This is a little different from the normal TP traveler....
I have a job opportunity in SW Germany. It's a two year contract in which I will have 3-4 day work weeks. I am hoping to travel once monthly for 4-8 day stretches. I'm not looking for luxury or extreme budget, just something in the middle. I'm getting older and like some comforts but not opposed to being without my down comforter in order to see the sights!
Not a huge party-gal but like to have a few drinks now and again. I am more interested in the culture, food and geography than the major tourist attractions.
So, If you had 24, 4-8 day mini-vacations over a two year time frame, where would you go (from sw Germany) and when? Can you help me fill in the blanks?
I would go whereever Germanwings would take me from Stuttgart.
There are special offer tickets with Germanwings called "Blind booking", you select the dates you want to fly and you only know where you'll be flying to when you get your confirmation email.
That sounds adventurous! I'll check it out.
I am actually hoping to be able to hit most of Europe over the two year time frame. Do you have any suggestions on where to go WHEN? I know that there are must-do events, better time of year, etc and would like to make the most of my time there...
My personal highlights among the destinations Germanwings covers from Stuttgart:
Russia: Apr/May or Sept for Russia. June to August is high season (very very hard to find affordable accomodation) and October to March is rather cold. That said, I've been to Moscow and St Petersburg in Dec/Jan and it was ok. But given the choice I would rather not go again during this time.
Istanbul: March to May and October to early Dec for Istanbul.
Rome: March to May is ideal, but winter is also ok if you don't mind rain.
Lamezia Terme: Great for renting a car and exploring Sicily, highly recommended. If you want to travel between Nov and March this is where I would recommend going, although September/early October might be better if you want the beach.
Spain: Malaga or Madrid would be where I would fly into if I wanted to see Moorish Spain.
Barcelona is also a great city and definitely merits a visit on its own.
Budapest: Any time of the year. You'll want one of the spas any way, so weather doesn't matter too much.
P.S. Congrats on getting that job. Care to tell me exactly where you are? Not in Landstuhl, I presume?
[ Edit: Edited on 08-Aug-2009, at 11:59 by t_maia ]
Thanks again. This is the exact type of information that I am looking for!! I am checking out the Germanwings site that you gave me and it looks like a great resource....thank you.
I am saving Russia for another time. Hoping to take the Trans-Mongolian. Was going to do this in 2010 but now it's going to wait until the end of my run in Germany...probably 2012.
I have just returned from a fabulous 5 weeks in Italy so wont be returning there during my time in Germany (unless I get a craving for some pasta, or get bored with my other options) haha
Sorry I didn't see the last line of your post...
Yes it is in Landstuhl. Is that a bad thing? I haven't gotten the official job offer yet, but all is looking favorable. It's funny how I am just back in the states now for about a week and already wanting to leave again!!
Yeah, I only remembered that you just were in Italy after my post.
But still, Sicily has a special place in my heart.
Seems to me you'll have to choose between Spain, Portugal, Greece, Turkey and some Eastern European places. And don't forget to have some time for Germany!
Tip: You might want to http://nothingforungood.com/ and http://www.toytowngermany.com - helps you make sense out of those crazy Germans.
Thanks for the links. I found toytowngermany.com a few weeks back and bookmarked it. I'll make sure to bookmark the other site too.
What (if anything) do you know of Landstuhl? Can you give me any info? Feel free to email me privately if you like.
Landstuhl: I don't know much about it, only that it is a major US military base with many US Armed Forced bases around it. Baumholder aka "The Rock" is probably the most famous of them.
Closest cities are Kaiserslautern and Saarbrücken, pubs there are usually full with US Armed Forces guys enjoying their leave and looking for (German) women and girls.
Nearby Saarbrücken used to be big in steel-manufacturing, now unemployment is relatively high. Not a very exciting area of Germany in general, a bit drab. Good thing are the good connections by rail, always a decent indicator in Germany that you aren't in a place that is completely dead.
Looking further on the map: Frankfurt-Mannheim is one of the bigger urban areas in Germany, all cities there are expensive places to live in. Curious mix of blue collar workers and very well-paid bankers. Frankfurt is nicknamed "Mainhattan" for its skyline and its similarity to NYC as a banking and finance place.
Most positive thing I have to say about the area is that it is not too far away from France and Belgium. Extended weekend trips to Paris and other French cities are most definitely possible. Catch the train from Saarbrücken, book in advance through www.bahn.de to get special offers.
The Rhine and Mosel Valley north of the Hunsrück mountains are great too, very popular with tourists. I would most definitely do a drive along the Mosel Valley and the Rhine Valley in October when the leaves turn.
And great cities to check out nearby are Karlsruhe, Trier and Heidelberg.
If you got relatives in the USA check out whether you can fly them in on USAF flights for a fraction of the price you'd pay with regular airlines.
EDIT: If you get a choice between Landstuhl and Baumholder, take Landstuhl! Baumholder is pretty much at the edge of the universe.
[ Edit: Edited on 08-Aug-2009, at 12:56 by t_maia ]
I just wanted to post and say thank you for all the information. I have arrived in Germany. I found a place to rent close to Kaiserslautern. Looking forward to exploring both the local area as well as the more distant.
I ended up taking a job at Landstuhl Reg Medical Center and so far, it's going good.
Looking forward to the adventure!!