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So, we have decided to travel across Europe with three DC - all advice welcome

(21 Posts)
mixedmamameansbusiness Fri 05-Apr-13 15:17:57

Date set for Summer 2013.

Ds1 will be 9
Ds2 will be 7
Ds3 will be 4

The plan is to travel by train over two weeks stopping off for some sight seeingnetc along the way and finishing up at our families house in Turkey for a week at the beach.

Ds1 and 2 are helping to organise and have scrapbook to put ideas in, things we need to buy, places they would like to visit along the way etc to keep the involved, as I realise visiting a load of cities might not be every child's idea of a great holiday but currently they are very excited.

We are likely to visit:

France
Germany
Austria
Hungary
Serbia or Romania
Bulgaria

We are slowly starting out list so any ideas about things to look out for, what to take, tips for trains, tips for kids etc greatly appreciated.

Currently there is potentiAl that my parents may take Ds3 directly toTurkey. Ds1 would have been a perfect travelling four year old and ds2 would have been terrible so I think we will see whether we think he can cope nearer the time.

This is obviously something I want to do, but the boys have reacted positively so I want to do whatever we can to make this a great trip both the run p and actual time we are away.

Thanks everyone.

ivykaty44 Fri 05-Apr-13 15:23:42

Pack light and don't worry about clothes being worn for longer than normal.

Take back packs for the boys with their own stuff in for on the trains (I don't mean there clothes etc) so books pencils playing cards - just small back packs.

take hand cleners gel

mixedmamameansbusiness Fri 05-Apr-13 15:30:53

Thanks Ivy. Hand gel a brilliant idea. The list has started.

ChippyMinton Fri 05-Apr-13 15:30:59

Check out the www.seat61.com website.

mixedmamameansbusiness Fri 05-Apr-13 15:33:01

Ah yes, this is where I got the route from, it is a brilliant website.

ChippyMinton Fri 05-Apr-13 15:36:05

Just found the page - exciting!
I like the sound of the route via the Greek Islands - more ferry than train though.

Do you plan to take sleepers or do overnight stops?

mixedmamameansbusiness Fri 05-Apr-13 15:42:58

I did look at the Greek Islands one, but I thought that could be a separate trip in itself and we will end up on an island from Istanbul anyway.

I think that site is going to be my bible for the next two years.

We plan for the journey to take approximately two weeks so will stopover in a few places but definitely want a sleeper or two, it will be a big part of the fun.

Our preferred route was through Serbia as we have friends who have an apartment there but the journey onward from Belgrade looks uncomfortable due to there being no sleepers and essentially just ordinary seats from Sofia to Istanbul, so we might have to rethink and go via Romania, I am sure we can make Transylvania interested for three young boys.

ChippyMinton Fri 05-Apr-13 15:44:47

Took my DC to France by plane and train last summer and would recommend a small wheeled backpack for each DC, easier to manage than an ordinary pack.
Take small items that can be used for several activities - dice, playing cards. Nintendo DS are great, if you can recharge them, with multiplayer games they can play each other or alone.
Dark, soft comfortable clothes that don't show the dirt. A fleece or sweatshirt that can be tied round waist or rolled up for a pillow. Decent water bottles to hang on their packs (or in an outside pocket).
Cap/sunhat
Sunglasses on a string or lanyard. In fact lanyards are great - for cameras etc.

juneau Fri 05-Apr-13 15:49:14

I can't find it, but there was a fab article in either the Saturday Telegraph or the Sunday Times last year about a family who followed the route of the old Orient Express from Venice to Istanbul. It sounded wonderful and I thought at the time that I'd love to do it with my two boys when they're older. I think they did London-Paris-Venice ... can't remember after that - but it sounded like a real adventure.

ChippyMinton Fri 05-Apr-13 15:49:26

I don't know that part of the world very well, but would include Budapest on my itinerary.
I was in Sofia briefly (went skiing nearby), and whilst interesting, I wouldn't bother taking my DC there.

ChippyMinton Fri 05-Apr-13 15:50:17

Venice is amazing - especially as you step off the train and out onto the Grand Canal!

mixedmamameansbusiness Fri 05-Apr-13 15:55:56

I think Sofia is the connection to Istanbul althought we may well if we go via Bucharest just stay on the train if it is direct.

The website below said that it is no longer possible to follow the Orient Express route due to ferry closures or something , I will have to double check.

mixedmamameansbusiness Fri 05-Apr-13 16:00:59

There is potential for an Italy and Spain trip another time, they certainly want to go to Spain.

mixedmamameansbusiness Fri 05-Apr-13 16:02:45

Oh and when we get to Istanbul I plan o stay at the Pera Palas which is I think where Agatha Christie and Orienters stayed. We only ever stay in Istanbul for a few hours or at most overnight so looking forward to showing them Istanbul.

ivykaty44 Fri 05-Apr-13 16:15:56

Are you planing to sleep on the train overnight at all? All though it costs it would save money on B&B and save time as you would travel at night and wake up in a different country which I am sure your ds would find exciting grin

mixedmamameansbusiness Fri 05-Apr-13 16:29:22

Definitely planning for some sleeper trains, we looked at pictures of the berths etc today and the trains we might go own and they were excited.

TheSurgeonsMate Fri 05-Apr-13 17:02:09

If you like a bit of lifestyle blogging, this one is meant to inspire just your sort of thing, I think.

MooncupGoddess Fri 05-Apr-13 17:04:43

I've done London to Istanbul by train (but without children!) and can heartily recommend it. We took the sleeper from Belgrade to Sofia, but maybe that's not running any more?

The journey from Budapest to Belgrade was in the world's nastiest and slowest train, through dead flat countryside, with long customs delays... I wouldn't recommend it.

Bucharest is renowned as being a shithole (hence why we went via Belgrade and Bulgaria) but I haven't been there so can't speak from personal experience. <cue long queue of MNers telling me it's actually lovely>

Trains in Turkey are up the spout thanks to the new high-speed network being built, so you'll probably have to get the bus for the last bit. However, Turkish long-distance buses are amazing so it's not a major problem.

MmeLindor Fri 05-Apr-13 17:07:01

What route are you thinking of taking through Germany? I can help with Germany and Switzerland.

mixedmamameansbusiness Fri 05-Apr-13 17:14:01

Mooncup the works look to be finished in October I think, but it will change the nature of our journey and I was looking forward to arriving at Sirkeci but that won't happen now. The Romania/Serbia issue is largely due to the fact that at some point in the journey the trains past Belgrade become less nice and at present with only ordinary seats as opposed to couchettes etc.

In Germany, I am at superficial planning stage but essentially we will be going from Paris to Munich iirc. We have some school friends who usually are in Munich in the summer so we would prob def stop over there and the same with Belgrade.

MmeLindor Fri 05-Apr-13 17:40:56

Would you be wanting to stop in Germany on the way, or just do Paris and Munich?

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