New Sights, Ideas Needed

ideasI am a planner.  Planning for a trip is probably one of the greatest joys I get to experience.  This past weekend I officially signed up for the Rick Steves’ Eastern Europe in 16 Days tour along with the My Way Spain Tour.  I will be visiting seven new countries which has me giddy like you can only imagine.

I need your help.  So many of you have been to these wonderful places and I’d love to brush up on some good reading material about your experiences.  If you can direct me to some of your posts or give me some ideas through comments, then I can start creating an idea list.  Here are the places I’ll be visiting:

Czech Republic:

  • Prague
  • Pustevny


  • Aushwitz
  • Krakow


  • Levoca


  • Eger
  • Budapest


  • Plitvice
  • Rab Island


  • Lake Bled


  • Barcelona (can’t wait!!!!)
  • Madrid
  • Toledo
  • Granada
  • Ronda
  • Sevilla

Please share photos, travel stories, movie recommendations, books, places you recommend visiting, or any other nuggets of gold.  I can’t wait to read what you share :).

11 thoughts on “New Sights, Ideas Needed

  1. It is super you signed up with Rick Steves. I have been on 4 of his tours and enjoyed them a lot. I have not visiyed the ares you are going though. Spain is on my list of next places to go.

  2. Very jealous – Bled is my favourite place on earth, you’ll have a great time!

    I wrote this about Bled: but the main things to remember there are:
    1. Have a local cream cake from a shop called Smon
    2. Walk and/or cycle round the lake
    3. Row and/or swim to the island in the middle
    4. Hike to Vintgar Gorge if you’ve got time (only a half-day trip)
    5. Make sure your camera is fully charged as you’ll take loads of photos!

    Prague, Budapest and Barcelona are all pretty special, too!


  3. I don’t know how these tours work, but will you have time to travel to other places than the ones you listed? In Slovenia, you should for sure visit the tiny capital Ljubljana ( In Poland there are quite interesting salt mines close to Krakow (e.g.: It is really super easy to travel by train or bus in all of (South) Eastern Europe, so you can venture off the itinerary of your tour (if you have the time) quite easily.

  4. I have been to all the places on your Spain itinerary with the exception of Barcelona (for another trip). I am not sure how to send you pictures. I do have them out on Shutterfly. In Madrid, a highlight was taking a wine and tapas tour at night – great way to experience places that the usual tourist does not see; and the wines and food were great. I was less thrilled with the Royal Palace. Just personal taste – all that opulence is a stomach turner after a while. I really enjoyed the Prado – one jaw dropping picture after the next. Strolling through the Parque Buen Retiro on a Sunday morning was wonderful – lots of pictures and absorbing how Madrilenos live their lives.
    I left my heart in Sevilla. I could go back there and live for a month or more. The Alcazar is breathtaking – imagine Columbus and Ferdinand & Isabella here. We climbed the Giralda, which is part of the cathedral (3rd largest after The Vatican and St. Paul’s) for incredible views of the area. The warren of old streets was so interesting to walk through. The park created for the World Exhibition is a must see.
    I only spent a day in Granada – jealous that you get to see the Alhambra at night. Definitely worth a day to go through, and don’t miss the Generalife and gardens as part of the tour. My best photos are from there. Tile work and oases will transport you through time.
    Toledo is spectacular to view as you approach. It’s streets are great to wander. Synagogue is impressive. Hilly to say the least. We rode escalators to get up to it.
    Stayed in Ronda three nights and stayed in the paradore on the edge of the cliff – what a view. We loved the bullring and associated museum, walking along the path on the cliff, exploring the old town and going on the “backside” to see the Roman/Arab features. You will get some classic “white village” pictures here.
    We traveled to Spain & Portugal in November; so the weather was perfect. It can be brutal in the warmer months. Please let me know if you have any specific questions.

  5. This trip is going to be very exciting. All the Best.
    Here are the links to my visits to Budapest and Barcelona on my FB albums. Hope you enjoy going through them and you get a fair idea on what I have experienced in these two beautiful cities

  6. You can find lots of things to see and do in Seville on my blog Scribbler in Seville, and my articles on The Spain Scoop. I would especially recommend, like a previous commenter, the Alcazar, Giralda (cathedral tower, built as minaret 900 years ago), and Parque Maria Luisa; but also the Monasterio La Cartuja; Flamenco Museum; Pabellon de Navegacion; Castillo San Jorge (Inquisition Museum); and Metropol Parasol. Walk along the river; explore Triana; get lost in barrio Santa Cruz; and try lots of tapas. Finally: horse and carriage ride and/or bike hire.

  7. The tour leader’s name is Andres Jarabo. If you go on Trip Advisor, you will find it under “Walks of Spain Tapas Tour”. You’ll see that it is still very highly rated. I reviewed it on November 23, 2011 (CapeCodDiva). As an added treat, a photographer was doing night wedding pictures at the meeting place in this beautiful little plaza. Also, just FYI, I found the Madrid metro very easy to navigate and felt safe on it riding back to our hotel after our tapas tour.

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