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Thread: Traveling in Central Europe....

  1. #21
    Moderator Clown's Avatar
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    Default Re: traveling in central europe....

    Quote Originally Posted by MLSK
    Just got back from 16days Europe - Vienna(2nite)/Salzburg(2nite)/Brno/Prague(3nite)/Linz/Bratislava/Budapest(many nites, used as base to travel countryside)/Eger/LakeBalaton/Budapest/Vienna(1nite).

    3 of us started in Vienna, (TIP#1) booked a car for euro40 a day and drove to places mentioned earlier. Its more value for money because (TIP#2) we stayed at places that are a just a bit out of the city - its much cheaper and but not so easy on public tpt. There are many clean and cheap rooms at "PENSIONS" a term used for bed&breakfast type that are run by familes - but please make internet reservations EARLY (Tip#3)- start googling for places to stay at the places you go.

    With the car, we could get out late at night for drinks & night shoots of buildings/famous places. But parking can be expensive in the city.

    September would be great time to visit central/eastern europe - do try to get to vineyards for grape harvesting celebrations ..... and do make grape juice too!

    Your itinery looks good ..... wish I had time to get to milan, rome ......

    I was warned about gypsies and to avoid knocking into ppl (normal ruse of pickpockets). I doubt a monopod can help you much ..... keep most cash safely away.
    omg u guys DROVE in vienna? sheeeet man the road there is friggin-hell-balls-crazy. the whole city is made up of one way streets..
    sigh.

  2. #22
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    Default Re: traveling in central europe....

    You will be doing alot of travelling judging by your itineary, so weight is really an issue. Lugging along your luggage + camera bag + tripod + misc stuff up a train, down a train, along the streets, in the rain is enough to put a damper on any vacation. I suggest you pack really wisely for your trip.


    Milan is really just a shopping city... in terms of sights, there's nothing much to see. And in terms of shopping, unless your gal has a penchant for chic little designer boutiques where clothes hang without price tags, I would forgot about massive shopping sprees in Milan. Why not visit Rome? Rome is an excellently photogenic city with lots of sights and sounds. 2-3 days in Rome is barely enough to cover the major sights (Vatican city is a must see, and you need a day there).

    A day and a half in Venice is enough, it's a small walkable city.

    Your 20 day plan really hops all over the region.. it's better to take out a map, and plan in geographical level, the direction of travel. That way, you wouldn't repeat regions. That being said, the train system in Europe is excellent, so for your longer trips, such as from Paris to Prague etc, try to take overnight trains to save on travelling time.

    If you are going in the summer, please book your accomodation way in advance... hotels and pensions are usually full up in the peak season.

    And if you have the money, there is no need to buy single location return tickets. It's possible to fly in one city and out the other, which should assist your planning.

  3. #23

    Default Re: traveling in central europe....

    i recommend 5 days in the capital cities eg 5 days each for rome, paris, london. i did that many years ago, never regretted. cant remember the smaller cities. venice is good for a day only.
    http://lewwl.zoto.com//galleries/singaporephoto

  4. #24
    Senior Member zoossh's Avatar
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    Default Re: traveling in central europe....

    sian.... my gf rather me save up on her trip....let me see, if i go on super budget tour with like-minded photographers who just want to shoot photos and dun mind eating the cheapest food and cheapest motel, can survive on 2k for 2 weeks including flight?

  5. #25
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    Default Re: traveling in central europe....

    cannot...
    sigh.

  6. #26
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    Default Re: traveling in central europe....

    Quote Originally Posted by zoossh
    sian.... my gf rather me save up on her trip....let me see, if i go on super budget tour with like-minded photographers who just want to shoot photos and dun mind eating the cheapest food and cheapest motel, can survive on 2k for 2 weeks including flight?
    yah.. cannot. Cheapest pensions in Italy around 15-25 euros per night. Need around 10 euros per day for really cheap meals, but this can go down if you just buy bread to eat. Then you still need money for train tix, which isn't cheap, admission to places of interest, etc. I suggest you save more and make it a more worthwhile trip, rather than skimp here skimp there and in the end make yourself miserable during the trip.

    I think you better plan and budget your trip properly....

  7. #27

    Default Re: traveling in central europe....

    ur itinerary is all over the place - too much travel btw cities and not enuf time in the major cities to soak up (2 days is not enuf).

    why not just plan by geographical regions? E.g Western europe, eastern europe, southern, mediterranian...etc. Chose one region and concentrate on it. this way you will really save on travel time and get to spend more time in chosen places.

    One thing that i have learnt is that when you are travelling, your time is much much more precious and it is worth the extra money to save time. Because the opportunity to be there with your love ones is worth much more! Unless you know for sure you are going back there again real soon!

    The last time i backpack there was a 5 weeks itineray covering (central/eastern europe) Switzerland, Austria, Budapest/lake balaton and Prague. Travel times between cities are just a couple of hours by train so very manageable. Also, its interesting to note the differences btw neighbouring cultures and how their histories are often interweaved by wars and marriages btw royalties.

    If you have limited budget, better to go to eastern europe like hungary and Czeh cause cheaper food and accomodation. You can go to western europe like Paris, London when you "feel" richer.

  8. #28
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    Default Re: traveling in central europe....

    Sorry to OT in your thread, but I just won a return ticket to Paris on Thai Air in a contest, direct from Spore to Paris and back. Ticket is valid till Mar 07. I am looking to sell cheap as I cannot go. If 2 person is going, you can buy from me this one ticket at discounted price, then buy another direct from Thai Airway at retail price. PM me to discuss if interested. Thanks.

    Nick

  9. #29
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    Default Re: traveling in central europe....

    I was in Italy last fall (nov) and almost 4 weeks travelling on the crappy Trenitalia from Sicily in the South to Milan/Como in the North.
    I liked Milan ... but not for the pics or the shopping... I liked it because it was COLD then and I found the people friendlier than Rome or Naples (but not as friendly as Sicily).

    and your gf probably wants to go to the Golden Quad in Milan... but really its no big deal. And I was there the week before christmas too... maybe more interesting if she has S$50k to go shopping ... but really, it is cheaper to shop at Prada in Singapore.

    $2k is practically not possible unless you bring your own plain water, and eat the same one block of bread and cheese EVERYWHERE. In short, you will not have fun... and really there isn't much to shoot in the big cities (unless only street photography?).

    ... I suggest you consider non-eurozone E.Europe ... you can make your money stretch further. And probably have a more unique experience.

    7 years ago when I did Eastern Europe for 3 weeks it was possible to spend $2k for everything incl. airtickets. We did Hungary/Croatia/Slovenia/Czech and pass thru slovakia. But these days with Eurozone, not sure if you can. I remember trying to negotiate with customs officials on both sides of the Hungarian/Croat border in the middle of the night ... seeing bullet-ridden houses coming into Split, getting followed thru the roman ruins by Nazi skinheads, followed by a bunch of orthodox grannies in black in Dubrovnik trying to rent us their rooms, browsing the fruit and flower markets at Hvar, thinking how lucky we were to have a room on the ferry to Trieste while the locals slept out on the open deck to save money, running for the ferry at Split only to miss it by a few mins and having everyone on the ferry waving to us ... making friends with an Iranian who was a veteran of the Iran/Iraq war and now lives in Brno, who told me his experiences in the war ...

    ah, memories.
    If you are young keep W.Europe for when you're older and lazier and rough it out somewhere cheaper that you wouldn't want to do later in life. Besides these just mentioned, consider Turkey... its not too expensive and very unique. Further, I don't know about now ... but E.Europe was safer (less crime) than W.Europe. At least for Italy, I would have to agree vis-a-vis my previous experience in E.Europe.

    I abandoned all my SLRs and bought a new Fuji Z2 digicam 2 hours before I got on the plane for Italy. Best thing I ever did! I shot some nice pics and enjoyed myself. You won't have much fun lugging eqpt around... not to mention worrying about theft. I nearly got picked in Rome.
    Last edited by Keltzar; 22nd May 2006 at 03:24 PM.

  10. #30
    Senior Member zoossh's Avatar
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    Default Re: traveling in central europe....

    Quote Originally Posted by justarius
    yah.. cannot. Cheapest pensions in Italy around 15-25 euros per night. Need around 10 euros per day for really cheap meals, but this can go down if you just buy bread to eat. Then you still need money for train tix, which isn't cheap, admission to places of interest, etc. I suggest you save more and make it a more worthwhile trip, rather than skimp here skimp there and in the end make yourself miserable during the trip.

    I think you better plan and budget your trip properly....
    going at that rate likely to be $2500-3000 rite? flight+tax abt $1000, train and tranport maybe $400, $70 for food and accomodation x 10-14/7 = $700-1000. miscellaneous a couple of hundred....

  11. #31
    Senior Member zoossh's Avatar
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    Default Re: traveling in central europe....

    Quote Originally Posted by beachbum
    ur itinerary is all over the place - too much travel btw cities and not enuf time in the major cities to soak up (2 days is not enuf).

    why not just plan by geographical regions? E.g Western europe, eastern europe, southern, mediterranian...etc. Chose one region and concentrate on it. this way you will really save on travel time and get to spend more time in chosen places.

    One thing that i have learnt is that when you are travelling, your time is much much more precious and it is worth the extra money to save time. Because the opportunity to be there with your love ones is worth much more! Unless you know for sure you are going back there again real soon!

    The last time i backpack there was a 5 weeks itineray covering (central/eastern europe) Switzerland, Austria, Budapest/lake balaton and Prague. Travel times between cities are just a couple of hours by train so very manageable. Also, its interesting to note the differences btw neighbouring cultures and how their histories are often interweaved by wars and marriages btw royalties.

    If you have limited budget, better to go to eastern europe like hungary and Czeh cause cheaper food and accomodation. You can go to western europe like Paris, London when you "feel" richer.
    i understand. i've travelled with my gf to japan before and so i've learnt my mistake by putting spaces in between, leaving 1 whole day for transport in between cities with any time of those days left for idling and sleeping, if she dun feel like seeing things. i centred into north italy (plus minus central italy) as she said she feel like going milan, and the "extra" out of the way paris is meant for her as she likes the tokyo tower, and the "extra" prague is to balanced off my needs. well, i did consider the trip from a geographical point of view, e.g. a trip from venice to milano would be abt 2hrs train, and if travelling to prague, would consider train but to paris, by flight. for those extra paris and prague, i'm foregoing those places in between, e.g. south italy, austria, switzerland.

    however she is well a little fickle minded. she has not been to europe and is not "that obscessed" in going, plus she may get a new job, so not sure if she can get a leave. i felt a but guilty cos while i wanted to bring her there, it is me who feel so much like going europe again, as i've previously went backpacking in england, scotland and finland 6-8yrs ago. most likely she may not change her mind of not going and she wanted me rather to save up on a car rather than to spend on a trip, so if i'm still "insistent" on travelling, i should at least scrimp like a miserable prawn and save up as much as possible. well, it is not as if i've not starved myself in london or not live in sandy terrible teahouses in nepal. getting to travel in east europe and russia of cos will be much better for me if i'm going with others and not with her as i find london a boring place as much as the castles and resorts in england. but the flight is something hard to save on. i think the cheapest still be something around $900 to any parts of europe. that is my primary concern.

  12. #32
    Senior Member zoossh's Avatar
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    Default Re: traveling in central europe....

    Quote Originally Posted by clicknick
    Sorry to OT in your thread, but I just won a return ticket to Paris on Thai Air in a contest, direct from Spore to Paris and back. Ticket is valid till Mar 07. I am looking to sell cheap as I cannot go. If 2 person is going, you can buy from me this one ticket at discounted price, then buy another direct from Thai Airway at retail price. PM me to discuss if interested. Thanks.

    Nick
    that's great. let me check with my gf to see if she changes her mind.

  13. #33
    Senior Member zoossh's Avatar
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    Default Re: traveling in central europe....

    Quote Originally Posted by Keltzar
    I was in Italy last fall (nov) and almost 4 weeks travelling on the crappy Trenitalia from Sicily in the South to Milan/Como in the North.
    I liked Milan ... but not for the pics or the shopping... I liked it because it was COLD then and I found the people friendlier than Rome or Naples (but not as friendly as Sicily).

    and your gf probably wants to go to the Golden Quad in Milan... but really its no big deal. And I was there the week before christmas too... maybe more interesting if she has S$50k to go shopping ... but really, it is cheaper to shop at Prada in Singapore.

    $2k is practically not possible unless you bring your own plain water, and eat the same one block of bread and cheese EVERYWHERE. In short, you will not have fun... and really there isn't much to shoot in the big cities (unless only street photography?).

    ... I suggest you consider non-eurozone E.Europe ... you can make your money stretch further. And probably have a more unique experience.

    7 years ago when I did Eastern Europe for 3 weeks it was possible to spend $2k for everything incl. airtickets. We did Hungary/Croatia/Slovenia/Czech and pass thru slovakia. But these days with Eurozone, not sure if you can. I remember trying to negotiate with customs officials on both sides of the Hungarian/Croat border in the middle of the night ... seeing bullet-ridden houses coming into Split, getting followed thru the roman ruins by Nazi skinheads, followed by a bunch of orthodox grannies in black in Dubrovnik trying to rent us their rooms, browsing the fruit and flower markets at Hvar, thinking how lucky we were to have a room on the ferry to Trieste while the locals slept out on the open deck to save money, running for the ferry at Split only to miss it by a few mins and having everyone on the ferry waving to us ... making friends with an Iranian who was a veteran of the Iran/Iraq war and now lives in Brno, who told me his experiences in the war ...

    ah, memories.
    If you are young keep W.Europe for when you're older and lazier and rough it out somewhere cheaper that you wouldn't want to do later in life. Besides these just mentioned, consider Turkey... its not too expensive and very unique. Further, I don't know about now ... but E.Europe was safer (less crime) than W.Europe. At least for Italy, I would have to agree vis-a-vis my previous experience in E.Europe.

    I abandoned all my SLRs and bought a new Fuji Z2 digicam 2 hours before I got on the plane for Italy. Best thing I ever did! I shot some nice pics and enjoyed myself. You won't have much fun lugging eqpt around... not to mention worrying about theft. I nearly got picked in Rome.
    depends.
    with her, luxury tour, no eastern europe.....
    without her, hey hey.... but i'll save as i can.

  14. #34
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    Default Re: traveling in central europe....

    Quote Originally Posted by Clown
    omg u guys DROVE in vienna? sheeeet man the road there is friggin-hell-balls-crazy. the whole city is made up of one way streets..
    Not true, lah. I spent 8 weeks in Vienna and came across many roads with 2-way traffic.

  15. #35

    Default Re: traveling in central europe....

    based on your replies till now, my advice is to decide between two options. either you can have one of those group tour type of vacations where you hop between rome,venice,milan,paris etc. etc. with one day at each place OR you could choose to do 2 countries. purists will tell you that even one month in italy is hardly enough but i will not go into that

    tuscany is an extremely beautiful region. you should also look at smaller places like sienna, san gimigiano etc which are great places. i would give a minimum of one week for italy. you will need an absolute minimum of 1 day in venice, rome, milan and florence. i would also give 1 day for sienna and 1 for sangimigiano or pisa. milan would be my last choice, but that is a personal preference.

    i think you should do only one more region- eastern europe or paris or spain. each is beautiful in a different way. paris will be the costliest so that might be a consideration.

    hey, how could i forget greece i think greece is a great cheap option. and italy + greece in 15/20 days is a great experience. you can take a ferry from brindsi to patras, and take a deck class if you are really adventurous the mediterranean in the mornings is a sight to behold.

    hmm... now i am getting nostalgic. i did a 2 month backpacking trip of europe when i was on exchange in zurich. if you are planning extensive traveling, eurail pass might be a viable alternative. i took an interrail pass and was literally sleeping in the trains all days to save money

    hope the plan materalizes...

  16. #36
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    Default Re: traveling in central europe....

    Quote Originally Posted by redstorm
    Not true, lah. I spent 8 weeks in Vienna and came across many roads with 2-way traffic.
    they like changed it to this hellish system like 1 to 1.5 years ago. 3 years ago it was still the sane 2-way kinda normal traffic.
    sigh.

  17. #37
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    Default Re: traveling in central europe....

    travelling on a budget in Europe nowadays is very difficult, try to save on food. That's the only part of the trip you can really scrimp. Lodging and transportation cost are more or less fixed.

    Europe dont really have hawker food like Asia, where a meal can cost as low as S$2 (chicken rice or veg/rice). A simple set dinner going to cost you S$30. Unless you are planning to chew on burgers for 2 weeks (even that doesnt come cheap).

    What I did was to bring a portable cooker, pasta and tomato puree in Italy is damn cheap (see to believe). Do some shopping in their supermarket and you can whipped up a scrumptious dinner every night.

    For lunch, I usually feast on a baguette, with pate, ham slices, cheeses, salsa sauce, tomatoes, lettuces, etc etc... better and cheaper than a Subway sandwich

  18. #38
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    Default Re: traveling in central europe....

    Quote Originally Posted by vkashi
    hey, how could i forget greece i think greece is a great cheap option. and italy + greece in 15/20 days is a great experience. you can take a ferry from brindsi to patras, and take a deck class if you are really adventurous the mediterranean in the mornings is a sight to behold.
    Greece is no longer cheap it's as expensive as Italy after converting to Euro... a ferry trip to the islands cost more than S$50 one way, close to S$100 on a hydrofoil. Lodging for a two person bedroom at least S$70 per night. A bowl of salad costs S$10-S$12, a simple doner kebab cost at least S$4 which I paid S$0.50 only at most Middle East countries.

  19. #39

    Default Re: traveling in central europe....

    Quote Originally Posted by zoossh
    i understand. i've travelled with my gf to japan before and so i've learnt my mistake by putting spaces in between, leaving 1 whole day for transport in between cities with any time of those days left for idling and sleeping, if she dun feel like seeing things. i centred into north italy (plus minus central italy) as she said she feel like going milan, and the "extra" out of the way paris is meant for her as she likes the tokyo tower, and the "extra" prague is to balanced off my needs. well, i did consider the trip from a geographical point of view, e.g. a trip from venice to milano would be abt 2hrs train, and if travelling to prague, would consider train but to paris, by flight. for those extra paris and prague, i'm foregoing those places in between, e.g. south italy, austria, switzerland.

    however she is well a little fickle minded. she has not been to europe and is not "that obscessed" in going, plus she may get a new job, so not sure if she can get a leave. i felt a but guilty cos while i wanted to bring her there, it is me who feel so much like going europe again, as i've previously went backpacking in england, scotland and finland 6-8yrs ago. most likely she may not change her mind of not going and she wanted me rather to save up on a car rather than to spend on a trip, so if i'm still "insistent" on travelling, i should at least scrimp like a miserable prawn and save up as much as possible. well, it is not as if i've not starved myself in london or not live in sandy terrible teahouses in nepal. getting to travel in east europe and russia of cos will be much better for me if i'm going with others and not with her as i find london a boring place as much as the castles and resorts in england. but the flight is something hard to save on. i think the cheapest still be something around $900 to any parts of europe. that is my primary concern.
    sounds like you and your GF have different ideas about life ...hmmmm .... maybe new GF is the way to go, someone who shares your passion in travelling and photography ... then you can skip Milan, Milan sucks unless you go there to shop, head straight to Prague ...
    deadpoet
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  20. #40

    Default Re: traveling in central europe....

    Quote Originally Posted by Deadpoet
    sounds like you and your GF have different ideas about life ...hmmmm .... maybe new GF is the way to go, someone who shares your passion in travelling and photography ... then you can skip Milan, Milan sucks unless you go there to shop, head straight to Prague ...
    I can't believe it. You are actually asking him to change a new girlfriend just because she doesn't share his passion for photography ? Are you serious ? I can think of many things worse then a gf who's not into photography.

    People, relationships are about compromise. If you cannot compromise, then don't get into a relationship.

    That said, someone said that your itineary is too rushed and covers too many places, with too few days in each city. I agree. I think for 2 weeks, perhaps you should just limit yourself to italy. Italy itself has more than enough attractions to keep you occupied. Rome, Venice, Florence, Milan, Pompeii, Pisa, etc. Spend more time in fewer places.

    Save Prague/Vienna/Budapest and Eastern Europe and Paris for another trip. It's easier, cheaper, and you will be less stressed and frustrated. It's better to go on a slower pace and see MORE of fewer cities, then to rush and see LESS of more cities. Take it easy. Spend some time walking along the streets and narrow alleys that abound in European cities. Drink coffee or beer along the sidewalk cafes, and watch the sun set and the light change before your eyes.

    Don't rush. A rushed, stressful trip where you spend more time travelling then actually sightseeing strains not only your physical and mental well-being, but also introduces stress into your relationship with your gf. You want to look back with fond memories, not with anguish at all the arguments you had with her.

    Trust me. I've been to Europe several times, and never have I ever regretted spending an extra day or two in a city. You'll always find something to see or photograph that you didn't notice before. You'll feel better, and your gf will appreciate not rushing like a lunatic. In case something cocks up, you have extra time to make up for it. And if you have seen all you want in a city and you still have an extra day, take a day trip out to a neighbouring small town. Many European small towns are very charming and peaceful, and are worth a day's visit.

    Oh yeah, if you REALLY must see Paris ( or any city far away ), get a overnight train. Ask for a sleeping cabin. A 2nd class cabin has 6 beds, and a first class cabin has 3 ( but at 50% more expensive ). Spend the night sleeping in the train, and wake up early next morning as the train arrives in your destination city. If you choose this option, make sure you lock the doors at night, be careful with your belongings, and bring a blindfold because the light shining in from the lamps along the tracks will spoil your sleep. This will also save you a day of travelling, and you also save 1 night's hotel bill :-)
    Last edited by chriszzz; 26th May 2006 at 01:44 AM.

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