I had originally planned on an open-jaw flight (maybe into Dublin and out of Rome). That distance turned out to be far too great for a 4-week trip. Lots of trimming of the itinerary was required. [Note: I easily could have included Italy, but there would have been no time for resting and really no time to actually enjoy the places I want to see.] Ireland was a good option because flights on Aer Lingus are the most reasonable. Cost would still be over $900 though, so I booked a flight using my Delta miles. Couldn't book at open-jaw flight using miles so it made sense to do a flight in and out of a fairly central location -- so I chose Paris. This time, I intend to do as suggested by the experts: set my watch according to where I'm going and sleep on the plane. To make that easier, I paid extra for 'comfort seating'.
It's so much fun to find different ways to get around. I had originally planned to fly from one place to another in Europe as the flights are pretty cheap. How boring, though, and who wants to spend all of that time in airports?! It's way too early to make train reservations, and not really necessary at this point. The ones that matter, though (initial flight, bus tour in Germany, ferry from the Netherlands), have been reserved. Can't wait to also book the night train from Munich to Amsterdam! So 'Murder on the Orient Express' -ish!