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Trip Report - Prague, Budapest, Bruges and Amsterdam - June 2006

Trip Report - Prague, Budapest, Bruges and Amsterdam - June 2006

Old Jul 9th, 2006, 06:29 PM
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noe847,

How would you specify more than one country?

The choices are General Interest (or something like that) or select one country.

tralsolo2,

No I didn't climb the Belfry. Too many stairs.

Maybe I'm getting old. I'm the type to do that but I decided against it as I got winded climbing the tower on Petrin Hill in Prague.

I guess the choice was trying to get some photo ops vs passing out and not getting the shots anyway.

The best was the view we had in Brussels of the tower in Grand Place from our hotel room. Elevator to our floor.
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Old Jul 9th, 2006, 06:36 PM
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If you look at the gray fine print under 'and/or topics', it says "hold control key to click more than one", so I think that should work. My guess is that one should click 'general interest' to catch the search-ers who don't specify a country as well as clicking each country. I find the search function of this forum to be very hit and miss.
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Old Jul 9th, 2006, 06:43 PM
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I understand, Myer. I got pretty pooped but had a chance to rest halfway up when I waited for about 70 schoolkids to go past me!
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Old Jul 9th, 2006, 06:46 PM
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Myer,

Loved looking at all your photos...and I agree with you, Brugge has to be one of the most beautiful towns and also best to walk around. I was there in October so even though there were still plenty of people, there was a sense of calm about the town.

I will definitely return and advise anyone who travels near Brugge to go and visit, it's certainly worth it.
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Old Jul 9th, 2006, 06:48 PM
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noe847,

Live and learn. Of course Ctl + a topic is additive. I must have been sleeping. Or maybe too busy taking photos.

Thanks.
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Old Jul 9th, 2006, 06:53 PM
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lyb,

Glad you liked the photos.

I just don't think Brugge plays fair. They do everything to make the little city beautiful. They even have a bike path that circles the central part of the city and passes the windmills. Not fair to other cities.

They don't even allow tourist stores to hang their goods outside like others do.

They know their place and make sure we pass it on.
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Old Jul 9th, 2006, 07:36 PM
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So Myer, Sandi, Syl, and emyou and your mishpuka (sp) where are you going for the holiays? (sorry I just couldn't resist)

Great trip report. You felt about Brugge exactly the same way we did. We were there for a week in March a few years ago ... for the most part the weather was miserable, but nothing can dim the glow of Brugge.

We put off taking the canal trip until the last minute - it turned out to be one of the top highlights of our trip. The only problem that we encountered, is that after the tour buses left, we had a hard time getting money, as they had wiped out the ATMs near the market. Sometimes they weren't replenished until the next day.

When you were in Amsteram did you get a chance to see the Spanish Synagogue? It was beautiful and very original - no electric lights, just thousands of candles.

One of our favorite places for a good, reasonably priced meal is Casa David on Singl, glad that you enjoyed it too. We've eaten there on every trip, and I'm glad to hear that it is still good, as we haven't been there in three years.

Also, that was very nice of you to mentioned Tony Curtis' efforts. His foundation has done quit a bit for his family's country.

Hi to the gang.

Nina

P.S. - I didn't go to school with any of you and I am probably not related to you either.
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Old Jul 10th, 2006, 03:40 AM
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Nina,

Glad you liked the photos.

No, we are not part of the Syl, emyou "mishpuka".

Until we moved to South Florida (1993) we lived in the same suburb of Montreal but didn't "travel" in the same circles. I suppose their loss.

Before we left on the trip I checked the 10 day forecast and it was cool, drizzle and rain. As it turns out we had rain for an hour on the last day in Brussels. Prague was cool (cold in the evening) but it got progressively warmer and sunnier. By the time we got to Belgium and the Netherlands it was in the mid-80s and not a cloud in the sky. Very unusual for that area.

No, we didn't go to the Spanish Synagogue. By the time we got to Amsterdam (The Jewish Museum of Prague, Budapest Synagogue, etc) we were all synagogued out. Some of the presentations were absolute repetitions of each other.

We were tempted to take a canal cruise in Brugge and/or Amsterdam but never did. We walked everywhere.

As it turns out everybody on the cruises waved to us walking around. If we were on the cruise, who would we have waved to?
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Old Jul 10th, 2006, 06:47 AM
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Nina,
emyou's following Myer by going on his trip next.Well somewhat, as she's off to Prague, Salzburg, Vienna & Budapest in October.I did that trip this past October & vowed never to travel to Europe in October again because I froze my tush.I guess emyou will be touring Slovenia,Montenegro & Croatia in 2007 because that's my September destination.
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Old Jul 10th, 2006, 07:08 AM
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I guess I won't tell anybody my next plans just in case anybody tries to come along. Actually, we've always travelled solo.


www.travelwalks.com

to view photos.
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Old Jul 10th, 2006, 07:45 AM
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I loved your trip report and pics, Myer, especially since I am going to Prague in September and plan to go to Budapest next year. Your laid-back style is refreshing, also.

Thanks for sharing.
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Old Jul 10th, 2006, 02:26 PM
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Myer, thanks for your wonderful shots of Prague. I see what you mean by using the camera that you have. You do have a terrific eye. I love how you frame your shots ( eg. the bikes). Did you have a tripod to take the night shots or did you balance your camera on something. The photos are very clear and that is hard in pour light. I just came back from 3 days in Matane Quebec where I went to see the Jardins de Metis. It is quite beautiful. The area around it is very French Quebec with good food and wine. I took some nice shots but now having seen yours I cannot wait to go to Prague.
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Old Jul 10th, 2006, 03:13 PM
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emyou,

I have a Canon XT. That's an 8 megapixel SLR digital camera. That's not the only/main thing. I have a pretty good lens that I carried over from my film camera.

Also, this camera has a great sensor. Even at it's most sensitive (ISO 1600) the noise is pretty low as long as it's not too underexposed. I used ISO 800 for inside and night-time photos.

With that kind of ISO I could take the night shots at between 1/20 to 1/40 sec. That's not fast enough for daytime moving objects but not bad for night scenery.

I don't carry extra lenses nor do I carry a tripod or brace myself. In the past I have leaned against a tree but not many trees on the Charles Bridge.

I used noise reduction software on one photo only; the one inside the Prague Castle. None of the others were noise-reduced.

Well, that explains the technical stuff.

I'm always amused by those who say they're not a professional so they aren't going to spend more than xxx on their camera.

I say that if you spend thousands on a vacation and all you have left after are the memories and photos, why not....
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Old Jul 10th, 2006, 03:37 PM
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Myer, is your lens fixed or zoom? I have some decent lenses from my film EOS but haven't yet moved into digital SLR. I now shoot my vacation pictures with a pocket sized Canon digital camera which has spoiled me with its portability.
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Old Jul 10th, 2006, 05:48 PM
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noe847,

My camera is definitely larger than a miniature though a bit smaller than my film camera. I think you can see a reflection of me taking a picture at Fisherman's Bastion in Budapest.

My walkaround lens is a 28-105mm II USM lens. Fast focus and super quiet.

It's a moderate wide and moderate zoom lens. Not extreme in either direction.

I find that on 10 to 15 photos (out of 600) the lens wasn't quite wide enough.

Be aware, if you bring over lenses from your film camera to something like an XT, there's a 1.6 factor due to the fact the sensor is smaller than 35mm film.

So my 28-105mm lens is really like 45-168mm lens.

It's nice to have a bit of extra zoom but I'd rather have the extra wide angle.

When we look at a scene with our eyes we see it quite wide. Unless you use a wide angle lens, you may be a bit disappointed because you won't capture what you actually saw.

I'd hate you put out $400 to $600 to buy a lens that's 90% duplicating what I already have. A decision I'll have to make eventually.

One of the big advantages to having a good camera is the ability to crop photos the way you want and lose very little quality. I changed some from landscape to portrait and I'm sure you can't tell.

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Old Jul 10th, 2006, 06:31 PM
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I traveled with my SLR until the most recent two trips (Dec/Jan in Central Europe and March in London). The lens I leave on the camera is also a 28-105, and I've found the 28 very handy for mountain views and city landscapes. I also always carried a 75-300 and really loved that lens for architectural details and some really cool portraits.

I do enjoy manipulating the digital images with the little camera I am using now. I imagine that at some point I will buy a digital SLR body, especially if/since I can use my Canon lenses. You're right about the expense - with all I spend for travel the camera's expense would be pretty reasonable. I'm just not sure when I will want to carry the bulk/weight again.
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Old Jul 10th, 2006, 07:17 PM
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noe847,

Those are decisions you have to make.

I have trouble seeing through cameras with a small viewfinder and no diopter adjustment.

After using an SLR for so many years, I don't think I could get used to using a screen instead of a viewfinder.

I tried an inbetweener and found the viewfinder to be too grainy and tiring on my eyes.

Also, there's nothing like turning on the camera and it's ready to shoot immediately. Also, you snap a shot and the camera's ready for the next.

In fact I can have it shoot multiple shots at approximately 3 per second.

What I really find is the biggest difference between the film and digital cameras (other than the convenience of processing) is changing ISO on the fly. I usually use ISO 200 for normal outdoor and daylight. If I walk inside I switch to ISO800 and back to ISO200 when exiting.

At night I switch to ISO800 for the evening (without flash).

It's like changing rolls of film to a more sensitive film in mid-roll and then back.

This must be boring a lot of people.
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Old Jul 10th, 2006, 08:51 PM
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Myer,
I hate to keep inundating you with questions about Budapest and Prague, even though I have been there before; however, I noticed the picture you took of an ad for the Communist Museum in Prague. You didn't mention going there in your trip report, so I am assuming you didn't go. If not, did you have a particular reason? I had originally wanted to go there, but Fodors said it is "an uninspired collection of posters, documents, and memorabilia. The better secondhand bookstores and antique shops have collections every bit as interesting, but you won't know that until you've paid the 180 Kc admission." The historical aspects of the Communist era are of great interest to me, so I thought the House of Terror in Budapest might be a better choice. All my research says it's well done, although some say it doesn't fully depict the actions of the Arrow Cross in WWII. (That drawback would not deter me, however, as I have visited the Jewish heritage and Holocaust related sites in both cities and am well aware of the history.) I guess I can't really phrase a question here, but any input you (or anyone else)could offer mabye based on your own research or opinion would be appreciated. Oh, and your Shoes Along the Danube picture is stunning.
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Old Jul 10th, 2006, 10:00 PM
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i enjoyed your report, I somehow missed it when you posted it in June.

I did Amsterdam-Bruges-Paris last year.
Loved the Hotel Prinsenhof in Bruges, it was the perfect place to recover from jetlag. Bruges in late May was a delight, I will never forget that charming town. This was my third trip to Amsterdam and fourth to Paris, love them both but Bruges was truly a gem to me.
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Old Jul 10th, 2006, 11:25 PM
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Thank you Myer ~ excellent report!
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