Friday, November 13, 2015

2015 - Eastern Europe Summary

Duration: 18 days (arrived on the morning of Saturday September 12, 2015 and left in the morning on Tuesday September 30, 2015)
Cost: Flight from Toronto to Munich and Prague to Toronto ($1,108.42 CAD), 3 trains ($214.15 for three people), overnight train (67 € I think for private room just three of us) Hotels (819 € + $1,519.45 CAD for two), $342.83 for car rentals, roughly 17 € per meal in Germany and Austria, 4,000 Forint per meal in Hungary, 300 Kč per meal in Czech Republic and local transportation and admission.

Highlights (in no particular order):

BMW Museum in Munich, this museum has given me a greater appreciation for the brand and makes me almost want to get a BMW for my next vehicle. I believe that even if you aren't interested in what BMW makes, you will like the layout, flow, and collection that is housed in the BMW Museum. In my opinion, it is a must see while in Munich.

BMW Museum
BMW Museum
BMW Museum
BMW Museum
BMW Museum
BMW Museum
BMW Museum
BMW Museum
Dachau Concentration Camp in Munich, make sure to sign up for the guided tour and jump back to a time where things were different in Germany and learn about what happened here and how things were back then. The guided tour lasted roughly 2.5 hours and well worth the small cost of it.

Dachau
Dachau
Dachau
Salt Mine in Salzburg, while I didn't know what to expect nor did I actually know this was part of the plan (I didn't really look at our plan well), this was a surprise and the two slides plus the train out were excellent and worth the day trip here.

Salt mine slide #1
Salt mine slide #2
Linderhof / Neuschwanstein in Munich, while there were cool looking palaces in the other countries that we visited, these two really stand out the most in my mind (outside of the metal bird in Schönbrunn palace). Take a day trip and visit the two to travel back to a time where palaces were built with grand ideas and locations in mind and just wander and enjoy your surroundings. I feel that overall, Linderhof is my preferred palace of the two, but odds are, you will visit both given their proximity to one another. If you visit them, I would suggest Neuschwanstein first since it seems to be the busier one, but in my opinion, Linderhof is more enjoyable.


Neuschwanstein
Neuschwanstein
Neuschwanstein
Neuschwanstein
Neuschwanstein
Linderhof
Linderhof
Linderhof
Linderhof
Linderhof
Linderhof
Linderhof
Linderhof
Linderhof
Linderhof
Linderhof
Linderhof
Lowlights (in no particular order):

Kutna Hora, expectations were too high for me for this one. It is a small room, so much sure to visit the town nearby otherwise you spend a lot of time just to see this location. Make sure to go early because it gets pretty busy by 10:00am.

Kutna Hora
Kutna Hora
Kutna Hora
Kutna Hora
Must try food places:

Humboldt in Salzburg, was quite the surprise restaurant for me. It was the only place that we visited where I enjoyed all of the entrees that we got and unfortunately Humboldt was never topped for me for the rest of the trip.

Humboldt
Humboldt
Humboldt
Humboldt
Wratschko in Vienna, is a restaurant recommended by Anthony Bourdain and I would suggest it as well. Just note that the service was lacking for us but in my opinion, the food makes up for it.

Wratschko
Wratschko
Wratschko
Wratschko
Szazeves Etterem in Budapest, is a restaurant recommended by Allison's brother and worth visiting. Come on a Friday and be entertained by the live music there. Good food, good service, recommended.

Szazeves Etterem
Szazeves Etterem
Szazeves Etterem
What would I change?

Vienna could have been shortened to 3 days for us versus 3.5 days that we spent there. Budapest could have also been shortened to 2 days versus 3 days. Otherwise, I think the trip worked out well and everything worked out for us even though we were quite worried about the migrant crisis at the time which turned out to be a non-issue by the time we arrived.

I know that this is a common path that tours take and I can see why since it is very convenient to get from place to place. I do feel that we started on a high note and ended on a softer note which made me feel a bit bored by the end. Not so much due to planning, but the variety of things to see disappears after awhile and I think that happens to me a lot during longer trips. Not to fault the countries that we visited.

In hindsight, it may have been better to reverse the order of the cities, but that meant that we would hit Munich during Oktoberfest which is something that we didn't care to visit due to the additional cost.

Until next trip!