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Luxembourg

Having been in Eastern Europe, it’s hard even to express just how comforting the rail system is within the Deutsche Bahn’s sphere of influence. I was planning on taking the night train from Munich to Paris, but it was fully booked, so I’m going to spend a few hours in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg [...]

Krakow

I spent an unplanned fourth night in Krakow last night, partly because I needed to use up my remaining zloty, but mostly just because the hostel here is so amazingly nice. It’s definitely way better than my apartment, and costs less to boot (something like $550 a month, including breakfast and dinner). Actually, it’s most [...]

Zakopane

I left Poprad on schedule; I was actually too excited about the hike to sleep well. Poprad, incidentally, is as far east as I’ll ever get; it’s all homeward bound from here on out. Rysy, where I crossed the border, is so steep that the last 500 m took 45 minutes, much of it spent [...]

Poprad

One strange thing about Europe in general: sales tax, which is very high by US standards (in the 15% range), is included in all prices. This is a fantastic idea from a practical standpoint, although I can’t quite square it with the informed-citizen, government-oversight thing. Bottle deposits, though, which are also high (10-20 cents), are [...]

Budapest

My Eastern European blitzkrieg has bogged down, as is typically the case. I spent the last two days in Budapest, having decided that Ljubljana in just too far out of the way (9 hours, and no night train). So the plan for now is to hike over the Slovak-Polish border at 2500 m, and then [...]

Vienna

Something I noticed in Salzburg seems to be true here as well: Austrians take their weekends very seriously. When I got into town last night, at 5:30 on a Saturday, the grocery stores were all closed. Today (Sunday) the hot dog stands are shuttered up.

Vienna is huge. Just the downtown area has a radius [...]