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Thoughts on my Central Europe Trip

Before I get too far into Europe, I figure I should go back and do a quick review of my time in the Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia and Slovenia. It was only a quick trip of 10 days, but I was able to get a taste of the region and see some of the things which I’ve wanted to see. Here are some of my thoughts from the trip:

Most Pleasant Surprise

River in Ljubljana Ljubljana, Slovenia. I had no idea was I was in store for when I visited Ljubljana. When I arrived I couldn’t even pronounce it and I didn’t know much about it other than it was formerly in Yugoslavia. It is a charming city, very walkable, affordable by European standards and is one of the smallest capitol cities in Europe. The only downside to the city is that it has a pretty bad graffiti problem. I’m surprised that Ljubljana doesn’t get more of the backpacker crowd considering how cheap it is and how close it is to Vienna and Venice.

River in Cesky KrumlovCesky Krumlov My friend Jason told me about Cesky Krumlov so I changed my route to Vienna to go through here rather than through Brno. It was a good decision. I knew next to nothing about this town before I arrived and it turned out to be one of the high points of the trip. Cesky Krumlov is one of the most picturesque villages I’ve ever visited. The castle and walled town is straight out of central casting. It is a place I high recommend to anyone who is going to visit the Czech Republic.

Biggest Disappointment

Fountain in Vienna, AustriaVienna, Austria. Maybe it was because I was there over the Easter weekend, but I felt that Vienna was really…..boring. The blocks of buildings seemed extremely uniform. Beyond St. Stephen’s Cathedral, there didn’t seem to be as much historic as I found in other European capitols. I’d certainly be willing to go back and give it another shot, but my first experience wasn’t much.

Bratislava, Slovakia I was only in Bratislava for one day and it was raining the whole time, so I’m not going to rip on it too much . That being said, what I saw while I was there wasn’t anything special. From the research I’ve done I think there are a lot of great things to see in Slovakia, I’m just not sure they are in Bratislava.

Biggest Difficulty

Slavic Languages Czech, Slovakian and Slovenian use a western alphabet, but that is about the only thing I can figure out about their languages. I can usually muddle my way around in French, Italian, Spanish or German speaking cities, but with Slavic languages I have nothing to fall back on. When I go to countries that use the Cyrillic alphabet, it might as well be Chinese for me.

Where I Most Want to Return

Charles Bridge, Prague, Czech RepublicPrague, Czech Republic There is a lot to see in Prague and there was no way I could see it all in three days. It really is a rich cultural center and is deserving of much of the attention it gets. I hope to be back in Prague in November for the TBEX Europe conference. Now having been there I hope to be able to better plan some of my photos and the things I wish to visit.

My trip through Central Europe gave me a good tase of the region. I’m looking forward to going back exploring more of the region outside of the capitol cities.

  • 14 Comments... What's your take?

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Comments

  1. Thanks for all the tips! I’ll be moving to Kosovo in August to teach and travel and will definitely take your travels into consideration as I create my bucket list!

  2. Sebastian says:

    I can understand that you want to return to Prague. It is a great city and there is a lot to see.
    I am very curious what Ljubljana is like and your post made me even more curious. Me and a friend might go there this summer.

  3. Victoria says:

    I went to Ljubljana a couple of weeks ago…when I first arrived on the train from Salzburg it didn’t look up to much, especially when I got to the Hostel Celica and there was barbed wire and graffiti everywhere. But actually thought the city centre was quite pretty and really enjoyed having coffee and lunches by the river. The Skeleton Bar is worth a visit too.

  4. Travelscopia says:

    I haven’t been to any of the places except for prague, it was undoubtedly one of the most beautiful places i have ever seen/been to…. full of character and life. I recommend everyone to visit that place once in a lifetime. You won’t regret.

  5. I’d have to say I agree about Vienna, it was very pretty, but seemed sterile to me, not too much of a personality like a lot of other cities. I keep hearing great things about Ljubljana, I really want to get over to Slovenia in the next year or so.

  6. I really like Vienna. It does take some time to let the history soak in, though. Perhaps you’d enjoy visiting during advent; with all the colourful, wonderful Christmas markets.

    I think Bratislava is a sweet little city as well, with very friendly locals. In many ways, it’s very similar to what Prague was years ago – before it was invaded by visitors.

  7. Sophie says:

    Looks like I have to add Ljubljana in my travel list, looks gorgeous.

  8. Jemy Bali says:

    An interesting experience .. As an Asian I was one of people who dream to be able to visit Europe .. Hopefully someday I can visit Europe

  9. Kuei-Ti Lu says:

    The photos of Ljubljana, Slovenia and Cesky Krumlov did display their beauty! The buildings as well as the scenery are worth viewing.

    Although you can not master all languages, you can skim the Wikipedia to learn a little bit about some of the languages’ characteristics, which often helps enrich your cultural understanding and increase fun during travel (while sometimes not knowing a language also creates fun).

  10. Erin says:

    I love Cesky Krumlov! We visited 11 years ago – glad to know it’s still worth visiting. I haven’t made it to Slovenia but keep hearing good things about it.

  11. Ciara says:

    Routes similar to yours are quite popular with European students for summer, I did a similar trip 2 years ago, if you go back to Slovenia make sure not to miss lake Bled and lake Bohing!

    Also Krakow is very similar to Prague in terms of beauty but much cheaper and much nicer in my opinion!

  12. I agree about Vienna too. But Vienna by night is fun to visit. Pretty much alive.

  13. Erik says:

    So glad someone finally agrees with me about Vienna. I’ve been there twice and was bored. I like Innsbruck and especially Salzburg so much more.
    I want to visit Ljubljana really bad, I’ve never heard anyone say they didn’t enjoy their time there.
    I haven’t heard good things about Bratislava, but Eastern Slovakia (and Southern Poland) are really beautiful.

  14. Your Messagok so I liked Vienna BUT I KNOW EXACTLY what you’re talking about! I felt the history (and apparently there is so much of it) was substantially lacking compared to other European cities. I liked Vienna, but I didn’t LOVE it and I wasn’t really sure why. I felt like it didn’t take me too much time to see all of Vienna. Albeit, the transportation system is excellent! I do wish I had seen an opera like I planned, or attended a ballroom dance — mayb that would’ve made all the difference. =O) I did enjoy pastry in vienna tho.
    p.s. I too LOVE Cesky Krumlov!e

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About Gary Arndt

My name is Gary Arndt. In March 2007 I set out to travel around the world...
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