Central Europe FAQ thread
Replies: 151 - Last Post: May 10, 2013 4:39 AM Last Post By: indeksica
May 9, 2011 2:37 PM
135Are Internet cafes safe to use for online banking and email?
There are risks you run when using a public Internet shop: having information you enter on the keyboard captured and sent to some lowlife who profits from it. Spyware can be a hazard when you use a public computer. It's a real gamble if you want to keep a password safe; identity theft is happening all the time out there in internet shops and people are falling prey to it. It's bad enough when your email or Facebook password is lifted, but what about if you want to use online banking or pay for something with a credit card?
There are several ways to minimise the risk. Taking your own computer is probably the safest - providing you don't use unsecured wifi for sensitive transactions - but not everyone wants to truck around with a laptop or even a netbook/tablet.
I've put together a bundle of portable programs to help travellers. It's completely free, many of the programs are open-source, and it comes with my own help file for guidance. You load it onto a USB flash drive and plug that into a cybercafe computer. You could download a lot of it yourself, but the time you save grabbing the bundled version leaves you longer to concentrate on planning your trip.
There are two versions: one for basic web surfing, which includes Firefox web browser, a password safe, and a secure, virtual keyboard. The full version has these, plus an instant message client and other programs to check out the computer for security risks. Each version includes a useful tool to test the presence of an Internet connection and check its speed (vital before you hit the "send message" button) on the local computer.
Because people do more than email and surf in a cybercafe, I've included some digital photo tools - an editor and viewer - in the bundle.
Read more about it here . And remember - it's FREE!
Aug 4, 2011 3:33 PM
136Hi guys I would like to suggest this route and to
recommend you the things and places I saw as interesting
and worth seeing, it also depends what are you interested in,
But I think you can find something interesting and worth
seeing in these places:
Is a must go if you are young and if you want to have
fun, and if you are close by around the time that Exit starts.
Usually it`s calmer and you can go to check out Petrovaradin.
Buses and trains to Belgrade are quite often.
Kalemegdan fort, Knez Mihajlova, Skadarlija
night life is great, just find the right place
There is a bus every day going to and from Srebrenica
BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA
Great place to stay, really welcoming, more like a guest house,
You can also go rafting to Drina, but it is like 35 KM from town centar.
This is a small town, rich whit history and nature around Perucac is great.
There are I think 2 or 3 bus lines to Sarajevo. But you can always contact
staff from the hostel, they are really pleasant and helpful.
Best tourist organisation in Sarajevo www.greenvisions.ba,
Hostel Ljubicica is also good
Buses to Mostar are fairly often,
is really nice place to visit,
I recommennd that you make a small detour to Blagaj,
you can go also rafting on Neretva,
Bus transportation to,from and around cost is easy enough in the summer.
just go and see everything :)
small Dubrovnik, I suggest a visit to town museum.
Island Sveti Stefan close to Budva, it looks really great.
has a small airport, they have daily flights to Belgrade,
I`m quite unsure about the other city`s but you can check on
But in the summer I think international flights are much more often.
I think that is the most interesting route, that I can suggest.
You can also change your route to end it in Dubrovnik
Sep 23, 2011 1:30 PM
Oct 11, 2011 4:02 PM
Jan 2, 2012 6:44 PM
139A WALK THROUGH THE HEART OF THE CESKY RAJ
Meant to post something when I got back from this trip in the summer but time got away from me. Special thanks to Wildroo, Jeroen, Jeremy, Greg28 etc who have posted encouraging Czech material here in the past...apologies in advance for the length of this post but some of the information might prove useful for other travellers in this region...
Arrived mid-July from Prague at approx 4pm in the afternoon in the pretty town of Jicin and checked out the Tourist Office in the square. Prices were a little more than I expected so I thought before I committed myself to something central I’d trek out to the Ramcajs Campsite with attached motel. Here I was offered a room at 190Kc which I decided to take due to proximity to trails to the Prachov Rocks. The motel is as ramshackle as you’ll get and new Czech-Australian owner Sheree has a job on her hands to get the place into shape. But they’re a friendly bunch and the food and drink are fine.
Struck out for the Rocks at 6pm or so that first evening along the yellow trail from the motel which should have had me there in an hour or so but it’s a confusing trail and not well defined in quite a few places so I decided to abandon after a very frustrating hour in case of insufficient time and light and also with the intention of completing a comprehensive hike through the park the following day.
The next morning the weather was dull and wet and overall forecast not good either. I lingered for an hour or so to see if it would clear up before deciding to give it a go. To further complicate matters, I got the bus and train times from Jicin to Turnov mixed up with those to Trutnov when reconnoitring for information the previous evening (not like me!) and ended up not leaving Jicin til 1.30 in the afternoon which was very late to be embarking on a hike of this length.
There’s no need to go all the way into Turnov as Turnov Mesto outside the town makes a better starting point to access the park’s red trail and save time. First landmark after only a kilometre or two is the viewing point at Hlavatice which gives a fine panorama over the rest of northern Bohemia. From here it’s not far to the ancient fortification of Valdstejn Castle. I hadn’t intended to make a stop and lose what I thought would be valuable time so early in the hike but I was glad afterwards I had as it’s an atmospheric old place in a very unlikely setting and you can see a lot in 30 minutes or so.
After this it was on to the first Rock City formation, the magnificent Hrubaskalske Skalni which are to your left and easily accessible from the trail at various intervals. It’s worth checking out the various viewing points as they all have something a little different to offer. After this spirit boosting elixir it was on to Hruba Skala itself and a brief refreshment stop at the hotel and its fine panoramic terrace.
I was just getting comfortable over a drink when the rain started coming down again at 4.40pm so it was decision time as to whether to take a train back from HS station or head on down the trail. As usual, foolishness won out and I was up and away again in 5 minutes, heading into the wooded valley that leads to Troitsky Most which was signposted for 8 kms. The rain really started belting down and made it tough going but I slogged it out and got there at 6pm exactly.
Disappointingly they were just locking up as I arrived but it was worth it to get the views across the Park and enjoy the various vistas over these magnificent and gloomy towers. Purchased some ice-cream in the inn at the bottom of the Castle and gulped when I saw the next leg to the Prachov Rocks was going to be another 13kms at 6pm in the evening.
However, the rain eased off and most of the hike from here on is through pretty villages and open countryside so a good contrast to what went before and not arduous at all. To keep morale intact I’d promised myself a beer at the Turisticka Chata in the Rock City and when I arrived there at 7.50pm and saw some other patrons sipping on theirs outside on the verandah, I felt quite elated but that was til I found out they had closed at 7pm and these were the last remaining customers.
So, after a swig of water it was on to the second rock formation of the trip and this one is quite a contrast to the first one at Hruba Skala. Effectively, arriving on the red trail from Troitsky Most deposits you on the floor of the city where the various chati and food stalls are and then you have to climb your way out of it via several hundred steps and viewing points.
Having accomplished this I made it to the village of Prachov at 9pm or so and then the remaining 7/8kms downhill back to Jicin had me back in the door of the motel at 9.50pm.
TO SUMMARISE: When I visited the Tourist Office the following day they guessed I had covered 50kms which came as a shock to me but they studied it while I was walking around town and informed me when I came back it couldn’t be less than 45kms in their estimation.
The red trail takes you through all the main highlights mentioned above and is very well marked over the entire 45-50kms. At some points in open countryside you’ll have to take an educated guess but common sense will keep you right. The entire hike took me 7 and a half hours with no real food or drink stops as time was of the essence for me due to late start so all grub was consumed on the hoof.
There are food and drink outlets at Valdstejn, Hruba Skala, Troitsky Most and Prachovskie Skalni plus other villages south of TM.
I went to Turnov from Jicin on the train and I’d say this route is the most picturesque on your way up there. Bear in mind that the train station is a little hard to find in Jicin due to new development so leave yourself some emergency time to find it.
Jicin is a very quiet town at night but there is a new Turko-German eaterie on the western side of the main square where you can get food and a beer til 1am or so.
Mar 8, 2012 6:14 PM
140BRNO - VILLA TUGENDHAT RE-OPENS
Some good news for Brno in the Czech Republic as the world renowned Villa Tugendhat - designed by the legendary Mies van der Rohe - re-opens after renovation...
Mar 13, 2012 9:48 AM
May 8, 2012 3:30 AM
142Thanks for the advice, though I have a suggestion:
Sometimes these thread dates are so old it's hard to tell whether they are maintained - for example, this one is dated 2003 and talks about protocol for entering Trans-Dniestr and provides an outdated link to the Romanian foreign office.
The two taken together suggest that the page isn't checked that often for accuracy after the initial posting. I can understand how some users - especially those with weak internet connections in dodgy cafes with little time to waste - are more likely to post a question that may or may not have been answered here than risk relying on information that appears out of date.
Perhaps some confidence could be restored if the information was checked or at least the post date amended to reflect updates?
Just an idea... Best of luck and thanks!
May 8, 2012 1:00 PM
143Hi, not sure where this goes but i am taking a weekend break with friends in Budapest in Sept. I'm thinking of staying on myself for a few more days - 4/5 days and seeking ideas. Was thinking of heading for couple days hiking in tatras if feasible. Or cycling either. Budapest looks so central. Want to make the most of being so central. All ideas within a short enough 3/4 hrs train will be considered. Thanks.
Jul 18, 2012 2:28 AM
National Tourist Organization - a nice place to start your inquiries
Discover Republika Srpska - brochure - a lot of infos nicely put together
Tourist map of Republika Srpska
Hunting tourism in Republika Srpska
Short introduction about beautiful places of Republika Srpska
Hiking, biking, paragliding on the beautiful mountain Ozren
National Park Sutjeska - with its unrivaled, strictly preserved - rainforest Perucica
Rafting on Tara river (The pearl of Europe...a completely potable river, carving out the second deepest (1300m) canyon on the planet)
Rafting on the Vrbas river - the proud host of the Rafting World Championship 2009, with its unique Night rafting offer
Ethno-village Stanisici, north-east Srpska, near to the border with Serbia. Excellent food and beautiful landscape
Fantastic fortress in the city of Doboj dating back to the 9th century - just bellow the fortress there is a street with Catholic and Orthodox Church, Jewish Synagogue and Muslim mosques
Royal etno-village of Kotromanicevo near Doboj, in the central part of Republika Srpska
City of Trebinje - the most beautiful town of Republika Srpska, just 30 min drive from Dubrovnik (Croatia). Very famous about its beautiful women and excellent wine.
Aug 16, 2012 4:39 AM
My name is Daniela Zec and I am a local guide for the Croatian region Istria. If you do not know what places to visit or you need info about the particular town (Rovinj, Pula, Poreč...), accommodation, events etc., you can visit my facebook page - Tour Guide for Istria (Croatia) - or contact me - email@example.com.
Feel free to ask whatever you want to know about Istria (Croatia), visit us and do not miss the opportunity to discover the unspoiled beauty, inspiring architecture, ancient history and mystical places of Istria with the professional guide by your side!
Danijela Zec, tour guide for Istria ( Croatia)
Aug 21, 2012 6:37 PM
146A WALK THROUGH THE HEART OF CESKY SVYCARSKO (CZECH SWITZERLAND)
Recently completed a good hike through the heart of the Czech Switzerland area and thought I'd put something on the record here to keep information up-to-date. Relied on some good pointers from Wildroo and also photos and info from Jeremy Taylor's site which sparked off my curiosity on the subject.
Based myself in the Hotel Posta in Decin for 2 nights which was an experience in itself. This place must still think the Cold War is still on the go as the surly receptionist demanded my Dokumenty in the harshest tone possible after telling me I had no reservation. The next morning, I skipped breakfast but had the restaurant door slammed in my face when I politely asked one of the waiters to fill my water-bottle. However, for 350Kc a night it ain't bad, the beer hall below is a lively place and most of the other staff are fine. Decin itself is a reasonable place to use a base for 2 days as there's a fair bit to see and the town itself (actually 2 towns) is very spread out on both sides of the river.
Rather than take one of the bi-hourly buses, I got on the boat at 9.30am which took 55 minutes to chug the 12kms downstream to Hrensko. Anyone who's ever travelled through this area by train (between Dresden and Prague, for example) will know how attractive this stretch of the Labe (Elbe) is. On a fine, fresh morning, it was the ideal primer for a good day's hike, excited by the prospect of what lay behind these forest covered hills.
At Hrensko, I dipped into the Tourist Office for a while and picked up a decent hiking map in case I happened to stay out longer than planned or extend into areas beyond the usual trails. Which left me walking out of Hrensko at approx 11am as the town sprawls along the Kamenice river for a couple of kilometers before open countryside presents itself. Takes about 30 minutes along the road to get to Tri Prameny where the path ascends north into the woods towards the Pravcicka Brana. It's a fair enough climb along a well-tended trail to get up to the 'Gate' which took me another 30 minutes, I'd guess.
At the famous Pravcicka Brana, there's a charge of 75Kc to access the viewing points, restaurant and exhibits. Whatever else you do here, make sure to spend time taking in all the 3 viewing points as the views are stupendous in all directions and also give a very good overview of the rock formations. Back at PB there's the famous Falcon's Nest restaurant built into the rock and also another basic snack bar. The food in the restaurant is a little pricier than the usual but it's decent fare and the staff are also used to re-filling customers' water bottles.
Back on the hike at approx 1.15pm, I struck out along the red trail for the 6km walk to Mezni Louka which skirts along a forest ridge, not far from the German border. There are no wild undulations on this section plus there are various viewing platforms along the route to take advantage of the wonderful scenery. Although not too difficult in theory, I found this part of the day a bit of a slog and the last kilometer was signposted 3 times before eventual arrival into the hamlet of Mezni Louka just before 2.30pm.
It was really baking now (33C) so another refreshment was called for before resuming. Because of the searing heat, the 2 girls from the Tourist Office here had relocated outside and I had a chat with them about the feasibility of tackling the other, lesser Mala Pravcicka Brana and making the last boat back from the first landing stage along the river. Unfortunately they gave me the wrong time (4.30 instead of 5.00) for that boat and advised against trekking on farther if I also wished to take in the Kamenice river gorges. When I got to the southern edge of the village and saw the Mala Brana was only 3kms I was tempted to hurry on up there and back but opted for caution as I really didn't want to miss the boat trips but in retrospect I think I could have made it there and back with plenty of time to spare.
So. from Mezni Louka, I descended south along the blue trail for around 25/30 minutes to a bend in the river which provided an excellent location to get the shoes and socks off and dip the weary feet in the rushing river for a while. And then back along the trail that borders the river towards the first landing stage where a boat dutifully turned up and ferried the waiting couple of dozen passengers through the fabulous gorges and overhanging rock formations.
The ferrymen are very entertaining in both Czech and German and make a real effort to entertain the passengers with amusing stories and local folklore.
It's approx a 20 minute walk to the second landing stage where the last boat runs at 6pm. Once again, it's a voyage through all kinds of geological wonders accompanied by a lively commentary from the boatman who singled me out as the solitary 'German' on the boat, the apparent notoriety of which was fine by me. From here it took 25 minutes to walk back to the outskirts of Hrensko, which I reached at 5.45pm.
And this is when I made one of my dubious hiking decisions. After a restorative cup of coffee and faced with the prospect of a 90 minute wait for a bus back to Decin, I decided to head out along the road to try out some of the red trail back to Decin, more-or-less parallel to the boat-trip in the morning. After 2 kms on the road, I ascended into the forest along the trail which was a little difficult to navigate, at first. Not entirely sure I was on the right path, I stopped to inquire with a young Czech couple who were doing a bit of local hiking. They persuaded me to go with them over the nearest (almost vertical) rise as a short-cut and then on towards Labska Stran whch they pointed out to me as they bade farewell along another route.
So, not on the red trail any more, I struggled to re-find the correct route but decided to persevere along the trail rather than descend to the road and the last bus back, as I figured out the scenery would compensate for any inconvenience. To cut a long story short, I never got out of the forest again, got lost at one very anxious point but luckily rectified that in 15 minutes or so and finally got out of the woods at 9.22pm with light almost gone and my torch unfortunately defunct. Not an experience I intend to replicate. It's 18.5 kms along that trail and it's recommended on the official site but unless you wish to be in the forest for 3-4 hours, not one I'd recommend.
SUMMARY: By taking the boat from Decin to Hrensko, it sets you up for approx 7-8 hours of exploring, if you intend to include the Kamenice River gorges. You can do this in either direction but depending on which direction you take, you're bounded time-wise by the last boat on the first gorge at 5pm or the closing time at the restaurant at Pravcicka Brana at 6pm. As I mentioned above, it should be possible to visit the large and small Gates and the river gorges in one long day. The boat is perfect for going from Decin to Hrensko but returns too early to allow you do all the above in one day. Food and drinks can be had at Hrensko, Pravcicka Brana, Mezni Louka and beside the last landing stage, on the river.
Boat from Decin to Hrensko - 100Kc (55 minutes)
Entrance to Pravcicka Brana - 75Kc
River Kamenice - Ferry #1 - 60Kc
River Kamenice - Ferry #2 - 80Kc
*Return boat from Hrensko to Decin costs 120Kc and runs in the afternoon. If you are thinking of taking the boat from Decin in the morning, it's best to get there by 9.15am latest as there was already a long queue when I arrived at that time. Obviously the first to board get the best seats and late arrivals may have to stand for the entire journey.
Aug 28, 2012 11:40 PM
Nov 14, 2012 10:37 PM
(5 star Hotel)
From US$261.19 per night
(3 star Hotel)
From US$64.90 per night
(3 star Hotel)
From US$123.03 per night