamonix: 2 nights, 1.5 days
-Berner Oberland: 3 nights, 2 days
-Rothenburg ob der Tauber: 2 nights, 1 day
-Bacharach (and Rhine): 3 nights, 2.5 days
-Night train to Dresden
-Dresden: 2 nights, 2.3 days
-Prague: 2 nights, 2 days
-Night train to Chur
-Bernina Express to Tirano then on to Venice (including the night train, 25 hour train marathon…)
-Venice: 3 nights, 2 days
-Cinque Terre (Vernazza): 2 nights, 1 day
-Pisa: A few hours on the way to Rome
-Rome: 4 nights, 3 days, depart FCO morning of 4th day
I've verified (but not booked) all of the rail connections. There is one connection that I wish I could streamline, though. The Chamonix to Berner Oberland rail connection via Martigny appears to be unavailable beginning Sept. 6th so instead of 3.75 hours journey it's about 6 hrs (Via Geneva).
Does anyone know of a website where I can find bus schedules between Chamonix and Martigny? If we can get to Martigny on a morning bus then we might be able to shave off 2.5 hours to Berner Oberland by bussing to Martigny then transferring to a train from there.
It's a busy schedule but managed to avoid any 1-night stands. Within the next few days (assuming you all don't totally shred my plan;) I'll contact Euraide.com and see about getting the necessary sleeper car reservations made (as well as any other reservations they might suggest). Should I wait until I've gotten the rail passes and reservations completed before I begin booking hotels or wait?