Eastern Europe VS. Italy?

Feb 10th, 2005, 04:58 PM
  #1  
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Eastern Europe VS. Italy?

Hello...I am planning a trip at the end of May and can't decide between E. Europe and Italy. Here are the rough ideas of itineraries:

Italy: fly into Nice- train to Florence, Tuscany, Rome, Amalfi Coast (Sorrento or Positano,probably, fly out of Naples.(Have done Venice already)

E Europe: Prague, Cesky Krumlov, Krakow or Budapest

I am welcome to all suggestions for either of these itineraries and would love to hear your opinion!

Details: Trip will be 9 nights, 10 days. Open to renting a car or train/bus. Going with boyfriend, I am 28 and he is 32. Our favorite thing to do is see the towns, buildings etc- not huge art buffs, but enjoy seeing the classics!

Thanks for the help!
kjenn is offline  
Feb 10th, 2005, 05:10 PM
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Let me tell you right from the get-go that by many categorizations, the Czech Republic is not considered Eastern Europe.
"not that there's anything wrong with that."

I haven't been to all the locations you mention, but to some, and as much as I love Prague, and I do, imo there is no comparison with the joys, history,architecture, cities, countryside, art,and food, of Italy.
elaine is offline  
Feb 10th, 2005, 05:12 PM
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1.Within a matter of moments, you will see a message posted here by a distinguished but irascible old gent, who will inform you that those countries are in central Europe, not eastern Europe.

2. Either itinerary would be great.

3. Anyone who says she has "already done" Venice should probably choose Prague and Budapest.

4. Budapest is a grand, faded, gritty, wonderful scene.

5.You could avoid invidious choices by doing as I am doing next month: Prague AND Rome/Tuscany
tedgale is offline  
Feb 10th, 2005, 05:25 PM
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Well - I'm not a distinguished but irascible old gent - but I do agree the Czech republic, hungary and poland are not eastern europe. they are central europe - because they are - in fact - in the center of europe.

The countries in eastern europe are - in fact - further east than the countries in central europe. These eastern european countries include Russia, Ukraine and various former SSRs - not former satellite nations.
nytraveler is offline  
Feb 11th, 2005, 06:40 AM
  #5  
ira
 
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Hi kj,

Is there a reason you are flying to Nice in order to go to Italy?

>...Florence, Tuscany, Rome, Amalfi Coast ... fly out of Naples.<

How long is your visit?

ira is offline  
Feb 11th, 2005, 06:53 AM
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There's really no place for nit-pickers who want to argue about whether a country is in Eastern Europe or Central Europe. After all, most of us have grown up with the concept of "eastern Europe" drilled into our minds as anything east of the now defunct Iron Curtain. That includes Poland, Hungary, the former Czechoslovakia, and the former Yugoslavia. It's quite understandable, and not worth quibbling about, that many people still see Europe in that light -- just as many of us will see a glass as half full rather than half empty.
Wayne is offline  
Feb 11th, 2005, 06:58 AM
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Eastern or Central, I would defer them and go to Italy. And I had the same question: Why would you fly into Nice if you are going to Italy? Unless you have a burning desire to spend some time in Nice, I would fly into Florence or Pisa.
mamc is offline  
Feb 11th, 2005, 07:03 AM
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If you are truly interested in seeing the "classics" and by that I assume you mean the works so recognizable by so many, then that alone probably clinches the deal for Italy and Florence and Rome in particular.

Assume you are flying into Nice due to miles/seat availability. Getting from there to Italy would probably be best done by rail since I suspect there would be a big "drop charge" for the car being rented in France and dropped off in Italy.

I do think you are trying to cover a lot of geographic territory in a short period of time, however, and if it were me I would go no further south than Rome.

Don't be put off by the "geography lesson" stuff...there are far worse things in life than making a misstep here.
Intrepid1 is offline  
Feb 11th, 2005, 02:48 PM
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Actually, there is no universal agreemnet on the definitions of Eastern Euorope and Central Europe.

At one time or another, various countries, including what it now the Czech Republic, have been considered Eastern Europe or Central Europe.

There's no definitive right or wrong label.
RufusTFirefly is offline  
Feb 11th, 2005, 08:35 PM
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I would defer Italy and head to East/Central europe, if cost is at all a consideration. Either destination would have much to offer, nice towns, etc. For me, Italy would be a better option when the dollar is a bit stronger.
cyrusmag is offline  
Feb 11th, 2005, 11:00 PM
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These two regions are so different. Each is very worthwhile in their own way. I love Italy for its dolce vita, wine, food, churches and their love of children (we have 2). I love Czech Rep. and other parts of eastern Europe for its history, bravery of people, amazing architecture and it's edginess. If you have done Italy why not try something new? The end of May is a great time to visit as it's before the maddening crowd.

Fly into Vienna or Budapest. Explore Hungary including the Puszta, then head North through the Eastern portion of Slovakia toward Krakow. Explore Poland and then head SW to Prague and the Czech Republic. I think this sounds like a great trip. Read some books on the resistance toward the Soviets like Mitchum's Bridge Over Andau. It will give you an appreciation for Hungary.

As far the silly debate over Eastern vs Central Europe, I am with Wayne. I have lived in Budapest, Switzerland and Slovenia. Regardless of geography, the mentality of the Czech Rep, Hungary and Poland is Eastern Europe. This manifests itself in a "Ninc" attitude. Ninc (sp?) is a Hungarian word that means lots of different things. It means no, can't help, won't help, don't have it etc. I think it is the favorite word of the shop personnel. There is a philopsohy that flying under the radar, not being noticed, is the way to stay out of trouble. There is also a lack of willingness to goout on a limb for fear of trouble and a willingness to stretch the truth (again if they think they will get in trouble). This is all a result of the iron grip of Soviet communism.

But I digress...
Cheers,
Jan
SloJan is offline  
Feb 11th, 2005, 11:32 PM
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kjenn,

Since you're young and will likely return to Europe in the future, I would choose East/Central Europe -- specifically, Hungary, Slovakia, Romania (and maybe Croatia). These regions are being Westernized rapidly. You will see and experience things now that will likely be gone ten years from now.

Prague is lovely, but has already been largely transformed into a "Western" tourist city. Compared to Eastern Europe, Italy will be the same Italy ten years from now. I throw in Croatia for the Italian influence (the Roman ruins are superior to those in Rome) and the fact that many vacationing Italians consider Croatia a less-spoiled version of Italy.
metlc is offline  
Feb 14th, 2005, 08:27 AM
  #13  
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In response...

Nice was just a suggestion, because currently the fare is 250.pp cheaper than flying into Florence/Milan.....we are waiting until March to see how the fares change...

Wayne- the reason I stated "I have done Venice" is because I realized I would have a lot of people suggesting to add it on the itinerary.

Thank you all for the spirited Central/Eastern debate- very interesting- and the useful information!!
kjenn is offline  
Feb 14th, 2005, 10:12 AM
  #14  
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Oops- sorry wayne.
The "done Venice" comment was meant for tedgale. Sorry!
kjenn is offline  
Feb 16th, 2005, 06:31 AM
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I enjoy noting the phrase," We have done so-and-so". Does anyone wonder if the 'natives' take any concern of having been done?
GSteed is offline  
Mar 29th, 2005, 09:00 AM
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rex
 
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<<I enjoy noting the phrase," We have done so-and-so". Does anyone wonder if the 'natives' take any concern of having been done?>>

I quite agree with this verb abuse, GSteed.

It always conjures up the image for me, that Sherman "did" Atlanta.

Best wishes,

Rex
rex is offline  
Apr 19th, 2005, 03:07 PM
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Have been to both Italy and the Central/Eastern countries and definitely vote for the latter. Loved it! and agree, Italy will still be Italy, but the others will change - go while you can still talk with the people about their experiences under Communism, and see for yourself the vestiges of Communism and WW II - the 20th cetury history mingled with 15th-18th was intriguing, eye-opening. Don't miss Krakow, Warsaw, Budapest.
GmaMcD is offline  
Apr 19th, 2005, 03:58 PM
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i also would opt for the eastern/central europe option, as i feel it is the area that will experience the highest rise in prices in the next decade ( compared to italy), and will also change the most, as said previously.

having been to budapest, prague and krakow, i can vouch for all of them as being well worth the trip. i trust the majority of the people who visit these towns are not disappointed and feel they are witnessing unique surroundings architecturally speaking, and a vision of what "USED" to be.

the food was good everywhere.but we experienced more high quality variety in budapest. however, that was the most recent trip, and the most prepared one.

budapest is a more vibrant city where i think the music, dancing and bars, floating cafés, etc. offer more fun nightlife, although on our other trips, we were with children and the opportunity did not arise.

although there is nothing quite like italy, either, you may get much more value for your money now elswhere.




.
lincasanova is offline  
Apr 19th, 2005, 04:37 PM
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I actually have no problem with people calling the Czech Republic and Hungary eastern Europe, 'cause while they are beautiful countries, they are just as poor as the rest of eastern Europe.

But I will have a huge problem if someone dared calling Austria eastern Europe!! why?! because it's actually closely related to it's western neighbor Switzerland, besides the fact that Austria is just as rich, sophisticated, and expensive as the rest of western Europe.
mnss is offline  
Apr 20th, 2005, 05:49 PM
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Maybe..Do you want to avoid other tourists? The mob looking/viewing the Mona Lisa? Do you want some personal attention from the 'natives'? Best choice may be touring Poland...avoid Krakow and Warszawa. Visit Wroclaw. The 1996 Olympic venue is still existent! Try Lodz, still to come is the redoing of the Posnanski complex. Try Lichen..a new biggest Catholic complex..absolutely amazing place.
GSteed is offline  
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