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DD at "Semester Abroad" in Germany. Paris for a week in October?


Lanny
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DD and I were exchanging messages this morning Colombia time (EST) on WhatsApp. She mentioned that they have 7 days free in October and some of them are contemplating going to Paris. Possibly going there on a train.  I hope she will go. I was in Paris for a long weekend when I was her age and was an airline employee...

She said that last weekend some of them went to Prague, but she had "an event" and she couldn't go.

I am so happy and so thankful that she has these opportunites and I thank God and UNC for that. 

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6 hours ago, Lanny said:

DD and I were exchanging messages this morning Colombia time (EST) on WhatsApp. She mentioned that they have 7 days free in October and some of them are contemplating going to Paris. Possibly going there on a train.  I hope she will go. I was in Paris for a long weekend when I was her age and was an airline employee...

She said that last weekend some of them went to Prague, but she had "an event" and she couldn't go.

I am so happy and so thankful that she has these opportunites and I thank God and UNC for that. 

Hope she is able to go!  There are so many wonderful places to see and train travel can make it so much easier!

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16 hours ago, Bootsie said:

Hope she is able to go!  There are so many wonderful places to see and train travel can make it so much easier!

I took a train from Oslo, Norway to Bergen, Norway when I was a little older than her age now. A very nice day on that train. On other trains, extremely boring, like from Los Angeles to Las Vegas.  I went one way on a train and returned on a Greyhound bus when I was a kid.  On a train one gets to see the scenery, but also one needs to pay for food and drinks.  I suggested possibly going on the train one way and flying the other way.  A disadvantage to flying is the long time one needs to be inside the airport to check-in before an international flight. And also, transportation to and from the airport. Airline flights in Europe (those that I have checked into on Google Flights) are extremely inexpensive.  So many possibilities and everything in Europe is very close. I even found that flights from Germany to Israel are very inexpensive, but once in Israel it is very expensive.  And because of COVID-19 extremely hard to get into Israel at this time.

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3 minutes ago, Lanny said:

I took a train from Oslo, Norway to Bergen, Norway when I was a little older than her age now. A very nice day on that train. On other trains, extremely boring, like from Los Angeles to Las Vegas.  I went one way on a train and returned on a Greyhound bus when I was a kid.  On a train one gets to see the scenery, but also one needs to pay for food and drinks.  I suggested possibly going on the train one way and flying the other way.  A disadvantage to flying is the long time one needs to be inside the airport to check-in before an international flight. And also, transportation to and from the airport. Airline flights in Europe (those that I have checked into on Google Flights) are extremely inexpensive.  So many possibilities and everything in Europe is very close. I even found that flights from Germany to Israel are very inexpensive, but once in Israel it is very expensive.  And because of COVID-19 extremely hard to get into Israel at this time.

I was surprised when I was in Italy this summer that there were several trains in which they came by serving complimentary sodas, coffees, tea, cookies--in addition to handing out bottled water, masks, and hand sanitizer--and that was in the 2nd class train.  

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If your daughter has time to visit Austria while she is in Europe, my DD is studying at the Univ of Innsbruck and would be able to give her some pointers on places to visit.  

In addition to trains and flights, FLIX bus routes are another possibility.  They have increased in popularity and are sometimes very inexpensive.  

 

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23 hours ago, Bootsie said:

I was surprised when I was in Italy this summer that there were several trains in which they came by serving complimentary sodas, coffees, tea, cookies--in addition to handing out bottled water, masks, and hand sanitizer--and that was in the 2nd class train.  

Thank you for that information!   I copied and pasted it into an email to my DD.  I hope if they go on a train to Paris the train has free things like what you described. Very nice! 🙂   And in 2nd class...  :-)

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22 hours ago, fourisenough said:

October in Paris is lovely! We’ve visited in June twice (VERY hot & swarmed with tourists on both visits), but our October visit was cool, sunny and significantly less crowded.

I was in Paris in November. I think it was late November, but that was so long ago I can't remember.  October will probably be much nicer.  

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On 9/16/2021 at 4:57 PM, Bootsie said:

I was surprised when I was in Italy this summer that there were several trains in which they came by serving complimentary sodas, coffees, tea, cookies--in addition to handing out bottled water, masks, and hand sanitizer--and that was in the 2nd class train.  

The summer I was nine, my parents sent my 14 yo sister and myself on a train from Rome to Munich, where we were to meet an aunt we’d never met before. My mother neglected to send us with any food assuming we would get some on the train, but the kitchen was closed and there was no food available at all. Sister didn’t mind as she skipped away to hang out with Italian boys who flirted with her, but for me it was a long and hungry ride.

Glad to see ammenities have improved in the past 40 years! Lol

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4 hours ago, MEmama said:

The summer I was nine, my parents sent my 14 yo sister and myself on a train from Rome to Munich, where we were to meet an aunt we’d never met before. My mother neglected to send us with any food assuming we would get some on the train, but the kitchen was closed and there was no food available at all. Sister didn’t mind as she skipped away to hang out with Italian boys who flirted with her, but for me it was a long and hungry ride.

Glad to see ammenities have improved in the past 40 years! Lol

Oh. that sounds like a miserable trip. 

I think that the complimentary food service that I received is due to COVID--fewer dining cars are open on trains than I have seen in the past. It is nice, however, with train travel to have the opportunity to pack a variety of items and drinks without having to worry what you can get through security like you do when you fly.

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Another Follow-On from the OP:  Awhile ago DD wrote in a WhatsApp message  that Paris may fall through. I suggested possibly go to London instead.  The 2 top tourist destinations in the UK/Europe are Paris and London IMO.

NOTE: This is about the COVID-19 situation (Delta) for Americans in the UK post Brexit (20 September 2021). 

My DD wrote in a WhatsApp message that one girl spent 2 weeks before and after the UK with paperwork and tests...

Conclusion: Investigate the current COVID-19 situation before you go to the UK. Or,  anywhere else.

There are so many places she might go in October.  I gave her some suggestions and she already has some ideas. She was planning to buy her tickets this week so now she has a bunch of places on her "bucket list" and will need to select 2 of them.

Hopefully she will have someone else who wants to go to the same places.

Some are looking at Switzerland, which must be incredibly beautiful. 

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I agree with checking all the covid rules for each country. I have friends back from visiting relatives in Germany and they said every country had their own rules and they needed to be on top of testing and all. I hope she has a wonderful vacation!

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Covid-wise, France might be easier for a  vaccinated American than the UK! She already has a German covid pass which should work in France (and if not, it can be easily converted. Certainly easier than a CDC card). My French covid pass had three different bar codes, for different places…

I hope she goes, I love Paris in the fall. Pack an umbrella 😉 

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Another follow-on from the OP.   Paris seems to have fallen through.  Some of them are (or were?) thinking about Spain, but DD is probably going there after the Semester Abroad program ends in December.

I had mentioned possibly going to London. That is OUT. She wrote this to me about the UK.  If I assume I assume the person she wrote about is a German citizen but I am not sure about that.

I wanted to Copy and Paste that here but I can't find that email. Possibly after Breakfast.  Problems 2 weeks after entering the UK and 2 weeks after leaving the UK...  Paperwork and tests...

Also, although she is in a large city which IMO is much nicer than many other large cities I think she is getting "burned out" by the stress of a large city. Her school (UNC in Chapel Hill) is in a pretty relaxed place and it is not a huge city. The commute from where she is staying to the university where the "Semester Abroad" program  is takes approximately 40 to 60 minutes, each way, on "Good" days.  Longer on other days.

Some of them are now looking at Switzerland for a few days which I've heard is extremely beautiful. Colombia is a very beautiful and mountainous country but we live in a valley where it is flat so we don't get the sensation of being in the mountains.

She has some other ideas and after I eat Breakfast I will read her latest emails with her latest possibilities again.

Innsbruck (spelling?) might be a place she is interested in. 

So many possibilities!

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@Lanny: Having just returned from Dublin, I’d suggest Ireland! Dublin is a proper city but full of parks and green space, and is very relaxed. 
 

Current covid restrictions are common sense (masks required indoors and on all public transport, vax required to eat inside—CDC card works just as well as EU pass) and the vaccinations rate is very high at over 90%. In our experience ~30-40% of people just walking on the streets wore masks; as Covid cautious as we are, we actually felt very comfortable there. I think until mid October there are restrictions on how late pubs can be open (11:30 IIRC; I can’t stay up that late at any rate!), but everything is open and there were fewer tourists than usual, meaning districts like Temple Bar belonged to the locals and was actually fun. 😉 

Dublin is extremely easy to get around on foot and using public transport. If she is interested in beautiful nature hikes, I can recommend a few! 🙂 

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3 hours ago, Lanny said:

Another follow-on from the OP.   Paris seems to have fallen through.  Some of them are (or were?) thinking about Spain, but DD is probably going there after the Semester Abroad program ends in December.

I had mentioned possibly going to London. That is OUT. She wrote this to me about the UK.  If I assume I assume the person she wrote about is a German citizen but I am not sure about that.

I wanted to Copy and Paste that here but I can't find that email. Possibly after Breakfast.  Problems 2 weeks after entering the UK and 2 weeks after leaving the UK...  Paperwork and tests...

Also, although she is in a large city which IMO is much nicer than many other large cities I think she is getting "burned out" by the stress of a large city. Her school (UNC in Chapel Hill) is in a pretty relaxed place and it is not a huge city. The commute from where she is staying to the university where the "Semester Abroad" program  is takes approximately 40 to 60 minutes, each way, on "Good" days.  Longer on other days.

Some of them are now looking at Switzerland for a few days which I've heard is extremely beautiful. Colombia is a very beautiful and mountainous country but we live in a valley where it is flat so we don't get the sensation of being in the mountains.

She has some other ideas and after I eat Breakfast I will read her latest emails with her latest possibilities again.

Innsbruck (spelling?) might be a place she is interested in. 

So many possibilities!

I highly suggest Austria.  It is as beautiful as Switzerland and much cheaper.  Public transportation is great.  There are many small villages for relaxing if she is tired of large cities.  The Innsbruck area is great in that there are museums and other cultural attractions, hiking, beautiful scenery, a university town with great public services but not a "big city"

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I think DD is getting this together. There are SO many places someone who has never been in Europe before can go to!    Maybe she will go to Belgium and to Austria. She is working thru the possibilities that she's had on her lists. One problem with travel is always that people have a limited amount of time and a limited amount of money. I always suggest that DD goes in priority order to her "bucket" list of places she would like to visit.

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On 9/16/2021 at 12:58 PM, Bootsie said:

If your daughter has time to visit Austria while she is in Europe, my DD is studying at the Univ of Innsbruck and would be able to give her some pointers on places to visit.  

In addition to trains and flights, FLIX bus routes are another possibility.  They have increased in popularity and are sometimes very inexpensive.  

@BootsieThank you!     I am going to try to send you a PM in a few minutes.  Innsbruck is on the final list now.

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  • 3 weeks later...

As I wrote on September 20th, Paris was eliminated. I think some of her Student Abroad group who were thinking Paris at that time changed for Spain (?) but my DD will probably go to Spain after the "Semester Abroad" program ends in December.

She will have a break starting on Friday and she will be away for 9 days. She is going to go to 3 places, which I believe is one place too many.  Some of  you may have seen the movie that was made many years ago about Americans going to 17 countries in Europe in 14 days (or v.v.).  An exaggeration, but she will at least be able to get a quick glimpse and if she likes a place she can go back in December or on a future trip to Europe.

I helped her with 2 airline flights which is extremely quick and easy for me and I tried to help with the hotels, but hotels are incredibly time consuming and then it is still a crapshoot as to  how it will be when one is actually in their room in a property they have carefully selected.  And DD will do the Train reservations.

I told my wife, I am thankful that of all the times we have gone to Bogota and stayed in different hotels the only one I wouldn't want to go back to is the first one we stayed in, in Downtown Bogota, about 1998, on my first trip to Bogota with her. I stayed there twice.  Fortunately, all of the other properties were fine, so we were lucky.

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