Central Europe FAQ thread
Replies: 151 - Last Post: May 10, 2013 4:39 AM Last Post By: indeksica
Nov 24, 2003 6:57 AM
16Slovenia has from 14-12-2003 new railway timetable and there are some new conections:
EuroCity 50/51 »Casanova«: Ljubljana – Benetke (Venice) - Ljubljana
EuroCity 157/156 »Zagreb«: Dunaj (Wienna) – Maribor - Zagreb – Maribor – Dunaj(Wienna)
EuroNight 240/241 »Venezia Express»: Budimpešta (Budapest)– Gradec (Graz)– Maribor – Ljubljana – Benetke(Venice) -Lj- Maribor-Gradec-Budimpešta
train 410-411 »Olympus« from 4. 6. do 2. 10. 2004: Ljubljana – Atene (Athens)– Ljubljana.
I hope, this will help somebody
Dec 15, 2003 12:24 AM
17I travelled through Russia and the Baltics in June/July this year. Here's some info that people might find helpful:
- Riga is a nice place to chill out for a few days. If you're staying at hostels, try POSH Backpackers (website). Its located in the market area between the train station and the bus station, and is run by an Australian guy who is a lot of fun. If hotels are more your style, the Viktoria/Victoria is quite ok
- the nearby beach town of Jurmala is also fun (15 minutes by train from Riga).
- Bauska is worth a day trip so that you can visit Runsdale Palace. Designed by the same guy who did the hermitage in st petersburg so great for a comparison if you'v already seen that.
- Sigulda is a nice forresty area, with lots of hiking, rafting and other outdoorsy pursuits.
- Cesis is a great example of a traditional latvian town
- Kuldiga is another traditional town that I've heard good things about
- spend some time in Vilnius. wander through the gates of dawn, down the main street, check out the main church and go through KGB prison. check out the basketball stadium. if you're a hosteller, stay at the Old Town hostel (website) - hostelling the way it should be. very friendly and relaxed.
- take a bus down to see the soviet sculpture park (Grutus / Stalin World)
- check out the rebuilt castle at trakai
- Klaipeda and the Curonian spit are fantastic. If you stay at the hostel in Klaipeda (website), Jurga can take you on a day trip to an old soviet missile base, which is quite a unique experience. the local guides only speak lithuanian, but Jurga will translate for you.
- Palanga is a great seaside town - particularly active in summer
- make sure you get to see the hill of crosses at Siaullai
- the old town in Tallin is truly fantastic. Livijus, the guy who started the old town hostel in vilnius, has just started one up in Tallinn. its on Uus street, but I'm not sure of the number. I do know there is another hostel on that street that is underneath a strip joint - so choose wisely!
- the mudbaths at Parnu are great. Louna guesthouse provides one room of hostel accommodation, with 8 beds in it.
- check out the islands, I've heard great things about them
Bus travel is definately the way to go in the Baltics, although some prefer to do Klaipeda - Vilnius by train as its an overnight trip and doubles as your accommodation that night). For prices, take a look at the local eurolines sites (for example latvia) In Lithuania, also look out for the unofficial "minivans" - private vehicles that do similar trips to the large buses but take less time and often go at better intervals.
Also, if travelling from Moscow or St Petes down to Vilnius, consider flying to Kaliningrad then busing back to Vilnius. I caught the overnight train from Moscow to Riga, then a bus to Vilnius (I couldn't go through Belarus - too hard getting a visa from Australia at the time, not enough time to line up in Moscow and I wanted to see Vilnius before comming back to Riga). Some people I met in Vilnius flew to Kaliningrad instead - they bought their tickets through a travel agent, and it cost half as much as the train fare. You don't need a double entry visa as you are flying from Russia to Russia, and tickets are priced that way to make them accessible to Russians (at least in theory).
Language wise, my suggestion is to learn the basics in the local languages (hello, please, thankyou etc), ask people if they speak english. In the Baltics, if you know russian & someone doesn't speak english, I'd advise asking them if they mind if you speak to them in russian - this can soften their response.
If you need more help on this region, let me know.
Dec 16, 2003 7:31 PM
18Bahn.de fans rejoice - the German railways wizards have now added a feature to the already brilliant www.bahn.de that makes it possible to view the approximate price of international tickets as well as intra-Germany ones. If you book 3 weekdays in advance you can book online and pay by credit card too.
Click to www.bahn.de, select your language in the box at the top left and in the page that pops up fill in place of departure, destination, dates, times. You'll have to click on the 'abroad terms' to set your age and any German/European reduction cards you may have (Bahncard and Railplus). It then indicates price ('from €...') and travel options; select one of the options and then it will proceed to give you the options for the return leg and the final price, depending on your choices.
It only seems to work for easy connections, not too much changing trains and not too far across the border. London - Berlin didn't work, but I found out a Savings fare return (ie you have to use only the train indicated on the ticket, limited number for sale per train) between Amsterdam - Berlin is €90 (for a holder of Bahncard 25 and railplus €68), while a (flexible) single ticket costs more, €101.40.
You can then proceed to book the ticket and optional seat reservations by registering and paying by credit card... but that can only be done if you know German. If you've chosen a savings fare, you can then indicate if they can send you a normal-priced ticket too if the number of cheap seats have sold out in the meantime. Even in the case of journeys where the price is not indicated, you can order and they'll give you the best rate they can find.
Very nifty. Let's see British Rail do anything like this - oh no, they're too busy trying to get trains run at all. :)
Jan 3, 2004 8:13 PM
19Here are some of my favourite Croatia Links
I hope these are useful...
Jan 21, 2004 1:21 PM
20Cyprus: staying cheap
I write this because I found that there are so little info about staying in Cyprus cheaply.
I was warned beforehand to stay out of the HI Hostel in Cyprus. I visited the one in Larnaca (CYP5) and Limassol (CYP5), and truly they are quite bad. The one in Larnaca is still liveable if you are desperate, but with better options in Limassol like the Luxor Guest House (CYP6) you don't want to stay in the hostel. I did not go to Paphos but was told by a Japanese traveler that the HI Hostel is quite far and there is a better option in the city centre called Trianon Guest House (CYP6).
Because of the early impressions, I did not even bother to check out the Lefkosian HI Hostel. I had been travelling back and forth between Nicosia/Lefkosia and Limassol daily, preferring to do this because it turned out cheaper (return bus fare Limassol-Nicosia/Lefkosia-Limassol is only CYP4) than if I chose to stay in Tony's B&B (CYP18 with b'fast, CYP15 without), at that moment seemed to me as the best option after the HI Hostel.
However, on the last day I had to stay in the capital and made a point to check the place. It turned out to be not very bad at all with running hot water and working toilet (i.e. flushable). For CYP5 per night I was given two duvets and a whole room to myself (except the presence of several cockroaches, ;)). Security is a bit lacking: the place is about 10 minutes walk from the centre in a quiet neighbourhood, the manager never seem to be there and people can go in and out at will, the doors and lockers were all unlockable. However, I was satisfied with place and regret not checking it out first - I could have saves pounds.
Quite expensive in the South so I ate all my meals in the North as I could. The Umutlar Restaurant people in Nicosia knew me well already because I frequented their place. It was friendlier and better in many ways to the nearby Amasyli Restaurant. You can buy Iskender kebab for TL5 million, or Seftali kebab for TL6 million, or even cheaper Paket Doner kebab for TL2 million. the Paket Doner is filling and so yummy. Compared that to the average CYP4 per meal (cheapest option) without drink in the South.
Sleeping at the Larnaca Airport:
I arrived very early in the morning because that was the cheapest flight (Lufthansa from Frankfurt) I could get. As a traveller told me via PM, there are no benches in the arrival hall but there are a few in the departure hall. The security does allow people to sleep, but the airport is quite small, and there are flights out during the morning. By 4 am it was already noisy and peaceful sleep is almost impossible.
From the Larnaca airport to town:
Walking from the airport to Larnaca town (+/- 7km) is easy peasy. Go out from the arrival hall's entrance, follow the road until you find a junction. Here, turn right, (salt lakes on both sides) and follow it until another juntion. Bear right and head on until the road becomes parallel to the sea. On your right side you will see the GrandPapa Hotel. Go straight on and you will find the Larnaca Castle, which is at the periphery of the modern town.
From the airport to the Turkish Hala Sultan Tekke (+/- 3km), turn left at the first junction, passing the salt lakes until you see the sign 'Halla Sultan Tekke' after 5 minutes brisk walk and then turn right, following the tarmac road. You will see the tekke even from afar. The tarmac road will lead you straight to the entrance.
Of course, there are short cuts for both routes but I leave these for the travellers to try and venture by themselves.
Hope this help. Bye.
STAYING CHEAP IN CYPRUS
Feb 17, 2004 6:59 PM
21Hiking in Slovakia
Mountain Huts in the Tatras Mountain Range - details of about 10 Chata locations, telephone numbers and addresses
Online Booking for 3 or so Huts - go to accomodation, then select High tatras and Mountain Chalets and 3 or 4 are able to be booked online
Walks, Lengths and Timings in the Tatras - nothing in english but it's only place names on the page. Divides the trails into coloured walks and gives estimated times or distances to walk them; useful for getting an idea of scale of the area and planning treks.
Just spent several hours trying to find a page like that last one so thought someone else might find it useful :)
Mar 7, 2004 4:48 PM
22Ferries to/from Petersburg -
At the present time there are no international ferries between St. Petersburg and the Baltic or Scandinavian countries. However, it was reported in January 2004 that ferry service will start in April 2004. Several routes will operate on the Baltic connecting Petersburg with Tallinn and Helsinki. The ferry to Tallinn will be operated by Tallink with the ferry Fantaasia, which is currently being used on the Tallinn-Stockholm route. The ferry will complete a round trip once a day and will carry up to 1,700 passengers.
It had been reported prior to that that the Silja Line Company will also open ferryboat service between Helsinki and St. Petersburg in April 2004. Silja Line will make the trip with its FinnJet. According to their website they will also be connecting Rostock, 140 miles from Berlin, via Tallinn, to St. Petersburg with departures 2-3 times a week. Schedules and prices are not currently available for either ferry service.
There has been discussion of establishing a port in the Kaliningrad oblast and connecting the two parts of Russia by ferry, but to date this has not occurred. There is ferry service between Kaliningrad and Poland. There are international service between Kaliningrad and the Polish ports of Frombork and Elblag. Service is via hydrofoil, provided by the Polish company, Zegluga Gdanska and takes about 90 minutes.
ZEGLUGA GDANSKA Sp. z o.o.
80-830 Gdansk, ul. Ponczosznikow 2
Tel.: (058) 301 63 35
Tel./Fax: (058) 301 72 31
Russia - General Agency in Kaliningrad
236000 Kaliningrad, ul. Leonowa 8
Tel/Fax. (+70 112) 21 07 42, 22 89 98, 55 61 17
harbor Terminal in Kaliningrad
tel. (+70 112) 22 74 89, 22 74 09
Mar 10, 2004 11:44 AM
23"Is this a God's dam?"
Polish Tourist Organisation
Mar 10, 2004 4:59 PM
24Serbia and Montenegro
Serbia and Montenegro-official presentation of SCG
Ministry of Foreign Affairs-Serbia and Montenegro(Visas)
Serbian goverment -official presentation
Republic of Montenegro -official presentation
Serbia and Montenegro-Internet resources
...to be continued...
Mar 11, 2004 11:16 AM
TOB-Tourist organization of Belgrade
Virtualtourist.com-Belgrade tips by VT members
www.backpackers.org.yu-backpackers in Serbia
Hotels in Serbia
Lasta bus company
City of Novi Sad-official presentation
City of Nis-official website
National park Fruska Gora
Blago fund,Serbian unity congress
Serbian Ortodox Church
Serbian monasteries and frescoes
Medieval Serbian monasteries
..to be continued...
Mar 12, 2004 6:22 PM
Mar 15, 2004 3:18 PM
27New ferry line Constanta - Istanbul - Volos
Starting with April 2, there will finally be a ferry line between Constanta and Volos, via Istanbul. The ferry will run on this schedule:
Constanta (departure every Sun) 10.00 - Istanbul 20.00 / 22.00 - Volos 15.00 (Arrival next day)
Constanta (departure every Wed) 24.00 - Istanbul 10.00 / 12.00 - Volos 07.00 (arrival next day)
Volos (departure every Fri) 17.00 - Istanbul 10.00 / 12.00 - Constanta 22.00 (arrival next day)
Volos (departure every Mon) 17.00 - Istanbul 10.00 / 12.00 - Constanta 22.00 (arrival next day)
Schedules are valid until December 31, with the possibility of being prolonged afterwards.
Med Lines, the operator of the ferry line, will use an A/C Japanese ferry with capacity for 1220 passengers and 260 cars, respectively 150 staterooms with 486 berths, 132 first class seats in the main lounge. One can book ahead at firstname.lastname@example.org, tel.: +4-021-2305832, 2307098.
Best regards and happy travels.
Mar 19, 2004 3:16 PM
Mar 24, 2004 11:02 PM
The original post says that there is no Polish Embassy or Consulate in New Zealand. This is incorrect. The details of both are below. And for New Zealanders looking for other consulates and embassies, try this link (it's very handy):
Embassy of the Republic of Poland Resident in Wellington
Address Embassy of the Republic of Poland, 17 Upland Road, Kelburn, Wellington
Postal Address PO Box 10 211, Wellington
Telephone 04 475 9453
Facsimile 04 475 9458
Office Hours Mon - Fri 0900 - 1700hrs; Mon - Fri 1000 - 1230, 1400 - 1600hrs Consular
Consulate of the Republic of Poland Resident in Auckland
Address Consulate of the Republic of Poland, 51 Granger Road, Howick, Auckland
Telephone 09 533 5166
Facsimile 09 535 4068
Office Hours Mon - Fri 1000 - 1200hrs
(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