Madrid (Spain) in two days

Madrid, originally Myrit, was set up by Moors in about 700 AD, to fight against Catholic Spanish stronghold of Toledo which used to be the old capital of the Castile kingdom.

  1. Public transport is good, get a Metro card with ten tickets, it can even be shared simultaneously.
  2. Beware of pickpockets.
  3. Credit card acceptance is high, but not 100%.
  4. Churros + hot chocolate are famous in Madrid.
  5. The city has pedestrianized itself over time, so the city center is entirely car-free.

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Rome (Italy) in three days

Rome has a rich history pertinent to western civilization. There are three different aspects of roaming in Rome, namely, architecture, history, and religion (Catholic – Christians). I was profoundly interested in history and to some extent, in architecture, and that influenced my itinerary.

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A day in Venice (Italy)

A day in Venice

Compared to Prague, Rome, Vienna, and Split, Venice is a tourist trap. The city is made up of a collection of 100+ islands. Bridges connect most of them, and you can walk throughout the city. All the public transport is using water buses called Vaporetto. A single trip costs 8 Euros. If you are planning to use Vaporetto, buy a 24-hour pass worth 20 Euro which covers unlimited trips on Vaporetto.

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Croatia in Four Days

Croatia is a Balkan country south of Austria. It’s a small country of 4 million inhabitants and cities with medieval architecture. Games of Thrones was shot here.

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Budapest (Hungary) in Two Days

Budapest, pronounced Budapescht, consists of two cities, hilly Buda in the west, and flat Pest in the south. The city structure is similar to Prague.

Day 1

Start your day with a walking tour. While there are many specific ones like focusing on Jewish quarters etc. I chose the generic one which covers the history and the culture of the city. After the tour, spend time checking out the castle before heading down to the Hospital in the rock. It was a hospital built during the cold war to survive a nuclear attack. The guided tour at this place is subpar though.

Castle

Buda Castle

Chapel at Buda Castle

Chapel at Buda Castle

Bunker Hospital

Bunker Hospital

Check out the Mansfeld Peter Memorial and Zero kilometer Stone while going down from the castle.

Peter Mansfield Memorial

Peter Mansfield Memorial

0 KM

0 KM

And then before crossing over to the Pest side, take a bus to Citadella for a few more views of the city.

View of Budapest from Citadella

View of Budapest from Citadella

Day 2

Start the day with St. Stephen’s Basilica. There is a hand of Stephen, the first king of Hungary, inside. It is illegal to construct a building taller than this in Budapest. The Hungary Parliament building is precisely the same height.

St. Stephen's Basilica

St. Stephen’s Basilica

Stephen's hand

Stephen’s hand

Next, head to Shoes on the Danube Bank, which are placed by Hungarians in the memory of the Holocaust victims.

Shoes at Danube River

Shoes at Danube River

Later at night, check out Szimpla Kert and Red Ruin, the two famous ruin bars among many others.

Szimpla Kert

Szimpla Kert

Red Ruin

Red Ruin

Note that Budapest is famous for the thermal baths as well. I felt that they are glorified hot water pools with high prices and decided to skip them.

Vienna in two days

Vienna is a historic city. First, a pivotal battle between the Ottoman Empire and Western Europe was fought in 1683 and then, during the second world war, significant support to Hitler came from Vienna.

Some tips for the first timers

  1. The dominant spoken language is German, but it is not hard to find English speakers.
  2. Public transport is great and a 24-hour pass costs 8 Euros.
  3. Most of the good spots are near the city center, so, don’t stay too far away.
  4. Toilets inside shopping malls, big grocery stores, and restaurants are usually free. Outside ones charge 0.5 Euro.

Which museum to see

Vienna is full of museums, and one can spend a week just checking out the museums. Entry cost varies from 4 Euros to 20 Euros. I would recommend deciding what you want to see and make a decision based on that. I was not interested in checking out natural history or art museums since they are similar to the museums I have seen before. Therefore, I picked “Museum of Art Fakes” and “Museum of Abortion and Contraception.” Both unusual and unique to Vienna.

Day 1

Start your day with a tip-only walking tour which gives you a good understanding of the history as well as the culture of this city. After the tour, spend time checking out St. Stephen’s Cathedral, a 13th century 444-ft tall Church which was the tallest building of its time.

St. Stephen’s Cathedral

An old Nail Tree with nails nailed in for good luck is nearby and easy to miss.

Nail Tree

Next, head to Danube riverfront for a walk, it is a bit overhyped, so, feel free to skip it as well.

Danube Riverfront

Then head to the Open air market, Naschmarkt, prices are competitive, and it is a great place to grab fresh fruits.

Naschmarkt

Next, head to the Museum of Abortion and Contraception. It is small, it takes about an hour to see the full museum, and it has a good audio tour in multiple languages. Most writings on the wall, unfortunately, are only in German. The museum covers the legal, technological, and social battle fought for birth control rights.

Day 2

Head to the Republic of Kugel Mugel, a micronation inside Vienna. There isn’t much except a ball, so, don’t raise hopes.

Kugel Mugel

Then head to weird houses designed by Hundertwasser.

Weird house; weird design

And next door is the Museum of Art Fakes which covers the art forgery in great detail. The museum is small but has an unusually high-quality collection of both samples and anecdotes to learn from.

Museum of Art Fakes

Prague in Two Days

Prague, or “Praha” in Chezch, is probably the most famous city in Eastern Europe. The city boasts medical castles, museums, and quite a few quirky attractions.

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