Author Topic: Summer 2012 Europe Trip Report!  (Read 8254 times)

Offline Cbs

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Summer 2012 Europe Trip Report!
« on: August 24, 2012, 01:16:18 AM »
Ok where to start....
Prague - I won't get into because I stayed here for over a month and it'll be too much to talk about, though If anyone has any questions about Prague feel free to ask, and I'll be happy to answer.

Bratislava - went for 2 weeks there to be a counselor in a day camp. The chassam sofer is buried there. They have a small castle as well. I wasn't by any of them. Other than thatI wouldn't really recommend going to Bratislava

 Budapest- went in and and out in the same day from Bratislava. Train there was garbage. Not much a/c and no cabins. When we got there we were so lost, didn't know which direction to go. We asked some taxis and they directed us kind of, until we found a hotel that have us a free map. The Chabad house is closed on Sunday for some reason so we couldn't go there but we met an Israeli couple and walked around town with them. Beautiful city , but a lot of walking. I would suggest you figure out the buses and team system while ur there and also maybe take a bus tour around The water to all the main attractions. Don't forget to stop by the shoes on the water bay which represent the Jews that were killed there. Theres the view of the river, main bridge with lions on it (I forget the names) the parliament -amazing building! There's fishermans place which I didn't go . There's the big shul which they say is beautiful but it was closed when I came. And there's a few kosher restaurants - we went to hacarmel. Food was ok - a bit overpriced At the other side of town - close to train station there's a nice big park as well and square with some museums.

Vienna - I went there 3 times over the period of 3 weeks that I was in Bratislava (an hour away). Each time was just for a few hours. The main trip was the last and I came on Friday right before shabbos, stayed at a relatives relative for shabbos. Depending where your located, there is where to walk on shabbos. I didn't walk because I went there the first time I was in Vienna but you can go around the ring and see some nice buildings etc... Sunday morning we bought an all day pass and went to schonbrunn palace. Have in mind There is a line to get in. After waiting a nice 20 minutes or so we got our tickets but they said we can only enter an hour later. So we went to the back to the gardens and spent time there . It's beautiful! Then came the time to go in, we took complimentary audio guides and went around the rooms - its a beautiful amazing palace- we took the 50 min tour , but there is longer. There is a kosher market there - a bit expensive. Then we went to eat at novelinos, very good milchig restaurant, great salads there. Not too costly . Then back to prague.

London - flew with Avios from prague for 4500 +$20 Went for Friday, shabbos and sunday. Stayed at a relative. First day just hung out with family , shabbos took a nice walk thru the rainy/sunny/cloudy London! Then Sunday did lots of walking and touring. One advice, take an umbrella with you, you'll need it! I went to see the palace and there was a huge crowd there and I found out it was a marathon from the Olympics so I stood and watched and it started raining. Within seconds, hundreds of umbrellas popped up and me ....was soaking wet. Then I went into the palace (only open in summer) and I must say its extremely beautiful! Nicer than Vienna's. It costs about £18. I think. Took about an hour and half. Then went to speakers corner , trafalgers square and big Ben - with a view of the London eye -continued by subway to the London tower bridge , didn't go into into the old palace there cuz it was closed. I bought an all day pass which was very useful for transportation - cost £7 or so. For restaurants I went to golders green and ate chili fries (it's a must) at pizaza and went next door to white house for a good steal swarms which was £8. Next stop Amsterdam ...

Amsterdam - all I can say is "I Amsterdam" ! I really enjoyed the day and half I was there. Flew fr london with BA avios , also 4500 + $20. Bought an all day pass for transit. Very useful. Dropped my stuff off at chabad (which is his house - great guy) went to Madame Tuse (Wax museum ) if u but the ticket in a tour center then u can cut the lines. Then just walked around which is simply cool. Watched a street show in Dan square. Then went down to the Rijkz museaum (don't know spelling) and van gough but they were closed so I got to know the area for the next day, and went to eat at sal meijers sandwich . Continued on to train station - make sure u have coins on u cuz the machines don't take CC or notes! - and went to Utrecht for the night by a friend. On tuesday went to the rijkz museum, beautiful art. Went to the ship museum by the water - very interesting, and to the Portuguese shul and Jewish museaum which are very nice . Went to eat at the pizza shop which is about a 25 min team ride and in middle of no where but great pizza ! A big Thanx to jj1000 for saving me lots of money by sharing his museum card that he bought half year ago. and in general for guiding me through this trip ;) (with the help of his trip report) Then flew back to Prague with Transavia out of rotterdam airport .Was 55€ + 14 to get therebut no drinks for free and chairs had no leg room and no option to recline!

Rome - flew from Prague on smart wings . Not bad at all - cheap as well and was there for half Wednesday and thursday. Picked up a map, Took train to town for €16. Went to coliseum which is really nice and cut the huge line because we opted for the itouch audio/video guide for an extra €6. Then walked around and saw the roman forum from the street and went to the top of hill. Continued down to the Jewish ghetto and had dinner at yotvata. (see Rome master thread for my thoughts on yotvata) Was really hot there so need a lot of water but u buy once and there are fountains all over to refill. - saves lots of money. Next day we went to the Vatican area - didn't go in and the museums were closed as well. But really nice from outside. Then walked all over town, the Palatine hill and roman forum which are across the coliseum and it takes a nice 2 hours to cover without wasting much time. On the way stopped at some fountains which ate nice. Then to Jewish quarter to great synagogue which is amazing!! Ate again at yotvata . Walked around to more nice fountains and then started heading back to train station for the night train to Venice. Originally we were supposed to sleep at a lady that rents out rooms in her house - Mrs. Liba -double room inclu. Breakfast for 70 eur. - but we got there and it was really small stuffy room with only a fan, no wifi, a few other things I won't get in to and not comfortable . By hashgacha pratis we bumped into a young chabad shliach who said he wasn't sleeping at his house bec no a/c so we can stay there! We gave the lady 30 eur. (she threw a fit - she wanted all 70) and we bounced and had the windows open for a breeze and was great. Our own apartment ;)

Venice - Love, love, love! Took the night train to Venice and slept like a baby in a 4 couchette cabin . Missed our stop at 5:30 am! Woke up at 6 and realized so we jumpe off at next stop and took the next train to Venice (20 min ride) and then few min walk to chabad. Washed up in the Mikva there and walked around till the minyan at 9:30. Not much to do in Venice but walk around and take it all in! It's just amazing.. Friday went to Murano and Burano Islands which are really beautiful. Murano has glass making and Burano has really colorful houses. Headed back to Venice to Rialto bridge which is nice over the grand canal. Met the shliach Rami, really nice guy and found us a hostel right next door to gam gam for 55€ a night for double room. The chabad in Venice is really amazing, the shabbos meal had 2 shifts, all free and lively. Some sit outside right on the water. Shabbos took a nice walk and saw San Marco square which is a must (and go in weekday with camera ) its such a nice view and buildings . Sunday afternoon went to airport and rented a car at Europe car for a decent rate and drove down to Milan with a stop at lake Garda Which is really nice.

Milan - nothing special, dead in August. Stayed at a relative.

Lake Como - Breathtaking scenery! Left Milan at 6:30 am and drove up to Como (bout 40 min) stopped there, davened shachris with the view of the beautiful mountains (alps) and water in front and surrounding us ! ) then kept going north to the middle of the lake called bellagio. It's considered one of the most beautiful spots in all Italy! The drive there is very narrow roads through mountains and can be dangerous (especially if ur an American driving shift or your second time in your life! ) but Bh all was good and worth it. Great views on the way. Then went down other side of mountain which is even nicer and continued to catch a flight at bergamo airport to krakow.

Krakow - flew on Ryanair.. Cheap but garbage. Got picked up by the local shliach (relative of mine) stayed by him as well. Came in the evening so rested up and the next morning went to see some of the Shuls. The really old one was closed and I didn't make it to the temple shul but saw the Ramas shul and kever and high shul. Some museums as well. I also went to the castle which is nice. Make sure you go earlier because after 12 they start selling out on tickets. Everything is fairly cheap in krakow. It's not like the rest of Europe that every attraction is like 10-20€. The next day I went to Auschwitz and Brikenau. Check online for busses and schedule of tours. It's truly a moving experience. You must go to both and take the tour (even though I hate tours but here u need it and it's interesting ) costs maybe 38zl or less for students. Then took a night train back to Prague. Reserved in advance a bed (in a 3 person cabin) - locked the door 3 diff locks and slept on my valuables . Noone wakes you up for border control as it say online.

Now time to catch my flight back to NY after these 2 awesome months!
At LHR I had a few hour layover and asked a really nice guy to bring me into the BA lounge. Had a couple fresh fruits and fresh veggies, took a well needed shower and flew off to NY all fresh :)
 Hope this helped out for the next person wanting to travel. If you have any questions feel free to ask and I have hundreds of pics of each place if you would like to see a few.

Offline Cbs

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Re: Summer 2012 Europe Trip Report!
« Reply #1 on: August 27, 2012, 12:20:06 PM »
if i had to rate the cities in order i would say:
1. Venice
2. Amsterdam
3. Prague
4. Rome
5. Budapest
6. Lake Como
7. London
8. Vienna
9. Krakow
10. Milan
11. Bratislava
« Last Edit: August 27, 2012, 02:01:11 PM by Cbs »

Offline DH Data Recovery

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Re: Summer 2012 Europe Trip Report!
« Reply #2 on: August 27, 2012, 12:27:30 PM »
I was in prague for 4 days loved it!!

Offline Cbs

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Re: Summer 2012 Europe Trip Report!
« Reply #3 on: August 27, 2012, 12:31:40 PM »
I was in prague for 4 days loved it!!
i wouldve have put prague before amsterdam, but since i spent more than a month in prague so it became more permanent, and you always love the other cities before your home town :)

Offline Ergel

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Re: Summer 2012 Europe Trip Report!
« Reply #4 on: August 27, 2012, 12:31:40 PM »
Thanks for report. Would really live to get to Amsterdam one of these days.
Only other places in Europe i'm interested in are Spain, Ireland and a return to Switzerland
Life isn't about checking the boxes. Nobody cares.

Offline Ergel

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Re: Re: Summer 2012 Europe Trip Report!
« Reply #5 on: August 27, 2012, 12:32:34 PM »
i wouldve have put prague before amsterdam, but since i spent more than a month in prague so it became more permanent, and you always love the other cities before your home town :)
That's against the gemara and conventional wisdom
Life isn't about checking the boxes. Nobody cares.

Offline Cbs

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Re: Summer 2012 Europe Trip Report!
« Reply #6 on: August 27, 2012, 12:33:50 PM »
I was in prague for 4 days loved it!!
were u there this summer?

Thanks for report. Would really live to get to Amsterdam one of these days.
Only other places in Europe i'm interested in are Spain, Ireland and a return to Switzerland
Amsterdam is really laid back, and spain and ireland will be my next europe trip :)

That's against the gemara and conventional wisdom
please enlighten me...

Offline BrooklynCPA

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Re: Summer 2012 Europe Trip Report!
« Reply #7 on: August 27, 2012, 01:05:35 PM »
Do you have a relative in every town in Europe??!!!!!!!!!! :)

Offline duvid crockett

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Re: Summer 2012 Europe Trip Report!
« Reply #8 on: August 27, 2012, 01:08:49 PM »
Wow great report! Where was the best food?

Offline Cbs

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Re: Summer 2012 Europe Trip Report!
« Reply #9 on: August 27, 2012, 01:10:06 PM »
Do you have a relative in every town in Europe??!!!!!!!!!! :)
Lol - just about :) i also have in rome but they were out of town.
maybe you're a relative too ;)

Wow great report! Where was the best food?
ill say between rome and london

Offline myb821

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Re: Summer 2012 Europe Trip Report!
« Reply #10 on: August 27, 2012, 01:55:55 PM »
if i had to rate the cities in order i would say:
1. Venice
2. Amsterdam
3. Prague
4. Rome
5. Budapest
6. Lake Como
7. London
8. Vienna
9. Krakow
10. Milan
11. Bratislava
FTFY

Offline Cbs

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Re: Summer 2012 Europe Trip Report!
« Reply #11 on: August 27, 2012, 02:01:22 PM »

Offline moish

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Re: Summer 2012 Europe Trip Report!
« Reply #12 on: August 27, 2012, 04:22:42 PM »
i was in amsterdam too. when were you there?

Offline Cbs

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Re: Summer 2012 Europe Trip Report!
« Reply #13 on: August 27, 2012, 04:39:07 PM »
i was in amsterdam too. when were you there?
After you :)
Aug 7-8

Offline moish

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Re: Summer 2012 Europe Trip Report!
« Reply #14 on: August 27, 2012, 04:40:35 PM »
 this was the last summer tourists were able to buy weed legally. hope you took advantage ;)