Eastern Road » Review by Cristin
As my first time traveling alone as well as my first Contiki trip, I was thoroughly impressed with how well the trip was organized and had a truly incredible experience. I always felt safe and comfortable while on the journey. The tour manager, Nick Papadatos was phenomenal. He was knowledgeable, fun, outgoing, personable and truly enhanced every part of the trip for me. Fortunately the group that I went with was a great group of people who all enjoyed going out at night, but also appreciated the historical significance of everything we did.
I signed up for every additional activity and regardless of what other reviews said the Classical Concert in Vienna and Parliament Tour in Budapest were absolutely worth it. If you have any sort of appreciation for classical music you will definitely enjoy the evening. As for the Parliament Tour, it wasn't the most exciting tour seeing as the tour guides are older but the building itself is exquisite and the architecture is magnificent.
If I had to choose one thing that I was disappointed with I would say that I would've liked to go into every cathedral and castle that we saw, but there simply was not enough time.
Here's a brief summary of each city:
Pros: Walking tour was good and full of historical facts; food was great.
Cons: Hotel was awful - no air conditioning and small rooms. Also, all of the museums were closed on Mondays so we did not get to go to any museums on Museum Island. Eye Spy Berlin tour - definitely not worth the money. Not as cool as they make it seem in the brochure.
Pros: Bike tour (which we did after it down poured and it was still one of my favorite memories from the trip), traditional Czech dinner (the food itself wasn't my favorite, but the evening itself was great!)
Cons: The Nuclear Bunker tour was great- but not as authentic as I would've liked it to be. It has been used for video games and things like that so there are XBOX stickers on the floor and took away from the historical significance of it - but I am still very happy that I did it.
Pros: ALL OF THE OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES - Schnapps tour was great! Classical concert was wonderful. Prater was fun and the Praterdome was easily the best nightclub I have ever been to.
Cons: The city itself wasn't impressive - if it weren't for the optional activities I could've done without this city
Pros: MOST BEAUTIFUL CITY I HAVE EVER SEEN. If you've heard a lot about the beauty of Prague - just wait till you get to Budapest. Dinner cruise was amazing and so picturesque. Sparty - if you don't know what it is - look it up. (Crazy but definitely worth while just to say you've done it!). Also, before you go check to see if they have any festivals when you are traveling - my group was lucky and I got to both the summer festival on Margaret Island which was stunningly beautiful AND I also experienced the Hungarian food festival which was fun and the locals are great. The Fisherman's Bastion was beautiful and made me fall in love with the city. Definitely do the Museum of Terror - it's a great precursor to visiting the Concentration Camps in Poland. Also, visit Margaret Island - it's a great little spot to hangout for an easygoing afternoon.
Cons: There are none.
Pros: Salt Mines Tour - Just do it. You won't regret it. Pierogi. Pierogi. Pierogi!!! Definitely try the traditional Polish drink at the bars - it's similar to Apple Pie and it's amazing.
Cons: Hotel breakfast wasn't as great as the previous cities but it was still good.
Pros: Good nightlife. Pierogi!!!!! The final night was wonderful and it was nice that it was included on the trip.
Cons: Not much to do in the city other than walk around and soak in the sites
*Auschwitz and Birkenau were truly sobering and completely numbing. I have been interested in the Holocaust and WWII for quite some time and have studied it, therefore visiting the camps is one of the main reasons I chose to do this specific trip. It's good that it falls towards the end of the trip because at that point you feel comfortable leaning on your Contiki family when the emotions set in.
Fun things about the trip:
The day song that your tour manager picks - after you get home, when you hear it on the radio you will always remember your Contiki travels and the amazing people you met while on the tour.
Nightlife - even if you're not a big drinker, there is something for everyone. Go out with the group to form some great memories that will last a lifetime.
Worst hotel - Berlin
Worst food - Prague
Worst optional - Eye Spy Berlin
Best food - Poland.
Best set of "Me Time" activities - Vienna & Budapest
Most historical - Berlin and Auschwitz/Birkenau
Most beautiful - Budapest & Prague
Best nightlife - Vienna & Budapest
Best hotel - Vienna
Review written Jun 2014event 0.3