The Euro leg of the trip is the longer and more detailed part so ill split it up into two posts. This is a rough idea of the movements…

overseas-2009-europe-part1

First up ill be flying in to Nice in South East France at about 10am in the morning. Im visiting Nice because of its close proximity to Monaco which is holding the start of the Tour de France this year. Monaco would have been too hard to find well priced (cheap) accommodation. On the same day that I fly in the Tour’s opening ceremony is on in Monaco, so ive gotta land, get through customs, get to hotel, check in, get my camera gear in order, and then finally catch the bus in to Monaco. This year is a special Tour in that Lance Armstrong is back, which is a rather huge deal (especially for me). Apart from the opening ceremony there is also the prologue time trial and the start of stage 1. Outside of the Tour days ive also got a free day, so I might stay in Nice for that one and just relax on the beach.

Next couple of days involves catching a ~5hr train over to Montpellier to watch the Team Time Trial in Stage 4 of the Tour. Its a bit out of the way just to watch one stage but its not just any normal stage. The Team Time Trial was last done in 2005 as it was deemed unfair for top riders who rode in weaker teams as they lost against the other top riders with stronger teams. They have changed a few rules and the advantage of a strong team isnt as great anymore. The route goes around the city of Montpellier so its just a short walk from my hotel.

Then its a train ride back to Nice for a plane up to Munich. I went to Munich in 2007 but didnt get much of a chance to really see any of it which was unfortunate. I of course know one definate stop though, and thats Hofbräuhaus for a few steins. Next stop is Salzburg in Austria. The main reason for stopping there is the short train ride to Berchtesgaden which is the home of the Eagle’s Nest, which was a present to Hitler from the SS for holiday getaways in WW2. Its perched on top of a mountain and accessible only through a brass elevator inside the mountain. Very cool.

Couple of days later ive got a huge ~9hr train ride from Salzburg over to Interlaken in Switzerland and then up to Lauterbrunnen in the alps. Every photo you take in Lauterbrunnen seems like it could end up on a postcard, its just a beautiful place. Ive got 4 full days in this place to do as much hiking as possible. One of the days will include going up to the top of the Jungfrau which is the highest peak in Europe.

Four very tiring days later I head over to Geneva to catch back up with the Tour. Ill be hiring a car and basically doing what I did last time, pick out a spot on the days route and just park where everyone else does and walk a kazillion kilometers up a mountain. Over the 5 full days in Geneva there is 3 mountain stages and an Individual Time Trial stage as well as a rest day which ill use to actually see some of Geneva.

Then off to Paris. Ive Tristan and Ty meeting up with me in Paris for the rest of the trip so thats good. Main reason for Paris, apart from being my second favourite city in the world, is that as usual the final stage of the Tour is circles around the Champs Elysees. Ive seen most things in Paris before so ill be looking for things I didnt get to do last time, such as the Catacombs and doing the Notre Dame tour.

Well I think ill leave it there as thats a lotta words so far. The rest of the trip is more relaxed and more party time. Woot woot.