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PostPosted: Sun Apr 10, 2016 4:25 pm 
Sanno
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Viktor77 wrote:
I'm still going to try to go to Germany so that's a yay.

Also this will only work if I find a cheap flight, but has anyone here visited Moldova and have any recommendations? It seems like a place we could travel to once my partner has his papers and save a ton of money since it seems to be pretty cheap. Either Moldova or Ukraine. I think these are the cheapest countries in Europe.


Well, they're both engaged in civil wars, and Ukraine in particular has suffered from a large number of terrorist bombings (though this may have settled down a bit now?). But there's more of Ukraine that's a long way from the fighting, and many areas of Ukraine have long and storied histories, whereas Moldova is the postcommunist shithole that Romanians look down on, historically defined as the land that neither the Ottomans, the Romanians, nor the Ukrainians wanted to bother having [sorry, Moldovans!]

Moldova bloody well better be cheap. The IMF ranks its GDP per capita at 138 out of 184... it is only half as rich as East Timor... not that Ukraine is much better...

I guess it has a few notable Soviet buildings, though. And to be fair to Chisinau's history, it has been around since the middle ages. It's just that nothing ever happened there, other than the occasional massacre, and it was mostly rebuilt from scratch after WWII.


If I had to go on holiday to either country, I might be most interested by far western Ukraine. Lviv is a historical and cultural city; or there's the pretty little towns and attractive mountains/forests/lakes of the Carpathians. Chernivtsi has some beautiful architecture, and is a small city with some nice countryside nearby. Kamianets-Podilskyi is apparently also a big tourist centre, with lots of old buildings, some parks, a river and a number of festivals.

But of course, Kiev itself is one of the great cities of Europe, with plenty of history and architecture.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 10, 2016 6:10 pm 
Sumerul
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Salmoneus wrote:
Well, they're both engaged in civil wars, and Ukraine in particular has suffered from a large number of terrorist bombings (though this may have settled down a bit now?). But there's more of Ukraine that's a long way from the fighting, and many areas of Ukraine have long and storied histories, whereas Moldova is the postcommunist shithole that Romanians look down on, historically defined as the land that neither the Ottomans, the Romanians, nor the Ukrainians wanted to bother having [sorry, Moldovans!]

Moldova bloody well better be cheap. The IMF ranks its GDP per capita at 138 out of 184... it is only half as rich as East Timor... not that Ukraine is much better...

I guess it has a few notable Soviet buildings, though. And to be fair to Chisinau's history, it has been around since the middle ages. It's just that nothing ever happened there, other than the occasional massacre, and it was mostly rebuilt from scratch after WWII.


If I had to go on holiday to either country, I might be most interested by far western Ukraine. Lviv is a historical and cultural city; or there's the pretty little towns and attractive mountains/forests/lakes of the Carpathians. Chernivtsi has some beautiful architecture, and is a small city with some nice countryside nearby. Kamianets-Podilskyi is apparently also a big tourist centre, with lots of old buildings, some parks, a river and a number of festivals.

But of course, Kiev itself is one of the great cities of Europe, with plenty of history and architecture.


Yea the more I research Moldova the more I understand why so few people visit Moldova, except perhaps for the novelty of it. While Ukraine, despite all of its troubles, seems like a lovely and beautiful place, especially Lviv and Kiev, even if there are negative aspects from life under Empires, war, Communism, and then constant corruption ever since. I'm considering going there if possible. My friend has a dacha in Crimea that'd be neat to visit if they go there before I leave Europe but for that I'd need a visa now whereas the rest of Ukraine is visa-free for Americans.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 14, 2016 1:27 am 
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vampireshark wrote:
Speaking of Brazil, though, does anyone have any tips? I might be going to a wedding near Curitiba, so I think that means I'll want to arrive into Brazil in São Paulo, but, beyond that, I don't know.


Like Zompist, I was not very impressed by São Paulo. It's interesring for its sheer size and cosmopolitan character (you will not find this anywhere else in Brazil).

Rio is simply amazing. Make sure to visit the Floresta da Tijuca. The Museu Histórico Nacional is quite good too, and very modern.

Curitiba I found a bit bland. There is a spectacular island nearby though, called Ilha do Mel. It's tiny and car free. Getting there is a bit tough, but includes a spectacular train ride (the only passenger line in Brazil, if I'm not mistaken).

Florianópolis is also quite nice.


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PostPosted: Sun May 01, 2016 2:28 pm 
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Does anyone have advice on how one could get from Belgium to Stockholm and back? Ridesharing might work but it's a long distance. I can't seem to get prices on trains and trains take ages, like 1 day. And we can't fly. So I don't know how to get there. :(

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PostPosted: Sun May 01, 2016 4:04 pm 
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Viktor77 wrote:
Does anyone have advice on how one could get from Belgium to Stockholm and back? Ridesharing might work but it's a long distance. I can't seem to get prices on trains and trains take ages, like 1 day. And we can't fly. So I don't know how to get there. :(

The issue is that your best non-flying bet probably will be by train, despite how long it would take to get there. You could get an Interrail or a Eurail pass; the Interrail might be the better bet. A 5 within 15-day Global pass is about €200 for under-26 and €264 for 26+.

Another option might be to rent a car: you can use a US license for a max. of 1 year in Belgium (and Europe in general), and, between two people, that could be cheaper than the train, but the tolls in Denmark alone can be sky-high, gas isn't cheap either, and good luck finding an automatic transmission rental car. It actually would likely take about 17 hours by car, compared to 22 by train.

Unfortunately, you're booking VERY close to the date in question, so arranging things could be quite tricky...

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PostPosted: Sun May 01, 2016 4:16 pm 
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Viktor77 wrote:
Does anyone have advice on how one could get from Belgium to Stockholm and back? Ridesharing might work but it's a long distance. I can't seem to get prices on trains and trains take ages, like 1 day. And we can't fly. So I don't know how to get there. :(


...if you can't fly, then you'll have to go by car, train, bus, and/or boat. And trains are obviously the fastest of those, so if you want to avoid "taking ages" it's presumably the best option.

There is a ferry from Ghent to Gothenburg. It costs 209 euros each, and takes 32 hours each way.

Googling it for you, apparently the recommended route is to take the train from Brussels to Hamburg (changing in Cologne), stay overnight in Hamburg, and then get the train to Stockholm from there. Hamburg-Stockholm is meant to cost 39 euros, apparently, but a quick look at deutschebahn suggests it actually costs 79 euros. It may be that different times of the day or different weeks of the year have different prices, and you may be able to get a discount of some sort for there being two of you, and of course for it being a return trip, etc. The second leg takes about 12 hours. The first leg I'm not sure about, DB aren't letting me pretend to book it for some reason - you may have to turn up in person. Apparently that too is 39 euros, but of course that could be wrong too. And of course you may want to look at the SNCB and whatever the Danish and Swedish equivalents of DB are. Looking at the SNCB, they suggest the cheapest from Brussels-Midi to Hamburg is 79 euros, but it depends a lot on when you go exactly, and that's not including any advance booking reduction I don't think. You can get that down to 60 or 50-something euros if you're willing to go late in the evening and bugger about with additional connexions, and maybe go from brussels-nord in one case.
So yeah, it'll probably take you two days. But if you go early one day, you can get basically a whole afternoon/evening in Hamburg. Or maybe you'd be able to go straight from Hamburg at that time and just sleep on the train instead. But frankly I can't be arsed to find this out for you, because my Google is no more magical than yours.

Anyway, apparently it takes about 18 hours to drive, but of course in reality you'd probably want to stop for a snack somewhere in that journey, and the petrol costs looks like they may be greater than the train fare.



This is a whole continent, you know. It's difficult to move around continents if you aren't willing to use aeroplanes.

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PostPosted: Mon May 02, 2016 3:35 am 
Avisaru
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Salmoneus wrote:
Anyway, apparently it takes about 18 hours to drive, but of course in reality you'd probably want to stop for a snack somewhere in that journey, and the petrol costs looks like they may be greater than the train fare.

In my research, once you have two people travelling (rather than just one, and, here, it's Viktor and his husband), then the cost for driving might be marginally cheaper than trains, especially for high-speed trains and tickets booked not long before departure. That said, if he has issues with manual transmission vehicles... also, there are a number of tolls in Denmark, and they aren't small little tolls (the Öresund, for example, costs about €35 to cross!).

Germany's not as bad (though not to say they're much better) than France in terms of pricing for tickets: you can normally buy the cheaper Sparpreis tickets as few as three days in advance of travel. But, still, you're not giving yourself too much time to book things...

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PostPosted: Mon May 02, 2016 4:32 am 
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vampireshark wrote:
Germany's not as bad (though not to say they're much better) than France in terms of pricing for tickets: you can normally buy the cheaper Sparpreis tickets as few as three days in advance of travel. But, still, you're not giving yourself too much time to book things...

A Problem with Sparpreis is that if you miss your train (especially risky with short connection times), you're shafted - the tickets are bound to a certain scheduled train and you can't use a later one.


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PostPosted: Mon May 02, 2016 8:52 am 
Sumerul
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Thanks for all your help. I had no idea there was a ferry. That's an expensive option but it would be rather fascinating. Also less of a headache. I'm going to look for ferries out of Belgium, the Netherlands, and Germany even because the expensive train ride is from Germany up north, not to Germany. Plus they're are often blablarcars to everywhere in Germany out of Aachen. I actually researched the trains extensively but had the same problem Sal did. They wouldn't show me the price. I tried all 4 national railway sites without much success, except that the price on Swedish rail's site caused my eyes to bulge out. Even the price from Copenhagen to Stockholm via rail was ridiculous. Worse comes to worse we can take a bus for 116$ for two people each way. It takes 22hrs though but there's only one short correspondence (forget the English word).

Driving is more expensive because we need an automatic and we'd rent it a week. If we rent it just one or two days they charge you for not returning it to its site of origin. And because I'm 24 they charge me a penalty (my husband is 26 but without official papers I don't want to risk that). But thanks for your help. Worse comes to worse we'll combine blablarcar with bus or all bus, but I'm going to look into the ferries because that would be an interesting way to go. And perhaps then I can visit Norway IF I could ever get the Scandinavian ridesharing site to work for me so I can see if there are options to Stockholm because even Bergen to Stockholm or Oslo to Stockholm by train is ridiculous.

I wish I hadn't bought these tickets...especially for Scandinavia....

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PostPosted: Mon May 02, 2016 12:09 pm 
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Warning: ferries would be an interesting way to go for about five minutes. After that, it'll just be a) boredom, and b) vomit. Ghent-Gothenburg (and you'd still need the train from there) isn't a fancy cruisy ferry with cinemas and fine cuisine, I don't think. It's just a freight ferry that you can also buy passenger (or car) tickets for. Although shorter ferries from Germany to Sweden might be more comfortable.

Regarding trains: as I say, prices are definitely available after a couple of minutes looking from Brussels to Hamburg (SNCB site) and Hamburg to Stockholm (DB site).

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PostPosted: Mon May 02, 2016 1:39 pm 
Sumerul
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Salmoneus wrote:
Warning: ferries would be an interesting way to go for about five minutes. After that, it'll just be a) boredom, and b) vomit. Ghent-Gothenburg (and you'd still need the train from there) isn't a fancy cruisy ferry with cinemas and fine cuisine, I don't think. It's just a freight ferry that you can also buy passenger (or car) tickets for. Although shorter ferries from Germany to Sweden might be more comfortable.

Regarding trains: as I say, prices are definitely available after a couple of minutes looking from Brussels to Hamburg (SNCB site) and Hamburg to Stockholm (DB site).


Oh I know but Europe needs a giant website capable of doing all stations, honestly. DBahn can't do the entire path, which is frankly a bit silly to me in the EU.

Can you link me to the ferry site? I never found Ghent to Gothenburg. I only found routes from Belgium to the UK and then routes from Germany to Sweden. And I've taken lots of ferries so I know they aren't that interesting and eventually the cold and mist takes over, but they are very relaxing because you aren't so confined and it would be a neat thing to say I've done.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2016 3:28 pm 
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Cedh wrote:
Also, those of you who are in Japan at the same time (Finlay? Clawgrip? Vampireshark? anyone else???), would you be interested in a meetup?

Now I see this. :roll: I was in Japan from January to the beginning of this month.

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 Post subject: Re: Travel advice thread
PostPosted: Fri Jul 01, 2016 1:01 am 
Sumerul
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Sorry I missed it too - did you have a good time?


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 Post subject: Re: Travel advice thread
PostPosted: Fri Jul 01, 2016 7:04 am 
Sanno
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Yes, I did. I spent three days in Tokyo, and then I went on a one-week tour through central Honshu by train (Matsumoto, Kyoto, the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage route on the Kii peninsula, and finally Osaka). It was a great holiday, with lots of interesting things to see and some fascinating experiences. I'd have loved to have more time though...

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 Post subject: Re: Travel advice thread
PostPosted: Fri Jul 29, 2016 6:11 am 
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Whoops! I totally missed this too! Sorry about that. Glad you had a good time though.


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 Post subject: Re: Travel advice thread
PostPosted: Sun Nov 20, 2016 2:31 am 
Sumerul
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I'm spending 2 days in Arkansas (Little Rock) next week to release some stress and just be tourists for 2 days. The first day we're doing Little Rock stuff but does anyone have any advice for the second day? We have to drive back to Illinois but we'll have time to hit a few things quick as long as they are 'moderately' on the way back northeast up the highway. I was thinking of maybe just swinging through the Ozarks but I'm not sure how to attack it in just a few hours.

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 Post subject: Re: Travel advice thread
PostPosted: Sun Nov 20, 2016 4:38 pm 
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Viktor77 wrote:
I'm spending 2 days in Arkansas (Little Rock) next week to release some stress and just be tourists for 2 days. The first day we're doing Little Rock stuff but does anyone have any advice for the second day? We have to drive back to Illinois but we'll have time to hit a few things quick as long as they are 'moderately' on the way back northeast up the highway. I was thinking of maybe just swinging through the Ozarks but I'm not sure how to attack it in just a few hours.

With just a few hours, all you really can do is drive through it. Avoid the interstates, take a few back roads, and stop someplace interesting-looking for lunch. The dogwoods should be awfully pretty, most of the other trees are pretty dull (lots of hickory and pin oak, not many maples).


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