Tag Archives: Site-seeing in Amsterdam

Budgeting for Europe

In April 2012, we spent 22 days in Italy, France and the Netherlands. One of the toughest things to budget for was the average amount of spending money we’ll need per day. Bookings flights, hotels and car rentals before-hand meant that these costs were already accounted for. We also managed to book a great number of attractions online. What we were left with, are general day-to-day, cost of living expenses.

We are currently in the preparation phase for our next trip, and it seems that we’re again down to the cost of living expenses. This time we are however armed with the knowledge learned from our previous trip, and I would like to share some of it here. As a traveler, I know how hard it is to find accurate information on this.

When we arrived in Italy last year, our biggest shocks were how much things cost when converted to South African Rand. We quickly learned that this is the wrong way to approach purchases. Instead we took the spending money  we had, and worked out a daily allowance for the duration of our trip. To check ourserlves, we took notes of every single item we bought each day, and made sure that the average spend throughout our trip did not exceed the initial daily budget we had set.

Here is a short breakdown of what our average daily costs were, with a brief description of typical items bought. I’ve broken these down into two sections: costs with and without a rental car. The cost for the rental car is not included here, but associated costs like tolls, petrol and parking have been factored in.

In total, our average came to €74.83 per day for two people.

A summary of our expenses in Italy, France and the Netherlands in April 2012. Click the image for a bigger version.

A summary of our expenses in Italy, France and the Netherlands in April 2012. Click the image for a bigger version.

WITHOUT A RENTAL CAR

Eight days in Venice, Assisi and Rome | €78.74 per day for two people
Water taxis in Venice, souvenirs, groceries (bread, cheese, salami or other cold meats, fresh fruit and veggies, pasta, canned goods, butter and other spreads, yoghurt and breakfast cereals, some beer and/or wine, snacks like chips and cookies), entrance to museums and basilicas, Pompeii entrance fee and maps for Pompeii and Assisi, guided tour of the Vatican with audio-guides, bus and metro guidebooks in Rome, five-day metro passes in Rome, eating out for dinner at reasonably priced restaurants, coffee at cafés.

Six days in Lyon, Paris and Amsterdam | 74.64 per day for two people
Metro passes for Paris and Amsterdam, groceries (bread, cheese, salami or other cold meats, fresh fruit and veggies, some beer and/or wine, snacks like chips and cookies), artwork and souvenirs, entrance to museums and the Eiffel tower, dinner out in Paris, coffee at cafés.

WITH A RENTAL CAR

Five days driving from Rome to Florence via Pisa, Florence to Genoa, and Genoa to Turin (Italy) | €94.30 per day for two people
Single use bus tickets, groceries (bread, cheese, salami or other cold meats, fresh fruit and veggies, some beer and/or wine, snacks like chips and cookies), toll for use of all highways, diesel to refuel the rental before returning it, guidebook to the Ufizzi gallery, entrance to Medici chapel, cold & flu medicine, lunch and occasional coffee at cafés.
Note: These costs also include a dinner out for my birthday, as well as two birthday presents for me: a leather jacket and a pair of leather gloves.

Three days driving from Chambery to Chamonix, Chamonix to Bourg-en-Bresse, Bourg-en-Bresse to Lyon | 36.66 per day for two people
A taxi between train stations in Turin, a small amount of groceries, entrance to monasteries and cathedrals, two bundles of washing at a laundromat 🙂

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Eurotrip 2012: Everything in one place

Eurotrip 2012: The route (click for more detail)

Reliving our trip in April digitally over the last few months has been amazing. Sometimes I wish I’d taken more photos and other times I wish I had spent less time behind my camera. Either way, I have loved capturing the trip here.

I’ve summarised the posts below in chronological order of events, with the photo galleries  (for those days where I could just not get around to writing) below the story of our trip. I hope this helps ease navigating the month long trip! Continue reading

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Eurotrip 2012: Highlights from Amsterdam, The Netherlands

27 – 30 APRIL: AMSTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS
THE HIGHLIGHTS FROM THREE DAYS IN AMSTERDAM

Continued from part 14: Day four in Paris

As with most things in life, all good things must eventually come to an end. I’ve been putting off writing this post (for a month, I know!), as I feel that it will finally conclude a trip I’m not quite ready to forget.

The entrance to Pension de Laurier. Photo from http://www.hostelworld.com

We depart the beautifully wet city of Paris on an early morning train to Amsterdam. The owner of Pension de Laurier, the B&B we will be staying at, kindly smsed us details explaining which trams to take to get there safely. Of all the train stations we’ve arrived at over the last four weeks, Centraal Stasie seems to have been the most confusing one to decipher. It cost two journeys back to the station in order to get tickets for the bus and tram system, but finally we succeed.

Arriving at Pension de Laurier could not have been more different from our Parisian “hotel” experience. It felt like arriving home to a place of love. We showered and felt 1000 times better for it, ready to take on the city of Amsterdam.

After Venice, Amsterdam seemed a breeze to navigate. The streets were easy to understand and the entire city if amazingly beautiful. I truly feel as though I would be able to live there, if ever I wanted to leave the sunny “velde” of South Africa behind.

We had so much planned for Amsterdam, but after so many museums, beautiful parks, exciting roadtrips and historical sites; we were completely touristed-out. We spent our last three days in Europe being far less industrious and far more relaxed. We also stopped taking notes of what we did every day, so I am recalling the highlights from memory!

1. Walking to the Van Gogh Museum and instead of going in, enjoying a picnic of cheese, fresh bread and champagne on the lawn in front of the museum.

Picnic on the lawn in front of the Rijks and Van Gogh museums, Museumplein, Amsterdam

Boerenkaas with black truffle

2. Shopping in De 9 Straatjes area. The shops here are quaint and small and intimate and awesome!

3. Sharing a serving of fresh ‘frittes’ with Francois in De Dam Plein, watching the “kermis”.

4. Finding a cheese shop with amazing fresh breads down the road from where we were staying.

5. Discovering that Burger King was running a promotion 🙂

6. Walking through the Westermarkt market on Sunday.

7. Marvelling at the very Dutch, very lopsided architecture.

8. Enjoying the rest of Amsterdam, in gloriously sunny weather.

9. And of course, being in Amsterdam on 30 April 2012 for Koninginnedag!

Koninginnedag 2012 by Antonio Olmedo

Header photo by Deon Joubert.
Koninginnedag 2012 by Antonio Olmedo.
All other images by the author: © catterflyworx 2012.

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