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Old 05-31-2006, 06:31 AM   #1
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So, i posted my itinerary a few months ago. Me and a friend are spending a month travelling Eastern Europe.

We have decided to skip going to Russia, which really sucks, but we had a few good reasons for it. we were having visa problems and it would have meant going back to the UK to apply in person at the embassy, as I dont have the relevant paperwork to do it in germany. The amount of money it would cost to do that has made me think that its not worth it.

We also thought that it would be best to do Russia some other time, maybe next summer, when we can spend more time there. rather than just a few days in moscow and st petersburg, make the most of the visa and see some more of the country.

Plus i spoke to my boss who was kind of shocked that i was going on holiday for a month! she wasnt particularly happy about it but theres nothing she can do about it. Originally we were only restricted by money, but now i have to be back at work straight after the month is up

The problem now is that kind of messes up the rest of out itinerary, as we were doing a kind a circuit, and now we dont have a way of getting from Kiev to the baltics, without going back on ourselves. We cant go through Belarus either as we dont have a visa for there either (and that would probably be more hassle than getting a russian visa)

So yeah im not sure what we can do. I have read up a lot on kiev and lviv and really dont want to miss out on them, but they are now really out of the way of the rest of the places we want to go. Krakow-Kiev is at least 15hours on the train, and because of the time restrictions i dont really wanna spend 30+ hours on trains just for 1 city. Lviv is only 6 hours from krakow, so i think we could still do that, but want to know if you think its worth all that travelling just for kiev? we could always include it on a trip to russia if we go next summer.

My basic intinerary now would be:
Prague - 3 days
Krakow - 4 days
(Lviv - 2 days)
Warsaw - 2 days (likely to have to come back via warsaw so will see more of it then)
Vilnius - 3 days
Riga - 4 days
Tallinn - 4 days (plus 1 if we take a day trip to Helsinki)
Gdansk - 3 days
Poznan - 3 days

thats 28 days, and then i have 4 days to spare. mainly because of tumbleweedz, i think they will all be used up in the baltics, seeing a bit more of those countries! mainly lithuania - its wierd i have met someone else recently who lived there, and a friends of my sisters girlfriend is from there, made me really want to explore the country!

One think i havent taken into account is travelling time, although as much as possible will be overnight. not really sure about how to do it in the baltics, though. it will almost definitely have to be by bus rather than train, right? and do we travel straight to Tallinn and work our was south, or the other way round. Or is there some way of doing a mini-circuit without going back on ourselves too much? mainly looking towards you tumbleweedz, or anyone else who has experience of the baltic countries!

Thanks
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Old 05-31-2006, 12:25 PM   #2
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Oh man, the pressure.

You could fly direct (www.flylal.com - I think, or it could be .lt) from Vilnius to Kyiv, but you don't really have a lot of extra time, and I like the plan you've got now - with the option to add a day or two someplace you love. I'd be inclined to add Kyiv on to a Russia trip.

Bus is really the best option in the Baltics, unless you want to do something nutty like renting a car. This does give you a way to get out into the countryside more, but then you do have to drive on somewhat sub-par roads in places. Better to take buses between major centres and cabs are uber cheap if you call them in advance. A lot more expensive when you flag them down.

It looks as though you'll have to do a little backtracking, the only way I can see to avoid it would be to take a ferry to Kiel (Germany), and then train back into Poland, but that would take a long time. Quicker to take the bus back from Tallinn to Vilnius, and then the overnight bus to Gdansk. Don't know if I warned you about that one, you definitely want a reservation, be pushy to get on board before the unticketed passengers (waving your ticket in the air in front of the driver's nose is usually the best approach) and use the loo before boarding - the one in Vilnius closes about 15 minutes before the bus leaves, and the one in Kaunas is closed before you arrive, so you gotta last at least 4 or 5 hours til the border. That one's nice, but when you stop for breakfast, you'll be a popular target of all the mosquitoes that lurk in the woods waiting to attack those poor unfortunates who just can't take it any more. Of course, you might get lucky and get on a bus with a toilet, for the 13 hour, overnight journey, but just in case... Makes a great story, though.

Vilnius needs more time than Riga or Tallinn. We had people come for four days, and complain that it wasn't nearly long enough. We took my husband's boss around in two days, and 'bout ran ourselves ragged trying to do everything. And it's a great place to stroll and take your time, walking through all the courtyards (if they're not gated, they're public) and discovering all sorts of hidden treasures that people who only walk down the main streets never find.

Here's your assignment for Vilnius - find the statue of the Gaon of Vilnius, look over his right shoulder, and you'll see my kids' school. Also, stop by the "Young Artists' Studio" in Totoriu gatve, and tell them Tamara with all the kids says hi.

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Old 06-01-2006, 01:25 AM   #3
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Thanks for the reply!

I am happy with the new itinerary, but i havent spoken to my friend about it yet...it was my idea to drop russia, and ive only been able to speak to her on messenger so not really sure how she felt about that. and now i have to suggest dropping kiev as well!

To be honest, backtracking in the baltic countries doesnt bother me at all. We can maybe do 3 days in each of the capitals on the way up, then we can choose which places we want to see more of on the way back south. i definitely want to see some of the smaller towns as well so this should give us more of an opportunity to do that as well.

I cant drive, but my friend does, so will might see if its worth renting a car when we are there.

will try and find that statue as well! still over a month until i go though (41 days) so might need reminding nearer the time

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Old 06-01-2006, 03:34 AM   #4
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I think AirBaltic flies to the Ukraine cant remember....

Lithuania is definately one of my favourite places through Europe its amazing so many things to do and see and that was in the snow its uber cheap as well
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Old 06-01-2006, 04:32 AM   #5
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Can you get a transit visa for Belarus? They should be fairly easy to obtain and will give you up to 48 hours in the country, so you could go from Tallin to Minsk, spend one night there and then go to Kiev, then to Lviv and Krakow etc.
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Old 06-01-2006, 08:25 AM   #6
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Since visas are one of Belarus' only sources of hard currency, they tend to milk them for all they're worth. If you go through to Kyiv and back, you'll need to get a multiple entry visa, which ran in the neighbourhood of $250 when we looked into it, a couple of years back.

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