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Europe: Eastern From Russia to Croatia, the Danube, Iron Curtain era vestiges, Pilzner beer, Czech it out!

Raileurope.com: See Europe by train
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Old 12-12-2005, 05:12 PM   #1
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i just set up a blog for my trip which will start at the end of may. it is set up in part because i am trying to convince two friend to come with me on at least part of it. it will be almost all of eastern europe.
i have a couple things i want to throw out there. one is what are the best places to tell them about as examples of the things they will see. as well if there is anyone out there in that part of the world around june and july who want to meet up they should drop me a line.
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Old 12-12-2005, 05:40 PM   #2
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definetly sell them on prague. i have heard its an amazing city. my cousin went last year and said its his favorite city. this summer we will probably venture over there while in Europe. sometime in late june, maybe july.
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Old 01-10-2006, 08:20 AM   #3
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Try to hit Prague early in your trip, it gets really crowded in the summer, and though it's still beautiful, it's kind of a drag crushed among all the other travellers. I'd hit "western" eastern Europe first - Prague and Hungary (which was hot as stink when we were there in August), and head north and east - Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, maybe Finland and even Russia, if your plans include that - as summer rolls in. The days are long then, so you can enjoy sightseeing during the day, and strolling with the locals, dining outdoors until late in the evening and then hit the bars/clubs if you're so inclined. And there are way fewer tourists in the Baltics, especially, though there are still lots and lots of people around. In Poland, Krakow and Gdansk are on my "everyone must see" list, though little known and almost unpronounceable Szczecin is a great little town that's worth a visit, too. Get the tourist map and follow the dotted red line - it's on the map and on the street. Vilnius is the star of the show in Lithuania, but don't miss the Hill of Crosses outside Siauliai and Trakai. If you can get into the countryside at all, you'll see rural life as it used to be, and eat huge, delicious, awesome meals for a pittance. Beware of "pica" outside of Vilnius and Siauliai, though, unless you like pickled peas and ketchup on your pizzas! Also, the Ciurlonis museum/military museum in Kaunas is an interesting juxtaposition of art, music and armaments. And the devil museum there is fun, too. Vilnius is baroque, one of the prettiest Old Towns you'll come across in Eastern Europe. Riga has a more Germanic feel to it's Old Town, a lot more late Gothic architecture, and more orderly than chaotic, twisty Vilnius. Go to Charlston's for dinner. It's superb. There were boat races in the bay when we were there in August. Tallinn is a medieval walled city, perfect for leisurely strolling. So the Baltic capitals offer quite a diverse spread that might appeal to your friends. All have great food, good beer and a fair number of people who speak English, so you should do okay without the language. Tallinn and Riga also have nearby beach resorts, and Tallinn has big parks and wilderness areas fairly close to the city. We were there in February, so didn't really take advantage of that aspect! Have a great time, you've picked a beautiful, fascinating destination!
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