Travel slowly, staying in vacation rentals (villas, farms, cottages, apartments)
Report 1948: Treasures of the Balkans and Transylvania
By e3brown from Colorado, Summer 2011
Trip Description: In August 2011, two gentleman spend almost weeks on a Cosmo Tour visiting Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and Serbia.
Destinations: Countries - Other Countries
Categories: Hotels/B&Bs; Sightseeing; Package Tour; 2 People
Page 1 of 13: Background and Travel on First Day
The following are just some highlights from the trip. Normally, I travel independently, therefore , Iím certainly not an expert in this area. Also, since this trip report will be linked from several places on the web, let me emphasize that this is only about Cosmos Tour 6710. Many readers will have traveled with other companies and want to compare their experiences with mine and tout their company/experiences. Thatís fine but this is not a competition. Personally, I find that ďKing of the HillĒ mentality tiresome. This is simply one personís (66 year old retired male) experiences on one trip.
Since Cosmos is known as a ďbudgetĒ tour provider, letís go ahead and address that. At no time during the tour did I feel that the hotel, provided meals, or service was less than adequate. Sure, Iíve stayed in some nicer hotels and certainly had nicer meals; however, I have also had worse. One of the ways Cosmos kept the cost of the tour down was not to include every meal. All breakfasts were included as were some of the dinners. No lunches were provided. This arrangement worked out well for me as it left the choice/flexibility of many meals up to each traveler.
Usually, I travel alone, however a friend accompanied me on the Balkans tour. This was a real boon as it saved the $540.00 single supplement fee.
Three hours to New York, two hour layover and 7.5 hours to Budapest. Getting bags in Budapest was a very lengthy process. We were met outside customs by our Tour Director, Simona. The minibus to the hotel was scheduled to run every two hours and we had just missed one, so there was a two hour wait at the airport for the next one. We quickly found an ATM downstairs and withdrew 25,000HUF (around $130.00 each). The airport was smaller than expected since Budapest has a population of about 2 million.
After a 45 minute drive, we arrived at the hotel Mercure Budapest Duna. The hotel is centrally located and a European three star. The room was small with twin beds pushed together. We were able to separate them by about a foot. Went for a walk to explore and ended up having Gyros and beer for lunch at a cost of 900HUF ($4.81). We explored some more and went back to the hotel to rest before the 6:30 meeting where we met our fellow travelers. The meeting lasted about 45 minutes and then we went exploring again.
For dinner, I had a meat dumpling soup along with a nicely grilled ham and cheese sandwich and a beer for 1500 HUF ($8.02). By the time dinner was over, the supermarkets had closed and I ended up buying chocolate cookies at a small store for 350HUF (1.87). Total food cost for first day (including tip) was 2750 HUF ($25.87). I had budgeted $40.00 per day for lunch and dinner so I was ahead of the game.
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