Eurail is the bane of my existence.
Yesterday while Catie and my parents were at FSU for her orientation, I spent the promised six or seven hours in front of the Eurail timetable. I worked it out according to the two distinct travel possibilities: Boston or no Boston. If I don't do the Boston swim, I would leave town on the 15th, the last day of my pay period at work. If I do, I would swim on the 6th and leave the country on the 7th, thus giving me a full extra week. In the worst-case, I had to cut out the caves at Lascaux, the Dordogne region, the vineyards at Bordeaux, and even Florence and Pisa - none of it fit. I even had to plan for a flight back instead of taking the trains, because otherwise I would have had to chop out a lot more stuff. However, I am starting to realize that paying extra to fit Boston into my itinerary and paying extra to fly back to NL at the end of Eurail will amount to approximately the same amount of money, whereas one scenario would make me infinitely happier than the other. Therefore, the final decision really just rests on how Key West goes in a week. If it goes well, I'll do Boston; if it doesn't, I may not. But anyway, here are the timetables for 'worst' and 'best' scenarios, all checked out with the airlines and the train timetables.
8/15 fly overnight to the Netherlands
8/16 drop my huge bag at University College and spend the night with a friend
8/17 early train to Paris, 2 bike tours (one day, one night... completely different)
8/18 bike trip to Versailles, train to Bayeaux
8/19 D-day beaches/museums, train back to Paris, night train to Rome
8/20 Vatican City, Colosseum, Pantheon, Trevi fountain
8/21 train to Naples, day trip to Pompeii
8/22 day trip to Capri
8/23 catacombs, Mt. Vesuvius, train to Bari, night ferry to Patras (Greece)
8/24 train to Athens, Acropolis, Pantheon, night train to Thessaloniki
8/25 hike Mt. Olympus, night train back to Athens
8/26 35-euro flight to gorgeous Santorini (island)
8/27 35-euro flight back from Santorini, day trip to Delphi
8/28 day trip to Olympia, late-night 115-euro flight to London
8/29 6 AM flight from London to Amsterdam
8/30 free day to unpack and get organized
9/1 classes start!
8/5 fly to Boston, have the pre-swim dinner
8/6 swim, and hopefully meet Robin
8/7 fly to the Netherlands, spend the night with a friend
8/8 drop my huge bag at University College, take the train to Paris, do the city bike tour (night version)
8/9 bike trip to Versailles, train to Bayeaux in the evening
8/10 D-Day beaches/museums, evening train back to Paris
8/11 early train to St. Malo, day trip to Mont-Saint-Michel
8/12 early train back to Paris, train to Bordeaux, local transportation to Sarlat
8/13 day trip to the caves at Lascaux
8/14 day trip to the Dordogne Valley, back to Bordeaux in the evening
8/15 bike tour of Bordeaux/vineyards, overnight train to Nice
8/16 trains from Nice to Genova and Genova to Pisa, see the Leaning Tower
8/17 train from Pisa to Florence
8/18 day in Florence, train to Rome
8/19 Rome (Vatican City, Colosseum, etc.)
8/20 Rome, afternoon train to Naples, see the famous catacombs
8/21 day trip to Pompeii
8/22 day trip to Capri (Blue Grotto, hiking)
8/23 visit Mt. Vesuvius, afternoon train to Bari, overnight ferry to Patras (Greece)
8/24 train to Athens, see Acropolis and Parthenon, overnight train to Thessaloniki
8/25 day trip to hike Mt. Olympus, overnight train back to Athens
8/26 35-euro morning flight to gorgeous Santorini
8/27 35-euro morning flight back to Athens, day trip to Delphi
8/28 travel to Olympia (maybe via Tripoli), then to Patras; overnight ferry to Bari
8/29 train to Rome, overnight train to Paris
8/30 city bike tour (daytime version), train back to NL
8/31 free day
9/1 classes start!
Leavin' on a jet plane... or maybe not...
Help! I finally found a Boston-Amsterdam round trip for $761, but now I can’t find a Jacksonville-Boston flight that isn’t $250. Argh!
And if we’re talking one-way, Virgin Atlantic has a $312 fare to London and British Midland has an $85 one to Amsterdam, but once you factor in the Jacksonville-Boston fare, you get around $550 for just one-way... and that’s what I’d normally pay for a round-trip. Grrr.
Also, why is everything so much cheaper on Sunday morning than on Saturday night? I’d rather not pay for a second night in a hotel, but with a difference of $100 – which is what it is – I think I will. Bah.
The one positive factor: the euro is dropping. It’s down to $1.20 now. Thank you, France, and thank you, Netherlands, for vetoing the European Constitution! Keep dropping, keep dropping...