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Ballroom in the Grand Bohemia Praha, where the Mozart dinner concert is held.

Part 5 was Slovakia, Once Again!

CZECH REPUBLIC

TOURISTS INVADE PRAGUE, THE CITY OF CONCERTS, CASTLES AND KORUNAS

Where we stayed:

The 78-room Grand Bohemia Praha is tucked neatly onto a side street within walking distance of famous attractions such as the Old Town Square, Old Town Hall, and Wenceslas Square.

Our room was a triangle, which seemed to make it feel larger. One thing did surprise me. I was startled while in the restroom to hear voices so loud I thought someone had entered our cute but efficient guestroom. Turns out there are speakers from the TV in the restroom so you never have to miss a single word! Breakfast was wonderful, an endless buffet of fresh breads, fruits, and prepared dishes, plus bottles of bubbly wine and a selection of juices to mix or drink separate. Russ and I did not attend Read the rest of this entry »

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Looking at the UFO Restaurant across from Hotel Devin in Bratislava.

Part 4 was The Music and Muses of Vibrant Vienna

SLOVAKIA, once again!

BRATISLAVA

Yes, I have spoken about Slovakia, but only when our intrepid group of travelers paused for lunch on our way from Poland to Hungary in Part 3-EASTERN EUROPE: STRUDEL, SCHNITZEL AND STRAUSS, A FEW OF OUR FAVORITE THINGS;

Breakfast in Poland, Lunch in Slovakia and Dinner in Hungary. This time we departed Austria and headed for the Czech Republic, stopping for the night in Bratislava, the world’s only capital to share borders Read the rest of this entry »

A stately building in Vienna.

Part 3 was Breakfast in Poland, Lunch in Slovakia and Dinner in Hungary

AUSTRIA

THE MUSIC AND MUSES OF VIBRANT VIENNA

Where we stayed:

The Hilton Vienna Plaza didn’t have the same startling views of the Danube River as our Hilton Budapest did, but it did have Alpine tap water so crystal clear that we forewent drinking bottled. Our room was quite lovely, with marble streaks of two-toned greys, a workable desk with a comfortable study desk chair and a divan instead of a lounge chair. Location Read the rest of this entry »

Our welcoming sight to Budapest, Hungary is the House of Parliament Building

BREAKFAST IN POLAND, LUNCH IN SLOVAKIA AND DINNER IN HUNGARY

Part 2 was From Concentration Camps to Trendy Kraków

Only one road connects Poland with Hungary, and you have to drive through Slovakia to do it. The narrow, exceedingly bumpy road was under reconstruction so traffic barely crawled. It did give us time to peruse the beauty of the Tatra Mountains, popular for winter sports. What I noticed is that the Slovakian houses we passed all have sloped, peaked roofs to prevent snow from mounting.  Flower boxes hang from balconies and even with a typically brief summer season (though not true this year Read the rest of this entry »

Spinach strudel, boiled potatoes, sausages and more at Café Museum in Vienna, Austria

Strudel, Schnitzel and Strauss weren’t all that grabbed our attention about Eastern Europe, but they were certainly components of the rich cultural influences food, wine, music, arts, and architecture played during our recent Odysseys Unlimited Discovering Eastern Europe tour. The trip evoked memories of our ancestry.

Yiddish was the language my grandparents, aunts and uncles spoke when they didn’t want me to understand the conversation. English was the rule otherwise. How often did I hear them say, “We are now Americans. We speak English.”

My parents were first-born Americans from parents who fled Poland, Romania and the Austro-Hungarian Empire in the early 1900s. Even as the eldest of my parent’s three children, I didn’t know to ask why they fled their native countries or how Read the rest of this entry »

St. Mark’s Square and colorful buildings line Venice’s Grand Canal

GONDOLIERS DON’T SING BUT VENICE STILL EVOKES ROMANCE

In Part 5 – The Classical Beauty Of Tuscany, The Elegance Of Florence And San Gimignano’s Tall Towers

VENICE

Where we stayed:

The Carnival Palace Hotel, opened in 2012, overlooks the Cannaregio Canal in the heart of historic downtown Venice. The modern 67 room hotel is not in the midst of tourist traffic, so if you want to venture to St Marks, museums and art galleries, you either have a very long walk or you can easily take a water bus from a station just a short distance away. The hotel buffet was diverse, with a vegan brioche I mistakenly took for a wheat croissant until I bit down into its soft, buttery texture. These were so amazing I ate them every morning for four days. Russ and I and several Read the rest of this entry »

View from Villa San Fillippo

THE CLASSICAL BEAUTY OF TUSCANY, THE ELEGANCE OF FLORENCE AND SAN GIMIGNANO’S TALL TOWERS

Part 4 was Medieval City Faced Chemical Warfare And Peace Makers Wage War Against Poverty In Orvieto And Assisi

SIENA, FLORENCE and SAN GIMIGNANO

Where we stayed:

Villa San Filippo is an 18th century 35-room resort in the Chianti hills, in Barberino Val D’Elsa. Russ and I stayed in a magnificent suite that opened up to a dining and kitchen area, tiled floors, and a step down to the bathroom and luxuriously appointed bedroom. A comfy chair positioned in front of a large window and balcony in the living room afforded spectacular views of the lush Tuscan landscape Read the rest of this entry »

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