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One Guidebook or Multiple?

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11. Posted by lil_lil (Travel Guru 462 posts) 6y

Quoting npfet

Short but busy trip. ;) I might get lazy and just get both LG and LP, rip out relevant cities, and be done with it.

I gather as much, from the sound of it. ;) Do try not to overdo it though, as you're going to end up very tired and not enjoying it in the end.

Quoting t_maia

Pick out online 3-10 places for a city and make a list complete with directions/maps on how to get there, if you are in a city for 2 days you won't be able to visit more than 2 or 3. (I'll congratulate you if you make it to one on your list.) Chances are high that with a super-tight initiary like yours you will most likely grab whatever food is available roadside, so unless you got some dietary restrictions don't pay too much attention to finding restaurants beforehand.

t_maia has a very good point on this. More often than not, when you're visiting on tight schedule, unless you know the restaurant/bar is going to be right next to where you're visiting, you won't really want try to spend too much time hunting them down. You'll grab from where it's convenient, and continue on with your itinerary.

12. Posted by npfet (Budding Member 9 posts) 6y

Quoting t_maia

BTW, if your hostel or the train station cannot provide you with a map just waltz into the next hotel close to the train station and ask with a friendly smile if they have a free map. Works 90% of the time.

I'm not poor enough to need to hunt around for a free map if the tourist center is selling one for one euro.... =)

[ Edit: Edited on 01-Nov-2009, at 14:07 by npfet ]

13. Posted by npfet (Budding Member 9 posts) 6y

Quoting lil_lil

t_maia has a very good point on this. More often than not, when you're visiting on tight schedule, unless you know the restaurant/bar is going to be right next to where you're visiting, you won't really want try to spend too much time hunting them down. You'll grab from where it's convenient, and continue on with your itinerary.

Right, I was thinking a list would be handy just to know the better restaurants around where I am. But, of course, if it's busy inside it is probably good.

14. Posted by lil_lil (Travel Guru 462 posts) 6y

I am a bit torn whether to recommend Sandemans Walking Tours or not. From travellers' point of view, it's great, because they run free city walking tours (you give a tips at the end of the tour to your guide). On the other hand, in conversation with people I know who work in the tourism sector, it seems their business models are the kind that are quite hostile and totally kill independent and small tour guides.

I guess you can decide for yourself. Just google them for more information.

15. Posted by npfet (Budding Member 9 posts) 6y

Quoting lil_lil

I am a bit torn whether to recommend Sandemans Walking Tours or not. From travellers' point of view, it's great, because they run free city walking tours (you give a tips at the end of the tour to your guide). On the other hand, in conversation with people I know who work in the tourism sector, it seems their business models are the kind that are quite hostile and totally kill independent and small tour guides.

I guess you can decide for yourself. Just google them for more information.

Yeah... I was looking at that for Munchen. What do you think of Mike's Bike Tour?

16. Posted by lil_lil (Travel Guru 462 posts) 6y

Quoting npfet

Yeah... I was looking at that for Munchen. What do you think of Mike's Bike Tour?

I've heard of their tour but I've never personally been on one so I can't tell you much, sorry.

(I'm kinda lucky, as I live in Europe and went to college where I met lots of Erasmus exchange students, that usually when I visit around Europe, I get to meet up with my friends again and therefore I have personal city guides.)

17. Posted by lil_lil (Travel Guru 462 posts) 6y

Anyway, of all the cities that you're planning to visit, I am most familiar with Paris so if you need help with Paris, give me a shout and I'll try to answer your questions to my best ability. I've been working at updating the information of TP Guide to Paris so you may check there for information too (this is still work in progress, and I may not have time to update the whole article in a short period of time).

And another thing that I just recall - there is another free guide service in Paris called Parisien d'un jour. You can maybe contact them to get in touch with a greeter that will show you his/her Paris.

18. Posted by t_maia (Travel Guru 3289 posts) 6y

I've been to the Sandeman's Tours in Berlin and I can highly recommend it for this city. They cover the basics and after hearing it you have a much better idea of what was and is where. Their pubcrawl in Berlin is legendary btw, so if you are inclined that way take the walking tour in the morning/early afternoon and go on the pubcrawl in the night - you'll get a discount on the fee for the pubcrawl that way.

Also if you are determined to go on the pub crawl in Berlin stay at the Meininger at Hallesches Ufer - their bar is one of the pick-up points for the pub crawl so you can get an early start there.

One more thing about the Meininger is also that they have other hostels in Munich and London, if you go from one to the next you can get a discount. Email them in advance with a booking enquiry and ask for a discount at the Berlin or Munich hostel when you book for London or Berlin.

BTW, the Meininger is my favourite hostel+hotel chain. The rooms and bathrooms are always spotlessly clean, all rooms have cable TV and almost all rooms come with ensuite bathroom. They have private rooms at reasonable prices as well as dorm rooms. If you book online in advance you can get substantial discounts. The staff is very professional too, they always treat you like you are the guest in a 5-star hotel and have paid 120 EUR for the night and not just a meagre 10 or 22 EUR. The Meininger hostels are large so they sometimes have the charm of a hospital and none of the cozyness of a small private hostel, but hey, you can't have everything.

[ Edit: Edited on 01-Nov-2009, at 14:53 by t_maia ]

19. Posted by npfet (Budding Member 9 posts) 6y

Quoting lil_lil

Anyway, of all the cities that you're planning to visit, I am most familiar with Paris so if you need help with Paris, give me a shout and I'll try to answer your questions to my best ability. I've been working at updating the information of TP Guide to Paris so you may check there for information too (this is still work in progress, and I may not have time to update the whole article in a short period of time).

And another thing that I just recall - there is another free guide service in Paris called Parisien d'un jour. You can maybe contact them to get in touch with a greeter that will show you his/her Paris.

Ok cool, thanks for the offer. I plan to be in Paris centered around New Years.

I should probably add I've traveled a bit to India, Greece, Singapore, and Brazil... but in most of those cases I went alone, stayed in single rooms, and didn't meet many people. I'm aiming this trip to both sightsee, but also to meet other travelers. Thus, following the more common guidebooks (and walking tours) is probably a plus in my case, because I'll be more likely to meet other travelers. I do realize this won't be as 'authentic' of an experience, but still could be good nonetheless.

For Paris I'm staying at a hostel in the 10eme... I know not greatest of areas, but at least close to Gare du Nord and the hostel itself gets fairly decent reviews (hostelz/tripadvisor/hostelworld/hostelbookers/lonely planet).

[ Edit: Edited on 01-Nov-2009, at 14:46 by npfet ]

20. Posted by npfet (Budding Member 9 posts) 6y

Quoting t_maia

I've been to the Sandeman's Tours in Berlin and I can highly recommend it for this city. They cover the basics and after hearing it you have a much better idea of what was and is where. Their pubcrawl in Berlin is legendary btw, so if you are inclined that way take the walking tour in the morning/early afternoon and go on the pubcrawl in the night - you'll get a discount on the fee for the pubcrawl that way.

Thanks for the advice. I've also heard good things about Terry's Berlin Tours?