I'm calling this adventure Eurotrashed 2007. It is an extended European stay beginning mid May that takes in many of the classic sites but staying true to my dirtbagging adventure roots. What that means is besides museums and tourist venues I'll also hike a few hundred miles, climb in the Alps, and get dirty exploring caves. As usual I will be travelling cheaply by tenting, using hostels, staying with friends, sleeping on trains, and (new for 2007) Couch Surfing. I'm also a member of the similar Global Freeloaders network, but their website is much less of a resource than CS.
My areas of concentration are BeNeLux (Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg to those of you not in the know), Great Britain, the western Alps, and the Czech Republic. I will have three bases of operation during this trip. The first is Amsterdam, Netherlands where a friend lives, the second is somewhere around Chamonix, France where my climbing partner and I plan to rent an apartment for a month, and the last is in Prague, Czech Republic where I plan on staying for a month. I'm spending a lot of time in the UK as well but since the majority will be long distance hiking my home will be my backpack. Skip to the map.
Although I flew into Amsterdam and spent a day in the city my trip really began with a loop through Scandinavia (Denmark, Sweden, Norway). Then I saw Berlin. After three days there I hopped the train again in order to begin exploring the Low Countries.
From Amsterdam I went to Paris with all my gear for a couple days then continued on to Chamonix at the foot of the Alps where we had an apartment near the Aiguille du Midi cablecar. This was our base for climbing on the Mont Blanc massif. The weather kept us inside most days though and we didn't have much luck when we went out either. I'll be back. After a month in Chamonix I packed up and left for the Swiss side. I went through Geneva to Bern. My friend, Christine, lives in nearby Worb. For the weekend we drove to action packed Interlaken. Fun ensued: canyoning Chli Schliere and bungee jumping. I could easily spend months there but before I knew it I was saying goodbye and on a train to Munich. Four days barely scratches the surface.
I left Interlaken and the Western Alps for Germany and Austria. First Munich where I met Sonja and dropped off most of my gear. Then we took her car through Bavaria and Tirol. We went hiking, climbing, and canyoning. She also dropped me off for a climb of Zugspitze, Germany's highest mountain. That was a great climb and on the way back to Munich I spent a day castle siteseeing.Back to Amsterdam to swap gear and relax for a bit before I began the next part of my trip. I flew to Edinburgh, Scotland and checked out the city for a few days while waiting out a bit of rain. Then off to Newcastle upon Tyne in northern England where I started my walking tour along Hadrian's Wall. After the wall I revisited Carlisle before heading to Glasgow to start hiking the West Highland Way. From Fort William at the other end I waited a couple days for better weather and then climbed Carn Mor Dearg and Ben Nevis. A bus took me to Loch Ness and Inverness. Then I closed my Scottish loop and headed to York for a few days. Next stop Warwick Castle and Oxford and then London where I met my sister. London was cool and of course it isn't far to Stonehenge and Bath. Oh my!
With my sister we visited spots in Germany along the Rhine and the city of Rothenberg on our way to the Czech Republic. We explored some awesome places together before she headed to Slovakia and later Italy. I stayed a month in Prague and around the country and managed to pick up some of the language which helped tremendously in the Slavic countries to come. Eurotrashed ended strong with another loop, actually a figure-8. This time Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Croatia, Hungary, and Austria. Besides the typical architecture and museums I was able to "mix it up" with mine, cave & mountain visits, mountain biking, and hiking. A visit to Slovenia's beautiful coast was a nice change too. Read the individual pages linked above for all the wonderful details. If you just want a quick list of where I went then here is a list of my destinations. The visual representation of my plans is more interesting though.