In August of 1998 I persuaded my best friend Thomas Nancarrow to go on a vacation to Europe with me. We got a hold of two standby airplane tickets round trip from Portland Oregon to Rome, Italy for about $350 each. The first day we could use them was on September 15th, so that set the date of our departure.
We knew we were going to be traveling around a lot, and backpacks are the best way to haul the necessities around. I have a Jansport World Traveler backpack. It has a zip off day pack, and can expand to become huge. Thomas used a standard top loading internal frame backpack.
Before we left we purchased the Lonely Planet guide to Greece and the Rough Guide to Italy. I think that these books were useful but a book that covered all of Europe, that would have been about the same size as both of them or less, would have been more useful to us. These two books were very detailed and the Lonely Planet had good city maps.
We started out in Rome, Italy. We took the train to Brindisi, Italy, then took a Ferry to Corfu, Greece. From there we took a bus to Athens, Greece. Next we took the train to Istanbul, Turkey. We went on a bus south to Cannake, Turkey where we saw the Lost City of Troy and the Gallopoli memorials. We then returned to Istanbul. From then on we took the train. We went to Sofia, Bulgaria and from there to Bucharest, Romania. After that we went to Budapest, Hungary. From there we went to Ljublijana, Slovenia. After that we headed for Venice, Italy. From Venice we went to Rome, then to Milan. From Milan we flew back home to Portland, Oregon via New York and St Louis.