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Old 15th September 2011, 11:24   #61
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Default Re: Sonata Europa - 5 countries, 4000kms and 15 days

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Originally Posted by Fordmanchau View Post
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.
Thanks
Quote:
Originally Posted by gajadonga View Post
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.
Yes, we did, will definitely post the close calls. Infact, I doubt anybody else would have done what we did. More on that much in the future
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Originally Posted by VCheng View Post
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!
Sure, will post lots of pics of the vienna we saw(its big, we did not see quite a bit of it)
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Originally Posted by nimbleguru View Post
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 !!
thanks
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Originally Posted by pawan_pullarwar View Post
Dont forget to write about WC, Herren and Damen
Do not get me started on that. I will probably write an essay on the Swiss and their WC
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Originally Posted by gautamkhadse View Post
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 .
The number of photographs is humongous. And I am new to Nikon land. So my post processing speed has gone down 5X
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Originally Posted by ramanak View Post
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.
We did not "do" italy and Germany, so no such excursions
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Originally Posted by Dry Ice View Post
Another epic in the making. Awesome photos and equally good writing. I missed the White elephant though.

Rated 5*
You know what, white elephant go jealous that I drove around in another car. She would not let me in when we go back.
I had to get in from the rear door, and pry the drivers lock open. And then she refused to close the power window, and I had to pull it up. But she started at first crank thankfully.

Quote:
Originally Posted by infotech58 View Post
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?
I am putting expenses etc., along the way, will post a summary of expenses of all major items. We did not track the minor expenses as we hardly ate out (except ice cream)
Quote:
Originally Posted by sen2009 View Post
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.
Thanks sen
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Originally Posted by rxpaul View Post
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 !
Yes, we enjoyed our trip. European cars also come with 200 BHP + engines. But just like those 200 BHP+ engines, you need to pay for GPS. So we chose "without GPS"

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Originally Posted by KSM-Vtec View Post
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.
LOL Kaushik, I thought you already knew it when you called me up
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Old 15th September 2011, 11:31   #62
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Default Re: Sonata Europa - 5 countries, 4000kms and 15 days

TSK, what a beautiful thread! I am hooked to these picture and got desire to "DO" europe all over again! I stayed there as a student and spent year just "DO"ing one city and visiting many others, and that year was not enough.
Looking at your travelog I promised myself to DO europe again.
Thanks for wonderful narration.
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Old 15th September 2011, 11:51   #63
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Default Re: Sonata Europa - 5 countries, 4000kms and 15 days

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Originally Posted by tsk1979 View Post
LOL Kaushik, I thought you already knew it when you called me up
No i dint, i missed the thread somehow. You think i would have not asked you about the trip if i had known about it?
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Old 15th September 2011, 11:52   #64
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Default Re: Sonata Europa - 5 countries, 4000kms and 15 days

Most cities in Europe have these Hop-in hop off buses. You pay 10 or 15 Eur (for the day) and the bus takes you to all the sights in that city. The bus would wait for about 10 mins/sight, but if you want to spend more time at a sight all you need to do is catch the next bus or the next one(free) as the tkt is valid for 12 hrs. Buses run at typical 15 minute interval so about 48 buses per day. I've used these buses in Brussels, Berlin & Rome......lovely
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Old 15th September 2011, 12:01   #65
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Default Re: Sonata Europa - 5 countries, 4000kms and 15 days

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Originally Posted by rxpaul View Post
Most cities in Europe have these Hop-in hop off buses. You pay 10 or 15 Eur (for the day) and the bus takes you to all the sights in that city. The bus would wait for about 10 mins/sight, but if you want to spend more time at a sight all you need to do is catch the next bus or the next one(free) as the tkt is valid for 12 hrs. Buses run at typical 15 minute interval so about 48 buses per day. I've used these buses in Brussels, Berlin & Rome......lovely
HOHO buses usually cost 2x of public transport, and unless you live next to a HOHO stop, they do not make economical sense.
Remember, its a 5 EU here and 10 EU there which pushes up the costs.
So to save them, we pre-decided what attractions we wanted to visit, depending upon the time we had at hand.
We knew we could not see all the attractions anyways.
Since public transport network is very very good, we decided to go for a 48 hour pass, which costs less than a HOHO pass for 24 hours
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Old 15th September 2011, 12:27   #66
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Default Re: Sonata Europa - 5 countries, 4000kms and 15 days

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Originally Posted by tsk1979 View Post
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).
I hope you also tried Cheese Fondue, the national dish of Switzerland . Would love to read the after effect of it

Well there are various opinions on the national dish of Swiss. Some say, Rosti is the national dish where as some say Cervelat.
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Old 15th September 2011, 13:10   #67
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Default Re: Sonata Europa - 5 countries, 4000kms and 15 days

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Originally Posted by tsk1979 View Post
....Then meeting family there meant that family here had given us "little bit stuff". If you are a Punjabi, you will understand that Little bit usually weighs more than a 747 and occupies twice the space.
.....I am very forgetful. I forget names of people, names of places, and sometimes my own name too......
We also roamed around the terminal. It was not India anymore. Mcdonalds burger cost 2$. so it was not even USA. Probably Europe. We were already in Europe, since a coffee was for 2$ too......
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Originally Posted by tsk1979 View Post
......Did your Great Grandfather ever do a crime?
Will your children's children ever do a crime?......
All I have to do is take out my Guitar, and sing. Money will come into the Hat. But I do not have a Guitar. I do not have a hat. And even if I had them, I would get eggs and tomatos since I can't sing to save my life......
Quote:
Originally Posted by tsk1979 View Post
.....then there was one for 105 EU and no breakfast, only WIFI. Since we cannot eat electromagnetic waves, breakfast won.......
Its time to see Vienna through eyes which have not slept for 36 hours.
Tanveer, above quotes are some of the bests so far which will make anyone fall in love with the way you narrate your story. Patiently waiting for each new post from your desk. Its a pleasure and thanks again for removing time for this
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Old 15th September 2011, 13:58   #68
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Default Re: Wein - To the Hotel and Public transport

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Originally Posted by tsk1979 View Post
All major train stations are usually built near metro and Train stations, so changeover is painless.
This is standard across Europe and these places are generally known as the Interchange.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tsk1979 View Post
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?
I have had similar experiences in Paris and Brussels . I think it all comes down to people being friendly overall.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tsk1979 View Post
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.
Europe follows a practice of RRP - Regular Retail Price. The price of Volvic or Evian will be different at different places. If you buy something at a small supermarket at Town centre, its price will be considerably higher than the Hypermarket outside town. During my 2 year stay in UK, I never drank tap water. Used to get 2 litre bottles at 20p = Rs 16, similar to Indian prices.

And you do get both "Still" i.e. Normal and "Sparkling" i.e. Soda water.
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Old 15th September 2011, 15:46   #69
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Default Re: Sonata Europa - 5 countries, 4000kms and 15 days

Tanveer sir, I just went through the first 5 pages of your write-up, and there is just one word to describe the feeling. WOW!!!

Besides your writing i must congratulate you on your photographic skills too. I Downloaded all the photos u had uploaded, Such a beauty. Rated the thread a very well deserved 5 stars. Totally glued on for further updates.
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Old 15th September 2011, 17:39   #70
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Default Re: Sonata Europa - 5 countries, 4000kms and 15 days

As always with all your Travelouges, Lovely writing and amazing teaser pics. When are the pics coming? You just landed there and the TL has reached 5 pages. Way to go bud, keep those amazing pics and lively writeups coming.

Last edited by traveloholic : 15th September 2011 at 17:40.
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Old 15th September 2011, 18:23   #71
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Default An Evening in Wein

We reach or "metro station", and this time decide to ride the metro instead of the Tram. Reason is two fold. We can reach the city center without any metro changes.

An interesting thing to note about vienna public transport system is that unlike many other countries, there is no checking.

Nobody checks our tickets and passes, no gates are there where tickets are to be inserted. You just walk into the metro.

Only thing required is to get the "pass" punched from a slot machine, which validates it.

your time starts when you punch the pass.
Passes can be punched in trams or at metro station.

That said, there is no checking. Atleast we did not see any. I guess they may be having surprise checks now and then, but the system runs on trust.

Our destination today is Stephen-Platz, or St. Stephens square.

Its a city center in the true sense.
Multiple metro lines criss cross it, and from this place, you can practically catch a metro to any part of the city.

We are tired, sleepy and hungry, but all that will have to wait. For now, we have reached Stephenplatz.

Like many other city centers, this is a place of music, fun and general roaming around. Cars are restricted here, confined to the outer areas of the city center, and only some taxis are permitted.

you can ride a "rickshaw" if you want too!

So here comes the first click of the day.
This picture was very tilted. I had to straighten it in PP. Everything I click this evening would be tilted. I guess thats what lack of sleep and hunger do to you

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The guy in Red T-shirt also appears to be in similar state as ours.

So what do you do in St. Stephans square.
You walk into the Stephensdom, or St. Stephens cathedral. Its old. Really old. Older than me, or you, or our grandfathers. Its construction was completed in 1160, but thanks to continuous repair and reconstruction, it looks like new.

A point to note here. While in India ASI considers altering the colors, or sometimes even the facade of important historical buildings as restoration, Europe is different.
Here when they restore, they try to be as original as possible.

Light is not good since its evening and cloudy. This time of the year, sunset happens around 8pm, but good light lasts only till around 5pm and only till 3 or so if its cloudy
And it stays cloudy quite a bit in this region!

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The highlight of any cathedral or Church (Kirche) in Europe is the carvings and statues. Europe has a statue fixation. It rivals the status fixation of Khujaraoh, and even surpasses it. There are all kinds of statues. Many depict good over evil, or Archangels like Michael and Raphael slaying the devils minions. Unlike the superhit series supernatural, Angels are good guys here.

A closer look at the main section
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Some more interior pics.
I am sleepy and tired, so I just put it to ISO 1600 as I try to hold my hands as steady as possible.
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As it gets darker, we decide to get out. Tomorrow is the day we see vienna, and the cathedral will be on our TODO list.

The clock
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In any european city center, you do not need a watch. All you need to do is look up. There will be a clock tower there, showing the time
The time is 5:19, and my camera says its 8:49. See, still following India time. It will be two days before I realize my camera is on India time, and fix it. I told you I was forgetful. Since I did not write it down that I need to change time, India time it was!

A popular touristy gimmic is the horse drawn cart. You can pay 10 EU and get on it, and be given a history tour of city center. As budget travellers we chose to just click it from outside
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Another interesting thing. Every time a horse did its rear end job, the owner would get down, and clean the excreta. So there are lots of horses, but no excreta, unlike our horsy hill resorts, which have few horses but tonnes of manure lying around.

This is then disposed off in a "compost" collection center, where it gets sent to the villages and countryside to be used as manure. I am not joking, its true!

A view of the exterior car parking area at the edge of the "center".

As you can see, car population of Europe is very different from what we have in USA. Cars here are smart, Mini, Fiat 500, Fabia and various other small cars. Even the BMW 1 series is popular. SUVs are extremly rare, and so are large cars like the big mercs and VWs.
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I try and shoot the whole cathedral, and then I miss my 10-24. That lens is made for architechture. I guess I should have borrowed somebodies 350D or something for cathedral photography. But no use crying over spilt milk. I would have to shoot these wonders with 24mm equivalent. No 16mm joy for me!
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This is the actual square. Its beautiful, though I am unable to capture it propery given the light and my state of mind
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A closer look
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Do you notice the net?

Its for those pesky pigeons. Some major landmarks have netting to prevent poop. Poop control is taken very seriously there.

The crown
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The local mcdonalds with cathedral in background
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As we walk around, we hear music. Music so melodius that it pulls us towards it.

Its a local band, performing Last of the Mohicans
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We spend a lot of time here.
And recognize another song. Nothing Else matters. In S&M, metallica could not do it so well as these guys did it. Should have taken a video. but sometimes music is so enchanting, that you forget where you are.

Finally as the evening progresses, hunger and tiredness win, and we decide to go back to our hotel
A parting shot
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For dinner its time to eat Rajma Chawal of MTR. We still have two nights in Vienna, and two nights in another Austrian city till we can reach switzerland, and start cooking.

The hotel is quiet, inspite of the huge rush. Being a multy storey budget hotel, it stays quite full.

We sleep early. Tomorrow is going to be a long long day.

Last edited by tsk1979 : 15th September 2011 at 18:25.
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Old 15th September 2011, 19:00   #72
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Default Re: Sonata Europa - 5 countries, 4000kms and 15 days

That's some lovely story telling Tanveer. And loved those photographs, yes, the light kind of played spoil-sport in these last set but you've still managed to get some lovely photographs. BTW, please do mention(or PM) on how much you had to spend per head for the whole trip. Will help us to plan such trips in future.
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Old 15th September 2011, 20:16   #73
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Default Re: Sonata Europa - 5 countries, 4000kms and 15 days

Kaushik, details are already there in the Travelogue. As I go along I will be giving expense details of everything.
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Old 15th September 2011, 21:24   #74
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Default Re: Sonata Europa - 5 countries, 4000kms and 15 days

Very nice write up and pictures tanveer; rating five stars. To be honest this is first TL of yours which I am reading and this has urged me to read all your previous TLs as well. Pardon me for that.

Please don't let us wait for long and pour in the beautiful pics of your tour.
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Old 16th September 2011, 00:01   #75
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Default Re: Sonata Europa - 5 countries, 4000kms and 15 days

Excellent write up Tanveer. Europe is THE place to drive around. Have been planning a driving-vacation for many years now, but hasn't worked out yet.

Gearing up to spend hours reading through this travelogue as it unfolds. Thanks for sharing all your experiences. As I mentioned in one of your earlier threads - consider writing a book. Better yet, plan a coffee table book with the amazing pictures you have from all your travels.

Now some OT -

@Team - I have a valid Schengen multiple entry visa for the next 3 years, issued by the Dutch embassy for my official trip last month. Now, if I travel to Europe as a tourist, say in December this year, would I still need to start my journey from Holland? I would rather "do" just Italy for a week - do I need a fresh visa?

@TSK - Did you feel the need for an IDP there? I drove just once in Switzerland back in 2003 without the IDP and our office driver mentioned it wasn't necessary till the time I had my Indian DL.

Looking forward to travelling Europe through your experience in the coming days. Cheers!
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