With 18 days left to take-off, I have some potential changes in our travel plans and am hoping that the experts here can guide me to make some decisions....
I have been offered an interview at Landstuhl Hospital and would like to incorporate it into my travel plans. In addition to this, my son (21) has decided that he would like to take a side-trip to Barcelona, Spain (instead of returning to Rome for the last week of our trip). Barcelona sounds like a great place to visit but I would have to take Turin/LaSpeza/Cinque Terre out of my plans (i think) in order to do it. I am really having a difficult time deciding!!
My original itinerary can be found at http://treftfamilyinitaly.travellerspoint.com/2/
I would love any suggestions/ideas for a cheap way to incorporate these two side-trips into our travel plans. ie; train vs air; route to take; etc
In addition, I am wondering if anyone can tell me what charges I might expect for using a US ATM card in machines in Italy. I have already spoken to my home bank (Bank of America) and know what fees they are going to charge me but I have no idea what to expect for charges from the Italian banks!!
You all ROCK!! Thanks in advance for any help/advice/information....
Landstuhl is close enough to Frankfurt Hahn that it makes a lot of sense to take a look at all Ryanair flights going to/ coming from Hahn.
From Hahn to Landstuhl it would be a 1 1/2-hour drive with a rented car.
Depending on when the interview is you could fly from Rome to Hahn, go to Landstuhl and then go from Hahn to Barcelona.
Note that Hahn was originally an airport that was used by the US Armed Forces, despite the name it is not really close to Frankfurt. Similar is true for the airports that Ryanair calls "Barcelona", so watch out. Also note that Ryanair charge you for checked baggage and that the checked baggage must weigh no more than 15 kgs. Simulate a booking to get at the total price for Ryanair flights.
[ Edit: Edited on 06-Jun-2009, at 13:32 by t_maia ]
Thanks for the information. I would like to get away from renting a car if possible (little nervous about driving in another country; although I do have my international license). Is there public transport from Frankfurt to Landstuhl? Reliable? My interview time has not been set up yet. I'll check out ryanair.com now.
As I wrote, (Frankfurt) Hahn (HHN) is nowhere near Frankfurt.
It takes the bus about 2 hours to make it from Hahn to the city and they charge you around 15 EUR per person for it. And then you need to get from Frankfurt to Landstuhl.
I checked train travelling times, it is 3-6 hours with as many changes from Hahn to Landstuhl by train. It is as I expected: Essentially you are going from one small hamlet that is hard to get to by public transport to another small hamlet that is hard to get to with public transport. Plus it is quite a detour to go Hahn-Landstuhl via Frankfurt (around 100 miles by car one-way). So with 3 people (?) travelling it will be cheaper and faster to rent a car and go direct, taking the small road through the Hunsrück hills.
Cost of a rental car will be around 70 EUR per day with the necessary milage already included, cost of gas less than 20 EUR.
BTW, if you do a small detour (40 min of driving time one-way) you can see some of the nicest stretches of Germany.
The situation changes a bit if you are asking about travel from Frankfurt (FRA) to Landstuhl - then it would be ok and relatively easy to go by train: 2-3 hours and 1 or 2 changes. But then there would be no cheap tickets with Ryanair.
EDIT: The more I think about it, the more I become convinced that it would be a good idea to spent a few days around Landstuhl. With a rented car it would be easy to get around (and Germans are far less agressive drivers than Italians) and see some of the sights Japanese and US-American tourists come to Germany for. Heidelberg or the Rhine Valley are close enough to do the interview in the morning and see one of the above in afternoon. BTW, drinking age for wine and beer is 16 in Germany. No need to tell your daughter, but the area is a wine-growing region ... .
[ Edit: Edited on 06-Jun-2009, at 14:57 by t_maia ]
I understand now why you suggest a rental car!! You mentioned "... if you do a small detour (40 min of driving time one-way) you can see some of the nicest stretches of Germany." My curiosity is peaked!! Can you give me any details?
See my edit.
Heidelberg - the sight to see if you only spent a day in Germany. Popularity is mostly due to the close proximity of Frankfurt International Airport (FRA), so it is an easy trip for people on a long layover in FRA or for business travellers to fairs in Frankfurt with a day to kill. Nevertheless it is a really nice city in its own right.
Rhine Valley - all you ever heard about the German Rhine Romantic you can find on the 50 mile stretch south of Koblenz to Bingen am Rhein. St. Goar and the surrounding cities/villages are Germany's version of Cinque Terre.
Mosel Valley - ever heard about Mosel / Moselle wine? This is where it comes from and this is where the 5-star cruise liners take their guests to gape at Germany's sunny side. Cochem and Zell are very close to Hahn - it is only 10 miles from Hahn to Zell.
Idar-Oberstein - if you like gems, gold and other bling make the pilgrimage to the European capital of gems.
Trier - one of the oldest German cities, founded by the Romans and with lots of sights to see.
Frankfurt am Main - nothing special, but most of the sights in the city can be seen in half a day. If you are in a hurry and only have time for a very quick taste of Germany before you fly out of FRA, this is the place to be.
Speyer - every history of arts student and every architect worth his salt knows the Dome of Speyer.
Neustadt an der Weinstrasse - can't tell you much about this small city, but I saw a TV report about it and it completely blew my mind. From what I saw on TV it is absolutely stunning and very German, just as pretty as Heidelberg but far less overrun with tourists.
[ Edit: Edited on 06-Jun-2009, at 15:17 by t_maia ]
WOW!! Great info! I will certainly do some additional research on the area's you mentioned and a rental car. Any suggestions on where to stay?
Also, if going to rent a car....what about renting in Italy and driving to Germany? Are there any restrictions that I should be aware of? Thinking maybe from Venice?
what about renting in Italy and driving to Germany?
Don't. The drop-off charges would be astronomous. Plus there is the driving time - you'd loose a whole day to driving. For Venice-Frankfurt we are talking 600 miles here.
Much cheaper to catch a Ryanair flight, even with 3 people travelling and with checked luggage.
If you don't want to fly, you can look at a night train from Italy to Munich and then drive from Munich or take the train. If you rented a car in Munich the drop-off charges to Frankfurt would be ok.