A farewell to Central Europe. For now.

22 Feb

Today I depart Budapest and go back to normal life at home. While every traveler must do this at some point, this particular “goodbye”, for me, is a particularly thought-provoking one. What I mean by that is that I’ve got plenty more to see before I’m likely to set foot in this part of Europe again. It will be a while before I return to Central Europe, and not because it is a bad place to travel, but because there’s so many more regions I want to see. As such, I took sometime to reflect on my travels in this region.

Over the summer, I traveled far and wide across the Eastern part of Central Europe, through the Baltic States down to Prague, then over into Austria. The first thing that I remember as being particularly striking about this region is the architecture. The old-town architecture in this region is, without a doubt, my favorite style in Europe. The second thing that truly struck me was just how untouched and beautiful the rural areas are. Unlike in say, Britain, the rural parts of this region are not cut-across by loads of highways and quilts of suburban patchwork. They really do feel like rural areas.

If there’s any piece of advice I’d give to a traveler visiting this region, here’s what it would be: more than in most parts of the world I’ve visited, I’d tell the average traveler planning a trip here to keep an open mind. It is generally not “exotic” enough to be strikingly enticing to adventurous travelers the way, say East Asia is. On the other hand, it is far too exotic for many American tourists whose only dream destinations would be Paris and Disneyworld. This region is not the off-the-beaten-track adventure it once was, nor is it as touristy as Paris. Rather, it is something in between.



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