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Please help direct us in our Eastern European trip

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Hello. My husband and I are spending Sept and Oct this year in Europe . We are aged 60 give or take and well traveled.
We start in Prague on Sept 9th where we have 5 nights and then will take the overnight train to Krakow. We have booked four nights in Krakow. The next month is not booked, we want to wing but have some direction in where we want to be.

On October 15th we need to be in Venice. I have booked 2 nites Venice, 3 Cinque Terre, 6 nites Tuscany (San Quirico) and finishing in Florence (3 nights). From there we fly to Barcelona for 3 nights and then a 16 day transatlantic cruise to New Orleans on our way home. I figure I can rest a lot on the cruise (If I am not too seasick that is).

My health has recently been compromised and I have tons of energy in the morning, but need to sleep between 2 and 4PM most days if I can. Therefore one day in a town will not work well for us.

My husband, the dear, wants to see and do everything. In the past we have crammed too much into a holiday and came home exhausted. I can't do that anymore so need to pare his wish list down to a reasonable expectation.

Here comes the questions:
From Krakow our wishlist is:
overnight train to Budapest for a couple of nights.

from there???? He wants to go to Sofia, Bulgaria. It is a long way south IMO. If we do that , should we also stop in Romania?

He also wants to see Skopje, (Macadonia), Albania and Montenegro.

We both want to spend at least a week (or 10 days) in Croatia before going to Venice.

How can we best squeeze as much as we can of the above into 26 days? We want to keep it fairly low cost, trains and buses are fine if they are comfortable, but we are not adverse to flying long distances if the price is reasonable.

Any help streamlining this is most appreciated. We like small towns as well as major cities. Our interests are museums, people watching, taking it all in from a sidewalk cafe, history and culture, and just being there.
Thanks in advance. My previous trips have always been fantastic due to all the help from Fodors travelers.

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