It was a LONG train and we were sitting close to the front and getting nervous about the time. Bob went back to the attendant with our ticket to make sure we were in the right place. And then he came running down the platform waving our tickets. We picked up our bags and started running. We had one minute to get to the far end of the 7 train before it pulled out. Trying doors, running, trying the next door, running - and then it happened - Amy turned back to see where Bob was, and down she went - full speed with bags flying.
We grabbed everything up and kept going. Made it through the door with maybe 20 seconds left! Nothing more than scrapes and bruises on hands, knees, and elbows - but it hurt!
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- Prague - Wikipedia.
Fortunately, we had the next four hours to rest. Buda and Pest are two cities on each side of the Danube River. Our hotel was located on the Buda side, in a quiet and relaxing area. We found wonderful small gifts to bring home, including a master class parachuting medal for Bob.
Behind Bob, on the far left, is the Parliament building Pest side. Behind Amy is one of the stone lions that grace each side of this suspension bridge that opened in Budapest is a city of being blown up or burnt down over centuries. The Chain Bridge was rebuilt and reopened in In the morning we took a short walk from our hotel on the Buda side to the funicular a cable car that is pulled up and lowered down a steep grade. It is the brown stripe in the middle of the picture below. On the left, and after a pleasant but long walk, we looked back over the Danube toward Pest and the Parliament Building.
We arrived early before the buildings were open and the tourists swarmed. It was quiet and cool. The roofing tiles we gorgeous tones of orange, yellow, and gold. The interior was spectacular. To the left is the back side of Matthias Church with the tiled roof. It was another area that was almost completely destroyed during WWII. And yes, it was used as a fish market in the past. This bird is a part of the story of how the Magyars settled the Hungarian homeland. We arrived early, before any tourists, which made it a lot more fun.
There wasn't much explanation as to what the labyrinth was originally, but now it is just a bunch of tunnels that have everything from recreated stone age drawings from the area to items that people might dig up from our present culture. In one spot was a cave with a four-sided fountain covered in vines with wine flowing continuously.
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A sign warned you not to drink the wine yuk! In to during the Cold War it was expan d e d and hardened as a nuclear bunker as a top-secret project. The tour guide said that oil was delivered to the bunker via a pipe hidden under a flower garden in the castle area. This worked well until winter came, then they had to simply truck it in during the night. It was a bit hard to find the entrance was outside the castle walls and English tours are only at certain hours, but it was well worth going. We recommend clicking on the link above to read more about it.
Had to take a picture of a typical menu - click on it to see the full page. Included in the fare was: Small smoked knuckle slices Walloon pheasant dish Grilled goat's cheese Fried frogs legs in breadcrumbs Malmedy snails in sauce Roasted rabbit legs wrapped in bacon Lamb knuckles of Rueland. And then there was chicken and fish too thank God!
Bob liked the rabbit - Amy stuck with chicken shish kabobs. The picture on the left is from the back side - the tour entrance. The front side is much more impressive. The interior was fabulous - a vaulted dome, the crown and scepter, and a scale model made of match sticks. Indeed, this city was the first to invent a technique to make imitation marble. Before WWII, the builders took out many of the windows and stored them in the basement under sandbags so that they would not be destroyed by the bombing. The Crown Jewels were stolen, recovered, stolen, and recovered over centuries by different warring factions and countries.
The U. They were returned to the Hungarian people in by Jimmy Carter. Below are pictures from St. As beautiful as it was from the outside, the inside was simply stunning!
And then we found out what why this church was so revered by the Hungarian people. It had a relic. Yes, we kid you not, the mummified right-hand - the "incorruptible right-hand" - of the King is housed in this church draped with pearls and jewelry. Then we got to do another tower. But this one was cool - it took us to the inside of the structure of the dome and had scaffolding we crossed to get to the outside surround.
A chilly day, we had to have our sweaters, and the wind on top was really blowing - but the views were priceless. The second largest synagogue in the world, Dohany seats just under 3, people 1, for men and 1, in the women's galleries. When we entered, Bob was given a kippah plural - kippot , the cap men wear to show respect and to remind them of the presence of God.
Many wear them all the time as a pious act midat chasidut - believing that they are never outside of the presence of God.
Prague, Vienna & Budapest
They didn't have one small enough for Kini and his youngin' but they knew he was covered in the spirit. The Synagogue also houses the Jewish Cemetery in the courtyard where over 2, were buried after the tragic events of WWII where the Jewish people congregated and died in In the center is a silver tree - a weeping willow - that has a single name engraved on each of the , leaves symbolizing each of the Hungarian Jews who were murdered by the Nazis.
Prague and Vienna are great too. I just haven't spent as much time in Prague or Vienna so I stick to what I know the most about and enjoy the most. Gosh, thank you James for taking the time to write out this itinerary.
10 days~ Prague, Vienna, and Budapest need help!!! - Prague Forum
And thank you for your personal experience re the language. I agree with people being pleased that an effort is made to speak their language. I found this to be most true in Turkey and Mexico. The itinerary you created looks great except that I would have to think differently re traveling. You have suggested 3 one nighters and at my age excuse? Packing and unpacking and schlepping isn't my forte anymore, however, Gyor and Eger do sound very enticing. Hi Sharon.
First of all, don't worry about language. I managed in English and some creative sign language in the supermarket. Budapest has very interesting museums, so don't short-change it. I stayed at the Mercure Museum Hotel and liked it very much. The room was small not a problem solo , the breakfast was excellent, the staff were great and they had a spa included in the price but I was too busy to use it. It was on the edge of the Jewish Quarter, near a supermarket great cheap wine and close to buses and trams and not that far to walk to the center maybe 20 minutes.
I was there in May and there seemed to be lots of people out and about until after midnight, so I was never uneasy walking alone. As James the expert on the area suggests an overnight in Eger during your stay in Budapest, how about leaving your luggage in Budapest and just taking a small overnight bag? Yes, you'll have to pack and change rooms, but you won't have to shlep a suitcase.
Maybe you could also check your suitcase in Gyor at the train station for an overnight stay there. As others have said above, English is widely spoken in all three of these cities, so you will have no problems with communication. If you tried to speak German in Prague or Budapest, I think people would be very confused and possibly offended. I can comment best on Vienna. First, late April is my favorite time of year here. Lilacs are blooming as are the fruit trees.
Weather will be cool, but pleasant. Aside from the usual sights, I would strongly encourage you to visit the St. Marx Cemetery Friedhof at this time, as it is a lilac-lovers paradise. The graves are also hauntingly beautiful from the Biedermeier period; this is also where Mozart is buried. A walk along the Hauptallee at the Prater to see the flowering chesnuts is also worth doing. Don't miss the wisteria tunnel at Schonbrunn either. The apricot trees and apple and cherry will be in blossom. If you are up for a flat 1. For this trip, definitely go on a nice day, take the train to Melk, but move on quickly to enjoy the villages of Spitz, Weissenkirchen and Duernstein, further down river.
Take the boat to one of these villages and explore. You can also rent bikes here. When you are done, get on the WL1 bus back to the Krems train station about 15 minutes and take the train back to Vienna. You might also enjoy a walk through the vineyards on the outskirts of Vienna. The 38A bus to Kahlenberg drops you off at a high point above Vienna for a great view. You can then have a nice wander through the vineyards capped off by dinner at a heurigen. Despite real effort, I could never master more than a few basic pleasantries in Czech, but we had no problems communicating anywhere.
The friendliest, nicest family and staff you could ask for. Our room was huge En suite bathroom, cooked to order breakfast. In the embassy district Ten minute walk to Castle, Charles Bridge. The Main square in Mala Strana is even closer, banks, restuarants, transportation all there.
Insight Budapest Guides
We took a train to Kutna Hora; we were done with the bone chapel in about 10 minutes though we tried very hard to stretch it out. The chapel is an easy walk from the train station; from the chapel the town is accessible by a shuttle ride Don't make our mistake.. The town itself was nice enough but won't be calling us back. Like you we love to walk and wander, and few places are as suitable as beautiful Prague. We spent one beautiful spring day amid the lilacs on Petrin Hill In Prague, try a roasted pork knuckle for dinner somewhere Knedlicky on the side.. You may consider Cesky K en route to Vienna rather than as a daytrip returning to Prague.
We spent two nights in Cesky K and stayed at the Hotel Konvice We trained from Prague to CK. Our next destination was Salzburg and we took the ckshuttle from CK to Linz where we boarded a train. The shuttle can be arranged through your hotel or the TI. This company came to the hotel door on time, Insisted on carrying our bags to his waiting van in the square, and provided a pleasant connection in a spotless, late model Van.
The young driver was personable and friendly. Enjoy your trip. I rank Prague right up with Paris as far as most beautiful cities I have visited. Thank you Emily. I have seen some of your informative posts and appreciate those and your reply to me. When I was reading about the languages, I thought that I read that German could be understood in each country and so was lamenting I didn't know German. I certainly would not want to offend anyone - thank you for telling me that. One of the reasons I like to learn at least a bit of the language of the country I am in is that I think it shows respect - it is such an important part of the whole adventure for me.
Lilacs - what a gift!!! I grew up in Eastern Oregon and in the spring the whole town would smell of lilacs. Also we had the cherry blossoms - am delighted to hear about the apricot and cherry blossoms. Marx Cemetery - and a visit to Mozart's gravesite are very high on my list. Would appreciate any information you can provide. I usually walk about 8 hours a day - one thing leads to another and, all of a sudden it has been a full day of exploration and discovery.
I found a few German phrases helpful in when staying in private homes in these countries. It did not much come up when staying in hotels in the same region in I remember one woman in a Benesov hotel asking if I understood German, because she was more used to receiving German visitors, but her English was actually fine.
Prague, Vienna & Budapest
Even with people who seem to speak English, do make an effort to speak clearly and simply. I recall a Prague hotel receptionist whose answer to everything seemed to be "no," but I'm not sure she always understood the questions. However, I found the subways in Prague and Berlin to be the most user friendly I've seen, and I don't even speak the language. Cesky Krumlov: probably the most enchanting village I've seen in Europe after 15 trips.
Cameras are mandatory! Budapest: 1 on my "places to return" list. This was typical of the dinners one can enjoy in Prague. Each morning, the Old Town Square, crowded with tourists even in February, was set up with kiosks selling sausages, chunks of meat from whole hams roasting on spits over wood fires, delicious crepes rolled in vanilla and cinnamon, etc. The aromas were maddening and redolent of an old-world Christmas market. Live music played in the background as visitors gathered for the hourly chiming of the clock, from which figures emerge as in a huge cuckoo clock. Crossing the Vltava river on the Charles Bridge, we saw that Prague is all about food, music, architecture and history.
Vitus Cathedral. A repository of the remains of St. Wenceslas, a symbol of Czech nationalism, the cathedral also contains remarkable stained-glass windows, most notably one by the Art Nouveau painter Alphons Mucha, whose museum we visited the next day. It works best if you can get a seat with a good view out the window.
The next day, on the way to New Town and Wenceslas Square, we walked to the Powder Tower and the adjacent Municipal House, admiring the varied architecture of the area. Prague was not as heavily bombed during WWII as other cities in Europe and thus is the most intact city of those we visited. The next day we headed off to Josefov, the Jewish Quarter.
It is a monument to the Jewish culture in Prague. Our hotel reception called our hotel in Vienna to request directions from Meidling Station, where we would disembark our train. This accomplished, we jumped in the car driven by the hotel porter and were taken to the Hlavni station. We located our train to Vienna, which headed out precisely on time, arriving by midafternoon. At the station we bought tickets to Budapest for four days hence, departing from Westbahnhof, along with four tickets for the metro.
Following the directions we were given, we transferred at the proper metro station and wound up at Stephansplatz, where we surfaced and asked directions to the Opera. We were disappointed with the size of the room we were shown first. At this hotel we had not paid in advance, having only given our credit card to secure the first night, so we negotiated for a larger room which, when we agreed to pay cash, cost just a bit more than our original room. It is a city of wine, not beer.
It is a Rick Steves recommendation and he rarely steers us wrong. Rick also was dependable the next morning when we took a walking tour of the city following his directions. Thus fortified, we walked across the Ring Road to the Naschmarkt and strolled amongst the food stalls, stopping to buy cheese, olives and fruit to eat in our room. After breakfast the next morning we decided to take a tram ride, being careful to validate our tickets. There is a large penalty for being on a tram without a validated ticket. We took the tram to the Prater amusement park to ride the big Ferris wheel.
There were almost people on the tour, the group divided up by language. We attend many operas in Chicago, but the Vienna facility is more utilized, better financed and a real historical gem.