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Austria | Hungary | Poland | Germany | Czech Republic | Slovakia | Candid Shots of Our Tour Group | My Review of Our Central European Tour

My Review of Our Central European Tour

In July 2007, our family joined with friends from CEFC (a total of 12 persons) to take a 9 days 7 nights European tour.
The tour was operated by Professional Travel Consultant (PTC) 天地假期, with mostly Chinese American clients.
My review covers both the good and bad aspects of this trip. Please click on the photos or yellow links to see more.

Spectacular sights
The photos speak for themselves. Need I say more?
Prague Sunset
The breakfast buffet at every hotel was excellent, with wide varieties of sausages, cheese, pastries, fruits, salad, and drinks.
The optional meals were sumptuous, with more meat than we could devour.
Local restaurants, whether as part of the tour package or a lunch place we found on our own, provided the styles of cooking not easily found in the U.S.
Even the Chinese dinner in Poland was better than expected
We occasionally ate at American fast food chains because of their fast service, iced cold drinks, working A/C, clean and free restrooms.
Overnight rains
The two occasions of rain never disrupted our tour, but provided welcome reprieve from the heat.
From the concert at the Hofburg Imperial Palace in Vienna to the slightly off-tune singing on the bus, this tour was full of lively music.
In the Czech Republic, memorable tunes by Smetana and Dvorak were heard in restaurants, boats, and sidewalks. Many of the churches in Prague host classical concerts for tourists. Their choices of music are much better than the assortments of 19th century pops offered in Vienna.
Evening Music
The BAD:
Abnormal heat wave (38ºC in Vienna and 40ºC in Budapest) zapped our energy, especially in open spaces like the Schönbrunn Palace garden in Vienna or Hero’s Square in Budapest.
To add to our predicament, all historical buildings and business establishments in city centers have no or insufficient air conditioning. Fortunately, our tour bus has superb A/C to cool us off between stops.
Schönbrunn PalaceHero’s Square
Long lines at pay toilets (especially for the ladies). But a splash of cold tap water was a great relief from the oppressing heat.
Daily 6:30 wake up calls and check out
We knew this was the nature of a multi-stop bus tour. With careful packing ahead of time, this was not a problem. Besides, we can catch up on sleep on the bus.
Interruption of water supply for an entire Budapest neighborhood. Some of us were caught in the middle of taking showers. For the first time in my life, I brushed my teeth with bottled water. Fortunately, the post-communist municipal workers fixed the problem before dawn. Afterward, we all felt much cleaner.
Although we knew beforehand that Auschwitz was a notorious Nazi death camp, we did not expect the emotional impact from utterly evil deeds.
Never Forget
Berlin Wall
This ugly edifice from a totalitarian regime became a symbol of the Cold War. The DDR had to prevent their best and brightest workers from leaving this “workers’ paradise” for West Berlin.
Berlin Wall
The Reviewer & Photographer
The Reviewer & Photographer
Our Tour Director
Our Tour Director
Duck for Dinner
Duck for Dinner