A trip of a lifetime?

I've fallen in love with the GiantBomb website. From its irreverent humour to the knowledgeable and opinionated masses that fill its forums and comment threads. What really caught me off guard is the intelligence displayed in most of the off topic forums. People aren't, as they say, always douches. There's some really good stuff in there. And so, in this vein, I've decided to make a travel blog for the trip I'm taking in two weeks. I'll be posting it here as well as an (unnamed) travelblog website to not only kill some hours between cities on trains, but also to get insight, opinions and tips from people on stuff to do, what to see etc...

My wife Julie and I will be spending the better part of 15 days in Eastern Europe. I'm 32 and she's 29 and we've always been interested in that part of the world; from its history, music and culture to its incredibly complicated geography. We picked 5 cities in 5 countries. We've saved up for two years to pay for it. We're stoked as balls to finally get going.

We'll be travelling to:

  • Berlin, Germany
  • Prague, Czech Republic
  • Vienna, Austria
  • Bratislava, Slovakia
  • Budapest, Hungary

We'll be backpacking - and aside from the last two cities, we'll be staying in (admittedly) upper-class hostels. I'm all about meeting cool people so I wanted to pick the hostel route in the bigger cities but I want to avoid the 19 yr olds and their dreads. You know, It's weird being in your early 30s. You're not quite old, but you're not young anymore and you're starting to understand what you want in life. I don't want to share a bathroom. That's my thing. The thought kinda freaks me out, whereas in my late teens I couldn't give two shits about the bathroom - I'd take a leak outside in front of anybody at house parties without thinking twice. Not that I'm older, I prefer my bodily functions remain within my own site lines.

But I digress...

If you've stayed in any of these cities and recommend anything, please do. Also, what's your trip of a lifetime?

On to Blog #2....A trip of a Lifetime 2 - Hostels, Hotels and the B&B

24 Comments
25 Comments
Edited by Stepside

I've fallen in love with the GiantBomb website. From its irreverent humour to the knowledgeable and opinionated masses that fill its forums and comment threads. What really caught me off guard is the intelligence displayed in most of the off topic forums. People aren't, as they say, always douches. There's some really good stuff in there. And so, in this vein, I've decided to make a travel blog for the trip I'm taking in two weeks. I'll be posting it here as well as an (unnamed) travelblog website to not only kill some hours between cities on trains, but also to get insight, opinions and tips from people on stuff to do, what to see etc...

My wife Julie and I will be spending the better part of 15 days in Eastern Europe. I'm 32 and she's 29 and we've always been interested in that part of the world; from its history, music and culture to its incredibly complicated geography. We picked 5 cities in 5 countries. We've saved up for two years to pay for it. We're stoked as balls to finally get going.

We'll be travelling to:

  • Berlin, Germany
  • Prague, Czech Republic
  • Vienna, Austria
  • Bratislava, Slovakia
  • Budapest, Hungary

We'll be backpacking - and aside from the last two cities, we'll be staying in (admittedly) upper-class hostels. I'm all about meeting cool people so I wanted to pick the hostel route in the bigger cities but I want to avoid the 19 yr olds and their dreads. You know, It's weird being in your early 30s. You're not quite old, but you're not young anymore and you're starting to understand what you want in life. I don't want to share a bathroom. That's my thing. The thought kinda freaks me out, whereas in my late teens I couldn't give two shits about the bathroom - I'd take a leak outside in front of anybody at house parties without thinking twice. Not that I'm older, I prefer my bodily functions remain within my own site lines.

But I digress...

If you've stayed in any of these cities and recommend anything, please do. Also, what's your trip of a lifetime?

On to Blog #2....A trip of a Lifetime 2 - Hostels, Hotels and the B&B

Posted by Yanngc33

Berlin is really cool, go and visit the Bundestag (the parliament), the brandenburg door. Also, the holocaust memorial is very well done and worth a visit. There's also good night life so you should have fun

Posted by TheFreeMan
@Stepside said:
We'll be backpacking - and aside from the last two cities, we'll be staying in (admittedly) upper-class hostels.
@Stepside said:
we'll be staying in (admittedly) upper-class hostels.
@Stepside said:
hostels.                                         
oh god 
 
 

seriously though, sounds amazing. I'd love to do the same thing. I hope you have a good time, and post lots - i wanna see pictures.
Posted by the_OFFICIAL_jAPanese_teaBAG

Ive never been to any of those places but Im sure youll have so much fun! 

Posted by PeasantAbuse

That sounds like a fun trip, my sister spent three weeks in Germany this summer and she loved it.

Posted by Stepside
@TheFreeMan:  You know, I've never quite seen those movies, I hear they're gory as hell.  And yeah, I'll be posting a buttload of pics :P
Posted by Inkerman

Berlin is really nice, but admittedly I'm younger, so I went for the clubs. We did an excellent walking tour in the day however, and then another really good walking tour that night around the Cold War sites. I didn't see much in Prague, (again, mostly there for the clubs), but they have a big clock tower where they play music from in the centre of the city. The castle is also very good, but a big climb up the hill to it.

Posted by Rawrnosaurous

Hm, when I think of european countries and cities that I would like to visit (to be fair i've already been to them) those aren't generally at the top of my list. Why didn't you guys want to go for more, I guess well traveled tourist spots and instead go to the ones you have chosen? If I hadn't already been I would have thought Edinburgh, London, Paris, The Vatican, Rome, Belgium, Scotland, Ireland would have been the kind of places people would save up to go see. (again having already been to all the places I listed, I would go to the out of the way places as well)

Edited by Stepside

@Rawrnosaurous: Good points, and I totally agree. We already did that trip though :) We spent two weeks in the UK and then took the Chunnel Eurorail and spent 5 days in Paris, and then off we went to Normandy (I'm a huge WWII buff so I was like a pig in shit, my wife liked the orchards).

The history of communist rule and the fracture of all of these countries in the last century is what really interests me. The culture, the beer (and meat in tube form), the friendly people (that I've heard about anyway), the architecture and the general culture of these places is what I'm really stoked for. Especially Budapest, that'll be the best trip in the end.

Posted by Rawrnosaurous
@Stepside: Because of my upbringing I was able to go to all kinds of places that people generally can't. Being that as it may there are a few places, in Europe that I would recommend going to.
There are the major tourist spots all over europe, Loch Ness, the Vatican and what have you, If your anywhere near it I would fully recommend going to Sherwood forest once the Robin Hood festival starts. It's what you would expect more or less a big Renaissance fair, but everything is tightly focused on Robin Hood. The cliffs of Dover is outstanding especially for WW2 junkies, they have tours that go through the tunnels that were built into the cliffs. I believe Edinburgh has a great tour/haunted tour, you go around Edinburgh at night. The Vatican is something that everyone should probably go to once in their life, I'm not even religious but it was breath taking. Also don't buy food near the Vatican as they like to keep their prices high. There is a lot of stuff to go and do if you look for Castles, such as Warwick castle. I believe that was the name, or I just think thats what it is because of the dude from CSI.
Edited by ectoplasma

@Stepside: Check out the free walking tours in Berlin and Prague, they are pretty good. This one is the original idea, if I remember right: http://www.neweuropetours.eu/. I took that tour with my ex-girlfriend in Berlin, Prague and Jerusalem and it always was pretty good. I wouldnt worry about meeting annoyingly young people in the hostel. I'm 28 myself and I just got back from several weeks in hostels and there are still a couple of people around our age and not really any people you seem to refer to. Most of the people in hostels use to travel for a very long period of time and even the really young ones are really interesting to be around and talk to. I wouldn't so much check for higher price than just getting a good hostel. I usually book over hostelworld.com which is just a great resource to find hostels. Have a lot of fun with your trip!

Online
Edited by SkylarTrace

Oh wow that's nice traveling around the world it'll be quite the adventure for you two. Don't forget to take some pictures.

Posted by Vexxan

Spent a week in Prague last year, one of the best times I've ever had.

Good luck with your trip!

Edited by mnzy

Make a stop in Dresden on your way from Berlin to Prague. It's on the road and you won't regret it, ask Obama. As an American, I could imagine the bombings of this city could be interesting to you, there are many British and American tourists visiting.

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Posted by ze_ro

While in Prague you should check out Karlovy Lázně.

Posted by shinigami420

DO not go to berlin or Germany  
 
Germany is pretty much the asshole of europ along with france  

Edited by mnzy
@shinigami420 said:

DO not go to berlin or Germany   Germany is pretty much the asshole of europ along with france  

Beautiful asshole it is, then.
 
 
I just noticed I've been to all the cities you mentioned. Pretty different trip then most Americans make I would think.
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Posted by Jimbo

Have you looked into Eurail passes? I don't know how they work out for you price wise.

Posted by ZimboDK

Awesome trip you have planned. You picked some especially cool cities if you're interested in culture. I've only been to Berlin, but it was a great trip. Lots of stuff to see and plenty of clubs to go to when the day star retreats into the horizon.

Posted by Stepside

@Jimbo: Actually yeah we did, but it was about $600/each. We just purchased our tickets RailEurope.ca for each leg and it was much cheaper. Tix arrived in the mail and we're good to go.

Posted by Christoffer

@Stepside: I hope you have a great time. I live in europe and I've only been to Berlin and Prague on your list so I'm kind of envious. Prauge was one hell of an experience and is by far my favourite city in europe (and I've been around some). Though I've heard good things about Budapest. I just have to go there someday.

This is of course comming from someone who loves interesting history and good beer :)

Posted by Stepside

@Christoffer: Nice! Two of my favourite things :) Where do you live?

Posted by Christoffer

@Stepside: In the Town of Varberg in the southwest of Sweden. It's just about 2 hours north of the bridge of Öresund wich connects us to Denmark and to the continental europe. I wish I had traveled a bit more in europe since it's pretty simple and cheap for the amount of amazing experience you're getting.

Make sure to make a follow up to this blog post once your back. Would love to hear your about the trip... and of course if you find some nice beers beside the usual Starobrno and Pilsner Urquell and such :)

Posted by Stepside

@Christoffer: Haha right on, I know Varberg, believe it or not. I live in Ottawa and I don't know if you're a hockey fan or not, but Daniel Alfredsson (who plays for the NHL's Ottawa Senators) has talked about Varberg in interviews, something about a Fortress? I know he's from Göteborg - just up the road isn't it?

Posted by Christoffer

@Stepside: Haha, I'm truly impressed that you've heard of our small town. There's only about 50.000 people living here. I'm no big hockey fan but I do get into it from time to time (hard not to when you live in a hockey crazed country, right?). And of course I know of Alfredsson. He's been quite invaluable to our national team.

Yes, whe do have a huge old fortress smack dab in the town. It haven't been used in any wars though, just in some minor skirmishes. It was used as a prison most of the time. So not much history there :)