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Travel abroad, finally!!!! #285994
07/13/2022 02:45 PM
07/13/2022 02:45 PM
Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 3,391
VIRGINIA
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BEERMAN Offline OP
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BEERMAN  Offline OP
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Last trip abroad was almost 3 years ago to France, we've been patiently, very patiently waiting for this germ to become a non travel issue. As of last month travel restrictions have been removed, please stay that way! So, we immediately started talking it over and we decided to return to Italy this September!! Our family of 3 found a 10 day window that fits schedules. I have been re-reading old Italy trip reports in the archives, thank you guys for the valuable reports! We have been to Italy a couple of times and are trying to decide on a new itinerary. The only knowns at this point are flights in and out of Milan and 2 nights on Lake Como (Lezzeno/Bellagio area) with a day trip to Lugano so our daughter can revisit where she studied abroad. We will rent a vehicle for this leg, but are excited to ride the rails again. I was interested in seeing the Dolomites, but if youtube is accurate the travel seems excessive for our 10 day trip? TomB recommends Barola/Barbaresco area for good reasons! What towns would you plug in 2-3 two night stays? Fun to be planning!!

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Re: Travel abroad, finally!!!! [Re: BEERMAN] #286006
07/13/2022 08:36 PM
07/13/2022 08:36 PM
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Ifeltlikeagringo Offline
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For 10 days I'm not sure I'd try for more than 2 stops--every time we've tried to go for 3 some kind of travel hassle has gotten in the way. When we went to Lake Como a few years ago we were trying for 2 nights outside Turin, 3 in Varenna (mid-Lake Como), and 5 in Venice. The Turin part was for a "finding your roots" visit and we never made it thanks to flight cancellations--and this is before COVID!--so we had 4 on Lake Como and were glad to have the extra day.

Lake Como is absolutely worth your time and we loved Varenna. It's the best connected village via rail. A car is pretty worse than useless for traveling around the lake. It's got a wonderful ferry system (schedules here: https://www.navigazionelaghi.it/risultati?lake=Como). With a car it seems as if Menaggio would be the best town for your base, just based on the way it's laid out, and it's got great ferry connections to Bellagio, Varenna, etc. Bellagio would be pretty awful for dealing with a car and inconvenient for going to Lugano--and we didn't love it in general. You hate to say that something is too touristy when you're a tourist, but it is REALLY touristy, and not any more beautiful than any of the other beautiful villages.

Spending just two nights around Lake Como kind of means you're not getting the best of that particular area--which is to wake up, look at the lake and the mountains while having a cappuccino and cornetto, take a ferry, maybe visit a garden or villa, have a long lunch while looking at the lake and the mountains, ferry back for aperitivo while looking at the lake and the mountains, and then figure out your dinner plans--which should include views of the lake and the mountains. It's perhaps the most relaxing place on earth, and is perfect for just unwinding and not having a list of things to do.

In terms of other stops, the Freccia and Italo trains (or a car, I love driving in Italy) make anything down to around central Tuscany feasible. Places I'd like to go sometime soon that we haven't visited before include Turin, the surrounding areas, and the Val D'Aosta; the other lakes (especially Lago di Maggiore and Lago di Orta); Bologna, Ravenna, Parma...just make sure you stay your last night in Milan or near Malpensa because that airport, and getting to it, can be a real beast.

Re: Travel abroad, finally!!!! [Re: BEERMAN] #286014
07/14/2022 08:58 AM
07/14/2022 08:58 AM
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BEERMAN Offline OP
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BEERMAN  Offline OP
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So much for "knowns"...after conversations last night Como is a maybe, because Lake Maggiore is back on the list, we spent one night in Stresa a few years ago and that lake deserves more exploring, maybe ;-) I do know we are flying in and out of Malpensa though and both lakes are only an hour away!! Thank you "gringo" for your info, I started looking at Val D'Aosta this morning! If we do rent a car our airbnb's would need to include a parking space for sure. We actually enjoy the train travel more than driving most times. "Gringo" when we travel, we tend to move a lot, so 2 night stays aren't uncommon for us, even a quick one night stay is not a negative for us,, depends on our mood. We like to travel with a backpack and have been known to walk into a town without hotel/airbnb reservations...we'll say this looks good or let's get on a train and try another. Some might find that stressful or unorganized, but we kinda enjoy it!

Re: Travel abroad, finally!!!! [Re: BEERMAN] #286017
07/14/2022 09:14 AM
07/14/2022 09:14 AM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 78,738
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
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Beerman--yeah, I like everything nailed down, months ahead of time! grin I admire someone who can fly by the seat of their pants like you do, but I think I'll just READ about such adventures! I'm wound WAY too tight to do those kinds of things! Looking forward to reading all about it soon!


Carol Hill
Re: Travel abroad, finally!!!! [Re: BEERMAN] #286060
07/14/2022 07:41 PM
07/14/2022 07:41 PM
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Ifeltlikeagringo Offline
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I love the fact that you wing it--I hate making lists of places to see and checking things off! We've spent over two weeks in Rome (and were there recently) without ever going to the Sistine Chapel. But in Italy I tend to park myself and just mosey around, walking around and eating too much, looking at things and just saying "Huh! Look at that!" (And drinking all the wine and Negronis.) I feel like that's the spirit of Italy. One of our favorite approaches for a European trip is to find a central spot that's a little more local and then just drive or train off every day to another place. But hey, it's all good.

Take a really good look at Lago di Orta and at least stop for lunch one day as you're driving past. It looks maybe even more spectacular than all the rest...

Last edited by Ifeltlikeagringo; 07/14/2022 07:46 PM. Reason: typo
Re: Travel abroad, finally!!!! [Re: Carol_Hill] #286061
07/14/2022 07:51 PM
07/14/2022 07:51 PM
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BEERMAN Offline OP
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BEERMAN  Offline OP
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I had a very structured career, winging it and "flying by the seat of my pants" is actually a great feeling! Has got to be more people like us out there. You should try it just once!!!

Re: Travel abroad, finally!!!! [Re: BEERMAN] #286063
07/14/2022 08:42 PM
07/14/2022 08:42 PM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 78,738
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
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Carol_Hill  Offline
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Beerman--Sorry, I think I will just have to do it virtually through you! smile


Carol Hill
Re: Travel abroad, finally!!!! [Re: BEERMAN] #286066
07/14/2022 11:17 PM
07/14/2022 11:17 PM
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 3,366
Virginia wishing STJ
TomB Offline
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Originally Posted by BEERMAN
I had a very structured career, winging it and "flying by the seat of my pants" is actually a great feeling! Has got to be more people like us out there. You should try it just once!!!


We always done a little of both... I am firm believer - that you have to have a plan to change one, but changing them on the fly is usually a good thing.

What drives me nuts are the Trip Advisor must see lists, the Rick Steves you got to visit here, or living and dying by a guide book on a travel adventure.
Most of the time if you use one of travel aides listed, you will have a better chance of bumping into a high school classmate that you have not seen in years than actually seeing a local in these must see locations.

My wife likes to do research on things to see and do and list out a hit list of possibilities. However, guide books are not allowed to travel with us. They take up space and add weight.

The one real crazy trip was to Vienna. We were watching the Amazing Race and the pit stop was in Vienna. The next day we got airline tickets and less than 30 days later we were there. We booked a hotel room and no plans except to go to a Christmas market.
We had a Blast! Ironically Carol, if you remember the blog was called - Virtually Visiting Vienna groovin

One of the most important things to do when one travels is to embrace Emerson's quote at the bottom of the thread.

Keep us updated Beerman - Looking forward to the stories.

Last edited by TomB; 07/14/2022 11:19 PM.

Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not - Ralph Waldo Emerson
Re: Travel abroad, finally!!!! [Re: TomB] #286097
07/15/2022 10:39 AM
07/15/2022 10:39 AM
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BEERMAN Offline OP
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I watched or read where Rick Steve's says he ruined Cinque Terra, I think "changed" not ruined. I can say I feel like Kenny Chesney changed St John quicker than any travel book could have done, great spots unfortunately do change. I'm a fan of his music and I actually watch Rick Steve's shows, I often google trip itineraries and have yet to find one that we would follow to a T on any trip. I'm finding youtube videos helpful., but let's talk about drones....beautiful aerial shots, but I prefer ground level to actually see what I would see walking.

Our daughter came over for a visit last night, we are not even close to an itinerary. Discussions included different lakes, Barolo'ish towns (biking through vineyards!), Italian Riviera, Tuscany, Rome, Sardinia (daughters DNA turned up 1% ha!), Amalfi Coast etc. so at least we have a few weeks to decide! Carol are you feeling itchy??

Great quote Tom, here's a pic of a board my daughter made for me....

Attached Files Board.jpg
Last edited by BEERMAN; 07/15/2022 10:41 AM.
Re: Travel abroad, finally!!!! [Re: BEERMAN] #286102
07/15/2022 12:19 PM
07/15/2022 12:19 PM
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 3,366
Virginia wishing STJ
TomB Offline
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TomB  Offline
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Love the board! I think Anthony was talking about you when he wrote that statement.

You hit the nail on the head with STJ. A beautiful place and still our favorite, but it is has evolved since KC has left his mark.

Sounds like the Beerman's need a map of Italy and lets pick a location with a game a darts.
Everybody gets 3 throws and then picks one.
No matter what you choose, I know you guys will have a good time.

As much as your family likes the outdoors and hike... have you ever thought of hiking the Camino de Santiago?


Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not - Ralph Waldo Emerson
Re: Travel abroad, finally!!!! [Re: BEERMAN] #286105
07/15/2022 12:25 PM
07/15/2022 12:25 PM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 78,738
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
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Carol_Hill  Offline
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Beerman--we were just in St. Marten for 12 days in June, and we just adopted a new dog, so we won't be going anywhere for a while yet.
[Linked Image]

Last edited by Carol_Hill; 07/15/2022 12:34 PM.

Carol Hill
Re: Travel abroad, finally!!!! [Re: TomB] #286126
07/15/2022 02:53 PM
07/15/2022 02:53 PM
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BEERMAN Offline OP
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Tom, dart game sounds great, may try that!!! We watched "The Way" with Martin Sheen years ago, I remember saying when we can spend 4-6 weeks abroad we should consider this!! There is a northern route that looks a lot more scenic than the primary. Might have to watch that movie tonight!

Carol congrats on the pup! Ours have always required careful planning for travel. We have used Rover.com twice this summer because family is becoming less and less available. We had 2 very good experiences with Rover. Luckily my mother in-law is available to house/dog sit in September!

Re: Travel abroad, finally!!!! [Re: BEERMAN] #286128
07/15/2022 03:27 PM
07/15/2022 03:27 PM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 78,738
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
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Carol_Hill  Offline
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Central Florida!
Beerman--we are very lucky that we have a pet sitter that comes to our house a couple of times a day when we travel. She doesn't mind hanging out at our house for a couple hours every day, lounging in the pool! smile

Sorry for the detour, but looking forward to hearing all about your trip! We have never been to Italy, unfortunately. We had a cruise booked there a long time ago, and life intervened..


Carol Hill
Re: Travel abroad, finally!!!! [Re: BEERMAN] #286557
07/24/2022 11:31 AM
07/24/2022 11:31 AM
Joined: Sep 2002
Posts: 3,933
U.K. and Spain
Jeannius Offline
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Originally Posted by BEERMAN
Sardinia (daughters DNA turned up 1% ha!)
I got very close to Sardinia about 4 days ago. Anchored
in Porto Pino, near Cagliari, overnight, on a delivery trip aboard a Lagoon 50 from mainland Spain to Turkey. It looked very nice but I didn't even get to step ashore!

Re: Travel abroad, finally!!!! [Re: Jeannius] #286595
07/25/2022 12:21 PM
07/25/2022 12:21 PM
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BEERMAN Offline OP
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Mike, been there done that, would be so easy to stop, but that dang schedule!!! Sardinia is still a "maybe" but itinerary is slow in developing!

Re: Travel abroad, finally!!!! [Re: BEERMAN] #286612
07/26/2022 12:16 AM
07/26/2022 12:16 AM
Joined: May 2011
Posts: 1,161
JAX
jphart Offline
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Rick,

You’ve been north before. Loved your trip reports about Switzerland.

Have you thought about south? Great food and people. Combine sail, travel, sights and Italy?

Re: Travel abroad, finally!!!! [Re: jphart] #286617
07/26/2022 08:07 AM
07/26/2022 08:07 AM
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BEERMAN Offline OP
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Hey JP, the south is on the list of maybes. But with only 10 days and flights in and out of Milan logistically it adds a little more travel...but still on the list. So much left to see in the north, for being a small country they have so many options! Once my wife retires she wants to spend 6 months over there...my liveaboard dream shot to hell....but I can live with that ;-)

Re: Travel abroad, finally!!!! [Re: BEERMAN] #286665
07/26/2022 06:45 PM
07/26/2022 06:45 PM
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 3,366
Virginia wishing STJ
TomB Offline
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Beerman,

We were talking about an extended trip to Spain. I was shocked and pleased when I heard my wife say we can stay in Spain for 3 months... When I started planning I was giving her possible locations... she said, whoa.. hold on there I said 3 weeks!

Now planning for 3 weeks 😞

Last edited by TomB; 07/26/2022 06:46 PM.

Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not - Ralph Waldo Emerson
Re: Travel abroad, finally!!!! [Re: TomB] #286673
07/26/2022 07:32 PM
07/26/2022 07:32 PM
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BEERMAN Offline OP
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Tom, now I need to ask my wife if she said 6 weeks not 6 months hahahaaaa

Re: Travel abroad, finally!!!! [Re: BEERMAN] #286754
07/28/2022 07:23 PM
07/28/2022 07:23 PM
Joined: Mar 2001
Posts: 1,289
Colorado and Sailing the World
Maria_and_Steve Offline
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As for your question" "I was interested in seeing the Dolomites, but if youtube is accurate the travel seems excessive for our 10 day trip?"

We drove a rental car all through the Dolomites for a week. It was spectacular, to say the least.

But we are from Colorado and used to driving in the mountains, with the twisty roads and no guard rail drop offs.

I don't know why a YouTube video would seem excessive though? I tend not to rely on videos, ha ha! wink

Re: Travel abroad, finally!!!! [Re: Maria_and_Steve] #286759
07/28/2022 08:46 PM
07/28/2022 08:46 PM
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BEERMAN Offline OP
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If you knew my driving resume you'd know it's not the driving ;-) Resume aside, a couple years ago we actually drove the Iceland Ring Road, over 2000 miles on the car in 10 days, but this is a different kind of trip. We plan to make short 2 day hops town to town. Having been there yourself, would you drive from Milan or Lake Como to the Dolomites for 2 nights? We do need a car for a couple of spots we're thinking about, but we are looking forward to train travel as well. I did watch a solo hikers youtube that described a long day taking a couple trains and a bus to get up into the mountains, so my excessive comment was sorta based on that persons story and the fact that we don't care to drive 6-7 hours, twice in a couple days. Knowing I love the mountains my family suggested the Dolomites should be a separate trip in the future, looking forward to that!


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