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  #1  
Old September 24th, 2012, 12:37 PM
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Question Avalon Budapest Tour

Would really appreciate it if someone could tell me which sites are usually included when Avalon takes you on their included day of touring in Budapest. Trying to plan a half day tour in Budapest with our own guide when we have free time, but I don't want to duplicate what Avalon is going to cover. Thank you.
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  #2  
Old September 24th, 2012, 09:09 PM
yvr49 yvr49 is offline
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We did this just 2 weeks ago. It was part bus tour and part walking tour - the bus took us to Heroes' Square where we got off the bus for a short time. We also toured Castle Hill on foot, Fisherman's Bastion. The bus drove us past Central Market, Andrassy Street , Parliament Buildings, Great Synagogue, Szechenyi Baths, Opera House, House of Terror, etc. etc. -- all the main sights of interest.

We spent the afternoon walking down Vasi Utca to the Central Market, then walked to Great Synagogue, Opera House & House of Terror for a more in-depth look.
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  #3  
Old September 24th, 2012, 09:56 PM
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Default Previous Budapest to Prague on Avalon

Another poster, "Dobie," sent me her menus, daily newsletters, and more on her October 2010 cruise, so I could see the type of info Avalon gives out dailyNews.Prag2010.pdf. I've finally scanned a some pages so they can be shared with everyone here on CC doing research. Unable to post all of them due to limits on sizes of scan.
SampleMenus.Avalon.BudPrag.pdf
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  #4  
Old September 28th, 2012, 10:58 PM
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Default Budapest

We spent 3 pre-cruise days on our own in Budapest last November 2011. It is a very easy city to walk around and sight see on your own if you have no mobility issues. We stayed at the Intercontinental which was the designated Avalon Hotel pre-cruise. Great location on the Danube, steps away from the Chain Bridge. We walked across the Chain Bridge to the Buda side and toured around the Castle district and Fisherman's Bastion on our own and then went back again with the included morning bus tour from Avalon the day before embarkation. We walked on our own to see the Shoes on the Danube Jewish Memorial site (very close to Chain Bridge and the Intercontinental) which was quite moving and took the Metro to Hero's Square and the Opera House where they had a very good afternoon English speaking Tour. The Opera House was quite beautiful!. Avalon offered a bus tour to the Jewish Synagogue but it was easy to reach via Metro and much less expensive to do on our own, It was also very impressive and very beautiful. If I remember my facts correctly it is the 2 nd largest Synagogue in the world. We are not of the Jewish faith but thought it was unbelievably beautiful. There is also a beautiful Cathedral on the Pest side within easy walking distance from the Intercontinental Hotel, St. Stephens Basillica. We loved Budapest and hope to return again!!

If you have time, make reservations via the Hotel Concierge to have Dinner at Cafe Kor. Very good food, especially the Schnitzel!! The Concierge at the Hotel Intercontinental were great with maps, directions and instructions on using the Subway which worked out conveniently. Tried to talk DH into trying one of the Hot Baths that are so famous in Budapest but no luck. Maybe next trip
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Old September 30th, 2012, 12:10 PM
Riversanddale Riversanddale is offline
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Hi, BPCruiser. We're going to be in Budapest soon and would appreciate if you could comment on the weather you encountered in November on your trip - and anyone else who would like to chime in about fall weather on this trip. We can't wait to go but I'm stewing about trying to pack cold weather clothes in our very small suitcases (one 22" and one carryon) as we will have some pre-cruise days on our own and several after.
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  #6  
Old October 3rd, 2012, 06:33 PM
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Default Weather

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Originally Posted by Riversanddale View Post
Hi, BPCruiser. We're going to be in Budapest soon and would appreciate if you could comment on the weather you encountered in November on your trip - and anyone else who would like to chime in about fall weather on this trip. We can't wait to go but I'm stewing about trying to pack cold weather clothes in our very small suitcases (one 22" and one carryon) as we will have some pre-cruise days on our own and several after.
Hi Riversanddale, We were on the Budapest to Prague cruise last mid-late November and were very lucky with the weather as far as "NO Rain" for the entire trip. There was a drought going on in the Fall last yr. which did cause some water level issues on the river but otherwise we had glorious weather most days. Majority were cold in the morning but then sunny and quite comfortable for sightseeing with the proper layering of garments/ coats. We did have a few colder, gloomy days but out of the 19 or so days we were gone, 90% were quite nice. We were hoping to see some snow but it did not happen. We went with down coats and the usual winter garments (gloves, scarves, hats) expecting it to be much more wintery. I wore comfortable boots and we always toured with our umbrellas in case needed. Early Mornings were in the upper 20's to low 30's but then quickly rose to low -mid 40's with sun .

Being from Texas where we have 6 months of heat, we enjoyed the cooler temps and it certainly made the Christmas markets seem quite festive in Prague. Many days I just layered and used a large warm shawl type wrap and did not even need my down coat. But all being said, we are active, walk alot and are quite tolerant of the cooler weather. October and November are our favorite times to river cruise. I was told by the locals that we were having unusually nice weather for late November so I guess we were quite lucky. Don't mind the cold as long as it is a dry cold.

We packed each with 1 large 27" suitcase and a small plane carry on. I am not known for being a good packer so I don't envy you trying to get winter garments in a 22" suitcase. There are many very proficient travelers/suit case packers on these boards but unfortunately, I am not one of them.

I wish you a trip as grand as ours was, for us it was the best ever as we just fell in love with Budapest and Prague
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  #7  
Old October 4th, 2012, 05:53 AM
caviargal caviargal is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Riversanddale View Post
Hi, BPCruiser. We're going to be in Budapest soon and would appreciate if you could comment on the weather you encountered in November on your trip - and anyone else who would like to chime in about fall weather on this trip. We can't wait to go but I'm stewing about trying to pack cold weather clothes in our very small suitcases (one 22" and one carryon) as we will have some pre-cruise days on our own and several after.

We have often been in this part of Europe in November as we plan an annual trip over the Thanksgiving holiday to coincide with Thanksgiving and our anniversary.

We are light packers, taking either a 22in and medium backpack (our carry on) or 24 inch.

We dress in layers. For me, that is a cami, an insulated half zip (http://www.campmor.com/columbia-spor...pullover.shtml), and cords or jeans. I pack a pair of silk underlayers as well in case of extreme cold ( we are in the mountains when the itinerary permits). I carry a down coat on the plane and wear my waterproof boots. Shoes are the bulkiest and I put a pair of lightweight black athletic shoes in my backpack to wear on the boat, in the gym (I am a gym rat), on the plane during the long flight.

If we are cruising, I pack a pair of black knit dress pants and a few tops (jersey or knit so no wrinkles and no weight) for evening and also one other outfit, either a black knit skirt or perhaps a Chico's type fabric top and bottom. I pack a pair of black booties for the evenings. Mine are stretch fabric and weigh next to nothing. I also pack a pashmina in my carry on to use for chilly nights on the boat, on the plane or on the occasional sunny day when I can do without my coat.

I have a second pair of walking shoes for comfort, gloves, hat, earmuffs.

We will hand wash some items (like my half zips) and we will have our jeans/cords laundered as needed rather than pack more.

I use packing cubes to organize my luggage and my clothing and they are a lifesaver for me. My husband uses a combination of cubes and rolling.

We have found that we need a lot less than we used to pack and since we are on the trains often packing light makes travel far more pleasant.

We love Europe in November and December.
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Last edited by caviargal; October 4th, 2012 at 05:54 AM.
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  #8  
Old October 4th, 2012, 11:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caviargal View Post
We have often been in this part of Europe in November as we plan an annual trip over the Thanksgiving holiday to coincide with Thanksgiving and our anniversary.

We are light packers, taking either a 22in and medium backpack (our carry on) or 24 inch.

We dress in layers. For me, that is a cami, an insulated half zip (http://www.campmor.com/columbia-spor...pullover.shtml), and cords or jeans. I pack a pair of silk underlayers as well in case of extreme cold ( we are in the mountains when the itinerary permits). I carry a down coat on the plane and wear my waterproof boots. Shoes are the bulkiest and I put a pair of lightweight black athletic shoes in my backpack to wear on the boat, in the gym (I am a gym rat), on the plane during the long flight.

If we are cruising, I pack a pair of black knit dress pants and a few tops (jersey or knit so no wrinkles and no weight) for evening and also one other outfit, either a black knit skirt or perhaps a Chico's type fabric top and bottom. I pack a pair of black booties for the evenings. Mine are stretch fabric and weigh next to nothing. I also pack a pashmina in my carry on to use for chilly nights on the boat, on the plane or on the occasional sunny day when I can do without my coat.

I have a second pair of walking shoes for comfort, gloves, hat, earmuffs.

We will hand wash some items (like my half zips) and we will have our jeans/cords laundered as needed rather than pack more.

I use packing cubes to organize my luggage and my clothing and they are a lifesaver for me. My husband uses a combination of cubes and rolling.

We have found that we need a lot less than we used to pack and since we are on the trains often packing light makes travel far more pleasant.

We love Europe in November and December.
Caviargal, Thanks for all your wonderful suggestions on packing. I hope to improve and minimize what I bring and sometimes never wear. I loved your link to campmor.com, it is not a web site I am familiar with and I do alot of on-line shopping. The 1/2 zip pullover you spoke of looks quite useful and warm with out being bulky, unfortunately they do not have my size currently and we depart on Tuesday. I have some of those packing cubes and they are quite useful. Thanks as always for all your great travel tips, I have learned much from your postings over the years. I will be so anxious to hear your impressions of Budapest on your upcoming trip, we want to go back again soon as we just loved it....for us, even more then Prague. Hopefully you will enjoy it as well. if you have any specific recommendations for restaurants or sites in Zurich or Vienna, I would love to hear them as we will have a few pre and post cruise days in those cities.
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  #9  
Old October 4th, 2012, 01:17 PM
caviargal caviargal is offline
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BPCruiser, thank you very much for the kind words.

I live in FL and have a really difficult time finding cold weather clothes so I shop a lot online. Are you familiar with these:

www.SierraTradingPost.com
www.Athleta.com
www.titlenine.com

I use them all. Zappos and Amazon as well.

I purchase my half zips whenever I can find them. Last season I found some very nice Reebok ones at 50% at Dicks Sporting Goods so I picked up two. The rest have come from ebay, TJMaxx, Ross and Marshalls.

We are most excited about Budapest and I am sure that three days will not be enough - but a perfect excuse to return for an extended stay next time around.

I have not been to Zurich so no suggestions to offer. In Vienna, I enjoy wandering the Nachstmarket and have enjoyed some good meals at the small restaurants there. I always scour for restaurants on Chowhound and the Fodors.com message boards. Lots of good advice there from seasoned travelers.

I just made reservations for a wine tasting in Budapest at Faust Wine Cellar and am excited about that, followed by dinner at Rosenstein Vendéglő , a restaurant that specializes in game.

Soon it will be time to take out the suitcases - the preparation is all part of the excitement for me!
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  #10  
Old October 4th, 2012, 02:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caviargal View Post
BPCruiser, thank you very much for the kind words.

I live in FL and have a really difficult time finding cold weather clothes so I shop a lot online. Are you familiar with these:

www.SierraTradingPost.com
www.Athleta.com
www.titlenine.com

I use them all. Zappos and Amazon as well.

I purchase my half zips whenever I can find them. Last season I found some very nice Reebok ones at 50% at Dicks Sporting Goods so I picked up two. The rest have come from ebay, TJMaxx, Ross and Marshalls.

We are most excited about Budapest and I am sure that three days will not be enough - but a perfect excuse to return for an extended stay next time around.

I have not been to Zurich so no suggestions to offer. In Vienna, I enjoy wandering the Nachstmarket and have enjoyed some good meals at the small restaurants there. I always scour for restaurants on Chowhound and the Fodors.com message boards. Lots of good advice there from seasoned travelers.

I just made reservations for a wine tasting in Budapest at Faust Wine Cellar and am excited about that, followed by dinner at Rosenstein Vendéglő , a restaurant that specializes in game.

Soon it will be time to take out the suitcases - the preparation is all part of the excitement for me!
Caviargal, Thanks again for the web site recommendations! The Nachstmarket is on our list to see. I will research the sites you recommended for other restaurant recommendations for Vienna. We have reservations one night for Figlmuller Wollzeile as it has great reviews for their Schnitzel which is one of our favorites!
Yes, I confidently believe that a repeat trip to Budapest will be on your future travel list. One could easily spend a leisurely week taking in all there is to see and do. I think I mentioned this on previous post last year upon our return but 2 restaurants which we very much enjoyed were Cafe Kor ( ate there twice, wonderful schnitzel and duck) as well as Menza. Many locals at both places, esp. Menza. We only did Lunch at Menza but they have a wonderful Goulash Soup which on a cold day was great and we each had a speciality salad. The duck served at the table next to us looked awesome but too much food for us for Lunch. Do not try to get in Cafe Kor for Dinner without a reservation, it is always crowded and not very big but worth the trip imo. It is also only about a block away from St. Stephen's Basilica which is quite pretty lit up at night. There is coffee shop in the square by the Basilica that has free wifi if you purchase a cup of coffee. We stopped in each night after Dinner, had coffee, watched the locals and used the free wifi for my Ipad to catch up on emails etc. Menza is a very short walk from the Budapest Opera House which we thought the tour was quite beautiful if you like Opera Houses. Maybe not quite as ornate as the Paris Opera House but very beautiful. They conduct an English speaking tour in the afternoon around 3P if I remember correctly. Have a great trip and maybe we shall see each other back in Budapest in the future as I know we will for sure go back.
I wanted to go back this year for more of the Christmas markets and try AMA for a change just to compare to our experience in the past with Avalon but DH wanted to see new ports hence we are beginning in Zurich/Basel and working our way back to Vienna. Maybe next year we will get back but he is already looking at the French Waterways river cruises for 2013. We are cruising tbe Baltic's in the Summer with Oceania so don't know at this point which Fall river cruise we will be on
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Old October 4th, 2012, 03:32 PM
caviargal caviargal is offline
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We just booked with AMA for their Amsterdam to Basel over Christmas week and will spend a night in Basel, day tripping to Luzern. This route has all new ports for us which is always exciting. Then we head to Berlin for 4 nights and NYE.

When we are back from that trip I will get to work on filling in our Italy itinerary for our first Oceania cruise next year. I booked hotels in Florence, Rapallo and Venice already so need to get to work on private tours.

I am thinking we may try a wine cruise to the French countryside in 2014 with AMA as their wine cruise last year was so much fun! Neither DH nor I are fans of Paris but we have never been together so may just give a whirl - at least we know that the wine will be good!

Thanks for the reminders about Budapest. Cafe Kor is on my list. I noticed that some of Budapest's better restaurants have nice prix fixe lunch menus and will need to get to work on that soon.
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Old October 4th, 2012, 04:21 PM
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Originally Posted by caviargal View Post
We just booked with AMA for their Amsterdam to Basel over Christmas week and will spend a night in Basel, day tripping to Luzern. This route has all new ports for us which is always exciting. Then we head to Berlin for 4 nights and NYE.

When we are back from that trip I will get to work on filling in our Italy itinerary for our first Oceania cruise next year. I booked hotels in Florence, Rapallo and Venice already so need to get to work on private tours.

I am thinking we may try a wine cruise to the French countryside in 2014 with AMA as their wine cruise last year was so much fun! Neither DH nor I are fans of Paris but we have never been together so may just give a whirl - at least we know that the wine will be good!

Thanks for the reminders about Budapest. Cafe Kor is on my list. I noticed that some of Budapest's better restaurants have nice prix fixe lunch menus and will need to get to work on that soon.
Sounds like you have 2 wonderful itineraries for the end of 2012 at Thanksgiving and Christmas. We are going to try to take the train from Zurich to Luzerne for a day trip as well, suppose to be easy to do. We are not as experienced train travelers as you but we are learning in baby steps.

Sounds like you plan on staying with AMA and not returning to Avalon, obviously you have had great trips with AMA. I do want to try them so I can compare. It is like most things, you start with one company and if you have good experiences you tend to stick with them but I am willing to be more adventurous then DH and would like to consider other options.

Unrelated to river cruising but if you have not cruised with Oceania previously, you will just love them!! Unbelievable dining in the speciality restaurants . We were so happy with our 1st O cruise this past May, we booked our Baltic's cruise while on board to get the on-board booking discount. They are really great!
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Old October 5th, 2012, 06:48 PM
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Wonderful tips & suggestions from both of you, BPCruiser and caviargal. After this weekend I can get down to serious packing recommendations and take another look at the good restaurant suggestions. Every trip is better and I know I can pare things down more but I'm sure I'll never be the master packer that you are caviargal.

Our Rick Steve and DK Eyewitness books for Vienna arrived today. We have them for Budapest, Amsterdam and Bruges, too. I like Rick Steve walking directions and hints on what times to see things and besides the great building cutaways that I'm hooked on I love the notations in Eyewitness that show where I can/cannot take photos. That's a big thing for me and I don't like to spend nearly as much time where I can't photograph. The prep is half the fun of a trip and we are the folks who really do enjoy our photos at home for years to come. We don't often get to visit places like this and know that we won't get back to most of them again. We always try to slow down and enjoy the roses along the way but the photos extend the trips for us immeasurably.

Thanks again and enjoy your travels, too!
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