Inexpensive countries in Europe??

Old Aug 13th, 2003, 05:37 AM
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I agree with ben Haines rankings, insofar as of all the EU countries germany is the cheapest to travel in with the possible exception of Portugal..
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Old Aug 13th, 2003, 06:11 AM
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If you can fly into Eastern Europe for nothing, it would make good sense to do so - seems to me that the train travel, the dining car meals, and the sleepers (never a bargain if you don't sleep well on trains, like me) are going to add up pretty quickly if you plan to journey there by train.

If your continental airport choices are Frankfurt, Paris, or Amsterdam, I'd suggest a week somewhere in the middle of this little triangle; fly into one airport and out the other to minimize ground expenses. But don't spend your week in the large, overpriced metropolises. Rural France (Lorraine?), the Belgian Ardennes, and Germany's Eifel or Rhein/Mosel Valleys are good candidates for an inexpensive vacation. In these rural areas of Germany, areas where middle-class Germans themselves travel, <$10 meals are plentiful and you can be treated like a princess by private B&B operators for around $20-$25/night; also, September is a terrific to get in on wine harvest festivities in the region - winefests and fireworks shows (these sound hokey but are quite amazing) take place on the Rhine on the 13th and 20th that month (Oberwesel and St. Goar.)
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Old Aug 13th, 2003, 09:45 AM
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For Wayne: The connection is indirect. Ukraine and Serbia give tourist visas to people who can show evidence of having booked and paid in advance for their accommodation. Travel agents both in country and also elsewhere will book only the most expensive hotels, or the most expensive rooms in a hotel. For example, foreigners can book in advance, from overseas, only the 60 euro rooms at the George Hotel in Lvov. We can book the 20 euro rooms only on the spot. We solve this for Ukraine by making up or quoting the address of a private flat where we say we shall stay. It need not be a real address, nobody checks, and a note a week ago on the Lonely Planet forum said the desk staff at the Ukraine consulate in London explained to a non-rich applicant how to invent an address ! I can give the same advice by e-mail.

I have not looked for a similar solution for Serbia, as since June many visitors have not needed a visa of any kind. The rule is still a nuisance for others who still need a visa.

I think I shall alter the line on Romania, which was true widely but is now true only in Bucharest. Elsewhere, there are good two star hotels at 25 euros a night, and I use them.

For Russ: Dining car meals in west Europe cost from 15 to 30 euros, and in domestic trains in central Europe cost 10 to 20 euros. Similar meals are about five euros less in pubs and middling restaurants, no great difference, and the sensation of eating well as good scenery rolls by is good. I agree that for people who sleep badly on trains a sleeper (at 45 euros) is never a bargain. Nor can you change your mind. When you are sure you won t sleep then you won t sleep. But if yiu do sleep then cists in such places as Slovakia and Hungary are a third of those in your triangle, so a week in central Europe comes out cheaper. In Wroclaw, Gyor, Levoca, Novi Sad and Zvolen I used the best hotel in town (oldest and most central), at less than a bed and breakfast would be in north west Europe.

For Harzer: Thank you: I shall look into this next time I am in Germany. I do already know a 45 euro hotel in west Berlin, a private hotel run by hospitable anglophone staff keen to tell you what in town will suit you.

Ben Haines
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Old Aug 13th, 2003, 10:30 AM
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Ben- you left out Turkey. Any reason? Despite the $100 visa, I still think it would rate as one of the least expensive countries in Europe.
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Old Aug 13th, 2003, 10:55 AM
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There is a reason, and it is embarrassing. I am not sure that Turkey is European. But my ground wobbles beneath my feet, when I consider that Greece is in. Now I shall rightly be called prejudiced, but at least with equal feeling from both sides.

Ben Haines
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Old Aug 13th, 2003, 02:20 PM
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Ben: I understood flyingcircus has one week. The suggested route surely costs more than $100 each way, uses up the better part of two days for ground travel, and involves dining car and sleeping car accommodations (and expenses.) For such a short vacation, it all seems a bit much, unless she can fly in a bit closer - hence, my suggestions.

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Old Aug 13th, 2003, 06:00 PM
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Mr. Haines, if you ever decide to go west and "come over the pond" to New York, my husband and I would love to meet you and return the courtesies you had when I was planning my Feb 02 trip to London. Happy travels!
 
Old Aug 13th, 2003, 06:30 PM
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I remember several years ago clients of mine mentioned they went to Portugal for a week. They stayed in the top hotel in Lisbon (the recently done Ritz?) hired a private car and driver for the week. They ate in the top restaurants they had seen listed in Conde Nast. They remarked afterwards they couldn't understand why people said Portugal was inexpensive, they found it quite expensive. Duh!!!

We always seem to spend less money in Paris than anywhere. But that doesn't mean it's the cheapest place -- just what we do or don't do. But I will say Turkey was an amazing bargain.
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Old Aug 13th, 2003, 07:59 PM
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Mr. Haines-am interested in the Berlin hotel you mention. We're flying out of Berlin and need lodging the night before. If you come to the States we would enjoy showing you around New England.
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Old Aug 13th, 2003, 09:52 PM
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Auntgrapes: That is the Hotel Crystal, one stop from Zoo station. Plesse see berlin.hotelguide.net/data/h100066.htm

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Old Aug 14th, 2003, 08:06 AM
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Ben, I always enjoy your posts, but may I ask, tongue-in-cheek, whether that was a typo or a Freudian slip when you wrote that you have a lust of foreign countries?

You are warmly invited to Kentucky.
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