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375 Kms from Katowice
Austria’s capital city, Vienna, did not let me down! It is hard to find a city that looks as pretty as Vienna in winter. Walking on the streets of Vienna is like walking into stories of fairy tale. It is a city bestowed with history, baraquoe architecture, music, good cafes and bars.Deciding where to stay When I started researching about accommodation, I learnt that (like most of the European countries) Vienna is split into 23 districts (Bezirke), each having its own flavor. To cut it short and put it simply, 1st district is closest to city centre and the succeeding ones will be farther outside the centre. Districts 1 to 9 are inner city of Vienna offering easy access to cultural side of Vienna. I stayed in Vision Apartments Vienna Marc-Aurel. I would give this apartment 10/10 for its location.Museums, Palaces and much more!Vienna is known for this! There are many museums and art galleries in Vienna. The best way to get started is to by taking a walk around the Ringstrasse (ring road). While walking on this route, you will see Opera House, City Hall, Parliament, Imperial Palace.Visiting all of the museums and palaces might be a challenge if you wish to see or do other things as well in limited period of time. Keeping in mind the limited time I had, I visited the following places:➢ Schönbrunn Palace:
Day 9:Next day we went back to Vienna by train at 8:00 AM. Tickets were booked 2 months earlier on OBB app. Recommendations:1. I highly recommend staying in Budapest for atleast 2 entire days to leisurely explore everything. It has a lot to offer.2. On the day of your arrival, go for free walking tours which are highly informative and give you quick overview of important places and Budapest in general. Just Google for more information on these tours.3. Budapest looks extremely stunning at night so I highly recommend either a) strolling at Chain bridge, Buda Castle hill and near Parliament or b) may be going for Boat cruise on River Danube at night4. You can use Google maps for navigating by public transportation within Budapest.5. Having only a day in hand to explore Budapest, we couldn’t see following places which I would love to cover in future if I ever visit here again:a. Buda Palace Labyrinth: I read about this place is some blog. Though couldn’t find any reviews on TripAdvisor. It is apparently located underneath Buda Castle district. It has complex of caves and cellars. They have a website as well. It seems quite adventurous.b. Hungarian Parliament from insidec. St. Stephen’s Basilicad. House of Terror Museume. Jewish quarters especially Dohány Street Synagogue and Wallenberg Memorial Park having Tree of Life and Heroes’ Templef. Széchenyi Baths from inside
Day 10:Our 9-day trip to eastern Europe had come to an end. Our return flight to Delhi from Vienna was at 12:0 PM. We took Uber cab to reach airport from Hotel Beethoven. Recommendations:1. I will definitely not recommend the itinerary we followed for Vienna and Budapest. Vienna is rich in history, culture, art and architecture. It is astonishingly beautiful as well. Therefore, I recommend spending atleast 3 full days in Vienna to cover all important sightseeing places leisurely.2. 1 additional day you should spend in taking guided tours to Wachau valley, Dürnstein - a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Melk's Benedictine monastery - Melk Abbey and wine tastings. There are many private tours which you can be hired from Vienna or can be booked online in advance on Viator.com. one of my friends took this tour from http://www.viennaexplorer.com/ and they thoroughly enjoyed it!3. You must take free walking tours before you start exploring on your own. They will give extensive overview of Vienna in general and all important monuments. They generally last for 3 hours. One such can be booked here: https://www.goodviennatours.eu/ 4. Because of lack of time we missed on following places which I feel are worth exploring:a. Museum Quartier: This Complex holds 4-5 museums of which the most famous ones are Kunsthistorisches Museum which holds Vienna’s greatest collection of paintings, Museum of Natural History (Naturhistorisches) which has significant collection of dinosaur skeletons, fossils and meteorites in addition to a large display of insects from around the world and Leopold Modern Art Museumb. Upper Belvedere Palacec. Churches like St. Charles church (Karlskirche) and Votive Church (Votivkirche)d. Tiergarten zoo, Gloriette and Museum of Carriages in Schonbrunn Palacee. Performances at Spanish Riding School5. Vienna Pass: We did not take it but I guess if you are staying in Vienna for 3-4 days atleast and plan to cover all above mentioned places then may be it is worth buying.6. Famous restaurants and cafes in Vienna: Demel Café for chocolates, cakes, etc., Palm Tree House and Café Sacher. We couldn’t try 1st two and last one we found overhyped!7. Google maps do not provide local public transport information in Austria. They tell only about regional buses which runs intercity. They have their own transportation apps.8. All markets in Vienna are closed on Sundays9. Buy chocolates and alcohol in Vienna. They are cheaper here than at duty free shops of airports.
Day 9:We reached Vienna by 10:30 AM. We planned to cover Schönbrunn Palace today. We bought tickets for Imperial Tour at https://www.imperial-austria.at/schoenbrunn-palace.html for afternoon time slot. We took U4 metro to reach here. From metro station, it’s a 10-minute walk. The palace showcases the Ritz and glitz of Habsburg dynasty. You get the audio guides and while touring you get to see 22 lavishly decorated rooms. Access to Schonbrunn gardens is free and you can walk up till Gloriette to witness some amazing views of gardens and palace. There is Tiergarten Zoo in the complex of Palace which is world’s oldest running zoo but we skipped it! Museum of Carriages or Wagenburg is also located in palace grounds. We came to know about this later so couldn’t check this out. Atleast 6 hours are required to cover everything this place has to offer!
Day 7:We reached Vienna at 10 AM from Salzburg. We booked train tickets 2 months before on OBB app. From railway station, we hired Uber taxi till Hotel Beethoven, our accommodation in Vienna. This hotel is located very near to Naschmarkt. Apart from this, we found nothing good about this hotel. Small rooms, bland food and above all bad customer service! Receptionists were totally incompetent in providing information to tourists. But good thing was that they have luggage storage facility. Since our check-in time was 2 PM and we had reached earlier, so we logged our luggage into their storage, freshened up in their guest washrooms and left for sight-seeing.We decided to have our breakfast at Naschmarkt. But unfortunately, none of the few restaurants here had any vegetarian dish! So, we decided to have fresh fruits and other produces which this market is actually famous for and we did not regret our decision at all!
It was time to say goodbye to Salzburg and travel to most significant Austrian city, Vienna. Had booked our train tickets in advance through OBB app.Recommendations:1. Dedicate atleast entire 2 days to Salzburg alone to cover major attractions of the city peacefully, enjoy some music concert and soak in the beauty of this small European alpine town. Similarly, 1 full day is required to enjoy Hallstatt, summer luge rides and Ice caves.2. If possible and suits your budget then stay at Wolfgangsee. It is located mid-way from both Salzburg and Hallsttat. This place is absolutely scenic and worth staying at.3. Do not forget to stroll around padlock (lovelock) bridge of Salzburg in evening and night. Everything is lit up and you will witness some enthralling views of river, fortress, old town, greenery and mountains in background!4. Tyrolean Folk performance with the Gundolf Family is must-do in Innsbruck. It happens only on specific days and in evenings. You can book them in advance at Viator. We couldn’t do it since we were on a day trip to Innsbruck and had a train to catch in evening.5. If going to Salzburg and Innsbruck both, then shop for souvenirs at latter since it will be cheaper with more variety6. Must try delicacies - Schnapps, Schnitzel and strudel
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'sand 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.
From elegant architecture to aromatic cafes, from magnificent palaces to dramatic operas, the city of Vienna portrays royal connection in it's every aspect. 'Wien' as they call in German is a hometown to famous Mozart and Beethoven.Though my short stint with the city was not enough to explore the musically and artistically pleasing capital of Austria, I really wanted to make best of it to see as much as I could.In Vienna, I ditched the expensive hotel rooms and choose to stay at Airbnb home-stays. It was homely, cozy and really cheap. Located in the heart of the city here's a glance of my room.
1. Touchdown Vienna and begins the committed platonic relationship with 'Tourist Information Desk'. Our first encounter, a redhead lady (just her hair were read, keep that urban dictionary aside, please) at the desk. While struggling to understand the streets and the sub streets and the sub sub streets, I guess the travel desk lady understood our bewilderment and said, 'It's 5.50 pm, if you can wait for anothet 10 minutes, I will drop you to your accommodation. It's opposite the street where I live'. And the first whiff of the beautiful Veinna air.But wait a minute. We didn't know that 'I will drop you' means 'I will walk you'. This city walks and walks with stride of an athlete. Not surprised by the 'thigh gap' being a commoner's commodity here. So the redhead not only helped us with carrying the luggage (3 women. Don't expect us to travel light) but helped us give an insider's overview of Vienna. We were amazed at the humility and camaraderie of this woman whose name also we didn't know. This was our introduction to the level of trust for a stranger that the Europe exhibits.2. Are you from India?- Yes!Ah! Na'A'maste!Our three days in Vienna echoed with the above. It was amusing to see how people knew about nationalities and the local pleasantries of various nations. It somehow boosts your confidence of 'being known' and automatically creates a sense of belongingness. When after 'Na'A' maste' with a few too many, I asked a gentleman that how does he have so much knowledge about different nations of the world, their demography and their local pleasantries, he said:'It's the fear of Unknown that makes us susceptible to people around. Once we read, understand others, we know that it's just the geography which aparts us. In today's time and age, it's a must to read about /to know about different cultures, practices and traditions of the various nations. It's not the treaties that maketh a better world, it's the heart'.
107 Kms from Katowice
To visit a country that rose from the ashes of World War II in Krakow...
To visit a country that rose from the ashes of World War II in Krakow
This post is one of the most difficult post I ever had to write because I don’t know If I can do justice to the place, the suffering, the inhuman activities which took place in Auschwitz.Let me tell you something which I'm very embarrassed about. I didn’t know about concentration camps until I was 20 and visited Dachau Concentration Camp in Munich. I knew who Hitler was but I had no clue what he did and how he did those things. I felt sorry for myself and for everyone else who didn’t know about the Holocaust. This part of history should never be forgotten, because those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it.
Krakow was such an amazing historical city and I felt so alive having gone there by myself and seeing all of these incredible sights and making new friends. It was the first time I opened up on my travels and I was kicking myself that I hadn't done it earlier.I discovered I shouldn't be so shy and to open up more to strangers, because other people can really make your trip so much more special. Now it's what I love the most about travelling and thinking back to that particular day always gets me so pumped and energised for new adventures ahead.
Krakow is interesting. Walk down the street, and barely anyone is smiling. It’s a little bit depressing (maybe the weather is partly to blame). But then, start talking to someone, and they’re the nicest person ever. It’s funny to me that a person can be so happy, yet 5 minutes before that, they were walking around without any expression at all on their face.
313 Kms from Katowice
I found Warsaw to be a surprisingly multilingual, multicultural place. I was walking just outside the Old Town on my fir...
I found Warsaw to be a surprisingly multilingual, multicultural place. I was walking just outside the Old Town on my first day there and noticed a couple walking parallel to me, speaking English. “I came to Warsaw first when I was fifteen,” The woman says. Her accent was thick, something European that I couldn’t quite pinpoint. “I fell in love with it. Warsaw has something magical.” Her companion, a male figure at whom I didn’t look to closely, didn’t say much in reply. He listened, asking small questions relating to the where’s and when’s of her life in the city. I stayed walking beside them as close as I could for as long as I could before the flow of the sidewalk had its way with us, and pulled us apart.Of my two flat mates during my 5-day stay in Warsaw, I connected most closely with Thea, a Berliner with a Polish family. She was trilingual, with a notably Americanized English that nearly fooled me were it not for the odd word or two. She’d been in Warsaw only two weeks and was due to stay two more months as an intern in an art gallery focusing on contemporary work. She said that the gallery is one of the most influential in Warsaw today, though did not give the reason why. She complained that her Polish coworkers were cold towards her, that they said her Polish is like an elderly woman’s—perhaps the result of her learning the language within a family context, around grandparents, speaking of food, of god, and so on—and was difficult to connect with. Thea felt discriminated against for reasons that were unclear to her. She was a twenty-six-year-old German woman in Poland, fearful that history might have been overriding her individuality. She wanted nothing more than to make friends in a country she’d visited over twenty times, but hasn't yet established herself within on a professional level. “Poland is foreign to me in this way, I’ve never used my Polish to speak professionally. It feels strange.”Thea spent two years as an adolescent as an exchange student in rural Michigan. This explained her impeccable English. She loved her time there, she told me, commenting on the warmth of her host family and the unique sisterly connection she had with her host mother, a woman only ten years older than she. She told me that in the US, she felt the sense that anything was possible. That one's passions were visions of possible realities meant to be followed rather than pipe dreams. And now, watching the news spit out one horrifying image after another, plump white and angry men waving confederate flags, her emotions towards the US have shifted. “What is happening?” she lamented, her demeanor that of a heartbroken lover after realizing a sweetheart is not who they thought them to be.“I went back a few years ago to visit my host parents, in 2013,” she said. “By then it was clear that they were experiencing serious marriage problems. The husband, he's extremely intelligent. He's a music teacher at the school, but he's so smart. Probably too smart for her. He’s someone I could imagine getting a PhD and teaching in a university somewhere. The wife, she's wonderful, she has a heart of gold, but she's a really simple woman. She's happy with routine and never really traveling and doing the Midwestern thing. I was the glue to their relationship at the time, and sensed no tension when I was living with them. But when I returned recently, it was obvious. He had been applying to jobs, bigger jobs, in bigger cities around the country. He'd been offered a few, too, but always turned them down. Because of his wife. He was able to go places, and she wasn't, or didn't want to. So they're not intellectual equals. Never were.”We were in a bar at the time, one on the Praga side of Warsaw—a part previously known for its danger, but now known to be up-and-coming, especially in terms of nightlife, Thea explained. I looked around at the carpeted floors, the burgundy wall paint, the office-like table lamps and thought for a moment that I had maybe dreamed of this place once before. I then told her that I believe love that lasts must have a level of thought to it, that it must go beyond flesh, that it must be able to exist within a conversation that is about something.***Any city is difficult, if not impossible, to summarize in only a few days. As a visitor, you get a temporary view into what could signify life in that place, but that view is not necessarily representative of it. This becomes tricky for anyone writing with the goal of accurately capturing a place; our original task is therefore inherently impossible from the start, and we are left to reinterpret the truth of our experience in a place for what it is: our own experience in a place to which we don't belong.My experience in Warsaw was punctuated by a blistering head cold that came over me after my first night. I arrived in the afternoon, dragging a carry-on suitcase over cobbled sidewalks in a temperature you can simultaneously sweat and shiver in. Due to the head cold, my plans to explore beyond the city were sidelined and I kept close to my flat at all times. Still, what I discovered was a city of parks. Warsaw takes its green space seriously, taking care to maintain their appearance and accessibility. Warsaw's parks were labyrinths of walkways and curated meadows, cloth folding chairs, and a permeating sense of tranquility more like the sun-drunkenness of warm cities such as Los Angeles or Valencia, Spain than what one would think to be part of Poland. Without plans and aware of my increasing malaise, I simply walked along the many narrow stretches of park walkways. Thick vegetation added a level of privacy to the space, but didn't do much to conceal a small boy, shorts by his ankles, holding his shirt to his chest and pissing in to the brush behind a bench on which his mother sat. A graffiti stamp on the ground read sex, gluten, and rock and roll.I asked Thea about Auschwitz while walking home after an evening yoga class she'd brought me to. She recalled her experience there two years ago. “It’s touristy,” she explained. “But I didn’t expect it to affect me so deeply. My professor, who I'd gone with, was reduced to tears. That was really something for me to see. And there’s a village there too, still there, with inhabitants, regular people just trying to live their lives. But I wonder about the associations they have living there, especially the older generation, if they ever wake up with a stench in their mind. You know Auschwitz, you see the barracks, the walls, the wires, the rooms. There is really nothing there, but the emptiness gives way for the images and you see what you came to see in this sense.”I wondered about the potential exploitation of the place versus the potential benefit that its business brings in. “It’s touristy,” she says again. “Profits are derived from people’s pain, past and present. There's nothing ethical about that.”Though I felt guilty not visiting Auschwitz during my stay in Poland, my inclination was to rationalize my failure to get there. Perhaps staying in Warsaw was better than visiting Auschwitz after all, I attempted, meagerly justifying the value of the outsider’s outsider perspective, then justifying the toxicity of capitalized pain. Eventually, I began to suspect that this mode of thinking—the incessant justifying and rationalizing of events both within and beyond our control—might be more American that I had previously thought. "I took a music class in Michigan,” Thea told me before the night ended, a navy sky and gray, soviet-style apartments hanging over us as we neared our temporary home. “I was terrible at clarinet. Couldn't hold a tune. One day, I had to perform in class. It went horribly, but afterwards my teacher told me to try again. 'Good try' were her exact words, even though I’d butchered the performance. This kind of compliment was totally new to me. In Germany if you fail it's like…well, you should have done something different! We don't have an equivalent of 'good try' in Germany. It just doesn't exist. We don't really make failure something it isn't."***My other flat mate, Julia, from a small town outside of São Paulo, left Brazil for the United States for school, got married to her best friend’s boyfriend in an attempt to secure a visa, but ultimately failed to secure that visa on account of difficulties demonstrating her marriage's legitimacy. She returned to Brazil, defeated, and only recently decided to move to Poland, where she was proud to tell me that she was safe from deportation as the holder of an Italian passport.“I don’t like it there, in Brazil. It’s violent, not safe, I don’t like the culture. There are stories. This one guy was watching porn and saw a girl with the same tattoo as his girlfriend, woke her up and beat her. Another story is of a girl who wanted to break up with her boyfriend and he wasn’t having any of it, so he chopped off her arms and legs with a machete. These things happen all the time.”I then asked her what’s good about Brazil.“The people are nice,” she said. They’re really warm. The food is good. And if you like the music, which I don’t, but if you do, that’s great, because it’s good. So Poland. It's different, but I’ve never before had as much luck dating as I’ve had here. In the US, there were a lot of man children. Thirty-somethings afraid of getting attached and I was like, it’s okay to get attached. It happens.”I was then hit with a pain of recognition, recalling my own terrible experience with a man child.“But I’ve been stood up, like a lot," she continued. I didn’t lose my virginity until I was twenty-six. I just wanted something more meaningful, more intimate.”I finished my dinner and began to gather my things for a shower. By then, Julie was just starting to prepare her meal: a hot dog, peeled carrot, and a frozen cube of chopped spinach cooked in butter and pink yogurt."If you take a shower, be sure to spread the curtain all the way to the end of the wall," Julie told me. "Wet it if you have to, wet the curtain, to create a kind of seal. Water will leak otherwise. You might slip on the mess."
Warsaw is a city of rebirth. It's a city born out of the ashes of a terrible war and has established itself as a modern wonder. It's different from a usual European city, as it is not around a city square but instead, spread in a vertical manner, full of Gothic, communist and modern architecture. It's a city that survived World War II and emerged as a fascinating mix of cultures and landmarks.Cheapest Month To Fly: October 2017 from New DelhiMust See: The Old Town, Park Łazienkowski, The Royal Route (from Old Town to Wilanów Palace), Warsaw Ghetto, Warsaw Uprising Museum.Must Eat: Polish Highlander cheese, Pierogi, Paczki Pastries, cabbage rolls and potato dumplings.Must Do: Hang out at Plac Zbawiciela (Savior Square), Relax at the Zegrze Lake, Visit the Adam Mickiewicz Museum Of Literature, Sit by Sigismund’s Column, Go to the Museum Of Caricature And Cartoon Art and Visit the Grand Theatre.Approximate Cost for a day: Attractions – Rs. 550; Food – Rs. 1050; Inter-city travel via public transport – Rs. 350; Accommodation – Average cost for 1 night – Rs. 2500 on double occupancy.
Warsaw, Poland Warsaw was completely bombed and destroyed during World War II. On Black Monday(September 25, 1939), 500 tons of high explosive bombs and 72 tons of incendiary bombs were dropped, and there was heavy artillery shelling. Jews were rounded up and forced into a ghetto. Overall, Warsaw suffered approximately 25,800 civilian deaths. The Warsaw of today is an exact restoration of what it was before the War.
317 Kms from Katowice
Bratislava is the capital of Slovakia and the largest city of the same. It was once part of the glorious Hungarian Empir...
Bratislava is the capital of Slovakia and the largest city of the same. It was once part of the glorious Hungarian Empire, and it has a very interesting history inspired by the German, Hungarian, Austrian, Czech, and Serbian cultures.It is located both on the bank of the River Danube, and the River Morava on the left side. Interestingly, it was not called ‘Bratislava’ until 1919. It used to be called ‘Pressburg’ due to the high erstwhile German population here.I spent my Sunday here, and here is a list of ‘Must go’ places in Bratislava.Tea store in an underground bomb shelter: There is a beautiful little tea store gorgeously decorated which used to be an underground bomb shelter during the war. They serve several kinds of tea, and it’s one of the few (or maybe only) place in Bratislava that serves you amazing Indian Masala Chai. For tea addicts, you can’t miss this place!2. Ice cream in black cones: Now for those who are ‘meh’ about ice cream, please skip this point. However, for those who aren’t, this is a major fun activity to do in the city square. You get ice cream in these beautifully crafted black cones! Just like this.3. The Bratislava castle: If castles are your thing, then you should not miss this. The castle is nestled on a hill overlooking the Danube river. It makes for a really picturesque location.Credit: Kongres magazine4. Hlavne Namestie: This is the city square in Bratislava. It has a very vintage old-world vibe coupled with several modern restaurants, and shops. So if you want your fix of old town mixed with contemporary, then this is your place to be!You can take the old city tour in a toy train from just outside the French embassy, and enjoy beautiful sights of the city like the hall where Mozart gave his only performance in Slovakia, the Roland fountain and the old town hall.5. The cumil or ‘Man at work’: This is the rarest statue that I have ever seen. Bratislava is famous for this statue of a man who is peeping out of a manhole to stare at the people walking on the street. You almost miss it until you see a swarm of people around this statue taking pictures.The old tour also shows you this interesting landmark, towards which you can proceed once the tour is done.Credit : Trip advisor
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 .
The first time I went to Bratislava, I didn’t have high expectations. After four days spent in this city - I had to admit - I was so pleasantly surprised that I couldn’t believe it! Bratislava is a gorgeous city, small and quiet but, at the same time, colorful and full of surprises. It has a very nice Old Town and a lot of historical places to visit, but also everything you need for your social activities. Well, you will see with your own eyes! :) Anyway, during your first visit to Bratislava there are 5 things to do that, in my opinion, will let your stay be more interesting.A visit to the Blue Church This teeny-tiny church is one of the most impressive things you will see in Bratislava. Officially named St. Elizabeth Church, like from a fairy tale it is completely blue: the facade, the mosaics, the majolicas, the interior, even the roof is tiled with blue-glazed ceramics. The church is an art nouveau building, built in the early 20th century, and it’s situated in a very nice area, in the eastern part of the Old Town of Bratislava. You absolutely have to visit the Blue Church, and don’t forget your camera: you will need it! :)
Bratislava is simple old world charm. I can't stress how friendly and helpful the people are. They are simply waiting for you to ask them directions! While entering the city, the Brastislava Hrad (castle) is an imposing sight and the Old Town is enchanting. When backpacking in Europe alone, chuck other cities to definitely stop by Bratislava as it will welcome you with open arms.Getting around in BratislavaWalking around the Old Town is your best option. A good walk will get you all around the historic centre, main square and by lanes that are open for exploration. To get around the city, buses are the best bet. Tickets are available at magazine shops or most bus stops have a ticketing machine. Again, don't forget to punch in your ticket. While Slovakia uses the euro, it's much cheaper than other neighbouring countries.Accommodation in BratislavaThere are tons of good hostels near the Old Town and the Castle. A personal recommendation would be to stay in the hostels to get a feel of the pulse of the city. Other than that, Airbnbs and hotels are the usual options. Just remember that there are plenty of walks uphill and downhill so it will be easier on you if you're a bit fit.What to eat in BratislavaWhile most dishes have meat, carbs like potatoes, bread and noodles are staples. Dairy products are also very popular. When backpacking in Europe alone and you find yourself in the Slovakian capital, try the Bryndzové Halušky or potato dumplings that are similar to gnocchi served with sheep’s milk cheese. The goulash is also very popular which is a Hungarian specialty.
149 Kms from Katowice
Two hours (100 kms) south of Krakow, Zakopane is a popular resort town with the Poles, both in summer and winter. Set in...
Two hours (100 kms) south of Krakow, Zakopane is a popular resort town with the Poles, both in summer and winter. Set in the foothills of the Tatra Mountains, the town is dotted with oldworld wooden chalets topped by high, sloping slate grey roofs. Wander down Krupówki Street and the Gubałówka Market to shop for local souvenirs like wooden handicrafts and high quality leather products.Taste the typical Zakopane cheese, oscypek, a salty, smoked sheep’s milk cheese often served grilled with a dab of cranberry marmalade. Take the cable car up Kasprowy Wierch for a view of the mountains that separate Poland from Slovakia. Advanced skiers can take to two skiing and snowboarding pistes here or try the horse-drawn sleigh ride in the Tatra National Park to admire the winter landscape while ensconced under warm sheepskin.The best place to sample the local highlander cuisine is the rustic restaurant Bakowo Zohylina Wyźnio which hosts lively folk music and dance performances.
Next, I was in Zakopane, Poland, in the Tatra Mountains, near the border with Slovakia. I loved it there, but unfortunately, it’s still raining quite a bit. It was absolutely beautiful, and pretty cheap too. Sure it was offcseason, but even in the off season in a similar town back home (say, Breckenridge), a hotel room hasn’t been had for $13 since 1947. And then there’s the meals…amazingly delicious, and huge meals, all at TGI Friday’s prices…and good beer for cheap too! And after a day of hiking in the cold rain, nothing beats a nice porter, with a garnish that’ll make you feel like you’re on the beach.