Central Europe. Ahhhh, how I have missed thee. How I have missed your sexy accents, magnificent palaces, and blurry absinthe filled nights.

If you’re traveling through Europe and you’re so over paris/london/barcelona/florence, head on east for some diversity and craziness. Most travelers that decide to make the quick trek to central europe will find that there are 3 cities worth visiting in the span of 7-8 days. All 3 cities are close enough to each other and a popular enough route that you can take the eurorail for 4-5 hours between each city and arrive without any travel agitation. Due to their location, you should visit the following cities in order or reverse order.

1. Budapest – Budapest was a fantastic city. I really enjoyed taking the walking tour through the city and learning about Austrian-Hungarian history. Budapest is also home to several famous thermal bath houses, which cannot be missed. A couple famous ones worth checking out are Gellert and Szechenyi. They have indoor, outdoor, single sex, co-ed and different temperature pools/baths. All of the baths are filled with thermal water which is good for your bones and joints so you’ll see many old fogies lounging in there all day long. One last thing to do in Budapest is to take an evening boat ride on the Danube. All of the major buildings along the river will light up at night, which makes for a beautiful, romantic cruise sipping on champagne and listening to mozart.

pictures: 1. Gellert outside pool 2. outside another bath house 3. the Danube 4. the famous Chain Bridge

2. Vienna – Vienna is the most gorgeous and most grand city of the three. Vienna is also home to the most magnificent cathedrals, palaces, opera house and chocolate cakes (visit Demel). Your visit to the different palaces will make you bitter at your mom for having no royalty roots. Be sure to visit the Schönbrunn Palace to learn about the Habsburg monarchary as well as their beautiful garden with a fun maze to walk through. Finally, be sure to visit St. Stephen’s Cathedral, Austria’s most eminent gothic edifice.

pictures: 1. opera house 2. st stephen’s cathedral 3. gardens of Schönbrunn Palace 4. maze in the gardens of Schönbrunn Palace

3. Prague – The most fun and craziest city of the three. Prague is really famous for 3 things – the Charles Bridge, the Prague Orloj (Astronomical clock) and debaucherous nights (after heavy Absinthe consummation). The city is a great place to walk around in, but be sure to have footwear that is forgiving to cobblestoned streets. I also discovered one of my favorite hotels in the world in Prague. If you’re looking for a great deal on a boutique luxury hotel in an awesome location, stay at the Hotel Savic (http://www.hotelsprague.cz/). I shall say no more. Just be sure pick me up another bottle of Absinthe before you leave 🙂

pictures: 1. view from the Charles Bridge 2. Orloj – be there at the top of every hour and watch it go!

For more pictures, see: http://www.flickr.com/photos/wearie/sets/72157601932866430/

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