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Celebrating a High School Graduation
A GLOBUS journey is more than a vacation – it is an investment in you – they plan a hassle free experience–full, all-in-one vacation with everything you want and so much more than you know to expect. GLOBUS has created special experiences that will bring you behind the scenes, spotlight the unique and fascinating, and bring to life the local flavor of your destination.
And two of our clients, Michelle and Rachel, were thrilled with their “Best of Eastern Europe” journey. It was a journey to celebrate a high school graduation. The adventure begins and ends in Berlin, and encompasses Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Austria, and the Czech Republic. At the time of writing, no visas are required for US passport holders to visit any of the countries included in this tour. Michelle and Rachel chose to spend a few extra days in Berlin and we booked the pre-night package with GLOBUS. Michelle raved about their hotel on the Friedrichstrasse. “It was perfectly located – they were within walking distance of Checkpoint Charlie and the Brandenburg gate, and Berlin is such a vibrant city, and perfectly safe to explore at night.”
After a couple of nights in Berlin, the tour spends 4 nights in Poland with nights in Warsaw and Krakow, where you can feel the horrors od World War II. The tour took them to the ruins of Auschwitz, and to Warsaw, the important gateway between East and West. Warsaw has suffered a tragic history, but also exhibits its medieval history in the Old Quarter with its venerable market square and the 14th century Cathedral of St. John. Then a joyous scenic drive though the heart of mountainous and densely wooded Slovakia, where brown bears still roam freely, arriving in Budapest for 2 nights. Our clients opted to take the evening dinner cruise on the Danube and described it as magical – the sunset and lights of the two towns, Buda and Pest, reflected on the waters were just awe inspiring. And of course, the famous iconic Houses of Parliament, right on the bank of the river, are absolutely stunning.
Then on to Vienna for two nights, with plenty of time to visit the famous landmarks, St Stephens Cathedral, and the Heldenplatz to name just a couple. Continuing on to the Czech Republic, the tour passes through Moravia and Bohemia, stopping at Telc, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and arriving in Prague for two nights. The energy in Prague is infectious, and so much to see, St Vitus Cathedral, the old town, the Jewish ghetto, and the astronomical clock. And of course, you have to try coffee and the Trdelnik, the traditional delicious rolled pastry topped with sugar and walnuts.
The tour then re-enters Germany and stops in Dresden, which was so badly damaged by the Allied bombing in February 1945. The city has since been restored to its former baroque splendor and you can enjoy the Zwinger Palace and Semper Opera. And the final night of the tour is back in Berlin, to enjoy one last night (or more if you select a post night package) in this famous spirited city.
Michelle commented that they walked a lot in the evenings, often on their own, since plenty of free time is built in to the tour schedule, and the tour is rated as generally “Leisurely.”
“I cannot say enough about the tour itself – the quality of the GLOBUS staff was exceptional, from the tour director to each of the local guides, they were top notch. The tour was well paced, giving us enough free time. Michelle commented that she did not sign up for many of the optional tours in advance, being not sure what to expect, but once she realized the quality and opportunities those tours afforded, she and her daughter participated in many of them. Michelle acknowledged the skill of the tour director, Werner, who was with the group for the entire tour. He immediately commanded respect from the group, who all consistently honored his request to be punctual and timely. The tour members were so considerate of the others in the group and no-one was ever kept waiting. Michelle continued, “The guides were so knowledgeable, the local guides in particular were impressive in the depth of their knowledge, and there wasn’t one question that they could not answer.” “The hotels were all magnificent, centrally located, close to everything and in safe comfortable areas. We felt perfectly safe walking alone in the evening.”
A GLOBUS tour is packed with opportunities to immerse in the local culture of each country and city visited. There are activities that are included in the tour and many others are optional. Michelle remarked that she would like to do the tour again just so that she could participate in the tours she missed the first time! One highlight for them that is included in the tour in Warsaw is a concert of Chopin music, “the salon was so intimate and elegant, we were sitting so close we could see how the performer engaged with the music, how her expression flowed from her body through the piano keys, and my daughter was absolutely enchanted.”
Warsaw was a highlight too; to walk through the old Ghetto, and then to tour the ruins of Auschwitz was such a moving and unforgettable experience. One of the optional tours that our clients selected was a visit to the Wieliczka salt mines. Michelle remarked that she would like to return and spend a week in the salt caverns. She swears that the healthful effects of the salt “reverses your aging and makes the skin so much more youthful.”
“Food brings people together and what we loved was that however packed our day was, we relaxed for dinner.” Michelle reported, “It was an opportunity for my daughter and I to truly be “with” each other and connect in such a special way.” On their evenings out alone they would choose to dine “al fresco” so that they could embrace the ambience of the city, people watch, and delight in the delicious dinners, and the refreshing evening air. Their adventure together was such an important mother-daughter bonding experience. They were able to just be together, share experiences, and create memories to relive for a lifetime; something they could never have done in the routine of daily life in Nashville.
Not to be missed, recounted Michelle, were the local cultural dinners, often in someone’s home. The hosts were so gracious, the food delightful and the company was so much fun. Our tour group, approximately 35 people, connected so well, young and old, we just had so much fun together. “We ate, we danced, we sang and enjoyed each other’s company. It was amazing!” remembered Michelle.
And Michelle’s closing advice, is “do everything that you can while you are on the tour, there is so much to see and do – you can always sleep on the plane going home!”