5 countries – one more off the list @ 50

On my list of 50 things to do this year as I turned 50 was visiting 5 countries. We managed to do that during our September trip. Usually we end up spending time in one country or a couple of countries at best, but when we travelled to Europe last year, we realised that we could cover several countries in a short span of time as the rail and bus network is outstanding. The countries are also smaller and the Schengen visa makes it easy to travel across several countries.

The original plan was to base ourselves in Vienna for 15 days and do day trips to nearby countries and then make Amsterdam the base for 15 days and do day trips to nearby countries from there. When we tried booking Airbnb’s and hotels in Amsterdam, the cost was prohibitive ! Hotels that would go for Rs. 4000/- a night were going at Rs. 16,000/- a night …. one of Krishnan’s swimming buddies who goes every year to Amsterdam was shocked with the pricing. So we quickly backtracked and decided to go to Croatia instead.

In this trip we managed to spend a lot of time in Vienna, the most liveable country in the world. Anyone who hasn’t been to Vienna, please make plans to visit. The city is steeped in history, has stunning buildings, is a classical music lover’s heaven and is a pleasure to just be in. We drank coffee at the oldest coffee house in Vienna, went in search of exquisite street art and of course walked everywhere. For our anniversary we went to Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia. Then spent a few days with our friends in Munich before going to Zagreb, Croatia’s capital. From Zagreb, we did a day trip to LjubLjana (read “j” as “y”) and the stunning Lake Bled. From Zagreb, we returned to Vienna for a week and then spent the last three days of our trip in Budapest, Hungary.

Can’t get Budapest out of our minds … again, stunning buildings, beautiful Andrassy Avenue and Europe’s oldest metro. More of that in another blog though.

So the five countries that we visited are – Austria, Slovakia, Croatia, Slovenia and Hungary. Have scheduled the blogs from each of these places and they will get published every day. Its our way of reliving the interesting times. 🙂


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