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Report 861: An Eastern Europe Sampler

By RonGom from Louisiana, Summer 2002

Trip Description: Two weeks with stops in Vienna, Austria; Ljubljana and other areas of Slovenia; Prague, Czech Republic

Destinations: Countries - Austria, Czech Republic, Slovenia

Categories: Hotels/B&Bs; Opera; Sightseeing; Independent Travel; 2 People

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Page 1 of 4: Swiss Air to Vienna

photo by author

Gardens at Schonbrunn Palace, Vienna, Austria

Although Italy has been our favorite European destination for over fifteen years, my wife and I have sometimes alternated years with other venues. In September, 2002 we took our first tour of a portion of eastern Europe with memorable results. One different aspect of this trip compared to our Italian visits is that we usually drive rental cars throughout the boot and find the roads and signage to be excellent. On this tour our destinations were farther apart and we varied our travel between rental car, train and air.

The genesis of the idea for visiting this area was an article my wife read in The New York Times. It featured the small emerging nation of Slovenia and noted that its capitol city, Ljubljana, probably had more sidewalk cafes and shoe stores per capita than any other. Iím sure the shoe store aspect was not the deciding attraction but we did make Slovenia a prime destination and tied it in with visits to two cities we had wanted to see for some time: Vienna and Prague.

I find planning our trips with the help of the internet extremely enjoyable. I can spend more time than I should visualizing every aspect of the tour, taking virtual tours of hotels, inns, villas as well as sightseeing the cities and countries on the schedule. Our itinerary included a flight from the United States to Zurich, from Zurich to Vienna with four nights there. From Vienna we took a train across the border into Slovenia for four nights in Ljubljana. We then flew to Prague for our five-day stay there. Even with all the varied means of travel, the trip went very smoothly and had a relaxed pace.

Our flight from the U. S. was our first experience with Swiss Air (the carrier subsequently had financial problems but is back up and running). Because of overbooking problems in coach, we were upgraded to business class. What a shame. Business class featured oversized, almost fully reclining seats with individual TV screens and delicious meal and snack service. It is the best sleep we have ever had on an overseas flight. We made the connection on time in Zurich and were soon on the ground in Vienna. Customsí clearance was prompt and courteous and the bus transportation from the airport brought us to a terminal two blocks from our hotel, the Park Ring. We pulled our roller boards along the pedestrian paths through beautiful Stradtpark and were at the hotel in minutes. Carol and I have not checked luggage on airlines in fifteen years. Youíll be amazed how easy it is to pack for two weeks in a 22 inch roller board. The convenience, time and anxiety saved is priceless.

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