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Two week trip to europe, any tips?

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by Chriscross3234, Apr 30, 2011.

  1. Chriscross3234

    Chriscross3234 Mu-43 Rookie

    Dec 28, 2010
    Raleigh, NC
    In a few weeks, I'll be leaving on a school-sponsored, two week trip to Europe. We'll be traveling basically all over the western part of Europe; various locations in Germany, Italy, and France. The point of the trip is to see as much of Europe as possible within 2 weeks, so we'll be on the move and staying in a single city for only one or two days. I'll be taking all my camera gear, which consists of just my GF1 + 20mm and 3 SD cards (40GB total space).

    This will be my first time in Europe, so if you have any suggestions (travel-related or photography-related), I'd really appreciate the advice. Thanks!
  2. Pan Korop

    Pan Korop Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 31, 2011
    Phare Ouest
    I'll presume the Panasonic battery charger will handle European AC (220 V, 50 Hz), but do you have the good plug cord (i.e. Japanese mini 2-prong to Europe mains)?
  3. Chriscross3234

    Chriscross3234 Mu-43 Rookie

    Dec 28, 2010
    Raleigh, NC
    Yeah, I have a converter that converts the 220v to 110v and has multiple 2-prong slots.
  4. fastcar888

    fastcar888 Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 2, 2011
    I would try to confine most of my shooting to late in the afternoon or early in the morning when the light is best. Paris IMO is the most beautiful city in the world. The lights at night are simply spectacular. Take the boat ride on the Seine. If you go through France, then some of the smaller towns are impressive with a camera. Italy is beauty on steroids. Virtually everywhere you turn is picturesque. Drink wine in France and Italy.

    Museums and churches in all three counties are worthwhile and camera worthy . Just walking the streets is spectacular and shots in restaurants, hotels and bars will be memorable. Try to shoot at unusual angles.

    Germany, IMO, is most beautiful in the mountains and fun on the Autobahn if you like fast cars. Drink the beer there. Berlin is my favorite big city. Some of the small towns, that can be reached by automobile are beautiful.

    If possible, try to get to Switzerland. It is extremely picturesque and will knock you over. Zermatt, Visp, Lucerne, Zurich and Lugano come to mind. Take boat rides whenever possible anywhere. Have fun and good luck.
  5. Chriscross3234

    Chriscross3234 Mu-43 Rookie

    Dec 28, 2010
    Raleigh, NC
    Wow, great advice!

    I'll most likely be taken photos all day, which is sure to include early morning and late afternoon. Museums, churches, and boat rides at night are on the list of things to do.

    Just to give a specific list of the major places we visit; London, Amsterdam, Munich, Venice, Rome, Florence, Lucerne, Paris. We will be staying at a few smaller towns too.
  6. Adubo

    Adubo SithLord Subscribing Member

    Nov 4, 2010
    extra SD cards, extra batteries and a comfy bag for your gear and extras :) 
  7. kytra

    kytra Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 28, 2011
    I recommend Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany, at least 2 days in Paris (I would not go to the Louvre, is too big and overrated).

    beware of pickpockets in the crowded places, especially in Italy (where a lot of Romanian Gypsies are doing it and the Police is not very effective) but also in France. I know this for a fact because I am Romanian and I have seen them dissapearing from our streets and going mainly to Italy, France, Spain and UK.
    • Like Like x 1
  8. Alf

    Alf Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Mar 23, 2010
    Northeastern Tuscany
    Be on foot and explore as much as you can without putting too much time in single places to visit.
    Two weeks are a short time for all the places you are going to visit, so I think that your time will be best enjoyed exploring and seeing everyday life. Art is around, just enter where you feel like it's interesting.

    When it's over, you will know what (and if) to look for next time.
  9. Gwendal

    Gwendal Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 6, 2010
    My two cents of advice from a Parisian : fastcar888 is wrong, the most beautiful city in the world remains Rome ;-)

    This being said, Alf gave the single best piece of advice - the best piece of photo equipment you'll need is a very comfortable pair of shoes. And when you're tired, take the bus ! Also - take your time. I find it is always better to simply send a couple of hours not doing much on a small plaza in Rome, for instance, actually absorbing the place, than running around like a headless chicken not pausing to actually look at what is in front you.

    And contrary to Kytra, I think the Louvre is not overrated - tons of beautiful pieces of art there, and actually seeing the thing is always way more impressive than a photo in the pages of a catalog. And the building itself is beautiful - just do not expect to see it all in one day ! And, oh, Venice : be sure to spend at least an evening there, and to quickly lose yourelf in the smallest streets, esp the ghetto.
    • Like Like x 1
  10. kytra

    kytra Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 28, 2011
    too much art for a very short time in Le Louvre, and too many tourists. I fully agree that it is beautifull building and finest of art, but it is overwhelming. I would prefer a taste of Paris by walking on the streets of Le Marais, climbing the Montmartre and so on...
  11. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    BS - won't be possible, or you waste the entire day waiting for the light.

    Most important thing - HAVE FUN.

    Second most important thing - be safe. As mentioned above, pickpockets are a real problem at most of the touristy sights. Keep your passport in your front pocket. Money/stuff is just money/stuff - no Passport and you are stuck there (which isn't necessarily a bad thing! :)  )It helps tremendously to dress like the locals, and maybe learn "go away" in the local language (and practice with a local so you sound like one)

    Traveling fast and cheap, I have found churches to be very interesting and free, plus you never know what you'll find ... wandering around Vienna I happened on a concert by the world's oldest operational pipe organ... older Catholic churches usually have a "relic" - some decayed part of a long dead famous person.

    I also second the above about skipping ART museums. If it's something worth seeing, it will probably be loaned to a museum near you some time. Sometimes, the national history museums are neat, but usually when the culture is more different than European/US (Asia for example).

    If you have time to yourself, I recommend the cheesy on-off bus tours. They are a very cost effective way to see the major sites. If I only have a few hours in a city, this is what I do... better yet is if they have a ring-route tram/rail line, super cheap sightseeing that way!

    Lastly, research where you are going, get an idea of where the great views are from. I have a neat, free, iPad app called Fotopedia Heritage that has photos from all the UNESCO world heritage sites that gives me an idea of photos before I get there.
  12. fastcar888

    fastcar888 Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 2, 2011
    The most beautiful city in the world could also be Las Vegas if you are winning at the tables, so there are times we can rule out Paris or Rome.
  13. SMaturin

    SMaturin Mu-43 Veteran

    Apr 30, 2011
    New York's Backyard
    If you choose to brave the crowds at the Eiffel tower, time your visit for sunset and take a small tripod. You can get some fabulous views of Paris in the sunset from the top, and some interesting shots of the structure from odd angles, looking up and down with a wide lens. Try some hdr shots of the sunsets. Also the streets and the bridges of the seine at night can be fun for color play and water reflections.

    Venice is truly magical at night. Ride the ferry from the airport if you arrive in the evening and get nice reflections off the canals. Another great place for hdr shooting.

    The Hofbrauhaus in Munich has quite picturesque barmaids and scenery.

    Roman ruins are always fun to play with unusual angles and textures.

  14. Alan_N

    Alan_N Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 22, 2011
    Yorkshire UK
    well think most of it has aready been covered, take as much memory as you can unless you taking something to download them on to cards are cheap think what you might need and add another couple. Get a spare battery if you can even it it another make, small tripod, I assume as it is a school trip a fair amount will be planned, looking at your list of places been to London but not for years even though I live in the uk, I in Amsterdam last April for a few days, it is fairly compact city so can easy walk around, but catching a boat is a nice way also to see the city. Catching one of these tour buses can be good you can jump on and off and will give you a good over view of the city.

    As has aready been said keep your self and have FUN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  15. Just remember to look up from the camera every now and then :wink:
  16. Spuff

    Spuff Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Dec 5, 2010
    Berkshire, UK.
    It won't help Chrisscross but when I went to Paris in November it wasn't crowded with tourists at all. I was warned of queues at the Louvre, but when I arrived there was no queue at all, and the worst later in the day was a queue of about 8 people.

    It's rather sad when I see tourists doing whistle stop visits to places like the National Gallery or British Museum in London. The first time I visited them I spent the whole day in them.
    The National Gallery is a must go to because you get to see Trafalgar square as well as the gallery in one go.
  17. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    Good point about small tripod. Something like a gorilla pod or even one of those bean bags can be a life saver in low light.

    Note that most tourist places wont allow anything much larger than a gorillapod
  18. fastcar888

    fastcar888 Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 2, 2011
    Here are some other thoughts:

    London- Taxicabs, phones booths,:cool:  umbrella shops, British Museum (Beatles memorabilia there), Tower Bridge, Street around Harrod's, Theatre at night.

    Amsterdam-Ride the canals, the red light district , Van Gogh museum rates very high and is memorable, shoot the bicycles (a major mode of travel).

    Munich: Hofbrauhaus- beer lover's paradise

    Venice- Take a gondola ride. :thumbup: That is a can't miss. Incredible handmade glass shops, beautiful scenery just walking in streets and restaurants.

    Rome- Trevi Fountain, Colosseum, Museums, Vatican, Spanish Steps and shops in that area are fantastic (world class). Tons of tourists.

    Florence-Ponto Vecchio (beautiful jewerly on that bridge), Duomo, beautiful city.

    Lucerne- Boat ride, boat ride, boat ride. :yahoo::yahoo: Mount Pilatus is an absolute must.:2thumbs: Check out the watch stores, have dark chocolate and enjoy the fondue.

    Paris: Arc de Triomphe, Lourve, Museum d'Orsay, and other places previously mentioned. The museums IMO are a must.:bravo-009: If you want a real kick try Euro Disney.. a 45 minute train ride. R2 D2 and C3P0 from Star Wars speak to you in French.:jedi::jedi: Drink wine.

    Have fun.
    • Like Like x 1
  19. bnash

    bnash Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 29, 2010
    My wife and I are just back from a trip to Amsterdam, Lille (Canadian war memorial at Vimy) and Paris. Many of the art galleries don't allow picture taking, one exception is the Pompidou Centre (modern art) in Paris. I'll echo the previous comments about: comfortable shoes, pickpockets (keep your valuables in front of you), extra batteries (the olympus charger works on both voltages with the appropriate adaptor but I thought the charge was incomplete at the higher voltage). We had bank cards without chips and had problems getting cash so had to use charge cards for funds. While in Amsterdam we pre-bought our gallery tickets at the hotel to save waiting in line to buy tickets.

    Enjoy yourself and stop to rest at the sidewalk and city centre outside cafes.
  20. NZUnicorn

    NZUnicorn New to Mu-43

    Oct 15, 2010
    Two weeks is very little time to visit so many places. Your time will be very limited in each place, and there is so much to see. So you need to do plenty of research before you go to make sure you know as much as you can about the things that interest you most and you minimize time spent travelling between attractions.

    The Louvre is vast. It has three separate wings. The Denon wing, where the Mona Lisa and Venus De Milo are located is the most popular. It is often very crowded and as a result can have the ambience of a bus station. The Richelieu and Sully wings have equally fine art but are much less crowded and better afford an opportunity to appreciate what is on display.

    Be aware that the UK uses different power points than Europe, so you may need two adapter types.

    I am not sure that just a 20mm lens is a great kit to take to Europe. From a size and weight point of view, and for low light, it will be excellent. But there will be many times when you will want something wider, and plenty of times when something longer will also be very useful.
    • Like Like x 1
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