Easteurotrip 2009

I must say, in almost all places, there wasn’t much of a difference between eastern and western Europe… maybe, except for the usage of the euro! It is as beautiful as ever and even my third trip didn’t make me think that I need to take a break from europe 🙂 Most importantly, a 18 day vacation felt like a real good and l-o-n-g vacation and I recommend it to everyone 🙂

Praha, Czech Republic
This is the cheapest european capital city i have set foot in 🙂 and no compromises on the best of the european feel.. Stare Mesto (old town), Mala Strana, Petrin hill, Wenceslas square and the Charles bridge.. will compete for the attention and the walks… don’t think we used the metro much 🙂 We spent less than 3 days in the city but feels like we saw so many different facades of the town… each area is different… impressive… walkable… enjoyable… as you discover each new part of the city and connect the dots 🙂
We were not impressed by the castle much… maybe it was the crowds, maybe we just didn’t enjoy anything touristy!
We also did a day-trip to Terezin, a concentration camp (the full town!)… and it seemed so dead, even today!

Highlights:

  • Discovering the walking way to the small eiffel from the prague castle thro the monastry and the petrin hill and the funicular rail down!
  • Sitting in the old town square, sipping coffee and observing people pass by 🙂
  • (Free) walking tour through the old town hearing the tit-bits about each of those buildings!

Prague 1Prague 2Prague 3

Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic
We were scheduled to be in this small town for 2.5 days and three nights… and i was the one who thought it might be a lil too long in this small town… and ended up thinking I could easily spend another day here. You could walk the whole town in two hours, and still… 🙂
The castle gardens are beautiful… with all those benches… you could take a book and spend an afternoon here! The restaurants… lined by the river side.. beautiful… and still, affordable 🙂
We kicked ourselves to bike 30 kms into the nearby villages.. the uphills were a pain, the a** was hurting but then the wind on ur face when you go downhill makes it all worth it 🙂 I managed to canoe in the Vltava river overcoming my water scare (though, scaring N a lil too much in the beginning!)… and got all tanned 4 days before I was scheduled to be in the Hvar waters! Many ppl do a day trip here from Prague (3 hrs one-way)… must say, that definitely doesn’t do any justice to this place!

Highlights:

  • Everything I mentioned above! We didn’t enter any tourist attractions!

Cesky Krumlov 1Cesky Krumlov 2Biking

Wien, Austria
You need to be a history or music buff to appreciate any of the tourist attractions of this place… but then, why does one need to see the tourist attractions… this city reminded me of rome and made me think of one of the reasons why we liked that city… open areas / gardens / plazas in every nook and corner of the Innere Stadt… i did miss the fountains of rome though! I think this is one of those cities that will grow on u if u spend a lot of time here.
Vienna is so much more bigger than prague, but we walked almost all the streets around Stephensplatz…  Winter was peeping in on the last day and we were all ready to shop for their discounted summer clothes.. alas, they close shops in the main shopping area at 6 pm on saturdays and keep them closed until monday morning! Viena, u just missed an opportunity to sell ur summer clothes at a good price 🙂
We watched an operetta… just for the experience… liked it.. i am sure i can appreciate it better if I could understand the language.

Highlights:

  • Walking thro Stephensplatz, Kartner Strasse, Michaelerplatz, Heldenplatz, Maria-Theresa square, Volksgarten… basically all of Innere Stadt!
  • Schonbrunn palace and gardens – if only the rain hadn’t spoilt our garden stroll
  • Mélange – their coffee with milk and the Tortellini i had (where?)

Vienna 1Vienna 2Vienna 3

Bratislava, Slovakia
I think this was the first place where we thought we might have found the ‘eastern europe’ feeling… outside the train station? maybe, in the walkway near K&R’s place… not sure. But this place was so less touristy and as beautiful as the rest of the places, that we would have easily stayed here another 2 days if not for the trouble of finding acco and shifting luggage multiple times. We need to give this place more time (nextime!) and maybe visit some country side.
We couchsurfed here staying at K&R’s place as per N’s suggestion… and I must say, it was a good experience and a nice way to meet local people.. K&R made us at ease at their place and the 2 hour talk with them that night didn’t feel like we were talking to strangers!

Highlights:

  • The walk to and the views from the castle were good… we didn’t bother to go inside one more castle!
  • The old town, where we walked around and sat in cafes for most part of our day 🙂
  • The blue church… the fairy-tale look, totally worth it 🙂

don’t bother to enter any tourist attractions… a place to easily walk around, sit in cafes and relax!

Bratislava 1Bratislava 2Bratislava 3

Hvar, Croatia
After all the walks, this was the perfect place to just chill, chill and chill.
We walked about two kms on the coast to one end of Hvar to have dinner on the far-away beach and walked back through un-lit, empty roads with the clearest sky above 🙂 We woke up as late as we could, made breakfast a couple of days, took ferries to near-by beaches, took frequent dips in the water, read books, slept under the sun and got tanned! Had good relaxed dinners, partied hard into the night and felt so-so-so bad when we had to take the ferry back… damn, the travel agent who screwed around with our visas… we missed two extra days in this beautiful waters.

Highlights:

  • the beaches, the beaches and the beaches 🙂

hvar 1hvar 2hvar 3

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