Right. Well despite being an avid forum-poster, I'm not sure how I could go about asking this.
I'm thinking of travelling Europe (and possibly beyond)next year for my gap-year between college and university. Larger cities, sure I can pick and choose myself. But I live in the burbs of London and I'm really going for the opposite-effect.
So, could anyone reccomend any countryside in France, possibly Germany (I hear the Rhineland is industrialised yet countryside...) which is fairly secluded, yet particularly beautiful in the Spring or Autumn?
Tall order eh? It's quite the dream of mine to be able to find a piece of the country, in any country, where I can just sit back with the sun on my face against a tree, among the grass, nothing for miles around. Possibly read a book etc.
I'm sure of the thousands of square miles there are, there must be at least one spot such as this that someone may know of. If not, my search goes on. If so, please get back to me here.
I would definately add a trip to the south of france to my itinary if i was you. The Langedoc Rousillon and Midi-Pyrenees regions are two of my favourites.
You can definately find some isolated places to chill out in the pyrenees, usually without the hustle and bustle of the french Alps.
Lots of history around there as well, especially if you are intersted in any sort of religious history, there are plenty of Cathar forts to visit, including the famous Cite Carcassonne.
If you head further along you can begin to find some amazing beaches to hide away on in the Cote d'Azur, especially if you are thinking of going out of season.
I would really recommend seeing as much of France as possible, it may be a bit expensive in places, but it really is worth it, and as long as you stick to campsites and hostels, you can do it cheap!
I was in Germany in the fall of 2004. My favorite places were in small towns an in the country side.
I would recommend the Isle of Rugen. The main tourist areas have great beaches that were practically empty in late Sept and early Oct.
Another area that is good for a few days is the Spreewald. It is about 1 hr SW of Berlin. Lots of quaint little cottages spread on small islands that are connected by an elaborate system of cannals.
Bring a flashlight if you like to walk about time late at night... street lighting is minimal.
In general, I found the smaller towns in the former communist sections to have the best folks to sit around and chat with. Gustrow and Bad Doberan are good examples of these towns. Both are in the Mecklenburg region.
If you like slate, try Goslar. Most houses are entirely covered in it. I spent a day walking around analysing the different patterns. The town was spared from Allied bombing during the was because it had a PW Camp. This means that most of what you see is original vs. post war reconstruction.
Try a visit to the north and west of Scotland, not too far to travel and so much isolation even in summer. Bulgaria has vast areas that are rarely visited, the country attracts many bird-watchers and walkers, there is loads of space for all.
Cyprus is a small island with lots of roaming space and fresh fruit on the tres as you pass by.
If I can help with anything more please get back to me.
Enjoy your trip, can we expect to see a diary?