Sunday, October 18, 2009

Leaving On A Jet Plane...

Recently I have shifted my planning focus from wedding to Honeymoon!

Luke and I have decided we want to travel in Europe for (most) of the month of August following our July 31st wedding. In an effort to get out of his hair for an hour while he was writing a paper last week I went by our local library and picked up a ton of guidebooks. The first one I read was Rough Guide's First Time Europe. I LOVED it. There is some issue with this book as it's and older edition, printed in 2003, the year of my LAST European tour. Some stuff is out of date, especially in regards to the internet, but it's a great resource none-the less. They seem to have a newer edition from 2007, but I think it's written by a different person.

I've been to Europe before, but it was part of a choral tour. We had a very strict schedule and all travel and accommodations (and most of our sightseeing) was arranged ahead of time for us. I was also only 18. So this feels like my first trip to Europe, or at least, my first trip I'm planning for Europe.

We will visit Britain, France and Italy (we only have from the 2nd of August until about the 23rd), and we'd like to balance our time between the three countries. We're doing this the cheap way, so a lot of hostels, the old backpacking backpack, cooking our own food as much as possible, with a few deviations so it still feels like a honeymoon! After finishing the First Time Europe book, I've realized that there are three major purchases that are necessary before next summer.

1) A backpack. Last time I was in Europe I had a suitcase, which is a great suitcase, but we were in tour buses that dropped us off mere feet from our 4 or 5 star hotel. Not happening this time, we'll be walking/busing/train-ing from place to place. Apparently they don't really make external frame bags any longer? We went to R.E.I., and I got fitted, this is the bag that seemed to suit my needs the most. It's currently on sale, but there is a used gear event next weekend that we want to check out.

2) A good pair of walking shoes (and sandles?). I don't have a good pair of tennis shoes right now. Just a simple fact. Definitely going to want those. I also need to decide if I want to invest in a pair of Chakos or Tevas or some other active wear sandal rather rely on flip flops. I tend to be very comfortable in flip flops, especially my favorite Reefs, but I anticipate that we'll be doing a lot of walking. Can anyone recommend a type of shoe I should look into? I appreciate any advice that you have on this account since there are
SO MANY options!

3) A camera. In my over-exuberance at a recent trip to the beach my beloved little camera fell out of my pocket and into the ocean. It did not recover. I'm making due with my day to day photo needs by using an old digital that a friend gave me. It is not a very nice camera, and it requires AA batteries, something I'd like to avoid. I clearly need a better ( and smaller?) camera for this vacation as last time I went to Europe I didn't own a digital camera and ended up taking hardly any pictures, well, I took a lot of pictures, but not nearly enough and many of the images of monuments or art exhibits didn't turn out as well as I'd like. This is another area where I'd love some advice. I had a little fujifilm camera that I loved before it went swimming, but it's zoom wasn't as powerful as I may have liked. It had a lot of modes that I really appreciated including a museum mode that had no sounds or flash, a must for a trip to Europe! I've considered simply purchasing the same camera again, but I'm open to other suggestions too!

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