First Trip to Europe...

Discussion in 'Geographic Location' started by bvy, Mar 28, 2018.

  1. bvy

    bvy Subscriber

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    I'm taking my first trip over the pond in a few weeks. I'm traveling with film (of course) but would be interested in ANY advice for a first time European traveler. The extent of my international travels to date have been in this hemisphere (Mexico, Cuba, SXM).

    It's about three weeks in April, and my stops are in Milan (staying in Crema east), Paris, Brussels (just one night) and Amsterdam. Milan and Paris are business, but the agenda is light and I'll have evenings and weekends to explore. My wife will join me in Paris, and we'll do Brussels then Amsterdam. She wants to see the tulips. We'll depart before King's Day which I hear is chaotic.

    In terms of logistics, one idea I'm toying with is waiting till I'm in Paris and buying most of my film there, since it will be during and after that I'll do most of my photographing. (This versus traveling with new film, requesting scans, risking loss, etc.)

    I like jazz…

    I'll be traveling with my Yashica Mat 124G, Yashica T5, and a back-up or two.

    Thanks!
     
  2. AgX

    AgX Member

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    If in Brussels only for a night you might consider going to the Royal Greenhouses. They are open at some nights in april.
    Otherwise just stroll around downtown. Anything within the "pentangle" can be done on foot. And there are even public bikes everywhere (as in most tourist cities meanwhile).
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2018
  3. mooseontheloose

    mooseontheloose Subscriber

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    I would bring the film you think you need. It's expensive in Europe, especially compared to the US. As for photography, don't get weighed down by gear, and have fun exploring the streets.
     
  4. Europan

    Europan Member

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    If I can give you one single best advice, I mean British you will hardly be able to speak, Italian, French, Dutch, I don’t know, but maybe yes: wear long trousers and decent shoes. You will be acknowledged above the mass tourist already by that simple measure and treated accordingly. To me personally, shorts and sneakers are only allowed inside a squash court. You don’t want to be recognised as a Yankee, do you?
     
  5. mono

    mono Subscriber

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    Welcome to Europe!
     
  6. Frank53

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    Milan and Paris are very nice when visiting Europe for the first time, Brussels deserves more than one night, but it should be enough to see a bit. Kings Day in Amsterdam is chaotic, but Amsterdam is always chaotic and filled with tourists. The Netherlands is very small and there are many towns which are a lot nicer.
    As for gear, don’t take too much. The two camera’s you mention will be fine. Take film with you from home.
    Regards,
    Frank
     
  7. OP
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    bvy

    bvy Subscriber

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    Thanks everyone. In the Netherlands, we're actually staying in Zandvoort.

    I do plan to travel light. Also, I'm trying to pick up some Italian (Duolingo) and I think I've retained enough high school French to explain to someone that my mother eats insects.
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2018
  8. Sirius Glass

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    I strongly recommend that you take cameras that you are comfortable with and use with confidence of getting good results. Also bring more film then you think you will need, first of all because you will not have the luxury of time to waste looking for more film and second is that film is generally more expensive when one is traveling. Somehow film dealer senses or knows when someone who enters the store is from a different continent and they press a button which increases the film prices while the traveler is in the store.
     
  9. Ron789

    Ron789 Subscriber

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    Of course you need to visit Amsterdam but when staying in Zandvoort I'd recommend spending some time in Haarlem. The train will take you from Zandvoort to Haarlem in 10 minutes. Haarlem has a nice midieval town centre, canals and a river with nice views; everything is at walking distance. If you like nature, the area between Zandvoort and Haarlem is a national park where you can see wild horses, wild cows, lots of deer, birds, foxes and European bisons (wisent) when you're lucky: Nationaal Park De Kennememerduinen and the Amsterdamse Waterleidingduinen. And of course you'll need to visit De Keukenhof for the flowers. Enjoy your trip!
     
  10. mrosenlof

    mrosenlof Subscriber

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    Unless you want to do color in one and b/w in the other, I would omit one of the cameras. And if it were me, I would take the TLR. But that's just me and my way of seeing and photographing. I'm headed to Austria in 10 days and will be taking a Mamiya 645 and three lenses. Kind of thinking that's too much gear... I tend to change my mind up to departure. :smile: My last time to Europe it was Hasselblad and 120. Worked out pretty well. Have fun!
     
  11. gijsbert

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    Zandvoort is very close to Haarlem, which is a bit like Amsterdam, but much smaller and fewer tourist, Teylers museum is a very nice old building and collection.
    Amsterdam is close by train, the canals are always cute, Javaeiland is a newer neighbourhood which is fun to see and walk through, take a ferry, preferably the one to NDSM (the old shipyards), Noorderlicht is a cool restaurant.
    In Amsterdam check out Bimhuis for jazz concerts during your stay.
    Enjoy!
     
  12. twelvetone12

    twelvetone12 Subscriber

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    Se sei a
    Benvenuto in Italia! Se sei a Crema in un oretta di treno puoi arrivare a Milano :smile:
    From Crema it takes more or less a hour of train to get to Milano and I strongly suggest visiting the big city (there are also a couple of shops specializing in analog photography if you need film). You can get everywhere by train (more or less), if you plan traveling a lot there is an integrated ticket for the whole region. In Milano I suggest you do the 24 o 48 hour flat ticket. Check the train schedules beforehand! Some combinations can be quite quirky or if you plan to go to visit small villages, a car is much more handy.
    Et enfin j'espère que vas aimer l'Europe!
     
  13. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

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    taking a wife to Paris is like bringing your own beer to the pub.
     
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  15. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    I have taken a wife to Paris and I have taken a girlfriend to Paris. I enjoyed much more with the latter.
     
  16. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    BIG ditto on the recommendation to bring one camera, one film format. I did Paris with a Rolleiflex TLR and came back with some of the best travel photos of my life. On my recent visit to Paris (2015) I found the Parisians were not nearly so anti-foreign as their reputation would suggest, and they were quite willing to speak in English if you made even a blundering attempt to begin in French. The Italians, very much the same. In fact, in Rome, they often wouldn't even let me start in Italian... they just cut straight to English. You'll probably be fine in Milan too, as it is a center of international business. Definitely check out the cathedral, the Galeria Vittorio Emanuele, the DaVinci Museum of Science and Technology, and the Castello Sforzesco. If you have time, take a tour of La Scala opera house. Ride the old wooden street cars too if you get the chance.
     
  17. MattKing

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    I would love to have the chance to travel to Paris with my wife!
     
  18. Theo Sulphate

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    If you're staying in Europe a while and will be travelling by train, I suggest a Eurail Pass. Very convenient and well worth it.
     
  19. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    +2

    less is usually more.
     
  20. OP
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    bvy

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    It depends whose wife. Sounds like @MattKing 's wife could be fun.

    I do enjoy opera and actually participate in our local company's productions. La Scala is where it all began, and there is a show the week I'm there. Not sure if I can bring myself to spend almost $300 for a decent seat though.

    As for one camera, that can't happen -- simply because I'll be mixing business and pleasure. The TLR will be a must have on weekends, but when I'm out and about with business people during the week, I'll need something I can pocket. Also, most of my downtime during the week will be at night, and a flash will be handy. The T5 fits the bill for both of those criteria.

    Thanks for that reminder. The place is legendary! I'd love to check out the free jazz scene while I'm there (Guus Janssen, Han Bennink, and the like) but don't know if my wife will tolerate that.

    Grazie! Do you know Crema? Friendly town?
     
  21. Huub

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  22. bunip

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    Some food you can't miss in Milano:
    Peck - https://www.peck.it/ Via Spadari 9 (also bar and restaurant)
    Giovanni Galli - www.giovannigalli.com Via Victor Hugo 2
    Panzerotti Luini - www.luini.it Via Santa Radegonda 16

    If you'd like to explore and enjoy Milano you'd better find to sleep in the city. Going back and forth from Crema will be not ideal.
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2018
  23. Ivo

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    I would skip Brussels and vist Antwerp instead. Antwerp is only 40km from Brussels.

    Personally, I would even prefer Antwerp above Amsterdam.

    Antwerp: home place of diamonds, one of the largest harbors in the world, the cathedral with genuine Ruben’s paintings, hometown of Rubens and other Flemish painters such as Van Eyck, Jordaens, etc, in April a exhibition of Harry Gruyaert in the FOMU, the Rubens house, ....
    The most beautiful central rail station in the universe, a fabulous zoo and this all on walkable distance.
    The MAS museum, the cosy places along the old docks, etc.
    The authentic pedestrian tunnel under the stream that connects the right and left bank.

    Everybody speaks fluent English and French en most of the people’s can speak a few words German as well.
    And if you like to eat: Antwerp is the place.

    If you didn’t visit Antwerp, you missed the centre of Europe. What do I say? You missed the centre of the world, maybe the centre of the universe.


    (Ok, it is whispered that Antwerp people are chauvinist, and that is probably correct, but they do have a good reason to be so. )
     
  24. Ivo

    Ivo Subscriber

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    No serious, if you only have one day, come to Antwerp, everything is on walkable distance, world class art, world class buildings, you don’t loose time in metro or walking 10km from one spot to another (Paris), you will not get high only by the air on the street (Amsterdam) and you will not be disappointed (Brussels)
     
  25. AgX

    AgX Member

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    Not to forget, Rubens' tiny cabin, good for some social studies.

    And one can go to Agfa by tram.


    (To be fair I never found Brussels disappointing, just a bit different. But I got a serious language problem in Brussels. And to explore Antwerp harbour one needs a car, and quite some gasoline...)
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2018
  26. Ivo

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    The old harbor is walkable. The operational harbor is huge indeed.

    Brussel is a City on it’s own. I do like Brussels, but it toke multiple visits to find my way. The European quarter is spread as a deadly mold over the city and you can easily and up in a boring quarter and loose your one day.

    That is the big difference with Antwerp, it is compact and every inch of the old city and neighborhood is interesting.
     
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