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Old 12-10-2019, 06:54 AM   #761
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I loved Krakow. We can't wait to go back to Eastern Europe. Let us know how your other trips go too!
I've been absolutely loving Eastern Europe. It has a certain charm and warmth quite different than the much more popular Western Europe. I will definitely report back!

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Loved Krakow, including the lunch at had at one of the Milk Bars. I failed to see the new Schindler's List museum. Apparently, one should reserve a space at least a month ahead. Back then they had signs all over the place showing Gary Cooper in High Noon. Instead of a gun he was holding a voting ballot.
I tried to go to the Schindler museum as well, but tickets were all sold out. And they told us you can't pre-order them. If you want to go, you've got to get there early.

Last month I was in Gdansk and went to the Solidarity museum. It was a really, really, really good museum. If you're in Gdansk, it's a must-see in my opinion.

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Hows the weather and sun or daylight this time of the year?

I've been to Norway and Sweden in the summer when there are really long days.

Krakow isn't that far up north, actually in the souther part of the country.

But I'm imagining shorter and colder days than most of the US this time of the year?
I'm stationed in Northern Poland, and it gets dark pretty early. It's dark by about 3:45 pm, but it's pretty much always cloudy and overcast, so most days by 3-3:15 pm, it's practically dark. In Krakow, I'm sure it got dark a bit later, but I didn't actually pay much attention, plus the city lights mask some of it too. I wasn't here during the summer months, but some of the guys here who were here then said the days were very long. I was in Iceland in mid-June a few years ago, and it was daylight nearly all day, as we were close to the Arctic Circle. I came to very much appreciate the blackout curtains in all the hotel rooms!
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Old 12-10-2019, 07:00 AM   #762
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I've been absolutely loving Eastern Europe. It has a certain charm and warmth quite different than the much more popular Western Europe.
We also enjoyed Poland....and Romania & Bulgaria. On the wish list are Lviv & Kiev in Ukraine...(among others)...but the proverbial sands of time are.....
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Old 12-10-2019, 07:08 AM   #763
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We also enjoyed Poland....and Romania & Bulgaria. On the wish list are Lviv & Kiev in Ukraine...(among others)...but the proverbial sands of time are.....
I spent four days in Kiev last month. The city really surprised me. I mainly went to Kiev to go on the Chernobyl tour (which was amazing). I expected the city to a vestige of the old Soviet Union, drab, depressing, etc., and I had a bit of trepidation about safety, especially going by myself. However, it was so far from that. It was beautiful, opulent, safe, and lively. Not at all what I expected. I never expected to want to go back to the city, but now that I've been (by myself), I plan to go back with my wife in the future, and to spend more time there. It's a very large and spread out city without a typical Eastern European Old Town section, so to see all the sights requires a lot of walking. However, Uber is very good and very cheap there, so if you're not into a ton of walking, or can't, it's easy to get around. Of all the places I've visited, English was much less spoken here, so it pays to learn a few key phrases before going.

I've heard Lviv is pretty amazing as well, but I wasn't able to squeeze both cities into such a tight time frame.

If you do go to Kiev, I HIGHLY recommend watching the Netflix documentary "Winter on Fire" (actually, I recommend watching regardless of travel plans). It really made seeing some of the parts of the city seen in the documentary that much more incredible. Plus, the events of the documentary are very much so fresh on the mind of Ukrainians in Kiev, and there are lots of memorials throughout the city to the people who lost their lives in that conflict.

Romania and Bulgaria are both high on our list of places to visit in the future, particularly Romania.
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Old 12-16-2019, 02:07 AM   #764
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I've been back since late November, and only now getting to sharing the pictures. Seven weeks and 23 pictures.


https://docs.google.com/presentation...it?usp=sharing
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Old 12-16-2019, 09:15 AM   #765
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I got back from Riga, Latvia last night. It was a nice city with a fairly big old town, but a little too full of partiers for my taste. I know when most of us from the US hear Latvia, we don't have images of a lively party city, but that's exactly what Riga is.

We stayed in an AirBnB that was right above a dance club. It was great if you love hearing techo music blast through the walls from 9pm to 6am every night. Lol. The second night I decided that since I couldn't beat them, I might as well join them. No, I didn't step foot inside a dance club. But I did go out and drink way too much beer and had no problems falling asleep. Lol.
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Old 12-16-2019, 10:20 AM   #766
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I've been back since late November, and only now getting to sharing the pictures. Seven weeks and 23 pictures.


https://docs.google.com/presentation...it?usp=sharing
1) "Full speed ahead, and damn the torpedoes!"

2) Hey, I recognize that big chair.

3) O.K. did you ask them for the one fingered salute, or was it spontaneous?
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Old 12-19-2019, 09:16 AM   #767
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3) O.K. did you ask them for the one fingered salute, or was it spontaneous?
Every time someone breaks out a camera after dinner (which always includes many beers).
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Old 12-19-2019, 10:23 AM   #768
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I've been absolutely loving Eastern Europe. It has a certain charm and warmth quite different than the much more popular Western Europe. I will definitely report back!

I tried to go to the Schindler museum as well, but tickets were all sold out. And they told us you can't pre-order them. If you want to go, you've got to get there early.
Eastern Europe (Actually Central Europe to many Europeans) is certainly different from what I expected before going there. The architecture, art, and overall culture can be very sophisticated.

The politics is interesting also. In Budapest we viewed a home-grown counter-memorial that makes it quite clear that many people do not buy the government's position on certain ethnic cleansing events that occurred during WW2. This counter-memorial is made up of pictures of relatives who 'disappeared' during the war. And they have a very nice statue of Ronald Regan walking through the park. Apparently it was put there to impress Americans.

IIRC, about a week before arriving in Krakow, I tried to reserve tickets ahead of time for the Schindler museum but found I had to go out about six weeks before any were available. And that was before Prime-Time tourist season.
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Old 12-19-2019, 10:24 AM   #769
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We walked the Kerry Way (11 days), then 6 days in (a suburb) of Dublin--took the bus and rail everywhere. Loved it.

In a couple years, we may hike the Dingle Way and explore north along the Atlantic Coast.



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I wish we had three weeks there. I'm jealous! We only had one week. Four days in Dublin and three days out of the city. Whenever we get the chance to go back, we'd like to see Cork and Galway, and spend most of the time exploring the back roads.
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Old 12-19-2019, 08:42 PM   #770
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North to Fort McMurray, Alberta for a few days to spend Xmas with family. It will be cold. It will make us appreciate our winter trip south in the New Year.
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Old 12-30-2019, 09:23 AM   #771
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I just got back from Tallinn, Estonia yesterday. Wow! What an awesome city! It has a much more Scandinavian than Baltic feel to it, yet has a very large enchanting medieval old town, altogether different than the Scandinavian feel of the rest of the city. Winding, cobblestone streets, beautiful Christmas square, and very friendly people with an incredible handle on the English language. This is now my second favorite city in Europe, very close behind Prague. The only real downside was that it was fairly expensive. Not Iceland or France expensive, but still not at all Eastern European in their prices.

And that's the last of my travel for the year (obviously) and the last bit of travel while I'm in Europe with the army. I should be sitting home on my couch with my wife and kids in about 2-3 weeks.
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Old 12-30-2019, 09:55 AM   #772
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Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam for all of February, 2020. First time there. I'm doing some pro bono work; my wife will just be having fun. We hope to make side trips, schedule permitting, to Hanoi, Hoi An, and the Mekong Delta.

Advice gratefully accepted!
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Old 12-30-2019, 05:07 PM   #773
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Of course Halong Bay in the north is one of the most scenic places. It's a long, long day trip from Hanoi. There are day trip operators who will take you there and package with a cruise and bring you back. Like 3 hours eat way.

Alternately, maybe spend a night or two over there. Some people advocate for taking overnight cruises, where you sleep on the boat and get served a couple of meals. I just went for day cruise.

In Hoi An, I had to pay a driver to take me from Da Nang to Hoi An and back to take flight out of it. Very reasonable prices. Actually went from Hoi An to Hue and they charged me $15-20 for about a 2-3 hour drive.
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Old 12-30-2019, 05:10 PM   #774
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Thanks, explanade!
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Old 12-31-2019, 11:36 PM   #775
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Too late for 2019 travel. See the 2020 thread.
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