I did this tour Oct 22-29. I had 3 extra days in Prague to start and 3 extra days in Budapest to finish. (I then took the train to Vienna for another week. More on that in another post.)
I had a great time, terrific guides and very amiable fellow travelers. Both cities were wonderful, I was very impressed with both. We had super in-city guides, people that informed us and shared their pride in their cities and shared their experiences. The communities in both places seemed proud of their home country and heritage and ready to share it all.
I’ve been trying to find a way to put into words why I enjoy the RS tours I’ve taken so much. I used to solo travel and only somewhat reluctantly tried a tour back in February 2014. It was the Barcelona and Madrid tour and even though I had done my homework and read a lot about the history and culture it became a much richer experience having a Spaniard to ask questions of for a week and having a city guide from Catalonia talk about that issue. I learned so much more than I would have on my own. I still scheduled another solo week in Madrid afterward and I have settled on that as a happy balance for me. Tour time and solo time.You can schedule a 2-4 hour to full day tour with a local guide but there is real value to me to be able to come back the next day and ask another question you just thought of. And frequently hearing the input from your tour mates is very useful too.
The same thing applied to this tour and perhaps even more so. We had George Farkas for our guide and he was terrific, very smart and funny and loves his hometown of Budapest. We also got lucky that we had Tomasz, who usually does the Poland tours, along as well. It was sort of a professional development thing, observe how other guides work etc. He was so nice and really makes me think about going on the Poland tour. To have these two great guides to question and listen to for a week was priceless. The history of the Czech Republic and Hungary was so interesting to me. I’m very interested in WWII history and the years of the Iron Curtain and you can read about it but to listen to people who have lived parts of it is terrific. What these countries have experienced in the 20th C is truly humbling.
The hotels were nice and welcoming with very good breakfast buffets I thought. There was a good mix of touring with the group and on your own time. We had some amazing music, a fun cooking class, a beautiful river cruise in Budapest and fascinating history shared. Besides the tour activities, I scheduled a WWll tour with Jason from livingpraguedotcom that was great, I went to art museums in both places because that’s my passion. I went to mass in historic churches, and went to a concert in St Istvan’s in Budapest on my last evening. Both cities were great to walk, and public transportation was fantastic as well.
We had a 72 hour pass in Budapest for public transportation from the tour. And I bought my own 72 hour pass for my last 3 days solo. On my last day I was so happy to meet up with the dreaded ticket checker police. When I realized what was going on I was smiling when she scanned my pass. I was the only one, most people did not look pleased to see her however.
I’d definitely recommend the tour and I’ll be happy to answer any questions…….