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TheMightyMcClaw
3/12/2009 2:11pm,
It has recently come to be that this summer, in order to celebrate successfully graduating from college, I will be traveling through Europe with my bonny lass and a mutual friend of ours. We're going to be starting our journey in Sweden (where the above mentioned significant other has family), working our way down to Greece (where yet more of her family resides), and hitting up a plethora of European metropols in the meantime. Though we've yet to establish a definitive course, it's looking like Paris, Rome, Amsterdam, Warsaw, and Dublin are on the block.

I see the looks of wonder floating through your eyes: why post this on YMAS and not LLL, where I can properly draw of Lebell's vast knowledge of finding the very best of Dutch prostitutes?
You see, as someone who rather enjoys martial arts, I am hoping to sample some of the locale flavor of European martial arts. I'm specifically thinking of those which have some kind of national association to them, such as Pankration (which I should have ample time to try, given that we'll be in Athens for a week) and Canne de Combat.
Additionally, if there are any European bullies near their capitols, I'd welcome a chance to meet and throw hands a bit. I don't get to Europe terribly often, so this may be our only chance to do so.

Tom .C
3/12/2009 2:29pm,
If you remember to call everyone you see a "damned furriner" you should have ample hands throwing going on.(Sound like a great trip, lucky bastard)

Surrealist
3/12/2009 4:48pm,
If you are going to Holland, then you will no doubt have access to some of the best kickboxing and Muay Thai gyms in the world. I understand that you train in BJJ, but I wouldn't overlook awesome places like that if I were you.

It's a shame you'll be moving through Western Europe, I'm from Bosnia and have traveled through the Balkan area a lot and we have a ton of great places to learn kickboxing, wrestling and some SAMBO. Also, Croatia has some of the hottest women in the world - I don't know how this'll help you considering you already have a girlfriend, but might as well have something to add to the spank bank.

thaclient
3/12/2009 4:50pm,
If you remember to call everyone you see a "damned furriner" you should have ample hands throwing going on.(Sound like a great trip, lucky bastard)

Right... and the line [said snootily] "WELL Mister that's not how we do it in America!" should lead to fisticuffs post haste!

Enjoy the trip, it sounds awesome.

nifoc
3/12/2009 4:54pm,
My BJJ-club has a sister-club in Stockholm, and thats about an hours drive from Uppsala so...

If you feel like rolling och sparring, let me know when you're around and we'll set something up.

Uncle Skippy
3/12/2009 4:59pm,
Rome, Amsterdam, ...

My wife and I just got back from Rome. I can't help you with any tips in sampling MA's there (we didn't see any studios/gyms in the city), but if you want any pointers for sightseeing or getting around (or eating on the cheap!) and no one else here is in Rome, I have it all still fresh in my memory.

I just know that we were overwhelmed with planning for just a single city. :-P

TheMightyMcClaw
3/12/2009 5:05pm,
If you are going to Holland, then you will no doubt have access to some of the best kickboxing and Muay Thai gyms in the world. I understand that you train in BJJ, but I wouldn't overlook awesome places like that if I were you.

It's a shame you'll be moving through Western Europe, I'm from Bosnia and have traveled through the Balkan area a lot and we have a ton of great places to learn kickboxing, wrestling and some SAMBO. Also, Croatia has some of the hottest women in the world - I don't know how this'll help you considering you already have a girlfriend, but might as well have something to add to the spank bank.

Hmm, good point on the Muay Thai gyms. I should try to stop into one if we've got enough time in Amsterdam.
We were thinking of going down into Greece through Eastern Europe, but it lost out in favor of going through Italy and taking a ferry across. As for the hot chicks, I doubt my girlfriend would mind at all; she enjoys beautiful women just as much as I do. ^_~
And I'm pretty sure I'll get plenty of chances to learn SAMBO if this my plans of doing a Fullbright to Mongolia work out.

---------- Post added at 06:05 PM ---------- Previous post was at 06:02 PM ----------


My wife and I just got back from Rome. I can't help you with any tips in sampling MA's there (we didn't see any studios/gyms in the city), but if you want any pointers for sightseeing or getting around (or eating on the cheap!) and no one else here is in Rome, I have it all still fresh in my memory.

I just know that we were overwhelmed with planning for just a single city. :-P

Oh, don't get me wrong - feel free to throw out general travel tips.

Snake Plissken
3/12/2009 5:14pm,
Lebell is now stocking up on chloroform and roofies.

thaclient
3/12/2009 6:06pm,
And I'm pretty sure I'll get plenty of chances to learn SAMBO if this my plans of doing a Fullbright to Mongolia work out.


Oh we got a smaht one over here. That sounds like it would be pretty awesome, actually.

Uncle Skippy
3/12/2009 7:31pm,
Oh, don't get me wrong - feel free to throw out general travel tips.

Well then here goes....

Uncle Skippy's Generic Quick and Dirty Rome Survival Guide

Where to Stay

We stayed 4 blocks from the Vatican, north of the river (Prati district). It was right next to a major shopping street and had great bus access. The cost was a bit 'up there' though so if you are going on the cheap, you may want to compare prices on a travel site.

As for location, the Prati Centro Storico districts are right in the middle of everything and hotel prices go from cheap to luxury. 'Ancient Rome' (around the Colloseum) is a great place to stay if you are interested in all of the ancient sites but may be a bit pricey.

Where to Eat

Eating in Rome is expensive. REALLY expensive. The exceptions are the Pizzerias, Trattorias, Cafes, and other small shops which carry slices of pizza, sandwiches, and other quick meals. Get some gelato. A different flavor, every day. The gelato here is not the same (and it definitely isn't ice cream).
Traditional Roman meals have multiple courses; the first is usually a pasta or starch, the second is meat / protein, and after dinner coffee is common along with dessert.

Traps and Scams

-Watch out for Bus 64. It goes between the Terminal and the Vatican. It is packed with tourists and pickpockets
http://www.ricksteves.com/plan/destinations/italy/998rome.htm

-There are several other well-known scams (woman shoves a baby into your arms, grabs your wallet, kids throw something in your face and dig through your pockets). Here is a 'graffiti wall' that lists other people's experiences:
http://www.ricksteves.com/graffiti/graffiti11.html

- Here are some tips from another Rome site.
http://www.rome.info/tips/avoid/
It touches on "Forceful Street Vendors." Don't take that too lightly. At 10pm at night, we had a guy follow us for 3 blocks trying to sell us a purse and actually holding a lighter to it to show us it wouldn't catch fire. Around the Trevi Fountain, there are a dozen or so vendors selling toys and they will be very persistent to the point of it being uncomfortable because they just stand there staring at you. At night at several sites, guys will be trying to put roses into your girl's hand and then telling you that you owe him 3-5 Euros. In all cases, skip "No thank you" and go directly to a look-him-in-the-eyes and say "No." A single finger pointing upwards (no, not that one) helps to quickly end the encounter.

Getting Around

Do not rent a car.Do not rent a car.Do not rent a car.Do not rent a car.Do not rent a car.

Buses will get you anywhere in the city walls (and some places outside). Taxis will get you to further out locations (catacombs for example).

Bus Route Map:
http://www.atac.roma.it/docunet/file.asp?mid=3&rid=3

- Pick up a Roma Pass (available at several locations. We got ours at a booth just west of Castel Sant Angelo). It is cheap (about 20 Euros I think), gives you a bus pass for a couple days and access to several sites for a couple days as well (first 2 are free, discounted entrance after that).
http://www.romapass.it/?l=en

What to see

Finally, here is a quick and dirty list of stuff to see that we liked:

- Colloseum
- Roman Forum
- Palantine Hill
- Trevi Fountain
- Pantheon
- Vatican
- The 'Bone Church' (Capuchini church) <- Very awesome and creepy
- Castel Sant'Angelo
- Villa Borghese musem and park (Bernini sculptures in the museum are incredible)

* This list in in no way complete, filled with overly touristy things to do, and is at least a
couple dozen miles of walking if you do so on foot.

What to Take

At a minimum:

- 2 pairs of REALLY good shoes (alternate on different days)
- Books:
Good maps: Amazon.com: Knopf MapGuide: Rome (Knopf Mapguides): Knopf Guides: Books (http://www.amazon.com/Knopf-MapGuide-Rome-Mapguides/dp/0375711007/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1236904175&sr=8-1)
Good all-encompassing guide: Amazon.com: Rome (EYEWITNESS TRAVEL GUIDE): DK Publishing: Books (http://www.amazon.com/Rome-EYEWITNESS-TRAVEL-GUIDE-Publishing/dp/075661550X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1236904202&sr=1-1)
- A money belt or shoulder-wallet to keep valuables
- Copies of your passports

* Don't forget to call your bank and tell them you are going out of the country. Otherwise they may put a hold on your accounts due to weird activity. Not that this has happened to me. Nope. Yup.

TheMightyMcClaw
3/12/2009 8:44pm,
Excellent - I'll pass the Rome advice forward to my other traveling companions.
Regarding lodgings and food, we plan on staying in youth hostels and getting our food at grocery stores, with a decently nice meal out here and there to get the local flavor. I traveled through Europe with my brother some years ago, and we quickly found this was the best way to eat on the cheap. We'll definitely try the gelato.
Thanks in particular for the advice on the scams - those are always good to know about in advance. As for forceful street vendors, I'm quite used to these guys from China. ^_~

honesty
3/13/2009 4:43am,
Travelling advice in Italy... Right, I've travelled quite a lot around Italy, and if you have time to hit other cities there, I would definitely suggest getting to see Siena (And nearby San Gimignano). Florence is good (if you're interested in art the Pitti Palace is nice, but the Uffizi is fantastic), Pisa is ok but not as impressive as you think its going to be, Venice is fun (ignore maps and just wander around, try to get to Plazza San Marco very early and have morning coffee there, it gets crowded quickly and its best enjoyed when its empty), Orvieto is impressive especially the Cathedral and Signorelli's painings, and the basilica of San Francesco d'Assisi (in Assisi obviously) is impressive (Well it was when I was there, but the had an earthquake after that and a lot of the frescos got damaged). If you have the time, Pompei is just amazing, as is Herculaneum.

---------- Post added at 09:23 AM ---------- Previous post was at 09:00 AM ----------

Some quick points on surviving Rome, on top of Uncle Skippys excellent advice. First, don't wear a watch. Seriously this is one of the things the pick pockets really go for. Money belt, looks stupid, but a great way to carry cash next to your skin and under your clothes, you don't want anything in your pockets. Other way to do this is put everything in an internal zipped pocket of a rucksack.

To eat, the best thing you can get is slices of focaccia bread pizza. They are sold everywhere, usually from the same place that sells ice cream, is cheap, and filling. Also don't buy bottled water from the tourist shops around the attractions, it costs an absolute fortune, if you can, find a supermarket or a Spar and get the large bottles cheaper. Or just drink from the many drinking water fountains around the city.

Finally St. Peters is impressive but gets really busy, the Vatican is cool, but the many miles of corridors can get a bit tedious, its all worth it to get to the Sistine chapel though.

Right, I'll stop posting about Italy now, but if you're interested in any place, just ask!

---------- Post added at 09:43 AM ---------- Previous post was at 09:23 AM ----------

Ok, one more thing, l'arena di Verona (in Verona. Verona is nice, but I felt it's a bit more of a city than a tourist site, if you get what I mean...) is really cool, and if you want to see concert in there they do opera all through the summer. Fun stuff, the natural accoustics of the ampheteatre make it really impressive.

Lebell
3/13/2009 7:55am,
Rome in summertime has aweful smog.

Amsterdam is best in springtime.
The new batches of pot and hookers just start to arrive and some of the hookershave still stitches from their sexchange operation!
sweet.

anyway, like Surrealist said, we got some awesome gyms over here and a lot of world champions teaching.
if you're up in amsterdam go to Vos gym and see if you're lucky enough to have one class.
I live 20 minutes from Amsterdam, so no excuse for not buying me beer.

partyboy
3/13/2009 9:00am,
what dates are we talking about here?

I'll be in those areas in june...

TheMightyMcClaw
3/13/2009 9:44am,
what dates are we talking about here?

I'll be in those areas in june...

May 8th to June 18th. We don't have an exact timetable yet, but we're probably going to be spending our first week in Sweden, our last week in Greece, and traveling around in between.

Vieux Normand
3/13/2009 9:58am,
If you remember to call everyone you see a "damned furriner" you should have ample hands throwing going on.(Sound like a great trip, lucky bastard)

I'd have recommended London for some European MAs at their most practical; sadly, Lenny McLean has passed--bare knuckles and all--to the Great Nigthtclub in the Sky.