Planning the European trip took up about 4 weeks altogether over the course of 8 months, starting from buying the flight tickets, right up to planning the itinerary and making last-minute adjustments during the trip itself.
All said and done, we still encountered some problems and thus lessen some of the gloss of such a wonderful trip. Come on, you must be dying to find out what went wrong after following this blog for the past one year!
Not having a smartphone
I was actually waiting for the launch of the new iPhone 5, so we decided to wait and brought along our outdated phones for the journey. Since we weren’t actually using them for calling and neither did their photo capturing quality came to good use. They, together with their chargers, became dead weights.
Currently I’m using an iPhone 5, and with the amount of apps one could install on such devices, it makes traveling simpler (and lighter). We could do away with the guidebooks and printed material altogether. Just download the app for the particular country that you will be traveling to, including those travel planning apps, such as TripIt and Google Maps, and you’re good to go!
A word of advice, these high-end products could be a target for theft in the less developed parts of the world.
We were always on the move
Imagine this, 5 cities in Europe : Paris, Amsterdam, Munich, Venice and Rome. Days to complete this? 14 days. We went to Europe from one end, and came out of the other. We were constantly moving, spending 3-4 days in one particular city and then getting to the next one. Not to mention packing and unpacking our stuffs. Not to mention dragging the luggage up and down the stairs and getting them up the hotels and apartments that we stayed in.
There were times when our nerves were frayed, especially if we had to get up early to catch the train, muddled with the lack of sleep. For our next trip, we have to make it a point to SLOW IT DOWN.
Having an extensive itinerary
Maybe some of you have picked up on this from my previous posts, spontaneity is not one of my traits, I even had the places to eat picked out and research done, to ensure that we have what generally would be regarded as good local food during the trip.
Take, for example, our first day in Paris, the itinerary looked like this:
1) Lourve Museum
2) Orsay Museum
3) Des Invalides
4) Rodin Museum
5) Champ de Mars
6) Climb the Eiffel Tower
7) Watch the light shoe at Palais de Chaillot
And we haven’t even mentioned that we had to pass Immigration/Customs, travel from CDG Airport to our AirBnB apartment at Etienne-Marcel, meet the apartment owner and unpack. Missing from the list are a few listed landmarks and monuments along the way, including L’Assemblee Nationale, Pont Alexandre, Dome Church and Ecole Militaire.
Walking to and around these sights was 7.2km based on Google Maps. Mind you, this doesn’t include the amount of walking inside the Lourve and Orsay Museum, and the climb at the Eiffel Tower!
No back up plan for rainy days
Despite the nit-picking and squeezing of tourist-y things to do into our itinerary, we didn’t have a plan when it rained. And rained it did on our third day in Paris. Not only were we stranded in the rain, we missed out on enjoying the Arc du Triomphe, the Champs Elysees and the Grand/Petit Palais.
When we figured out to duck into one of the museums for cover, we were left with the Orangerie Museum and the Georges Pompidou Centre, which were miles apart! Our original itinerary, if not for the weather, was to walk down the length of the Champs Elysees, through the Tuileries Garden, right up to Hotel de Ville.
Not only that, we were drenched from the rain and I developed a flu for the next few days, right until Munich.
So I guess that concludes the five things we did wrong during the trip. Gotcha! I messed up my maths, we still have one more left to go, I wouldn’t say that this was a major problem but it could be if you were planning to go local while in Europe.
Letting the parents decide where to eat
If you have noticed, there was a distinct lack of European flavoured food and restaurant review covered in the latter part of the trip, starting from the last day in Munich right up to Rome. That was because we met up with my parents who were on their own Europe trip from Paris to Munich via Prague. Since meeting up with them, dinner have always been Chinese food, because they prefer a readable menu, rather than foreign mumbo-jumbo.
So we had to make do with lunch, the only meal in which we weren’t eating with them. Hence the lack of a proper food report on the local dishes abroad. So if you’re traveling with a picky eater, please ensure that you get your say in what you are about to eat.