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Czech Republic, Krakow, and a day in Frankfurt: A Solo, Budget Trip Report

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Aug 3rd, 2010, 10:45 AM
  #81
 
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So you are back safe though likely still tired. We enjoyed Krakow and Prague despite the tourists. Also Nosolov in C.R. and Czestakova and Zakopane and Auschwitz in Poland. I do think everyone visitng in the Krakow area should make the journy to Auschwitz.
Bill in Boston
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Aug 3rd, 2010, 10:47 AM
  #82
 
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Woops, just saw this wazs an April trip report. Of course you are well rested and ready for the next adventure.
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Aug 5th, 2010, 09:48 AM
  #83
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Hi Bill,

I am indeed well rested. I wanted to go to Czestakova but my trip morphed into more time in the Czech Republic so less time was given to Poland. But I will definitely go back there someday.

I do disagree about going to Auschwitz and gave it much thought over many years. I thought a trip there would be too emotional and color the remainder of my trip.

I don't see any trip report from you?????? Will it be forthcoming????
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Aug 5th, 2010, 04:32 PM
  #84
 
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I think going to Auschwitz (or not) is a very personal decision. I went, because I was with a group that was going. I didn't want to go because even just thinking about the Holocaust is a very emotional experience, let alone walking the very paths and standing in the ovens. I can't say that I am sorry that I went, but it was extremely disturbing and since you were traveling alone, adrienne, I think it was probably a good decision on your part to not go.
I understand that my being emotional is not even anywhere close to the experiences that people had to endure at Auschwitz, so if you all think I am a big chicken then I suppose I am.
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Aug 5th, 2010, 04:43 PM
  #85
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<< if you all think I am a big chicken then I suppose I am >>

I don't think you are a chicken at all for becoming emotional at Auschwitz. It is possible to empathize with and become emotional by someone else's tragedy even though you haven't had the experience. I would think that many people become emotional upon viewing sights such as Auschwitz.
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Aug 6th, 2010, 01:02 PM
  #86
 
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adrienne, my abbreviated report is in two parts:
http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...ral-europe.cfm
http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...europe---2.cfm

My reflections: travel is a luxury and so often we want everything to be lovely. Oh look at those mountains and lakes! Of course, aren't we on vacation. Yes, we are the lucky ones. Many Americans are just getting by paying the rent. One interesting aspect of Grand Circle Tours is to challenge travelers to think beyond the box. And this is done in various ways, e.g., exposing them to different lecturers and ideas.

Also to places like Auschwitz that in my opinion everyone should see...and yes be disturbed by as true with so much in history. We had a survivor talk with us who worked there
...only reason he did make it was because of abilities to translate. I have Jewish friends who are concerned like myself lest we ever forget. Yes, I heard about the flooding there.

Back to our trip our travel guide who was encouraged by GCT to give us information about post-Communist Poland, Czech Rep., Hungary. She was raised in a Communist family which had many benefits. The regime provided job security though restricting freedoms and based on false premises (supply regardless of demand). Now there is personal freedom and a better economy but farmers struggle and there is crime and drugs. Her parents who were once well off now suffer on meager pensions.

We have also gone to 31 Elderhostel programs (now called Exploritas with no age restriction) which also expands one's thinking.

My apologies for long windedness...but then I am a preacher!
Bill now in Boston
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Aug 6th, 2010, 02:15 PM
  #87
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Thanks for your insights, Bill! I couldn't find your reports as they did not have a trip report flag on them. I have asked the editors to put the flag on for others who are looking for trip reports for this area. I hope that's OK with you.
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Sep 13th, 2010, 10:53 PM
  #88
 
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Thanks for this, it will be really helpful for me - I've just read some of this, but will sit down later to read it indepth. I've been to some of these places - such as Telc - and loved it too. This time I am going to Frankfurt, and Berlin at Christmas and going solo (a little scary as I have no clue either on how to use the train ticket machines. I'm flying from NZ to frankfurt, takes absolutely ages, and trying to work out my steps from plane to train to hotel while severley jet lagged) I'm also planning on staying at the Hotel Excelsoir (see my other post) and am also planning on doing the three hour walking tour for 12 euro in Frankfurt!!! So I very much look forward to reading this report. Thanks again. Manda
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Sep 14th, 2010, 03:41 AM
  #89
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Manda - the Frankfurt train system is so good you almost can't do it wrong. Just ask for help when buying your train ticket from the airport to the station. I think the code for Frankfurt is 15 but it's best to ask someone as the ticket dispensers are a bit confusing. I also asked people on the train platform to confirm that I was in the right place for the train to hauptbahnhof (main train station).

The trams in town are easy too. The hotel will help you get started with the tram number and you can get a map of Frankfurt at the hotel desk. You catch the tram to the main square just in front of the train station and buy your ticket at the tram stop.

I wish I had had time to go back to some of the places we saw on the walking tour but I only had the one day in Frankfurt. I was so impressed with Frankfurt that I'm hoping to do a trip to Germany sometime in the near future.
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Sep 15th, 2010, 12:48 AM
  #90
 
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Thanks so much Adrienne. I'm going to print this out for keeping. I do worry about the ticket machines as I am hopeless at that kind of thing.
I also have just the one full day in Frankfurt (two nights)- Christmas Day, have read that the walking tour goes in all weather, every day of the year, so thats my plan for Christmas morning. Its nice to hear that you were impressed with the city, as I've read not very good reports about Frankfurt. For me, its somewhere new, hence exciting, and also its Europe too, so I'd rather be anywhere in Europe than home Can I just ask you one thing more please - if you had a choice with Excelsior or the National, if the price was around the same, which one??
Thanks, I really appreciate your advice, Manda
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Sep 15th, 2010, 01:11 AM
  #91
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The room at the National was nicer but the price isn't the same because breakfast at the National was E12 additional - it wasn't included with the room. Also check the cancellation policy. I did not book with them on the return trip through Frankfurt as they required 45 days notification and I didn't want to take the risk that my plans might change.

I would suggest sending an email to ensure that there is a walking tour on Christmas Day. You won't be able to get into the places we went to inside other than the churches and if there are services then the guide won't be able to talk inside nor will you be able to walk around inside the churches during services.

I would also try to find restaurants that are open on Christmas and make reservations as many may be shut and the ones that are open could be booked up.
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Sep 15th, 2010, 04:41 AM
  #92
 
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For info about the walking tour, the website is www.frankfurtonfoot.com. It does say they walk 365 days a year, so Christmas Day should be good to go.

If you are going to be in Germany on the 24th, you will really need a reservation at a hotel restaurant as all the rest will be closed by about 14:00 or so.
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Sep 15th, 2010, 05:52 AM
  #93
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I know what the walking tour web site states but there are only two guides for the Frankfurt tour and they are married to each other so I think it would be wise to check before standing around waiting. Sometimes web sites do not get updated or the site may be updated later and nz101 may not see the updates, if any. Since this is the only activity she has planned for the day it does seem wise to check.
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Sep 15th, 2010, 07:27 AM
  #94
 
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Good point, adrienne. The website looks like it does get updated on a very regular basis though, as they have various upcoming events listed. I think it is a good idea to always check websites of activities, museums, etc. before going anywhere.
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Sep 15th, 2010, 07:51 AM
  #95
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<< I think it is a good idea to always check websites of activities, museums, etc. before going anywhere >>

Particularly as nz101 is planning on the walking tour on Christmas Day. If there is not a great demand for this tour leading up to Christmas the guides may request to be off duty on Christmas and the site may be updated during that week. Any other time I think it would be fine to assume there will be a guide at the appointed time.
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Sep 16th, 2010, 12:54 AM
  #96
 
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Thank you both Adrienne and Mainhattengirl. I will definitely contact the people about the walking tour to make sure I'm not standing around waiting in the cold for nothing. I arrive in Frankfurt 7pm xmas eve, think I won't worry about dinner as will just want bed after 35 hours of travelling. I hope there will be some cafes/restaurants open on christmas day, but I'll just have to take it as it comes as apart from the walking tour I have no idea of what I want to do. thanks for the information and Adrienne I've got your trip report reading on my work computer for printing out. Its massive
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