This Is How Long It Takes Me To Forget

I. Hate. Paris.

Exactly six months ago we returned from Europe Trip 2010.  Today I started planning Europe Trip 2011.

Six months, it seems, is the statute of limitations on my memory.  If you’ve been reading this blog since that trip, and are anxiously awaiting another train wreck of a trip, well…your wait shall be worthwhile.  We’re going back!

First, I suppose I should address why we are returning.  Though I’m not one of those wives who, you know, wants to make her husband happy or anything crazy like that, I told him that he could pick our summer vacation destination.  Unlike previous years, we are only going to take one trip.  I thought it was only fair that he pick the location, as I’ve had complete trip planning control for the last few years.

He picked Amsterdam.

I did many cost comparisons, trying to prove to him that other destinations would be just as much fun but infinitely less expensive.  Sadly, everywhere he wants to go is insanely expensive.  His second choice was Napa.  Even given the half-as-much airfare, it is a more expensive trip.  Anyone who has priced hotels or apartments in Napa or Sonoma county can attest to this.

So he decided that we are going back to Amsterdam.  Ok.  That’s fine.  I know that I like it there.  It’ll be fun.  But then the trip blossomed–as all trips of mine do.  But more on that later.

Today at lunch, we discussed ‘what we learned’ from the first Europe trip . Fortunately we have this post to remind us.  Ah, yet another benefit of obsessive blogging–one always has posts to help jog the memory.  Based on those lessons, here are the things we are doing differently.

Lesson:  Guidebooks are bullshit.  There’s no way anyone can do as much in a day as is suggested.

Application:  We have one goal per day.  Example goals include ‘drink beer’, ‘walk across bridge’, and ‘eat chocolate’.  These are individual goals for individual days.

Lesson:  It is worth the extra money you’d spend to stay somewhere more centrally located.

Application:  We will only be considering extremely central lodging options.

Lesson:  It is worth the extra money you’d spend to fly into and out of somewhere closer to your starting and ending points, even if they are different.

Application:  We are flying to Prague and out of Amsterdam.  More on the Prague thing later.

Lesson:  Blogging whilst traveling is not always the best idea.

Application:  While I will be writing as we travel, and even posting here (and on my new education-themed blog, soon to be linked) we are actually avoiding places with wifi.  I will also not be advertising this blog on Rick Steves.  See Rick Steves rant, soon-to-be-posted.  (And yes, this time it IS a rant, thank you very much semantics police.)

Lesson: I like to travel by train.

Application:  We will be, um, traveling by train.  A lot.

I’d like to add an additional lesson to my list of ‘things I learned’, even though I didn’t fully learn this lesson until today.

Lesson:  People on the Rick Steves message board are often very helpful; however, many of these people are very often giant assholes.

Application:  I will not be using the Rick Steves message boards for advice.

I cannot believe that I did not realize this until now.  But I guess it is better late than never, right?

Up next…1.  The Europe Trip details.  2.  My beef with RS boards (but not with actual Rick Steves–he rocks, as do his books and his site, random assholes who post there not withstanding.)  3.  More on my upcoming Orlando trip(s).

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17 responses to “This Is How Long It Takes Me To Forget

  1. Boy don’t know how to say this with out you “ranting” about me but have you done any research on Prague. If you hated Paris, I can’t think how you will like Prague. You really might want to rethink it. Personally, I did not have the same experiences that you did in Paris, but Prague is a lot grittier than any place you have ever visited. And, all the things you hated about Paris, I have seen ten fold in Prague. One of the most common complaints about Prague, especially in the summer, is how crowded it is. That could be the least of it.

    Also, if you can’t handle the heat on the RS site, and yes, I and several other follow both, how are you going to handle the criticism on your books. As the daughter of a writer, I know what rejection letters look like. Time to put on your big girl pants. You are setting yourself up for a lot of critiquing.

    Call me one of the RS giant assholes, I really don’t care. Hate to see you make a huge mistake again. It’s no fun paying that Visa bill if you had a miserable time.

    • I simply do not see how ‘putting on my big girl pants’ equates to ‘putting up with people calling me out without calling them out, too’.

    • additionally, i cannot see how an agent or editor telling me that they don’t like my book idea (which is fair–my idea may be a bad idea and/or poorly presented) is anything like some random person (on a site devoted to advice) mocking my perfectly honest question. when i send in a book proposal, i expect to get rejected (but, of course, hope to be accepted eventually…maybe.) when i ask a simple question on a message board, i do not expect to be condescended to. (and yes, that’s a dangling preposition–i know.)

      • You did not ask a simple question. This is what you asked –

        any and all thoughts on this. sound like a good plan? too much? too little? to long? short? expensive? time consuming? suggestions of towns? again, this is a pre-serious planning general survey. though i’ll likely be looking up train fares as soon as i hit ‘post’…

        I was addressing the fact that you will face a lot of negative reviews not only from editors but also from readers. Just look up your favorite book on Amazon. If you can’t handle it on a small forum, how will you handle it on something as big as Amazon.

        Back to your question, you, as you did with my post, focused on one criticism. Lee’s answer was not “mocking”, he was addressing a rather complex question. You failed to read the other information he gave you. You criticized people with your Paris trip for not giving you enough information about things. Accept that people are trying to help you not make mistakes.

        And, yes, if you are so concerned with “dangling prepositions”, you might want to try some capitalization.

    • Leslie, you gotta let this go. Tracy doesn’t like criticism or advice that isn’t in line with what she’s decided to do, her choice. I can give a half-dozen reasons why I think this trip isn’t the best use of their money and one vacation this year, but why bother? Tracy wants agreement with her plans and ideas for things to do, I hope she gets it. And she writes well, the blog is entertaining, so I’ll continue reading.

      • actually, leslie is giving me lots of great input, as are many people on the RS boards. i’m in the process of revamping the trip (though let’s be honest, revamping is what i do); as of now, i’m going to try to convince my husband to ditch the idea of prague (i don’t think that will be very hard–i’ll just have him read some of the feedback on RS) and fly into munich and out of amsterdam. and while i did just go out and buy RS germany 2011, i am still open to entirely different plans–in europe or anywhere else in the world. nothing has been booked yet, and thus everything can be changed. heck–i originally wanted to go to Hawaii (and still do!) i would be very open to hearing your thoughts on the best use of our money and vacation. as they are (obviously) limited, i do want to make the best use of of both. also–glad you think the blog is entertaining. i have to be honest, i think that if we do go back there will be some super-amusing posts in the future.

      • One thing I enjoyed is going on a bike tour which went out into the countryside a bit; we used Mikes Bikes. Also Delft was nice to visit; on weekends the Beestenmarkt square is a great place to have a beer and people-watch (waiters are slow, though). The Hague is nice to visit; great art museum there. Its easy to get to these 2 cities by train & then tram between them. The Heineken brewery tour is fun. Also enjoyed watching the world go by in Leidseplein and Rembrandtplein. Boom Chicago comedy show was funny; don’t pay full price, they always offer discount tix to people walking by Leidseplein. I really got a lot out of a guided walking tour in Amsterdam. Canal cruise is relaxing on a nice afternoon. Try the herring sandwich from a vending card; they’re really pretty good!

      • we were hoping to do a bike tour–i’ll keep mike’s bikes in mind. i’ve never heard of boom chicago, but we love comedy shows, so i will have to look into that. i’m not sure how i feel about the herring sandwiches. i just watched the rick steves episode the other day where he eats the pickled herring. i’m not convinced–though i do love fish and salt and vinegar, so i imagine it must be pretty good. i am open to trying the ‘fish on a stick’ in munich.

  2. I’ll have to look at your post on RS and see the responses. I have to agree there are a few real jerks there (though we did get rid of a few and a couple of others aren’t posting as much – at least on the General and Northern pages). I’m looking forward to seeing your plans for this trip. Amsterdam was very enjoyable when we were there except that we were in the middle of a record heat wave and almost nothing was air conditioned as they seldom need it. I drank what I thought was the world’s largest bottle of sparkling water at a resturant one night!!! We loved staying at the Pultizer (sp??). It is actually made up of several row houses joined to make a very mazelike hotel. On a lovely cannal just down from the Anne Frank house. We did a nice day trip out to Edam. Hubby got to taste some great cheese, we saw the inside of a windmill, lovely crafts exhibits, etc. The food there was great too. Prague is one of the places I want to see, but haven’t made it to yet. Looking forward to seeing your posts about it.

    • i will look into the pultizer–thanks! we walked around in the anne frank house area, and that’s where my husband wants to stay this time around. edam also sounds lovely–cheese and windmills? we’re in! we actually visited some tiny little cheese shop near the flower market when we were there, and my husband insisted on buying a wheel of cheese (that he had to then carry back to paris in his day pack!) i’ll be posting trip details very soon!

  3. leslie–actually, i did take a lot of what that same person said into account, and thanked that person as well. i hope no one felt criticized by my negative paris reviews. i did write ‘i wish i knew’ posts, but of course i do not blame anyone for not telling me. i had to go there and learn on my own. finally, i am sincerely grateful for people trying to help me avoid making mistakes. clearly, i can use all of the help i can get! as for the capitalization–i actually do that on purpose.

  4. On a more positive note, before you go to Amsterdam, reserve your tickets on line for the VanGogh, Rembrant and Anne Frank museum, if you are going there. It will save you a lot of time in line. Take a tour of the Red Light District, Randy Roys is great. If your husband likes beer, there is a great little brewery that is part of the only windmill in Amsterdam. You can sample their brews, and have a great plate of homemade sausage and cheese.

    Dutch Resistance Museum is important if you are into that part of history.

    • we saw the line for the anne frank house when we were there last year, but did not know that you could reserve in advance. thanks! i’ve already promised my husband that we can at least ‘walk through’ the red light district, though this in no way is why he wants to go back to amsterdam. to be honest, i’ll likely be more interested than he is…only as a cultural experience, of course. we checked out a ‘coffee shop’ as a cultural experience on our last trip, at my request. we will not be going back to any of those–though the one we visited was very nice about letting me use the restroom. i am, right now, going to google ‘amsterdam windmill brewery’, as that sounds perfect. he likes beer and i like windmills; he likes sausage and i like cheese!

      • Yes, you can book all of those ahead of time and go through a different door. Especially for the Anne Frank Haus. Give yourself a day after you arrive to do this in case you get there late, my son and I got stuck in Philly, and missed our first day so had to eat those tickets. Of well, went to a good cause and we did go the next day. If you haven’t read the book, do so before you go. Be prepared to feel a little sad.

        Red Light District, like the coffeeshops, is only a small part of Amsterdam. Don’t need to make excuses for checking them out. The Randy Roy tour explains a lot of information about the girls that work there. And not necessarily in a negative tone.

        The brewery is called “Brouwerji ‘t IJ” or the I Brewery. If you are in Dam Square, you just ask someone which tram to take to the I Brewery and they will help you. It is a great time.

        Won’t recommend any hotels to you as I think I go for more funky places with lots of stairs and fewer amenities.

        Can give you some recommendations in Prague. Still not sure what you are looking to see there

        Leslie

  5. I think the reason we avoided the Anne Frank Haus last year (aside from the line) was the sadness factor. I taught the book back when I taught 7th grade; it was difficult content to teach.

    I love the name of the ‘Randy Roy’ tour! We will definitely check that out (no pun intended!)

    Thanks for the info on the brewery. As for Prague–I’m still not sure what my husband is looking to see there, either! I have no strong feelings about it either way, and in fact I’m going to attempt to strike it from the itinerary. We’ll see how that goes over. I fear he’d rather scratch Iceland, which is at the top of my list.

  6. Tracy- funny story to share about the Red Light District… Hubby’s co-workers said they didn’t think he’d be willing to go there and dared him to bring proof. (He is a bit shy…) She told me we HAD to go- I was game… even wanted to before he said anything. Well we went in the middle of the day so he could get some photos. We found a street with 3 “ladies” lounging at the door of one of the establishments. They calle out to him to come on down the street. He raised his camera and took a picture and they started screaming!!! He grabbed my hand and said to run, he thought they were calling their pimp to come beat him up! LOL! We stopped running at the nearest bridge to catch our breath and saw the funniest thing. We heard more yelling and looked up. An almost naked man was backing out of a doorway and a “lady” was throwing his clothes at him. He was picking up items, trying to get dressed and get out of the way of the things she was throwing all at the same time. Couldn’t understand what she was screaming, but his reaction was priceless. Chuck got pictures of that, too!
    We also visited a “coffee house” once. Not my cup of tea (or coffee). But it was an experience.

    • that is hysterical! ha! i can see how a visit there would be totally worth it–though i’ll take your story into account and not take any photos! i have a funny coffee shop story–we had ordered two cups of hot chocolate and were sitting in an odd little screened in outdoor smoking area. my husband went to light up a cigarette (i ‘let him’ smoke when we are on vacation) and he got yelled at (well, told to put it out–no one actually yelled). you’re not allowed to smoke CIGARETTES in coffee shops! now we know!

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