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Europe trip

Trip details:

Iam attending the world young leader conference to be held at Matera,Italy during Oct' 1-5.
1. I plan on reaching Italy ( Milan/Rome) couple of days before the conference starts and visit places
2. Post Oct' 5th , I would want to visit other European destinations
3. Would want to leave for India from Paris a week /10 days later.
4. I want to fly out of Hyderabad airport
5. I want to do this backpacker kind of a trip & would be traveling alone.
6. I can be reached on +91-9704377774

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Rome 3 days:

Day 1 - 8:30 am or so - I suggest starting with the Colosseum, the Forum and Palatine Hill. There are all next to each other. You should done by around 11:30 or 12. In the same area you could visit the Bocca della Verita and the Santa Maria in Cosmedin church if it's open (and if you're interested) or else do this first and then go to the Colosseum. Next door is the huge Circo Massimo which is basically a big stadium.


In the afternoon you could go the Aventine hill to get a view of St. Peter's dome through the keyhole and rest in the leafy orange tree park on the same road and enjoy a view of Rome from here. Later on you could visit the Pantheon (check closing time) and have a gelato here and go to the Trevi fountain. Spend the evening walking around this area visiting Piazza Navona to get a feel of Rome and its architecture. Have dinner in the area too if you like.


Day 2 - Start early 7 or 7:30am - Queue up and climb St. Peter's cupola to get a view of the Vatican and Rome. Then visit the basilica and the Vatican museums (another queue). I like the map museum but there are others to choose from depending on your interests. You could have lunch the museum cafeteria and hang around longer if you like. 


In the afternoon, if it's too hot walk around or rest in the Villa Borghese park across the Tiber river. Then visit the Spanish Steps and head back to the river past Palazzo Ruspoli and Chiesa (church) di San Rocco all'Augusteo across the bridge to see Castel Sant'Angelo. After this I would recommend the Gianicolo Hill while there's still light for a nice view of Rome and finally spend the evening in the Trastevere quarter where you could dine and have drinks maybe.


Day 3 - start early to visit some churches like San Luigi dei Francese and also Santa Maria Maggiore. In the Piazza dei Popolo there is the Santa Maria del Popolo church too. You should also see the Campidoglio square desgined by Michelangelo and the Piazza Venezia with an imposing palace. 


You could do more or less depending on when you reach. Even though the area around the Termini station isn't the best, you could stay there to have easy access to the train while getting in and out. 


Food - Good food is not hard to come by in Italy and even for vegetarians there are plenty of pizza and pasta options. As far as places to eat are concerned it really depends on where you are and when. I suggest choosing a place not far from where you are where you see locals and few tourists. In any case for pizzas you could try La Pratolina, Via degli Scipioni near the Vatican although it might be very busy. Pizzeria Remo is not very far from the Circo Massimo - Piazza Santa Maria Liberatrice. There are many sandwich shops - the bread is good and there's a lot of variety and many types of cheese and other fillings to choose from. I like one on Via Marsala when you exit the Termini train station and go right it is a few metres away across the street. Sorry I don't remember the name and can't find it online! Pizzas are sold by slices in many places and panini is a good option too. If you like wine (I usually only drink red so that's what I go by) just order a quarter of the house wine without going for the more expensive bottle, it's usually just as good. Da Enzo is supposed to be a good place near Tiber Island, Trastevere. Via dei Vascellari. La Carbonara dal 1906, Via Panisperna near Piazza Venezia is recommended for home made pastas. It has mixed reviews but is a traditional place. Osteria Bonelli in Viale dell'Acquedotto Alessandrino is an unpretentious very local joint. Don't be too tied down by a list of places. Try to spot a non touristy place with many locals in it. I'm pretty sure you'll be able to tell the difference quite quickly. Then there are ubiquitous gelato places if you like ice cream. It's nothing like anything we get here! Look for the ones that say artigianale.

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Paris 2-3 days:

Day one - A good way to start a visit to Parisis at its historic centre – the islands. Visit the Notre-Dame cathedral on the Ile de la Cité between the two banks of the Seine. After admiring this beautiful gothic 12th century church from the outside, queue up and enter the building free of charge and this time admire the impressive rose windows made of stained glass. You could also climb the cathedral at a price and get a stunning view of all ofParis. On the same island is Sainte Chapelle – a beautiful structure with several stained glass windows.


After visiting these monuments go to the neighbouring islandof Ile Saint Louis and have a delicious ice cream at Berthillon. The flavours are rare and exquisite but be ready to wait in another queue. Then walk to the Pont Neuf – one of the city’s famous bridges, and head down to the Seineby the stairs next to the equestrian statue of Henri IV. Here take a cruise on the Seineto get familiar with the city on one of its main lifelines. Buy tickets online to get a discounted rate: http://www.vedettesdupontneuf.com/. On the cruise you get to see the Eiffel tower, the Musée d’Orsay, the Notre Dame itself and several other places that you could visit later.


After the cruise, go to the Musée d’Orsay which is worth a visit since it isn't too big and has a great collection of art. Then go to the left bank in the 5th arrondissement and wander around theLatin Quarter. The two main roads here are the Boulevard Saint Michel and the Boulevard Saint Germain. This was an area frequented by intellectuals and even today you will find lots of book shops here. You will also see the Fontaine Saint Michel where a lot of youngster gather and watch street artists and their histrionics. There are many restaurants offering every type of cuisine conceivable in the Saint Michel area but most of them are tourist traps and are best avoided. However, you could try some authentic organic Lebanese fast food at Chez le Libanais at 35 Rue Saint André.


Facing the Seine, turn left and walk along the river until you reach the Eiffel tower. If you are tired take the metro up to Bir Hakeim. The Bir Hakeim Bridge has been immortalised in films like Inception. The Eiffel tower is best viewed by crossing the Seine and climbing the stairs at Trocadéro. In the evening it is lit up and it sparkles every hour for a few minutes. You could climb the tower on foot midway or take a lift all the way up for views of the city. At night, from up here, you could see the city of lights in all its luminous splendour. End your day with a stroll through the Champ de Mars, the park around the tower.


You could speed it up by using the metro. There are stations every 100 to 200 metres.


Day two - Start your day in the Marais in the 3rd and 4th districts (metroSaint Paul or Hôtel de Ville on line 1). This lively area is one of the oldest parts of the city and has an eclectic mix of Jewish and homosexual residents. It is teeming with restaurants and delis and a stroll through the area is a must do inParis. The Centre Pompidou or Beaubourg (metro Rambuteau on line 11) is a modern art museum in this part ofParis. The square in front of this bizarre structure is vibrant and alive with street artists, sometimes musicians and people sipping coffees, eating ice creams or just idly sitting around. Named after former president Georges Pompidou, this museum is built inside out with all its colourful pipes on the outside. Inside there are interesting modern installations, some temporary exhibitions and an exhilarating slide you can use to descend from one floor to another! The museum has a restaurant with a view in keeping with the style of the rest of the building.


It also has a very impressive library. If you decide you want to spend more time outdoors, I recommend just walking around this museum and then visiting les Halles – an underground shopping centre – considered to be a technological marvel for it was not expected to stay up. Walking past the Église Saint Eustache – a church – you have the option of visiting the sumptuous Opéra Garnier. Otherwise, you could book an actual performance (schedule and reservations available on http://www.operadeparis.fr/en/L_Opera/Palais_Garnier/PalaisGarnier.php and if you are a student and have a card to prove it carry it with you as you might get a discounted rate) and experience a concert in this beautiful monument in the evening. If you are interested in some shopping the enormous Galeries Lafayette shopping centre is just around the corner.


In the afternoon you can relax in the Jardin des Tuileries – the garden in front of the  Louvre museum and later on you can shop on the Rue de Rivoli, a long street that runs along the garden and the Louvre. Walking away from the Louvre and through the Tuileries garden, you will arrive at the impressive Place de la Concorde with a tall Egyptian obelisk and a beautiful fountain. On your right is Le Crillon, one of Paris’ most luxurious hotels and on the left is the Assemblée Nationale or the National Assembly. This was the square where the king and queen of Francewere guillotined after the French Revolution. Cross the Place de la Concorde to arrive on the Champs-Élysées. Walking on this famous avenue you will see the Grand Palais with its glass and metal roof on your left. Continuing further you will see flagship shops of luxury brands like Louis Vuitton. There is also the Lidowith its cabaret performances and at the end of this street you will arrive at Place de l’Étoile (meaning star) where 12 roads converge to meet at the Arc de Triomphe – like a star. You can pay and enter the building where there are exhibitions explaining the history of the place and on the roof you will be treated to views of the Eiffel tower, the Champs-Élysées and the business district of La Défense with its modern arch called the Grande Arche. If you climb up at sunset, the view of La Défense with the sun descending behind it is charming. End your evening with a cabaret performance at the Lidoon 116 bis Champs- Élysées if your budget allows it. Reservations are possible on their website: http://www.lido.fr/us/. You cannot go in wearing shorts and they have a casual yet elegant dress code.


The following could be done on day three if you don’t have time on the second day.


Next stop is the charming and village-like Montmartre in the 18th arrondissement (metroAnvers on line 2). This hill can be climbed on foot or using the funicular and at its summit you will find the bright white Sacré Coeur basilica. It seems this church is constructed with a stone that gets bleached in the rain keeping it as white as ever. There is another view ofParis from up here but you cannot see the Eiffel tower. Montmartre is the only wine producing part ofParis and the grapes grown on this hill produce around 700 to 1000 bottles a year the proceeds of which are used for social work in the area. There are some beautiful houses on this hill and you will be surprised by its rather rural feel. Not far from the Sacré Coeur is the Place du Tertre. This square is filled with artists painting portraits, scenes ofParis in general andMontmartre in particular. Around the artists are numerous cafés and restaurants but most of them are tourist traps. If the ambiance appeals to you pick a restaurant for dinner, but the slopes of this hill offer some less touristy bars and restaurants. You could spend a lot of time admiring the live art and exploring the quieter streets. If you are fan of French cinema and have watched the Oscar-winning film Amélie be sure to stop for a coffee at the Café les Deux Moulins on Rue Lepic where the film’s protagonist worked as a waitress.


In the evening, the foot of the hill comes to life and the star of this area called Pigalle is the Moulin Rouge, Paris’ most famous cabaret. Pigalle is the red light district of Paris. End your evening at the Moulin Rouge if you didn’t already go to theLidoor just relax in a restaurant before retiring for the night.


Day three – Like I said earlier, if you haven’t been able to do all the above in two days, you could shift something to the third day likeMontmartreor the Lain Quarter. If you choose the latter, then you could visit the Jardin (garden) du Luxembourg and the Pantheon where you will find the tombs of many important French personalities. From here go to Rue Mouffetard, a lively street, full of cafés and restaurants. Nearby is Grande Mosquée, the big mosque with a nice café serving mint tea and Arab sweets.


You obviously don’t have to do things exactly the way I have written them. It also depends on when you get in and out of Paris.

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Getting started By Prajwal Madhav
Replies (+)

Prajwal Madhav wrote:  

Hi Rajesh,

I would be happy to help you plan this trip.

You are lucky to be going to Matera which is a unique city that is full of caves that you can visit. 

For the rest of your trip, could you tell me what you are interested in (history, nature, adventure...) and which countries/cities you would like to visit in Europe? I suggest you fly into Rome because it is much more interesting than Milan. You could easily spend 3 days visiting Rome. I would suggest another 2-3 days to visit Paris before you fly back. If you are okay with this then we'll need to fill in something for the remaining week or so.

Let me know.

Prajwal

Rajesh Kamireddi wrote:   1. As you had suggested, I shall fly into Rome & visit around 2. By Oct' 1st , I have to be in. Naples. 3. Till Oct'5th , I would be occupied with the conference that Iam attending @ Matera 6. Post 5th , plz help plan my tour around 7. I love history , nature & adventure :)

Prajwal Madhav wrote:  

If you have time when you are in Naples, there is plenty to do there - for history there is Pompei, for nature there is the beautiful Amalfi coast and for adventure, you could hike around Mount Vesuvius, and active volcano. You could do this after your conference in Matera if you don't have time earlier.

Since you have 10 days, I would suggest staying in Italy and France but if yu really want to add another country you could maybe do Switzerland because geographically it would be the most feasible option.

Could you tell me a little bit about what you are looking for from this trip so that I can get a better idea about your interests and help you plan something that you would like? Have you been to Europe before?

Since you are backpacking, I would suggest looking up www.hostelworld.com for budget accommodation. On this site you will find hostels in most cities at affordable rates. There are choices like dorms or single rooms but dorms of course would be the least expensive option.

Please give me a little more information on the experience you are looking for and we'll take it from there.

Prajwal

Rajesh Kamireddi wrote:   1.firstly we have to decide on what day I would fly into Rome & when I would reach Naples on Oct' 1st ? 2. We also have to decide on what day I would fly out of Paris? 3.I would n't mind staying in Hostels . 4. Between Oct' 1-5 , the conference organizers would show us places around Naples & Matera. We don't have to worry. 5. Can we add Spain & Belgium to this trip , post Oct'5th. 6. I shall travel by train within Europe & stay in hostels.

Rajesh Kamireddi wrote:   7. I need to buy tickets at the earliest.

Prajwal Madhav wrote:  

If you have to be in Naples on October 1st then I would suggest arriving in Rome on September 27th evening/28th morning so that you get 3 days to visit the city and the Vatican. Use the website below for booking trains within Italy, Rome to Naples for example.

http://www.trenitalia.com/cms/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=4ddd1a035296f310VgnVCM1000005817f90aRCRD

In the 10 days that you have left after October 5th, I would recommend going straight to Spain (where do you want to go? Barcelona/Madrid/Seville?) maybe by flight with a low cost company like easyjet or ryanair. See what connections are available between Italy and the Spanish city you want to visit and also between Spain and Brussels. If you spend 3 or 4 days in Spain and 3 days in Belgium, that will leave you with 3 days in Paris. Your flight date from Paris would depend on the number of days you wish to spend in Spain.

I think you should look up the connections and prices on the low cost companies and see what options are available. For example, you could fly from Rome to Barcelona/Madrid/Seville on Ryanair and then with the same company from there to Brussels. From Brussels to Paris you can take the train. I'm not sure Easyjet has those connections.

Spain is quite far from Paris and Brussels and Italy to do by train or bus so a flight would be the quickest option to save time. The only problem with low cost companies is that they don't use the main airport so you will have to find a bus or some other kind of shuttle between the airport and the city and this costs more than going to the main airport.

Take a look at the costs based on the information I've provided and that should help you fix your flight date from Paris to Hyderabad.

Rajesh Kamireddi wrote:   Prajwal, Iam going to buy my tickets today. Could we have a phone call and speak so that few things can be sorted out. Plz zzz ! Let me have your number & I shall call you or even a Skype call also would do. My Skype ID : rajesh.kamireddi

Prajwal Madhav wrote:  

Hi Rajesh,

Sure, you can buy your tickets. I have updated your itinerary page with a couple of cities you will visit. You are free to follow it in whichever way seems appropriate to you.

My number is 87 92 45 36 78. You can call me between 7pm and 8pm tomorrow or from Sunday onwards at the same time. Please note that I will not be available on Friday and Saturday.

Prajwal

Prajwal Madhav wrote:  

Hi Rajesh,

How is your travel planning going? Let me know if you have any questions.

Prajwal

Prajwal Madhav wrote:  

Hi Rajesh,

Have you made any progress with your ticket reservations?

I freelance and have a very erratic schedule working 7 days a week sometimes which is why I was unavailable when you were in Bangalore.

Prajwal