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Why bother with all these cities?…

…when it seems so much of the life of Europe is outside them?
Since putting up the draft itinerary a last week, Philip, Aoife, Joe, Claudia, and other folks have sent in lots of comments—on the blog, in email, in conversation—wondering why we're having me focus on cities so much.

A few days on, and the lads and I still feel pretty good about the itinerary. There’s still tweaking to do of course. Are there places I’m missing? Plenty. Is the itinerary city-focused? Yup.
But we’re focusing on cities, for a couple of reasons:

  • Hubs. The big cities are hubs for trains, and for travelers. It’s a good way to get right in the thick of the scene, meet other folks, see some sights, you name it. It’s also a good way to help me figure out where to go around town and outside of town. The places we’re mapping in are also some of the top travel destinations, and it’s good to see those places. Especially on your first time out—I am a newbie at this one, after all.
  • Jaunting. The itinerary is a little misleading, perhaps. Looking at it, you might think that I really will spend my entire 3 days in Cardiff, well, in Cardiff. Maybe they will, maybe they won’t. Maybe I’ll see everything I need and want to see in a day, and then spend 2 days off in the country somewhere. We built in some flexibility so I could also get into the outlying areas, which I’m quite keen on, actually.
    By focusing around the cities, we’re thinking that I can get clued in on what’s happening outside them as well, and then can train out, hang for a while, meet travelers and locals, etc.—take in more of that Europe lifeblood. There’s lots in the cities, but there’s much outside them too. And hopefully I’ll get plenty of each.
    That’s my thought anyway. But I could be wrong. Am I? Let me know.