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Help with my Eastern Europe Holiday, anybody?

Help with my Eastern Europe Holiday, anybody?

Sep 17th, 2007, 09:05 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2006
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Help with my Eastern Europe Holiday, anybody?

Hi there people! Last year I spent around 2 weeks on a whirlwind backpacking tour in Western Europe, covering Germany, Netherland, Belgium, Austria, Italy and Switzerland in one go.

This year I've decided to take it slow, and head to eastern europe instead. I just wanted to ask which are the places definitely worth a visit in Eastern Europe?

I've been living in Russia for 5 years now, and have been to some of the more popular places here, but regarding Eastern Europe, I have totally no idea on how to orient myself. So my itinerary sound somethng like this:

Start from Prague, maybe 3 days, move on to Cesky Kumlov, then from there to Bratislava, Slovakia. Afterwards to Budapest Hungary, then down to Bucharest, Brasov and maybe Bran in Romania before returning to Russia.

What I love best are these little ancient cities with castles and cobblestone pavement, so if you guys have anything to add please feel free to comment.

P/S: Another thing, my winter holiday starts at the end of January, which I heard is the peak of winter in some places in Eastern Europe. Any tips on what to wear/ bring along to cope?
Aleckii is offline  
Sep 17th, 2007, 09:10 AM
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I would recommend 2 days in Krakow, a half day tour of Auschwitz, which is 45 minutes train ride from Krakow and perhaps a few days in Warsaw. Now looking at your thread, it doesn't look like you planned on going to Poland at all.
savannah is offline  
Sep 17th, 2007, 09:13 AM
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Well actually I wasn't, but I am intested to find out more information about any place in europe worth visiting. Perhaps I am less informed about Poland. What are the attractions there in Krakow and Aushwitz?
Aleckii is offline  
Sep 17th, 2007, 10:29 AM
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Hi, aleckii,

i can't do any better than tell you what we are hoping to do, originally this year but now probably postponed to next.

fly to Prague [we've been there and don't want to spend time tere again this visit].

Drive south to cesky krumlov [beautiful small town with river trips, castle].

cross border into Austria - drive along the Danube taking in Melk Monastery - to Vienna. 3-4 nights there.

Over to Bratislava, and up through slovakia through the Tartra mountains to Krakov. 3 nights.

To Dresden via Wroklav [another lovely small town along the lines of Krakov, i believe]. 3 nights in Dresden.

Back to Prague via the "Saechsische Schweiz" [wooded and monutainous area on the german czech border].

we reckon on this taking about 2 weeks.

regards, ann
annhig is offline  
Sep 17th, 2007, 10:33 AM
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dresden is a lovely town, but really today i do no longer consider it eastern europe in the same way i do romania, etc...
rhkkmk is offline  
Sep 17th, 2007, 02:24 PM
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hi, rhkkmk,

i agree about Dresden, but having read Erich Kaestner's book "als ich ein kleiner Junge war" at school, it's a place I've always wanted to see, and it fits in well with our trip, as well as giving me another opportunity to practice my german. also I'm lining us up to go to the opera there, to add it to my list of opera houses.

The OP may well have other ideas - but bucharest has never appealed and we've been to Budapest.

regards, ann
annhig is offline  
Sep 17th, 2007, 04:02 PM
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I started to tell you a little more about Poland, but you've confused me. What do you mean, "What are the attractions in...Auschwitz?" And you're going the end of January and you "heard it's the peak of winter?" Since you've been living in Russia for 5 years, you must know all about winter and proper clothing, right?

I would not characterize the itinerary you've outlined as "taking it slow" -- that's a lot for two weeks, but that sounds like your traveling style. Have fun planning your trip!

Fidel is offline  
Sep 17th, 2007, 04:56 PM
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"What are the attractions there in Krakow and Aushwitz?" I don't know whether to laugh or to cry. Is there one person in the world who doesn't know what Auschwitz is?
FainaAgain is offline  
Sep 18th, 2007, 11:15 AM
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Thanks all you guys for your help. I will take into consideration all of your suggestion. But I have been to Austria before, to both Vienna and Salzburg and loved them a lot,but I don't really plan to visit them again this year. As for Poland, I will need to apply for a tourist visa and let's just say it isn't the easiest thing to do for me (I live in Kursk, 10 hours away from Moscow and to travel there just to apply for a visa takes time, money and effort). What about other countries like Croatia, Romania and Slovakia? Has anybody any experience travelling to these places.

As for FainaAgain's Reply, of course I know what happened in Auschwitz, what I meant was what are the attractions there? Do they have museums maybe, or memorials for the victims. Or maybe they have other attractions like some famous landmarks, etc? I for example, have just recently visited Seam Reap and Phnom Penh in Cambodia, aside from the memorials and Tuol Sleng Genocide museum there, there's also some ancient artefacts, the Angkor Wat, lakes, rivers and so forth. That was what I meant in my question.
Aleckii is offline  
Sep 18th, 2007, 11:28 AM
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Another thing, would it be snowing heavily in Eastern Europe during early February? Being in Russia doesn't mean I will know what winter is like in other countries. In my town for example, temperature can go as low as -25 on an afternoon. Does that happen in say Romania or Slovakia or Hungary or Prague?
Aleckii is offline  
Sep 18th, 2007, 11:49 AM
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hi, aleckii,

yes, it wil be snowing, or will have snowed, but in my exprience, countries that have a snow regularly are much better at dealing with it than places like the UK, which grind to a halt after a mere sprinkling.

we went to both Prague and budapest between Xmas and New Year, and they were marvellous at keeping everything moving.

you might have to put up with the odd train delay, but apart from that, you shouldn't have too many problems unless the weather is very extreme.

where can you go [that you want to go] without visa problems?

regards, ann
annhig is offline  
Sep 18th, 2007, 11:53 AM
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Thanks for that info annhig, I just found out that as a Malaysian, the only countries that I need a visa to enter in Europe are Russia (which I have), Poland, Belarus and Ukraine. The rest of the countries in west and eastern europe, well I pretty much can enter and leave without much problem.
Aleckii is offline  
Sep 18th, 2007, 12:30 PM
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I spent 2 weeks in Novi Sad, Serbia, this summer and it was lovely. It has the Petrovaradin Fortress on the Danube; there are several monasteries and wineries in the region, but I don't know whether they are accessible in the winter or not. Charming old city...easily accessible from Budapest by train. Very inexpensive city as well.
Kellye is offline  
Sep 19th, 2007, 10:26 AM
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On Romania, seriously consider adding Sibiu and Sighisoara. Both are very Transylvanian and well preserved. Sighisoara is a small jewel. Sibiu is the Culture Capital of Europe for 2007 and deserves the honor. Both Sighisoara and Sibiu are on a line going from Budapest to Bucharest.

Bran was a nice, small castle but gets a lot more hype, I thought, than it deserves, the stories linking it to Vlad Tepes/Dracula are mostly manufactured. Others have liked its well maintained state though, as one of a ring of defenses built by imported Germans to help the Hungarians defend against the Tatars and Turks. I found it a little touristy and preferred Rasnov, an abandoned fortified hilltop town a little closer to Brasov. Others felt the opposite regarding Bran and Rasnov.

Other very worthy places IMO in Romania, but not necessarily easily accessed by public transport, are Maramures (for very traditional village life), Bucovina (for amazingly muraled exteriors of monasteries), and the walled Saxon chuches dotting many small towns around Transylvania. Of the latter, some are ruins, some functional. These towns are all around between Sibiu, Sighisoara and Brasov, the best of which might include Harmann and Biertan.

In Hungary, Eger is well worth a day or so, for the castle, city center and red wines.

Clifton is offline  
Sep 19th, 2007, 10:54 AM
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There was this movie last year that I watched, Blood and Chocolate, some story about werewolves... something that caught my attention was the setting of the story. In a small town with cobblestone pathment, little winding roads with very ancient shops. If I was not mistaken, the movie was shot in Bucharest. Anybody been to Bucharest before?
Aleckii is offline  
Sep 26th, 2007, 10:15 AM
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Where can I find bus timetables for Eastern Europe? I kind of have an idea to travel through this route-

Prague 3 or 4 days,
then a bus to Bratislava for 2 days,
then take the bus to Budapest for 2,3 days, then down to Belgrade, Serbia (my cousin lives there) for maybe 3 days, then take a bus or train to travel all the way back to Prague.

How much money should I allocate for the travel through these cities? And where can I find out more information about bus schedules?
Aleckii is offline  
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