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Puka shell tour guides? Suggestions

by Keone Michaels Fri Feb 16th, 2007 at 01:34:17 PM EST

Colman suggested that I post this as a diary.  I saw that he was in the midst of a real estate transaction and it prompted this diary about my desire to tour Europe.I


 just sold a house ...
I get the proceeds in March and have a small profit and I've started to dream about traveling in Europe.  

I guess a train pass would be the best?  The EuroPass I have heard so much about.  Cost?

I've never been to Europe, most of my travel has been to the Pacific rim countries doing research for the government.  I've never really been a tourist and living in Hawaii have a poor opinion of them.  

Is there a way to camp with RVs etc?  What are the options for a 3 to 4 month trek?  

Suggestions?  Places I must see?  Places I should avoid? My real surname is Russian-Jewish.  A well known street in Tel Aviv I'm told.  Is that a problem vis a vis places I should avoid?  Is that paranoid?  Like the Americans that wear Canadian flags on their luggage?

Places I want to go.  Paris.  Amsterdam.  Glasgow.  Berlin.  Rome.  ??????

Display:
Are you primarily interested in cities?
by Fran on Fri Feb 16th, 2007 at 01:42:13 PM EST
No, I live in the country because I prefer it.  I'm an artist and if I could paint for a week or two here and there and wander it would be lovely.  the cities are just so I can feel them.  

alohapolitics.com
by Keone Michaels on Fri Feb 16th, 2007 at 02:12:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Then maybe the Alps would be nice to visit and for hiking. I guess another decision would be, if you want to give preference to northern or southern Europe.
by Fran on Fri Feb 16th, 2007 at 02:38:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I like to hike.  

Switzerland and the Alps.  I always think of Hemingway's description of the snug white sheets of his alpine lovers bed.  In my mind the picture is always from the bed out the window to the mountains the way he put it for me.  The strange thing is that it stays that way, Hemingway's picture unless you actually see the place and then it becomes your picture.

alohapolitics.com

by Keone Michaels on Fri Feb 16th, 2007 at 02:51:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You might still find crisp white sheets in Swiss hotels. But for the Alps there is also France, for Mountains Bavaria and Austria is great too. It really depends what your priorities are.
by Fran on Fri Feb 16th, 2007 at 02:58:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As I play it out in my mind I see a chance perhaps to concentrate on a series of illustrated stories, tentatively titled "Prison stories and other tales from the darksyde" to include at least one illustration each story.  I worked in a prison as an educator for 8 years.

That way I could take a pad of Arches hotpress watercolr paper and soluble colored pencils, some brushes and a laptop and I would be in business.  I have about 12 stories in draft.  They are all very dark.  But it is one whole body of work that I could finish in a few weeks if they had my whole attention.  That would be sweet.

alohapolitics.com

by Keone Michaels on Fri Feb 16th, 2007 at 07:35:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I am nto sure you will think the same way after observing Gaudi's work... but fo this you need to visit Barcelona :)

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Sat Feb 17th, 2007 at 02:57:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'd avoid driving if I were you - the rail pass sounds like a good plan. We were planning to do a rail trip across Europe in the spring, but that's on hold for the moment since we suddenly decided to move house instead!

As I said in the other thread, it might be helpful pick a theme (or a few themes) that interest you - it would help structure the trip and help you choose where to go. Faced with "Europe" I would have no idea where to go. Picking a theme of "travel to Istanbul and back by surface transport and visit as many ETers as we can, with a side-trip to Rome because we've never been" made the planning process possible.  And if you pick a theme then we can offer useful suggestions.

Three month pass from Eurail is $900 or so. Not bad really, though you'll spend more than that with reservation fees and so on. Accomadtion will cost moderately real money if you're not willing to do the hostel thing. Guess that depends on how small your profit is!

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Feb 16th, 2007 at 01:45:30 PM EST
You are right.  It is so big.  

I'm an artist so perhaps that is the theme that I might advance.  Actually, my plan sort of was to try and find representation (a gallery) that I could work with from Hawaii and do a show there every few years.  

I've been busy building a nice studio/home the past four years and just have started to paint again full time.  I also plan to invite clients to my studio starting this year.  For the type of art that I do, the market here is small.  Being a tourist destination the market is aimed at tropical scenes, etc.  If you want to paint those things you can do okay.  Luminous seascapes and happy filipino workers are not my forte thank you.

I also had in the back of my mind to meet some of the ET folks if it worked out.  A few of you folks seem like I know you already a little from your writing.


alohapolitics.com

by Keone Michaels on Fri Feb 16th, 2007 at 02:25:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
you mean Roy Tabora isn't your idol?  ugh....  

I'd ask where you show, but a little anonymity goes a long way on such a small island.

as for your bigger question, I'll respond in long form below.

by HiD on Sat Feb 17th, 2007 at 03:22:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I was in the same art classes as Tabora.  Dietrich Varez learned block printing from me.  And Gary Hostellero worked for me at EWC as an illustrator.  All three have eclipsed me in any sales and noteriety.

I haven't been represented by a gallery for about 4 years.  I used to show regularly as a photographer but have been reclusive at this stage of my life.  I never have made a living at fine art although I have made a living in commercial art and multimedia design.

I now paint what I like and fuck any expectations.  My latest series of paintings concerns the idea of "string theory."

alohapolitics.com

by Keone Michaels on Sun Feb 18th, 2007 at 01:10:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
we had friends over last night that show in one of his Honolulu galleries and like/respect him.  I just don't like his over lit, overly romantic scenes.  Don't wish to denigrate him.  

Good for you in terms of painting for yourself instead of turning out schlock for the market.  I can understand why some have to, but I have to think it's a bit soul destroying (this from someone with the artistic skills of a rock).

Good luck with your trip and sorry about your son.  There is an MS support group on Kauai.  We sometimes walk in their fundraiser (Kukui Grove start/finish) as we have a good friend who got that same bad news about 4 years ago.  Small solace but at least it usually progresses slowly and the drugs are improving.

by HiD on Mon Feb 19th, 2007 at 02:08:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
reservation fees?
moderate money?
Where is the best place to rent a flat?
about 100g

alohapolitics.com
by Keone Michaels on Fri Feb 16th, 2007 at 02:30:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Don't take my word for it, but I keep being told it's pretty affordable to rent a house or flat in Europe.  If you have 3-4 months, I'd rent a place somewhere for some extended period of time and get the feel of the place.  And backpack and hostel the rest of your way around the continent... :)

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire
by p------- on Fri Feb 16th, 2007 at 02:22:20 PM EST
That is what I thought mightbe a good strategy too.  I could do more artwork that way.

alohapolitics.com
by Keone Michaels on Fri Feb 16th, 2007 at 02:27:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
where do you suggest?

alohapolitics.com
by Keone Michaels on Fri Feb 16th, 2007 at 02:31:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
For Italy you should get in touch with melo - if I remember correctly he renovated a cottage which he rents out to visitors. Umbria and the Toscana are supposed be great for painting.
by Fran on Fri Feb 16th, 2007 at 02:36:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My experience: for 3-4 months, flat in Italy are not the cheapest of Europe if you stay in the city (the rent market is very small, and in that case aimed to companys workers. I would say at least 500€ a month for something small but decent (much more if Milano)
If you stay on the countryside, it is better (check: "agriturismo)

But I find the idea of a flat in a good connected place a worthy idea.
And getting the countryside with short-medium trips, chasing the good weather (10 days forecast are possible in some place) .
So in Italy, I would suggest Verona (if you want more Mitteleuropa), And Turin if you tend more to West Europe.
Turin has a quite lively artistic life, I believe, and is bigger with  more mixed urban life.


La répartie est dans l'escalier. Elle revient de suite.

by lacordaire on Fri Feb 16th, 2007 at 03:39:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I guess that depends on where you want to stay. :)  We have friends of the family who have begun renting a place in the south of France after they were priced out of Cape Cod...  I've also heard good things about renting in Italy and ... Croatia, which is supposed to be the new fabulous place to go...

Googling will turn up lots of stuff.  Someone gave me the name of the site they went through to rent a place in Tuscany, but I don't have it with me.  I'll look for it...

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire

by p------- on Fri Feb 16th, 2007 at 02:37:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, French wine.  I just bought a case of Beaujolais (the cheap grade I'm sure)  that is just wonderful. Thanks.  I'll google all those places.

alohapolitics.com
by Keone Michaels on Fri Feb 16th, 2007 at 02:45:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Barbara's flat in Cesky Krumlov [UNESCO world heritage city] is cheap, vacant, and centrally located for Central Europe.

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Feb 16th, 2007 at 02:56:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks.  Where is that?  I look it up now.  Cold?
that sounds interesting.. I go google the place.

alohapolitics.com
by Keone Michaels on Fri Feb 16th, 2007 at 02:59:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That looks cool.  I know an artist here, and artist from there that lives here some of the time.  Sedlacek.  What region would that name originate?

alohapolitics.com
by Keone Michaels on Fri Feb 16th, 2007 at 03:08:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sedlacek is a Czech name, yes.

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Feb 16th, 2007 at 03:14:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is cool.  http://new.ckrumlov.cz/php/webcam/index.php?lang=en

I meant can you tell which region of the Czech Republic it is from.  Is it closer to the Slovakia side?  I remember him talking drunkenly about his mother bring him money underneath her skirt accross the border because he was persona non grata.  I'll have to look him up and get him talking again.

Nevertheless I think the castle and city look good.  The international music festival looks cool.  

alohapolitics.com

by Keone Michaels on Fri Feb 16th, 2007 at 03:21:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Southern Bohemia.

I can't believe you haven't checked out the  wikipedia page yet, or google maps, for location.

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Feb 16th, 2007 at 03:24:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I did I did.  I'm talking about his name, Sedlacek.  His name is it an ethnic name from a particular region?  that I can't tell from the map.  I guess I could look up his name and see if that gives a clue.  

But I saw the location of ckrumlov on the map.

This is all happening at once, but May, June, July and August would be ideal.  I think my passport is still valid.  My daughter and her family move in next week and start building a house next door.  She is pregnant, expecting a baby March 4th.  I will have to sleep in my studio whilst the air hammers go off all day as her house is built.

I'll email later in the day or tomorrow as I figure out everything.  thanks.

alohapolitics.com

by Keone Michaels on Fri Feb 16th, 2007 at 03:42:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Beware August in Europe - lots of things close for the summer holidays in some parts.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Feb 16th, 2007 at 03:56:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
How do i reach Barbara?

alohapolitics.com
by Keone Michaels on Fri Feb 16th, 2007 at 03:10:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
eurotrib.com/user/Barbara, or you can e-mail me.

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Feb 16th, 2007 at 03:16:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Wow, that looks quite charming.

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire
by p------- on Fri Feb 16th, 2007 at 03:19:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hm. Wow. I never followed up on those links before when Migeru threw them out ...
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Feb 16th, 2007 at 03:23:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Tsk, tsk.

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Feb 16th, 2007 at 03:27:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If you're going to Scotland (which I'd highly recommend), you really should see Edinburgh, too -- it's really a lovely city with a thriving art scene.  

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Feb 16th, 2007 at 02:39:14 PM EST
My Grandfather wrote me a series of memoirs about his sailing up the coast in a small boat with his brother during the summers.  I was thinking of that trip too.  So much to see.

alohapolitics.com
by Keone Michaels on Fri Feb 16th, 2007 at 02:54:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You could ferry up the coast of Norway.

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Feb 16th, 2007 at 03:00:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
On our last trip to England we used the tourist service in each town to find us a place in the next town we planned to visit. This led to staying in a succession of very pleasant 'bed and breakfasts' or small hotels. Meeting the people running them were some of the best experiences we had.

By, the way, we did something similar on our trip to Hawaii a few years ago (although we made most of the arrangements before we left). Even though Hawaii doesn't have a big B&B tradition (unlike, say, New England) we managed to find some and only one was a real disaster (in Hana).

I don't know about the rest of Europe, not having been there for a long time, but I would imagine that you could find similar options. Without meeting "real people" a trip mostly becomes interactions with shop keepers and waiters.

Policies not Politics
---- Daily Landscape

by rdf (robert.feinman@gmail.com) on Fri Feb 16th, 2007 at 05:10:37 PM EST
As an artist interested in the countryside, I think spending some time in Provence (south of France), around Avignon and Aix-en-Provence, the country of Paul Cézanne, is a must.

Then, you could cross the Alps to go to Tuscany around Florence and Sienna:

European cities are very different from American ones, and many of them are really worth being visited. I couldn't list them all, but apart from Avignon, Aix, Florence and Sienna, you should definitely visit Paris, Prague, Rome, Venice...

If, on your way to Provence, you want to stop in Lyon (a very nice old city and the best place for French cuisine...), I can put you up and I will be glad to show you the place.

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet

by Melanchthon on Fri Feb 16th, 2007 at 05:39:00 PM EST
Thanks...I'll develop this and get back to you ....

alohapolitics.com
by Keone Michaels on Fri Feb 16th, 2007 at 07:15:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If you are interested, I can help you to find nice chambre d'hôtes (Bed and Breakfast) in southern France.

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Fri Feb 16th, 2007 at 07:30:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, let me figure out my schedule. mahalo

alohapolitics.com
by Keone Michaels on Fri Feb 16th, 2007 at 07:39:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
keone, email me cosiviaATlibero.it, if you want to stay chez moi.

since i can send pix through email, something that still mystifies me with scoop.

july there is a great jazzfest in perugia.

lotsa painters around these parts....can't think why....

are you going to be famous-painting-hunting?

there are some good ones around here, piero della francesca ring any bells?

for chilling and painting you might feel good here, but public transport is pretty scarce out in the sticks...hard to do without a car unless you want to spend a lot of time walking.

i can pick you up at the station, get you sorted with groceries and cruise a bit with you, however i am pretty busy during the summertime, so would be less available.

what i can offer is a very quiet, rural cottage in the woods, with a nice view, secluded, yet not too far from rome -3 hours - florence- same, etc.

seeing europe in 4 months is like seeing the usa in 4 months, you'll get   a real good taste, obviously at a much deeper level than a regular 7-10 day tourist.

if you try and see too much it'll end up a blur.

(a trap many americans seem to tumble headlong into!)

the appenines where i am, are rolling hills, with serious mountains an hour away, though nothing like the alps, or even the dolomites, which offer beautiful summer hiking.

august can fry yer brain...tho' you're used to strong heat in hawaii, i guess.

do you live the dry side or the wet side?

if i were you, i'd pick three countries and spend a month in each, your memories'll be a lot more coherent, than if you 'do' paris, prague, vienna, berlin, rome etc etc.

but your mileage may vary...

n. europe and scandinavia would be better visited in peak summer, and the med area just before or just after, imo.

i have heard many people regret buying the europass, unless you are committed to spend most of your trip changing and waiting for train connections, it may be overkill.

if you are a train freak, or you know in advance you want to cover a lot, and i mean A LOT of ground, then you'll get your money's worth.

paging dodo...

you can get a LOT of train rides for €900!!!

have fun, is it your first yurpean visit?


'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Fri Feb 16th, 2007 at 10:58:54 PM EST
I thank you for your generous advice and will get back to you soon.  It sounds great.

alohapolitics.com
by Keone Michaels on Sun Feb 18th, 2007 at 12:58:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Europe for 3/4 months would be awesome.  If you are heading over say late March early April, I'd say start south and head north with the weather. It's a lot easier to travel in cooler temps esp. if you walk cities to get a flavor.  Not so much fun when it's 35C.

Last year we got dirt cheap flights to Rome from Lihue -- $1030 ish round trip leaving about March 29.  Bought them at Xmas though.  Great place to start.  Pick an end point and get an open jaw. Priceline?  No reason not to try a low bid.  Last year, Air France had some real cheap flights out of LA or SF if you can get to the west coast cheaply.  US Air may also have some cheap deals.

If art is your thing, starting in Rome, heading up through Florence to Venice would be terrific.  Then work across to Spain and Portugal.  Not that southern France isn't great, I just don't know it at all. Seville, Madrid, Lisbon are all great places to visit with great art museums.  Others here that know their countries better can recommend less touristy spots but I loved visiting those cities.  Esp Seville at Easter and I'm not at all religious.  What a spectacle.

Spend some time in Paris, London, A-dam, Munich etc.  I don't know eastern Europe but many of those cities sound great and are a hell of a lot cheaper.  Switzerland -- pretty but painful on the wallet and not as much fun unless you want to hike the mountains.  

I'm not sure I'd do the the Eurail Pass unless you plan to travel non-stop.  For 4 months that could really add up (guessing you are over 25 so no big discount). Used to be some plans let you have so many travel days so you don't have to travel continuously. Might be better to get discounted fares for off peak travel once you get there.  That will also let you play it by ear on how long you want to stay in each area.  Defn do some research on that as you can't buy passes once you get there I don't think.  

If you are travelling by yourself, a car is both expensive and isolating.  Though you can get some lease/purchase deals that are cheaper than a straight rental.  An RV at $7/gallon would be brutal.  Not to mention a pig to drive in older cities.

Obviously the big cities can be very expensive, but if you google around you'll find services that let flats by the week/month.  There was one in London I used that had interesting flats for reasonable rates.  A place called home in London, but it's been 15 years so probably long gone.  The countryside is usually far cheaper.  You can day trip into many of those cities or limit your hotel time to just a few days.  If you are in southern areas before the season starts up in June, you should be able to get decent prices on b&bs.  

I agree with the Edinburgh rec.  If you can hang on until Sept for the Festival, that would be a hoot.  Glasgow?????  By reputation, that's like visiting Cleveland.  If you like wild unspoiled places, the islands to the west are very interesing -- Skye etc.

Other beautiful cities/areas -- Salzburg, Vienna, cruise the Donau?  Touraine (sp) region of France over to Normandy.  The area around Dijon is also beautiful.  We had a great time in Bruges.  Oslo is very nice in summer .  The Norwegian fjords are something to see.  I've always wanted to spend time in the Rhineland but have never pulled it off.  Ireland is also a great place to visit.  Still have Stockholm on the list.

I wouldn't worry about the American thing.  Most people are cool.  A few Italians asked me about Bush.  I just asked how they got Berlusconi.  Big laughs all around.  And just like here, bit of aloha goes a long way.  If you see Americans piling off a bus, just head the other way.  

Pencil out an itinerary and I'm sure people here can help you flesh it out.

by HiD on Sat Feb 17th, 2007 at 04:20:10 AM EST
If I was doing it I'd probably plan for a month of moving around, a month of staying still somewhere, a leisurely move somewhere else for a few weeks and another month moving around.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Sun Feb 18th, 2007 at 01:30:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks to all the great feedback, I'm getting a sense of that I should do like you say.  I'm getting excited.

alohapolitics.com
by Keone Michaels on Sun Feb 18th, 2007 at 11:05:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ahhh. Start on the Iberian peninsula and you´ll never leave.

Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.
by metavision on Sat Feb 17th, 2007 at 11:33:01 AM EST
check this site out for ideas on cutting train costs.  UK centric but it will give you an idea of what things cost vs locking in via a Eurail pass.

http://www.seat61.com/UKtravel.htm

by HiD on Mon Feb 19th, 2007 at 02:16:44 AM EST


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