2 months photography trip in Europe. Where - East or West?


ManWearPants

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#1
Those who have been to the following countries. Please advise. I want to do a 2 month solo backpack photography trip in Europe on a budget. I will mostly be travelling with Eurorail, local rail and buses . Which route will provide me with more beautiful landscapes, historical architectures, people more receptive to allowing me to photograph, more affodable accomodations? I am not into modern buildings and city scapes. Also I will be travelling from late August to Oct.

Route 1: Turkey -> Bulgaria -> Romania -> Hungary -> Austria -> Poland
Route 2: Turkey -> Greece -> Italy -> Switzerland -> Germany -> Sweden
 

nuts

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#2
I haven't been to most of Route 2, but as far as cost is concern, Route 1 is definitely cheaper! I would even say much cheaper... :)


Those who have been to the following countries. Please advise. I want to do a 2 month solo backpack photography trip in Europe on a budget. I will mostly be travelling with Eurorail, local rail and buses . Which route will provide me with more beautiful landscapes, historical architectures, people more receptive to allowing me to photograph, more affodable accomodations? I am not into modern buildings and city scapes. Also I will be travelling from late August to Oct.

Route 1: Turkey -> Bulgaria -> Romania -> Hungary -> Austria -> Poland
Route 2: Turkey -> Greece -> Italy -> Switzerland -> Germany -> Sweden
 

ManWearPants

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#3
nuts said:
I haven't been to most of Route 2, but as far as cost is concern, Route 1 is definitely cheaper! I would even say much cheaper... :)
I am aware of the diff. However, route 2 seems seems to have more landscapes n history opportunities.
 

jonathann

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#5
i would choose route 2 as it has a bit of modern and also much historical buildings plus lots of landscape opportunities.

Athens itself is boring though unless you are visiting the nearby island. Germany has the most photography opportunit from modern to ancient.
 

Zichar

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Apr 22, 2008
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#6
Was looking once upon a time ... route 1 for the road less travelled and the sights are just as beautiful if lesser known. Central Europe countries like the Czech Rep, Slovakia, Slovenia hold many old world charms too on a much better budget
 

roamfree

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#7
If you are on budget, then I say route 1 of course. I have not done some of the countries in route 2, but I did every place in route 1. I can tell you, there are landscapes aplenty in the Eastern European places, especially if you are willing to venture to some off-the-beaten track places. If you only stick to the capital cities, then I would say, you will not be able to find much for beautiful landscapes.

Turkey: I spent 6 weeks there. You get historical and cultural places aplenty in Istanbul. You can get some great landscape in Cappodoccia and Pamukkale. If you want some parasailing or other adventure experiences, can check out Fethiye. If you have time to get to Eastern Turkey, you will find lots of interesting cultural place as it is mostly Kurdish here.

Bulgaria: Check out Veliko Tarnovo. Small place but quaint and interesting to wonder around. Lovely and friendly people too. Plovdiv is a small place nice for wandering around. Quite typical Eastern European feel. The Balkans mountains are great for scenery.

Romania: Go for the small places. Sighisoara is a typical medieval Saxon town. Then there is Mamamures and Brasov (which has the name up on the hill, pretty much like Hollywood). You can go chasing for Dracula as Romania is the "birthplace" of Dracula. Lots of castles to wander around.

Hungary: Budapest of course. You can spend one day exploring "Buda" and another day exploring "Pest". Visit the forts and all. Wonderful views from the forts. Great for night shots especially if you are bringing your tripod. Then, of course, if carrying the photography equipments are too much for your muscles, spend a day at the thermal baths. They are really nice. I managed to check 2 out in my 5 days there. :p There are some little villages that you can check out if you are into small towns feel. Otherwise, the other big cities are not so much to crow about.

Austria: Salzburg!!!!! This is the place to go for great scenery. The old town is really wonderful to stroll around, and you can get to the fort for some great views of both the old and new town. Otherwise, you can hop onto a local bus for which a 30min ride will bring you to the mountains. You can then take a cable car ride to the top of the mountains. Even in October, you will find the mountains covered in snow and the view of the green landscape below is really wonderful. 2 hours by train from Salzburg is a small town called Werfen. There is an ice cave there which makes an interesting day trip. You will be able to see for yourself what the countryside is like. Vienna has many old buildings which is nice if you are into architecture. If you are also into performing arts, you can have a pick of musicals and dramas every day.

Poland: Well, of course there is Auschwitz, which will be an interesting experience. Warsaw and Krawkov are interesting for the old buildings and all. Very typical Eastern Europe.

You may want to consider Czech Republic since you are in that area. Of course, everybody raves about Prague. But I will like to suggest Cesky Krumlov. It is 3 hours south of Prague. It is one of my favorite places in Eastern Europe. Quaint little medieval town. Really medieval feel with the cobbled-stone streets and tiny shops. There is a river running through the town, and even in late September, you can go for some rafting down the river. It is quite an experience to raft down the river, with a beer in one hand and lovely scenery on both sides of the river. You can even stop halfway for a beer and sausage over a campfire.

Hope these info helps. Feel free to pm me if you want to know more.
 

ManWearPants

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#8
I am looking at starting this trip sometime between mid June to August. I am going to Israel prior to this and should be in China ard Nov. So would have a good 2-3 months for Eastern Europe. Would there be anyone interested that we can co-plan this trip and travel together. I have not really started planning other than listing the route. Everything is still fluid at the moment. Anyone interested can pm me.

Please note this is a photography trip, sacrificing golden hours could be regular. Long walking/hiking off the beaten track is possible. Setting up tripod and remaining at the same spot for some time is likely. Of course, there should be the occasional checking out pubs, comfort food, chilling out at the beach, etc.
 

ManWearPants

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#9
Thanks Nuts, Jon and Zichar.

Roamfree, those are great info. Yes, visiting Vlad III's castles in Romania and doing the Dracula trail is something that I always wanted to do. That is also part of the reason I am taking this route. I have heard about the gypsies in Eastern Europe. Are they of any concern when you are there? I ran into pickpocket twice in Croatia. I guess they are everywhere. But since there is a possibility of me doing this solo, I want to know if they are just interested in picking stuff off pockets/bags or may do more sinister things?
 

ManWearPants

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#10
i would choose route 2 as it has a bit of modern and also much historical buildings plus lots of landscape opportunities.

Athens itself is boring though unless you are visiting the nearby island. Germany has the most photography opportunit from modern to ancient.
Greece islands hopping will definitely be on the agenda if taking this route. Actually will like to do Greece but it is either I head north or west from Turkey to be more efficient. Seems too difficult to do a zig-zag route up from Turkey. I am sure any of these countries have a lot to offer.
 

roamfree

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#11
Thanks Nuts, Jon and Zichar.

Roamfree, those are great info. Yes, visiting Vlad III's castles in Romania and doing the Dracula trail is something that I always wanted to do. That is also part of the reason I am taking this route. I have heard about the gypsies in Eastern Europe. Are they of any concern when you are there? I ran into pickpocket twice in Croatia. I guess they are everywhere. But since there is a possibility of me doing this solo, I want to know if they are just interested in picking stuff off pockets/bags or may do more sinister things?
Gypsies? What gypsies? Hahahahaha.... I dunno about other people, but for me, I don't really go think so much about all these things when I travel. Of course, you have to take some precautions and I can tell you, as a lone girl travelling around, I have much more things I am supposed to worry about than a guy. But then, there is no need to be too paranoid. I have not met anybody who complained about gypsies. In fact, the only thing that bothered me was harassment from guys. Nothing else. I found Eastern Europe to be quite safe, though I must say, I have met some guys who told me they got harassed by local police. Seems that men are more prone to these, while for gals, it is just unwanted attention from men.

Just remember that, whenever you are travelling, especially when you are travelling alone, you just have to exercise a bit more common sense than usual. Do not do stupid things like hang your money pouch on your neck. That is as good as announcing to the world "come rob me". I have seen many travellers doing that. Seems that they think having the money pouch on the neck in full view = the pouch is close to me, so it is safe. I always keep my money pouch hidden ( I have a leg pouch actually. Less common than the neck or waist one.). Same with my passport. I only keep a minimum sum in the wallet that I take out to pay my purchases. I do have my camera and my laptop in a day pack, but I make sure I take them wherever I go and I do not leave them attended. If I am in a crowded place, the day pack is always in front of me, to make it difficult for people who may be thinking of slitting my bag. I do not do stupid things like walk down a quiet street, especially at night. If I do not like the vibes that the city is giving, I make sure I am back in the hostel by dinner time. I do not do stupid things like go out drinking alone. There was a guy whom I met in Ethiopia. A few weeks after I left him and continue on my travels, he went out drinking alone, and happily walked back to the hotel at 2am. He got knocked in the head from the back, woke up in the hospital with money and passport gone. He had to stay in the hospital for 3 weeks, then he cancelled all his travel plans and headed home. This will teach people how stupid it is to go drinking alone and walk back to hotel in wee hours of the morning.

If there is anything you should pay more attention to, then I would say it is the trains or the buses. Make sure you keep your valuables close to you all the time. If you are taking an overnight train, make sure you use your day pack (if you keep all the important stuff there) as your pillow. If not, make sure your stuff is close to your body and out of sight. Keeping them in pockets is not a great idea, unless you are a light sleeper. I did hear of incidents where people got their stuff stolen while they are sleeping heavily in the trains. The trains in Poland are notorious. Even the train conductors will warn you to keep the chain lock on the door on. I once had people rattling on my train cabin door in the middle of the night, wanting to come in to steal stuff. Luckily, the other gals I was sharing the cabin with took the conductor's advice and kept the chain on.

Keep a photocopy of your passport somewhere separate from your passport. Do not keep all your credit cards or money in one place. This is just in case you run into trouble despite the precautions you take. Oh, by the way, the "keeping the wallet on a chain and hooking it to your pants" thing, it simply doesn't work. Trust me. Again, the chain is as good as announcing to people where you keep your valuables. It may be closed to you, but you will still get pickpocketed. That was this guy I met who had this situation and he had to spend money get new passport and new tickets.

anything else you will like to know, feel free to drop a note.
 

ManWearPants

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#12
resurfacing this thread as it is almost confirmed that I am doing the route 1 Eastern Europe route in the 2nd week of July. However, instead of 3 months, have to downsize to 3 weeks due to have to be back in Singapore 1st week of August.

I will like to ask with only 3 weeks, I will like to cut down to 3 countries. Which 3 out of these are unique from each other. I don't want to visit 3 with similiar landscape, environment and culture. I will skip Turkey cos I am more keen on Europe.
 

Shen siung

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May 21, 2008
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#13
Those who have been to the following countries. Please advise. I want to do a 2 month solo backpack photography trip in Europe on a budget. I will mostly be travelling with Eurorail, local rail and buses . Which route will provide me with more beautiful landscapes, historical architectures, people more receptive to allowing me to photograph, more affodable accomodations? I am not into modern buildings and city scapes. Also I will be travelling from late August to Oct.

Route 1: Turkey -> Bulgaria -> Romania -> Hungary -> Austria -> Poland
Route 2: Turkey -> Greece -> Italy -> Switzerland -> Germany -> Sweden
resurfacing this thread as it is almost confirmed that I am doing the route 1 Eastern Europe route in the 2nd week of July. However, instead of 3 months, have to downsize to 3 weeks due to have to be back in Singapore 1st week of August.

I will like to ask with only 3 weeks, I will like to cut down to 3 countries. Which 3 out of these are unique from each other. I don't want to visit 3 with similiar landscape, environment and culture. I will skip Turkey cos I am more keen on Europe.
For Route 1: Turkey -> Bulgaria -> Romania -> Hungary -> Austria -> Poland
I only went to Istanbul, Budapest, Vienna, Salzburg before

If you really skipping Turkey (which I feel it is a lost), then I suggest
1. You must go Hungary. Budapest is really a great place. A previous communist country, mix with old and new. Unique.
2. Skip Austria (or just skip Vienna). Comming from Budapest to Vienna, I was disappointed, maybe just me. A few scenic UNESCO side around Vienna, go there should ok.
3. Romania and Poland, choose either one.
4. Add in Czech republic, if possible. Český Krumlov not bad; Prague can be touristy but some building is beautiful enough

The interesting part about Turkey (perhaps you already know as well) is, only small part of their land in Europe, but they try hard to be European, yet they preserve Asian / middle eastern culture.
 

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#14
I am a Miami based wedding photographer who was born in Hungary. I shot wedding all over Europe and I know Europe well. I would recommend: Turkey -> Bulgaria -> Romania -> Hungary -> Austria -> Poland AND ROME!!!
 

ManWearPants

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#15
I only went to Istanbul, Budapest, Vienna, Salzburg before

If you really skipping Turkey (which I feel it is a lost), then I suggest
1. You must go Hungary. Budapest is really a great place. A previous communist country, mix with old and new. Unique.
2. Skip Austria (or just skip Vienna). Comming from Budapest to Vienna, I was disappointed, maybe just me. A few scenic UNESCO side around Vienna, go there should ok.
3. Romania and Poland, choose either one.
4. Add in Czech republic, if possible. Český Krumlov not bad; Prague can be touristy but some building is beautiful enough
Thanks. I may transit at Istanbul and do a couple of days though I would prefer to just go straight to Hungary and then spend a couple of days in Germany before catching a flight home.

I am a Miami based wedding photographer who was born in Hungary. I shot wedding all over Europe and I know Europe well. I would recommend: Turkey -> Bulgaria -> Romania -> Hungary -> Austria -> Poland AND ROME!!!
Thanks for visiting Clubsnap. Unfortunately I am reducing the trip duration. I will do Israel -> Hungary -> Austria -> Czech instead. Don't think I have sufficient time to cover the other countries in route 1 + Rome. I will save Rome for my future "Angels and Devils" trip.

You must be very familiar with Hungary. Any place to recommend?
 

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Achim Reh

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#16
I would choose Route 2 ...it might be more expensive than route 1, but the chances that you still have your equipment after the trip are much higher for route 2.
 

roamfree

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#17
I would choose Route 2 ...it might be more expensive than route 1, but the chances that you still have your equipment after the trip are much higher for route 2.
I beg to differ. Eastern Europe may be lacking in many ways, but it does not mean that it is more "dangerous" than Western/Central Europe. Thefts or other unfortunare incidents may happen to anybody anywhere in the world, even in Singapore. I travelled through all the countries in route 1 on my own and did not have any incidents happening to me. Of course, I travelled smart and did nothing stupid that will encourage thieves or other bad elements.
 

nuts

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#18
Lacking in many ways meh? I don't really find anything really "missing" for me (thats what lacking means right?). Lagging in certain areas.. mabbe... some tourism infrastructure eg., but certainly not lacking, and even then, not many ways.....

So, I'm in complete agreement with you that it is not "more dangerous" than other parts of Europe. Sadly, sometimes people pack all their camera gear for their trip, but left behind their comman sense....

I beg to differ. Eastern Europe may be lacking in many ways, but it does not mean that it is more "dangerous" than Western/Central Europe. Thefts or other unfortunare incidents may happen to anybody anywhere in the world, even in Singapore. I travelled through all the countries in route 1 on my own and did not have any incidents happening to me. Of course, I travelled smart and did nothing stupid that will encourage thieves or other bad elements.
 

ManWearPants

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#19
Don't worry about my camera gears. I am travelling light and they are the least of my concern. I am more worried about my ankle which is badly sprained not able to recover in time, or my health as I have just undergone an operation. I am also more concern about pickpockets who will slip my wallet of identification and credit cards. I am worried that I may get hoodwinked by a nymho for 36 hrs X( . I am also worried about getting caught in the cross fire of Hamas and Israelis. There are much more to worry about than losing one's camera.
 

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nuts

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#20
then all the more pack that common sense!
hoodwinked by a nympho indeed! :bsmilie:

.......
. I am also more concern about pickpockets who will slip my wallet of identification and credit cards. I am worried that I may get hoodwinked by a nymho for 36 hrs X( . I am also worried about getting caught in the cross fire of Hamas and Israelis. There are much more to worry about than losing one's camera.
 

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