It's the last day of my four-week trip in central Europe. It's 9pm here, and I head to the airport at 3:30 in the morning, so I am planning to more or less stay up til then so I can try to get some sleep on the plane home.
I'm not going to do a complete trip report; I've blogged about the trip on my travel blog (link in my profile). But I will give some thoughts, impressions, and a few reviews.
I flew Seattle -> Frankfurt -> Prague on Lufthansa. I paid extra for some legroom, and I think it was worth it, but the seat where I was sitting didn't have an operational entertainment system. (I contacted Lufthansa and asked for a partial refund for the extra cost of the seat. They said no.)
I arrived in Prague on March 31. My itinerary:
- Prague: 4 nights
- Dresden: 5 nights
- Berlin: 5 nights
- Warsaw: 3 nights
- Krakow: 4 nights
- Wroclaw: 2 nights
- Torun: 1 night
- Gdansk: 3 nights (including tonight, which probably doesn't count)
If I could do it over, I'd want one more night in Wroclaw and in Gdansk, and maybe one night fewer in Dresden. (I did 3 day trips from Dresden; one to Saxon Switzerland, one to Leipzig, and one to Gorlitz. I should have skipped Gorlitz.) So maybe add a night to the trip overall. No where did I feel I stayed too long. I was hurt by the fact that my two days in Wroclaw were Easter Sunday and Monday, and everything was closed, including many restaurants outside the main square.
This is the first time I went to Europe in April. Most of my previous trips have been in May. The weather was spectacular! It was sunny almost the entire time. I only had rain one morning in Berlin and one afternoon in Warsaw. In Prague and Dresden the daytime highs were in the upper 60s (F), which I consider perfect travel weather. Then it got really cold in Berlin, with a few days that never got much above 40. It warmed up gradually after that. Yesterday and today it was in the upper 70s in Gdansk.
But don't for a minute imagine crowds will be small in April. If there are this many tourists at this time of year, I hate to think how bad it will get in May, June, July, and August! In Prague and Krakow there were a lot of American tourists; otherwise, most of the English I heard had non-US accents, and many were not native English speakers. Also a lot of Polish tourists seem to visit the places I visited in Poland.
I used a company called JayWay Travel to plan the trip. They did all my bookings (lodging, train, transfers, and guided tours in each city except Torun). They worked with me to plan the overall itinerary, consulted with me about scheduling train travel, and gave me options to add some additional tours. I also booked several tours and day trips on my own.
I attended two orchestral concerts at the Rudolfinum in Prague. Superb venue and performances! Highly recommended. Also went to Semperoper in Dresden, Deutsche Oper in Berlin, and National Opera in Warsaw. All brilliant!
The day trip I did to Saxon Switzerland I wrote about elsewhere in this forum. To the company's credit, they refunded 25% of the cost of the tour. Whether you go on a tour or on your own, Saxon Switzerland and Bohemian Switzerland are beautiful, and in a trip that was almost entirely cities, it was a welcome getaway.
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