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Marilyn Foster: Old-world charm of Eastern, Central Europe

Marilyn Foster

Eastern and Central Europe have a special old-world charm that must be seen before this region becomes as popular as Western Europe and the “old ways” are forgotten.

I have traveled to this part of the world with my sister when it was even less of a tourism destination, and we both loved the experience of seeing the beautiful architecture and meeting the colorful and charming locals.

Last year, the Chamber traveled to the southern part of Eastern Europe taking in the sites via river cruise along the lower Danube in a region that is relatively unexplored by Americans. You could tell this region was on the “less traveled” path.

In 2021, we are going to explore the northern portion of Eastern and Central Europe that has seen more travelers but is still relatively unexplored when compared to Western Europe. There are still plenty of old-world charm and castles and cathedrals to explore and legends to be learned.

Our primary destinations will be Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Krakow and Warsaw departing on April 18, 2021.

Rich in history, we will learn much about the struggles these cities and countries endured during the world wars. We’ll even learn a bit of history of our own country and the role this nation played in liberating these countries from Nazi control in World War II.

We will travel by luxury motorcoach between cities spending two nights in the each of the five cities plus enjoying stops along the way to learn more about the local way of life. Most of the cities are no more than three hours apart with the longest trek being between Krakow and Warsaw.

Our journey begins with two nights in Germany’s capital city of Berlin to visit the Berlin Wall Museum and walk through the famous “Checkpoint Charlie.”

Our motorcoach then takes us for a four-hour journey to the “Golden City” of Prague featuring a stop along the way in the lovely Baroque city of Dresden before entering the fairytale city where we spend two nights to learn about the Czech culture and visit some of the unique sites.

We then travel further south to the beautiful city of Vienna to enjoy two nights in this vibrant city where we will enjoy dinner in one of the cultural restaurants. No castle here, but there’s the Schonbrunn Palace where you’ll learn about the Habsburg Dynasty. Claiming 1,000 coffee houses, there’s no lack of coffee houses. The Viennese so love their coffee that Vienna’s coffee houses have been listed as an Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO. I loved being able to enjoy this treat in a small pastry shop in the cathedral square while watching the horsedrawn carriages ferry tourists to and fro outside St. Stephen’s Cathedral.

Then it’s on to Budapest considered by Conde Nast Traveler as one of the most beautiful UNESCO cities in Europe. On the way there, we stop for a community-hosted lunch with the villagers of Dunaalmas where we learn to make the famous strudel of the region. Budapest is two cities: historic Buda on one side of the Danube River and the cosmopolitan Pest on the other. Budapest at night is a site to behold.

Our journey takes us back north through Slovakia to Krakow, Poland making a stop along the way in resort village Donovaly best known as a popular ski resort.

While in Krakow, we’ll visit the must see UNESCO-listed Wawel Castle, the residence of Polish kings, and tour the Old Town, another UNESCO World Heritage site considered by Conde Nast Traveler to be absolutely beautiful. Learn about the famous Dragon of Wawel Hill. Once the capital of Poland, the city is known for rich history and world-class monuments.

As we travel through this region, we’ll learn a lot about World War II, but nothing will be more poignant than the stop in Auschwitz to tour the former concentration camp where the atrocities you learned about through news or in school become reality. While it is a sobering reminder of man’s inhumanity to man, we’ll learn about the strength of the human spirit and end the tour in Poland’s capital city of Warsaw, often referred to as a phoenix or the city that always seems to rise from the ashes. A lot of history was made here.

Bookings are now being accepted for this tour with a $200 discount per person. Included in the discounted double price of $4,999 per person are 12 nights in 4- or 5-star hotels, 18 meals, all touring and entrance fees, airport transfers and air from Reno. To check out this and other itineraries offered by the Chamber Travel Club, log on to the homepage at http://www.carsoncitychamber.com or call 775-882-1565.

Ninety-one-year-old Marilyn Foster is a consummate traveler and will be exploring Russia in April.