Wow, Nomadic Matt is giving away a 12 day trip to Europe along with Hostelworld and Vayama! What an incredible prize that anyone would be very lucky to win, which of course, I hope to be me! This 12 Day European Giveaway would become my “Castles, Cemeteries and Cuisine Tour!”
I love castles and seriously can’t get enough of them. Visiting a place that takes me back in time to when things were so different and to see how people lived is surreal. Cemeteries aren’t top on most people’s sightseeing list, but they are on mine. I love looking at and photographing old headstones, plus I like knowing that I was so close to someone who was such an important part of history or culture. Cuisine, what can I say? I enjoy eating great meals and trying new things. Winning this trip would let me travel to a different time, experience new cultures and enjoy all the food, people and places along the way. What do I want to see? Here is my itinerary if I were able to win this trip…
Day 1 – Arrive in Prague!!!
Land in Prague late morning, just in time to take the train to the old town area and have lunch at U Ceskych Panu Medieval Restaurant. It might be a bit touristy, but it looks fun. The Czech Nobles Plate looks good for a starter followed by one of their Czech specialties, the venison goulash washed down with a Czech red wine.
Time to step outside and see some sites! Astronomical Clock, the Charles Bridge (touching the St. John of Nepomuk plaque for luck), Lesser Charles Bridge Tower, Old Town Bridge Tower and the Dancing House are all must sees. Walk by the John Lennon Wall and put my lock on the Love Locks and throw the key in the river, step inside Church of Our Lady Victorius and maybe find something sweet at Bakeshop Praha. The Old Jewish Cemetery is where I would like to spend some time taking pictures and looking at headstones. After resting at the hostel for a bit, I can taste some sausages at a street cafe and walk around soaking up the Prague atmosphere.
Day 2 – Prague Castle
Spend the day touring Prague Castle, St. George’s Basilica, St. Vitus Cathedral and the Czech Crown Jewels, walking through Golden Lane along the way there. Enjoy the view of Prague and a delicious meal at Lobkowicz Palace Café.
Take the train out to Karlštejn Castle and spend the afternoon touring the castle and taking pictures. Tour Prague on a two hour boat tour, then work my way up to Petrin Hill and observation tower so I can be there to watch the sunset and see the city come to life at night.
Day 3 – Auschwitz
The whole day will be spent getting to and from Auschwitz and touring the concentration camp.
Day 4 – Prague to Vienna
Relaxing morning checking out whatever I have time for before my train ride to Vienna. Send some postcards from the main post office so I can see the inside, it looks gorgeous. Have breakfast at Coda Restaurant and make a trip through the National Museum.
Enjoy my train ride to Vienna, probably staring out of the window the whole time. Upon arrival in Vienna, check out St. Charles Church, St. Stephen’s Cathedral, Hofburg Complex, then have a snack at Café Sacher. Walk through Freud Park and visit the Freud Museum. Enjoy a nice relaxing dinner with dessert at Café Central. Check into the hostel and then enjoy the first night in Vienna wandering around, enjoying the beauty and taking pictures.
Day 5 – Explore Vienna
Try the Café Landtmann for breakfast and coffee, and buy a Vienna City Tours hop on hop off bus tour. This is a good way to get an informative tour of the city with the flexibility to get off when you want to see something. I want to stroll through Central Cemetery where Beethoven, Franz Schubert, Johann Strauss I and II and some Austrian Presidents are buried. Then the Cemetery of St. Marx where Mozart is buried, even though he may not be where his memorial is. One more cemetery for the day, the Cemetery of the Nameless, then get something to eat at the Naschmarkt.
Day 6 – Day trip to Bratislava, Slovakia
Guided tour to see Bratislava Castle (if renovations are completed by then) and Grassalkovich Palace, Michael’s Gate, then returning on a catamaran on the Danube River!
Day 7 – Vienna tourist day and Vienna Boys Choir in the evening
See the animals at the Schönbrunn Zoo, and maybe take a ride on the giant Ferris wheel. I’m afraid of heights and Ferris wheels creep me out. The word giant in the name doesn’t help either, but the enclosed carts on the wheel look much nicer than the I’m falling face first towards Earth at an extremely slow pace open containers on most Ferris wheels!
Find lunch somewhere, anywhere if I survive the wheel. Spend the afternoon walking around enjoying the city. Going to Vienna without seeing the Vienna Boys Choir would be like going to Munich during Ocktoberfest and not drinking any beer! (Oh yes, that was me!) So I will have dinner and then see the Vienna Boys Choir in the evening.
Day 8 – Vienna to Budapest
Open morning in Vienna to catch any sites I missed or just enjoy a relaxing morning in the city. Catch the train to Budapest. Head to City Park and explore Vajdahunyad Castle, Hero’s Square, the Budapest Zoo and Botanical Garden. Find a good meal at Kisharang Etkezde, walk across the Chain Bridge and tour Matthias Church and museum, then Fisherman’s Bastion.
Day 9 – Budapest
Farkasréti Cemetery in the morning, then Buda Castle. After lunch at Gerbeaud Pub, spend the afternoon relaxing at the Széchenyi Bath and Spa.
Day 10 – Day trip to Huneoara Castle
I will finally make it to Transylvania in Romania! I’ve enjoyed Vampire wine from Transylvania, so now it’s time to get there and see the mountains and towns along the way. This day tour will be spent touring Huneoara Castle where Vlad the Impaler (Dracula) was imprisoned for seven years.
Day 11 – Budapest
Parliament and the Hungarian Jewish WWII Memorial. Kozma Cemetery and the New Public Cemetery after lunch. Go up to Gellert Hill and stay after sunset for the night view and hopefully some good photography of the city.
Day 12 – Half tourist day then fly home
Have a leisurely morning enjoying breakfast and reflecting on all of the wonderful things I’ve seen on this trip. Walk around town and then work my way to the airport.
Twelve days, six countries, eight castles, seven cemeteries and a lot of great food along the way. There is a lot packed into this itinerary, and if you are curious to see how closely I can stick to this, select me for your European giveaway!
October 1st Update (Winner announcement day!):
Well, I didn’t win the contest. 🙁 It’s probably a good thing I didn’t…looking at the itinerary, it would’ve cost a fortune! Ha ha ha. Sad but true. Matt is all about saving money and traveling on a budget, and here I am trying to cram everything into one trip. I think I could’ve kept up with the schedule though since I am kind of a whirlwind traveler, unless there were any major problems that would interrupt it. But after scouring the internet and seeing the competition, Matt chose exactly who I would have too. Kay Rodriguez won, she did a blog AND a really cute video (I think the video is what clinched it since that’s what he put on his site). She’s an ambitious and creative student from Houston and I hope she has a great time in Europe, and I will be waiting to see her videos, blog posts and photos from her trip. Congrats Kay, you deserved it!!! Here is Matt’s link to the contest announcement…
Here is the link to Kay’s original blog post – contest entry!