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Switzerland, Austria, Hungary, Ukraine 2018 Trip Report I know its a been a while since this trip, but perhaps this can still be of help to people.
Note: I originally wrote a long introduction, but to certain reasons decided to skip it on this forum, instead delving right in!
Also, I didn't yet figure out how to add pictures, and don't have the time now, but maybe later on.


Trip Part 1- Switzerland

Day 1: Titlis with a short stop in Zurich

We arrived in Zurich on time, at approx. 10:30am, picked up our rental car, and headed out for the 2 hour drive to Mt. Titlis.
We enjoyed watching the cows grazing the fields, spotted by chalet-style houses with colorful flowers in the windows, and the more-than-occasional parasailer, along the way.
The views from Mt. Tiltis are magnificent. Hashem blessed us with superb weather; clear, but with fluffy clouds, and cool, but with a strong sun.
The revolving chairlift allowed us to get panoramic views of the ascend. This was the first time we saw snow in the summer so the neflous haBora was evident.
Once on top, we walked the snowy paths to the Bridge. As someone who loves heights, this was magical. We enjoyed the glacier cave, did some scenery-gawking, and another, this time open, chairlift and headed back to the city, once again enjoying the views.
After stopping in the city for Mincha and some food, we headed back to the airport to catch our 9pm flight to VIENNA!

August 15, 2019, 06:03:17 PM
Re: Switzerland, Austria, Hungary, Ukraine 2018 Trip Report Trip Part 2- Vienna

Days 2-3: Vienna

We arrived in Vienna late at night on Thursday. A family member picked us up from the airport and drove us to the apartment we were staying at. (They arranged it for us.)
We have been to Vienna a few years ago, visiting family, and we toured the city then. This time we were just there for Shabbos so not much to say.
Friday, my husband went with some family members to Bratislava to pick up a rental car (much cheaper to rent from there) and they stopped in at the Chasam Sofer also.
Shabbos we just hung around with our relatives and caught up on some sleep….
Motze Shabbos we were busy repacking our suitcases, preparing for our tomorrow’s departure to…the Austrian Alps!

A note about this part of the trip: It was incredibly hot in Europe while we were there, especially in the city. For someone coming from the US/Israel, Europe is so, so left behind in their A/C systems. Also, as is typical in Europe, all stores are closed on Sunday (except for maybe some food stores, open half a day).

Day 4:
Sunday morning we realized that we needed some toiletries as in the Alps we were gonna be in a self-catered place with our family which did not provide anything except linen. We went to the nearest pharmacy (BIPA wouldn’t been more suited to our needs, but was closed). So officially its closed, but you can speak to the storekeeper through a window and she brings you what you need. It was so ridiculous. There we were, standing on line, behind about 5 other people, melting in the 95 deg heat, while the pharmacist is running back and forth helping a customer at a time. We got to hear everyone’s stomachaches….

After the pharmacy, we headed out for our 6+/- hour drive to Wald im Pinzgau, Austria.

August 22, 2019, 06:46:36 PM
Re: Switzerland, Austria, Hungary, Ukraine 2018 Trip Report Trip Part 4- Hungary

Day 12: Hungary
After shachris and breakfast we headed out with a relative to tour the city. First stop was the glamorous Dohány Street Synagogue. After that we stopped in at the Chabad Shul just to say hi to the locals. Then we headed toward Buda passing the busy Váci Utca (Váci Street). Somewhere along the way, there were some tenty things set up by the government where workers were giving out free water. In bags! They were equipped with scissors to snip the edge for you so you can drink right out of it! Super strange! But hey, welcome to Hungary. We crossed the famous bridge between Buda and Pest, arriving at the foot of the Fisherman’s Bastion. One can either walk, take the rail car, or a shuttle up the hill. It was too hot to do the walk up, and the rail had a really long line, so we took the shuttle. Once we reached the top, we took some panoramic shots of the city, refilled our water bottle from a spout that I’d venture to say is from before WWI (but hey, it was dripping cold water!), and passed the President’s house. While passing, the Changing of the Guards was just beginning, so we stopped to watch that. Took about 3 minutes and was pretty cool.
We headed back to the apartment to pack up our things for our next stop, Ukraine. Our plan was to stop in Kerestir on the way and have supper there.

Passing the border from Hungary to Ukraine is a mini nightmare. We were lucky our driver was experienced with it, otherwise we might’ve still been waiting there. We finally crossed into Ukraine after mid-night. Interesting to note that the date of my entry stamp from Ukraine is a day after my exit stamp from Hungary… We were waiting so long in no-man’s land…

August 26, 2019, 03:52:53 PM
Re: Switzerland, Austria, Hungary, Ukraine 2018 Trip Report Part 5- Ukraine

Day 13: Tuesday
We stayed in Mukachevo. We visited the Jewish Cemetery there. The Minchas Elazer of Munkatch is buried there. We walked around the place; the marketplace bearing delicious fresh fruits as in common in these hicktowns. There is an “Amusement Park” somewhere there with a Ferris Wheel that my grandma still remembers from her times… I think we were the only people in the entire park, except for someone cutting the grass. They started the ride specially for us. Each car has 2 half-circle shaped benches with a canopy and a wheel in the middle that you can use to turn the entire car. The cars are not enclosed and get locked with a little string that you can just open and jump out if you so prefer. The rickety ride was quite a thrill.
Later on, we drove out to a few little towns where some grandparents are buried. The streets are more potholed than not.
Somewhere along the drive, we stopped to at a gas station. After the guy there confirmed that there’s WC in the back, I went to take a look. As I’m coming up there, I see a little shed?garage?building? with 2 doors, one of them totally covered in leaves (poison ivy?). I opened the door and was greeted to !!!! A concrete floor with a hole in the middle! No windows either so good luck in there when you close the door!!! Just as a note, this gas station was really in the middle of nowhere, just fields for miles around. Maybe I should give them a bit of a benefit of the doubt?!?
Later we drove to Bishtene, to the kever of Reb Mordchele of Nodvorna. There’s a nice (newly built) shul there as well.
For supper we went to the Chabad Rabbi in Uzhorod who was hosting another family as well. We visited the old shul (today it’s owned by the government, I believe) and drove back to Mukachevo. Just as a by the way, Uzhorod has loose dogs roaming the place and barking loudly, not very pleasant.
As we were leaving Uzhorod, the car started making strange noises…

Day 14: Wednesday
Right in the morning, the car was dropped at the mechanic. A part was severely damaged from all the potholes we covered.
Having no car, we sought other activities. Now, Mukachevo is very “updated”. They have a version of a “mall”. Basically a 2-story building that has escalators(!) and some junk stores. On the second floor they have a bowling alley with some pool tables so we hung out there for a bit.
After that we took a taxi to the Palanok Castle, a few minutes’ drive away. The taxi had 2 amazing features which are not common in the states; a. no A/C, b. windows that you literally “roll down” with a handle. Good memories of the old times…. We didn’t actually find the castle itself so interesting, but, as it is built from stone, it happened to have been quite cool compared to the outside temperatures of about 95 deg F. Did I mention it was hot? Interesting: the torture chamber and a big well. There was actually a room (we needed to ask them to unlock it) in memory of the Jews of Mukachevo who were killed in the Holocaust. They had lists of all the people who were taken away and some pictures of Jewish life before the war. I’d venture to say that was the most interesting part of the castle. Oh, and the views were pretty good also. There’s an outdoor deck to view all the surrounding areas, and we were able to see pretty far.
We went back to the city and did some shopping; things are cheap there.
Finally, the mechanic called that the car is ready.
We drove back to Budapest, arriving very late after sitting at the border again for hours.

August 26, 2019, 03:53:34 PM
Re: ELAL Questions Master Thread
Two Random El-Al questions:

- When selecting my meal for my upcoming trip, the return leg (TLV-EWR) has 3 Strictly Kosher options - strictly Kosher, Strictly Kosher Child, and Strictly Kosher fish. The outbound leg (JFK-TLV) has only the latter two - what is the difference? (It's a 5pm flight, I am assuming it's dinner), do I just PUTPAC?

The strictly kosher "regular" meal may be called Regal on the outbound

December 31, 2019, 01:30:47 PM
Re: Air Serbia NYC-TLV
Anyone have any information on how far keresir is from Belgrade? I’ve been getting conflicting reports when I google it.
Use simple google maps, obviously, it depends on the time and which route you take, see below link.,+Belgrade,+Serbia/Bodrogkereszt%C3%BAr,+3916+Hungary/@46.4756469,18.314354,7z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m14!4m13!1m5!1m1!1s0x475a688a5214cf59:0xc3184c4bc7f300f9!2m2!1d20.291691!2d44.820498!1m5!1m1!1s0x4738ad447758d9dd:0x2e966f614d9aeda4!2m2!1d21.3595899!2d48.1630176!3e0

Dont forget to take into account the wait at the border (if any). If it is anything like going from Ukraine to Hungary, it can take hours

February 10, 2020, 05:12:00 PM
Re: Correct spelling of Yiddish/Jewish names
While on this topic.. I once heard that the name Beila (Technically Liba too) is the roshei teivos for:

Baruch hashem leolam amen. beis yid lamed alef
Simular idea; i heard that the Yiddish name Hinda is double name of Hashem (Adno+H') backward. Really gives a new perspective on the name.

July 16, 2020, 05:46:19 PM
Sakartvelo Master Thread (Republic of Georgia) Surprised that I couldn't find a thread for this yet.
From what i hear, it is a beautiful country with a relatively strong Jewish infrastructure. (Minyanim, kosher restaurants in both Tbilisi and Batumi)
Am thinking of planning a trip there in the winter.
Anybody been? Recommendations?

My research so far;

Batumi has a nice Hilton
Beautiful coastal city
There is a Jewish Center, not sure if it is an official Chabad or what, but i believe they have food as well.

Has a nice Marriott, walking distance to Chabad
Theres a new Hilton (set to open in September), but it is a bit further out.
Chabad has a restaurant
There are a few more restaurants that are Jewish, but I'm not quite sure if kosher
Tbilisi has chairlift over the city

Has old shuls, lots of Jewish history

Prices are quite low
Modern train between Tbilisi and Batumi with wifi
There is some nice scenery out of the cities, but I need more details

August 04, 2020, 01:19:48 PM
Re: What is the craziest thing you (accidentally) took past TSA? Friend of mine put a small wig box through the scanner. It got pulled to the side.
TSA agent sternly asks what's in there. When she replies that its a wig, the agent starts laughing!!
She turns the screen around so my friend can see what she saw.
Seems like the scanner doesn't pick up hair, so all she saw was a head with metal pins sticking out...

November 17, 2020, 05:05:01 PM
Re: Cholent recipes
any advice on gluten free cholent?
If you dont like the thought of rice in your cholent, pea beans (AKA Navy beans or small white beans) are a delicious substitute. They also sort of give the impression of barley. Put a nice amount, approx equal to the amount of barley you would put. You will have to go less on the water, especially if you soak the beans overnight. If it is still too watery, an idea I used until i figured out the good water measurement, is to soak your cholent beans and then add some navy beans unsoaked to absorb the water.
Also, adding potatoes will help with that.

PS-a high ratio of pea beans to other (bigger) beans make an excellent cholent, even for cholents that also have barley.

And a general idea (not for gluten free necessarily) is to add some baby lima beans...
Turkey thigh makes a delicious cholent as well

January 04, 2021, 03:21:42 PM
Re: united travel bank no longer working,
would have to find a ticket exatly $200 for that. any ideas?
This is fairly close.

February 10, 2021, 04:40:23 PM
Re: Something Fishy's First Trip to Israel - Planning Thread It sounds like  you may be there over the yurhtzeit of Reb Chaim ben Atar.
There is something special about being at a kever on the yuhrtzeit.
Also, there usually is added security in the area during that night and day so might be a good way to visit Har Hazaeisim IIRC

March 13, 2021, 07:21:28 PM
Re: Something Fishy's First Trip to Israel - Planning Thread
Boom - that's my style of personal vacations.

How does one go about booking this?
Mine too- i trust the Israeli couple/family who I'm renting from more than i trust the Waldorf to actually wash and change the linen before i come  :o ....

You can find many leads in the Hamodia classifieds.

My advice: get an apartment with a porch! There is nothing like sitting there, even for only 5-10 minutes, at night when the temperature drops and the breeze sets in and just watching the Jerusalem going ons. And yes, although Brooklyn or Monsey might start quieting down with the darkening sky, there it is just the opposite and it is so awesome to be part of it from above!

March 13, 2021, 07:28:49 PM
Re: Would this change the shidduch picture conversation?
I didn't disagree with the sentiment, but dismissing a prospect out of hand because s/he has divorced parents is wrong. Don't be lazy, do due diligence, and find out if the person was raised in a way where they had this exposure.
Many times, children of divorced parents will build beautiful homes and have better marriages because they come in with the knowledge that marriage is work and are more willing to put the work in.

March 13, 2021, 07:35:56 PM
Re: Get Refusal As someone who is BH not closely familiar with this, I read this thread with a sort of "zoomed out" view. The fine text (the detailed posts of halacha, legalities, etc discussed here) are blurred out and all i see is the general topic.
The picture I see is not pretty. What I see is painted in the dark, ugly, and dirty shades of blacks and greys of abuse, aggression, taking advantage of others, bullying, and many other rude behaviors.
And it is so so sad.

I wouldn't blame our generation, because I believe that bad conduct has been occurring for centuries and millennia in some way, shape, or form.

I pray (and hope that you will join me!) that Hashem heal all the afflicted among us, whether physically, spiritually, or more particular to this thread, emotionally and mentally, and may the picture be painted over with the yellows, ivories, and pinks of sunshine, caring, and love for our fellow Jews (and all people). May we all rejoice happily as brothers and sisters, arm in arm, in Yerushalyim Habniya speedily in our days!

March 16, 2021, 06:16:54 PM
Re: {Updated New Survey} Can you please help me? It will take less than two minutes Done.
April 22, 2021, 05:23:09 PM
Re: Random questions.
What's with @RGoldstein 's sudden surge of giving likes?

Posted with RGoldstein's Haskama
This?  :P

May 11, 2021, 04:18:06 PM