1. A friend of mine is getting married on Friday Sept. 16, so that pushes my leave date to no earlier than Saturday Sept. 17th, and my return date into mid November, possibly as late as Thanksgiving.
2. I've finally realized that I have too much on my plate. I'd like to plan it so that I use up my 2-month rail pass. Since England isn't on that rail pass, it would start the day I leave London for Paris (day 6). I also want to have about 10 days of buffer in my itinerary to account for days off, side trips, relaxing, etc. so that I'm not constantly on the go. So that leaves me about 50 days of travel once I hit the continent. However, I've tracked through roughly day 47 just getting into Venice, with all of Italy, the French Riviera, Spain, Gibraltar, and Portugal left, so that's not going to work.
3. Thus, my newly revised itinerary: subtract 5 days for England, skip Belgium/Luxembourg, skip Budapest, skip most of Italy (save it for the next trip). That makes just 36 days since leaving England, with 15 left (they count by months, not days, so I get 61 days by virtue of Oct 31st) to hit 51 days, with 10 remaining as a buffer. From Venice, I plan to do Rome (3 days), Pisa (1/2 day), Cinque Terre (2-1/2 days), Monte Carlo (1 day), Andorra (pass thru), Barcelona (3 days), Madrid (3 days), and maybe Gibraltar/Tangiers.
4. My frequent flier pass allows me one stopover anywhere, as long as it's allowable for the same number of miles. That means pretty much anywhere in Europe, tacked on to the end of my trip. I've already confirmed that Istanbul and Athens are available. What other places should I look into? And if I want to spend a little more money (less than $200), I can buy some miles and go off to the Far East somewhere, maybe even turn this into an around-the-world trip.