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This room is for general discussion that doesn't specifically fit into one of the other CatholicMatch rooms. Topics should not be overly serious as this is to be more of a "cafe setting."

Saint Peter's Square was created so that more people could be in the presence of the Pope and was named after Saint Peter, one of Jesus's apostles.
Learn More: Saint Peter

May 05 new

(Quote) Leyden-904885 said: Hi CMers , I'm traveling to Europe in July (looks like mid to end of the month) and it&...
(Quote) Leyden-904885 said:

Hi CMers ,
I'm traveling to Europe in July (looks like mid to end of the month) and it's my first time abroad! I'm very excited but I have so many questions! I have opted not to do a tour as this late in the game, and considering that folks spend up to a year planning their adventure, tours are really expensive! (I also didn't want so spend my future progeny's dental and college fund because that seems like an uncomfortable future conversation!) I will be visiting London, Paris and Rome over 8 gloriously jam-packed days. However I want to plan my own itinerary.

Does anyone have any suggestions?? The package includes hotel and air so that's covered. Now I need ideas for making the most of 2 days in London (cause really? I feel like between Jane Austen and Bridget Jones' Diary...I've been there...I'm kidding Londoners...I've never read Bridget Jones' Diary) and 2 days in Paris with 4 spent in Rome (where I plan to stalk the Pope**). Any suggestions for places to eat, play, pray and love being around people would be so welcome!!

I would also welcome hotel suggestions because I think I can still check againts the travel companies suggestions and match them to any CMers make. Thank you, kind souls, for any help!

In Christ,
Leyden

**any suggestions for evading the Swiss Guard also welcome....cause ya don't want to mess with men unafraid to wear those outfits.

--hide--


You won't be able to evade the Swiss Guard because some of them also wear plain clothes around St. Peters.

As far as Europe and travelling, I would suggest fitting in as many tours as possible. Tours are an efficient way of
travelling and learning and seeing. They can be a bit expensive, but they are definitely efficient.

A suggestion when you are in London is being extremely careful when approaching an intersection. Tourists get
tired and revert to looking left as they cross. Of course, that is the wrong way to look when you are in England.

Then as far as Paris and Rome go, if you need help or to ask a question, the youth all seem to know English.
And they also want to practice their English. So you should ask them for help.

I try to use my US currency where ever possible. A lot of merchants will give you the day trade rate. Even if
you go to vendors on the street, they love to get US dollars. I take a lot of singles with me to use for tipping
and buying things. If you have a large bill, the vendor will take it and give you back the change in the country's
currency. This will save you a lot of exchange fees that are loaded on top of money conversions.

Also, mail a post card from the Vatican. It is a very small country with its own Post Office.

May 05 new

(Quote) Peter-449116 said: Tell everyone you're Canadian. You'll be treated a lot nicer.
(Quote) Peter-449116 said:

Tell everyone you're Canadian. You'll be treated a lot nicer.

--hide--

Don't tell her that. It's not true. Plus, they'll know you are an American anyway.

My advice...have fun! Go with the flow. Walk around the cities to get a feel for every day life there. Watch out for pickpockets in the train stations.Take some cash with you. When I arrived in Rome, the ATMs weren't working, thankfully I had some cash to exchange.

In London, go on a London Walk or two. www.walks.com They are fun and the guides, when I went, were excellent. I went on one of Westminister that was led by a former BBC journalist and a Jack the Ripper walk led by an author and consultant to one of the movies. Evensong at Westminster Abbey. The British Museum is worth several days itself, but you can hit some of the highlights in a couple of hours.

In Rome, at the ancient forum, sometimes you will come across students that are giving free tours of the forum. Afterwards, they will pitch their paid tours. They are usually cheap--this is how I saw the catacombs and some other sights. Eat a lot 'cause the food is going to be awesome. Just walk a block away from any tourist area and you'll be good---food in the tourist areas, is usually not as good, but this is true of most cities. See the sights at night too--the Coleseum, Piazza del Populo, etc. Different vibe, different experience. Go to the Vatican museum first thing in the morning...and I mean first thing....otherwise you will spend forever waiting in line to get in.

May 05 new

(Quote) Leyden-904885 said: Hi CMers , I'm traveling to Europe in July (looks like mid to end of the month) and it&...
(Quote) Leyden-904885 said:

Hi CMers ,
I'm traveling to Europe in July (looks like mid to end of the month) and it's my first time abroad! I'm very excited but I have so many questions! I have opted not to do a tour as this late in the game, and considering that folks spend up to a year planning their adventure, tours are really expensive! (I also didn't want so spend my future progeny's dental and college fund because that seems like an uncomfortable future conversation!) I will be visiting London, Paris and Rome over 8 gloriously jam-packed days. However I want to plan my own itinerary.

Does anyone have any suggestions?? The package includes hotel and air so that's covered. Now I need ideas for making the most of 2 days in London (cause really? I feel like between Jane Austen and Bridget Jones' Diary...I've been there...I'm kidding Londoners...I've never read Bridget Jones' Diary) and 2 days in Paris with 4 spent in Rome (where I plan to stalk the Pope**). Any suggestions for places to eat, play, pray and love being around people would be so welcome!!

I would also welcome hotel suggestions because I think I can still check againts the travel companies suggestions and match them to any CMers make. Thank you, kind souls, for any help!

In Christ,
Leyden

**any suggestions for evading the Swiss Guard also welcome....cause ya don't want to mess with men unafraid to wear those outfits.

--hide--


I was in London for 2 days last summer! The gardens there are so gorgeous! We spent a lot of time in the Kenningston Garden. There's a memorial to Princess Diana there, and the palace where one of the princes live. That was one of my favorite places. We also saw Buckingham Palace and Big Ben, both on a walking tour. (It was "free" but then they asked for a 20 pound tip at the end of it, so I gave them a 1 pound tip instead because they DID advertise it as free.)


Transportation around London, we got an Oyster card. It just a card you put money on and then swipe every time you go through the turnstile to get on the train. Then you can turn it in and get any money left on it back before you leave London. It was very handy.


Keep change so you can use the bathrooms, or else the "toilet" attendants won't let you thru! ^_^


When I went last year with my friends, we stayed in hostels that were highly-rated online. They were nice enough, and a lot of fun because we met a lot of friendly people from all over the world. But as you probably have more to spend on this trip than a bunch of people who graduated college 3 days previously, you might want a better place despite that lol.


Have fun!!! :)

May 05 new

(Quote) Peter-449116 said: Tell everyone you're Canadian. You'll be treated a lot nicer.
(Quote) Peter-449116 said:

Tell everyone you're Canadian. You'll be treated a lot nicer.

--hide--



Don't think for one second....this didn't cross my mind! Thanks, Peter!

May 05 new

(Quote) Elizabeth-929069 said: Sounds like a great trip. Take advantage of public transit in both London and Paris. Safe, economica...
(Quote) Elizabeth-929069 said: Sounds like a great trip. Take advantage of public transit in both London and Paris. Safe, economical and extremely convenient! I used an ATM there to get the necessary euro but also used visa for most of the transactions. Make sure you call the credit card companies to tell them when you will be traveling. There are always the usual spots to visit. A bus tour gives a good overview if you have just 2 days each in London and Paris. In Paris must visit Sacre cour in the montmartre area. It is lovely, and in an artsy part of the city. Stroll down the champs d elyse (ok not sure on any of this spelling) very safe to be walking around alone. Eat at a local sandwich spots or get crepes on the ile-st-louise or bertillion for ice cream or small bistros. Be VERY CAREFUL of the "merchants" by the Eiffel Tower they are very aggressive. The line might be long to go up in the tower. Boat tour on the seine preferably during the day. Bike tour by the company "fat tire" ends with a river cruise might be an option. I was there 2 years ago. Everyone was very good about speaking English in case your drench is not so great. In London, its been a while, but I did a bus tour there, the Tower of London and the other highlights. But that was 25 years ago. Never been to Rome, have a great trip.
--hide--


Ms. Elizabeth! Thank you! Okay, so public transportation....it happens outside of the US?? See why I need to travel...I'm so "ugly American"! LOL, I am hoping to hit the highlights of both London and Paris...so this really helps. And I promise to stay away from shady Parisian merchants. wink


Actually I also appreciate the practical bit about the cc company! Thank you!

May 05 new

(Quote) Bridgette-868284 said: I was in London for 2 days last summer! The gardens there are so gorgeo...
(Quote) Bridgette-868284 said:


I was in London for 2 days last summer! The gardens there are so gorgeous! We spent a lot of time in the Kenningston Garden. There's a memorial to Princess Diana there, and the palace where one of the princes live. That was one of my favorite places. We also saw Buckingham Palace and Big Ben, both on a walking tour. (It was "free" but then they asked for a 20 pound tip at the end of it, so I gave them a 1 pound tip instead because they DID advertise it as free.)


Transportation around London, we got an Oyster card. It just a card you put money on and then swipe every time you go through the turnstile to get on the train. Then you can turn it in and get any money left on it back before you leave London. It was very handy.


Keep change so you can use the bathrooms, or else the "toilet" attendants won't let you thru! ^_^


When I went last year with my friends, we stayed in hostels that were highly-rated online. They were nice enough, and a lot of fun because we met a lot of friendly people from all over the world. But as you probably have more to spend on this trip than a bunch of people who graduated college 3 days previously, you might want a better place despite that lol.


Have fun!!! :)

--hide--


Aww, Bridgette...thank you! This is great information! I do plan on staying in a hotel but I think fresh out of college kids have a LOT of great perspectives...I think of any of our World Youth Days...I think you have a lot to say and add to the faith. Thank you, good soul!!!

May 05 new

(Quote) Tom-352850 said: In London, I found a group called London Walks. They were not expensive and had interesting destina...
(Quote) Tom-352850 said:

In London, I found a group called London Walks. They were not expensive and had interesting destinations. I was there on my own for 5 days in 2000, and used them twice. The first was a day trip to Brighton. It was about 60 miles by train and we had a tour of town while we were there as well as some free time. The next day, I ended up having the same guide and went to Greenwich, a much closer and shorter trip.

Another thing I wanted to do in London was go up in the EYE, but I did not do that. Maybe next time.

I did find a Catholic Church near where I stayed (Best Western - Kensington Gardens I think).

I must admit, it took me a day or two to get used to the way they pronounce things. It's different than this country and it was even different from some of the shows that come from England.

I notice also that, in Europe, especially Paris, that people seem to walk around with frowns or serious looks on their faces.

I am also going to be spending 4 days in Rome this year...in October as part of a 12 day tour which includes much more of Italy and there will be at least one priest on the tour who will celebrate Mass daily, so I may end up asking you a few things about Rome when you get back. (Though I'm sure the tour company has everything covered, or so it seems.)

Have fun and stay healthy.

--hide--



Hi Tom,

Okay, several folks have recommended London Walks...so I must try it!! I loved that you said it took awhile to understand them, that has always been my stance: we really improved the language. (Kidding Londoners! Sort of.) I also grew up in NYC so that whole frown and serious face? I call it rush hour on the subway. No worries there!

Provided I do not get sent to Vatican jail (see stalking Pope plans...what? How can you not LOVE Pope Francis??) I will be more than happy to share tips on Rome: where to eat, what are the boltholes in the Vatican....etc. Thanks, Tom!!

May 05 new

(Quote) Steve-650539 said: Don't tell her that. It's not true. Plus, they'll know you are an American a...
(Quote) Steve-650539 said:

Don't tell her that. It's not true. Plus, they'll know you are an American anyway.

My advice...have fun! Go with the flow. Walk around the cities to get a feel for every day life there. Watch out for pickpockets in the train stations.Take some cash with you. When I arrived in Rome, the ATMs weren't working, thankfully I had some cash to exchange.

In London, go on a London Walk or two. www.walks.com They are fun and the guides, when I went, were excellent. I went on one of Westminister that was led by a former BBC journalist and a Jack the Ripper walk led by an author and consultant to one of the movies. Evensong at Westminster Abbey. The British Museum is worth several days itself, but you can hit some of the highlights in a couple of hours.

In Rome, at the ancient forum, sometimes you will come across students that are giving free tours of the forum. Afterwards, they will pitch their paid tours. They are usually cheap--this is how I saw the catacombs and some other sights. Eat a lot 'cause the food is going to be awesome. Just walk a block away from any tourist area and you'll be good---food in the tourist areas, is usually not as good, but this is true of most cities. See the sights at night too--the Coleseum, Piazza del Populo, etc. Different vibe, different experience. Go to the Vatican museum first thing in the morning...and I mean first thing....otherwise you will spend forever waiting in line to get in.

--hide--


Hi Peter, I love your approach. I think it's mine too....have fun go with the flow and EAT A LOT. What I'm hearing you say is ELASTIC WAIST BAND. Thank you! This was my feeling too. Seriously, this is wonderful advice. I have been so looking forward to visiting the catacombs. I also appreciate the advise on when to see the Vatican. Thank you, sir!! I was thinking of blogging some of my experience....just for friends and family....is eight days worth it, I wonder?

May 05 new

(Quote) Felicity-929402 said: Europe is fantastic, I recommend: France-Paris: eat normal dinner bread and tr...
(Quote) Felicity-929402 said:

Europe is fantastic, I recommend:

France-Paris: eat normal dinner bread and try chocolate in France; if you like gardens, Chateau de Versailles is beautiful and has amazing fountains (budget a whole day !), you can reach it via the public transit system- watch the maps though, only one train gets there.

St Nicolas du Chardonnet has the traditional Latin Mass in an old mini-Cathedral- quite beautiful. I was a bit disappointed in Notre Dame de Paris... but maybe it was the art show that was going on that day. The Sacred Heart Basilica is a 'newly built', but interesting, the view from its steps is amazing- you can see the whole city, but be prepared to walk up (trail or stairs)

London: tower of London is quite interesting- the English martyrs feel very close there :)

Rome: SEE THE CATECOMBS! You will not regret it! (maybe I'm just fascinated with martyrs though...), the main cathedrals..(goitaly.about.com The usual. The pillar of the scouraging and a nail or two from the Holy Cross is hidden away quite near Santa Maria Maggiore in the Basilica di Santa Prassede (don't be fooled, it's a medium-small church accessible from the side street, but worth it!) Santa Croce in Gerusalemme is quite peaceful and nice as well.

*** By the way, in any and all of these places *start early* in the day to avoid crowds.

--hide--



Hi Felicity, I LOVE THE MARTYRS! Today in the Liturgy of the Hours is a reading from the first letter of John, "what we have seen with our eyes...what we have looked upon and our hands have touched...." This is why they died, why martyrs will always give up their life....for Him who sacrified everything for us. Thank you for bringing home why this trip is important to me. God bless!! Thanks for the GREAT advice on the travel too!!

May 06 new

Heya! I actually live in Europe right now and did a whirlwind trip through Paris and London (2 days in London and three in Paris). And three years ago I spent a week in Rome If you send me a message, I'll send you links to my blog that kind of go over everything . I can't do it right now because I'm on my phone and still haven't figured out how to copy and paste URLs!


A great website to meet locals is http://www.couchsurfing.com. I've never stayed at someone's place before, but I use it often to meet up with someone in the area for a "local" dinner or lunch.

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