Subject: Questions from a first timer to Europe!
Hi everyone (especially Lucy who nudged me into posting!)

As I mentioned in my intro email, I'm feeling somewhat overwhelmed about all the upcoming decisions regarding our trip to Europe. We have booked our flights and will fly in and out of Amsterdam since Hans, my husband, has relatives in Holland. We will stay there for 5 days or so, then plan to fly to London from Groningan via RyanAir (have not booked any of these yet) After about a week in London (and perhaps other places in the UK--this is where I need help!) we plan to fly from London to Rome.

After a few days in Rome (3 or 4), we would like to then activate a Eurail pass (which we also haven't purchased yet) and start to travel by train. This is also where I need help. We arrive in Amsterdam on September 11th and leave on October 16th, so we have 5 weeks. The countries we would like to see are Italy, France, Belgium, Spain, Germany (especially castles on the Rhine and Mosel) and, of course, Holland. I'd like to spend a few days in Ireland, too, but I think I'm being overly ambitious (lol) Hans is leaving most of the destination choices to me since he's happy to go anywhere I want, as long as he gets to see his home town in Holland. His family immigrated when he was 8 years old (1957) and he hasn't been back since--although his parents and siblings have all returned for numerous visits. He also really wants to go to England.

So, here is my dilemma. Has anyone flown RyanAir and if so, how did you like their service? Also, I'm a bit concerned about rail travel and how I'll manage. I'm not that old (48) but walk with the assistance of a cane due to an impact injury to my knee, causing osteoarthritis. I don't let this stop me from doing anything (except maybe walking up 10 flights of stairs) but I'm wondering if the train platforms are easy to manouver on and if the trains are difficult to get on and off. Hans will use our MEC travel pack, but I've bought a nice rolling bag from Rick Steeves. This should make things easier for me. Also, from whom have most of you bought Eurail passes? Online or through your travel agent?

Well, this is turning into an epistle, so I'd better stop now! Hope some of you might have some helpful tips...thanks!