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A lot depends on what you want to see.

I don't really know what there is to see. That's part of the challenge. I spotted Buchenwald. I would find that of great interest. Our last trip I only planned a few things. Most of it was "Sound of Music tour? Cool, let's do it." Very spur-of-the-moment. The glochenspiel in Munich? Didn't even know it was there until we did a city tour and they mentioned it. Werfen would be cool if we could work it (we didn't make it last time).

I'm thinking of using the high speed night trains in lieu of hotels some nights. I can pay hundreds for hotels, or hundreds for a train with the added benefit that it's hotel and transport in one package. We did that last trip from Salzburg to Firenze. Worked out very well. Loaded up on the train in the evening, went to sleep, was awakened by an attendant with a modest breakfast about 30 minutes before arrival. The only wrinkle was that we were there before the apartment rental office was open (so we just hung out and watched Firenze wake up).

I will give some thought to your idea of reversing the loop. I was following Steves' (sort of), but if we do Paris early (Amsterdam to Paris) and Prague last, that could work. Though we might not be able to do Buchenwald, but if that's how it works out then it is.

I tried using Google maps with the transit option selected, but it doesn't seem to work well in Europe. Or maybe I'm doing something wrong. It works fine here in Phoenix.

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