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Budapest, Vienna, Prague - Little Known Gems? Special Advice?

Budapest, Vienna, Prague - Little Known Gems? Special Advice?

Old Aug 15th, 2008, 12:03 PM
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Budapest, Vienna, Prague - Little Known Gems? Special Advice?

I am leaving on October 11 for Budapest, Vienna & Prague. I have done extensive planning (already have hotel reservations, opera tickets, etc.) and have read the great posts on this site. However, I was wondering if anyone had any "secrets" to share, i.e., little known gems, special advice. I have been to Vienna before but not the other cities. I will also be going to Cesky Krumlov. If it matters, I know a little German and am trying to learn a bit of Hungarian and Czech. I am interested in art, architecture, history and beautiful views and would appreciate any input.

On another note, I love MaiTai Tom's Trip Report--felony clever!
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Old Aug 15th, 2008, 12:24 PM
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I will be in Vienna and Prague in December. May I ask from where you purchased your opera tickets?
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Old Aug 15th, 2008, 01:09 PM
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O have a file I put together when planning our similar trip. If you would like it, e-mail me. Perhaps you will be able to dig a gem or two out of it.
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Old Aug 15th, 2008, 01:33 PM
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I started a trip report for our May trip, which included Prague and Budapest, but didn't get very far.

I recently responded to another poster with some special items we saw and did in Prague; you can see that post by clicking on my name.

Learning a little Czech and Hungarian will help; I worked long and hard on learning a bit of each. The Hungarian (Magyar) is so difficult, however, that I rarely used it (except for hello, good-bye, please and thank you, which we used a lot).

We went to a fabulous violin performance (Nigel Kennedy) in Obecni Dum in Prague and an equally-fabulous opera in Budapest's Opera House - I'm sure you'll enjoy your experiences!
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Old Aug 15th, 2008, 04:10 PM
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You can order tickets for the Staatsoper in Vienna from:

http://www.staatsoper.at/Content.Node2/en/index.php

We just walked in & picked them up at the pickup window the night of the performance. I ordered months in advance. We saw Mozart's Die Zauberflote.

A tip for Budapest: The Fisherman's Bastion is free after 9 PM. The night views of the Danube & Pest are stunning.

Ian
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Old Aug 15th, 2008, 04:13 PM
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Now that I read the original post, I see that you already HAVE tickets . . .

FWIW My trip report including Vienna & Budapest is here:

http://members.rennlist.com/imcarthur/hungary.htm

Ian
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Old Aug 15th, 2008, 04:21 PM
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I think you will find in most places in Prague and Budapest that English will be much more well-received than German. As for Vienna - we didn;t find anyone who didn't at least understand some English.

Learning new languages is admirable - but you also need to be aware of the connotations in some places.
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Old Aug 16th, 2008, 10:38 AM
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If you have been in Vienna before and have seen the major sights . Think about the following some you have probably walked by-

The Treasury -Schatzkammer. This is found in the Schweizerhof area of the Hofburg Palace.
It hous the treasures of the royals.
Including crowns, orbs, sceptres, vestments, The Golden Fleece Order, Holy Roman Crown and much more.

Also not far away stll in the Hofburg , the Neue Burg the last addition to this palace. A fine collection of antique musical instruments, the Ephesus Collections collection of Arms and Armor.

The Zentralfriedhof- the central Cemetery- one of the largest in Europe . Resting place of many famous composers and an insight to the culture of a past era.


The Hofnobildepot near to Mariahilferstrasse - the collection of former royal furniture in good exhibits and much more.
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Old Aug 17th, 2008, 02:06 PM
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The Hundertwasser Museum in Vienna.
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Old Aug 18th, 2008, 03:25 AM
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In Vienna, the Liechtenstein Museum, esp. on Sundays when excellent concerts are offered. One of my favorite museums in Europe. The cafe is nice, too, a pleasant selection of Austrian wines on offer.
http://www.liechtensteinmuseum.at/en/pages/home.asp

Also, don't overlook contemporary musical theatre in Vienna. As wonderful as the classical music scene is, Vienna also stages some interesting musicals...over the years, we've seen Elisabeth (one of my favorite musicals, ever), The Sound of Music (I attended one of the very first performances in Austria), Cabaret, Barbarella...a new musical version of Rebecca has started (with performances scheduled for October), based on past experiences, I would get tickets for this as soon as possible!
http://www.viennaticketonline.com/?c...e=2008-10-01#t
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Old Aug 18th, 2008, 04:20 AM
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I just came back from Budapest and Vienna last month (been to Prague a few years ago). They are all wonderful cities. I am working on my photos and trip report and should have it done by next week, I hope. Don't worry about the language, those three cities were the top three places I've been in Europe where you did NOT need to know the language. Everyone speaks enough English for tourist purposes. In Budapest I stayed with two Americans who have a B&B there, one of whom just wrote the Frommers guide to Budapest, so they were able to give me all sorts of wonderful advice.

If you like sculpture, the cemetery near the Keleti train station has some beautiful statuary. Not a typical thing for a tourist to do, but I was there for a whole week and I enjoyed my few hours there. There aren't a lot of park like atmospheres in Budapest and it was lovely there (you asked for little know gems).

How long are you going to be in Budapest? I got a transportation pass and it was the best money I spent there. The metro, trams and even buses are wonderful. Budapest is quite spread out so being able to hop a tram or metro was great, plus the trams are fun to ride around in. Best view in Budapest is the well know Fisherman's Bastion in the castle district. But even better is from the Margit bridge. The tram stops in the middle of the tip of the island and there's a little look out to stand in. Fabulous at sunset and in the dark. A half day trip to Szentendre is worth while if you are going to be there a few days, cheap and easy to get to. The other thing that I most remember from Budapest is the shoe memorial on the banks of the Danube between Parliment and the Chain Bridge. Extremely moving. Oh and stop into the Gresham Palace (now the four seasons hotel), across from the Chain Bridge on the Buda side. Art Nouveau wonderful. The lobby is great and the rest room is amazing (and no one seems to mind if you pop in there even if you aren't staying there).

As for food, make sure you try langos, which is fried dough but with tons of topping choices - traditional is sour cream, ham and cheese. There is a stand upstairs in the Central Market Hall. In summer there were some outdoor stands but I'm not sure if they are open in October. Have a wonderful time.

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Old Aug 18th, 2008, 06:28 AM
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Go to the MAK (the Museum of Applied Arts) in Vienna - at night (Tuesdays)
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Old Aug 18th, 2008, 09:25 AM
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Thanks for all the great ideas so far.

As poster Ian mentioned, I ordered my tickets directly from the Staatsoper; I have 8th row center tickets for La Traviata am very excited. The site does have some English pages, but the seating chart and form where you order online are all in German. Unless you know German, you will have to look up the words (e.g. on a web translator page) as you go along. You can pay be credit card and just print out your confirmation and take it with you to pick up your tickets from Will Call before the performance. Ordering tickets directly is more cost effective than using your hotel concierge; they will go through a ticket agent.
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Old Aug 18th, 2008, 09:55 AM
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In Prague I especially liked the Mucha Museum.
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