The Best and Worst of Eastern Europe

to+cave+resto.JPG” border=”0″ />ast week, I promised to send a “Best and Worst List” from our “Experiment in Travel in Eastern Europe”. Over the next few months – in between blogs about The Diva’s Daily Life – I’ll cover in-depth each of the destinations we visited, advising you on where you should go, what to do and most importantly what to buy while there! For now, you can use our list (written on the fly as we were speeding down the autobahn driving home to Holland) as a check list in planning your very own trip east!

Best and Worst List:
Favorite City: Budapest
Least Favorite City: Tokay
(interestingly, both places are in Hungary)

Favorite Country: Slovakia (in spite of the fact that the people were not a particularly friendly bunch)
Least Favorite Country: Hungary

Favorite Place: Carpathian Mountains/High Tatras in Eastern Slovakia
Least Favorite Place: The drive to the Tokay wine region from Budapest

Favorite Hotel: – – Bratislava/ Hotel Arkada – Levoca
Least Favorite Hotel: Pension Rosa – Cesky Krumlov/ – Tokay

Favorite Spa: Hotel Gellert, Budapest
Least Favorite Spa: The “massage service” at the Hotel Humboldt – Karlovy Vary, Czech, which left WG bruised and limping for a week following, fearful of ever again getting a massage. Second choice would be the numerous dental offices/spas dotting Karlovy Vary. I dont want to get my wisdom tooth pulled and body exfoliated at the same place and never could figure out the connection in offering these same services in one locale!
Favorite Breakfast: Gerbeauds – Budapest
Least Favorite Breakfast: Hotel Tokay. They ignored us for 1 hour while we waited patiently for our breakfast to be served, drinking our coffee, etc. Then we were told that, in spite of the fact we’d been waiting since 9am for our breakfast, the kitchen was now closed as it was 10am. Eventually, after arguing extensively in French with their receptionist who didn’t speak English, only French & Hungarian, we received breakfast 30 minutes after the breakfast hall had closed.
Favorite Lunch: U Fleku – Prague
Least Favorite Lunch: The rest of them – as we opted to skip lunch the rest of the days of our trip in lieu of large (read as “muffins-stuffed-in-the-pocket-for-later-free) hotel breakfasts and nice dinners out. The hearty Eastern Europe cuisine didn’t allow room in our tummies for both lunch and dinner! Thus, my poor husband starved at lunch time, occasionally giving into his hunger pains by grabbing hot dogs and sandwiches on the run. Once I ordered a salad for lunch at a cafe in Prague only to discover Czech salads have no lettuce.
Best Dinner: Inside a cave in Prague – Santa Klara
Worst Dinner: When our Middle-Eastern styled restaurant in Karlovy Vary turned into a Discothèque Party Night for water-bong smoking Czech teenagers before we’d finished our dinner.

 

Best Drink Discovery: Palinka
Worst Drink Discovery: the naturally warm spa water bubbling from the earth in Karlovy Vary
Favorite Food Discovery – Dumplings each day of our 1st week in Eastern Europe
Least Favorite Food Discovery – Dumplings again each day of our 2nd week in Eastern Europe
Best Beer: A dark, rich and creamy ale with a 2 inch head sold only at U Fleku – Prague

Worst Beer: Accidentally ordering a non-alcoholic blond in Bratislava

Best Wine: Tokay Aszu
Worst Wine: The Czech Wines which had a slightly sulfurous aftertaste

Best Dessert: Pastry in Krakow, Poland on our last day before returning home

Worst Dessert: Homemade Noodles dripping with butter then piled with a mountain of ground poppy seeds. I believe the quote uttered from my lips upon the first bite was “It tastes like dirt.”

Best Antique Shopping: Cesky Krumlov (close sec
ond is Budapest). Budapest would have won this slot except for I found significantly lower prices in CK.
Worst Antique Shopping: Prague

Best Tourist Shopping: Budapest Central Market Hall – paprika, peasant blouses, and foie gras.
Worst Tourist Shopping: Prague’s overbearing t-shirt vendors (and the authentically dressed Czech dolls they sold)
Best Cultural Attraction: Hungarian National Museum – Budapest — and did I mention that it’s Free!!!
Worst Cultural Attraction: The commercialization in Prague at the Jewish Cemetery and surrounding synagogues.
Best Petrol Stations: Hungary – As the Hungarians refuse to indulge in take away coffee, each gas station, big or small, boasts a Beaux Arts style (or similar), warm and cozy coffee bar brimming with pastries and espresso.
Worst Petrol Stations: Lukoil

Favorite Aspect of the Trip – Spending time with my husband, WG, before his busy period at work.
Least Favorite Aspect of the Trip – It’s over!!! That sad fact, plus the cheating, lying and thieving of all of the Prague taxi drivers. WG and I decided that, in order to be a taxi driver in Prague, you must go to school to learn to be unscrupulous!

I hope this list wets your appetite for more Eastern European Travel Tales!

Be back soon!

The Antiques Diva