Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Elopement: Progress

If you'll excuse my lack of consistent interesting blog posts. A lot has happened lately. Saturday afternoon Kevin was offered a job in Omaha! He will be moving at the end of this month. With that being said, we were able to start booking our elopement!

Sunday night we were able to book our plane tickets to Europe After that, I had to stop because I simply couldn't handle the stress of all the planning that was going to take place in the next 3 months (actually, a little less than 3 months). Monday night after work, I was determined to get things set. I booked our hotel in London, our hotel in Paris, a super cool hostel in Athens that came highly recommended from my cousin (a private room in the hostel). I booked the chunnel from London to Paris, the short flight from Paris to Venice, and the flight from Rome to Athens. We also have our contracts signed for our photographers. We have one lined up in London, and one in Paris. 

My planning has a system, promise. I have 3 excel workbooks going, with our budget, our actual spending, and the dates of traveling and transportation. My excel obsession is no laughing matter.  

What we don't have: We haven't gotten our Eurail to travel around Italy yet, nor have we booked any places to stay in Italy. Why? I just haven't gotten around to it yet. I'm still learning this concept of the Eurail (thanks to my friends who have traveled in Europe much more than I have). I feel like I've done a lot of Europe traveling, until I realized, I really haven't. 

I went to France when I was in 6th grade, on an exchange program. We were in a little city in France, and only spent a couple hours in Paris. My sister and I went to London and Scotland the summer after my Sophomore year in college, but she had just been back from a few months in Europe, so she planned all of our travel and hostels. Not to mention, we never used Eurail. 



Woohooo! I'm so excited for you guys! I've got some good spreadsheets and stuff from my Paris trip (2011) if you're interested.

My one major recommendation is the Paris Museum pass though (http://en.parismuseumpass.com/) if you plan on visiting several museums it is 100% worth it. It lets you skip lines at places like the Louvre which is a giant time saver.

And also I'm sure you're already doing this, but check out some of Rick Steves' Paris books (I really like the pocket Paris guide). Paris is one of his favorite cities so he's got a ton of great info.


I would second the Rick Steves recommendations!! He has some really wonderful reviews for restaurants, hotels, hostels, sightseeing, etc. in all the major European destinations plus a lot of smaller ones. I lived in London and Florence for two months each, and have also traveled through Italy, France and bits and pieces of several other western European countries. If you want more specific recommendations, you should email me once you know where you're going in Italy! I would love to help out. :D

Courtney Noll

I studied in England my junior year of college (06-07) and had two six-week long breaks we used for travel.

Have you checked to see if the Eurail is actually going to save you money vs. buying tickets as you need them? I did it both ways--Christmas break I used an unlimited Eurail pass and Easter break I just bought tickets as I needed them. If you aren't going to be on the train a lot, the Eurail pass might not save you much money, but I've not looked at the pricing in a long time. Also, you sometimes have to pay an extra charge for your ticket even with a Eurail pass.

http://www.litusroma.com/indexen.html This is where my friends and I stayed while we were in Rome--it is a little ways outside the city (you have to take a train in) but it is super close to the beach (we spent part of New Year's Eve on the beach).

I really don't remember anywhere else that I stayed in Italy becuase we usually just booked online a day or two before we were going to move to the next city.

A cool place in Italy we went was Cinque Terre--its these five villages on the coast and you can hike between them. It was so pretty.

That was probably more than you needed to know from a complete stranger, but backpacking Europe is still one of my favorite things to talk about. :)


My mom found a farm B&B in Tuscany and it's become a family favorite! It's called Le Tre Stelle. Even though Tuscany is a bit out of reach I still suggest staying on a farm B&B somewhere...such a good experience with family-style dinners every night.


http://www.hotellorenafirenze.com/template.php?pag=36989 <-- Hotel in Florence cheap! http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g187820-d564968-Reviews-Hotel_La_Spiaggia-Monterosso_al_Mare_Cinque_Terre_Italian_Riviera_Liguria.html <-- Good Hotel in Cinque Terre

Both with recommendations from the Laegreid tribe. Stayed in 2008, but doubt much has changed, as it is Italy.


how long are you going for? cuz seems like you're going to have a REALLY full itinerary as it is :) don't forget to give yourselves some time to just relax :) a note: if you want to go to any of the top trendy restaurants in london or paris, you might want to plan those now and book them now. you might not be able to get reservations a weekn befoer, many fill up months in advance. look at tripadvisor for ideas, you should plan yourself at least one or two really nice meals out :) also, you should probably budget more of your balance for paris than for london or italy (in my experience). It will be much harder to find a cheap meal there. in london, there is a lot to see and most of the museums are free and not too hard to get into. its easy to find street food, too. Borough Market is a favorite of mine for weekend lunches. if you just want to stroll around, Kensington is nice, especially the area around notting hill. Camden stables is also a popular spot for a fun walk and interesting atmosphere. in Paris, eating out is generally expensive unless youw ant to pick cheese and baguettes up as you go, or just subsist on falafel and kebabs. avoid the restaurants with boards out front boasting 3 course menus for 10-15 euros lol. they are not even worth it. churches are generally free and don't hesitate to go in them(especially Madeline, notre dame, Sacred Couer--worth every step of the hike!!). pick and choose with museums as they are not going usually to be free. D'orsay is my favorite. There are also some interesting house museums with private art collections in the area around the arch...check those out. yLouvre is nice but its big and crowded and the Mona lisa looks the same in person as it does in a book. if you go there, try to wander around and go to galleries that are not italian art, they will probabl be empty. check museum calendars to find the days they are open late (9:45, 10pm ish) as those are the times tehy will probably be less busy. keep in mind that the eiffel tower isnt the only place you can get a good panoramic view--certainly it isn't the cheapest and the lines will be longest. I can understand wanting to go up there, though. In rome, plan one day to do the stuff around the ruins, and one day to do the vatican stuff, and one day to go back and do some things in between. take busses in all cities where you can, underground is convenient but you can't look out the window!

anyway, hope all goes well, I know you're excited to get the planning underway!!! good luck!

Bonnie J

I stayed in a great hostel in Rome called "The Yellow" during my gap year before law school.(http://www.hostelworld.com/hosteldetails.php/The-Yellow/Rome/743?source=adwordsromenames&kid=320133&aid=2&gclid=CMbV7NfxobUCFUkw4AodywoAmg). It was central in the city and was an easy walk to the train station. We had a Eurail pass so proximity to the train station was important for our day trips to Venice and Florence. There were lots of little restaurants next to the hostel and the hostel had it's own bar which was great for meeting other travelers.

Good luck and Congrats!


I have no good information to add since I've only been to France once. I just have to say, though, that you are exceptionally organized. That's so cool! I'm sure it will be an amazing trip for the two of you.

Ariella Lola

Congratulation! don't forget to take tons of pictures! Have fun! i hate to be a pain, but about the guest post, i fixed the issue with the pictures, so just tell me if you need anything else and when it will be up. thanks!

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