Here's a list of things we would do differently and things we discovered in our travels in no particular order!!
21.06.2011 - 21.06.2011 11 °C
In future we would just fly to a destination, then plan from there.. we have too many trains and accommodation pre-booked and have already changed some plans.. changing bookings on the run can be a bit difficult!
Trip planning - - with a small laptop and wifi you can access the internet to book hotels and trains..
Join Skype and purchase internet phone for Europe and Australia (we found this very useful!)
Be aware that as a tourist you do stand out - keep wallets and cash well hidden. (I used a money belt)
Don't wear jewellery - anywhere overseas!
Wear your bag across your body - not just over a shoulder..
I even super-glued the catches on a small camera bag so that they could not be quickly grabbed.
The trips with FranceCom to the Loire Valley and Versailles come highly recommended! Excellent days out and very cost effective
France -Marseiles - BE VERY wary.. thieves, pickpockets abound - stay away from crowds.. and markets. Do NOT wear jewellery!! or flashy watch.. try to be inconspicuous..
If robbed remember your insurance - go to the police and file a statement .. take a copy with you as proof..
Take some food , tea bags, milk etc and toilet rolls, to rented studios or flats !!
Driving in the french villages is VERY tricky - especially if you are used to driving on the other side..with a right hand drive vehicle - hire the smallest vehicle you can fit yourselves and your luggage into .. roads are VERY narrow with stone walls either side!!
Take out as much car insurance as you can afford.. you don't need to have to fork out 1000 euro in excess to have a scratch repaired!!
Take photos around the car BEFORE you drive off - so you have proof of any prior damage..
Think about driving on the other side - you go round roundabouts the other way from here in Australia!
A GPS is just about essential - it really saves a lot of hassle for the passenger/map reader/ guide who can be a second pair of eyes on the road and look for road signs or dangers.
I think we could have probably skipped Nimes and just gone from Paris to Nice - which is a lovely city.
The Cinque Terre was interesting but very crowded - the trains that go between the villages are just the normal trenitalia trains.
Venice was great - very interesting and we needed more time here!
Florence was great, with lots to explore..
Siena - on a day trip by train was difficult to find our way about and crowded.
Rome was good but its sheer size made exploring on foot pretty tiring!
The trip to AnaCapri was great - but the company could give more thought to catering for those who don't go to the blue grotto. We waited about for the guide to return for far too long.. when we could have been exploring.
We would have done better to have got our own lunch rather than just had the pasta meal at the restaurant. Don't order the lemoncello at the restaurant - they charge you heavily!!
Kuala Lumpur was an exciting city and people everywhere were most willing to assist us with directions!!
We were most grateful for the assistance given to us by fellow travellers we met - especially at airports where it's not at all obvious which way to go to get baggage or to find passport controls or transport..
All in all we thoroughly enjoyed the time away.. and now we're coping with Melbourne's cold winter!!!!
Best regards to all the readers!!
Tim & Wendy!