Thank you Thank you for the info. You are correct - we have never traveled to this area. One more question if I might - what kind of maps do you reccommend? I have seen Michelin maps of the area - is this what we would want to get or have you had a better experience with another kind.
Wish you and your wife were on our cruise with us- think we have simular travel philosphies and interests. Thanks for sharing!
I love your question about maps. It has long been a problem and a passion since we have driven through many countries in Western Europe. I do have the large Michelin maps (the one for France is 238 pages and weighs at least 2 pounds) and also use Michelin regional maps. Since you are limiting yourselves to a specific part of the country, I think you might want to buy regional maps (they are regular folded maps). We prefer to buy our maps in the states, since you can never find the right maps when you need them in Italy. Our most convenient source is a Borders book store..although many of the large book stores have a decent selection of European maps. Our large map/books were purchased on-line via mail order, and we have England, Spain, Italy and France. But these books are pretty heavy and best suited for those who are driving large distances. The European rental car dealers will usually give you a free local map and sometimes a regional map, but they are not nearly as good as Michelin. We also have Michelin "red books) for all these countries, and they are handy because they have small city/town street maps of many places (not on the larger regional maps). Like in the USA, you can buy maps at most gas stations (especially on the main autostrade). We have actually talked about buying a portable GPS map system that has the loaded street maps of Europe, but we have not tried this at this time. I know that some of the European rental car dealers are now renting GPS systems (about $10 per day like in the USA) and this would be another option. Since the area you want to explore is all in Provence, I think you might find a single Michelin map (there are a couple of other competitiors) that covers the region. Time to head to your local large bookstore. By the way, we are off traveling to Europe late next week, so when we disappear from here around the 13th you will know we are just increasing our knowledge.
We have explored quite a lot of Switzerland, but for some strange reason we have never been to Austria. As to Germany, we have only been there twice, and its been a few years. So, in the next couple of weeks we will be heading to Europe (transatlantic cruise) where we will take a 14 night river cruise from Amsterdam, down the Rhine through Germany, and than over to the Danube (we will finally get to see some of Austria) and finally into Budepest. Why would two travelers (us) who love to drive through Europe, take a river cruise? Well, because we have have never tried a European river crusie (have done China and Egypt) and a matter of economics. With the dollar so darn low, and prices in Western Europe now so darn high for us Americans, it made sense to try something that pretty much pre-pays everything. Last year when we were driving through Italy, it cost us more than $70 to fill the gas tank of our small Ford Escort. This year, it would even cost more! I think that we still have an extended Germany/Austria driving trip in our future. As to Switzerland, it gets my strong recommendation. It can be done by train or car, and we have enjoyed both modes.
We would be very interested to hear your experience when you return. I agree the rate of the dollar is quite disheartening (and I gave a huge gulp when you talked about the cost to fill the car!) But we keep telling ourselves to go go go while there is the desire, a will and a way! There is so much world to see! Your trip sounds great. Hopefully you will share when you return! Mary
Hi MaryMary. I would strongly suggest speaking to your travel agent in reference to getting an International Drivers license while your in Europe. I didn't notice that anyone had mentioned that in this forum.
I was just in Civitavecchia April 6, 2007. If you find any time when your there, as someone else stated there is a free shuttle bus from the ship to Civitavecchia, and there's a lot of shops right there. It was my first time on a Mediterranean Cruise.
I don't know where you live, just to warn you from my experience, I find that the drivers in Europe drive just as crazy or crazier then in NYC. There's a lot of Motorcycles and Mopeds to contend with also. Everyone there seems to take so many chances. I'm not trying to scare you, I'm just trying to warn you.
We are going back on another Mediterranean Cruise in Jan., 2008. We're searching ways to travel by train. I just have to find the right site to find out the information.
So please be very careful when your driving in Europe.
Have a Wonderful time. You'll love it.
Carnival Fascination 12/2001, Triumph-5/2003--11/2/2008
Glory-9/2004 -- 10/2006 --9/2007 -- Victory-7/2006,
Costa Atlantica 2/2002-- 2/2005----Magica 2/2006
HAL MS Zuiderdam 9/03
MS Zaandam 1/04
Sun Princess 9/05
Royal Caribbean :
Majesty of the Seas 11/01
Sovereign of the Seas 12/02
MSC Orchestra 1/09
Ruby Princess 10/09
We found the trains very easy to use in Europe. They are on time ( be warned not to be late)and fairly clean. We thought the French trains were cleaner than the Italian trains. Good luck with your trip in 2008. We are looking at the Fall to head back.
thanks for the advice - we have obtained a international drivers lisence (a snap at AAA) Realize driving will be a new experience - we braved driving in England and Wales a few years ago (on the worng side no less) and survived without incident. Hoping for the same here - there are places we are going to explore that the train doesn't reach. Thanks again for your input and advice.