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Old 14th September 2011, 15:32   #46
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Default Re: Sonata Europa - 5 countries, 4000kms and 15 days

One word. Awesome!

Reminds me of my back packing 7 day trip to Paris. Absolutely agree with you that package tours don't do justice to Europe. You need to be amongst the people to sense their culture. We did the same during our Paris trip. And thankfully as my wife is a fluent French speaker, didn't have too much of an issue. And oh yes, we also took the Airport Bus to city. And next day bought Ticket Booklet for travel on the public transport. I guess these are standard backpacker techniques.

Hope you enjoyed Bratwurst and Cheese?

Cheers
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Old 14th September 2011, 15:41   #47
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Default Re: Sonata Europa - 5 countries, 4000kms and 15 days

Quote:
Originally Posted by MileCruncher View Post
One word. Awesome!

Reminds me of my back packing 7 day trip to Paris. Absolutely agree with you that package tours don't do justice to Europe. You need to be amongst the people to sense their culture. We did the same during our Paris trip. And thankfully as my wife is a fluent French speaker, didn't have too much of an issue. And oh yes, we also took the Airport Bus to city. And next day bought Ticket Booklet for travel on the public transport. I guess these are standard backpacker techniques.

Hope you enjoyed Bratwurst and Cheese?

Cheers
You are right.
That said, we commuted for 9 days by car, so not really a strictly backpack trip. Carrying so much food, laptop and 2 cameras meant we could not backpack
As for the food, all we tried was Cheese and Ice-cream, and whatever we could get our hands on during Breakfast time(which was free).
As for the Sausages, we did try some really nice ones in Hungray(Courtesy hotel breakfast).
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Old 14th September 2011, 16:49   #48
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Default Re: Sonata Europa - 5 countries, 4000kms and 15 days

The first post is an epic Tanveer.
The way you have introduced Europe to us is just so mindblowing . I was in awe after reading your captions and looking at the pics that followed.
AmazinG!!
Glued to your Europe trip.
Come out with those wonderful pics and details, so eagerly looking forward to it.
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Old 14th September 2011, 16:50   #49
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Default Re: Sonata Europa - 5 countries, 4000kms and 15 days

Nice travelogue and a nice pictures to start with.
Just made me nostalgic of my trip to Swiss alps.
I did all my trip in the train and the local buses and metro trains it is a thrill.
The best part the excitement of exploring the country.
I hope you did not have a close call while transiting trains I had it almost twice.
I hope to see some countryside through your eyes.
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Old 14th September 2011, 17:10   #50
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Default Re: Sonata Europa - 5 countries, 4000kms and 15 days

I look forward to LOTS of pictures of Vienna. I visited it years ago as a student and have few pictures but lots of good memories of the great city. I am sure your photos will revive my memories again!
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Old 14th September 2011, 17:32   #51
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Default Re: Sonata Europa - 5 countries, 4000kms and 15 days

You are an messiah for people like me who has never set foot outside India.
Please do post as much snaps as possible.

Loving it. Can't wait for more !!
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Old 14th September 2011, 18:08   #52
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Default Re: Sonata Europa - 5 countries, 4000kms and 15 days

Dont forget to write about WC, Herren and Damen
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Old 14th September 2011, 22:28   #53
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Default Re: Sonata Europa - 5 countries, 4000kms and 15 days

TSK .. I have always followed your write ups on BHP as well as BCMtouring and I always love them , but this time the photography is just out of the world . Its breath taking . And if the teaser is so awesome am drooling over the though of the entire log . Please dont slow down , roll out all of the log as quickly as possible .

Rating this a full 5 stars but it deserves a lot more .
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Old 14th September 2011, 22:33   #54
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Default Re: Sonata Europa - 5 countries, 4000kms and 15 days

Travelling across Europe is an absolute delight.I lived this dream in 2005 when I used to drive down almost every week end during my stay to a new place (usually in a new country). I know Nature and Culture tops the list but dont miss the Mercedes Benz museum in Stuttgart and Ferrari museum in Maranello.

Cheers.
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Old 14th September 2011, 23:14   #55
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Default Re: Sonata Europa - 5 countries, 4000kms and 15 days

Another epic in the making. Awesome photos and equally good writing. I missed the White elephant though.

Rated 5*
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Old 15th September 2011, 01:29   #56
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Default Re: Sonata Europa - 5 countries, 4000kms and 15 days

Awesome photography and wonderful writeup!
waiting for more photos and details. If possible, please post the break up of cost in an excel sheet.
how much in advance did you have to make your air ticket booking to get them so cheap?
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Old 15th September 2011, 10:46   #57
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Default Re: Sonata Europa - 5 countries, 4000kms and 15 days

F5..F5... EFFFF FAAIVVVV!
5 Star thread!
TSK, you need to seriously consider posting an independent blog from where one could print out the results of your hard work and save themselves all the hassles of gathering such detailed travel information.
Awesome story... awesome narration and humor.
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Old 15th September 2011, 11:06   #58
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Default Re: Sonata Europa - 5 countries, 4000kms and 15 days

Wow rated 5*. Driving thro Europe is such a pleasure. In 2010 i had to take some of our customers to various sites in Italy & France. I decided to drive from Milan to France via Switzerland and Germany and back. This was the drive of my life. Am planning to 'drive Europe' once again possibly in 2014 with family.

Travelling in Europe in trains or just driving thro' by car is heavenly and every Team-Bhpian will love it. Most Rent-a- cars come with the GPS.

All you need is Google, GPS and a credit card. The Euro card issued by Citibank is also useful

TSK....i hope you enjoy your trip as much as we enjoy your travelog !
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Old 15th September 2011, 11:13   #59
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Default Re: Sonata Europa - 5 countries, 4000kms and 15 days

woow woooww woooww...when did this happen?? thats such a nice surprise....5* and subscribed. TSK you dint even tell me about this yesterday??.

to be frank i was planning to do a Europe road trip around the same time but looking at the effort involved to make it happen for a family of 4 (Parents Sister and me) i gave up and decided to do Ladakh again with friends.
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Old 15th September 2011, 11:17   #60
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Default Wein - To the Hotel and Public transport

First let me tell you something about the public transport system in Vienna.
Its very similar to what many other big European cities have.

The public transport is built on the principle, that you should be able to go to any point within the city limits with minimal changes and through multiple options by various modes of transport, predictably.

For example, if you want to predictable go from Noida to Gurgaon in "X" amount of time, the only way to do so is catch the metro at Noida, go in a different direction towards Rajiv Chowk, and then change metro there to go to Noida.

In a city like Vienna.
you could catch one Metro line, change to another metro line and reach your destination, or catch a tram, or mix trams and Metro.

alternatively, there are many trains which take you to outskirts. An outskirts area is something which is not really inside the city. for example, the Airport.
There are trains crisscrossing the city which you could use if your place of interest lies along a railway line.

There is one common pass.
A 48 hour pass costs 10Eur per person.

The Bus had dropped us to WestBahnof, which is West Train station.
As we stood with our suitcases, we could either go to Metro Station, or to Tram station or to the Railway station itself, within 100 meters of each other.

All major train stations are usually built near metro and Train stations, so changeover is painless.

However, being strangers in a strange land, we head to something called "Information".

Those guys spoke English, and gave us a subway map.
You can view the routes and maps here if you a re curious. I have linked to English page here
www.wienerlinien.at

Now subway maps are simple, since the Subway or metro is basically 5 lines crisscrossing the city.

Much more complex is the tram map. Normally its possible to get a direct tram, but tourists normally take the metro, because its simpler, even though it takes more time because you travel more than you need to.

As we show them our hotel address, they tell us that we need to get down at a Metro station called Suditroler Platz.

However, there could be a direct tram connection, but they do not have a map for that, as they are the railway info center.

But no issues.
One guy has a smartphone, and he asks us to wait a couple of minutes.
He opens the website, and finds out that Tram number 6 will lead us directly to our station.
Great!

This is our second experience of European hospitality. This guy is a railway information official, and he does not know anything about tram schedules. Still he goes beyond his duty call to find us the tram route and platform!

He also guides us to the automated ticket booth. We take the 48 hours ticket. The automated system has 6 languages supported and one of them happens to be English.

With our passes in our hands, we head to the tram platform.

Now trams do not have fixed schedules. They just have a frequency. Ours was once every 6-9 minutes

The reason for this is that trams run on rails cut into roads. So they have to follow the rules of road traffic, i.e. stop at traffic signals etc.,

Our tram comes and we take a seat on the nearly empty tram.
Within 20 minutes we are at our destination.

Now comes the problem part.
How to find our hotel.

I had booked Sommerhotel Weiden from booking.com because it was the cheapest hotel with breakfast.
102 EU for 2 nights.

Cheapest hotel with Breakfast and WIFI was 130 EU. And then there was one for 105 EU and no breakfast, only WIFI.
Since we cannot eat electromagnetic waves, breakfast won.

We could just find one person on the deserted platform, and in a mix of broken german and english, we got to know that its on the other side of the road.

We drag our heavy suitcases for 100 meters, and arrive in an area with some restaurants.

Its all empty. I guess on saturday most people head to the city center, and not on the main residential areas!

I walk inside a restaurant, and try to figure out if anyone speaks english.
There is one nice gentleman eating his lunch, who speaks english.

He leaves his food, and asks me to come with him.
Walks out of the resturant, and walks with us for a good 20 meters, to point us to the right street!

Now thats a first.
would you leave eating your food, just to walk out and show a tourist which street his hotel is in?

We were already loving Vienna.

Finally its around 1pm we reach our hotel, where we get to know that the checkin time is 3pm. So we have to wait 2 hours at the restaurant.

Now, in India, checkout is 11am and checkin is 12pm or 1pm, but in Europe, cleaning staff is extremely limited. So checkout is at 10am(or 9am) and checkin is 3pm (or even 4pm).

Our room was yet to be cleaned.

Anyways, we confirmed that the tap water is safe to drink, and filled our water bottles.
Water in Europe is very expensive if you buy it, however, at most places tap water is safe to drink. But you should always ask. We carried 2 one liter bottles from India (empty of course), and these would serve us well on our hikes and day trips.

Another thing, bottled water in many parts is actually sparkling water, or "Soda". So in a restaurant, ask for tap water.

We sit in on the sofa, and generally make plans for the day.
Its simple, we are sleepy and tired, and it makes perfect sense to catch a quick nap. So we decide to dump the luggage, as soon as we get our room, change our clothes, and head out into the city, which does not make any sense at all.

At exactly 2:50pm, local time, we get our room, and after an hour of changing and resting and all, we are all ready to head back to the tram station, which is also a metro station.

Its time to see Vienna through eyes which have not slept for 36 hours.

TO BE CONT........
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