Our European Odyssey

This blog covered our month-long trip to Eastern Europe -- specifically the countries of Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic, Austria and Slovakia.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Here's the plan

Now that we're down to the wire and doing last-minute Europe stuff, the planning stage is mostly a fond memory. We thought we'd explain a little bit about how we prepared for the trip (Is that boring? Oh well...) and what we'll actually be doing for a month in Europe. If anyone reading this decides to venture into Central/Eastern Europe, maybe this will give you some ideas. We actually split up the planning. Andrea took Hungary and Poland and Jake took Austria, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Yes, he had one extra country, but we're spending a total of a day and a half in Slovakia, so he did not have extra work. Don't believe him if he says he did.

Anyway, we chose these five countries in the first place because the European East rail pass can be used in them. Therefore, we knew we could save money on train travel. Also, I should mention that these countries are much less expensive to travel in than the western part of Europe. One day, we'll do London, Paris, Rome, etc., but Jake needs to be a little more removed from college first (meaning he can contribute to the savings account a little more). :)

After we decided which countries to visit, we checked out almost every Eastern Europe guidebook the library offered. We took lots of notes... After we felt more informed, we split up the countries and did more in-depth research about what to visit, how to get around, where to stay, what to eat, what to avoid, etc. We then shared our notes and decided which cities to visit. Here is a little information about what we'll be doing in Budapest, Hungary. (We'll share more info about other places later.)

We'll be in Budapest for several days. A can't-miss Budapest experience is a visit to one of the local thermal baths, where locals and tourists go to relax and for medicinal reasons. Many of the city's main sights, including churches and -- obviously -- a magnificent castle are on Castle Hill. Margit, or Margaret, Island lies in the middle of the Danube and offers gardens, paths to stroll along, baths and more. The city also features many bridges that cross the Danube to link Budapest's two sections: Buda and Pest. Clever, huh? The massive Parliament building includes 12 miles of stairs. We plan to race each other up and down them. (Not really.) Fisherman's Bastion is supposed to be beautiful at sunset.

So these are just a few of the many things we'll be doing in Budapest. The thing we're most excited about has to do with (unsurprisingly) food. We're staying with a family while we're there, and they said Grandma is going to be stopping by to make some authentic Hungarian meals. That sounds right up our alley. :)


At 6:02 PM, May 13, 2006, Anonymous Sherri and Bud said...

Dear Andrea and Jake,
Hi. We love your blog!! Your pictures and commentary are great. Doug and Rose forwarded it to us. We are now buried in ziplock bags, itinerary print-outs, travel insurance, e-tickets, maps, backpacks,travel books...you know the story well I am sure! We are trying to pare down to as little as possible(my curling iron really doesn't take up much room!) One thing we have learned is that more is not better...just heavier.

We leave for Prague on May 22nd, then Chesky Krumlov on May 26th, Vienna for overnight on 28th(hopefully we can come back and really see it someday). Then we visit Budapest 29th-June 1 and finally three weeks in Turkey with a return to Budapest for 3 days and a flight home June 28th. We are very excited.
Is there any chance of meeting up any where? That would be so much fun to meet for coffee someplace.
Have a wonderful trip!
Sherri and Bud


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