When its your First ... Make sure it is the best .... Magnificent Eastern Europe

Tripoto
7th Oct 2016

Splendors of Eastern Europe

Photo of When its your First ... Make sure it is the best .... Magnificent Eastern Europe by Dhruv

As a kid , Europe always added an element of fascination for me . I was always filled with this undying desire to explore Europe so finally after my marriage I got to plan my first trip and what better when your wife shares your wanderlust . So finally we decided on a tour of Eastern European capitals ( Vienna-Bratislava-Budapest - Prague) and my oh my , im never going to forget any bit of this trip .being our first trip we planned not to experiment much and booked a package through makemytrip.com, Varsha our travel planner was particularly helpful in organising the trip and the Visa process and Arko ( now almost like a brother ) but no more in the company saw to it that our visa process was a smooth sail .

On reaching Vienna , the temperature was 8 degrees and the slight drizzle , it was a wonderful welcome by the rain Gods and our tour guide Ronnie Palia was an upfront person who briefed us as soon as we got into the tour bus .We were told about the do's and dont's

and were taken to an Indian restaurant for dinner and then Hotel Trend Pyramid which i would say is a bit off the city , but since we had the tour bus which stayed with us all along the tour , there was'nt much a problem .It was a group of 35 people and we were lodged comfortably in our rooms . Since we reached late evening , there wasnt  much to do that evening , so we called it a day.

Day 1

The day started early for me being an early riser. I met a guy from the same tour , Ajinckya from Maharashtra . We got to know each other and went out for a smoke into the open as the weather outside was wonderful with clear skies . The temp on my phone showed 6 degree celcius and we were enjoying the chill. After that we had a sumptuous breakfast and went on a city tour . After a quick roundabout through the city streets we were dropped at Schonbrunn Palace which housed the royal generations till late 1900's until it became a museum of sorts . We were taken on an audio guided tour and post that we were given time to enjoy the beautiful French gardens of the palace .

Then we were taken and dropped at Kärntner Straße , a shopping street in Vienna with all the known brands . The highlight was the Swarovski showroom which took most of our time primarily to catch a glimpse of the crystal splendour . There were artists performing on the street with people cheering and clapping. It was a wonderful experience . I got to taste a squid dish at Nordsee one of the famous fish speciality restaurants in Europe and it was a bit pricey but excellent . After spending time till evening we were taken for dinner and dropped back to the hotel . The fun started after that because my Indian friend John along with his wife came to pick us up and took a night tour of the beautiful city and we went to a bustling pub and had some great drinks . We were dropped back to our hotel by them at 2:00 am and we just could gather enough energy to crash into our beds ..

Day 2

Known primarily for the shooting of " Sound of Music " and the song " Do re mi" , this quaint town is nothing less than a dream . The beauty is just overwhelming . We were first taken to the Mirabel gardens where the movie was shot and then led to the Salzburg castle which presented us a wonderful panoramic view of Salzburg . The lock bridge over the Salzach river presented with another mesmerising view of the place . We just immersed ourselves in the beauty of the place . Followed by that we were led back to Vienna by evening after dinner .

Day 3

We started at 9 am from Vienna and went on with our trip to Bratislava , the capital of Slovakia . A picturesque drive through huge roads with farmlands and windmills looking down upon you and waving goodbye . We reached this wonderful place . A lot of history is embedded into this city as the guide told us . The beautiful cobblestone roads and dimly lit alleys , the graffiti on the walls . It's a different charm altogether . After describing a brief history of the place through the streets we were taken to the town square where we spend good time and we're taken to the Linder hotel . Now I can't skip mentioning this part . We luckily got a room on the 10th floor of this hotel , one of the best properties I have ever stayed in . The hotel connects to a mall , which allows you ample shopping and eating opportunities if you are a foodie . The view from the room was amazing as we could see till distant horizons with a glass of wine from the balcony. Bratislava will be remembered .

Day 4

If God ever gives me an opportunity to settle down anywhere else away from home , this place would be it . The drive from Salzburg to Budapest was a long one , but on reaching the city , all the soreness just vanished and we were fresh as a horse . Budapest is basically bifurcated into two parts by the river Danube flowing through the middle of the city and housing the most important centres on either side . The Hilly side is called Buda and the plain, Pest . I can't exactly vouch for its authenticity as I'm giving you the guide's version . Our tour bus led us through the important landmarks of the city and dropped us at the city centre . The Hungarian Forint being weaker than the Rupee , we went on a shopping spree and half of my credit card limit got exhausted there itself at the shopping avenues , but wait the highlight is yet to come . Come evening and we were taken for a river cruise on the Danube , and God it was so beautiful with the sun going down and the lights of the buildings beside the Danube ,shimmering . A trivia , I'd like to mention . Many of us have watched the blockbuster movie Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam , and we were told that the place is Italy , wrong . The bridge over which the famous scene happens with Aishwarya Rai running to Ajay Devgan is the Széchenyi Chain Bridge . I remember every moment of that cruise where we were sitting on the open top of the cruise with a complimentary glass of wine and enjoyed the serenity and the beauty of the place .Etched in my memories forever .

Day 5

The journey from Budapest to Prague was long again . So we were taken to this fairytale village called Lednice . It was a slight detour but the beauty was worth a watch . It housed one of the most beautiful castles I've ever seen and the quaintness of the village is just a sight to behold .We tasted a cheese platter which gave us so many cheese delicacies that I never knew existed . Post that we went ahead with the journey and reached Prague by evening .

Day 6

The morning at Prague was a pleasant one . The sun was shining and the cold winds were complementing the beauty of the surroundings. Prague involved a lot of walk through cobbled streets so we slipped into comfortable walking shoes . The first place we were taken to was the majestic St Vitus Cathedral which is a striking example of gothic and neo-gothic architecture dating back to the 12th century . For more information https://www.hrad.cz/en/prague-castle-for-visitors/objects-for-visitors/st.-vitus-cathedral-10330.

After that we saw the museum of armamentarium adjacent to it and went on a walk towards the highlight of the tour , the famous Charle's Bridge . I wonder how many movies have been shot on this place and I felt blessed walking over it and soaking in the beauty of the place . With local painters lined up to paint the scenery and artists performing around every small corner , the wonderful statues . It was a sight to behold . We went on walking until we reached the town square which houses the famous Astronomical clock.The clock was first installed in 1410, making it the third-oldest astronomical clock in the world and the oldest one still operating. Every hour the clock displays a beautiful play of puppets and the crowd just join in to watch the show. My passion for collecting wines from all over the world took me to a quaint shop with some excellent collections and amongst one I bought was the green fairy , Absinthe.Read more about it to know .

The festivities were still in full flow on the town square but our hearts were getting heavier as the trip was nearing its closure .Finally the younger members of the group clubbed in to enjoy the last bit of the evening with a fantastic diner at a lovely pub plying live music . We called it a day .

The last day of the trip before boarding our flights . The trip from Prague to Vienna was the longest and our tour guide decided to send us back home as happy souls . We were taken to one of the few and one of the largest shopping destinations of entire Europe , Pandorf , located at about an hour from Vienna International Airport , this is one of the biggest shopping villages in the world which houses the most exclusive fashion brands of the world at throwaway prices . According to our tour guide , actors from all over the world come down to buy their apparel from there . It was a few hours of shopping spree until we said goodbye to Europe till next time .

My trip review would be incomplete if I forget to mention the wonderful people I met on this trip . It was a wonderful group but some people just stay friends for a lifetime , Ajit uncle , Shoba aunty , Dr Gowda's ( Couple), their lovely children Bhargavi and Pranav, Ajinckya, Radhika , Swapnil , Dhara , Nitin , Rahul , Himanshu and their families , Kansiwala uncle , Jagdeep Soin uncle .

Schonbrunn Palace, Vienna

Photo of Parndorf, Austria by Dhruv

Lock Bridge , Salzburg

Photo of Parndorf, Austria by Dhruv

At Mirabel Gardens

Photo of Parndorf, Austria by Dhruv
Photo of Parndorf, Austria by Dhruv

Salzburg

Photo of Parndorf, Austria by Dhruv

Gardens of Schonbrunn

Photo of Parndorf, Austria by Dhruv

Swarovski

Photo of Parndorf, Austria by Dhruv

Bratislava

Photo of Parndorf, Austria by Dhruv

The sewer man , Bratislava

Photo of Parndorf, Austria by Dhruv

The Sewer Man and Me

Photo of Parndorf, Austria by Dhruv

Budapest

Photo of Parndorf, Austria by Dhruv

Freedom Square, Budapest

Photo of Parndorf, Austria by Dhruv

Cobbled dark streets of Bratislava

Photo of Parndorf, Austria by Dhruv

Budapest Parliament at dusk.

Photo of Parndorf, Austria by Dhruv

Budapest town square

Photo of Parndorf, Austria by Dhruv
Photo of Parndorf, Austria by Dhruv

Wine store at Lednice

Photo of Parndorf, Austria by Dhruv

The Széchenyi Bride, Budapest

Photo of Parndorf, Austria by Dhruv

St Vitus Cathedral, Prague

Photo of Parndorf, Austria by Dhruv

Prague Castle

Photo of Parndorf, Austria by Dhruv

The Hawk, as I call it

Photo of Parndorf, Austria by Dhruv

St Vitus Cathedral, Prague

Photo of Parndorf, Austria by Dhruv

St Vitus Cathedral, Prague

Photo of Parndorf, Austria by Dhruv

St Vitus Cathedral, Prague

Photo of Parndorf, Austria by Dhruv

Armamentaruim Museum, Prague

Photo of Parndorf, Austria by Dhruv

Prague

Photo of Parndorf, Austria by Dhruv

Graffiti on the walls, Salzburg

Photo of Parndorf, Austria by Dhruv

Astronomical Clock, Prague

Photo of Parndorf, Austria by Dhruv

Charles Bridge at Night, Prague

Photo of Parndorf, Austria by Dhruv

Walking on Charles Bridge, Prague

Photo of Parndorf, Austria by Dhruv

Cruising on the Danube , Budapest

Photo of Parndorf, Austria by Dhruv
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